5/28/2020

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020










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Still photo from Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove"released January 29, 1964

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

  In its report "Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons Spending 2020" the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has produced the first estimate in nearly a decade of global nuclear weapon spending, taking into account costs to maintain and build new nuclear weapons. ICAN estimates that the nine nuclear-armed countries spent $72.9 billion on their 13,000-plus nuclear weapons in 2019, equaling $138,699 every minute of 2019 on nuclear weapons, and a $7.1 billion increase from 2018.
These estimates (rounded to one decimal point) include nuclear warhead and nuclear-capable delivery systems operating costs and development where these expenditures are publicly available and are based on a reasonable percentage of total military spending on nuclear weapons when more detailed budget data is not available. ICAN urges all nuclear-armed states to be transparent about nuclear weapons expenditures to allow for more accurate reporting on global nuclear expenditures and better government accountability.
ICAN, May 2020
https://www.icanw.org/global_nuclear_weapons_spending_2020

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Action Announcement: 
SANCTIONS KILL CAR CARAVAN and RALLY 
May 29, 2020, 4:00 P.M. 

The SF Bay Area Anti War Network (SFBAWN) is sponsoring a SANCTIONS KILL Car Caravan and Rally on May 29. Please join us. For details and updates, please visit the event FaceBook page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/233430191293148/

WhatSanctions Kill Car Caravan & Rally
WhenMay 29, 4PM
Where15 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123-1201, United States:


In addition to the Car Caravan, SFBAWN is asking organizations to endorse a letter to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi (The Pelosi letter).  Please let me know by May 24, if you object to signing on as EastBay CodePink. Hearing no objections by May 24, I will OK East Bay CodePink's endorsing referenced Pelosi letter.  SF CodePink, will you also endorse the letter?

As a reminder, CodePink in the SF Bay Area is a SFBAWN member. Please check out our points of unity and decision-making structure.

Onwards towards a just peace,
Eleanor Levine
CodePink Women for Peace
East Bay Chapter, co-coordinator
(SF Bay Area California)
eastbaycodepink@gmail.com

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ANSWER Coalition
The ANSWER Coalition is endorsing and urging everyone to join and share this action....
May_30_image.png

Saturday, May 30, 10am

1875 Marin St., San Francisco

Join thousands of people across the country in car caravan protests on Saturday, May 30 to demand the cancellation of rents and mortgages for tenants, homeowners, small landlords and small businesses for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Protesters will adhere to social distancing guidelines and requirements, including wearing mask that have been established to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The effect on the people has been devastating. Nearly 90,000 people in the United States have died and more than 1.5 million have gotten sick as of May 18.  37 million people have lost their jobs since March with millions more jobless to come. We are in worst depression since the 1930s, and it’s getting worse.
As a result of the economic crisis, at least 30 percent of renters will be unable to pay their rent on June 1. No one should lose their housing for any reason in this crisis! The rents and mortgages must be cancelled!
A short-term suspension of evictions is not enough to save people's homes. And the meager rescue stimulus payments the government provided are long gone for most people. Even if there is another one, it will be needed for food, healthcare and other necessities.
Canceling rents and mortgage payments for the duration of the crisis can be won! Since the start of the pandemic in the U.S., the federal government has pumped at least 5 trillion dollars into the big banks and the largest corporations. Only $249 billion was allocated for unemployment funding. This massive gift to the banks — the 1% at the top, compared to the 160 million U.S. workers — is 20 times the amount allotted for the unemployed. The money is there, it is simply a question of whether it is used to bail out Wall Street or to protect the homes of poor and working people. This wealth and the vast number of vacant housing units can be used to provide shelter for the homeless as well.
The government has the authority to cancel the rent. In fact, a bill has already been introduced in Congress, the Rent and Mortgage Cancellation Act . But this will be bitterly opposed by the landlords and big banks. The mobilization of the people, done in a socially responsible way, is urgently needed to ensure housing for all.
If you agree with the call to Cancel the Rents and Mortgage Payments for tenants, homeowners, small landlords and small businesses, join or organize a Car Caravan in your area on Saturday, May 30!
Initiated by: www.CanceltheRents.org
Sat., May 30
1875 Marin St., San Francisco CA 94124
10 am: Gather
10:30 am: Press Briefing
11 am: Caravan Begins
ANSWER Coalition · United States
This email was sent to caroleseligman@sbcglobal.net.
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Online Townhall: Sat. May 30, 4pm (PDT), 7pm (EDT) 

Opening the Economy? Their Plans and Ours

The rush to open the economy has nothing to do with providing us with any real hope for our future. It is all about the profits of the banks and corporations. We won’t be returning to safe working environments – which this system has never provided us. Instead of jobs for all, we will see this crisis used to try to squeeze even more out of us.
We know their plans. We need to make ours. And that means joining our forces – workplace to workplace, neighborhood to neighborhood – across the society. Then we will have begun to take the steps toward a future we need.
As always, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and share your experiences from your workplace and community.
Please share widely – remember there are no borders.
To Join the Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 858 5443 2533
Password: 313758
One tap calling from mobile smartphones:
+16699009128,,85854432533#,,1#,313758# US (San Jose)
+13462487799,,85854432533#,,1#,313758# US (Houston)
Dial by your location
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown)
Find other local numbers to usehttps://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbM8Q3g65z

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Salon Series Online


Join us for CIDCI's Salon Series Online! 
Tune in to hear about the latest projects directly from industry experts. Each Online Salon offers a different topic to expand your knowledge in the Design and Construction Industry.
June 4th Online Salon Features:

Innovation for What?
A presentation by:
Cliff Conner
This webinar will take place on June 4th at 10:00AM PST.
*You must register in advance to attend*
REGISTER HERE 
Presentation Description
Let us step back and consider the “big picture” in the context of the current pandemic.  What drives innovation?  What should drive innovation?  Who is in the driver’s seat?  Is the fundamental purpose of innovation to make life on Earth richer for everyone, or to make corporate shareholders richer? 


BIO - Clifford Conner
Clifford D. Conner is a historian of Science.  Cliff taught history of science at the City University of New York Graduate Center, and he is the author of A People’s History of Science and the forthcoming The Tragedy of American Science.  A long time ago (in another galaxy?), Cliff studied experimental psychology and industrial engineering at Georgia Tech, and worked briefly as a human factors engineer at Lockheed Aircraft before resigning in protest against the Vietnam War.
We invite you to share this invitation with your colleagues. To share this event, copy/paste this URL:
https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nXjxGx-URQuucr2nBzzeeQ

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CALL TO ACTION: 

Respected Elder Jalil Muntaqim Hospitalized with COVID-19


Widely respected elder Jalil Muntaqim (Anthony Bottom), who in his teens joined the Black Panther Party, and who was convicted at 19 and has been incarcerated for 49 years in NYS prisons on a 25-year minimum sentence, became ill last week, and has tested positive for COVID-19. His health deteriorated over the weekend and he has been hospitalized since Monday.

For months, public health experts, faith leaders, Congress members, and hundreds of others have warned NYS officials that the prisons are potential death traps in the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing this, a New York State judge on April 27th ordered Jalil's temporary release from Sullivan Correctional Facility in Fallsburg, NY, based on his extreme vulnerability to the virus. Jalil is 68 years old and suffers from serious chronic health conditions that can make COVID-19 deadly.

However, NYS Attorney General Letitia James, acting on behalf of NYS DOCCS Commissioner Anthony Annucci, appealed the ruling, blocking Jalil's release and forcing him to remain in prison. Just as we feared, Jalil, who was ordered released a month ago, eventually contracted COVID-19.

Tomorrow, May 28th, a NYS Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments from Jalil's attorney and the DOCCS attorney. We ask you to call and tweet the AG and DOCCS commissioner today and tomorrow urging them to withdraw the appeal so that Jalil can be released from the hospital to the community, where he has medical and other support awaiting him, rather than be returned to the prison where his recovery will be impeded, and where he will again be vulnerable to contracting another COVID-19 infection.

Here's what you can do:

TWEET!

@TishJames @NewYorkStateAG Withdraw your appeal of Judge Shick's 4/27 order releasing Anthony Bottom. If you had not appealed/blocked his release, Mr. Bottom wouldn't have contracted COVID & wouldn't be seriously ill now. Withdraw the appeal so he can go home, recover & stay safe

@NYSDOCCS Cmr. Annucci should withdraw his appeal of the release of Anthony Bottom. On 4/27, Judge Stephan Schick ordered Mr. Bottom's release to protect him from COVID-19, but DOCCS appealed, blocking release. Now he is ill. Withdraw appeal so he can go home, recover & stay safe


CALL  the Attorney General and Commissioner

Attorney General  Letitia James - (718) 560-2040

Sample Script For AG: 

My name is [X]. I am calling to urge the AG to withdraw her appeal of the release of Anthony Bottom, DIN# 77A4283, which was ordered by Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan G. Schick on April 27. Had the AG not originally appealed that decision, Mr. Bottom would not have contracted COVID-19, as he recently did, and would not be seriously ill and in the hospital now. The AG's appeal was responsible for his current life-threatening illness. She must now withdraw her appeal so that Mr. Bottom can return to his community after he recovers from COVID-19 and avoid being re-infected. The communities that elected her, and whom she claims to represent, demand this of her.


Commissioner Annucci - (518) 457-8126

Sample Script For Commissioner: 

My name is [X]. I am calling to urge Commissioner  Annucci to withdraw his opposition to the release of Anthony Bottom, DIN#77A4283. On April 27, Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan G. Schick ordered Mr. Bottom's release to protect him from COVID-19, but DOCCS appealed and he was not released. Predictably, Mr. Bottom contracted the virus and now he is hospitalized with COVID-19. If DOCCS had not appealed this decision, Mr. Bottom would not have contracted COVID-19, as he recently did, and would not be in the hospital now. DOCCS should withdraw the appeal so that Mr. Bottom can return to his community after he recovers from COVID-19 and avoid being re-infected. Alternatively, the Commissioner should expedite and ensure approval of Mr. Bottom's supplemented request for medical parole.  


Pack the Virtual Courtroom - Thursday, May 28 at 1:00 pm Eastern - 10:00 am Pacific

Oral arguments on the appeal of the decision to release Jalil will be streamed live.
Link to hearing on Thursday, May 28 at 1:00 pm Eastern, 10:00 am Pacific

Go to the homepage of the court: http://www.nycourts.gov/ad3/ 
*click the box at the bottom that says "Court Session Webcast" - or try the direct link: http://wowza.nycourts.gov/ad3/ad3.php



Read more about the case (with additional articles coming soon):


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

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We Need Your Support: Unite to Send Deputy Chairman Kwame Shakur to Minneapolis!

In light of recent protests following the May 24, 2020, state-sanctioned lynching of George Floyd, a black man, and resident of Minneapolis, MN we recognize the protests happening there as an organic demonstration of resistance to imperialist oppression by the people and understand the importance of having the New Afrikan Black Panther Party on the ground in order to give proper leadership and direction to this important struggle. Because of this, we believe that it is necessary to get our Deputy Chairman, Kwame Shakur from Indiana, where he resides, to Minneapolis, MN.  We are calling on all of our friends and supporters to materially assist us in accomplishing this task!  Kwame will need resources that will enable him to travel to Minneapolis, MN, remain for as long as need be, and return to his home in IN.  You can donate to this cause through PayPal at PayPal.me/drayonmiller or through CashApp at $PantherLove2005.

Kwame has been actively organizing and leading mass demonstrations in Indianapolis IN in response to prisoner abuse and police killings there. His involvement and development of wide community support can be seen in the many live recordings made on the ground, which can be seen on his Facebook page (see link below) and podcasts on YouTube. We want to take this revolutionary guidance to Minneapolis and develop new forces to build and advance the work of the mass struggle there. We want boots on the ground! All power to the people!
DONATE
Facebook
Website
Copyright © *2020* *Kevin Rashid Johnson*, All rights reserved.


Our mailing address is:

Kevin Rashid Johnson
D.O.C. #264847, G-20-2C
Pendleton Correctional Facility 4490 W. Reformatory Rd

PendletonIN  46064




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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all





Petition update - Please sign at the link above!
May 23, 2020 —  
We have submitted our application to the @FultonCountyDA #ConvictionIntegrityUnit demanding a retrial for Imam Jamil Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown. 
We must now show the establishment that we care more about justice than they do about corruption and injustice. 
The proof of misdeeds is clear, the proof of innocence is clear, a retrial or release are the only acceptable options. 
We make the news so let our voices once again be heard loudly and in unison…we demand a retrial…we demand justice!   #FreeImamJamil

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

To unsubscribe contact: http://freedomarchives.org/mailman/options/ppnews_freedomarchives.org

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#FreeOurYouth Chicago
Chicago community members have been active in #FreeOurYouth actions to call for the release of incarcerated young people during the pandemic. Photo: Sarah-Ji @loveandstrugglephotos 

Dear Friend,

More than 50 years ago, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign taught us what COVID-19 remind us of today. Living wages, health care for all, jobs, and labor rights are issues of right vs. wrong and life vs. death.

On June 20, please join AFSC and partners across the U.S. for a digital gathering of the new Poor People’s Campaign to demand our government prioritize the needs of the poor and working class—and ensure all people have the resources they need to thrive.

Here are this week’s resources to help you stay informed and support your activism.  

Video: How we're responding to COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world: AFSC’s Joyce Ajlouny, Kerri Kennedy, and Sayrah Namaste share how AFSC is responding to the needs of communities around the world in this pandemic. And join us on Facebook every Thursday at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT for our weekly updates from AFSC staff! (Facebook)

AFSC and partners file class-action lawsuit demanding the release of all immigrants from for-profit detention center: One employee has already died from the virus, and 18 people in detention and another 17 staff members have tested positive. (Gothamist)

As we honor health care professionals, let's remember Razan al-Najjar and all health care workers in Palestine: AFSC’s Mike Merryman-Lotze explains the challenges facing health professionals in Palestine and invites all to join AFSC’s social media day of action on June 1.

If the state fails to act, prisons will become death camps: New Jersey must immediately release more people from prison and provide adequate medical and social services to those incarcerated, co-writes AFSC’s Bonnie Kerness in this op-ed with attorneys Jean Ross and Daniel McCarey. (Star-Ledger)

4 things you need to know about the Supreme Court case on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals): A decision on the fate of hundreds of thousands of young people is expected any day now—here’s what could happen and how we can advocate for permanent protection for DACA recipients, writes AFSC’s Peniel Ibe.

The call to #FreeOurYouth during COVID-19: In Chicago, community members are demanding the release of incarcerated youth—and real investments in their health and future, writes AFSC’s Mary Zerkel.

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

AFSC.org  |  unsubscribe  |  Donate 
Follow us online:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




Whereas, Governor Newsom recently announced the creation of a $125 million emergency relief fund for undocumented workers, none of whom are eligible for the federal stimulus, the centerpiece being a one-time payment of $500 to 150,000 individuals;

Whereas, the undocumented pay $3 billion in state and local taxes every year;[1]

Whereas, California's cost-of-living is extraordinarily high;[2]

Resolved:  Adult School Teachers United considers the one-time $500 grant to undocumented workers at best, token.  It is barely 25 percent of the weekly wage or six percent of the monthly wage the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers necessary to lift a family of four in the Bay Area above the poverty line. This is approximately $47.50-an-hour total per household before taxes extrapolating from figures provided by HUD.

As the fifth largest economy in the world, and with Silicon Valley, agribusiness, defense contractors and Hollywood sitting on huge capital reserves, California must provide a living wage to all. Instead it has failed to even match the $600 a week Unemployment Insurance (UI) boost provided by the federal government which itself is grossly inadequate.

We will attempt to circulate our position widely in the labor movement and in the immigrants' rights community, and we call for united labor actions to fight for the necessary level of financial support.”

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359




[1] https://www.kqed.org/news/11809657/new-covid-19-relief-benefits-leaves-out-some-undocumented-immigrants
[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44725026
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/07/10/americas-10-most-expensive-states-to-live-in-2019.html

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All friends of the Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union
Bus Riders Union Calls on MTA Board to take action  
TODAY AT 10AM at the MTA Board Meeting. 
Please help us to advocate for: 

1) Move forward with Free Public Transportation for all LAUSD students when they return to school
2) Implement free public transportation for all MTA riders until December 31.
3) In 2021 work to continue free fares for all. If at any time fares are charged, agree that fares will never be higher than $50 a month for an unlimited ride Bus/Rail pass and 50 cents with free transfers for one way rides
4) Stop all fare collections to avoid inevitable anti-Black racial profiling. Allow all passengers to pay on the honor system and those who cannot afford to pay will not be harassed, ticketed or arrested.

We Need Your Help Today

  • Please sign on to the attached letter, with organizational identification and logos, and your letter to the MTA Board. Thank you to everyone who signed on to our sign on letter yesturday, please find our collective letter here: https://bit.ly/2TP0ADt
  • Please Join us at the virtual MTA Board Meeting tomorrow at 10am, write in a brief public comment on items 7 and 36 and 39 (Comments are no more than 700 words long) Join online here: https://bit.ly/2Mh6DNb or call to listen into the meeting: (877) 422-8614 extension 3490064#
  • Please call L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, Any MTA board member you know or who represents you, and MTA CEO Phil Washington to say you support the Bus Riders Union Free Public Transportation Campaign (Click here to view their office contact information)

THE BACK STORY
The Strategy Center and Bus Riders Union have been working for 20 years for free public transportation for students and all MTA riders. Because of the success of our Consent Decree with the MTA (1996-2006)— during which we won $2.7 billion in bus improvements, 2500 CNG Buses and dramatic reductions in fares—there are some on the MTA board who have resented us for taking them to federal court on civil rights charges and have opposed us even if they agree with us. We have been respectful and relentless in reaching out to MTA board members and lately there has been a thaw. 
The Strategy Center is deeply grateful for the initiative of LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner, LAUSD Board Members Monica Garcia and Jackie Goldberg, and MTA Board Members Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and City Councilman Mike Bonin for the possibility of Free Public Transportation for all LAUSD Students as early as this September. This has not passed at the MTA yet. This is a terrific initiative and the Bus Riders Union, along with our Taking Action student leaders at Roosevelt, Augustus Hawkins, and Ouchi High Schools,  is very happy to be a visible part of that broad coalition. We have also been in conversation with MTA CEO Phil Washington who has been thoughtful and sympathetic to the general direction of lower fares and increased service.
The COVID 19 developments.  Even before COVID 19 for the students, the unemployed, the homeless, for the urban poor and working class free public transportation is the only price they can afford.  Now, it is even more urgent to move to free public transportation. The MTA with a $7 billion budget and 4 ½ cent sales taxes is one of the most well financed government agencies in the U.S. We acknowledge that the MTA is losing revenue from dramatically reduced sales tax revenue during the shut down. But that is nothing compared to the dire and terrifying conditions of 500,000 very low-income Black. Latino(x) and women riders who desperately need free public transportation when the city opens up. 
There are profound environmental and climate change improvements that can be won through Free Public Transportation.  This would dramatically increase public transportation use, significantly reduce auto use, and dramatically reduce air toxins, criteria pollutants, and greenhouse gas emissions from autos Under the present $100 a month pass and $1.75 for a one way ticket auto purchases among low-income workers have increased by 400% and MTA ridership is down at least 10 percent.  Free Public Transportation is a civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, income equality, and climate justice victory for all. 
We urgently need you to sign on to our campaign. We have a real chance to win significant victories for Black, Latinx and all working people.


Powered by the Labor Community Strategy Center
3546 w Martin Luther King Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90008
Find us at 
Facebook.com/Fight for the Soul of the CitiesTwitter.com/FightSoulCities
(213) 387-2800 info@thestrategycenter.org
Click here to unsubscribe: 
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1506 Crenshaw Blvd
Los AngelesCA 90019

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Sign the petition

Mayor Breed:
City of SF Essential Workers Deserve Safety!

Please read, sign, and share this petition calling for safety protections for SF essential workers!

San Francisco is being touted as a leader in the fight to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Yet, San Francisco Water Department employees’ concerns about their safety are minimized, or worse, ignored. They are expected to work as if this pandemic is not even happening. They serve the residents of San Francisco with pride, but are being asked to put routine and non-essential work before their health and well-being.
Elected officials and health experts have repeatedly underscored that social distancing is the best weapon we have to protect ourselves from contracting – or unwittingly spreading – the coronavirus. However, it is not possible to maintain social distancing for a crew of several people installing a water service or carrying out strenuous physical work in various Water Department shops.
SFWD, a revenue-generating department, has not scaled back work. Mayor Breed has ordered virtually all construction within San Francisco to be stopped, with those crews sent home to shelter in place. But Water Department employees are still out in public, installing water services for these same buildings that have been shut down due to COVID-19. On the other hand, employees in SF’s Sewer Department have been working one week on, two weeks off, with no reduction in pay, in order to reduce their exposure.
Another issue is the lack of sufficient personal protective equipment.Workers are allotted one face mask per day which becomes unusable early in their shifts. There has not been training or guidance, nor physical tools, for employees to do their work safely, although much of the work they are doing simply cannot be done safely during these times.
Additionally, there is the issue of vulnerability for at-will (known as Category-18) and “as needed” staff, who can be laid off at any time with no reason. They work side by side with permanent employees, but are often prevented from speaking out because they have to weigh their own lives against the potential repercussions of speaking up when they are instructed to put themselves in jeopardy.
We cannot help but wonder if the reason SFWD workers feel disposable, rather than “essential,” is because the City is putting Water Department revenue above the very life and health of its workforce. In spite of government leaders’ claims to the contrary, this does not seem like “we are all in this together.” We, the undersigned SFWD (City Distribution Division) employees, their families, ratepayers and concerned community members call on City and PUC leaders to meet the following demands.
1. Reduce the scope of SFWD operations to truly essential work.Institute a one week on/two weeks off schedule with no loss of pay, similar to staff in the Sewer Department. Social distancing is at the very heart of the strategy to combat the virus so minimizing the number of people reporting to work decreases their exposure rate.
2. Provide sufficient personal protective equipment in order to do every job safely, whether in the field, shops or offices. If such PPE is not available, SFWD employees should not be asked to compromise their lives and the health and safety of their families, especially for routine work. Enhanced training to address these unprecedented working conditions, backed up by the supplies and infrastructure to carry it out, is necessary for the most vulnerable workers. If personal vehicles are used to get to job sites and maintain social distancing, the City should assume the related liability.
3. Provide equal and safe working conditions for every employee.Eliminate Category-18 and other vulnerable hiring statuses, and make these workers permanent employees. San Francisco should be leading the way on equality for all, not promoting second class citizenship for some. No retaliation against any employee.
We call on City and PUC leaders to take these necessary measures to protect City workers, their families, and their communities!
Twitter
Facebook
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Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire, The Lasting Effects of War Book Discussion, Sir, No Sir Viewing, VFP's Online Convention, Workshop Proposals, Convention FAQ, No More COVID-19 Money For the Pentagon, Repeal the AUMF, Community Conversation on Hybrid Warfare, St Louis VFP Delivers VA Lunch, In the News and Calendar




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


Veterans For Peace, as a United Nations Department of Global Communication affiliated NGO, is most gratified to see UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres make his plea for a worldwide ceasefire during this global pandemic. 

The first line of the Preamble of the UN's Charter says that they originated to save “succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. But sadly, because the UN was created by the victors of WW2 who remain the powers of the world, and because the UN depends for funding on those same militarily and economically dominant nation-states, primarily the U.S., much more often than not the UN is very quiet on war. 

Please join Veterans For Peace in appealing to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft to support the Secretary General's call for a GLOBAL CEASEFIRE! 


For more information about events go to:

https://www.veteransforpeace.org/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=fa5082af-9325-47a7-901c-710e85091ee1




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Courage to Resist
Courage to Resist Newsletter May 1, 2020
  • Congress leaning towards drafting women for next war
  • Update and gratitude from Chelsea Manning
  • Podcast: "That's me -- I AM the enemy" - Howard Morland
women and the draft

Podcast: Congress leaning towards drafting women for next war

Rivera Sun and Edward Hasbrouck on upcoming changes to military draft registration laws, and the history of resistance by men and women. Listen to Rivera and Edward's update

Update from Chelsea Manning

chelsea manning
"Thank you, truly, for your unwavering love and support during this entire ordeal. You enabled Chelsea to maintain her principled stance," shared Team Chelsea. "Chelsea was released on March 12, 2020. She has been resting and trying to recover from being held in jail for almost a full year for resisting a grand jury subpoena ... [Chelsea] is staying indoors and safe and is hoping you do the same." Read more

Podcast: "That's me -- I AM the enemy" - Howard Morland

howard morland
Air force pilot Howard Morland's exposure to the atrocities in Vietnam and extreme military training led him to question what the war was really about. Listen to Howard's story
The above 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 ...
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

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From Business Insider 2018

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"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." 

"If Obama taught me anything it’s that it don’t matter who you vote for in this system. There’s nothing a politician can do that the next one can’t undo. You can’t vote away the ills of society people have to put our differences aside ban together and fight for the greater good, not vote for the lesser evil."

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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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 (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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Support Major Tillery, Friend of Mumia, Innocent, Framed, Now Ill




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

Major Tillery, a prisoner at SCI Chester and a friend of Mumia, may have caught the coronavirus. Major is currently under lockdown at SCI Chester, where a coronavirus outbreak is currently taking place. Along with the other prisoners at SCI Chester, he urgently needs your help.

Major was framed by the Pennsylvania District Attorney and police for a murder which took place in 1976. He has maintained his innocence throughout the 37 years he has been incarcerated, of which approximately 20 were spent in solitary confinement. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture has said that 15 days of solitary confinement constitutes torture.

When Mumia had Hepatitis C and was left to die by the prison administration at SCI Mahanoy, Major Tillery was the prisoner who confronted the prison superintendent and demanded that they treat Mumia. (see https://www.justiceformajortillery.org/messing-with-major.html). Although Mumia received medical treatment, the prison retaliated against Major for standing up to the prison administration. He was transferred to another facility, his cell was searched and turned inside out repeatedly, and he lost his job in the prison as a Peer Facilitator.

SCI Chester, where Major is currently incarcerated, has been closed to visitors since mid-March. Fourteen guards and one prisoner are currently reported to be infected with the coronavirus. Because the prison has not tested all the inmates, there is no way to know how many more inmates have coronavirus. Major has had a fever, chills and a sore throat for several nights. Although Major has demanded testing for himself and all prisoners, the prison administration has not complied.

For the past ten days, there has been no cleaning of the cell block. It has been weeks since prisoners have been allowed into the yard to exercise. The food trays are simply being left on the floor. There have been no walk-throughs by prison administrators. The prisoners are not allowed to have showers; they are not allowed to have phone calls; and they are not permitted any computer access. 

This coronavirus outbreak at SCI Chester is the same situation which is playing out in California prisons right now, about which the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia, along with other groups, organized a car caravan protest at San Quentin last week. Prisons are enclosed indoor spaces and are already an epicenter of the coronavirus, like meatpacking plants and cruise ships. If large numbers of prisoners are not released, the coronavirus will infect the prisons, as well as surrounding communities, and many prisoners will die. Failing to release large numbers of prisoners at this point is the same as executing them. We call for "No Execution by COVID-19"!

Major is close to 70 years old, and has a compromised liver and immune system, as well as heart problems. He desperately needs your help. 

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

Kenneth Eason, Acting Superintendent
SCI Chester
500 E. 4th St.
Chester, PA 19013

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

Email: keason@pa.gov (Prison Superintendent). maquinn@pa.gov (Superintendent's Assistant)
Please also call the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections at:Department of Corrections
1920 Technology Parkway
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

Telephone: (717) 737-4531
This telephone number is for SCI Camp Hill, which is the current number for DOC.
Reference Major's inmate number: AM 9786

Email: ra-contactdoc@pa.gov
Demand that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections immediately:

1) Provide testing for all inmates and staff at SCI Chester;
2) Disinfect all cells and common areas at SCI Chester, including sinks, toilets, eating areas and showers;
3) Provide PPE (personal protective equipment) for all inmates at SCI Chester;
4) Provide access to showers for all prisoners at SCI Chester, as a basic hygiene measure;
5) Provide yard access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
6) Provide phone and internet access to all prisoners at SCI Chester;
7) Immediately release prisoners from SCI Chester, including Major Tillery, who already suffers from a compromised immune system, in order to save their lives from execution by COVID-19.

It has been reported that prisoners are now receiving shower access. However, please insist that prisoners be given shower access and that all common areas are disinfected.


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

We can’t relax in the comfort of our own homes (#BothemJean and #AtatianaJefferson).

We can't ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride).

We can't have a cellphone (#StephonClark).

We can't leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards).

We can't play loud music (#JordanDavis).

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

We can’t walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown).

We can’t play cops and robbers (#TamirRice).

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).
We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).
We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).
We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).
We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).
We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).
We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).
We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)p^p.
We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).
We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).
We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).
We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).
We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).
We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).
We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).
We can’t run (#WalterScott).
We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).
We can’t live (#FreddieGray).
We’re tired.
Tired of making hashtags.
Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.
Tired of dying.
Tired.
Tired.
Tired.
So very tired.
(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)

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Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism

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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)

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 

AUGUST 21 - SEPTEMBER 9th

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.

SHARE THIS RELEASE FAR AND WIDE WITH ALL YOUR CONTACTS!

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

August 21st - September 9th, 2020

AGITATE, EDUCATE, ORGANIZE

Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  

NLG EMAIL CONTACT FOR LAWYERS AND LAW STUDENTS INTERESTED IN JOINING THE INTERNATIONAL LAW PROJECT: micjlsnlg@gmail.com

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

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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

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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 

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c04758efab450303611bf2bb1b2dd96a5d550b8c

Board Game

https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/race-for-solidarity


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

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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/

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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

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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. 
http://freedomarchives.org/Support...Jalil/Campaign.html
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

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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!

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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 

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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

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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

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1) As Meatpacking Plants Reopen, Data About Worker Illness Remains Elusive
Emails show local officials received conflicting signals from state leaders and meatpacking companies about how much information to release about outbreaks in plants.
By Michael Corkery, David Yaffe-Bellany and Derek Kravitz, May 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/25/business/coronavirus-meatpacking-plants-cases.html
Credit...

The Smithfield Foods plant in Tar Heel, N.C., is one of the world’s largest pork processing facilities, employing about 4,500 people and slaughtering roughly 30,000 pigs a day at its peak.
And like more than 100 other meat plants across the United States, the facility has seen a substantial number of coronavirus cases. But the exact number of workers in Tar Heel who have tested positive is anyone’s guess.
Smithfield would not provide any data when asked about the number of illnesses at the plant. Neither would state or local health officials.
“There has been a stigma associated with the virus,” said Teresa Duncan, the director of the health department in Bladen County, where the plant is located. “So we’re trying to protect privacy.”
Along with nursing homes and prisons, meatpacking facilities have proven to be places where the virus spreads rapidly. But as dozens of plants that closed because of outbreaks begin reopening, meat companies’ reluctance to disclose detailed case counts makes it difficult to tell whether the contagion is contained or new cases are emerging even with new safety measures in place. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there were nearly 5,000 meatpacking workers infected with the virus as of the end of last month. But the nonprofit group Food & Environment Reporting Network estimated last week that the number has climbed to more than 17,000. There have been 66 meatpacking deaths, the group said.
And the outbreaks may be even more extensive.
For weeks, local officials received conflicting signals from state leaders and meatpacking companies about how much information to release, according to internal emails from government health agencies obtained through public records requests by Columbia University’s Brown Institute for Media Innovation and provided to The New York Times. The mixed messages left many workers and their communities in the dark about the extent of the spread in parts of Iowa, Nebraska and Colorado.
The emails also reveal the deference some county officials have shown toward the giant meatpacking companies and how little power they have in pushing the companies to stem outbreaks.
“Bad news spreads way faster than the truth,” said a county health official in Colorado of an outbreak at a Cargill plant, according to notes from a conference call last month. “At this point, we are not doing anything to cast them in a bad light. Will not throw them to the Press.”
Questions about the transparency of governments and companies about the coronavirus extend far beyond meatpacking. Chinese officials have been widely criticized for not fully disclosing the extent of the virus’s spread within their borders. And in the United States, President Trump has questioned the official death toll from the coronavirus, suggesting that the numbers may be inflated even as public health experts and statisticians say the opposite is more likely true.
The meat companies are not legally required to disclose how many workers are sick. But legal experts say privacy is not a valid reason for keeping the numbers from the public.
“Alerting a community about the number of cases in a particular place is a standard public health response,” said Nicole Huberfeld, a public health expert at Boston University. “People need to act appropriately if they are exposed.”
The lack of full disclosure also demonstrates the industry’s sway as a major employer in the Midwest and the South.
While more than 80 percent of beef and pork workers are unionized, even labor leaders acknowledge it is not as easy to shut down meat plants as other factories because they are essential to the food supply. Auto plants, for example, were shut down relatively early during the pandemic and have only just begun to reopen.
After some slaughterhouses did close, restaurants and stores experienced significant shortages of meat, leading Mr. Trump to issue an executive order designating meat plants “critical infrastructure” that must stay open.
But the order did not address crucial issues like testing, leading many companies to reopen plants or keep them operating without fully assessing whether employees had contracted the virus.
Across the country, many local health departments have encouraged companies to test employees — but stopped short of ordering them to do so.
On April 21, health officials in Dallas County, Iowa, told Tyson Foods that they could provide rapid testing kits for workers at its local plant in Perry, according to the emails. An early draft of that message to Tyson managers underscored the urgency, saying, “At this time, we strongly recommend this option be implemented immediately.”
But the county’s lawyer asked that the language be revised to read, “At this time, we ask you to consider this be implemented as soon as possible.”
In an interview, the county attorney, Chuck Sinnard, said he recommended revising the language because he did not believe the health department had the authority to order Tyson to conduct tests.
“It was in the vein of choosing wording cautiously and conservatively so we didn’t get in a position where we were overstepping our bounds,” he said.
On May 5, the state health department, which ultimately worked with Tyson to test employees, said 730 workers, or 58 percent of the plant’s work force, had tested positive for the virus. About two weeks ago, Tyson started to disclose the number of coronavirus cases at a handful of its plants around the country where there has been widespread testing.
In North Carolina, workers and community advocates in the Tar Heel area started to raise the alarm in April, as local news outlets reported a string of infections linked to the Smithfield plant.
In neighboring Robeson County, 59 residents who work at the Tar Heel facility have become infected, out of a total of 669 cases in the community, according to Melissa Packer, the county’s assistant health director.
But like the rest of the public, Ms. Packer does not know the full extent of the outbreak at the plant.
In conversations with state officials this month, Ms. Packer said, a number of county health directors requested that plant-specific numbers stay private. One of the reasons, she said, was that the local officials wanted to avoid antagonizing the meatpackers while they worked alongside them to curtail the outbreaks.
“A lot of the concerns were around fractured relationships,” Ms. Packer said. “Some local health directors from the counties where there are processing plants expressed some concerns about how that may negatively impact the relationship they have built with the management of the companies.”
A spokeswoman for North Carolina’s health department, Amy Ellis, declined to reveal plant-specific data. She said the state has recorded a total of 1,952 cases across meat plants in 17 counties.
Smithfield said it continued to “report all Covid-19 cases to state and local health officials, as well as the C.D.C.” and was working to provide free testing to all its employees.
This month, Gov. Pete Ricketts of Nebraska announced that the state would not disclose the number of coronavirus cases in specific meat plants without the consent of the companies. The state is releasing aggregate case numbers across the meat processing industry, the governor’s spokesman said. Some of Nebraska’s big meatpackers have also started revealing less about case numbers to their employees.
Eric Reeder, a local union president representing workers in 14 plants around Nebraska, said that the larger the outbreak, the less transparent some of the companies have become about the case numbers.
“When a plant hits several hundred cases, they get more tight-lipped, and that makes it difficult for workers to protect themselves and their families,’’ said Mr. Reeder, president of the United Food & Commercial Workers union local 293.
Those transparency issues were on display last month when Teresa Anderson, the director of the Central District Health Department in Grand Island, Neb., told the meat processor JBS that she planned to conduct coronavirus testing at a park near the company’s plant, which employs 3,700 people.
JBS wanted assurances that the test results would not be made public.
“We understand that you will be asking and recording the employer,” Nicholas White, a compliance official at JBS, wrote in an email to Ms. Anderson on April 15. “But we would ask that you not disclose that information as part of any public disclosure of the testing results.”
Six days later, though, Ms. Anderson announced that more than 200 people connected to the Grand Island plant were infected. By May 5, at least 328 employees had tested positive, according to the emails from Grand Island, some of which were previously reported by ProPublica.
A spokesman for JBS, Cameron Bruett, said the company did not want to publicize the number of positive cases at the plant because little testing was being conducted in the broader area. Releasing the data, he said, “would distort any one company’s role in community spread.”
The tussle over whether plants should test workers has stretched for months in some states, creating critical delays in isolating infected workers. Local health authorities concede that asymptomatic employees are still coming to work with the virus, fueling the spread.
As recently as May 14, health officials in Wyandotte County, Kan., warned that the virus was continuing to spread inside a National Beef plant.
“The outbreak has gone on for a month,” a county epidemiologist said in an email to her colleagues.
“Should we bust in, show our badges and test everyone?” a colleague suggested. “Ha!”
A National Beef spokesman said the company was following the county’s health guidelines.
Even when case numbers are disclosed, many health departments say they have little authority to act at meat plants.
Last month, a worker in a Triumph Foods pork plant in St. Joseph, Mo., emailed the city saying at least two employees were infected and 90 percent of the staff was still working “less than a meter away” from one another.
“Workers are scared,” the employee said. “Can the government take action on the matter for the protection of workers and the city?”
A health official wrote back on April 21, saying the city had “limited authority” in closing a business and suggested that the workers cover their noses and mouths and use hand sanitizer.
Since then, Triumph has supplied workers with masks, among other protective measures, according to the company website. But at the time, the plant worker was not comforted by the city’s assurances.
“Are you telling me that it doesn’t matter that two workers are infected,” he wrote. “Because the plant is worth more than the workers’ health?”


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2) To the Next ‘BBQ Becky’: Don't Call 911. Call 1-844-WYT-FEAR.
A new emergency hotline for when it’s not an emergency, just harassment.
Hosted by Niecy Nash, Video by Taige Jensen and Jenn Lyon, Oct. 22, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/22/opinion/calling-police-racism-wyt-fear.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Video Screen Shot


In this satirical infomercial, the comedian and actress Niecy Nash plays the inventor of a new hotline, 1-844-WYT-FEAR. The video advertises a phone service for white people to call when they can’t cope with black people living their lives near them. The hotline is up and running, so give it a ring and spread the word. (Seriously.)

The phenomenon of white people harassing African-Americans going about their day is nothing new, but with the ubiquity of smartphones and social media, everyone can now see how these injustices are played out and lead to anxiety for and material harm to people of color. And this problem is bigger than a few unreasonable white people. Racist stereotypes are baked into our society.
Has someone called the cops on you when you were doing nothing wrong?
Below is a list of 39 known instances just this year when someone called the police to complain about black people doing everyday activities:
North Charleston, S.C. When members of an anti-violence march stopped by a gas station to buy drinks. (The Charleston City Paper)
Ponte Vedra, Fla. When a father yelled at his son at a soccer game. (First Coast News)
Brooklyn After a boy’s book bag hit a woman’s backside at a store. (The New York Times) 
Marietta, Ga. When a man was babysitting two white children. (CBS46)
September 2018
Boston When a woman filed a complaint about damaged bags after a flight. (The Charlotte Observer)
Dane County, Wis. When a statehouse candidate was canvassing a neighborhood. (The New York Times)
Amherst, Mass. When a university employee looked upset while walking across campus. (Associated Press)
August 2018
Milwaukee When a man was trying to get change from his car. (WISN12)
Brooklyn When a woman tried to avoid the rain by standing on a stoop. (NBC4)
July 2018
Northampton, Mass. When a student was eating on campus. (The Boston Globe)
Mountain View, Calif. When a woman donated food to the homeless. (KPIX5)
Victoria Park, Fla. When a woman attempted to cash a check at a bank. (Miami New Times)
Buffalo When a woman attempted to use several coupons at a dollar store. (The Buffalo News)
San Francisco When a man was checking the alarm at his own store. (KCBS Radio)
Sterling, Va. When a player at a pickup game of basketball fouled too hard. (FOX5)
Chicago When a woman attempted to use a coupon at a pharmacy. (The New York Times)
Atlanta When a college student was canvassing for a congressional candidate. (CBS46)
Upper Arlington, Ohio When an 11-year-old was delivering newspapers. (Newsweek)
Winston-Salem, N.C. When a woman using her residential community’s pool refused to show her ID. (The Winston-Salem Journal)
Memphis When a man refused to remove his socks at a pool. (The New York Times)
Clackamas, Ore. When a state representative was out campaigning. (The Oregonian)
Wellington Manor, Ga. When a woman smoked a cigarette in a parking lot. (The Root)
Coweta County, Ga. When a family of seven was eating dinner at a Subway. (WSBTV)
June 2018
Cleveland When a 12-year-old was mowing the lawn. (News5)
Philadelphia When a family tried to leave a movie theater. (The Root)
San Francisco When an 8-year-old sold water outside her apartment building without a permit. (The New York Times)
Orange Village, Ohio When sorority sisters were paying their bill at a restaurant. (USA Today)
Oakland, Calif. When a uniformed firefighter was clearing flammable objects from brush. (The San Francisco Chronicle)
Collierville, Tenn. When a woman was browsing at a store. (WREG3)
May 2018
Birmingham, Ala. When a man attempted to make a return at a crafts store. (ABC News)
Memphis When a real estate investor was inspecting a property. (The Telegraph)
Brooklyn When a woman was shopping at a vintage store with her daughter. (ABC7)
Tacoma, Wash. When two women were shopping at a store. (The Root)
New Haven When a student was napping in a Yale common room. (Time)
Rialto, Calif. When three friends were checking out of an Airbnb. (CNN)
Brentwood, Mo. When three teenagers went shopping for prom. (KMOV4)
April 2018
New York When a former Obama aide was moving into his new apartment. (PIX11)
Oakland, Calif. When three men were barbecuing at a park. (KRON4)
York, Pa. When a group of women were playing golf. (The York Daily Record)
Philadelphia When two men attempted to use the restroom at a coffee shop. (NPR)

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3) “A Disgusting Display”
Police fire rubber bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas at demonstrators protesting killing of George Floyd
By Jake JohnsonCommon Dreams, May 27, 2020
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/05/27/disgusting-display-police-fire-rubber-bullets-stun-grenades-and-tear-gas


Minneapolis police officers dressed in riot gear fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades into crowds of protesters that gathered late Tuesday to demand justice for the killing of George Floyd after video footage showed a cop kneeling on the back of the man’s neck as he cried out, “I cannot breathe!”
Videos and photos posted to social media show people pouring milk into the eyes of demonstrators affected by tear gas as the chemical substance clouds the air, enveloping the thousands of protesters marching in the streets near the site of Floyd’s killing.
“This is a disgusting display,” said Jeremiah Ellison, a city council member representing Minneapolis Ward 5. “I’m here on the southside, helping people as I can with milk, water, and towels. So far, I have been unable to prevent the police from firing indiscriminately into the crowd. Moments ago, I held a towel to a teenage girl’s head as blood poured from it.”
Representative Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted that “shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at unarmed protesters when there are children present should never be tolerated. Ever.”
“What is happening tonight in our city is shameful,” Omar added. “Police need to exercise restraint, and our community needs space to heal.”
The massive protests erupted in the wake of video footage showing a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed and face-first on the asphalt.
Floyd and onlookers repeatedly pleaded with the officer to take his knee off Floyd’s neck, but he refused to do so until an ambulance arrived. By that point, Floyd had been unconscious for minutes. In a statement following the Monday night incident, the Minneapolis Police Department said they were responding to “a report of a forgery in progress” and claimed Floyd’s death was caused by an unspecified “medical incident.”
Shortly after video of the incident emerged and spread rapidly across social media, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced the firing of four officers who were on the scene.
“It is the right decision for our city, the right decision for our community. It is the right decision for the Minneapolis Police Department,” Frey said at a press conference Tuesday. “We’ve stated our values, and ultimately we need to live by them.”
In an appearance on CNN late Tuesday, Floyd’s family members said termination of the officers is not enough.
“Firing them is a good start, but we want to see justice for our family. We want to see them charged. We want to have them arrested,” said Tera Brown, Floyd’s cousin. “What they did was murder.”

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4) How White Women Use Themselves as Instruments of Terror
There are too many noosed necks, charred bodies and drowned souls for them to deny knowing precisely what they are doing.
By Charles M. Blow, May 27, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/opinion/racism-white-women.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Brynn Anderson/Associated Press


At a time of so much death and suffering in this country and around the world from the Covid-19 pandemic, it can be easy, I suppose, to take any incidents that don’t result in death as minor occurrences.
But they aren’t. The continued public assault on black people, particularly black men, by the white public and by the police predates the pandemic and will outlast it. This racial street theater against black people is an endemic, primal feature of the Republic.
Specifically, I am enraged by white women weaponizing racial anxiety, using their white femininity to activate systems of white terror against black men. This has long been a power white women realized they had and that they exerted.
This was again evident when a white woman in New York’s Central Park told a black man, a bird-watcher, that she was going to call the police and tell them that he was threatening her life.
This was not innocent nor benign nor divorced from historical context. Throughout history, white women have used the violence of white men and the institutions these men control as their own muscle.
From the beginning, anti-black white terrorists used the defense of white women and white purity as a way to wrap violence in valor. Carnage became chivalry.
We often like to make white supremacy a testosterone-fueled masculine expression, but it is just as likely to wear heels as a hood.
Particularly in the post-Civil War era, when slavery had been undone, white male politicians used the fear of rape of white women by black men to codify racial terror.
As the author and scholar Rebecca Edwards has pointed out in her book “Angels in the Machinery: Gender in American Party Politics From the Civil War to the Progressive Era,” white politicians have long focused their furor by claiming to be the defenders of white women, a last guard against their suffering.
As Dr. Edwards noted, Mississippi’s James Vardaman, arguably one of the most violent racist politicians in American history, and that’s quite a feat, said in 1903, “a vote for Vardaman is a vote for white supremacy, a vote for the quelling of the arrogant spirit that has been aroused in the blacks by Roosevelt and his henchmen, … a vote for the safety of the home and the protection of our women and children.” Vardaman, who once famously said, “If it is necessary, every Negro in the state will be lynched,” won election and became governor of Mississippi.
Indeed, untold numbers of lynchings were executed because white women had claimed that a black man raped, assaulted, talked to or glanced at them.
But it goes even further than that. The Tulsa Race massacre, the destruction of Black Wall Street, was spurred by an incident between a white female elevator operator and a black man. As the Oklahoma Historical Society points out, the most common explanation is that he stepped on her toe. As many as 300 people were killed because of it.
In 1944, 14-year-old George Stinney Jr. was electrocuted for the killing of two little white girls. He was the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century. His trial lasted only a couple hours. There was little or no cross-examination of prosecution witnesses or calling of defense witnesses. The all-white, all-male jury deliberated for only 10 minutes before finding Stinney guilty, and he was sentenced to death.
He was just 5 feet 1 inch tall. As Laura Bradley wrote in Slate, “He weighed 95 pounds when he was arrested, and was so small he had to sit on a phone book in the electric chair when he was executed within three months of the murders.” Some say the book was in fact a Bible.
A circuit court judge threw out Stinney’s conviction in 2014.
The torture and murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955, a lynching actually, occurred because a white woman said that he “grabbed her and was menacing and sexually crude toward her.” His torturers beat him, shot him in the head and tossed his body into the Tallahatchie River tied to a cotton gin fan with barbed wire. A few years ago, the woman admitted to an author that she had lied.
Till’s lynching would serve as the big bang of the Civil Rights Movement. Indeed, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on that bus, she said that she was thinking of Till.
This practice, this exercise in racial extremism, has been dragged into the modern era through the weaponizing of 911, often by white women, to invoke the power and force of the police who they are fully aware are hostile to black men.
In a disturbing number of the recent cases of the police being called on black people for doing everyday, mundane things, the calls have been initiated by white women.
And understand this: Black people view calling the police on them as an act of terror, one that could threaten their lives, and this fear is not without merit.
There are too many noosed necks, charred bodies and drowned souls for these white women not to know precisely what they are doing: They are using their white femininity as an instrument of terror against black men.


My NYT Comment:
“I'll be 75-years-old this year and I'm a white woman. Mr. Blow, thank you for your column today. I grew up with this notion that was indoctrinated into the culture of white people. Any white person who denies it is a liar. The rationale for the formation of this nation was "Manifest Destiny"—the "destiny" of white, male rule over everything, and that's a fact. Your words needed to be said about white women who went along with this to their advantage, too. Thank you. The question is, how do we end this systemic poison? Because, enough is enough! BLACK LIVES MATTER!” —Bonnie Weinstein
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/opinion/racism-white-women.html#commentsContainer&permid=107282882:107282882

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5) You’ve Probably Heard Socialists Won’t Vote for Biden
Don’t listen to that. We may not like him, but we don’t want him to lose.
By Bhaskar Sunkara, May 28, 2020
Mr. Sunkara is the editor of Jacobin and the author of “The Socialist Manifesto.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/opinion/socialists-biden-trump.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Audra Melton for The New York Times


It’s not easy being an American socialist these days — despite the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont built a movement of millions behind ideas we have long supported, we’re now being called out as potential spoilers in the November elections.
Longtime progressives, including more than 60 veterans of the 1960s radical organization Students for a Democratic Society, describe socialists — young socialists in particular — as a privileged few who not only reject Joe Biden but are even keen to see him lose, unconcerned and likely to be unaffected by another four years of President Donald Trump.
In the most generous of these narratives, we’re well-meaning naïfs, having failed to temper our radical visions to the pragmatic necessities of achieving change in the United States. This is a timeless narrative of youthful impetuousness. It is also a skewed portrayal of what most democratic socialists are doing today.
The small but resurgent socialist movement in this country is developing a political approach that can speak to millions of alienated Americans. Like center-left liberals and progressives, during the coming presidential election and beyond we aim to defeat right-wing populism. The difference is that we refuse to do so on the centrist terms that we believe helped create it in the first place.
Balancing these imperatives will be tricky. Michael Harrington, the founder of the Democratic Socialists of America, used to say that radicals had to walk a perilous tightrope — they risked teetering off into the abyss of conventional politics on the one side or falling to sectarian irrelevance on the other.
Neither appeared to be a danger a few months ago. A democratic socialist carrying both a radical spirit and legions of supporters seemed to be headed for the White House. The Bernie Sanders campaign scored early successes in the Democratic primary season and signaled the arrival of a new coalition in American politics — young, working class and committed to egalitarian policies like Medicare for All, higher taxes on the wealthy and free child care.
“After the Nevada Blowout, It’s Bernie’s Party Now,” read a headline I wrote for Jacobin, the magazine I edit, after he won that state’s caucus in February. We all know what happened next. Centrist leaders within the Democratic Party, along with millions of ordinary voters, rallied behind Joe Biden.
Many parts of the Sanders agenda had the support of a majority of Americans, but the coalition around the campaign was narrower than we thought. Despite the Vermont senator’s strong showing, it’s still President Barack Obama’s party. For now, at least.
Last month, Mr. Sanders dropped out of the race and endorsed Mr. Biden. For democratic socialists, what for a moment looked like an expressway to power has morphed back into that familiar tightrope.
According to some progressive observers, our next steps should be simple. Donald Trump is a fundamental threat to America, and anyone refusing to vote for Mr. Biden must be indifferent to the suffering of millions. A socialist left cannot isolate itself from a broader progressive movement, the argument goes, and contending for power in a Democratic primary means respecting the results of that primary, much as Mr. Sanders has.
Most Berniecrats agree with this logic: 88 percent of those who voted for Mr. Sanders in 2016 ended up voting for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, in the general election, and there’s no reason the same won’t happen this fall. But leftists in organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America face a more difficult dilemma. They are not merely figuring out how to vote as individuals — they are weighing how to use finite institutional resources to build the political alternatives of the future.
Most socialists are cleareyed about Mr. Trump as a threat to most Americans, sowing divisions among working people and marrying populist rhetoric to policies that only further enrich his powerful friends. Nor is it uncommon to hear young leftists denounce the Republican Party as the greatest threat to progress in the United States.
I share the belief that having Joe Biden in the White House would be far less damaging to most workers than another four years of Donald Trump. Mr. Biden is at odds with the progressive, labor-oriented wing of his party, but every poor and working person in America, along with every socialist, would be better off butting heads with a White House filled with centrist Democrats than one filled with Trump appointees.
But that doesn’t mean socialists must fall in line behind Mr. Biden. There is an anti-establishment mood growing in this country, and not only among socialists; millions of voters are distrustful of mainstream politicians and sick of choosing between two parties captured by the corporate elite. Bernie Sanders represented a real alternative to many of them, and Joe Biden does not. And they are frustrated by the lack of recognition: In both 2016 and 2020, the runner-up in the Democratic primary has been a democratic socialist, but you wouldn’t guess that by the lack of concessions to his base.
The former vice president promises billionaires that “nothing will fundamentally change” and appears to be under the assumption that forcefully standing for as little as possible is the best way to unite the anti-Trump vote. Following the Democratic Party’s guiding strategy since 2016, Mr. Biden wants to win over moderate professional-class voters in affluent suburbs; he seems much less interested in reaching workers whose living standards have declined for decades.
That might be fine as an electoral calculation against an unpopular president, but it sits awkwardly alongside the chorus of pundits who are now trying to rally a 60,000-strong socialist organization behind a lackluster centrist campaign. Mr. Biden’s emissaries to the left come with few carrots, and we all know what sort of sticks will follow. The center is already constructing a convenient far-left scapegoat in case Mr. Biden fails. We’re simultaneously too marginal to bring to the table and so powerful that we can swing a presidential election.
Such noise distracts attention from the real work that Democratic Socialists of America chapters across the country are doing this election cycle. Contrary to stereotypes, we are not pushing a third candidate or eager to see Mr. Trump’s re-election. Instead we are campaigning for core demands like Medicare for All, saving the U.S. Postal Service from bipartisan destruction, organizing essential workers to fight for better pay and conditions throughout the coronavirus crisis and backing downballot candidates, mostly running on the Democratic ballot line.
This is the type of activity that if successful will bolster voter turnout and remind millions that politics can improve their lives. Far from unhinged sectarianism, this is a pragmatic strategy. The United States has a political system rigged against third parties, so groups like the D.S.A. aren’t trying to build an independent ballot line in vain.
At the same time, we recognize just how unpopular both parties are. Rather than play spoiler on the one hand, or let mass anger at the political establishment be monopolized by the populist right on the other, socialists are patiently building a base for the pro-worker reforms this country badly needs.
That’s what walking a tightrope, and making sure it actually goes somewhere, means today.

Bhaskar Sunkara (@sunraysunray) is the editor of Jacobin and the author of “The Socialist Manifesto.”

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6) The Bird Watcher, That Incident and His Feelings on the Woman’s Fate
Christian Cooper is already back birding at Central Park. “I’m not excusing the racism,” he said. “But I don’t know if her life needed to be torn apart.”
By Sarah Maslin Nir, May 27, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/nyregion/amy-cooper-christian-central-park-video.html?algo=top_conversion&fellback=false&imp_id=515276524&action=click&module=Most%20Popular&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

His binoculars around his neck, Christian Cooper, an avid birder, was back in his happy place on Wednesday: Central Park during migration season. He was trying to focus on the olive-sided flycatchers and red-bellied woodpeckers — not on what had happened there two days earlier.
That was when Mr. Cooper, who is black, asked a white woman to put her dog on a leash. When she did not, he began filming. In response, the woman said she would tell the police that “an African-American man is threatening my life” before dialing 911.
On Tuesday, the video went viral on Twitter and garnered over 40 million views, setting off a painful discourse about the history of dangerous false accusations against black people made to police.
The birds were a welcome distraction from thinking about what had happened next: By that day’s end, the woman, Amy Cooper (no relation) had surrendered her dog and had been fired from her high-level finance job. As he wandered the park’s North Woods on Wednesday shortly after dawn, he said he felt exhausted, exposed and profoundly conflicted, particularly about Ms. Cooper’s fate.
“Any of us can make — not necessarily a racist mistake, but a mistake,” Mr. Cooper said, “And to get that kind of tidal wave in such a compressed period of time, it’s got to hurt. It’s got to hurt.”
A gray catbird darted around his hiking boots.
“I’m not excusing the racism,” he said. “But I don’t know if her life needed to be torn apart.”
He opened his mouth to speak further and then stopped himself. He had been about to say the phrase, “that poor woman,” he later acknowledged, but he could not bring himself to complete the thought.
“She went racial. There are certain dark societal impulses that she, as a white woman facing in a conflict with a black man, that she thought she could marshal to her advantage,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was a conscious thing or not,” he added. “But she did it, and she went there.”
Mr. Cooper’s love of birding began at age 10, he said, when his parents, two Long Island schoolteachers, enrolled him in a 4-H program. There, in a woodworking class, he crafted a bird feeder that he set in his lawn.
The creatures that flocked to it set off a fascination that has endured for four decades, through his time at Harvard, where he graduated with a degree in political science, and into his years as an editor for Marvel Comics, where he is credited with creating one of the first gay characters in the Star Trek comic universe.
A northern rough-winged swallow alighted on a branch and Mr. Cooper, 57, trained his lenses on it for a while.
Then he resumed. “If we are going to make progress, we’ve got to address these things, and if this painful process is going to help us address this — there’s the yellow warbler!” Mr. Cooper said, cutting himself off to peer around with his binoculars.
At length, he turned his eyes away from the tops of the London plane trees and continued where he had left off:
“If this painful process — oh, a Baltimore oriole just flew across!— helps to correct, or takes us a step further toward addressing the underlying racial, horrible assumptions that we African-Americans have to deal with, and have dealt with for centuries, that this woman tapped into, then it’s worth it,” he said, setting his binoculars down on his chest.
“Sadly, it has to come at her expense,” he added.
On Tuesday, Ms. Cooper was fired by her employer, Franklin Templeton, where she had been a head of insurance portfolio management, according to her LinkedIn page.
Ms. Cooper, who graduated from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, also surrendered her dog, Henry, to the rescue organization she had adopted him from, the same day, according to a Facebook post by the group.
She issued a public apology to Mr. Cooper, whom she had encountered in a semi-wild part of the park called The Ramble, where dogs must be leashed.
After she refused to tether her dog on Memorial Day, Mr. Cooper said, he attempted to lure the dog with treats, to induce her to restrain her pet. In a statement, Ms. Cooper said she had misread his intent.
“I reacted emotionally and made false assumptions about his intentions when, in fact, I was the one who was acting inappropriately by not having my dog on a leash,” Ms. Cooper said in the statement.
She did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
On Wednesday, New York City’s Commission on Human Rights began an investigation into Ms. Cooper’s actions.
On his birding walk Wednesday, Mr. Cooper said he had read her apology.
He called it “a start.” He said he was not interested in meeting her or in any face-to-face reconciliation.
What he was interested in were birds, like the sighting in 2018 of a rare Kirtland’s warbler that led him to sprint from his office in Midtown Manhattan to the park to catch a glimpse.
Mr. Cooper, who now works in communications and lives on the Lower East Side, has fed his passion with birding trips to Central Park and around the world, and he is on the board of the New York City Audubon Society.  
He has developed a virtuoso’s ear for their birdsong, and can identify them by chirp. (“There’s a myth that I have the best ears in the park,” he said. “It’s a myth.”)
As he has pursued his passion, he has been keenly aware of the fact that there appear to be few other African-American men invested in the hobby, excluded by the same subtle messaging he gets when he is followed around in shops, he said.
And he is aware that the image he cuts — as a man often shuffling the undergrowth after a rare bird, with a metal object, the binoculars, in his hand — can read differently for a black person than for a white person.
It doesn’t stop him.
“We should be out here. The birds belong to all of us,” he said. “The birds don’t care what color you are.”

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7) How Automated Background Checks Freeze Out Renters
Algorithms that scan everything from terror watch lists to eviction records spit out flawed tenant screening reports. And almost nobody is watching.
By Lauren Kirchner and Matthew Goldstein, May 28, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/business/renters-background-checks.html

This article was reported and written in collaboration with The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom investigating technology’s effects on society.
Burglary and domestic assault in Minnesota. Selling meth and jumping bail in Kentucky. Driving without insurance in Arkansas. Disorderly conduct. Theft. Lying to a police officer. Unspecified “crimes.” Too many narcotics charges to count.
That’s what the landlord for an apartment in St. Helens, Ore., saw when he ran a background check for Samantha Johnson, a prospective tenant, in 2018.
But none of the charges were hers.
The growing data economy and the rise of American rentership since the 2008 financial crisis have fueled a rapid expansion of the tenant screening industry, now valued at $1 billion. The companies produce cheap and fast — but not necessarily accurate — reports for an estimated nine out of 10 landlords across the country.
The automated background check for Ms. Johnson cast a wide net, looking for negative information from criminal databases even in states where she had never lived and pulling in records for women whose middle names, races and dates of birth didn’t match her own. It combined criminal records from five other women: four Samantha Johnsons and a woman who had used the name as an alias, even though the screening report said she was an “active inmate” in a Kentucky jail at the time.
“You can totally tell we’re not the same person at all,” said Ms. Johnson, who eventually got the apartment after she convinced the landlord she wasn’t a criminal.
It was not the first time she had been the victim of incorrect automated screening reports. It wouldn’t be the last, either.
False Reports of Crime, With No Human Review
The reports can be created in a few seconds, using searches based on partial names or incomplete dates of birth. Tenants generally have no choice but to submit to the screenings and typically pay an application fee for the privilege. Automated reports are usually delivered to landlords without a human ever glancing at the results to see if they contain obvious mistakes, according to court records and interviews.
A review of hundreds of federal lawsuits filed against screening companies over the past 10 years shows how hasty, sloppy matches can lead to reports that wrongly label people deadbeats, criminals or sex offenders. Among those who say they were wrongly maligned:
·      Davone Jackson, who was denied low-income housing in Tennessee after the screening company RealPage reported that he had twice been convicted of trafficking in heroin in Kentucky and was on Wisconsin’s sex offender registry. In fact, those records belonged to an Eric Jackson and a James Jackson. After the denial, Davone Jackson said, he and his 9-year-old daughter were forced to live in a small motel room for nearly a year.
·      Glenn Patrick Thompson Sr. and Glenn Patrick Thompson Jr., who said they had been left homeless near Seattle after a tenant screening company called On-Site, which is now part of RealPage, told two different landlords that the father and son had been previously evicted. In fact, the eviction was for a Patricia Thompson, who was not related to them.
·      William Hall Jr., who lost out on a duplex in his small town in Georgia after TransUnion Rental Screening Solutions said he had sexually abused a minor. The criminal record belonged to a William Hall who was 30 years older and possibly dead. Mr. Hall said the landlord had stopped returning his telephone calls after receiving the incorrect report.
Mr. Hall’s suit is pending; the others were settled for undisclosed sums.
The screening process happens so quickly and the competition for apartments can be so fierce that prospective renters don’t always know why they were turned down, much less whether an incorrect background report was the cause.
Some screening companies don’t even provide the underlying records to landlords, instead producing a color-coded “risk” score or a thumbs-up or thumbs-down lease recommendation.
Screening company employees have stated in lawsuits that they err on the side of including any possible match, rather than excluding possible errors. The owner of one screening company criticized his industry, saying his peers can do better.
“We can figure out how to match a record,” said Matt Visser, chief executive of Victig Screening Solutions, whose Utah company sells 10,000 to 20,000 tenant and employment screening reports a month. He said his company verified negative findings. “It requires a human element,” he said.
“When we are performing any of these reports, it is a fairly monumental moment in someone’s life,” he added. “You just have to give a crap.”
Large background firms, including RealPage, CoreLogic and TransUnion, declined interview requests for this article. They referred specific questions to a trade group, the Consumer Data Industry Association.
Noting the millions of tenant background reports produced each year, the group denied that any systemic problems existed and accused consumer lawyers of being myopic.
“If I sat in a cardiologist’s office all day, all I would see is people with heart problems,” said Eric Ellman, the association’s senior vice president for public policy and legal affairs. He acknowledged that it hadn’t developed any standards for screening accuracy but said the companies had their own policies.
In responses to lawsuits, tenant screening companies say renters dispute fewer than 1 percent of reports. But it’s impossible to know the actual error rate because tenants may not always know to complain.
With about half of the nation’s 43 million rentals turning over every year, even an error rate of 1 percent could upend the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
Regulators have taken action against a few companies for slipshod tenant screenings; the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires background screeners to “follow reasonable procedures to assure maximum possible accuracy.” But rejected tenants continue to complain about the same careless practices by companies that regulators had called out, interviews and federal lawsuits show.
Ms. Johnson has lost count of the times she has been turned down for housing or work because of incorrect background reports. Since 2016, she has sued six tenant screening companies for incorrect reports. All of them have settled.
When she moved out of the apartment in St. Helens and applied to rent a house, the background report was 112 pages long. By then Ms. Johnson knew the drill: Find out where the report came from, call the screening company, fax in a copy of her ID and start the dispute process.
“I’ve tried to figure out if there’s something I can do, to stop that from happening,” she said. “But I don’t think that there really is, because there’s just so many background companies out there — and they’re not doing their jobs.”
Lax Rules and Wild Cards
Tenant screening was once confined to a simple credit check with the three major credit bureaus and a few phone calls to references, but it was revolutionized by the advent of cheap or even free, easily available electronic court records. These include criminal records from across the country, sex-offender registries, terrorism watch lists and housing court records.
Easy access to the troves of data has also made it possible for anyone with a computer to become a background screener: About 2,000 companies offer the service, but that’s only an estimate. Tenant screeners don’t have to register with any government agency.
People can complain about faulty background reports to the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — or sue. But regulators have not limited tenant screening as much as other kinds of background checks.
Regulators forced credit bureaus to follow standards for matching records to a person, and the kinds of records the bureaus can legally report are limited. Rules for employment screening, which some of the tenant-screening firms provide, require employers to share the negative report with a rejected applicant.
None of those restrictions applies to tenant screening.
Federal law requires landlords only to tell tenants if they were turned down because of a negative report and who produced it. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, screening companies have 30 days to respond to tenants’ requests for corrections. By then, a landlord may have given the apartment away.
“It’s just crazy that you can’t get immediate results,” said Andrew Guzzo, a consumer lawyer who has filed more than 100 federal lawsuits against background screeners and other consumer reporting agencies. “There’s not many worse imaginable consumer financial services related impacts that you could have, more than an inaccurate tenant screening that costs you the ability to rent an apartment.”
Tenants can’t get ahead of the problem by checking their background reports in advance because too many companies provide the service.
“You can’t just go to one place and request your free annual report,” said Ariel Nelson, author of a 52-page National Consumer Law Center report on screening errors.
A handful of cities have begun to regulate tenant screening by limiting a landlord’s ability to reject an applicant for old criminal convictions or evictions.
Courts have also begun to take notice; a panel of federal judges recently consolidated seven lawsuits about errors in TransUnion’s tenant screening reports.
Screening companies put the onus for accuracy on landlords, telling them right in the reports that they should double-check them.
Steven Schachtman, a longtime Minneapolis landlord and property manager who oversees about 10,000 rentals and uses screening firms, said it was difficult for a landlord to check the reports to ensure they matched their applicants.
“That is why we are hiring them,” he said. “I assume they have matched everything up.”
One CoreLogic employee said during a deposition for a federal lawsuit that she considered a background report “accurate” if it correctly reported what was in public records.
A common method that screening companies use to increase hits, court records show, is a so-called wild-card search, which gathers different names that start with the same few letters.
Terrence Enright’s experience, described in his federal lawsuit against National Tenant Network, shows how it works. When he applied for an apartment in Chicago in 2014, the company searched for “Enright, Ter*” and “Terrence, Enr*.” But the company also searched for misspelled versions, including “Enwright, Ter*” and found a match: an eviction for a Teri Enwright in California, one of what Mr. Enright said were three evictions mistakenly attributed to him, which resulted in his being denied the apartment. His lawsuit was settled out of court.
Screening companies could use more careful methods to reduce incorrect reports, such as excluding eviction records for addresses that don’t appear on a person’s credit report. Or reporting only records that match full names and other data, such as complete dates of birth.
But they often don’t, tenants and consumer attorneys say, and the errors can have an outsize effect on people with common names — particularly members of minority groups, which tend to have fewer unique last names. For example, more than 12 million Latinos nationwide share just 26 surnames, according to the census.
Marco Fernandez is suing RentGrow, another screening firm, after it included information in his report about another person named Mario Fernandez Santana. Mr. Fernandez lives in Maryland works for an elite military cybercommand strike force and has a top-secret security clearance. The other man is on a federal watch list for suspected terrorists or drug traffickers, lives in Mexico and has a different date of birth, according to the lawsuit.
“These matching algorithms treat Hispanic names just like a mix-and-match,” said Mr. Fernandez’s attorney, E. Michelle Drake.
RentGrow declined to explain why the company included the other man’s record in Mr. Fernandez’s report, but said in a statement that it had “promptly resolved all concerns in his favor.” Mr. Fernandez was able to get into the apartment he wanted.
While disputing the report, however, Mr. Fernandez said he discovered that RentGrow had incorrectly reported the same federal watch list information to a landlord four years earlier, according to the lawsuit. He said he was not informed at the time.
Hector Hernandez took CoreLogic to court after the company mixed him up with an accused drug smuggler, Hector Hernandez-Garcia, causing him, his wife and their newborn son to be temporarily homeless in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
“I kept telling them: ‘You got the wrong guy. I’m telling you, that’s not me,’” Mr. Hernandez, who works for a pest control company, said in an interview. CoreLogic settled the lawsuit.
In a deposition for another federal lawsuit, a CoreLogic employee said independently verifying reports like these before sending them out “would be an overwhelming task.”
It’s certainly more expensive: Court filings in a federal lawsuit show that RealPage pays one data broker 22 cents for each criminal record by buying data in bulk. The company typically charges landlords $12 per report. If there’s a dispute, the data broker would charge RealPage $7 to hand-check a record, according to the contract, shrinking RealPage’s profits — but not eliminating them.
That lawsuit claims RealPage produced 11,000 inaccurate renter background reports between 2014 and 2019 using “abbreviated” criminal records, which are cheaper than a full record check, bought from an affiliate of Backgroundchecks.com. The records don’t include details of the resolution or complete dates of birth, so are more likely to lead to incorrect reports.
In a statement, RealPage said that “the screening that gave rise to this case occurred years ago” and that the company “has long since made changes to its criminal matching logic that would prevent this record from returning for the plaintiff in that case.” It would not elaborate on those changes.
Federal regulators have fined both RealPage and Backgroundchecks.com.
Backgroundchecks.com and an affiliated company were fined by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2015 over employment screenings. Among other things, the agency said the company had failed to look for patterns in customer disputes that would identify root causes of inaccuracies, such as court jurisdictions with unreliable data, error-prone procedures or employees who are particularly sloppy.
n 2018, the Federal Trade Commission fined RealPage $3 million for using wild-card searches; the company did not have to admit wrongdoing. The company brings in about $48 million annually from tenant background screenings, according to court filings.
Despite the federal action, RealPage continues to employ a name-matching program that tolerates a significant amount of imprecision, according to federal lawsuits.
For instance, according to a lawsuit by Leon Howard, RealPage included criminal records for a Lonnie Howard and eviction records for a Linnea Howard in his background report when he applied for a rental in Georgia in 2019. Lonnie Howard’s date of birth was different than Leon Howard’s, and the report included a photo of the offender, according to the lawsuit, which RealPage settled for an undisclosed sum.
Vindicated but Still Waiting
Most hurt are people living on the edge, especially those who made it to the top of long wait lists for a housing voucher or a public housing unit only to lose out because of faulty background checks.
Sandra Smith waited more than a year for a spot in public housing in her hometown, Jacksonville, Fla. After a divorce, she had been staying with friends and her mother. Unemployed while recovering from health problems, Ms. Smith was relieved she’d finally be able to move back out of her teenage bedroom.
“I’m 55,” she said. “Having my own space is something I haven’t had in a long time, and I felt like I was ready for that.”
But the housing authority turned her down after a background check reported a 2013 eviction for a different Sandra Smith.
“Everything was a runaround,” she said. “No one had any more anything to show me — why they were so convinced that this was me.”
Agency officials said she had been denied because of the screening, which is their policy.
“It would’ve taken them two to three minutes to investigate this,” said Adam Thoresen, a Jacksonville Area Legal Aid lawyer whom Ms. Smith turned to for help.
The signature on the lease agreement, which was attached to the online eviction records, wasn’t the same as his client’s, he said. The lease listed multiple children — but his client has only one child, an adult in his 30s, and the names didn’t match.
“This is really simple stuff,” Mr. Thoresen said.
It took Ms. Smith a year and a half to get her denial overturned. She is still dealing with the paperwork and hasn’t gotten an apartment.
Maddy Varner and Surya Mattu contributed reporting.
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8) New York Appealed to Keep an Elderly Prisoner Behind Bars—Then He Got Coronavirus
By Natasha Lennard
The Intercept, May 27, 2020
https://theintercept.com/2020/05/27/coronavirus-elderly-prisoner-jalil-muntaqim/
When the state of New York appealed a judge’s order to let Jalil Muntaqim out of prison due to the pandemic, it delayed his release. The elderly man was recently hospitalized with a coronavirus infection he got behind bars.

Photo: Courtesy of Bryan Shih, from the book "The Black Panthers: Portraits from an Unfinished Revolution"

At the end of April, the New York State Supreme Court ordered the temporary release of Jalil Muntaqim from prison. Muntaqim is 68-years-old and has spent the last half-century behind bars. He has hypertension alongside a series of chronic respiratory conditions; he has heart disease and scarred lungs. Long-term prison sentences, studies have shown, tend to age already aging bodies by a decade.
When the Legal Aid Society, a New York public defense organization, filed a petition for Muntaqim’s release on constitutional grounds in early April, it was with risk in mind. His age and physical condition put the former Black Panther squarely in the highest risk categories for grave complications related to Covid-19. At the same time, as an elderly prisoner with an exemplary record of accomplishments during his incarcerated years, he poses the very lowest risk of recidivism. The coronavirus’s spread through New York’s prison populations, meanwhile, was not a risk but an inevitability. Sullivan County Supreme Court Judge Stephan Schick recognized these intersecting probabilities when, during his ruling, he said, “Mr. Muntaqim may have gotten a 25-to-life sentence, but it was not a death sentence.” Schick granted Muntaqim’s release.
That was a month ago, but Muntaqim has not been released.
Instead—as his lawyers and loved ones had feared—Muntaqim contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. On Monday, he was transported from Sullivan Correctional Facility to hospital after his fever spiked and his blood oxygen level dropped to a dangerous 81 percent.
Had the judge’s April ruling been permitted to stand, Muntaqim could well have been saved this fate. His petition for release, which cited violations of the Eighth Amendment against cruel and unusual punishment, was the first writ of habeas corpus in the coronavirus era to be granted by a New York court. But the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, represented by the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, appealed Schick’s decision. Muntaqim’s release was stayed and, as he awaited a hearing on the appeal scheduled for Thursday, he fell gravely and predictably ill.
“The fact that Jalil is now hospitalized with Covid-19 is infuriating because it was entirely preventable,” Nora Carroll, the Legal Aid attorney representing Muntaqim, told me by email.
She said that the petition to free her client on a lifesaving and temporary basis was filed before there had been any coronavirus cases in his facility, but with the knowledge that prisons like Sullivan Correctional Facility are simply unable to prevent outbreaks of the virus. “The Sullivan County judge agreed and ordered him released to a safe place where he could quarantine,” Carroll said. “Yet he is still incarcerated because the Attorney General, representing the prison system, appealed that decision and obtained a stay pending appeal. Now he is infected, just as we said he would be.”
Carroll added that “people in prison are being left to die and this case is an apt illustration.”
As of this week, according to New York’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision data, 492 people incarcerated in the New York State system have tested positive for Covid-19; 408 of those individuals have reportedly recovered, but 16 have died. Aligning with the vast overrepresentation of people of color in the New York prison population, 81 percent of prisoners who have died from coronavirus complications are people of color.
Muntaqim, like so many thousands of other incarcerated people, poses no risk to public safety. He has served his minimum sentence for the killing of two New York Police Department officers in 1971, and he is eligible for parole; his co-defendant was rightfully freed on parole two years ago. (Since 2000, eight former Black Panther Party members have died while incarcerated, all aged between 39 and 71; most were in their 50s and 60s.)
Those invested in social justice and the Black liberation struggle have long argued for Muntaqim’s freedom. But it is not a question of political allegiance as to whether a person facing physical peril should be released during the pandemic; the release of elderly and medically vulnerable people is a public health imperative.
Medical experts and justice advocates have already expressed dismay at state leaders and officials’ inadequate response to the pandemic in prisons, including the pitifully small release numbers for incarcerated elder people. “To date, the Department has transitioned 172 individuals who are aged 55-years or older, were not committed on a violent or sex offense, and were within 90 days of release to the community in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency,” said a Department of Corrections and Community Supervision spokesperson responding to an inquiry from The Intercept. Over 350 people in total have been released under the state prisons’ pandemic-related release initiatives. (The spokesperson said the department could not comment on ongoing litigation or individuals’ medical conditions in response to inquiries about Muntaqim’s case.)
Given that nearly a quarter of the 40,500 people incarcerated in New York state prisons are older adults, many with preexisting health conditions, the release figures are vanishingly small.
“There are all these ways people can be released, and none of them is functioning,” said Laura Whitehorn of the Release Aging People from Prison advocacy group. Whitehorn told me that efforts from the New York Legislature have “had no teeth whatsoever.” Attempts by prisoners to seek medical parole—sometimes granted to people with the most extreme illnesses—have mostly come to naught, she said.
Meanwhile, Governor Andrew Cuomo has shown negligence at best and disdain for life at worst in his dismissal of questions about granting clemencies.
The government’s decision to actively pursue an appeal in Muntaqim’s case—to spend resources and time to halt the release of a man who has been incarcerated since he was 19 years old, who could be released safely into a welcoming community committed to his care—is a most vile betrayal of justice in favor of a carceral ideology.
Any reasonable effort to bar “cruel and unusual” punishment should mean emptying all prisons. But, at a time of unprecedented health risks, a failure to dramatically depopulate prisons makes a farce of the notion that “cruel and unusual punishment” is prohibited. Instead of letting an aged and infirm man go, the government is fighting to keep Muntaqim behind bars, exposed to a potentially deadly virus.
In the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision appeal, the attorney general argued that Muntaqim’s petition had failed to establish that “officials have been deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to his health or safety,” as is necessary to constitute an Eighth Amendment violation. The government cited numerous efforts prison facilities, including Sullivan, have made to contain the spread of the virus, such as quarantines and readily available medical care. And the state is no doubt nervous of seeing case law established that holds prison conditions to be possible constitutional violations, for which the only remedy is a person’s release.
Yet this is the threat of the pandemic atop the ongoing violence of incarceration. The fact that Muntaqim did in fact contract the virus should be proof of the insufficiency of the prison’s safety practices. Indeed, the claim at the very heart of Muntaqim’s case is that nothing, save for release from prison, can ensure the physical safety of someone in his condition during this pandemic. His current illness should be dispositive on this matter and the legal precedent should be cemented so that others can attain release on the same grounds. In the great hope that he recovers, Muntaqim himself should be released, rather than returned to prison.
“It’s time for him to come home,” Muntaqim’s 86-year-old mother, Billie Brown, told me as she held back tears on a phone call from her Georgia home. “He has a safe home to go to, where he has his own bedroom and bathroom, with friends in Rochester,” she said. “I’m just devastated, it’s such an injustice.”
The attorney general’s office has taken a different lesson from the longtime prisoner falling ill. In a brief filed prior to Thursday’s court hearing, the attorney general argued that Muntaqim’s sickness is no proof of unconstitutional treatment, nor evidence that he needs to be released.
Rather, the brief asks that the judge’s original decision to release Muntaqim now be vacated, since the circumstances of his petition have changed. He was originally granted release based on fears of contracting this potentially deadly virus, but now those fears have been realized, the brief argues that the concerns of the original petition are no longer valid.
It is hard to overstate the cynicism in such logic. And it is impossible to ignore the priorities of those in political and judicial leadership who, in the face of this healthcare emergency, argue that there is justice in keeping an aging and infirm man behind bars.

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9) Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People.
The collapse of politics and governance leaves no other option.
By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/george-floyd-minneapolis.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Ready or not, life is returning to some sort of normal in the United States, and normal inevitably includes police officers killing an unarmed black man in their custody, followed by street protests. The country is working its way back into its familiar groove.
This time it’s Minneapolis. Thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the killing of George Floyd by a police officer who pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for a breathtaking seven minutes as he lay pinned on the ground in handcuffs. Mr. Floyd’s pleas for help — repeating that he couldn’t breathe, calling out for his dead mother — were ignored. The three other police officers who watched seemed uninterested in the life they were violently snuffing out in front of a crowd gathered in disgust.
Elected officials from Minnesota denounced the brutality. Jacob Frey, the mayor of Minneapolis, said, “Being black in America should not be a death sentence.” Others, including Senator Amy Klobuchar, who hopes to emerge as Joe Biden’s running mate, expressed a range of public emotions that have become commonplace: shock, horror, promises of investigation and pleas for calm. In a rare rebuke, the four officers involved have been fired.
But the fact that Mr. Floyd was even arrested, let alone killed, for the inconsequential “crime” of forgery amid a pandemic that has taken the life of one out of every 2,000 African-Americans is a chilling affirmation that black lives still do not matter in the United States.
It is easy to understand the response of multiracial protesters in Minneapolis. (If you look closely, hundreds of white people are participating; the intersecting injustices are also apparent to them.) This spring season has bloomed at least 23,000 Covid-19-related deaths in black America. The coronavirus has scythed its way through black communities, highlighting and accelerating the ingrained social inequities that have made African-Americans the most vulnerable to the disease.
This unbelievable loss of life has taken place while restrictions were at their tightest and social distancing at its most extreme. What will happen when the country fully reopens, even as the number coronavirus cases continues to grow? As mostly white public officials try to get things back to normal as fast as possible, the discussions about the pandemic’s devastating consequences to black people melt into the background, consequences which become accepted as a “new normal” we will have to live or die with. If there were ever questions about whether poor and working-class African-Americans were disposable, there can be none now. It’s clear that state violence is not solely the preserve of the police.
It’s not just the higher rates of death that fuel this anger, but also publicized cases where African-Americans have been denied health care because nurses or doctors didn’t believe their complaints about their symptoms. Just as maddening is the assumption that African-Americans bear personal responsibility for dying in disproportionate numbers.
Instead of using this monumental crisis to change the conditions feeding the rapid rate of black deaths, the armed agents of the state continue their petty, insouciant policing. Even seemingly innocuous instructions for social distancing become new excuses for the police to harass African-Americans. In New York, blacks made up a staggering 93 percent of coronavirus-related arrests. There are similar racial disparities in Chicago. At a time when police departments have pledged to arrest fewer people to stem the spread of the virus in local jails and in the name of preserving public health, African-Americans remain in their cross hairs. After all, why were the police arresting George Floyd for forgery, a “crime” of poverty committed by desperate low-wage workers, in the first place?
When white protesters, armed to the teeth in Michigan and elsewhere, make threats against elected officials, the president praises them as “very good people” and they are largely left alone. They are certainly not suffocated to death on the street. In contrast, after Minnesota’s governor activated the National Guard on Thursday evening, the president suggested that those who protest police brutality could be shot. Protesters in Minneapolis are met with tear gas and projectiles launched by police officers, even as many other public officials claim to sympathize with their anger. These double standards are part of what roils Minneapolis and also why the potential for this kind of eruption exists in every city.
The anger exploding on the streets runs much deeper than the obvious hypocrisies in the disparate treatment of white, conservative protesters and a multiracial crowd of people objecting to police brutality. Over the last several weeks, there has been the taped murder of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the vicious shooting of Breonna Taylor by the Louisville police and the killing of Tony McDade, a black trans man, by police officers in Tallahassee. These cases were ignored until public outcry forced the nation to pay attention, even as the public has been riveted to the news because of stay-at-home orders. Meanwhile, there is the highly publicized case of a white woman in Central Park calling the police on a black man when he asked her to put her dog on a leash. The potential consequences of that call were made clear by the killing of George Floyd.
But what is also unmistakable in the bitter protests in Minneapolis and around the country is the sense that the state is either complicit or incapable of effecting substantive change.
As the Democrats’ presumptive presidential nominee jokes that African-Americans who don’t vote for him are not black, the crisis in black communities seems most acute and overlaps with almost daily incidents of police violence or some other oppressive expression of state power. It was a joke that Joe Biden thought would show his “insider” status with black voters. Instead, it made him look arrogant in assuming he has standing among young or working-class African-Americans. He sounded like any other well-heeled politician who has failed to grasp the enormity of the challenges.

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10) The ‘Liberal World Order’ Was Built With Blood
As the United States reckons with its decline, it should understand where its power came from in the first place.
By Vincent Bevins, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/opinion/united-states-cold-war.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Bettmann/Corbis

Credit...Associated Press

If you read the commentary coming out of New York and Washington, or speak with elites in Western Europe, it’s easy to find people panicking about the loss of “American leadership.” From Joe Biden’s campaign pledges to trans-Atlantic think tanks, exhortations to revive American supremacy and contain China are everywhere.
They have reason to be worried: This moment is shaking the foundations of America’s hegemony. It is painfully clear that the United States is ill-equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, which does not play to American strengths (we can’t shoot it, after all). President Trump has for years been dismissing allies and antagonizing international institutions. And China is seemingly laying the groundwork for its arrival as a great power. American officials are now talking openly about a “new Cold War” to confront Beijing, and China now seems such a threat that Hal Brands of the American Enterprise Institute wonders whether the United States should get back in the business of covertly toppling unfriendly governments.
It’s unsurprising that establishment pundits, American policymakers and their allies would be alarmed about American decline. The United States and Western Europe have been the winners of the process that created this globalized world, the main beneficiaries of Washington’s triumph at the end of the Cold War. But a lot of people feel very differently.
In early April, I received a message from Winarso, a man I know in Indonesia who runs an organization that cares for the survivors of the mass murder that took place there in the 1960s. He was trying to raise money to buy rice so his community wouldn’t starve under lockdown. A dollar still goes a very long way in Indonesia, as Winarso knows too well. To explain America’s economic and political power, he points to the Cold War. It’s easy to see that Washington was truly victorious in the 20th century, he told me, because “we all got the U.S.-centered version of capitalism that Washington wanted to spread.” I asked him how America won. He answered quickly. “You killed us.”
I have spent the last three years with the losers of that great game, the individuals whose lives were shattered so this global order could be constructed. I spent most of my time interviewing the victims and survivors of a loose network of mass murder programs that targeted civilian opponents of Washington’s Cold War allies. I got to know people on four continents who lived through the coups and C.I.A. plots that Mr. Brands is talking about. To fully understand the nature of American power — and its future — their experiences are as important as those of anyone in a Paris boardroom or Washington think tank.
Winarso’s country is the most significant example. In 1965 and 1966, the American government assisted in the murder of approximately one million Indonesian civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the Cold War — Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country, and policymakers at the time understood it was a far more valuable prize than Vietnam. But it’s largely forgotten in the English-speaking world precisely because it was such a success. No American soldiers died; little attention was drawn to one more country pulled, seemingly naturally, into the United States’ orbit.
But the process was not natural. The U.S.-backed military used a failed uprising as a pretext to crush the Indonesian left, whose influence Washington had been seeking to counter for a decade, and then took control of the country. Recently declassified State Department documents make it clear that the United States aided and abetted the mass murder in Indonesia, providing material support, encouraging the killings and rewarding the perpetrators.
It was not the first time the United States had done something like this. In 1954, the American ambassador to Guatemala reportedly handed kill lists to that country’s military. And in Iraq, in 1963, the C.I.A. provided lists of suspected communists and leftists to the ruling Baath Party.
Indonesia in 1965 was the apex of anti-Communist violence in the 20th century. The slaughter obliterated the popular, unarmed Partai Komunis Indonesia, the largest Communist party outside of China and the Soviet Union, and toppled President Sukarno, a founding leader of the Nonaligned Movement and an outspoken anti-imperialist, replacing him with General Suharto, a right-wing dictator who quickly became one of Washington’s most important Cold War allies.
This was such an obvious victory for the global anti-Communist movement that far-right groups around the world began to draw inspiration from the “Jakarta” model and build copycat programs. They were assisted by American officials and anti-Communist organizations that moved across borders. In turn, leftist movements radicalized or took up arms, believing they would be killed if they attempted to pursue the path of democratic socialism.
In the early ’70s, right-wing terrorists in Chile painted “Jakarta” on the houses of socialists, threatening that they too would be killed. After the C.I.A.-backed coup in 1973, they were. Brazilian leftists were threatened with “Operação Jacarta,” too. By the end of the 1970s, most of South America was governed by authoritarian, pro-American governments that secured power by mass murder. By 1990, death squads in Central America pushed the Latin American death toll into the hundreds of thousands.
In North America and Europe, if people think about these terror campaigns at all, the narrative is too often that the United States made alliances with unsavory characters, who committed unfortunate abuses. That is wrong. The United States government was behind much of the violence, and it was far from inconsequential. Most nations in the former third world were set on their current path by conflicts that took place during the Cold War. The violence made possible a version of crony capitalism that comprises daily reality for billions of people, and it is an integral part of the version of globalization that the world ended up with.
No reasonable person denies the great things the United States did in the 20th century, or that many countries enjoyed prosperity while in happy alliances with Washington. But as we move deeper into the 21st century, Americans are going to need to confront the darker side of American hegemony — because much of the rest of the world already has. Part of the reason the current order is so fragile is because so many people around the world know, indeed can physically feel in their bodies, that Washington used brutality to construct it.
We do not know yet what the world would look like were China to take up the position the United States is losing. There is no reason to believe that just because this world order has blood in its roots, something better will spring to life if it dies.
As Americans reckon with — and fret about — their country’s diminished position in the world, we need to understand that the United States is not, in fact, beloved as a beacon of freedom, democracy and human rights. From Argentina to the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor to Iran, millions of people are skeptical of Washington’s intentions, even if they have no particular desire to emulate China’s government, either.
A failure to recognize reality, however, and a desperate attempt to claw back a deeply imperfect global order, could be very dangerous for everyone.

Vincent Bevins (@vinncent) is the author of “The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World.”

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11) On the Economics of Not Dying
What good is increasing G.D.P. if it kills you?
By Paul Krugman, May 28, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/28/opinion/coronavirus-economy-death.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

America is now engaged in a vast, dangerous experiment. Although social distancing has limited the spread of the coronavirus, it is far from contained. Yet despite warnings from epidemiologists, much of the country is moving to open up for business as usual.
You might think that such a momentous move would come with elaborate justifications — that politicians pushing an end to social distancing, from Donald Trump on down, would at least try to explain why we should take this risk. But those calling for quickly reopening have been notably silent about the trade-offs involved. Instead, they talk incessantly about the need to “save the economy.”
That is, however, a very bad way to think about economic policy in a pandemic.
What, after all, is the economy’s purpose? If your answer is something like, “To generate incomes that let people buy things,” you’re getting it wrong — money isn’t the ultimate goal; it’s just a means to an end, namely, improving the quality of life.
Now, money matters: There is a clear relationship between income and life satisfaction. But it’s not the only thing that matters. In particular, you know what also makes a major contribution to the quality of life? Not dying.
And when we take the value of not dying into account, the rush to reopen looks like a really bad idea, even in terms of economics properly understood.
You might be tempted to say that we can’t put a price on human life. But if you think about it, that’s silly; we do it all the time.
We spend a lot on highway safety, but not enough to eliminate every preventable fatal accident. We regulate businesses to avoid lethal pollution, even though it costs money, but not tightly enough to eliminate all pollution-related deaths.
In fact, both transportation and environmental policy have in the past been explicitly guided by numbers placed on the “value of a statistical life.” Current estimates are around $10 million.
True, Covid-19 deaths have been concentrated among older Americans, who can expect fewer remaining years of life than average, so that we might want to use a lower number, say $5 million. But even so, doing the math says that social distancing, while it reduced G.D.P., was well worth it.
That’s the conclusion of two studies that estimated the costs and benefits of social distancing, taking the value of a life into account. Indeed, we waited too long: A Columbia University study estimated that locking down just a week earlier would have saved 36,000 lives by early May, and a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the benefits of that earlier lockdown would have been at least five times the cost in lost G.D.P.
So why are we rushing to reopen?
To be sure, epidemiological forecasts are highly uncertain. But this uncertainty calls for more caution, not less. Open too late, and we lose some money. Open too soon, and we risk an explosive second wave of infections, which would not only kill many Americans but also probably force a second, even more costly lockdown.
So why isn’t the Trump administration even trying to justify its push for reopening in terms of a rational analysis of costs and benefits? The answer, of course, is that rationality has a well-known liberal bias.
After all, if they really cared about the economy, even ardent reopeners would want people to keep wearing face masks, which are a cheap way to limit viral spread. Instead, they’ve chosen to wage a culture war against this most reasonable of precautions.
And the White House has dealt with expert warnings about the risks of reopening by — surprise! — accusing the experts of conspiring against the president. Asked about that Columbia study suggesting that earlier action would have saved many lives, Trump responded that “Columbia is a liberal, disgraceful institution,” and he falsely claimed to have been ahead of the experts in calling for lockdown.
Did I mention that Trump and his officials have drastically underestimated Covid-19 deaths every step of the way?
The point is that the push to reopen doesn’t reflect any kind of considered judgment about risks versus rewards. It’s best seen, instead, as an exercise in magical thinking.
Trump and conservatives in general seem to believe that if they pretend that Covid-19 isn’t a continuing threat, it will somehow go away, or at least people will forget about it. Hence the war on face masks, which help limit the pandemic but remind people that the virus is still out there.
One way to put it: Trump and his allies don’t want us to wear face masks but do want us to wear blinders.
How will this exercise in denial end? Again, there’s a lot of uncertainty in epidemiological projections. Trump and friends could get lucky; their insistence that we should quickly go back to business as usual might not lead to a large number of deaths.
But it probably will, because the push for reopening rests on a foundation of willful ignorance. Never mind G.D.P.; the most fundamental job of any leader is to keep his people alive. Unfortunately, that’s a job Trump doesn’t seem interested in doing.
Credit...

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12) Why Amy Cooper’s Use of ‘African-American’ Stung
In a racist confrontation with a black bird-watcher in Central Park, her choice of words was striking.
By Ginia Bellafante, May 29, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/29/nyregion/Amy-Cooper-Central-Park-racism.html?algo=top_conversion&fellback=false&imp_id=522656698&action=click&module=Most%20Popular&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Brittainy Newman/The New York Times

Of all the ways Amy Cooper might have expressed her exasperation during a dispute with a birder in Central Park — rolling her eyes as she agreed to restrain her cocker spaniel, railing against avian life-forms, giving him the finger and moving on — she instead chose a potentially lethal option. Confronting her adversary, Christian Cooper, she said that she was going to call the police to report that “an African-American man” was “threatening” her life.
It was the dissonance in her language that immediately distinguished the episode from the countless other occasions in which white people have become dangerously unhinged in the presence of black men.
Three times, before and during the 911 call in which her voice climbed to horror-movie pitch as she leveled a phony accusation, she found the space to specifically identify Mr. Cooper as “African-American.” A resident of the Upper West Side with a graduate degree from the University of Chicago, a rescue dog and a face mask, Ms. Cooper engaged in a calculated act of profiling even as she accommodated the dictates of progressive speech.
The moment provided a bracing tutorial in what bigotry among the urbane looks like — the raw, virulent prejudice that can exist beneath the varnish of the right credentials, pets, accessories, social affiliations, the coinage absorbed from HBO documentaries and corporate sensitivity seminars.
Two years ago, a Manhattan lawyer named Aaron Schlossberg announced to the world that he was not “a racist” after he was caught on video ranting about immigrants. As he put it in his apology, the tirade did not capture who he really was, someone who had come to New York “precisely because of the remarkable diversity.” As it turned out, this was not Mr. Schlossberg’s only ethnically charged outburst.
In the video Mr. Cooper recorded, after Ms. Cooper refused to follow park rules and leash her dog, he asked her to keep her distance. Still, the next day, she told CNN by way of explanation for actions she now deemed inexcusable, that she had been scared — that before he began filming her, Mr. Cooper appeared out of nowhere.
“He came out of the bush,’' she said, failing to recognize, given the racial context, that there was surely a better way to refer to the shrubbery of central Manhattan.
Judgment of Ms. Cooper was swift and fierce. Within 24 hours, she had lost her job as an investment manager at Franklin Templeton; members of New York State’s legislature introduced a bill that would make filing certain false reports actionable as hate crimes; a neighborhood group, the Central Park South Civic Association, called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban from the park “on this lady for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement.”
Despite Ms. Cooper’s public statement to Mr. Cooper — “I hope that a few mortifying seconds in a lifetime of forty years will not define me in his eyes and that he will accept my sincere apology” — by Wednesday night, various city officials were demanding her arrest.
It was Mr. Cooper who publicly extended more generosity toward her than anyone else, telling my colleague Sarah Maslin Nir that although he could not excuse the racism, he wasn’t sure if Ms. Cooper’s life “needed to be torn apart.”
In the most forgiving interpretation of these events, Ms. Cooper didn’t understand the possible consequences of her actions — that calling the police to settle an argument between a white woman and a black man in 2020 could result in his injury or death. This would imply that the news of the recent past has managed to completely elude her — from the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., to Eric Garner’s in Staten Island, to Ahmaud Arbery’s in Georgia.
As she told New York’s NBC station on the day of her eruption, she was only now beginning to understand that the police do not always serve as a “protection agency.’’ And yet in her precise use of the respectful term “African-American,” such intimations of ignorance are easily challenged.
It is easy to imagine an investment house deciding it no longer needed an executive capable of such spectacular misjudgment assessing and managing risk. Franklin Templeton fired Ms. Cooper, the company proclaimed, because it “doesn’t tolerate racism of any kind,’’ sanctimoniously turning a crisis into an opportunity to showcase values.
Whatever becomes of Amy Cooper, the episode suggests the limits of our institutional efforts to pre-empt individual actions that would appear to be racist. Like most big corporations, municipalities and nonprofit organizations, Franklin Templeton promotes its agenda in what is now known as diversity and inclusion. By one estimate, American companies spend approximately $8 billion a year trying to ensure that their employees are welcoming and open-minded — an investment in comity as much as it is in public relations and liability protection.
Franklin Templeton, for example, requires employees to take anti-harassment training every year, meant to cover discrimination in its many forms. It also encourages them to participate in training programs that support an “employee’s feeling safe to bring their whole selves to work,’’ according to a spokeswoman. In November, the company held an event called the “Check Your Blind Spots” tour at its California headquarters, described in a news release as a “series of immersive and interactive elements including virtual reality, gaming technology and more, to take an introspective look at the unconscious biases people face on a daily basis.”
Implicit bias training begins with the premise that we are essentially benevolent in our intentions, but are all subject to maintaining conditioned prejudices, the acquisition of which is often beyond our control. Embedded in this view is the assumption that within the contours of civil society, at least, we should be beyond explicit expressions of hostility of the kind Ms. Cooper displayed.
Patrica G. Devine, a social psychologist at the University of Wisconsin who studies unintended bias, argues that there has been little rigorous evaluation of the training strategies deployed to combat it, and as a result we simply don’t know enough about what makes a difference.
“It often has the feeling of being a one-and-done kind of thing: ‘We did it,’” she said. “And then it’s the ‘it’ that matters.” Beyond that, she has seen in her own research and the research of others that “if people are hostile to the training, it’s like fingers being wagged at you, and if you are not at all open to that, it can fuel negativity to the point of backlash.”
Two years ago, New York City’s police department invested $4.5 million in implicit bias training for officers, again without any evidence that it might succeed. The Covid crisis, in a sense, has provided a test case, and the results have been dispiriting. Between mid-March and early May, of the 125 people arrested for violations of social-distancing rules and other regulations related to the coronavirus, 113 were black or Hispanic. The problem with implicit bias work is that it too often fails to acknowledge the realities of instinctive distaste, the powerful emotions that animate the worst suppositions. It presumes a world better than the one we actually have.
Further elaborating her apology to Mr. Cooper, in a statement she issued on Tuesday afternoon, Ms. Cooper said she was aware that “misassumptions and insensitive statements about race” caused pain. But Ms. Cooper’s transgression was not a mistaken perception or an insensitive statement.
The language — “African-American” — she seemed to have down. It was the deeper impulse for retaliation that she couldn’t suppress.

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13) Minnesota Attorney General Suggests Auto Zone Riot Starter Was ‘Provocateur’
Roman White, May 29, 2020
https://thesource.com/2020/05/29/minnesota-attorney-general-suggests-auto-zone-riot-starter-was-provocateur/
Jim Mone/AP/Shutterstock

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison is questioning one rioter who was caught on camera shattering windows at a local Auto Zone.
The perceived faux rioter in the video equipped with a gas mask an umbrella and all-black attire is seen calmly busting windows at the Auto Zone before he walks off.
“This man doesn’t look like any civil rights protestor I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur,” Ellison said on Twitter asking for someone to identify the masked man.
The associated video Ellison posted was taken down by YouTube, but Philadelphia motivational speaker Wallo267 posted the video to his Instagram account suggesting that the man may have been a cop.
The man who by himself broke the windows to the Auto Zone was confronted by another man seen in a pink shirt. The rioter tries to avoid the cameras and ignores questions about why he is destroying the store.
Ellison has also referred to the riots as a distraction from a systematic change in regard to police brutality. Ellison called for the centering of protestors and a refocused national conversation.



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