Protest over George Floyd's murder along the apartheid wall in Palestine.


 Car Caravan / Socially Distanced in Person Protest

at the Israeli Consulate - 456 Montgomery 

Wednesday, July 1st @4:30PM

The San Francisco/Bay Area Chapter of Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition calls upon all Palestinians and supporters of freedom, equality and justice - in Palestine and around the world, to protest the planned annexation of more Palestinian land on July 1st. We call on the Palestinian community, and those engaged in indigenous/anti-colonial, anti-racist/anti-white supremacist struggles against state violence and racial oppression, to link arms and struggle together in an act of international solidarity!

Join us in person, with social distancing, OR in a car caravan around downtown San Francisco, in support of demonstrations across the U.S. and throughout the world. July 1st let’s take a unified stand against racism and the wars on our communities - locally and abroad, from ongoing and ever increasing racist settler-colonial violence. 

7_1 Day of Action (5).png 
We are seeking organizational endorsements to confront the latest U.S.-Israeli efforts to liquidate the Palestinian cause and people.
Let us stand together in demanding an end to US militarism locally and imperialism abroad, and instead of sending billions in financial aid to Israel and in war and militarism - to spending on our communities at home! 

The Zionist state is the hallmark of racial oppression and military repression in the 21st Century.  Its murderous military provided the knee-on-neck training to the killer cops in Minnesota and elsewhere. Enough is enough! Let’s end these deadly exchanges


To endorse this action, please email your organization’s name and contact to: sfbay@al-awda.org

To see and endorse: Al-Awda's statement on annexation.

This continued land theft, comes in addition to the ongoing denial of the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, most of the Palestinian population- who have been forcibly expelled and denied this right for 72 years. Palestinians are a majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean sea – with access to less than 10% of the land, while Israel applies military rule over Palestinians and continues to usurp more land for illegal Jewish-only colonies. Most of these colonies are inhabited by White Europeans and Americans, with the latest on occupied Syrian land, to be named “Trump Heights.” Despite 72 years of genocide, ethnic cleansing and dispossession, Palestine lives, and the Palestinian people will continue to defeat all efforts to liquidate our cause and our people. Stand united against Zionist apartheid and US-sponsored genocide. 



Rayshard Brooks, 27 years old, was shot to death while running away from police in Atlanta Friday, June 12, 2020.





Kimberly Jones

If you haven't seen this, you're missing something spectacular:

On Saturday May 30th filmmaker and photographer David Jones of David Jones Media felt compelled to go out and serve the community in some way. He decided to use his art to try and explain the events that were currently impacting our lives. On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.

Kimberly Jones on YouTube 



Awesome! I always wonder about what protests accomplish. Here’s a list:

So what has protesting accomplished?

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพWithin 10 days of sustained protests:
Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพCharges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพDallas adopts a "duty to intervene" rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพNew Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพIn Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพLos Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพMBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพPolice brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพMonuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.

๐Ÿ‘‰๐ŸพStreet in front of the White House is renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.

Then, there's all the other stuff that's hard to measure:

๐Ÿ’“The really difficult public and private conversations that are happening about race and privilege.

๐Ÿ’“The realizations some white people are coming to about racism and the role of policing in this country.

๐Ÿ’“The self-reflection.

๐Ÿ’“The internal battles exploding within organizations over issues that have been simmering or ignored for a long time. Some organizations will end as a result, others will be forever changed or replaced with something stronger and fairer.


๐ŸŒŽ Protests against racial inequality sparked by the police killing of George Floyd are taking place all over the world.

๐ŸŒŽ Rallies and memorials have been held in cities across Europe, as well as in Mexico, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.

๐ŸŒŽ As the US contends with its second week of protests, issues of racism, police brutality, and oppression have been brought to light across the globe.

๐ŸŒŽ People all over the world understand that their own fights for human rights, for equality and fairness, will become so much more difficult to win if we are going to lose America as the place where 'I have a dream' is a real and universal political program," Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to the US, told the New Yorker.

๐ŸŒŽ In France, protesters marched holding signs that said "I can't breathe" to signify both the words of Floyd, and the last words of Adama Traorรฉ, a 24-year-old black man who was subdued by police officers and gasped the sentence before he died outside Paris in 2016.

๐ŸŒŽ Cities across Europe have come together after the death of George Floyd:

✊๐Ÿฝ In Amsterdam, an estimated 10,000 people filled the Dam square on Monday, holding signs and shouting popular chants like "Black lives matter," and "No justice, no peace."

✊๐Ÿฝ In Germany, people gathered in multiple locations throughout Berlin to demand justice for Floyd and fight against police brutality.

✊๐Ÿพ A mural dedicated to Floyd was also spray-painted on a stretch of wall in Berlin that once divided the German capital during the Cold War.

✊๐Ÿฟ In Ireland, protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside of Belfast City Hall, and others gathered outside of the US embassy in Dublin.

✊๐ŸฟIn Italy, protesters gathered and marched with signs that said "Stop killing black people," "Say his name," and "We will not be silent."

✊๐Ÿพ In Spain, people gathered to march and hold up signs throughout Barcelona and Madrid.

✊๐Ÿพ In Athens, Greece, protesters took to the streets to collectively hold up a sign that read "I can't breathe."

✊๐Ÿพ In Brussels, protesters were seen sitting in a peaceful demonstration in front of an opera house in the center of the city.

✊๐ŸพIn Denmark, protesters were heard chanting "No justice, no peace!" throughout the streets of Copenhagen, while others gathered outside the US embassy.

✊๐Ÿพ In Canada, protesters were also grieving for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a 29-year-old black woman who died on Wednesday after falling from her balcony during a police investigation at her building.

✊๐Ÿพ And in New Zealand, roughly 2,000 people marched to the US embassy in Auckland, chanting and carrying signs demanding justice.

๐Ÿ’ Memorials have been built for Floyd around the world, too. In Mexico City, portraits of him were hung outside the US embassy with roses, candles, and signs.

๐Ÿ’ In Poland, candles and flowers were laid out next to photos of Floyd outside the US consulate.

๐Ÿ’ And in Syria, two artists created a mural depicting Floyd in the northwestern town of Binnish, "on a wall destroyed by military planes."

Before the assassination of George Floyd some of you were able to say whatever the hell you wanted and the world didn't say anything to you...


Don't wake up tomorrow on the wrong side of this issue. Its not to late to SAY,

"Maybe I need to look at this from a different perspective."

"Maybe I don't know what its like to be black in America..."

"Maybe, just maybe, I have been taught wrong."

There is still so much work to be done. It's been a really dark, raw week. This could still end badly. But all we can do is keep doing the work.

Keep protesting.


How beautiful is that?








*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!






Ultimately, the majority of human suffering is caused by a system that places the value of material wealth over the value of
human life. To end the suffering, we must end the profit motive—the very foundation of capitalism itself.
(Bay Area United Against War Newsletter)



Tens-of-thousands protest in San Francisco June 3, 2020



George Floyd's Last Words
"It's my face man
I didn't do nothing serious man
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
man can't breathe, my face
just get up
I can't breathe
please (inaudible)
I can't breathe sh*t
I will
I can't move
I can't
my knee
my nuts
I'm through
I'm through
I'm claustrophobic
my stomach hurt
my neck hurts
everything hurts
some water or something
I can't breathe officer
don't kill me
they gon' kill me man
come on man
I cannot breathe
I cannot breathe
they gon' kill me
they gon' kill me
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please sir
please I can't breathe"

Then his eyes shut and the pleas stop. George Floyd was pronounced dead shortly after.






Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

Hello everyone, it's Shakaboona here, on May 29, 2020, Friday, it was reported by NPR and other news agencies that when protestors marched on the White House, the Secret Service (SS) rushed Pres. Trump to a protective bunker in the basement of the White House for his safety. When I heard that news I instantly visualized 3 scenes - (Scene 1) a pic of Pres. Saddam Hussein hiding in an underground cave in fear of the U.S. Army, (Scene 2) a pic of Pres. Donald Trump hiding in an underground bunker shaking in fear beneath a desk from U.S. Protestors as Secret Service guards (with 2 Lightning bolts on their collars) in hyper security around him with big guns drawn out, and (Scene 3) a pic of Pres. Trump later stood in front of the church across from the White House with a Bible in hand & chest puffed out & threatened to activate the U.S. Army against American citizen protestors.
 ~ I think this would be an underground iconic image of the power of the People & the cowardice/fear of Pres. Trump, not to mention that I think such a creative comic satire of Trump would demolish his self image (haha). I ask for anyone's help to turn my above visual satire of Trump into an actual comic satire strip & for us to distribute the finished comic satire strip worldwide, esp. to the news media. Maybe we can get Trump to see it and watch him blow a gasket (lol).
 ~ Please everyone, stay safe out there, b/c Trump is pushing this country to the verge of Civil War. Be prepared in every way imaginable. Peace. - Ur Brother, Shakaboona

Write to Shakaboona:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall #BE7826
SCI Rockview
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733



Liz McAlister, the eldest of the King Bay Plowshares 7, was sentenced today via video to time served, three years supervised release and for a portion of the restitution for the seven of just over $30,000. She was the first of the defendants to be sentenced. The remaining six are scheduled to appear in the Brunswick court, June 29 and 30. Thirty-seven years ago Liz first stood before a Syracuse federal judge to hear the court render a sentence for her Griffiss Plowshares direct action protesting nuclear weapons. Today, with her attorney Bill Quigley in New Orleans and her family beside her in Connecticut, Liz appeared via video before Judge Lisa Godbey Wood who sat in Georgia's Southern District Federal Court in Brunswick, to hear today's sentence, maybe the last in the long career of indefatigable hope and courage and unrelenting opposition to nuclear weapons.

Last October, Liz, and the six others were found guilty of trespass, conspiracy and destruction of federal property, three felonies, and a misdemeanor in all, at the Kings Bay Naval Base in St. Mary’s, Georgia, where they had the audacity, in the middle of the night, to symbolically disarm a shrine celebrating US nuclear weapons and to protest the preparations for omnicide—the death of everything. Kings Bay is home to 6 Trident submarines that deploy one-quarter of the US nuclear arsenal.

The world has changed since October 2019 when activists gathered for the trial of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 in Brunswick, Georgia. We heard testimony and watched a video describing their incursion into the naval base. We heard the defendants explain why they chose April 4—the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination—to carry out their act of faithful obedience. They described hanging banners, the first, a quote from the Rev. Dr. King that read, “The ultimate logic of racism is genocide,” and another that said "The ultimate logic of Trident is Omnicide." They also painted messages of peace and prayerfully poured baby bottles of blood at the naval base.

In the intervening months, while federal marshals prepared presentencing reports for the Kings Bay 7, the COVID-19 pandemic rose up to take more than 400,000 lives globally—reminding us all, if we have ears to hear, of the peril of complacency in the face of low-probability/high-risk events. It is no exaggeration, and not meant to diminish the suffering of those who have been ravaged by or lost loved ones to the novel corona virus, to say that a nuclear war would make the current struggles look like a paper cut by comparison.

In quiet, quintessential southern, Brunswick, Georgia, the spotlight that shone briefly on nuclear weapons during the trial in October shifted abruptly in May when the pandemic of racism re-entered the public’s line of sight and the world learned that Ahmaud Arbery, a young African-American man was hunted down by three armed white men. Arbery, out for a morning jog in February, the men in pickup trucks, shot and killed him. Going into May, none of the men had been indicted or faced any charges. They had, literally, gotten away with murder. Now the three men sit in the Glynn County jail where Fr. Steve Kelly has been for more than two years.

Because of COVID, Instead of gathering in the Brunswick court with activists and supporters, complete with a festival of hope, we gathered in spirit to listen to the court proceedings on a conference call line. The night before, friends, family, and supporters had gathered for a virtual blessing and liturgy via a Zoom/ Facebook event that will be available on our website later this week.

Martin Gugino, the elderly man who was knocked down to the sidewalk by Buffalo police and lay bleeding from his head is a long-time peace activist. He recently made a series of video statements in support of the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 activists. He knows them from drone protests at The Hancock AFB in Syracuse, NY and Witness Against Torture actions in Washington, DC. Martin primarily works through the Western New York Peace Center. He texted today to let us know he is alive and in recovery.

Frida Berrigan's Statement

Frida Berrigan, Liz’s daughter, gave a spirited statement of support for her mother attesting to her lifelong commitment to peace. “…as a 46 year-old white citizen in a nation that is going to spend $720 plus billion on the military this year, even in the face of an economy smashing pandemic that has killed 100,000 people and laid bare the stark inequity and fundamental brokenness of every fiber of the social safety net, I am grateful that people like my mother are willing to stand up and say: “Trident is a crime.”

As a 46 year-old white citizen in a country where white supremacy and militarized policing are so emboldened that Derek Chavin can crush George Floyd’s life out of him in front of a crowd, in front of cameras, where the McMichaels father and son can gun down Ahmaud Arbery in broad daylight as he jogged through the streets of a quiet Georgia town, I draw hope and inspiration from white people who continue to invoke Dr. King’s framework of the giant triplets of racism, militarism and materialism… these weights that cripple our collective humanity. I draw hope and inspiration from my mom and her friends who declare that “Black Lives Matter” who wed their anti-nuclear analysis with an anti-racist ethos, and declare that the ultimate logic of trident is omnicide.

So, I am here as a daughter who doesn’t want her 80 year-old mother sent back to jail and a human being who wonders how anything ever changes if people like my mom aren't willing to take that risk.

I’m hoping you agree with the government that Liz McAlister has served enough time in jail already and you’ll help our family close this long and challenging episode of our lives today by sentencing her to time served. I also hope that you will recognize that as a person who owns nothing but the clothes on her back and the water colors she uses to paint with her grandchildren, you will waive all fines and restitution. "

(Frida's full statement is on the website: Sentencing Statement.)

Liz's Statement

Finally Liz spoke about what motivated her to join this action and take such risks. She quoted the biblical exhortation to “Beat swords into plowshares” from Isaiah and said, “All my life I've tried to follow the prophet, Isaiah, to stop learning war... All my life I have spoken and written against nuclear weapons and I believe these are contrary to life, destructive of life on every single level.”

The sentencing hearing began with technical glitches and was adjourned for more than a half hour at the beginning while these were worked out. There were 270 people listening to the audio feed when adjourned and due to some confusion about getting back on only 230 were on for the actual hearing which went on for another hour. Judge Wood said that she had read several hundred letters which had come to her from plowshares supporters and considered each of them. However, the judge then ruled against all the defense arguments for mitigation.

The defendants are considering doing another webinar before the end of June. Stay tuned.

EMAIL: Media: kbp7media@gmail.com
General: kingsbayplowshares@gmail.com
WEBSITE: www.kingsbayplowshares7.org
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Kingsbayplowshares
TWITTER: https://www.twitter.com/kingsbayplow7
INSTAGRAM: https://instagram.com/kingsbayplowshares7







This will make you smile!

Atlanta called in the NG. Know what the NG did?




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



Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

Shooting, looting, scalping, lynching,
Raping, torturing their way across
the continent—400 years ago—
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide rolling down on
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide leaving in-
visible yellow crime
scene tape crisscrossing Tallahassee
to Seattle; San Diego to Bangor… 
Shooting Seneca, Seminole, Creek,
Choctaw, Mohawk, Cayuga, Blackfeet,
Shooting Sioux, Shawnee, Chickasaw,
Chippewa before
Looting Lakota land; Looting Ohlone
Looting Ashanti, Fulani, Huasa, Wolof,
Yoruba, Ibo, Kongo, Mongo, Hutu, Zulu…
Colonial settler thugs launched this
endless crimson tide—hot lead storms—
Shooting, looting Mexico for half of New
Mexico; a quarter of Colorado; some of
Wyoming and most of Arizona; Looting
Mexico for Utah, Nevada and California
So, next time Orange Mobutu, Boss Tweet,
is dirty like Duterte—howling for shooting;
Next time demented minions raise rifles to
shoot; Remind them that
Real looters wear Brooks Brothers suits;
Or gold braid and junk medals ‘cross their
chests. Real looters—with Capitalist Hill
Steal trillions
Not FOX-boxes, silly sneakers, cheap clothes…
© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.       




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:


@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.  

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

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



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!
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

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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. 


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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.”


Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)


[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





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:




Courage to Resist
www.couragetoresist.org ~ 510.488.3559 ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

484 Lake Park Ave # 41
OaklandCA 94610-2730
United States
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From Business Insider 2018



"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)







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)



















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



Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. ๐Ÿ˜“

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.




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.)









Friday post   Hate%2BSocialism



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

—Johnny Gould

(Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)






National Solidarity Events to Amplify Prisoners Human Rights 


To all in solidarity with the Prisoners Human Rights Movement:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

August 21st - September 9th, 2020


Dare to struggle, Dare to win!

We are--

"Jailhouse Lawyers Speak"  


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



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



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 




Board Game


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today

An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history.. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.

Spread the word!!

By Dr.... Nayvin Gordon



50 years in prison:  ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!! FREE Chip Fitzgerald  Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend former Black Panther                
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago...... A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.. NOW is the time for Chip to come home! In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman..... During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death. In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty.......... Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years...... But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since.  Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding.. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings: ·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more; ·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old; ·        for anyone with disabilities  Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria. But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.......... Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home. The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage..... We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately. What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP: 1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering. 2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs..google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing 3)   Write to Chip:   Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527, CSP-LAC P.O. Box 4490 B-4-150 Lancaster, CA 93539 -- Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863...................9977 https://freedomarchives.org/



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



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa 150bb949-a203-4101-a307-e2c8bf5391b6 
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release
63cefff3-ac06-4c55-bdf9-b0ee1d2ce336 Jalil A...... Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing... Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release. 48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release. 
Write: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of the State of New York Executive Chamber State Capital Building Albany, New York 12224 Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow; Ed Asner - Actor and Activist; Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District; Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council; Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate; Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist; Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild; "Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio; Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist; Mike Farrell - Actor and activist; Danny Glover – Actor and activist; Linda Gordon - New York University; Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University; Jamal Joseph - Columbia University; Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles; Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine; Imani Perry - Princeton University; Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago; Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker; Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney; Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association; Maggie Siff, Actor; Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan; Cornel West - Harvard University; Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.
Call: 1-518-474-8390 Email Gov.Cuomo with this form Tweet at @NYGovCuomo               
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as: ANTHONY JALIL BOTTOM, 77A4283, Sullivan Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 116, Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Funds for Kevin Cooper

https://www.gofundme.....com/funds-for-kevin-cooper?member=1994108 For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California..  Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here .....  In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov..... Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison..  The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings ......... Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls........ Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state.......... Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority... We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested.  Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning... The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West.....  Sign now! The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible... They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him........... Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger... The world is still watching. Sign now! [1] https://www..nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.....html [2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/ Sign this petitionhttps://internal.diem25.....org/en/petitions/1 



Words of Wisdom LouisRobinsonJr77yrsold 

Louis Robinson Jr., 77 Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.
"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill...... All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No.... We aren't going for this......... Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did.. It happened... It doesn't feel good..." [On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.........] https://www.......nytimes.com/interactive/2019/05/01/magazine/lordstown-general-motors-plant...html


Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg 

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more...  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018..  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:
Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S............ Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102 Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement. Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more. In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name..  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up. 
Who to contact: TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier Phone: (936)295-6371 Email:  exec.director@tdcj.texas.....gov Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit) Phone: (361) 362-2300






1) Port of Oakland shut down by dockworkers in observation of Juneteenth
By Shwanika Narayan and Roland Li June 19, 2020
Civil rights icon Angela Davis pumps her fist during a Juneteenth protest against police brutality as longshoremen shut down the Port of Oakland and 28 other ports along the west coast on Friday in Oakland.

[Note: We were driving across the Bay Bridge June 19th around 7:30 P.M. and saw no less than ten cargo ships just sitting out on the bay. —Bonnie Weinstein]

Economic activity at the Port of Oakland came to a halt on Friday as thousands of workers and supporters gathered on Middle Harbor Road to protest police brutality and racism in the United States.

The demonstration, organized by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, coincided with demonstrations planned today at 28 other seaports in California, Oregon and Washington.

The day of action — expected to shut down the port for all of Friday — was held on Juneteenth (June 19), a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the U.S. With support of the ports, workers stopped processing cargo and rallied to mark the anniversary and call for police reform.

The Juneteenth stoppage follows mass protests on June 9 at all 29 West Coast ports which idled terminal operations for 8 minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time a police officer in Minnesota knelt on George Floyd’s neck— an African American man — leaving him gasping for air before he died, on May 25.

Sparked by Floyd’s death, protests have continued for three weeks across the country, toppling Confederate statues amid a flurry of announcements from companies that are pledging to do better on diversity initiatives. The protests, which also include outrage over the police killings of Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks and others, have spread beyond the United States and into other countries.

Local 10, Local 34 and the African American Longshore Coalition led the rally at the port. Demonstrators drove in a caravan, and marched, to the Oakland Police Department headquarters and City Hall from the port.

"You represent the potential and the power of the labor movement," Angela Davis, a longtime activist who was a member of the Black Panther Party, said at the rally. She said she hopes that other labor unions will join in the effort of "abolishing the police as we know them" and "re-imagining public safety."

Other speakers included actor Danny Glover, who called in to voice support, and Michael Brown Sr., the father of Michael Brown Jr., the 18-year-old black man who was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.

"We're not working today. We're standing in solidarity," said Willie Adams, president of the ILWU, at the Port of Oakland. He said dock workers in Genoa, Italy had stopped work in solidarity. "Good cops have got to start checking those bad cops. You can't stand by and let something happen. You're just as guilty," Adams said.

Cestra Butner, the board president for the Port of Oakland and a prominent African American business leader, said there’s no question that the port stood behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We want this country to live up to what it’s supposed to be,” he said in a Friday video addressed to employees and the public.

On June 6, the port issued a statement supporting the movement for social and racial justice. Butner called for more. “I’m proud the Port has a statement on this issue,” he said in the video. “Now we have to follow that up with our actions. We must ask: Are we making everything equal?”

The mood in downtown Oakland was exuberant as cars honked, music from James Brown played and over 100 bikers sped up and down Broadway with raised fists. A troupe of drummers performed in front of City Hall starting around 1 p.m. as the crowd swelled to thousands around Frank Ogawa Plaza, which activists are calling Oscar Grant Plaza for the black man killed by a BART policeman in 2009.

Rapper and film director Boots Riley said in front of Oakland City Hall that the port work stoppage and other labor efforts would maintain pressure for meaningful change.“We don’t want to just ask for things to get better. We’re going to say, ‘It’s going to get better or else,’” he said.

Oakland resident Gwendoline Pouchoulin displayed homemade signs that said “All Black Lives Matter” and a quote from author Alice Walker (“The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any)”. She first started attending local protests in 2013 and said this year’s were much larger.

“I think if there’s a moment to show up, it’s now,” she said.



2) Trump 'furious' about 'underwhelming' crowd at Tulsa rally
"This was a major failure," one outside adviser said.
By Monica Alba, Kristen Welker and Carol E. Lee, June 21, 2020
Screen shot of empty seats at rally: "While the Trump re-election effort boasted that it would fill BOK Center, which seats more than 19,000 people, only 6,200 supporters ultimately occupied the general admission sections..."

furious" at the "underwhelming" crowd at his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Saturday evening, a major disappointment for what had been expected to be a raucous return to the campaign trail after three months off because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to multiple people close to the White House.

The president was fuming at his top political aides Saturday even before the rally began after his campaign revealed that six members of the advance team on the ground in Tulsa had tested positive for COVID-19, including Secret Service personnel, a person familiar with the discussions said.

Trump asked those around him why the information was exposed and expressed annoyance that the coverage ahead of his mega-rally was dominated by the revelation.

While the Trump re-election effort boasted that it would fill BOK Center, which seats more than 19,000 people, only 6,200 supporters ultimately occupied the general admission sections, the Tulsa fire marshal told NBC News.

The campaign was so confident about a high turnout that it set up an overflow area, which it had expected to attract thousands. But the plan was scrapped at the last minute when only dozens gathered at the time the vice president and the president were set to address the crowd inside.

"It's politics 101: You under-promise and overdeliver," a Trump ally said, conceding the missteps the Trump 2020 team took in the lead-up to the event by saying nearly 1 million people had responded to requests for admission.

Much of the blame is falling on campaign manager Brad Parscale, who in the days leading up the event aggressively touted the number of registrations, but those close to him stress that his job is safe, for now.

Last month, after dismal polling revealed that the president is trailing the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, in key battleground states that Trump won in 2016, Parscale was reprimanded and a deputy was brought in to help steer the ship.

There are growing concerns among Trump campaign officials that neither the president nor the 2020 team have a coherent message for why he should serve a second term. Saturday evening's meandering, nearly two-hour rally speech is the latest evidence of a lack of a targeted strategy to attack Biden with less than five months to go until the general election.

Many issues could have contributed to the poor attendance in Tulsa: a fear of contracting the virus, concern over potential protests and torrential thunderstorms in 95-degree heat. But outside advisers see the visuals of empty seats overshadowing Trump's remarks as a significant problem for a president and a campaign that are obsessed with optics.

"This was a major failure," one outside adviser said.



3) White Americans Say They Are Waking Up to Racism. What Will It Add Up To?
Anti-racism activists have detailed concerns that are not only about symbols or slurs but also about entire systems governing how Americans live.
By Amy Harmon and Audra D. S. Burch, June 22, 2020
An art installation in Minneapolis honors 100 people who died in lynchings, in custody or at the hands of the authorities. The corner where George Floyd was killed is three blocks away.Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times

One recent afternoon, while washing his car, Greg Reese, a white stay-at-home dad in Campton, Ky., peeled off the Confederate flag magnet he had placed on its trunk six years earlier. He did not put it back on.

It was a small act for which he expected no accolades. It should not have taken the police killing of George Floyd, Mr. Reese knew, to face what he had long known to be true, that the flag he had grown up thinking of as “a beautiful trophy” was “a symbol of hate, and it’s obviously wrong to glorify it.”

The sustained outcry over Mr. Floyd’s death has compelled many white Americans to acknowledge the anti-black racism that is prevalent in the United States — and to perhaps even examine their own culpability for it. It is as though the ability of white people to collectively ignore the everyday experience of black people has been short-circuited, at least for now.

Large numbers of white Americans have attended racial justice demonstrations, purchased books about racial inequality and registered for webinars on how to raise  children who are anti-racist. Some have asked themselves pointed questions, like how much professional advantage they have garnered from being white, and whether they would willingly cede it if they could. Others are going to tattoo parlors to cover up images of Confederate flags, swastikas and Ku Klux Klan symbols on their bodies.

It is hard to know how deep or wide these responses run — and whether they are the result of pressure from peers to appear tolerant, or if meaningful action will follow. Anti-racism activists have specified concerns that are not about only symbols or slurs but entire systems governing how Americans live.

Some of the same communities where white liberals have been marching with Black Lives Matter signs have seen steep resistance to efforts to integrate public schools and neighborhoods. And what some consider a profound questioning of white supremacy to others can seem laughably little and unconscionably late. The most frustrating thing about this moment, said Jeremy O. Harris, a playwright and the writer of “Slave Play,” is “listening to white people say this is the first time they realize how bad it is.”

In interviews, some white Americans admitted that even the process of reflecting on racism underscored for them how little they grasp the everyday experience of being black in America.

Research shows there is scant interpersonal contact between white and black Americans: One in five white respondents to a  poll from the Public Religion Research Institute last year said that they rarely or ever had an interaction with someone of a different race. In a 2013 study by the same group, a nonpartisan nonprofit, respondents were asked to identify the race of as many as seven people with whom they had discussed important matters in the six months before the survey. Among white respondents, 75 percent named only white individuals as their core friendship network.

“Many white Americans have chosen places to live, places to send their children to school, places to vacation, jobs to pursue, in ways that allow them to avoid thinking about racial inequality,’’ said Jennifer Chudy, a political scientist at Wellesley College. Her research suggests that only one in five white Americans consistently express high levels of sympathy about racial discrimination against black Americans.

The combination of the coronavirus pandemic, economic collapse and a bungled emergency response by the Trump administration indirectly laid the foundation for the furor among white Americans that followed the cellphone video of Mr. Floyd’s death.

“All of that, I believe, is converging at this point to make people, white people in particular, think through America,” said Carol Anderson, author of “White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide” and a professor of African-American studies at Emory University. “What kind of nation is this, that can be comfortable with a police officer kneeling on someone’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds? And when you start asking that question, then all of the kinds of narratives and shibboleths begin to quake.”

It was the words of Mr. Floyd’s daughter, Mr. Reese said, that propelled him to join the activist group Southern Crossroads and to create a “Rednecks for Black Lives” decal that he hopes will appeal to politically conservative friends and neighbors. The group’s leaders say that majority-white, working-class communities like Mr. Reese’s stand to benefit themselves from forming multiracial alliances.

“The one thing that flipped me and made me really want to do something was when that baby said that her daddy changed the world,” said Mr. Reese, referring to comments by Mr. Floyd’s six-year-old daughter, Gianna. “And I want to make that true. I want that baby’s words to come true.”

A shift in the priorities of white Americans regarding racial equality, race scholars said, is critical to achieving it. In the first two weeks of coast-to-coast protests, support for Black Lives Matter increased by nearly as much as it had the previous two years, according to Civiqs, an online research firm. Just over half of American voters support the movement, and in dozens of towns that held protests, the population was almost exclusively white.

“This is the first time that I think a lot of us have felt that the battle is legitimately joined,” the author Ta-Nehisi Coates said on “The Ezra Klein Show’’ last week. Significant swathes of people in nonblack communities, Mr. Coates said, have come to perceive something of the deep pain and suffering experienced by black Americans. “I think that’s different.’’

One source of angst for white Americans who say they want to dismantle racism, though, is not knowing precisely where to start. They worry about sounding racist and not sounding sufficiently anti-racist. Some have made misguided offers of cash to black acquaintances who feel condescended to. Others have formed anti-racist study groups with other white people — but worry that those, too, are lacking.

“I’ll be thinking, ‘Constantly acknowledging racism right now, it’s so draining,’’’ said Erin Lunsford, 29, of Richmond, Va., who has engaged in dozens of conversations regarding defunding the police, a popular policy proposal among anti-racism activists that she initially rejected.  “And then I’m like, ‘Imagine being a black person doing that your whole life.’’’

In the month since Mr. Floyd’s death, a museum on the courthouse square in Sumner, Miss., dedicated to Emmett Till, whose horrific 1955 murder helped to galvanize the civil rights movement, has received 10 times the usual number of calls. Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission — which founded the museum —  said the callers were white Americans wanting to contribute to preservation projects or to help develop curriculum. Dozens more downloaded a smartphone app which guides users on a virtual tour of civil rights history.

Since the first week of protests, Akbar Watson, the owner of a black bookstore in Boynton Beach, Fla., has been slammed with book sales and requests from customers as far away as California and Maine. One day, he said, he sold 40 books before lunch. Another day, a woman in Ohio purchased 34 black children’s books for her daughter’s school classroom. And for the first time in his 28 years in business, he has he sold out of his titles about racial inequalities.

“These are white Americans who are calling and ordering books to try to educate themselves and to try to figure out what to do as a response to what is happening,” said Mr. Watson, 60, the owner of Pyramid Books, who spent Saturday hand-delivering books in Palm Beach County.

Matt Bartley, a tattoo artist in Pikeville, Ky.,  has fielded more than 20 requests to cover-up racist tattoos since he began offering the service for free after Mr. Floyd’s death. One client had the words “Mein Kampf” tattooed on him, by his father, when he was a teenager, Mr. Bartley said. Similar services are being performed by tattoo artists in Dallas, Murray, Ky., Charlottesville, Va., Maryville, Tenn., and Nashville.

Among Mr. Bartley’s clients was Kyle Kessler, a 29-year-old who had a Confederate flag tattoo covered last week.

Mr. Kessler said he never saw the Confederate flag as a racist symbol, until recently. He got the tattoo when he was 18, in tribute to one of his favorite bands.

But in conversations with his wife and sister about Mr. Floyd’s death, he began to wonder what impact the flag has on black Americans. He also wondered what the repercussions could be for his 3-month-old son and whether he’d be setting the wrong example.

“With everything going on, he’s going to be taught that’s racist, which I now know it is,” Mr. Kessler said. “I didn’t want him thinking, ‘Daddy’s got that and it’s racist, so it’s OK to be racist.’”

Mr. Kessler said Mr. Floyd’s death, and the protests that followed, have made him think differently about the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, Mr. Kessler said he appreciates that people are standing up for themselves and their right to equality. His new tattoo — the same guitar but without the Confederate banner — reflects that changing perspective.

In Somerset, a small town in southwestern Pennsylvania, Cindy Kinsella, 61, said she knows far more police officers than black people — her brother is a state police officer in Maryland, and she knows plenty of corrections officers.

She wasn’t sure what to make of the protests when her son told her that he was helping to plan a demonstration. She wished him luck. Then she thought a little more about it.

“I got off the phone and thought, ‘You know what? I’m going to take my grandson, who is 12, and we’re going down,’” she recalled. “Just because I thought we could educate ourselves a bit.”

They went to the rally and though they didn’t march, they watched and listened to the speakers. It was peaceful, nothing like some of the violent protests she had seen in photographs and videos.

It’s unclear what he got out of it. But she said she changed her thinking on some things. For example, the phrase Black Lives Matter.

“Before,” she said, “I thought, ‘Why do we have to say Black lives matter? Because all lives matter, police lives latter, white lives matter.’ But as they explained a little bit, ‘We’re not saying all lives don’t matter. It’s that all lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.’”

Dana Goldstein, Campbell Robertson, Will Wright and Jack Begg contributed.



4) How Was My Son Ahmaud Arbery’s Murder Not a Hate Crime?
Georgia is one of only four states without a bias crime law. This must change.
By Wanda Cooper-Jones, June 9, 2020

Screen shot of Wanda Cooper-Jones, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery

After Ahmaud Arbery was chased down and killed while he was jogging in Glynn County, Ga., investigators say, one of the white men accused of shooting him used a racial slur. In the above video, Wanda Cooper-Jones, Mr. Arbery’s mother, demands that these men be prosecuted not just on charges of killing her son but also for targeting him because of his skin color. Yet as it now stands, that can’t happen: Georgia is one of just four states in the country without a hate crime law.

Georgia lawmakers can change this. They’re going back into session next Monday, giving them the opportunity to decide whether to bring a hate crime bill up for a vote.

If we can’t stop these hate-inspired attacks, we can at least prosecute them for what they are.

Wanda Cooper-Jones is the mother of Ahmaud Arbery.



5) America Is Too Broken to Fight the Coronavirus
No other developed country is doing so badly.
By Michelle Goldberg, June 22, 2020
Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Graphs of the coronavirus curves in Britain, Canada, Germany and Italy look like mountains, with steep climbs up and then back down. The one for America shows a fast climb up to a plateau. For a while, the number of new cases in the U.S. was at least slowly declining. Now, according to The Times, it’s up a terrifying 22 percent over the last 14 days.

As Politico reported on Monday, Italy’s coronavirus catastrophe once looked to Americans like a worst-case scenario. Today, it said, “America’s new per capita cases remain on par with Italy’s worst day — and show signs of rising further.”

This is what American exceptionalism looks like under Donald Trump. It’s not just that the United States has the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths of any country in the world. Republican political dysfunction has made a coherent campaign to fight the pandemic impossible.

At the federal level as well as in many states, we’re seeing a combination of the blustering contempt for science that marks the conservative approach to climate change and the high tolerance for carnage that makes American gun culture unique.

The rot starts at the top. At the beginning of the crisis Trump acted as if he could wish the coronavirus away, and after an interval when he at least pretended to take it seriously, his administration has resumed a posture of blithe denial.

The task force led by Mike Pence has been sidelined, its members meeting only twice a week. Last Tuesday, the vice president wrote an op-ed essay in The Wall Street Journal about how well things are going: “We are winning the fight against the invisible enemy,” he claimed.

In an interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity last week, Trump said the virus is “fading away.” Speaking to The Journal, he said that some people might be wearing masks only to show their disapproval of him and suggested, contrary to all credible public health guidance, that mask-wearing might increase people’s risk of infection. It’s not surprising, then, that many people at his sad Saturday rally in Tulsa, Okla. — where coronavirus cases are spiking — went maskless.

Just a few weeks ago, panicked about occupying my kids through the summer in a shut-down New York City, I thought about taking them to stay with my retired parents in Arizona. Now, as New York gingerly reopens, Arizona has become a hot spot — which isn’t stopping Trump from holding a rally at a Phoenix megachurch on Tuesday. Cases are also soaring in Texas, Florida and several other states. An epidemic that was once concentrated in blue states is increasingly raging in red ones.

When coronavirus cases started exploding on the East Coast in March, there were devastating failures by Democratic leaders. New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, not only forced nursing homes to take back residents who’d been hospitalized for the coronavirus, he barred them from testing the residents to see if they were still infected.

As ProPublica reported, following Cuomo’s order, “Covid-19 tore through New York state’s nursing facilities, killing more than 6,000 people — about 6 percent of its more than 100,000 nursing home residents.” In Florida, which prohibited such transfers, the virus has so far killed only 1.6 percent of nursing home residents.

Given how Cuomo’s errors contributed to New York’s catastrophe, it’s hard to say how much credit he deserves for eventually rising to the occasion. Still, by the time New York’s cases got to where Arizona’s are now, he at least understood that the state faced calamity and imposed the lockdown that helped bring it back from the abyss.

Arizona, Florida and Texas, by contrast, aren’t even doing simple things like mandating mask-wearing. Worse, until last week, the governors of Arizona and Texas prevented cities from instituting their own such requirements.

So far, evidence about the role mass protests over police violence played in coronavirus spikes is mixed, but liberal support for the demonstrations solidified the conviction among many conservatives that strict social distancing rules are a hypocritical tool of social control. The paranoia and resentment that have long been part of the culture of the modern right are now directed at those warning about the ongoing dangers of the pandemic.

Across the country, public health workers have faced death threats, harassment and armed protesters at their homes. No matter how bad things get in red America, it’s hard to imagine where the political will to contain the virus will come from.

So while countries with competent leadership haltingly return to normal, ours will continue to be pummeled. In mid-May, when America’s coronavirus death toll was around 85,000, Trump sycophant Lindsey Graham said that as long as fatalities didn’t go much beyond 120,000, “I think you can say you limited the casualties in this war.”

By The Times’s count, we just hit that number. The war goes on, but Trump has already lost it.



6) The White House Is Quietly Deporting Children
The Trump administration is flouting the law to turn away minors in desperate need of protection.
By Maria Woltjen, June 22, 2020
Ms. Woltjen is the executive director and founder of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights.
Migrants arriving in Guatemala City in April after being deported from the United States. Credit...Luis Echeverria/Reuters

The Supreme Court decision last week protecting the DACA program was reason for celebration, but the Trump administration’s assault on immigration isn’t over. President Trump has already said he plans to keep pushing to end DACA. But more immediately, under the guise of the pandemic, the Trump administration is turning back unaccompanied children at the border in violation of federal law.

In October 2017 the White House issued a wish list of immigration policies it wanted to carry out. First on the list was building the border wall. No. 2 was deporting children who were traveling on their own. That is quietly happening right now, with public health as the excuse.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control indefinitely extended an order barring the entry of migrants seeking protection at land borders, including children. This order, first issued in March, flouts the federal anti-trafficking law that requires the government to place unaccompanied children into protective custody and allow them to go before an asylum officer or judge.

So far, Border Patrol agents, who have not been trained on how to ask for or evaluate testimony, have turned back more than 2,000 children, either sending them back over the bridge to Mexico, or putting them on Immigration and Customs Enforcement flights back to their home country.

Children, many of them younger than 13, come to the United States from all over the world seeking safety. Our anti-trafficking law requires that, once the Border Patrol apprehends a child, they must be transferred to the care and custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and placed in a shelter where they can recover enough to tell their story, have the opportunity to ask for protection, and be placed with family members in the United States while they go through immigration proceedings.

Our government is returning children targeted by gangs right back to their tormentors, abused children to their abusers. I’ve worked with unaccompanied children for 16 years. It takes time to unravel these children’s stories, to figure out what, if anything they have to return to.

Once, my group was assigned to work with a 16-year-old girl from Haiti who was pregnant. One of our French-speaking volunteers met with her for months before she felt comfortable enough to share her story about walking home from school one day and being grabbed and blindfolded by a gang of men who raped her. She became pregnant as a result and felt so ashamed that it took her months to talk about it with her volunteer advocate.

In another case, a teenage boy from Guatemala, who spoke an indigenous language and understood very little Spanish, was brought to the United States by a coyote. He was placed in protective custody and was assigned a child advocate.

It took nearly a year for the advocate to determine that he had been forced to work in cornfields for six days a week, from sunup to sundown. He wasn’t allowed to attend school. His advocate made the case that it was not in his best interests to be sent back. He was granted asylum and is now enrolled in community college.

Another priority on the administration’s 2017 wish list was to get rid of the Flores settlement agreement, a 1997 consent decree that prevents the Department of Homeland Security from holding children in family detention for more than 20 days. While the Trump administration has tried to get around the Flores agreement, the federal courts have thwarted those efforts.

But top agency officials have reinstated a plan called “binary choice.” Homeland Security told parents in family detention that if they’re worried about the coronavirus, they could sign paperwork to get their children released. Parents face the torturous “choice” of keeping their children indefinitely detained in conditions that one federal court has described as “hotbeds for contagion” or being separated from them. It’s family separation redux.

During the pandemic, we’ve all been required to accept significant limits on our day-to-day life to protect ourselves, to protect our communities. But that’s not a reason to turn away children, especially children desperately in need of protection.

As was recently pointed out by public health experts, there are steps we can take to reduce the health risks for immigrant children who arrive at the border on their own, while protecting Americans. Shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement are nearly empty — there is plenty of room to quarantine children for 14 days.

The child welfare laws of all 50 states require that before a child is placed with family, or sent across state lines, a judge must consider whether the child will be safe. That requirement doesn’t disappear because there’s a pandemic. Unaccompanied immigrant children deserve no less — we have an obligation, under federal and international law, to learn their stories and make sure the next place they land they’ll be safe.



7) Sex Does Not Mean Gender. Equating Them Erases Trans Lives.
Embracing the experiences of trans people means leaving old vocabularies behind.
By Devin Michelle Bunten, June 23, 2020
Ms. Bunten teaches urban planning at M.I.T.
Aimee Stephens, seated, listened to a news conference in October after arguments in her Supreme Court case about employment discrimination against transgender and gay people. Credit...Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Men menstruate. Some have even given birth. Women with penises and prominent larynxes walk the streets and use the ladies’ restroom. Nonbinary people wear binders and use they/them pronouns. It’s 2020.

The Trump administration would like to turn back the clock. This month, the administration finalized a rule that would erase nondiscrimination protections for trans people in the provision of health care. The administration’s mode of attack is linguistic. Trans people live in the space between “gender” and “sex,” and the new rule aims to erase us by conflating the concepts.

A full embrace of this new trans reality will mean leaving behind old vocabularies. Some changes are simple: We can speak of trans mothers and brothers and siblings as easily as of any other family member. Others are more contested. “They” as a singular pronoun is not without its detractors, Shakespeare aside. And some words will need to be reconfigured entirely. The “feminine products” aisle offers tampons and pads and diva cups — tools for managing the biological function of menstruation. Again, some men menstruate. So why not simply call these menstrual products?

“Sex” is a biological framework, a panoply of possibility on its own. “Sex” needs precise words like “male” and “female” and “intersex” to describe the origins, components and functions of bodies. But we can’t maintain this precision if we use words about sex to describe gender — the social and political roles and possibilities we take on as women, as men, as something else or none of the above.

That is to say: Stop using “male” and “female” to refer to men and women. In fact, stop using sex-based words to refer to people at all. They’re words for bodies, not for people with hearts and souls and minds.

Anti-trans revanchists have centered their battles in wordplay — if you can call it that. J.K. Rowling, in a recent tweet, noted that “people who menstruate” were once referred to as “Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?” (She meant “women.” There’s that wordplay.)

She also argued, “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased” and “erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives.” Ms. Rowling’s linguistic wizardry cloaks her political goal, to assign gender purely by sex, and therefore relegate trans-ness to a closet under the stairs.

It should be noted that trans people do not generally believe sex is not real; indeed, discomfort with the sex of our bodies is a frequent challenge for trans people. Ms. Rowling knows this, since she knows what the word “trans” means. Words hold power, and it’s no surprise that pushback to a rising trans presence has come in the form of definitional conservatism.

But the battle extends beyond language, and Ms. Rowling’s semantic battle has been taken to new theaters by the Trump administration. From our schools to our hospitals to the federal work force, the administration has pursued new rules that define trans people out of existence. This is an attack on trans lives. As with Ms. Rowling, the language of the proposed rules is the language of bodies: the social roles of “man” and “woman” are the only two available, and we are all assigned one at birth according to our bodies. (Intersex individuals will note that false binaries are not limited to social roles.)

Last week, the judiciary offered trans people some relief. The Supreme Court ruled, “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII,” which prohibits employers from discriminating based on sex. Aimee Stephens, a trans woman and a plaintiff in the case, was fired after notifying her employer she would be transitioning. As the court argued, she was fired because of her sex. The logic is impeccable. The only difference between a trans woman and a cisgender woman is the sex assigned to her at birth: Firing a trans woman but keeping a cis woman must be discrimination based on sex, which is illegal.

In finding for Aimee Stephens, the Supreme Court reinforced the centrality of bodies to the word “sex,” while undermining the patriarchal belief that our bodies should determine our gender. Unfortunately, the protections depend on the language of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and remain as limited as the imaginations of its authors. While male and female people are protected classes, nonbinary or genderqueer people may not have enforceable rights — say, to a gender-neutral bathroom — under the act.

Clarity in language provides social and linguistic accommodation for those of us traditionally denied both. The battle for civil rights is the battle over words. Denying trans people passports because our gender doesn’t match the sex assigned to us at birth limits freedom of movement. For trans immigrants and asylum seekers, this restricts access to families abroad. Denying trans people access to bathrooms on the basis of sex denies us access to public spaces. (Can you imagine spending a day at school or work without using the bathroom? If you can’t pee, you don’t have access.)

When you use words like “male” as shorthand for those privileged by the patriarchy, you leave trans women uncertain whether you have our backs or — like the Trump administration and J.K. Rowling — you are trying to write us out of existence. It’s impossible to dismantle the patriarchy while wearing a “pussy hat.”

The anti-trans clique would pursue legal restrictions where nature has concocted something more anarchic. But we are already here, being trans, at your job, on your block, in your bathroom. And we deserve no less. Rooting our social possibilities in our bodies is an abandonment of our humanity in favor of mere anatomy.



8) Qualified Immunity Protection for Police Emerges as Flash Point Amid Protests
The Supreme Court developed the doctrine that serves as a shield for officers. A half-century later, it is at the center of the debate over policing.
By Hailey Fuchs, June 23, 2020

When “I see a news report of another victim, it just opens up the wounds again,” said Robert Jones, whose brother was killed by the police in 2013. Credit...Jason Andrew for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — Long before the death of George Floyd set off a nationwide uproar over police brutality, before protests erupted in 2014 over the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., a 50-year-old man named Wayne Jones took a night stroll through the streets of Martinsburg, W.Va.

A police officer saw Mr. Jones walking illegally in the road that night in 2013 and asked whether he was carrying a weapon. Mr. Jones, who had a small knife, and the police got into a tussle, after which one officer accused Mr. Jones of stabbing him. Fifteen minutes later, Mr. Jones lay on the ground facedown between a stone wall and five officers, who had fired 22 bullets at his backside.

Mr. Jones’s brothers, Robert and Bruce, have tried for years to hold the police accountable for Wayne’s death but have repeatedly run into hurdles: Most recently, the officers claimed they could not be held liable under so-called qualified immunity, an esoteric legal doctrine invoked by police departments across the country for decades in response to allegations of excessive force. It provides legal protections for officers when they are accused of violating others’ constitutional rights.

Once a little-known rule, qualified immunity has emerged as a flash point in the protests spurred by Mr. Floyd’s killing and galvanized calls for police reform. In the vast majority of cases of police brutality, officers are never criminally prosecuted. For families of victims seeking some sort of relief through the justice system, qualified immunity presents another obstacle to obtaining financial or other damages. Even in the rare cases where the officers are charged, as in Mr. Floyd’s death, the police can still claim qualified immunity if relatives or victims sue them.

“Every time across the country that I hear of a new case, I see a news report of another victim, it just opens up the wounds again,” Robert Jones said. “It makes it feel like it just happened yesterday.”

Activists have seized on qualified immunity as what they see as one of the biggest problems with policing and argued that it shields officers from being held accountable in cases of misconduct. Police leaders said it was essential for officers’ ability to respond to calls and to make split-second decisions.

Qualified immunity is a focal point of the new debate on Capitol Hill over how to address systemic racism in policing and use of excessive force. House Democrats unveiled a bill that would allow victims of police brutality to seek damages from their assailants. A competing Senate Republican bill made no mention of qualified immunity, and the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, called it a “total and complete nonstarter.”

State legislatures have taken up the issue as well. The Colorado General Assembly became the first to eliminate qualified immunity this month.

“It’s a message that’s sent in these cases — that officers can violate people’s rights with impunity,” said Joanna Schwartz, a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, who has written extensively on the doctrine. “That is outrageous to people and causing people to act.”

In 1967, amid another era marked by civil rights protests, the Supreme Court introduced qualified immunity to protect government officials acting in good faith — not just police officers — from financial liability. In a case involving clergy members who said they were wrongfully arrested on charges of breach of peace for entering a whites-only bus terminal waiting room, the justices argued that if officers were personally held responsible for their misconduct, it might deter them from performing their duties and making arrests.

The court expanded the protection in ensuing decades, and it now covers “all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law,” a rationale offered by the Supreme Court in 1986 in an unlawful arrest case.

As a result, victims and families accusing police officers of brutality must find a virtually identical case where officers were held responsible to cite as precedent in cases where officers claim qualified immunity.

Since Mr. Brown’s shooting death by a white officer in 2014 and protests over it prompted a national conversation about racism and police brutality, both liberal and conservative justices have expressed doubts about the doctrine. Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in 2018 that the doctrine “tells officers that they can shoot first and think later, and it tells the public that palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished.”

When the Supreme Court declined last week to take up several cases concerning qualified immunity, Justice Clarence Thomas, the lone dissenting voice, expressed “strong doubts” about the doctrine.

Critics have accused the court of arbitrarily contriving it. At a House Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Representative Jerrold R. Nadler, Democrat of New York and the committee chairman, said that before qualified immunity was “invented” by the Supreme Court, “the world did not fall in.”

David Cole, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed one of the petitions rejected by the Supreme Court last week, called the doctrine “a free pass” for police officers “to violate constitutional rights without being held to account.”

Though the doctrine is intended to protect officers from paying for the damages they cause, he said the result is that officers are more likely to abuse their powers. “Fiscal concerns are overriding concerns about justice and police accountability,” Mr. Cole added.

Advocates on behalf of the police insisted that qualified immunity was necessary for officers to protect the public. Its protections allow officers to make life-or-death decisions in a matter of seconds, they said, and without it, fewer people might be willing to join police forces.

Bill Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations, said critics of qualified immunity were seizing on the moment to attack a doctrine that had little to do with the widely condemned deaths of Mr. Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, who was shot to death this month by the police in a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta, and unfairly targeting the police.

The doctrine does not apply in criminal cases like those pending against the officers involved in the death of Mr. Floyd. Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, was recorded on video pinning Mr. Floyd to the ground for nearly nine minutes as Mr. Floyd protested that he could not breathe. Mr. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder, and the other three officers involved were charged with aiding and abetting in Mr. Floyd’s death. None has entered a plea in court.

“The proponents looking at qualified immunity are kind of cynically taking advantage of a horrific situation to change the law in a different area that does not apply to that area at all,” Mr. Johnson said.

But the charges in the deaths of Mr. Floyd and Mr. Brooks are anomalies. According to Mapping Police Violence, a group that collects data on police shootings, of the 1,147 people killed by the police in 2017, officers were charged with a crime in 13 of the cases, or about 1 percent.

In the vast majority of cases where officers are not charged, victims can pursue justice only in the form of financial or other damages through lawsuits. Qualified immunity can block them from obtaining relief.

Republicans in Congress have rejected any change to the broad protection afforded to police officers. Senator Tim Scott, Republican of South Carolina, who sponsored his party’s bill, called Democrats’ effort to eliminate qualified immunity a “poison pill.” Republicans’ policing bill would create incentives for departments to use body cameras and ban chokeholds as well as create a system to track misconduct.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, did signal an openness to revisiting the doctrine at a committee meeting last week. “Maybe there’s something we can do with the concept of qualified immunity that would put more accountability into the agencies that run police departments,” he suggested.

Another Republican senator, Mike Braun of Indiana, told reporters last week that he would introduce legislation this week to change how qualified immunity was applied.

Wayne Jones’s family won a small victory this month when the federal Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the officers involved in his killing could not claim qualified immunity. Noting that the F.B.I. had just begun investigating Mr. Floyd’s killing, the court wrote, “This has to stop.”

Mr. Jones’s relatives are awaiting a decision from the West Virginia Supreme Court about whether they are entitled to see secret testimony given to the grand jury that voted not to indict the officers and whether they are entitled to a new grand jury altogether to investigate the case anew.

Seven years later, Quakers and other groups in the area host monthly vigils for Mr. Jones. And for his brother Robert, the feeling of loss is still fresh. He never watched the footage of his brother’s killing in full, but he mustered up the courage to watch the final minutes of Mr. Floyd’s life. It brought him to tears, and he said that protections for officers, like qualified immunity, are to blame in the deaths.

“It’s like a thief,” he said. “If you keep letting the thief get away with it, he’s going to keep on doing it. If you keep letting these people kill and harass and hurt people, they’re going to keep on doing it.”



9) Trump Didn’t ‘Send In the Troops.’ They Were Already There.
Police today can turn out with more weaponry than I had in 1992, as a Marine deployed to a burning Los Angeles. What does it mean to project this much force at home?
By C. J. Chivers, June 23, 2020
National Guard soldiers in South Central Los Angeles following the acquittal in 1992 of police officers who beat Rodney King, an unarmed black man. Credit...Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images

A little more than 28 years ago, a convoy of Marines drove north on Interstate 5 toward Los Angeles. I was in the convoy, a young Marine company commander, riding with misgivings.

The city was smoldering after two nights of violence and arson following the acquittal of police officers who had brutally beaten Rodney King, an unarmed black man. President George H.W. Bush had federalized active-duty troops overnight under the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that grants a president powers to deploy military forces against domestic rebellion or disorder.

Before departing our base at Camp Pendleton, my company gunnery sergeant, a reasonable and world-weary grunt in his 30s who was wounded in Kuwait the year before, came to see me in my office. He thought Bush’s decision was a bad call. Our unit was packed with veterans from Desert Storm who were experienced and well trained, but we knew little about countering civil disturbance, much less the complexities of operating as agents of domestic law enforcement. And now, on essentially no notice, we were to be issued shields and batons and turned loose?

After the gunny and I conferred, I met one of our bosses and suggested we leave our unit’s machine guns and other heavy weapons in the armory and go north only with riot-control equipment, Beretta pistols and M16s. It seemed clear enough that machine guns would almost certainly be disproportionate to the situation in Los Angeles, and that a mishap could be catastrophic. Our colonels agreed. As our company drove north, the machine-gun turrets of our Humvees were empty.

Along the interstate between Camp Pendleton and our first stop, the now-closed Marine Corps Air Station in Tustin southeast of Los Angeles, people turned out at guardrails and overpasses to cheer the Humvees and troop-carrying trucks. I remember their pumping fists and applause. I remember ebullient faces shouting words we could not hear over the diesel engines’ low rumble. And I remember that most of the faces along the highway were white. Riding shotgun in the lead Humvee, I felt shame.

How a government prepares for and uses violence — including when, why and against whom — contains on some level a declaration about what kind of government that government is. At Tustin, we passed out ammunition, quickly practiced riot-control formations in front of television-news crews and then headed into Los Angeles and cities nearby. As my company arrived in Compton, I’d like to say we understood the context of the role we were given: that even a limited Marine deployment in a genuinely extreme situation would run inevitably into the ugly history of state force in the United States, and who receives the brunt of it. But domestic crowd control had never been our specialty, and because this was 1992, a time before Google and smartphones, we could not readily call anyone or look anything up. We didn’t know, as we met our new police partners, that the Insurrection Act was a tool American presidents repeatedly relied on to reinforce the police or impose law when the inequities and brutalities of slavery and its enduring legacy became especially combustible: to crush Nat Turner’s rebellion, to suppress the Ku Klux Klan during Reconstruction, to enforce desegregation in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama and to patrol streets and enforce curfews in the wake of riots following the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Our particulars were smaller and immediate. We were to help restore order after arson, mayhem and murder. Peacekeeping, we called it, whatever that meant.

We did learn one thing fast. The Marines’ presence in greater Los Angeles during roughly the next week — part of an operation that included soldiers from the Army’s Seventh Light Infantry Division as well — felt unnecessary. By the time we arrived, the fires had burned down and the violence that killed dozens of people had subsided. California’s National Guard was already on the ground. My unit met tense cops but generally quiet streets. Troops settled into work conditions we knew well: boredom, and wondering what the bosses were thinking.

Nonetheless, our presence soon followed the rules of Chekhov’s gun, the principle that a firearm shown onstage in one scene will be discharged at some later moment. A few nights after the city had calmed, the gunny and I were atop a parking garage in Compton when we heard an eruption of M16 fire a few blocks away. The sound of multiple rifles firing at once, some rapidly, resembled the immediate-action tactic of ambushed Marines. The gunny and I rushed toward the noise and found a scrum of police officers and patrol cars outside an apartment complex and expended rifle cartridges on the sidewalk and lawn.

Several Marines had shot M16s into the building, we were told, at the request of police officers who were fired upon by a man with a shotgun while answering a domestic-violence call. A detective informed us that after facing rifle fire, the suspect inside dialed 911 and surrendered to a dispatcher. No one in the apartment was seriously hurt, the detective said, but a small boy suffered cut feet while dashing over the window glass shattered as bullets flew through his home.

We had unwittingly drifted into a dilemma inherent in missions like ours: How are combat troops to mix with civilian police without blurring, or erasing, lines between the two?

After the mass demonstrations following a white Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd while his fellow officers looked on, officials in the United States deliberated once again over whether to send American combat troops into cities. The discussion was driven by threats or calls for military action from both President Trump and Senator Tom Cotton, who urged “no quarter” against “insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters and looters” — a proposal for merciless violence against American citizens, including in ill-defined categories, that sounded both reckless and illegal. Official threats of state violence can be little more than performance, a kind of law-and-order signaling, and it was not clear how seriously Trump considered following through. But it was impossible, upon hearing Trump’s and Cotton’s bellicosity, not to remember how close my Marines came, in the confusion of a job they were not trained to do, to killing a child.

The Pentagon did get involved. As protests swelled and thieves ransacked stores in multiple cities, Army officials shifted paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division from barracks in North Carolina to a base outside Washington and summoned National Guard soldiers or aircraft from 13 states to the District of Columbia. A politically and demographically diverse part-time force was posted around the White House on duties that gave it the appearance of a palace guard. (That perception was furthered by the fact that 11 of the 13 state governors who provided National Guard soldiers or equipment are Republican.) Guard soldiers also supported police officers in the violent removal of peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square, and Guard helicopters descended low over Washington’s streets, driving pedestrians before them with stinging grit and rotor wash.

The president did not invoke the Insurrection Act, having put boots around the seat of power by other means. He didn’t have to. In a time when American police departments possess protective equipment and weapons more sturdy and sophisticated than anything my Marine company carried in Compton in 1992, state and municipal governments needed no help from paratroopers or Marines as they cleared streets and punished crowds collectively with militarized force. And the local and state rollouts, like the Marines’ drive to Los Angeles almost three decades ago, only boldfaced one question driving the protests: What did all this government violence, and the muscular display of paramilitarized police officers wearing the patches of cities throughout the land, say about how the United States chooses to relate to its own people?

Not long after my company’s mission in Compton, I resigned from the corps to begin a journalism career, much of it spent covering organized violence and war, including crackdowns on civil society and political opponents by repressive states, often via military and police units with equipment and weapons so similar it could be difficult to tell the forces apart.

In late 2005, I found myself in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, covering a demonstration in which aggrieved Azeris sought to have the results of a rigged parliamentary election annulled. Such demonstrations were part of the routine at the time for correspondents across the former Soviet Union, where citizens in many countries were rising up in mostly peaceful demonstrations against corrupt post-Soviet governments. In some countries (Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine), the protesters drove their rulers from power. In others (Russia, Uzbekistan, Belarus), they ran into firmly entrenched regimes that quelled dissent with farcically rigged elections, strict limits on rights and force. Azerbaijan, wedged between the Caucasus Mountains and Iran on the Caspian Sea, fell in the second group. The government had issued the protesters a permit to gather in a large square until evening. Around them, formations of riot police waited, disciplined and blank-faced. They remained impassive as the crowds chanted “Freedom!” and railed against President Ilham Aliyev, who had ascended to the presidency just before the death his father, Heydar, a former senior Soviet official and K.G.B. officer who consolidated control over independent Azerbaijan in 1993. After years of Aliyev rule, no citizen could recall an honest election result. The Aliyevs, atop an oil-producing state, had become fabulously rich.

Throughout the demonstration, the troops were essentially leashed. Protesters denounced the falsified vote while the state formations let them vent in the November chill. Having once been on crowd-control duty myself, I watched the police with a small pair of binoculars from among the protesters as the deadline approached.

No sooner had the permit expired than the supervisors standing outside each formation lifted their tactical radios to their ears. Some nodded. Others turned and faced their troops. All gave their orders, almost at once. Everyone knew what it meant: Time’s up.

Inside the demonstration, people braced.

The crackdown proceeded swiftly. The troops advanced on the crowd with batons and began chopping their way through, smacking anyone within reach. Tear gas drifted across the square. Trucks with water cannons followed. Demonstrators gave way as the police closed in, running pell-mell, screaming, dropping bags, flags, banners, signs and anything else that was in their hands as they sought escape. The air filled with the whacks and thuds of truncheons on jackets, flesh and bone.

Within minutes, it was over. Two women sprawled near me on the ground, unconscious amid acres of dropped flags and lost shoes. During it all the police had taken pains not to strike journalists. Troops ran up beside photographers and reporters to beat people beside us, then looked for the next victim and moved on while the cameras clicked.

The degree of control was chilling, reflecting the unstated but perfectly clear logic of a confident, contemptuous power. It was not just that in any contest for the street, the government and its forces enjoyed a lopsided advantage and would use it — a position hardly unique to authoritarian rule. It was that the kleptocracy wanted this crackdown seen and transmitted, so any would-be Azeri activists would know what to expect if they challenged the state’s central tenet, which was that the Aliyevs would never willingly yield what they saw as theirs. Brute force and the ability to command it — not elections — determined who got to hold power and run the national rackets. State violence did more than clear the streets. It served as lesson and show. Almost 15 years later, Ilham Aliyev is still president.

For all Trump’s tilts toward authoritarianism and his intolerance of dissent, the United States has not yet descended to anything like this. But the tools at hand for confronting public outrage and civil disobedience have changed, with political consequences of their own. Police departments have undergone decades of arming up and mission creep, putting officers in intimidating kit and giving governing officials, in moments of tension, command of organizations that in some cases resemble the crackdown squads of countries like Azerbaijan.

It is easy to trace the lines from Pentagon failures in Iraq and Afghanistan to the distribution of military weapons and equipment, and sometimes the attitudes that accompany them, to police departments at home. After the invasion of Iraq, small-arms ambushes and improvised bombs began killing and gravely wounding American troops in Humvees at a startling pace, exposing the Pentagon’s unpreparedness for occupation at the expense of its volunteers’ lives. Military contractors responded by rushing into production a new family of heavier armored vehicles, known as MRAPs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected), and smaller, more maneuverable armored military trucks called M-ATVs (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles). Within a few years of these vehicles’ becoming ground-force mainstays for American troops fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, tactical vehicles from both families were on offer for civilian police agencies, at times with Department of Defense assistance or encouragement. So was other equipment developed for combat forces: sniper rifles, holographic sights, bomb-disabling robots, night-vision devices, upgraded ballistic helmets, body armor and more.

The up-the-arsenal mentality was in part a function of the enduring post-Sept. 11 mind-set that in an age of global terrorism, even small municipalities had to be ready for anything. But the momentum toward militarization dates back further.

One root reaches to the mass shooting in Stockton, Calif., in 1989, in which a white racist opened fire with a semiautomatic Kalashnikov rifle on an elementary-school playground, killing five children and wounding at least 30 other people. The attack became an impetus for restrictions on military-style weapons, including the federal assault-weapons ban, which prohibited the manufacture and purchase of several types of rifles and certain magazines from 1994 to 2004. Another root extends to North Hollywood in 1997, when two bank robbers wearing body armor and carrying rifles modified to fire automatically fought an extended gun battle with officers from the Los Angeles Police Department. Images of officers pinned down behind cars, and reports that officers rushed to a gun store to get more weapons for the fight, helped spur police agencies to arm themselves more heavily.

Justifications kept coming. When the assault-weapons ban tolled in 2004, pent-up demand among firearms enthusiasts for AR-15s and similar weapons caused consumer sales of military-style rifles to soar, creating another incentive for police departments to stock up. American police officers and American citizens were in a veritable arms race. Then came more mass shootings.

Police agencies faced contradictory calls. Departments were supposed to be close to their communities and capable of a light touch but also organized to stop mass murderers who could pop up at any public gathering anywhere. One was grounds for cops on bikes, the other for expanding procurement of tools designed for war, including the M4, the carbine version of the M16. The police also bought an array of dangerous but euphemistically named “less-lethal” weapons designed for putting down civil disturbances: firearms that discharge hard foam, plastic or beanbag projectiles instead of standard metal-jacketed lead; hand grenades or small-arms cartridges that release irritating or incapacitating powders or gases; and flash-bang munitions that startle and drive off people with bright light and concussive sound.

The manufacturer of one such weapon, a sting-ball grenade, advertises its product’s crowd-clearing cocktail of “four stimuli for psychological and physiological effects: rubber pellets, light, sound and CS,” commonly called a tear gas. Police agencies also procured spray cans of riot-control agents, larger versions of the small canisters mail carriers use to drive off unruly dogs. Many of these weapons would have been exotic to my Marines in 1992. They are common in civilian police agencies now.

What happened next should not have been surprising. Call it Chekhov’s tear gas. Once police departments around the country had armor and armories filled with the latest generation of novel crowd-control weapons and were faced with widespread disorder, heavily equipped officers were going to put their new weapons to the kinds of uses seen in late May and early June. Video footage and photographs from many cities in the United States showed police officers in helmets and armor using dangerous weapons repeatedly against unarmed demonstrators, including at short range against people with their arms raised overhead and hands empty of objects that could be mistaken for weapons — people in postures indicating submission, compliance or an absence of any physical threat at the moment they were shot, blasted or sprayed. These weapons were in addition to the authorities’ hard plastic shields, at times wielded offensively, and the almost-ubiquitous batons.

Many of these actions looked more than excessive; they looked unlawful, punitive and disdainful. The violence had its effects. People collapsed. Crowds scattered and gave way. Individual protesters were rendered immobile or defenseless, easier to detain and cart off.

But a resounding lesson of the past month is that Seattle, New York and Washington are not Baku. Americans had quietly tolerated the shift to police officers bedecked in Kevlar vests, tactical pouches and equipment belts, as well as the presence of officers with M4s and helmets in public spaces and events. But the attacks on unarmed crowds, coupled with the roll call of black Americans killed by the police, one after another, produced a collective shock. The impacts of crowd-control projectiles on the heads or faces of several protesters, and at least one journalist, left the victims blind in one eye or in intensive care. Imagery of fresh cases of “less-lethal” police violence compelled more people, enlivened by outrage or surprise upon seeing police brutality as a repeated police reaction to people protesting police brutality, to join the demonstrations’ swelling ranks.

Arming up had backfired. In a nation in which rights of dissent and assembly are constitutionally codified, the extensive use of crowd-control weapons served to summon larger crowds. In places, the crowds felt oceanic.

A few days after the police cleared a path for President Trump to Lafayette Square in early June, I drove to Providence, R.I., the capital of my home state, for a Black Lives Matter rally in the late afternoon. The city had a 9 p.m. curfew in effect and roadblocks on the street. The crowd in the country’s smallest state was still enormous and diverse; police officials said it was the largest demonstration the city had ever seen. Waves of people moved toward the State House with a social breadth the police themselves recognized. When I asked a police supervisor watching over an intersection, Maj. Robert Lepre, if he knew any of the protesters, he replied, “I just saw my cousin.” Behind him, one of his uniformed officers, a young black woman, wore a Black Lives Matter armband over her right forearm. People chanted, “I can’t breathe,” a few of George Floyd’s dying words.

Throughout the afternoon, the city’s Police Department opted for a generally hands-off, nonconfrontational presence. The department’s chief, Col. Hugh T. Clements Jr., and the public-safety commissioner, Steven M. Parรฉ, stood at the edge of the rally until early evening, talking with any passers-by who came forward. The chief wore a normal daily uniform. The commissioner wore a suit. They had no further security and kept their body language relaxed.

The real test was to come. Earlier in the week, thieves smashed their way into the city’s showcase retail mall and then scuffled with the police. With the curfew looming and National Guard soldiers at prominent buildings and intersections, Providence was under emergency measures that, like a baked-in showdown, forced the consideration of next moves upon demonstrators and the authorities alike.

Before nightfall, most of the people trickled away. But hundreds remained to face off against two law-enforcement agencies — the Rhode Island State Police and the state’s National Guard — that lined the grand staircase descending from the State House’s southern facade. A third agency, the state police of neighboring Massachusetts, flew a helicopter overhead.

Acts of civil disobedience require disobedience; the holdouts intended to stay out past curfew. Several organizers, including a cadre of young women, loudly signaled to the police and the crowd their explicit intention of remaining nonviolent. White protesters formed a front line between the helmeted force and the protesters of color. Among them were teenagers and schoolteachers. The protest had entered its next phase.

At about 8 p.m., the state sent out fresh soldiers wearing helmets and face shields and carrying batons, with pistols at their hips and gas masks strapped to their thighs. This marked a change. At the peak of the demonstration less than two hours before, the immediate line of police officers between the crowd and the State House was a single rank of state-police troopers, dressed in black tactical uniforms instead of their organization’s usual patrol grays. These troopers carried pistols, batons and Tasers but wore no helmets and held their batons single-handedly, keeping them low and angled toward the steps.

Now, in the face of a far smaller crowd, National Guard soldiers had roughly doubled the size of the force. Everyone but the senior supervisors wore helmets and leg pads, and the soldiers had raised their batons near their faces in a two-handed grip. Another officer walked behind the front rank with a large police dog.

The crowd chanted on and waved signs. One man held up a poster that read: “IF THEY SHOOT, STAND BEHIND ME.”

A state-police officer issued a warning, telling the crowd that it was unlawfully assembled and that people had five minutes to disperse or face less-lethal munitions and arrest on charges of disorderly conduct.

The crowd, perplexed at being asked to leave before curfew, hissed and booed. A few people left. Most stood fast.

The five-minute deadline for arrests came and went without the police following through with their threats. The next deadline, it seemed, would be 9 p.m.

I had briefly left the State House steps to recharge my phone a few blocks away and was jogging back to the standoff at 8:15 p.m. when I came upon a large black vehicle performing a slow turn in the intersection where Clements and Parรฉ were casually standing not long before. It was a Lenco BearCat, the police cousin of the armored trucks from which American troops engaged in gunfights in Afghanistan and Iraq. Like my old unit’s Humvees in Compton, it had no visible automatic weapon. Still, its dark color and hulking form summoned many memories at once: of tactical trucks used against demonstrators overseas; of riding in similar vehicles with American troops at war against combatants using machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs; of governments that are anything but popular or democratic; of the time I carried a weapon inside a military vehicle and took up positions in an American city after unrest following police brutality against an unarmed black man; of dashing to a Compton apartment after my Marines opened fire.

I was struck by how tone-deaf it was for the authorities to deploy the truck near a crowd that, alongside demands of justice, was calling for police de-escalation. Clements, when I contacted him later, told me that the Providence Police Department possessed no such vehicle, “basically because of the optics of militarizing local police.” A state-police major acknowledged that their organization did have a BearCat — the name is an acronym for Ballistic Engineered Armored Response Counter Attack Truck — but said that it had not been present where I saw it, because it was held back at “a secure location.” After I emailed a snippet of time-stamped video of the black armored truck at the intersection, the major amended his answer, replying: “I can confirm the vehicle to be ours.”

At the State House steps, just uphill from the BearCat, not everyone in helmets appeared onboard with the escalation underway. There were signs of enthusiasm; one large young man rocked on his feet, clasping his baton with two hands and grinning mischievously, telegraphing what looked like eagerness to use it on the people below. Others were expressionless. Several soldiers looked nervous and uncomfortable; they wore the age-old expression of young troops wishing they were somewhere else. Protesters appealed to the line, asking whether cracking down on unarmed fellow citizens was the job they joined the National Guard to do.

“What would your mother think of you?” someone shouted. A woman led a chant: “I don’t see no riot here, why are you in riot gear?” One soldier, a young man, cried.

As 9 p.m. approached, the state and the city faced another choice: Enforce the curfew and remove the crowd at risk of further fueling the public mood, or accept that the curfew had created an incentive for exactly the challenge mounted here. Maj. Gen. Christopher Callahan, commander of the Rhode Island National Guard, walked the line, talking on his phone. This time, unlike in Baku, I could see official uncertainty as the deadline came. No orders moved through the ranks. Neither the soldiers nor the protesters braced.

Just after 9 p.m., the protesters announced that they had broken the curfew and would hold a long moment of silence — 8 minutes 46 seconds, the amount of time the Minneapolis police officer pressed the weight of his body down through his knee onto George Floyd’s neck. Demonstrators knelt, fists held high, sensing that they might have won.

When the crowd stood, Gov. Gina Raimondo arrived. Raimondo, who is short and lean, is not imposing. But her frequent pandemic news conferences throughout the late winter and spring had given her an outsize presence in Rhode Islanders’ recent lives. She passed through the helmeted ranks into the crowd, where she put her arm around one protester. Demonstrators pressed near.

“Thank you for coming out tonight,” Raimondo said into a small microphone. “Thank you for standing up for what matters.

“You deserve to be heard, you deserve to be seen and you deserve action,” she continued. “You deserve change.”

Several protesters interrupted. “Lift the curfew!” one called out.

Raimondo kept talking, telling the crowd that she wanted to work for change. “It is not fair,” she said. “It is not right, what is happening in this country.”

“So what have you done?” a voice shouted.

A chant broke out: “Defund the police! Defund the police!”

The governor tried to lead a prayer, but the crowd mostly drowned her out. She yielded the mic to a protester. As she turned to leave, the voice of a young woman rose above the others. She demanded to know whether the governor was abandoning the protesters to the helmeted formation still milling on the staircase. The state police, a force that answers to Raimondo, had threatened this crowd with less-lethal munitions and arrests roughly an hour before.

“You going to stay when they do us?” the woman shouted.

“Yes!” Raimondo shot back, “and no one is going to do you!”

The exchange, played out in front of the armed ranks, felt like a quiet renunciation of the reflex to see force as the solution to problems that can’t be fixed with a rifle or a baton. Raimondo offered nothing to satisfy the protesters’ many complaints and demands. But for a moment, a person doing the governing stood before the aggrieved among the governed, instead of leaving the rank and file to shove complainants with shields or shoot them with plastic projectiles or spray them in their faces with irritants that would have made them repeat for the cameras what they were saying anyhow: I can’t breathe. It was almost as if someone understood that militarized police units, like the Insurrection Act, confront symptoms of foundational American injustice — clumsily and often cruelly — but do nothing about the cause.



10)  Military’s Role in Civil Unrest
Mass people power mobilization key to military siding with democracy
By Jeff Paterson
Courage to Resist, June 22, 2020
National Guard st the White House June 7, 2020.

Recently, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden grabbed national headlines by sharing that his greatest fear is that President Trump will “try to steal this election.”
Looking at Trump’s own comments, it’s a legitimate fear. Trump has on many occasions shown open admiration for rulers of countries known for suppressing political opposition and violating international human rights in their quest to maintain power, including Vladimir Putin of Russia, Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.

If Trump loses, what will citizens like you and I do?

This raises the question: if Trump tries to interfere with a fair election or refuses to leave office if he loses, what will citizens like you and I do?
These past few weeks, the Black Lives Matter protests have been a powerful testimony to the impact of collective action. Hundreds-of-thousands of people have filled the streets in cities across the U.S. in response to the murder of George Floyd to draw attention to systematic racism and call for reforms. In response to the public pressure, the House of Congress has proposed a sweeping police reform bill.
Trump, on the other hand, has threatened to use the military to suppress domestic protests and citizens’ freedom of speech. On June 1, President Trump ordered military and police to clear peaceful protesters from the front of the White House to make way for a photo op. They did so using dangerous rubber bullets, noxious gas, and flash bangs. According to The New York Times, Trump also wanted to invoke the Insurrection Act to override objections of U.S. governors in deploying active-duty troops to other states. Trump has been a consistent advocate for expanding the use of military on U.S. soil, having already set a dangerous precedent by using the military for civil law enforcement at the southern border. Who’s to say he might not try a similar tactic to undermine our democracy around the election?

We can’t just sit by and hope for the best

As citizens, I’m afraid we can’t afford to just sit by and see what happens next. The string of lies and corruption that have been a hallmark of this presidency reveal what is at risk. Biden has said that if Trump hesitates to leave office after losing the vote, he believes the military would escort him out. However, while members of the military refusing illegal orders in order to side with democracy will be critical to any resistance movement, I believe the actions of regular citizens will play a crucial role in encouraging members of the military to do the right thing.
We have seen already how this can work in the case of the Black Lives Matter protests. Following massive public outcry, prominent military personnel have been objecting publicly to Trump’s use of the military to attack peaceful protesters. Earlier this month, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley apologized for appearing publicly next to President Trump during the June 1 event. Ex-Defense Secretary and retired United States Marine Corps general James Mattis condemned Trump’s actions and publicly voiced support for the goals of the Black Lives Matter protests. And four-star General Robert Abrams held a town hall with Black service members called for action to address racism in the military’s own ranks.

Refusing anti-democratic orders

An increasing number of National Guard members and other U.S. soldiers on the frontlines are expressing political objections to Trump’s anti-democratic actions as well.
One National Guard member, who enlisted with hopes to help provide medical services in natural disasters, told Truthout, “I can’t do it. Even looking at my uniform is making me feel sick that I’m associated with this, especially after [the National Guard unit] shot that man who owned that barbecue shop [in Louisville, Kentucky].”
Another stated, “I feel that I cannot be complicit in any way when I’ve seen so many examples of soldiers and police acting in bad faith,” and expressed concern that “We have not had any training or conversation relating to de-escalation tactics.”
Yet another told Politico that “a lot of us are still struggling to process this, but in a lot of ways, I believe I saw civil rights being violated in order for a photo op. What I just saw goes against my oath.”
The military oath of office says, “I, [NAME], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Articles by retired Chief of Staff at Special Operations Command, Central, Andrew Milburn on the U.S. Army’s own website and elsewhere assert that “Any member of the military has a commonly understood obligation to disobey an illegal order” and that “As officers, our oath is to the Constitution rather than to any individual or administration.”

“People’s eviction” may be required

However, we know that in practice, soldiers disobeying orders for conscientious reasons often face punishment after court martial unless they have strong political support on their side. Research shows military personnel can play an important role in helping stop authoritarianism, such as in Tunisia, Egypt and Myanmar (Burma), but in each case public pressure played a crucial role in convincing members of the military to break ranks.
While the U.S. may not be in as dire of a political crisis yet, it’s not out of the question that we could find ourselves there soon. We have an administration that has succeeded in desensitizing much of the public to regular violations of previously valued norms and civil rights. History in countries around the world, from Nazi Germany to the Congo, tells us that given the right circumstances the slide from democracy to dictatorship can be quick and unexpected.
This makes the actions of vigilant citizens and activists that much more important. Courage to Resist has already been raising funds for the legal defense of National Guard members who refused to deploy against peaceful protesters. Supporting these brave service men and women is one way to send a message that can embolden more to take a moral stand in the future.
Additionally, civilians and veterans have an important role to prepare for. We need to be ready for a “people’s eviction” if necessary. The military is much more likely to “do the right thing” with tens-of-thousands surrounding the White House and every county courthouse or city hall in America.
If Trump tries to order the military to further degrade our democracy, massive nonviolent mobilizations are our best chance to create pressure for service members to stand down, and side with the people and the Constitution instead.
Jeff Paterson is an Oakland, California-based peace and justice organizer, and the director of Courage to Resist, an organization dedicated to supporting U.S. military war objectors. In 1990, Marine artillery controller Corporal. Paterson publicly refused Gulf War deployment.



11) NYT Live Update: June 24, 2020
The U.S. just recorded its third-highest total of new cases, as hospitalizations rise in some states.
Governments around the world are scrambling to stop outbreaks before they become new waves of infection. A New York Times/Siena College poll found that voters widely rejected President Trump’s response to the pandemic.
A hospital in Houston, Texas on Monday. In Texas, more than 4,000 people with the virus are hospitalized, more than double the number at the beginning of June. Credit...Callaghan O'Hare/Reuters

More than 35,000 new coronavirus cases were identified across the United States on Tuesday, according to a New York Times database, the highest single-day total since late April and the third-highest total of any day of the pandemic.

As the United States continues to reopen its economy, case numbers are rising in more than 20 states, mostly in the South and West. Texas reported more than 5,000 cases on Tuesday, its largest single-day total yet. Arizona added more than 3,600 cases, also a record.  And in Washington State, where case numbers are again trending upward, the governor said residents would have to start wearing masks in public.

“This is about saving lives,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat. “It’s about reopening our businesses. And it’s about showing respect and care for one another.”

The elevated case numbers are a result of worsening conditions across much of the country as well as increased testing, but testing alone does not explain the surge. The percentage of people in Florida testing positive has risen sharply. Increases in hospitalizations also signal the virus’s spread. Arizona reported its highest number of virus hospitalizations on Monday.  In Texas, more than 4,000 people with the virus are hospitalized, more than double the number at the beginning of June.

“I strongly feel we are moving in the wrong direction and we are moving fast,” Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston said.

But in Missouri, where new case reports have reached their highest levels in recent days, coronavirus hospitalizations have declined slightly over the last month.

“We are NOT overwhelmed,” Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, said on Twitter, linking the uptick to more testing. “We are NOT currently experiencing a second wave. We have NO intentions of closing Missouri back down at this point in time.”



12) Tax the Rich and Their Heirs
How to tax inheritances more fairly.
“Roughly 40 percent of all household wealth stems from inheritances. This means that 40 percent of why some Americans are extraordinarily well off has nothing to do with smarts, hard work, frugality, lucky gambles or entrepreneurial ingenuity. It is simply because they were born to rich parents. … Consider a wealthy couple who bequeaths $50 million to their son. The couple will probably not have paid income or payroll tax on a large share of the bequest, thanks to a provision called stepped-up basis, which exempts gains on bequeathed assets from tax. Their son can exclude the entire $50 million he receives from his income and payroll tax returns. ...As a result, the effective tax rate on this lucky heir’s $50 million inheritance will only be 21 percent. And that’s if his parents didn’t use any estate-tax planning techniques to reduce his tax burden. If they did, his tax rate could easily approach zero. ...Combining the effects of estate, income and payroll taxes, the average federal tax rate on income in the form of inheritances is a minuscule one-seventh of the average tax rate on income from saving and good old-fashioned hard work."
By Lily Batchelder, June 24, 2020
Ms. Batchelder is a professor at New York University School of Law.
Michael Houtz

A massive transfer of wealth is underway and will accelerate in the coming years. Baby boomers and the generation that preceded them currently own $84 trillion, or 81 percent of all U.S. household wealth — wealth that will before long be inherited by their children and other beneficiaries.

This extraordinary transfer of resources will further cement the economic inequality that plagues the United States because this wealth is tightly concentrated in the hands of a few. And it will be passed on as taxes on such transfers are at historic lows.

Among high-income countries, the United States has one of the lowest levels of intergenerational economic mobility, meaning a child’s economic future is heavily influenced by his or her parents’ income. We have the second-highest level of income inequality after taxes and government transfers, and the highest level of wealth inequality. These disparities are sharply skewed by race. Median black household wealth is only 9 percent that of white households, a racial wealth gap that is even larger than in 1968. New research suggests the pandemic will further increase wealth inequality, as the affluent save more and the poor earn less.

Effectively addressing these systemic inequalities will require many things. But increasing the taxation of inheritances is one vital component.

This year, Americans will inherit about $765 billion. People who were already rich will inherit a lot more than people who weren’t wealthy. So will white households; they are twice as likely as black households to receive an inheritance, and receiving an inheritance is associated with an increase in wealth that is 26 times larger for white families than for black families. (This accounting of inheritances includes gifts and bequests, other than those to spouses or to support minor children.)

Roughly 40 percent of all household wealth stems from inheritances. This means that 40 percent of why some Americans are extraordinarily well off has nothing to do with smarts, hard work, frugality, lucky gambles or entrepreneurial ingenuity. It is simply because they were born to rich parents.

Inheritances compound over generations, one reason societies often choose to tax them as a way to combat rising inequality and level the playing field. Our tax system has always been one of our most potent tools for expressing and acting upon our values. But in this area, it is failing and only getting worse.

Consider a wealthy couple who bequeaths $50 million to their son. The couple will probably not have paid income or payroll tax on a large share of the bequest, thanks to a provision called stepped-up basis, which exempts gains on bequeathed assets from tax. Their son can exclude the entire $50 million he receives from his income and payroll tax returns.

The estate tax was meant to partially correct for these omissions. Indeed, it is the only tax that will apply to the son’s inheritance. But over time Congress has hollowed out the estate tax and its cousins, most recently in the 2017 tax law. Today, the first $23 million that a couple transfers is entirely exempt from the estate tax. Amounts above that threshold are taxed only at a 40 percent rate.

As a result, the effective tax rate on this lucky heir’s $50 million inheritance will only be 21 percent. And that’s if his parents didn’t use any estate-tax planning techniques to reduce his tax burden. If they did, his tax rate could easily approach zero.

Some will argue that this example ignores any income and payroll tax the wealthy parents paid when they originally earned the $50 million. But if the couple paid their personal chef’s wages out of after-tax income, we wouldn’t think their personal chef should get credit for the taxes they paid. Similarly, we should ignore any income or payroll tax the couple paid when considering how much their son should contribute to the costs of government.

Combining the effects of estate, income and payroll taxes, the average federal tax rate on income in the form of inheritances is a minuscule one-seventh of the average tax rate on income from saving and good old-fashioned hard work.

A fairer tax system would tax inheritances at higher rates than income from working, not lower. Someone who inherits millions is better off than someone who had to work for their millions because, let’s face it, most of us would rather not work. Moreover, wealthy heirs are better off because typically they can earn much higher salaries if they do work, benefiting from the education, connections and safety net available to those from well-off families.

A large body of research also finds that wealth transfer taxes do relatively little to reduce the amount of work, saving and entrepreneurship by donors. Meanwhile, such taxes increase work by heirs and charitable giving. This research suggests that the optimal tax rate on very large inheritances is between 60 percent and 80 percent.

Americans agree that inheritances should be taxed relatively heavily. According to one study, they support taxing wealth from inheritances at almost four times the tax rate on wealth from savings.

There are plenty of sensible options for increasing taxes on inheritances. Returning the estate tax to its 2009 levels would raise $270 billion over the next decade. Further increasing the rate so that it rises to 65 percent on estates over $1 billion would raise an additional $100 billion.

An even better approach would be to replace the estate tax with an inheritance tax. Under an inheritance tax, heirs would simply pay income and payroll taxes on their inheritance above a large exemption, just as others do on their wages.

If an inheritance tax exempted the first $1 million received over one’s lifetime and applied the highest income and payroll tax rates to amounts above that threshold, it would raise $790 billion over the next decade. Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, is drafting a proposal along these lines, and some former presidential candidates including Juliรกn Castro endorsed the idea. Under this type of plan, only 0.08 percent of households would owe the tax each year. The revenue could be used to invest in children who aren’t lucky enough to inherit millions, whether through universal pre-K, paid parental leave or a fully refundable child tax credit.

Regardless of whether we shift to an inheritance tax, we should tax accrued gains on large bequests. This would raise $450 billion when combined with other reforms. And we should reverse the deep cuts to the I.R.S. enforcement budget, which have resulted in a 61 percent decline in audits of millionaires since 2010.

Finally, we should reform the rules governing transfers through trusts and similar devices, which the wealthy exploit to slash their tax liability. In one strategy, people put easy-to-sell assets into a partnership to artificially deflate the assets’ value. According to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation, these and similar strategies can reduce the value of transferred assets by 15 percent to 60 percent or more. The casino magnate Sheldon Adelson used a different strategy involving trusts to avoid $2.8 billion in estate and gift taxes between 2010 and 2013.

Others create trusts to benefit their descendants for centuries. The beneficiaries of such dynastic trusts should have to pay tax on their inheritances. While the total tax revenue at stake is unclear, trusts most likely hold trillions of dollars in assets.

President Franklin Roosevelt said “inherited economic power is as inconsistent with the ideals of this generation as inherited political power was inconsistent with the ideals of the generation which established our government.” The same is true today.

We know how to tax inheritances more fairly. We need to act before the massive wealth transfers on the horizon further entrench a hereditary economic elite.

Ms. Batchelder is a professor at N.Y.U. School of Law and served as deputy director of the White House National Economic Council and deputy assistant to President Barack Obama.



13) Why Do We Pay So Many People So Little Money?
The coronavirus pandemic is forcing America to confront its epidemic low-wage problem.
By Thomas B. Edsall, June 24, 2020
A postal worker in the East Village of Manhattan, in April. Credit...Brittany Newman/The New York Times

With notable abruptness, thanks to the advent of the coronavirus, much of the public has become aware its dependence on hospital orderlies, cleaners, trash collectors, grocery workers, food delivery drivers, paramedics, mortuary technicians, and postal, shipping, maintenance, wastewater treatment, truck stop and mass transit employees — on what, to many, had been a largely invisible work force.

As Tony Powell, a 62-year-old hospital administrative coordinator, told Molly Kinder, a fellow in the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, in a taped interview in May:

“People are not looking at people like us on the lower end of the spectrum. We’re not even getting respect. That is the biggest thing: we are not even getting respect. Nobody is listening to their voices. Maybe they’ll wake up and see: Oh, these are the people that are actually taking care of the people that need to be taken care of.”

A paper published that same month, “The Declining Worker Power Hypothesis,” by Anna Stansbury and Lawrence H. Summers, economists at Harvard, describes conditions on the bottom rungs of the job market:

“The American economy has become more ruthless, as declining unionization, increasingly demanding and empowered shareholders, decreasing real minimum wages, reduced worker protections, and the increases in outsourcing domestically and abroad have disempowered workers — with profound consequences for the labor market and the broader economy.”

And a state-by-state survey conducted by Business.org found that “Nationwide, essential employees earn an average of 18.2 percent less than employees in other industries.” Interestingly, the largest disparities between the pay of essential workers and all other workers were in Democratic jurisdictions, including Massachusetts at 25.4 percent; Rhode Island, 26 percent; Virginia, 27.6 percent; Maryland, 28.6 percent; Connecticut, 29.2 percent; and the District of Columbia, at 47.2 percent.

Recognition of the disadvantages faced by essential workers has, in turn, shed light on the broader challenges of the entire low-wage job market.

A 2019 Brookings report, “Meet the low-wage work force,” warns that “low-wage workers risk becoming collateral damage.”

The authors of the report, Martha Ross and Nicole Bateman, both of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, calculated that “more than 53 million people — 44 percent of all workers aged 18-64 — are low-wage workers by our criteria. They earn median hourly wages of $10.22 and median annual earnings of $17,950.”

Ross and Bateman determined that, nationally, low wage workers are 52.4 percent white, 14.8 percent black and 24.9 percent Hispanic, compared with a middle and high wage work force that is 70.6 percent white, 9.9 percent black and 11.4 percent Hispanic.

Many low-wage workers face an ongoing struggle, but there are substantial roadblocks to proposals to improve their standing: decades of declining worker bargaining power, including the near elimination of private sector unions; the automation and offshoring of manufacturing; as well as tax policies favoring corporations and the rich and policies described as “biased against labor and in favor of capital.”

So far, the forces unleashed by the pandemic and the accompanying economic collapse have inflicted the highest level of job losses and reduced hours on those getting paid the least, although government spending under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act has temporarily staved off some of the most dire consequences.

Walter Scheidel, a Stanford professor of classics and history, argues that the likely outcome of the current crises will be the “preservation of the status quo,” adding “the forces that seek to maintain plutocratic and corporate dominance are very powerful and influential.”

In “Covid-19 will raise inequality if past pandemics are a guide,” Davide Furceri, Prakash Loungani and Jonathan D. Ostry, economists at the International Monetary Fund, and Pietro Pizzuto, an economist at the University of Palermo, write:

“Major epidemics in this century have raised income inequality, lowered the share of incomes going to the bottom deciles, and lowered the employment-to-population ratio for those with basic education but not for those with advanced degrees.”

How serious is the problem? Daron Acemoglu, an economist at M.I.T. and co-author of “The Narrow Corridor,” emailed me: “Low-wage workers are doing really badly and this will destroy our society.”

Some of the more obvious solutions, however, pose the danger of creating unanticipated, adverse incentives, according to Acemoglu:

“Raising the minimum wage and protecting these workers by safety regulations and by increasing their bargaining power would help some, but is not a comprehensive solution. In today’s technological environment and business environment, if you raise the minimum wage, firms will go more in the direction of automating those jobs. Low-wage workers will be the losers.”

Despite that, Acemoglu wrote in his email:

“Even with those adverse consequences, a moderate increase in the minimum wage would be beneficial and I support it. However, I don’t think it would be possible to create plentiful ‘good jobs’ in the US economy by just increasing the minimum wage and if you were to increase the minimum wage by more than a few dollars, then it would backfire even more.”
I asked whether rising wages resulting from increased unionization have the same effect. Acemoglu replied that his research with Pascual Restrepo, an economist at Boston University, shows that:

“Countries with greater unionization rates adopt more robots, presumably because unions raise labor costs.”

Grace Lordan and David Neumark, economists at the London School of Economics and the University of California, made a similar case about the minimum wage in their 2017 paper “People Versus Machines: The Impact of Minimum Wages on Automatable Jobs”:

“Based on Current Population Survey data from 1980-2015, we find that increasing the minimum wage decreases significantly the share of automatable employment held by low-skilled workers, and increases the likelihood that low-skilled workers in automatable jobs become nonemployed or employed in worse jobs.”

While earlier studies suggested that low-wage work was insulated from automation, more recent studies show that that is no longer the case.

In “Automation and Artificial Intelligence: How machines are affecting people and places,” three researchers at Brookings, Mark Muro, Robert Maxim and Jacob Whiton, report that “the highest potential for future automation of current tasks is concentrated among the lowest wage earners, reflecting increased projected inroads of automation into the large service sector.”

In their “The Declining Worker Power” paper, Stansbury and Summers, who served as a top economic official under both President Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, describe both how this loss of power has driven the expansion of low-wage employment and the structural problems facing those seeking to restore labor’s bargaining power.

Overall, they argue,

“…the decline in worker power is one of the most important structural changes to have taken place in the U.S. economy in recent decades.” In the past, they write, worker power, “arising from unionization or the threat of union organizing, firms being run partly in the interests of workers as stakeholders, and/or from efficiency wage effects, enabled workers to increase their pay.”

As private sector union membership has nose-dived from about 35 percent of the work force in the 1950s to 6 percent today, the “net value added in the nonfinancial corporate business sector” going to labor has fallen from 12 percent as recently as the early 1980s to 6 percent in this decade.

Not only has the majority of lost sources of income fallen on “middle- and low-income workers more than high-income workers,” but “some of the lost labor rents for the majority of workers may have been redistributed to high-earning executives, as well as capital owners,” according to Stansbury and Summers.

This upward redistribution of income, according to the authors’ “back-of-the-envelope” calculations, “could account for a large fraction of the increase in the income share of the top 1 percent over recent decades.”

What can be done to remedy this situation? Stansbury and Summers write:

“If increases in the labor share are to be achieved, institutional changes that enhance workers’ countervailing power — such as strengthening labor unions or promoting corporate governance arrangements that increase worker power — may be necessary.”

But, they pointedly note, these initiatives “would need to be carefully considered in light of the possible risks of increasing unemployment.” More elliptically, they warn that “doing more to preserve rent-sharing interferes with pure markets and may not enhance efficiency.”

There may, however, be other ways to improve the income of low-wage workers without raising the already high threat level of automation.

Betsey Stevenson, an economist at the University of Michigan, argued in an email that raising and expanding eligibility for the Earned-income tax credit would be an effective way to immediately raise income of poorly paid workers.

The credit, a government subsidy paid through the redistribution of tax revenues, does not, in this view, create an incentive for employers to automate or off-shore since corporate wage costs do not increase:

“The Earned-income tax credit is a very effective way to increase both incomes and labor force participation. There has been bipartisan support for expanding the EITC to childless and noncustodial parents for years,” Stevenson wrote.

She cited studies showing that the tax credit paid to low-income families results in more work effort among beneficiaries and better school outcomes for their children.

There may be, in addition, less direct but effective proposals to improve conditions for those in the bottom ranks of the wage distribution.

Dean Baker, senior economist and co-founder of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a liberal think tank, wrote that “on the short-term side, I would put universal child care and extending Medicaid. These can both be phased in fairly quickly and would make a big difference for lots of people.”

Baker argued that he supports “equalizing opportunity by reducing the barriers that block progress for African- Americans,” but “I have been around long enough to be a bit cynical about the prospects.”


“Currently 5 percent of doctors in the U.S. are black,” Baker wrote.

“If we are really successful, in twenty or thirty years maybe we will get that figure up by 50 percent to 7.5 percent of doctors being black. That would still only be a bit more than half of their share of the population.”

Instead, Baker suggested, the focus should be on a reduction of “the gap in pay between doctors and nurses, nurse’s assistants and home health care workers, jobs that are much more likely to be held by blacks,” which would “make far more difference in the well-being of the African-American community.”

Jay Shambaugh, director of the Hamilton Project, an economic policy initiative within the Brookings Institution, made the case in an email for a sliding-scale direct federal subsidy to low wage workers so that “a $10 an hour worker gets 7.50, a $15 an hour worker gets $5 and a $25+ worker gets zero.”

He noted that

“…as unions declined in power, and firms got better at using their market power in the labor market (e.g. consolidation leaving fewer competitors for workers, use of noncompete contracts that now cover 15-20% of workers) firms have wound up with a larger share of the pie and had less incentive to invest in worker training because they can employ people cheaply.”

I asked Shambaugh and others whether the U.S. economy has in some ways become vested in a low-wage work force. Shambaugh contended that “the honest answer is no. It is just the path of least resistance.”

A wide-ranging examination of the forces shaping the job market, “Improving Employment and Earnings in 21st Century Labor Markets” — by Erica L. Groshen, a labor economist at Cornell, and Harry J. Holzer, a professor of public policy at Georgetown — draws darker conclusions, suggesting that current trends are more deeply embedded in the system than what Shambaugh calls the “path of least resistance.”

Groshen and Holzer describe possible reforms, but their tone is pessimistic:

“The forces of automation and globalization are not likely to subside any time soon, potentially leading to further flat wages, rising inequality and lower labor force participation.”

And, “all else equal, these forces suggest ongoing rising wage inequality in the future.”

Or, for example:

“The high and uncompensated costs borne by U.S. displaced workers suggest that current policy and employer actions are insufficient to manage the likely future pace of job destruction without harm to families and communities.”

Could things look up?

Wendy Edelberg, also a director of the Hamilton Project, noted in an email that reform will require changing the thinking of some key players. “Economists have seemed to take as inevitable the gap between wages for low and high-skill jobs,” she wrote. But “that gap has, at least in part, been driven by policy decisions.” Adverse policies, she wrote, range from those “making it more difficult for private-sector workers to unionize; to weakness in our education system and technical training; to massive incarceration rates; to a failure to raise the minimum wage.”

All are subject to change by elected officials and, she argued, “fixing some of those policies would help right away.”

Edelberg makes the case that

“…the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the critical importance of low-skill work. As a society, we must choose to value all workers — particularly those who are keeping essential services going right now on the front lines while so many others work remotely in the safety of our homes.”

The reality, as Michael Podhorzer, the assistant for special research to Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO, told The New Yorker, is that “We are in a moment of extreme crisis if you’re a working person.”

This is the kind of crisis that can push the nation to the right or left, or, back to the anxious and unsatisfactory normalcy of a country locked into inaction by polarization. Even more threatening is what happened in Georgia on June 10, where Democrats saw a systematic effort to disenfranchise the electorate.

The state’s voting system “suffered a spectacular collapse, leading to absentee ballots that never got delivered and hourslong waits at polling sites,” The Times reported, noting that

“Georgia is being roiled by a politically volatile debate over whether the problems were the result of mere bungling, or an intentional effort by Republican officials to inhibit voting.”

Donald Trump and the Republican Party clearly see Georgia as a model, and they are determined to capitalize on the pandemic to suppress the vote and conduct an overtly anti-democratic election on Nov. 3. If they have their way, one of the first targets of suppression will be the essential work force that has learned better than anyone the severity of the damage than can be inflicted by a Trump administration.











































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