6/25/2020

BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, JUNE 25, 2020


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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ACTION IN

DEFENSE OF PALESTINE

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

CALL FOR ENDORSEMENTS

 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

#DEFUNDISRAEL #DefundThePentegon #DefundTheMIC #EndUSAid #INVESTINCOMMUNITIES 

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.

Background 
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. 

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

SAY HIS NAME!


https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/14/us/videos-rayshard-brooks-shooting-atlanta-police.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage


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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 


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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.

Globally:

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...

THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT, AN AWAKENING...MANY OF YOU ARE BEING EXPOSED FOR WHO YOU REALLY ARE. #readthatagain

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.

WE ARE NOT TRYING TO START A RACE WAR; WE ARE PROTESTING TO END IT,
PEACEFULLY.

How beautiful is that?

ALL LIVES CANNOT MATTER UNTIL YOU INCLUDE BLACK LIVES.

YOU CANNOT SAY 'ALL LIVES MATTER' WHEN YOU DO NOTHING TO STOP SYSTEMIC RACISM & POLICE BRUTALITY.

YOU CANNOT SAY 'ALL LIVES MATTER' WHEN BLACK PEOPLE ARE DYING AND ALL YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT IS THE LOOTING.

YOU CANNOT SAY 'ALL LIVES MATTER' WHEN YOU ALLOW CHILDREN TO BE CAGED, VETERANS TO GO HOMELESS, AND POOR FAMILIES TO GO HUNGRY & LOSE THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE.

DO ALL LIVES MATTER? YES. BUT RIGHT NOW, ONLY BLACK LIVES ARE BEING TARGETED, JAILED, AND KILLED EN MASSE- SO THAT'S WHO WE'RE FOCUSING ON.

๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–คBLACK LIVES MATTER๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค๐Ÿ–ค

IF YOU CAN'T SEE THIS, YOU ARE THE PROBLEM.

*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!


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BLACK LIVES MATTER


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.
—BAUAW
(Bay Area United Against War Newsletter)


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





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George Floyd's Last Words
"It's my face man
I didn't do nothing serious man
please
please
please I can't breathe
please man
please somebody
please man
I can't breathe
I can't breathe
please
(inaudible)
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
mama
mama
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
please
please
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
please
please I can't breathe"

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



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Credit...

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Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

PRES. TRUMP HIDES IN WHITE HOUSE BUNKER IN FEAR OF PROTESTORS
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

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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

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This will make you smile!


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


https://imgur.com/gallery/3gaTKG3


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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

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

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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
Today…
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
Land—
Looting Ashanti, Fulani, Huasa, Wolof,
Yoruba, Ibo, Kongo, Mongo, Hutu, Zulu…
Labor.
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
Accomplices—
Steal trillions
Not FOX-boxes, silly sneakers, cheap clothes…
© 2020. Raymond Nat Turner, The Town Crier. All Rights Reserved.       



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CALL TO ACTION: 



Respected Elder Jalil Muntaqim 

Hospitalized with COVID-19





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


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


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


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


Here's what you can do:


TWEET!


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


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


CALL  the Attorney General and Commissioner


Attorney General  Letitia James - (718) 560-2040



Sample Script For AG: 


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




Commissioner Annucci - (518) 457-8126


Sample Script For Commissioner: 



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


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




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

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

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

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


Our mailing address is:

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

PendletonIN  46064




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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all





Petition update - Please sign at the link above!
May 23, 2020 —  

We have submitted our application to the @FultonCountyDA #ConvictionIntegrityUnit demanding a retrial for Imam Jamil Al-Amin FKA H. Rap Brown. 

We must now show the establishment that we care more about justice than they do about corruption and injustice. 

The proof of misdeeds is clear, the proof of innocence is clear, a retrial or release are the only acceptable options. 

We make the news so let our voices once again be heard loudly and in unison…we demand a retrial…we demand justice!   #FreeImamJamil

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

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



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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

AFSC.org  |  unsubscribe  |  Donate 
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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359




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

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Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire, The Lasting Effects of War Book Discussion, Sir, No Sir Viewing, VFP's Online Convention, Workshop Proposals, Convention FAQ, No More COVID-19 Money For the Pentagon, Repeal the AUMF, Community Conversation on Hybrid Warfare, St Louis VFP Delivers VA Lunch, In the News and Calendar




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


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

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

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


For more information about events go to:

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




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Courage to Resist
COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
www.couragetoresist.org ~ 510.488.3559 ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist

484 Lake Park Ave # 41
OaklandCA 94610-2730
United States
Unsubscribe from couragetoresist.org 

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From Business Insider 2018

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"The biggest block from having society in harmony with the universe is the belief in a lie that says it’s not realistic or humanly possible." 

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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When faced with the opportunity to do good, I really think it’s the instinct of humanity to do so. It’s in our genetic memory from our earliest ancestors. It’s the altered perception of the reality of what being human truly is that’s been indoctrinated in to every generation for the last 2000 years or more that makes us believe that we are born sinners. I can’t get behind that one. We all struggle with certain things, but I really think that all the “sinful” behavior is learned and wisdom and goodwill is innate at birth.  —Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)


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




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

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

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

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

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

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


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal




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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 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.

Tired.

Tired.

Tired.

So very tired.

(I don’t know who created this. I just know there are so many more names to be added and names we may never hear of.)

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1)  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
https://couragetoresist.org/if-trump-refuses-to-leave/
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.


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2) 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.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/world/coronavirus-updates.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage#link-210a386f
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.”

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3) 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.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/opinion/inheritance-tax-inequality.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

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.


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4) 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
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/opinion/wages-coronavirus.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
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.”

Why?

“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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5) Pandemic’s Cleaner Air Could Reshape What We Know About the Atmosphere
Coronavirus shutdowns have cut pollution, and that’s opened the door to a “giant, global environmental experiment” with potentially far-reaching consequences.
By Coral Davenport, June 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/climate/coronavirus-clean-air.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage

Xinrong Ren, a researcher, left, and his pilot before a flight from Baltimore to New York to collect air quality data. Credit...Rosem Morton/The New York Times



WASHINGTON — In the crystalline air of the pandemic economy, climate change researchers have been flying a small plane over Route I-95, from Boston to Washington, measuring carbon dioxide levels. Scientists have mounted air quality monitors on Salt Lake City’s light rail system to create intersection-by-intersection atmospheric profiles.

And government scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have started a Covid air quality study to gather and analyze samples of an atmosphere in which industrial soot, tailpipe emissions and greenhouse gases have plummeted to levels not seen in decades.

The data, from Manhattan to Milan to Mumbai, will inform scientists’ understanding of atmospheric chemistry, air pollution and public health for decades to come, while giving policymakers information to fine-tune air quality and climate change laws and regulations in hopes of maintaining at least some of the gains seen in the global shutdown as cars return to the roads and factories reopen.

Already, Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican, has assigned his top environment official to use the pollution data gathered by a University of Maryland scientist in flights over Baltimore to push new policies through the state legislature this fall, expanding telework and promoting electric vehicles.

“Our goal is not just to celebrate the silver lining but to seize upon that lining and institutionalize it,” said Benjamin H. Grumbles, the head of Maryland’s environmental agency.

Policy experts say the new data could even bolster legal fights against the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back major air pollution regulations. Early studies appear to show that even as the coronavirus took more than 100,000 American lives, deaths related to more typical respiratory illnesses like asthma and lung disease fell in the clean air, boosting the case that Mr. Trump’s environmental rollbacks will contribute to thousands of deaths.

“This is a giant, global environmental experiment that has been done in a very controlled way,” said Sally Ng, an atmospheric scientist and chemical engineer at Georgia Tech, who, in the first days after the shutdown, briefly returned to her lab in downtown Atlanta to install an atmospheric monitor on the roof. “We suddenly turned the knob off, very drastically, and now we’re very slowly turning it back on.”

Three other moments in recent history have seen economies slow suddenly and the skies clear enough to create a valuable research opportunity: Sept. 11, 2001, when airplanes were grounded and the skies were briefly free of chemical airplane pollution; the 2008 Beijing Olympics, when Chinese officials shut down the city and the soot-choked air cleared for about two weeks; and the financial meltdown in the fall of 2008.

But the pandemic clearing has been more dramatic, in duration and scope.

“We were able to observe these changes in real time, all around the world, for a much longer period of time than ever before,“ said Shobha Kondragunta, a NOAA atmospheric chemist who studies smog-causing tailpipe pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide, using images taken from satellites over the North and South Poles.

In India, where some of the most polluted skies in the world turned clear and blue for the first time in decades, Sarath Guttikunda, director of Urban Emissions.info, a New Delhi-based research organization, spent the shutdown monitoring air quality data gathered by government-operated atmospheric monitors across 122 Indian cities. “This is a really good experiment that we hope will never be repeated again,” he said. “Every day we learned something new.”

In a country where much of the population suffers under an opaque stew of pollution, the Indian government has little information about which sources of emissions — cars, power plants, factories or cookstoves — are the worst culprits, Dr. Guttikunda said. But as the shutdown cleared cars off the roads and brought factories to a halt, coal plants and cookstoves kept emitting. That allowed Dr. Guttikunda and his colleagues to develop a more precise profile of pollution, source by source, city by city, region by region.

“If you want to clean up your air pollution problem, you have to know what to target,” he said.

Other experts agreed. “These studies, particularly in India, can make it much easier to get a good bead on emissions,” said Maureen Cropper, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, a nonpartisan environmental research organization in Washington. “You don’t want to be controlling the wrong thing.”

Among the most surprising of Dr. Guttikunda’s observations: In some cities, as vehicle traffic and tailpipe pollution declined, levels of one major smog-causing pollutant, ozone, actually shot up.

Dr. Guttikunda said the sharp rise was a real-life validation of a theory of atmospheric chemistry that says ozone — which is linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death — will increase, at least temporarily, as emissions of the tailpipe pollutants nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide go down.

“This is a theory that atmospheric chemists learn in class, but we haven’t seen it work in real time,” said Dr. Guttikunda.

Eight thousand miles away, scientists monitoring the air over the Los Angeles basin observed the same phenomenon.

“The spike in ozone, that’s caused a lot of interest,” said Michael Benjamin, who heads the atmospheric monitoring laboratory for California’s clean air agency.

Dr. Benjamin said that could have surprising implications for California, which has led the nation in implementing tough clean air policies. As the state continues to reduce its vehicle pollution, it may go through a period where some aspects of smog actually worsen “because of the weird air chemistry.”

Still, he expressed optimism. “This is a grand, real-world experiment that is validating what our path” to cleaner air might look like, he said.

In the northeast corridor of the United States, Xinrong Ren of the University of Maryland and Colm Sweeney of NOAA used the shutdown to help validate scientific models that are crucial in understanding the human impact on climate change and air quality.

Scientists still do not have a reliable system for measuring day-to-day changes in human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide, the main driver of global warming. But for the past two years, Dr. Ren and Dr. Sweeney have been monitoring carbon dioxide levels over Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington from a device mounted on the wings of two small airplanes that they fly up and down the East Coast. As soon as the shutdown started, the pair returned to their flying laboratories.

“A lot of policy is driven by models and guesstimates of how much we think certain things contribute to emissions,” Dr. Sweeney said. “Covid is a great opportunity to do real-life testing of those models.”

Because New York City saw a 50 percent decrease in vehicle traffic, one of the major sources of carbon dioxide pollution, the scientists could calibrate real-life impacts of auto-related emissions on the climate by comparing the shutdown measurements with those taken on their earlier flights.

“Covid-19 allows us to test the models that policy depends on,” Dr. Sweeney said.

The Obama administration used such models to justify the country’s first federal regulations to counter climate change, through stricter limits vehicle and power plant emissions. As the Trump administration weakened or wiped out those regulations, officials downplayed or disparaged climate change modeling as inaccurate or unreliable.

Now, opponents of those efforts will have new ammunition to combat them.

“This is powerful data,” said Mr. Grumbles, the Maryland environmental official. “It reinforces the policy arguments for stronger, more aggressive controls.”

Allies of the administration scoffed at the idea that three months worth of research on emissions levels could make any difference in the quality of scientific models.

“I don’t see how any of this strengthens climate models,” said Steven J. Milloy, who serves as an informal environmental policy adviser to members of the Trump administration and is author of the book “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the E.P.A.”

“I know these guys want any excuse for more money and something to do,” he added, “but I don’t think this validates anything

Administration officials struck a cautious note, but were not so dismissive.

Andrea Woods, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Protection Agency, wrote in an emailed statement: “The E.P.A., along with many other federal agencies, including NOAA and NASA, are using the opportunity available during the Covid-19 outbreak to further enhance our understanding of how human activity potentially impacts air quality. Many data streams are being collected. All will require integration along with a comprehensive and systematic analyses before any models might be updated or conclusions drawn.”

Public health scientists are studying another aspect of the pandemic’s cleaner air. A working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research calculated that the reduction in pollution has led to about 360 fewer deaths each month in the United States from illnesses like asthma, lung disease and heart disease — a drop of about 25 percent.

“It’s certainly not a silver lining — it in no way compares to the over 100,000 deaths from Covid in the U.S.,” said Steve Cicala, an economist at the University of Chicago and an author of the paper. “But 25 percent is a lot. This is the savings of lives that would be achieved if there were a less costly way to improve air pollution.”

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6) Tucson Police in Turmoil After Death of Latino Man in Custody
The police chief of Tucson, Ariz., offered to step down after the release of a video depicting the death of a handcuffed man. Three officers involved have already resigned.
By Simon Romero, June 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/us/tucson-police-carlos-ingram-lopez-death.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
A march demanding justice for Mr. Lopez in downtown Tucson on Wednesday. Credit...Rebecca Noble for The New York Times


The police chief of Tucson, Ariz., abruptly offered to resign on Wednesday while releasing a video in which a 27-year-old Latino man, Carlos Ingram Lopez, died in police custody two months ago.

The video, taken by police officers’ body cameras and not made public until Wednesday, depicts a gruesome episode on April 21. Before his death, Mr. Lopez is seen handcuffed while pleading repeatedly in English and Spanish for water and for his nana, or grandmother.

Chief Chris Magnus said officers did not use a chokehold on Mr. Lopez. But he said they violated training guidelines by restraining the victim in a prone position, face down, for about 12 minutes before Mr. Lopez went into cardiac arrest and died at the scene. While he was restrained, Mr. Lopez told the officers he could not breathe.

The autopsy report said the cause of death was a combination of physical restraint and cardiac arrest involving cocaine intoxication. Three officers resigned from the department last Thursday, Chief Magnus said.

The disclosure of Mr. Lopez’s death comes at a time when many Latinos around the United States are calling for changes in how police treat their communities, echoing similar calls by African-Americans. Last week in California, outrage emerged over the killing of Andres Guardado, an 18-year-old Latino student and security guard, by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. The episode in Tucson occurred about a month before George Floyd, a black man, was killed by police officers in Minneapolis, igniting protests throughout the country.

Mayor Regina Romero of Tucson appeared shaken while discussing Mr. Lopez’s death at a news conference on Wednesday. She spoke in Spanish, offering condolences to Mr. Lopez’s family, while expressing indignation in English over what happened.

“I am deeply troubled and outraged,” said Ms. Romero, who is the first Latina to serve as mayor of the heavily Latino city. “These officers would have been terminated had they not resigned.”

Two of the officers who resigned are white and one is African-American, said Lane Santa Cruz, a member of the City Council who had been briefed on the episode and reviewed the video on Tuesday. The police chief identified them as Samuel Routledge, Ryan Starbuck and Jonathan Jackson.

Chief Magnus’s own offer to resign seemed to catch Ms. Romero, who was standing by his side, by surprise. She said she would examine the details of what happened before taking action.

The department’s handling of the issue is now coming under intense scrutiny. Authorities did not disclose details about Mr. Lopez’s death until Tuesday, when Ms. Romero canceled a City Council meeting after watching the video.

Before the release of the video, Chief Magnus had publicly described the Tucson police force as one of the more progressive departments in the country. It had previously banned chokeholds and required officers to participate in cultural awareness and crisis intervention training.

Chief Magnus said that officers were responding to a call regarding “disorderly conduct” by Mr. Lopez, who was unclothed and seemed to be acting erratically when the officers arrived at the scene. At one point, an officer told Mr. Lopez he would be shocked with a stun gun if he failed to cooperate.

In the news conference, Chief Magnus said he had asked the F.B.I. to review the episode, which has been under internal investigation in the department. He said the officers involved had not met the standards established in training for what he described as a mental health crisis involving “excited delirium.”

For years, many departments have trained officers that people held face down, in what is known as “prone restraint,” are more likely to die suddenly of positional asphyxia because they have difficulty expanding their chest to bring in air.

This is particularly true if they are showing signs of mental distress or intoxication with stimulant drugs, a condition sometimes referred to as excited delirium. Guidelines for such circumstances usually call for officers to move people onto their side or sit them up as soon as possible.

The autopsy report for Mr. Lopez noted that he was restrained in a prone position with a spit hood, a mesh covering that goes over the head. The officers tried administering CPR to revive Mr. Lopez and also injected him with Narcan, a drug used to revive people overdosing on opioids.

Latino leaders in Tucson expressed dismay and anguish after the video was released. Ms. Santa Cruz, the councilwoman, said the episode underscored how “we are disproportionately being killed by the police.”

Ms. Santa Cruz emphasized how desperate Mr. Lopez was while being restrained, calling for his nana. “In our culture, nanas are the matriarchs,” she said. “He was calling out for his lifeline.”


Jennifer Valentino-Devries contributed reporting.

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7) N.Y.P.D. Officer Filmed Using Illegal Chokehold Is Arrested and Charged
The officer is the second in the city to face criminal charges for using excessive force this month, after mass protests across the country.
By Ashley Southall, June 25, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/nyregion/nypd-officer-chokehold-arrest.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
Police officers were recorded while holding Ricky Bellevue, 35, down on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk in Queens on Sunday. Credit...New York Police Department

A New York City police officer was arrested on Thursday morning and charged with illegally using a chokehold to subdue a man on the boardwalk at a Queens beach, officials said.

The officer, David Afanador, was suspended on Sunday hours after cellphone video was posted on social media that showed him holding his arm around the man’s neck during an arrest on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk. The man, Ricky Bellevue, 35, appeared to lose consciousness.

Officer Afanador, 39, turned himself in at the Queens district attorney’s office to face charges of second-degree strangulation and first-degree attempted strangulation, according to a police official. The charges were reported by NBC New York on Wednesday night.

Officer Afanador is the second New York City police officer to face criminal charges for using excessive force this month, after mass protests across the country against racism and brutality in policing. The demonstrations were sparked by the May death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, one of several killings of black people by the police and white vigilantes in recent months.

Spurred by the unrest, the New York State Legislature and New York City Council passed separate laws making it a crime for police officers to use chokeholds. Officer Afanador, however, is being charged under a pre-existing statute.

It was a police officer’s use of a banned chokehold that caused the 2014 death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island father who was being arrested on suspicion of selling untaxed, loose cigarettes. Five years later, the officer, Daniel Pantaleo, was found guilty at a departmental trial of using an unauthorized hold and was fired.

The Police Department banned chokeholds long ago, but officers have continued to use them on the streets. In 2015, the department added an exception to the ban, allowing the police to use the maneuver in extreme circumstances.

Officer Afanador was among several officers who were responding to complaints about someone yelling at bystanders and kicking cans on the boardwalk on Sunday morning, the police said.

The officers arrested Mr. Bellevue and during a takedown, Officer Afanador used a chokehold for at least 10 seconds before letting go, the video shows. Officer Afanador is Hispanic. Mr. Bellevue is black.

The felony charges suggest that investigators believe Mr. Bellevue may have briefly passed out because of the chokehold. The top charge carries a sentence of two to seven years in prison.

The district attorney’s office said it would not prosecute Mr. Bellevue, who was one of three men the police approached on the boardwalk.

Video from Officer Afanador’s body camera shows the officers talking to three men who they believed are intoxicated. Officer Afanador comments in the video that he recognizes one of the men, later identified as Mr. Bellevue, as a mentally ill man from a previous incident.

The officers shrug off the men’s taunts for more than 10 minutes before Mr. Bellevue appears to reach into a trash can and pick something up. He asks officers twice if they are scared before Officer Afanador lunges toward him.

It is Officer Afanador’s second time facing prosecution. In 2014, he was charged with assault after video emerged of him pistol-whipping a 16-year-old boy during a marijuana arrest in Brooklyn. The video, obtained by DNA Info, contradicted the officer’s account of the boy tripping and falling, the teenager’s lawyer said at the time.

Officer Afanador was acquitted after a bench trial and returned to the police force.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board, a city watchdog agency, investigated the incident and found that Officer Afanador had used excessive force, according to agency records. It remains unclear what punishment, if any, was imposed by the police commissioner, who has the final say in disciplinary matters.

Officer Afanador was the subject of seven other complaints investigated by the review board between 2009 and 2014. Six contained allegations that he used excessive force, including a chokehold in 2010, according to the records. He was also accused of abusing his authority to stop people on the street and search them, refusing to obtain medical treatment for someone, and using discourteous language.

None of the allegations were proven. In four cases, he was exonerated on one or more of the complaints. One case was truncated after the person who filed the complaint became “unavailable,” according to the records.

Hundreds of civilians have filed complaints since Mr. Garner’s death, accusing officers of using chokeholds. Even when the board’s investigators determine the claims to be true, however, serious punishment has been rare.

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8) U.S. Used Missile With Long Blades to Kill Qaeda Leader in Syria
Special Operations forces used a secret weapon designed to limit civilian casualties to strike the Qaeda veteran this month.
"The Hellfire variant, known as the R9X, was initially developed nearly a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in America’s long-running wars on terrorism in far-flung hot spots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen."
By Eric Schmitt, June 24, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/24/world/middleeast/syria-qaeda-r9x-hellfire-missile.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle carrying a Hellfire missile similar to the one used in the strike. Credit...John Moore/Getty Images

WASHINGTON — American Special Operations forces used a specially designed secret missile to kill the head of a Qaeda affiliate in Syria this month, dealing the terrorist group a serious blow with a weapon that combines medieval brutality with advanced technology.

American and Qaeda officials said on Wednesday that Khaled al-Aruri, the de facto leader of the Qaeda branch, called Hurras al-Din, perished in a drone strike in Idlib in northwest Syria on June 14. He was a Qaeda veteran whose jihadist career dates to the 1990s.

How he died was even more striking.

The modified Hellfire missile carried an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it hurled about 100 pounds of metal through the top of Mr. al-Aruri’s car. If the high-velocity projectile did not kill him, the missile’s other feature almost certainly did: six long blades tucked inside, which deployed seconds before impact to slice up anything in its path.

The Hellfire variant, known as the R9X, was initially developed nearly a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in America’s long-running wars on terrorism in far-flung hot spots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

The weapon, first described in detail last year by The Wall Street Journal, has been used perhaps a half-dozen times in recent years, American officials said, typically when a senior terrorist leader has been located but other weapons would risk killing nearby civilians.

Conventional Hellfire missiles, with an explosive warhead of about 20 pounds, are often used against groups of individuals or a so-called high-value target who is meeting with other militants. But when Special Operations forces are hunting a lone leader, the R9X now is often the weapon of choice.

American officials confirmed the use of the unusual missile in two specific instances, one by the Central Intelligence Agency and one by the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command.

An American military airstrike in Yemen in January 2019 killed Jamal al-Badawi, one of the men suspected of plotting the deadly Qaeda bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole in 2000.

And Al Qaeda’s second-ranking leader, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, who was also a son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, died in a C.I.A. airstrike in Idlib Province in northwest Syria in February 2017.

Photographs of the vehicle Mr. al-Masri was said to have been traveling in revealed unusual details for such a strike: The vehicle sustained no major explosive damage, but a projectile clearly struck it directly through its roof. This suggested that the military deliberately used an inert warhead to kill its target by high-velocity impact. Pentagon officials at the time did not disclose details about the R9X’s blades.

The British Royal Air Force used inert precision-guided bombs in the opening phases of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the French Air Force did the same in Libya in 2011. Neither munition employed the blades that the American version later would.

Pentagon and C.I.A. representatives declined to comment on Wednesday about the use of the R9X missile in Mr. al-Aruri’s death.

The use of this type of missile falls in line with the American military’s push to use smaller munitions to kill targets, made apparent during the recent air campaigns against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in an effort to avoid civilian casualties.

This includes the increased reliance on the GBU-39, a 250-pound small-diameter bomb used extensively in the 2016 and 2017 battles of Mosul and later Raqqa. Another weapon that has gained popularity is the advanced precision kill weapon system. It transforms a small, unguided 2.75-inch rocket with a laser-guidance kit, effectively turning the weapon into an air-launched sniper round.

But even the use of smaller, more precise munitions has left hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians killed by American weapons during the six-year war against the Islamic State and the continuing air campaign in Afghanistan.

The resilience of the Qaeda branch in Syria, as well as the operations of other affiliates in West Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, underscores the terrorist group’s enduring threat despite Bin Laden’s death and being largely eclipsed in recent years by the Islamic State as the terrorist group of choice of global jihadis.

“Al Qaeda remains a global force with its networks and branches around the world,” Ambassador Nathan A. Sales, the State Department’s counterterrorism coordinator, said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday after releasing the department’s annual country reports on terrorism.

Mr. al-Aruri, who was also known as Abu al Qassam, was a close companion and brother-in-law of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who headed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia until he was killed by an American airstrike in Iraq in 2006, according to Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor of FDD’s Long War Journal, a website run by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that tracks military strikes against militant groups.

In 2015, Mr. al-Aruri was one of five senior Qaeda figures freed by Iran in exchange for an Iranian diplomat held in Yemen. His release brought a highly experienced operative back to the field, and after his arrival in Syria he slowly climbed the ranks to become Al Qaeda’s military boss and then the de facto leader there.

The new Qaeda branch, called Hurras al-Din, emerged in early 2018 after several factions broke away from a larger affiliate in Syria. It is the successor to the Khorasan Group, a small but dangerous organization of hardened senior Qaeda operatives that Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s leader, sent to Syria to plot attacks against the West.

The Khorasan Group was effectively wiped out by a series of American airstrikes several years ago. But with as many as 2,000 fighters, including seasoned leaders from Jordan and Egypt, Hurras al-Din is much larger and has operated in areas where Russian air defenses have largely shielded them from American airstrikes and the persistent stare of American surveillance planes.

Moscow dispatched military aid and advisers to Syria in late 2015 to support the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad.

Hurras al-Din was initially led by Abu Hammam al-Shami, another Qaeda veteran, but a United Nations report said last year that Mr. al-Aruri took charge of the organization at some point.

“Khaled al-Aruri was one of Al Qaeda’s most senior figures worldwide and a major veteran of the cause, having begun work with Zarqawi in the late 1980s,” said Charles Lister, the director of the Middle East Institute’s Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism Programs.

Besides being Al Qaeda’s primary representative in Syria, Mr. al-Aruri was also engaged in efforts to revitalize the group’s operational presence in Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, re-engaging old networks and connections that had weakened somewhat in recent years, Mr. Lister said.

Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting from Hope, Maine.

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9) Chrystul Kizer, Teen Charged With Killing Sexual Abuser, Is Released on Bond
Ms. Kizer was charged with premeditated murder in the 2018 death of Randall Volar. Her case attracted widespread attention, and a Chicago bail fund paid $400,000 for her release on Monday.
By Jacey Fortin, June 23, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/23/us/chrystul-kizer-free-bond.html?action=click&module=Latest&pgtype=Homepage

Chrystul Kizer during a hearing in the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., last year. Credit...Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post, via Getty Images


Chrystul Kizer, a 19-year-old who was charged in the 2018 killing of a man who prosecutors said sexually abused her, was released from a Wisconsin jail on Monday after a bail fund in Chicago paid her $400,000 bond.

Ms. Kizer was 17 when she shot Randall Volar, 34, in Kenosha, Wis., on June 5, 2018. She has been awaiting trial for two years, and her case has received widespread attention from supporters and activists who say she acted in self-defense and was a victim of sex trafficking.

“It was incredible to see that we were able to bond Chrystul out,” said Santera Matthews, an organizer with the Chrystul Kizer Defense Committee, which has been working with other organizations to raise awareness about the case.

“People believe that she is a survivor, and that she was punished for surviving,” Ms. Matthews said, adding that the case is an example of the ways the criminal justice system has failed to protect black women and girls.

Ms. Kizer, who is black, first met Mr. Volar, who was white, when she was 16. On the night of the killing, Ms. Kizer traveled to Mr. Volar’s home in an Uber that he paid for, and spent several hours there before shooting him, according to Kenosha News, a local outlet, which cited statements made in court. She then set a fire in the home and left in his vehicle, the outlet reported.

At the time of his death, Mr. Volar had been under police investigation for possession of child pornography and sex trafficking.

When she left the jail on Monday, Ms. Kizer carried bags full of letters of support that people had mailed to her, said Sharlyn Grace, the executive director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which paid Ms. Kizer’s bond.

Ms. Grace said that the organization was able to steer funds toward Ms. Kizer’s case after it was “flooded with donations over the past several weeks,” which she attributed to increased activism after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and others during encounters with the police.

Ms. Kizer still faces charges of arson and premeditated homicide, which could carry a sentence of life in prison. Her defense lawyers did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. Her supporters have called for prosecutors to drop the charges altogether.

Michael Graveley, the Kenosha County district attorney, said he did not dispute that Mr. Volar had committed felony sex crimes against Ms. Kizer. Mr. Volar had been under investigation for sex crimes and was arrested in February 2018, but was released shortly after.

Mr. Graveley argued that the killing should be prosecuted as a premeditated murder, based partly on text messages and social media posts from Ms. Kizer. Court documents show that Ms. Kizer made a Facebook post on June 8 in which she appeared to display a pistol and said that she was not afraid to kill again.

Mr. Graveley acknowledged the widespread attention the case had received and said that it should be up to a jury to weigh all of the facts.

“Permitting vigilante justice, which is the narrative from some seeking dismissal, is a highly subjective, slippery slope,” Mr. Gravely said. “A jury may be best to decide guilt or innocence in these circumstances, and a judge can then decide the punishment, if any. The judge and jury will always have more complete facts than what’s available on the internet.”

Ms. Kizer could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. In an interview with The Washington Post last year, she said she had met Mr. Volar after she posted on backpage.com, a website that has been accused in various jurisdictions of enabling sex trafficking.

Ms. Kizer said that her relationship with Mr. Volar involved sexual abuse, money and gifts, and that he had also made money by arranging for her to meet up with other men in hotels. “He was a grown-up, and I wasn’t,” she said. “So I listened.”

She added that she had been pinned to the floor by Mr. Volar shortly before shooting him. “I didn’t intentionally try to do this,” she said.

Ms. Kizer’s case echoed that of Cyntoia Brown, a trafficking victim who served 15 years of a life sentence for killing a man who had picked her up when she was a teenager. Ms. Brown, now 32, was granted clemency in January 2019 and was released from a Tennessee prison in August.

The Chicago Community Bond Fund said that when Ms. Kizer’s case was over, the majority of the returned bond money would be steered to a national bail fund for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Ms. Grace noted the recent influx of donations to the Chicago fund and said that this was only one of many ways that organizers were working to address racial injustice in the United States. “Bail funds alone are just one tiny part of this much larger movement, and we have to be investing resources in lifting up day-to-day community organizing,” she said.

Mia Noel of the Milwaukee Freedom Fund, one of the organizations that has been supporting Ms. Kizer and her family, said in a statement on Sunday that protesters nationwide were calling for a “better world” that “protects, not punishes, young black survivors like Chrystul.”


“Her case deepens the current calls for justice and the need to keep fighting to transform our society,” Ms. Noel said.

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10) You Want a Confederate Monument? My Body Is a Confederate Monument
The black people I come from were owned and raped by the white people I come from. Who dares to tell me to celebrate them?
By Caroline Randall Williams, June 26, 2020
Ms. Williams is a poet.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/confederate-monuments-racism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
An image of Harriet Tubman projected on the statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Richmond, Va. Credit...Jay Paul/Reuters

NASHVILLE — I have rape-colored skin. My light-brown-blackness is a living testament to the rules, the practices, the causes of the Old South.

If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy, if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.

Dead Confederates are honored all over this country — with cartoonish private statues, solemn public monuments and even in the names of United States Army bases. It fortifies and heartens me to witness the protests against this practice and the growing clamor from serious, nonpartisan public servants to redress it. But there are still those — like President Trump and the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell — who cannot understand the difference between rewriting and reframing the past. I say it is not a matter of “airbrushing” history, but of adding a new perspective.

I am a black, Southern woman, and of my immediate white male ancestors, all of them were rapists. My very existence is a relic of slavery and Jim Crow.

According to the rule of hypodescent (the social and legal practice of assigning a genetically mixed-race person to the race with less social power) I am the daughter of two black people, the granddaughter of four black people, the great-granddaughter of eight black people. Go back one more generation and it gets less straightforward, and more sinister. As far as family history has always told, and as modern DNA testing has allowed me to confirm, I am the descendant of black women who were domestic servants and white men who raped their help.

It is an extraordinary truth of my life that I am biologically more than half white, and yet I have no white people in my genealogy in living memory. No. Voluntary. Whiteness. I am more than half white, and none of it was consensual. White Southern men — my ancestors — took what they wanted from women they did not love, over whom they had extraordinary power, and then failed to claim their children.

What is a monument but a standing memory? An artifact to make tangible the truth of the past. My body and blood are a tangible truth of the South and its past. The black people I come from were owned by the white people I come from. The white people I come from fought and died for their Lost Cause. And I ask you now, who dares to tell me to celebrate them? Who dares to ask me to accept their mounted pedestals?

You cannot dismiss me as someone who doesn’t understand. You cannot say it wasn’t my family members who fought and died. My blackness does not put me on the other side of anything. It puts me squarely at the heart of the debate. I don’t just come from the South. I come from Confederates. I’ve got rebel-gray blue blood coursing my veins. My great-grandfather Will was raised with the knowledge that Edmund Pettus was his father. Pettus, the storied Confederate general, the grand dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, the man for whom Selma’s Bloody Sunday Bridge is named. So I am not an outsider who makes these demands. I am a great-great-granddaughter.

And here I’m called to say that there is much about the South that is precious to me. I do my best teaching and writing here. There is, however, a peculiar model of Southern pride that must now, at long last, be reckoned with.

This is not an ignorant pride but a defiant one. It is a pride that says, “Our history is rich, our causes are justified, our ancestors lie beyond reproach.” It is a pining for greatness, if you will, a wish again for a certain kind of American memory. A monument-worthy memory.

But here’s the thing: Our ancestors don’t deserve your unconditional pride. Yes, I am proud of every one of my black ancestors who survived slavery. They earned that pride, by any decent person’s reckoning. But I am not proud of the white ancestors whom I know, by virtue of my very existence, to be bad actors.

Among the apologists for the Southern cause and for its monuments, there are those who dismiss the hardships of the past. They imagine a world of benevolent masters, and speak with misty eyes of gentility and honor and the land. They deny plantation rape, or explain it away, or question the degree of frequency with which it occurred.

To those people it is my privilege to say, I am proof. I am proof that whatever else the South might have been, or might believe itself to be, it was and is a space whose prosperity and sense of romance and nostalgia were built upon the grievous exploitation of black life.

The dream version of the Old South never existed. Any manufactured monument to that time in that place tells half a truth at best. The ideas and ideals it purports to honor are not real. To those who have embraced these delusions: Now is the time to re-examine your position.

Either you have been blind to a truth that my body’s story forces you to see, or you really do mean to honor the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed, and you must at last acknowledge your emotional investment in a legacy of hate.

Either way, I say the monuments of stone and metal, the monuments of cloth and wood, all the man-made monuments, must come down. I defy any sentimental Southerner to defend our ancestors to me. I am quite literally made of the reasons to strip them of their laurels.

Caroline Randall Williams (@caroranwill) is the author of “Lucy Negro, Redux” and “Soul Food Love,” and a writer in residence at Vanderbilt University.

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11) If You Want to Let Freedom Ring, Hammer on Economic Injustice
There’s far more work to do than changing the way we police.
By Jamelle Bouie, June 26, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/black-lives-matter-injustice.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

Since it emerged seven years ago in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the Black Lives Matter movement has produced a sea change in attitudes, politics and policy.

In 2016, 43 percent of Americans supported Black Lives Matter and its claims about the criminal justice system; now, it’s up to 67 percent, with 60 percent support among white Americans, compared with 40 percent four years ago. Whereas Democratic politicians once stumbled over the issue, now even Republicans are falling over themselves to say that “black lives matter.” And where the policy conversation was formerly focused on body cameras and chokehold bans, now mainstream outlets are debating and taking seriously calls to demilitarize and defund police departments or to abolish them outright.

But the Black Lives Matter platform isn’t just about criminal justice. From the start, activists have articulated a broad, inclusive vision for the entire country. This, in fact, has been true of each of the nation’s major movements for racial equality. Among black Americans and their Radical Republican allies, Reconstruction — which was still ongoing as of 150 years ago — was as much a fight to fundamentally reorder Southern economic life as it was a struggle for political inclusion. The struggle against Jim Crow, likewise, was also a struggle for economic equality and the transformation of society.

“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes,” the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote in “A Testament of Hope”:

“It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws — racism, poverty, militarism and materialism. It is exposing evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”

Our society was built on the racial segmentation of personhood. Some people were full humans, guaranteed non-enslavement, secured from expropriation and given the protection of law, and some people — blacks, Natives and other nonwhites — were not. That unequal distribution of personhood was an economic reality as well. It shaped your access to employment and capital; determined whether you would be doomed to the margins of labor or given access to its elevated ranks; marked who might share in the bounty of capitalist production and who would most likely be cast out as disposable.

In our society, in other words, the fight for equal personhood can’t help but also be a struggle for economic justice. And what we see, past and present, is how that fight against the privileges and distinctions of race can also lay the foundations for a broader assault on the privileges and distinctions of class.

As soon as the Civil War came to a close, it was clear there could be no actual freedom for the formerly enslaved without a fundamental transformation of economic relations. “We must see that the freedman are established on the soil, and that they may become proprietors,” Charles Sumner, the Radical Republican senator from Massachusetts, wrote in March 1865. “The great plantations, which have been so many nurseries of the rebellion, must be broken up, and the freedmen must have the pieces.” Likewise, said the Radical Republican congressman Thaddeus Stevens in September 1865, “The whole fabric of Southern society must be changed, and never can it be done if this opportunity is lost.” The foundations of their institutions, he continued, “must be broken up and re-laid, or all of our blood and treasure have been spent in vain.”

Presidential Reconstruction under Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, would immediately undermine any means to this end, as he restored defeated Confederates to citizenship and gave them free rein to impose laws, like the Black Codes, which sought to reestablish the economic and social conditions of slavery. But Republicans in Congress were eventually able to wrest control of Reconstruction from the administration, and just as importantly, black Americans were actively taking steps to secure their political freedom against white reactionary opposition. Working through the Union Army, postwar Union Leagues and the Republican Party, freed and free blacks worked toward a common goal of political equality. And once they secured something like it, they set out to try as much as possible to affect that economic transformation.

“Public schools, hospitals, penitentiaries, and asylums for orphans and the insane were established for the first time or received increased funding,” the historian Eric Foner wrote in “Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.” “South Carolina funded medical care for poor citizens, and Alabama provided free legal counsel for indigent defendants.”

For blacks and Radical Republicans, Reconstruction was an attempt to secure political rights for the sake transforming the entire society. And its end had as much to do with the reaction of property and capital owners as it did with racist violence. “The bargain of 1876,” W.E.B. Du Bois wrote in “Black Reconstruction in America,”

“…was essentially an understanding by which the Federal Government ceased to sustain the right to vote of half of the laboring population of the South, and left capital as represented by the old planter class, the new Northern capitalist, and the capitalist that began to rise out of the poor whites, with a control of labor greater than in any modern industrial state in civilized lands.”

Out of that, he continued, “has arisen in the South an exploitation of labor unparalleled in modern times, with a government in which all pretense at party alignment or regard for universal suffrage is given up.”

Du Bois was writing in the 1930s. A quarter-century later, black Americans in the South would launch a movement to unravel Jim Crow repression and economic exploitation. And as that movement progressed and notched victories against segregation, it became clear that the next step was to build a coalition against the privileges of class, since the two were inextricably tied together. The Memphis sanitation workers who asked Martin Luther King Jr. to support their strike in 1968 were black, set against a white power structure in the city. Their oppression as black Americans and subjugation as workers were tied together. Unraveling one could not be accomplished without unraveling the other.

All of this relates back to the relationship between race and capitalism. To end segregation — of housing, of schools, of workplaces — is to undo one of the major ways in which labor is exploited, caste established and the ideologies of racial hierarchy sustained. And that, in turn, opens possibilities for new avenues of advancement. The old labor slogan “Negro and White, Unite and Fight!” contains more than a little truth about the necessary conditions for economic justice. That this unity is fairly rare in American history is a testament to how often these movements have “either advocated, capitulated before, or otherwise failed to oppose racism at one or more critical junctures in their history,” as Robert L. Allen and Pamela P. Allen note in their 1974 study of racism and social reform movements.

Which brings us back to the present. The activists behind the Black Lives Matter movement have always connected its aims to working-class, egalitarian politics. The platform of the Movement for Black Lives, as it is formally known, includes demands for universal health care, affordable housing, living wage employment and access to education and public transportation. Given the extent to which class shapes black exposure to police violence — it is poor and working class black Americans who are most likely to live in neighborhoods marked by constant police surveillance — calls to defund and dismantle existing police departments are a class demand like any other.

But while the movement can’t help but be about practical concerns, the predominating discourse of belief and intention overshadows those stakes: too much concern with “white fragility” and not enough with wealth inequality. The challenge is to bridge the gap; to show new supporters that there’s far more work to do than changing the way we police; to channel their sympathy into a deeper understanding of the problem at hand.

To put a final point of emphasis on the potential of the moment, I’ll leave you with this. In a 1963 pamphlet called “The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker’s Notebook,” the activist and laborer James Boggs argued for the revolutionary potential of the black struggle for civil rights. “The strength of the Negro cause and its power to shake up the social structure of the nation,” Boggs wrote, “comes from the fact that in the Negro struggle all the questions of human rights and human relationships are posed.” That is because it is a struggle for equality “in production, in consumption, in the community, in the courts, in the schools, in the universities, in transportation, in social activity, in government, and indeed in every sphere of American life.”

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12) Banks Should Face History and Pay Reparations
The financial industry can close the wealth gap and serve as a model for a nation struggling to reckon with racism.
By Angela Glover Blackwell and Michael McAfee, June 26, 2020
Ms. Blackwell is founder in residence at PolicyLink, a research and advocacy institute, where Mr. McAfee is the chief executive.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/banks-reparations-racism-inequality.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
A Wells Fargo bank in Minneapolis was set on fire during protests against the death of George Floyd. In 2012, Wells Fargo agreed to pay at least $175 million to settle accusations that it discriminated against black and Hispanic borrowers during the housing boom. Credit...Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Corporate chief executives have been tripping over themselves to demonstrate their support for racial justice. They’ve taken a knee, tweeted that black lives matter, donated money to advocacy groups and affirmed their commitment to inclusion.

That’s all well and good. And following through on their promises — by hiring and promoting more people of color, diversifying boards and executive suites and paying all workers decent wages and essential benefits — would be even better.

But business leaders who are serious about fighting racism will hold themselves accountable for the bitter inequities they have helped to create and sustain, and from which they have profited. Every industry must now use its power to repair the damage and heal the wounds.

The financial industry is a good place to start. Banks have been underwriters of American racism — no industry has played a bigger or more enduring role in black oppression, exploitation and exclusion. Banks financed the slave trade and in some cases “repossessed” humans in bondage.

White-owned banks refused to serve black people who left the South escaping brutality and seeking opportunity during the Great Migration of the early and mid-20th century. Bank policies and practices contributed to segregating every major city and denying black families the two most important toeholds to the middle class — ownership of homes and of businesses.

Federal legislation beginning in the 1960s prohibited the most blatant discrimination in banking and lending. It banned redlining, the practice named for the color-coded maps that lenders used to deny mortgages in black neighborhoods.

But banks and real estate agents found ways to exploit the desire of black people to own homes, leaving many in foreclosure. Racial disparities in access to the conventional mortgage market endured, leaving black home buyers vulnerable to fraud and risky loans, as the subprime mortgage fiasco exposed so painfully.

The collapse of the housing market in 2008 and recession that followed wiped out half of black wealth. Black families have been slower to recover, in no small part because they are still rejected for home mortgages at more than double the rate of white families.

Similarly, banks deny loans to black-owned businesses at twice the rate of white-owned ones. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, for small black companies to grow. But the industry doesn’t only suppress black wealth, it aggressively strips it, through excessive interest rates on consumer debt, egregious overdraft penalties and higher fees even for simple A.T.M. transactions.

It’s no surprise that the median black family had roughly one-tenth of the wealth of a white family as of 2016. The gap not only limits education and career options, it’s also a source of gnawing anxiety about how the bills will get paid in the event of a job loss or costly illness — setbacks facing millions of families, again disproportionately black, during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Moreover, the wealth gap hurts the nation’s economy. McKinsey & Company calculates that closing the black-white wealth gap could increase G.D.P. by 4 percent to 6 percent, or more than $1 trillion, by 2028.

A federal reparations policy is unlikely to come anytime soon. But banks and financial institutions don’t have to wait. First, they must apologize for their culpability for and complicity in structural racism. Next, they must commit to serving black people as they do whites. Then, with these four bold policies, the industry can start to close the wealth gap, repair the harms and serve as a model for a nation struggling to reckon with racism:

Cancel consumer debt for black customers

Americans carry a lot of consumer debt, but as Christian Weller reports in Forbes, nobody bears a heavier burden than African-American families. They are the only racial group that owes more than their belongings are worth — they could sell all their possessions and they would still be in debt.

Black families on average had $8,554 in consumer debt in September 2019. And they pay more for debt — about $735 a year in interest on every $10,000 they borrow, compared with $514 for white families. Because they have less access to conventional banks and the mortgage market, many black families are forced to rely on high-interest alternatives such as payday loans.

Additionally, black people are hit with higher bank fines and harsher punishment, including wage garnishment, for loan defaults, making it harder to climb out of debt. Freeing families from the drag of this debt would help them build savings and obtain financial security.

Eliminate banking fees for black customers

Nearly half of black households have limited access to retail banking services or none at all. And black customers who have bank accounts pay more — $190 more for a checking account — compared with white customers, according to one study.

That’s because banks in communities of color generally require higher opening balances and minimums to avoid fees, and they charge more for A.T.M. transactions and overdrafts. Seemingly small differences in bank fees pay off handsomely for the industry.

Of the more than $11 billion that big banks collected last year in overdraft-related fees, the bulk came from just 9 percent of account holders — consumers who generally have low bank balances, according to a study by the Center for Responsible Lending.

Ending these egregious practices would make banking more attractive to black consumers.

Provide interest-free mortgages to black home buyers

The long history of blatant racism in mortgage lending is well known. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 was supposed to end it. But today, the rate of black homeownership, 43 percent, is barely higher than when that law took effect — and much lower than white homeownership, at 70 percent.

Given the persistent racism in the mortgage market and the subprime mortgage disaster, which not only resulted in homeownership disparities but also limited the value of homes owned by black people, banks must provide interest-free mortgages to black home buyers.

These loans could be capped at the regional median loan value and should be in place until black homeownership is on par with white homeownership. Expanding secure homeownership for black families and creating opportunities for them to buy in markets where real estate enjoys healthy increases in value will improve economic mobility and begin to create generational wealth.

Provide interest-free loans to black-owned businesses

Black Americans, women especially, start small businesses at higher rates than whites. From 2007 to 2012, the number of black-owned businesses increased nearly 35 percent. But almost all are sole proprietorships or partnerships with no employees, in no small part because they lack access to capital.

More than half of black-owned companies are turned down for bank loans, twice the rate of white business owners. Black businesses need investment to grow, especially during the pandemic, yet baked-in racism in the Paycheck Protection Program meant that only 12 percent of black and Latino business owners received the loans they requested.

Going forward, banks should provide interest-free loans to black-owned businesses at the regional median amount until black businesses are sufficiently capitalized to be competitive in the markets in which they operate. Unleashing the creativity of black entrepreneurship will reap huge benefits for the entire society.

Inevitably, the industry will assert that laws, regulations or shareholders prevent taking these steps. But legal obstacles have not stopped banks from pursuing bold, sometimes risky, strategies in the past. They use their mighty skills, money and influence to make a way when they believe profits and benefits await.

Now the industry must make a down payment on a secure future for black America, which really is a secure future for America.

Ultimately, no single industry can get at the root causes of racial inequality. But collectively, banks and all corporations must use their outsize power to end systemic racism, move the nation toward racial and economic equity and drive significant change in policy.

That requires more than taking a knee. It demands taking a stand.

Angela Glover Blackwell is the host of the podcast “Radical Imagination” and founder in residence at PolicyLink, a research and advocacy institute seeking racial and economic equity, where Michael McAfee is the president and chief executive.

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13) Free Produce, With a Side of Shaming
Instead of beefing up the SNAP program during the pandemic, the government opts for a return to Depression-era food lines.
By Andrew Coe, June 25, 2020
Mr. Coe is a food historian.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/25/opinion/snap-food-pantry-aid.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Lining up outside the COPO Halal Pantry in Flatbush, Brooklyn, last month. Scenes like these have become common during the pandemic. Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Once a week, a blocklong line of men and women in surgical masks stretches down Neptune Avenue in Coney Island. Their goal is a food pantry that has cardboard containers stacked on the sidewalk in front.

These are “U.S.D.A. Farmers to Families Food Boxes,” each holding 23 pounds of produce: apples, cantaloupes, potatoes, yams, oranges, iceberg lettuce, onions. When the men and women at last get to the front of the line, they are given one of these boxes to put in their shopping carts and take home. This food is supposed to help tide them over until they get a job, or until the next week, when they can line up again on the same sidewalk.

It’s a scene that has played out across the country as Americans wait hours, in their cars or standing in lines, in the rain or under the hot sun, outside the nation’s overwhelmed food banks: The public line is not an aberration or a miscalculation of demand, but a deliberate feature of the Department of Agriculture’s nutrition assistance program during the time of Covid-19. It’s also a throwback to one of the most desperate eras of our history.

Mid-November 1930: Four hundred men and women crowded the sidewalk along East 104th Street in Harlem. They inched toward the precinct house, where policemen were handing out paper sacks filled with potatoes, onions, macaroni, coffee, eggs and bread — enough to fill the stomachs of a family of four for a week. When their turn came, housewives hid their allotments in empty baby carriages and hurriedly wheeled them home to their families.

Organized by Mayor Jimmy Walker, this was one of the first government-run efforts to feed the millions of people who had lost jobs in the Great Depression. Such official food handouts helped Americans survive, but neither politicians nor the people they fed were ever really satisfied with them.

The sacks and boxes didn’t supply enough food and often didn’t provide the right array of vegetables, proteins, starches and dairy from which to prepare nutritious meals. Children don’t thrive on a mostly potato diet.

In immigrant neighborhoods, relief workers handed out items like oatmeal that were alien to people from places like Southern Italy and China. On the Lower East Side, home to a dense population of Eastern European Jews, every family received packages of pork just before Christmas. (They traded them with their gentile neighbors for food that wasn’t “treyf,” or nonkosher.)

The biggest problem, however, was the humiliation of lining up for food boxes. This act displayed a family’s poverty for the entire neighborhood to see and judge.

For many men, the breadwinners, the public admission of failure was too painful. Their wives took their place on the relief line. (Two-thirds of the people in line on Neptune Avenue are women.) Other fathers refused to allow their families to accept government aid, selling off their furniture instead. In some cases, people who were too proud to ask for aid starved to death.

Relief administrators such as Harry Hopkins, one of President Franklin Roosevelt’s closest aides, saw the drawbacks and lobbied for a change. By 1934, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration had pivoted to giving the needy food vouchers they could use at neighborhood markets. In 1939, the Roosevelt administration started the Food Stamp Plan, run by the Department of Agriculture, which helped the unemployed purchase foods of their choice as well as surplus farm produce at deeply discounted prices.

In New York State, Rochester was the first city to roll out food stamps. One of the quickest to use them was a woman named Gertrude Benge, who showed up with a baby in her arms to get her coupons and said, “It don’t make you feel so bad when you can go and pick out the stuff yourself.”

Today, food stamps are called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits and help feed millions of Americans who are either unemployed or, more often, whose minimum-wage jobs don’t pay them enough to support their families.

And ever since the Great Depression, conservative politicians have been trying to end the program, claiming that it wastes taxpayers’ money and encourages “a culture of dependency.” The Trump administration, under the guise of weaning poor Americans off welfare, has also made assaults on SNAP benefits.

In February, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue proposed cutting the benefits in half and replacing them with “harvest boxes” filled with cheap staples such as peanut butter, cereal, pasta, and canned meat and vegetables. Democrats and lobbyists from the supermarket industry helped stop that initiative.

But in the coronavirus lockdown, Mr. Perdue received new powers to help feed the unemployed. Rather than simply expand SNAP benefits that can be conveniently redeemed at grocery stores, he chose to rebrand his harvest boxes as the Farmers to Families Food Boxes. And that’s how piles of cardboard boxes ended up on the sidewalk at the back end of Coney Island.

And it’s why hundreds of people have to line up and wait, uncomplainingly and seemingly interminably, for their allotment of government-sponsored food. Perhaps they could spend that time looking for work or taking care of their children. Instead, the Trump administration demands that they humiliate themselves for their poverty and their need.

Andrew Coe (@breadgood) is a co-author, with Jane Ziegelman, of “A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression.”

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14) Why Did It Take a Pandemic to Show How Much Unpaid Work Women Do?
Cleaning the house and taking care of children has real economic value, and women have been doing it for free for too long.
By Diane Coyle, June 26, 2020
Ms. Coyle is a professor of public policy at the University of Cambridge.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/opinion/inequality-gender-women-unpaid-work.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

Naudia West, a social worker, in her car, where she often writes up case notes after seeing clients. She works two jobs, has two kids at home and just finished her master’s degree. Credit...Leah Nash for The New York Times

Women’s shift into paid employment in the 20th century was one of the great economic transformations in recent history. Families began buying goods such as convenience foods, vacuum cleaners and microwaves to substitute for women’s unpaid labor at home. That shift in what households buy was a primary reason for the post-World War II boom in economic growth in the United States and other rich countries.

In the United States, this transition started in the early 1960s, when just over four in 10 American women went out to work, and continued until 1997, when the proportion reached just over six in 10. The shift was even more pronounced in some other Western economies. Women’s employment rate stabilized in the United States but has continued to increase elsewhere, reaching nearly seven in 10 in the other major world economies.

But while the growth in consumer spending thanks to working women is well documented, there is another part of this story that has been largely ignored by economists: the persistence of unpaid work done by women. Even as more women have gone out to work over time, they have continued to do the “second shift.” Women take on more of the domestic labor and volunteering in the community than men, and they have less leisure time. In fact, women who work in paid jobs outside the home spend more time each week on chores at home than do men who do not go out to work.

Economists have long acknowledged that gross domestic product — the most widely accepted measure of economic progress — excludes all of this work, which is vital to the functioning of the global economy. But this huge gap has rarely seemed important in the heavily male-dominated profession of economics.

That is finally beginning to change. The question of what counts in “the economy” is no longer posed only by feminist scholars; it is being examined by economists in general, including those who define the statistics used to measure growth. That’s because digital technology is changing the boundary between what we pay for in the market and what we do free in the home — for men as well as women.

Economists call the line between paid and unpaid work the “production boundary.” Increasingly, the ordinary activities of life involve crossing that boundary. When I use online banking to deposit a check or when I book my own hotel room, I am crossing the production boundary, substituting my own unpaid work for the paid work of bank tellers or travel agents. None of this unpaid work is counted directly in gross domestic product.

Similarly, many free online products — like TikToks, Wikipedia entries and social media posts — are substitutes for purchased equivalents in the media and entertainment. Millions of us donate our work to amuse or inform others, in a parallel economy in which others pay with their attention.

The digital economy, like the offline household and volunteer economy, is linking us in exchanges that are hard to measure in traditional economic terms, although they create much unpaid value. These activities do create a lot of monetary value for the owners of digital platforms, and that is included in formal measures of the economy, but everything that falls on the wrong side of the production boundary — all that unpaid digital work — is uncounted.

This situation now seems untenable. During the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, in many places much of the activity counted in G.D.P. has come to a sudden stop. Yet it is clearer than ever how much time we are spending on the “wrong” side of the production boundary. Online traffic is as much as 30 percent higher in some regions since the beginning of the pandemic, and households in lockdown are spending many more hours on the unpaid domestic work of cooking, cleaning and child care.

Women seem to be disproportionately bearing the extra burden. In addition to their doing more of the unpaid work at home, their economically valuable work outside the home is suffering, as they are forced to substitute unpaid work for paid work — reversing a decades-long trend. Women have been the main providers of child care while schools have been closed, and mothers working from home are almost twice as likely as men to have reduced their working hours, with the biggest decline in hours found among college-educated women.

At the same time, women are losing ground in paid employment. The sectors of the economy that are most affected by the pandemic, such as retail and hospitality, disproportionately employ women. In the United States, the unemployment rate for women has risen by nearly three percentage points more than men’s; in Britain, mothers are more likely than fathers to have lost or quit their jobs. It is not just women who are being harder hit; the U.S. unemployment rate is significantly higher for Hispanic and African-American people than it is for whites.

The striking disjunction between what we pay for and count in G.D.P. and what is valuable or “essential” to our lives is now unavoidable. But so far there seem to be few options for doing something about it, other than applauding essential workers or paying for advertising to salute them.

Those lucky professionals who can work at home continue to be paid, generating profits for the absurdly well-paid owners of their companies, but they, too, are doing more unpaid work at home and spending less money in the “official” economy. It may seem as if lockdown has caused an overall slowdown in all kinds of work, but as long as this shift toward unpaid work continues, income inequality — which was high even before the pandemic — will continue to worsen.

There are ways to change course. Increases in the minimum wage, limits on executive pay and tougher antitrust policies, which would reduce corporate power, would not take long to reduce inequality of income. Scandinavian countries not only have higher wage rates for low-paid jobs but also provide support for families, including generous parental leave and subsidized day care, to ensure that the burden of unpaid work does not fall largely on women. Introducing a universal basic income — usually defined as a guaranteed income provided by the government for every adult and child — would also be a recognition of the value of the essential unpaid work that everyone does, even those who are not part of the “paid” economy.

It will take more than policies such as these for us to learn how to value what is truly worthwhile in the economy. Monetary transactions alone are an incomplete measure of economic value. They always were, as the creators of G.D.P. accepted, but economists and policymakers have long downplayed this shortcoming. Now, as the digital shift and the lockdowns have brought “the economy” into our homes, these fundamental questions are impossible to ignore. A broader measure of progress could reshape the way we choose to organize society by validating the valuable work that counts for little, or nothing, in our current system.

Diane Coyle (@DianeCoyle1859) is a professor of public policy at the University of Cambridge and the author of “Markets, State and People: Economics for Public Policy.”

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15) Many Latinos Couldn’t Stay Home. Now Virus Cases Are Soaring in the Community.
Rates of coronavirus infection among Latinos have risen rapidly across the United States.
By Shawn Hubler, Thomas Fuller, Anjali Singhvi and Juliette Love, June 26, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/26/us/corona-virus-latinos.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
“We’re the ones who are out in the work force,” said Cynthia Orozco, a 20-year-old high school tutor and civil engineering major at California State University, Fresno, who contracted the virus along with her mother, Graciela Ramirez, a machine operator at Ruiz Foods in Dinuba, Calif. Credit...Shawn Hubler/The New York Times

DINUBA, Calif. — When the coronavirus first spread to the fields and food processing factories of California’s Central Valley, Graciela Ramirez’s boss announced that line workers afraid of infection could stay home without pay.

A machine operator at Ruiz Foods, the nation’s largest manufacturer of frozen burritos, Ms. Ramirez stayed on the job to make sure she didn’t lose her $750-a-week wages.

“I have necessities,” Ms. Ramirez, a 40-year-old mother of four, said in Spanish. “My food, my rent, my bills.”

Soon her co-workers started to get sick, and when Ms. Ramirez became congested and fatigued and could not smell the difference between the rice on her stove and the sopa de fideo in her soup bowl, her test, too, came back positive.

It was a variation on what has become a grim demographic theme, and not just in California. Infections among Latinos have far outpaced the rest of the nation, a testament to the makeup of the nation’s essential work force as the American epidemic has surged yet again in the last couple of weeks.

Latinos in the United States are hardly a cultural monolith, and there is no evidence yet that any ethnic group is inherently more vulnerable to the virus than others. But in the last two weeks, counties across the country where at least a quarter of the population is Latino have recorded an increase of 32 percent in new cases, compared to a 15 percent increase for all other counties, a Times analysis shows.

The analysis affirms broad national tallies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which show Latinos making up 34 percent of cases nationwide, a much higher proportion than the group’s 18 percent share of the population.

It also underscores a shift from early in the outbreak, especially in areas outside cities, like Tulare County, Calif., which initially had largely avoided the debilitating spikes in infections seen in New York, New Orleans, Chicago and other major metropolitan areas.

The disparity is particularly stark in populous states like California, Florida and Texas. But it also has sprung up elsewhere. In North Carolina, Latinos make up 10 percent of the population, but 46 percent of infections. In Wisconsin, they’re 7 percent of the population and 33 percent of cases. In Yakima County, Wash., the site of the state’s worst outbreak, half the residents are Latino. In Santa Cruz County, which has Arizona’s highest rate of cases, the Hispanic share of the population is 84 percent.

Detailed coronavirus data broken down by ethnicity is incomplete in many places, making it difficult to know why Latinos have been infected at higher rates. Counties with a high proportion of Latinos also tend to have attributes that have made counties vulnerable to the recent surge: crowded households, younger populations and hotter weather that drives people indoors, said Jed Kolko, a researcher and chief economist at Indeed.com, a job search website. Contact tracers in some areas also have associated spikes in infection with large family gatherings.

But the inexorable rise since Easter in infections among Latinos — both here and in Latin American countries — has alarmed health officials and Latino organizations, who are calling for more targeted testing, more comprehensive data collection and better workplace protections as the economy reopens.

And it has become a political flash point in red states, where infections are also rising. Latino Democratic and civil rights leaders demanded an apology this week from Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, who attributed the steep increase in positive Covid-19 tests in his state to “overwhelmingly Hispanic farmworkers.” Mr. DeSantis’s critics say his administration is scapegoating immigrant workers after ignoring pleas on their behalf for more testing and protection.

In California, where Latinos make up 39 percent of the population and nearly 57 percent of new cases, the spikes have been particularly confounding. The state was the nation’s first to shelter in place, and cellphone data indicated that its residents were among the most committed to limiting their movement, and with it the spread of the disease.

Infection rates have remained relatively low in affluent neighborhoods, including those occupied by the state’s wealthy Latinos. But sheltering in place never happened for many Latino families with members who work in industries that never shut down, making them especially vulnerable to the virus.

During the lockdown, millions of Latino workers kept a bare-bones economy running: at the cutting tables of food-processing plants, as farm hands, as hospital orderlies, food preparers, supermarket workers and in many other jobs deemed essential. And they brought the virus home to often cramped living quarters, compounding the spread.

“This was totally a blind spot,” said Dr. Alicia Fernandez, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, who specializes in Latino and immigrant health. “Much, much more needs to be done in workplace protection.”

Now the virus is stalking Latinos from the south to the north in California. Imperial County, a predominantly Latino farming region east of San Diego, has the state’s highest infection rate — twice the rate of Los Angeles, and higher than that of hard-hit New York state. In San Francisco, Latinos make up 15 percent of the population but account for half of the coronavirus cases.

Many San Francisco streets were all but deserted during the lockdown. But it was a different picture among the Bay Area’s Latino households, where the daily routine of commutes to far-flung workplaces continued.

“Sheltering is a luxury,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, the vice dean for population health and health equity at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. “In wealthier parts of town, people sheltered earlier and longer, because it takes resources. Not every community has the luxury to do that.”

Researchers say that one of the starkest illustrations of how the virus penetrated the Latino community comes from a study led by the University of California at San Francisco in the city’s Mission District.

Working with local Latino organizations, researchers tested nearly 4,000 volunteers for the coronavirus in an area of roughly four blocks by six blocks.

About equal numbers of Latinos (40 percent) and non-Latino white people (41 percent) were tested in the study. But nearly all of those who were found to be infected were Latino; less than 1 percent were non-Latino white people.

At the start of the pandemic, Latinos did not appear to be more vulnerable than others. In fact, California Latinos were underrepresented in the data in early April, making up around 30 percent of the cases. As shelter-in-place orders took hold, though, rates of infection among Latinos surged compared with other groups.

Hot spots developed in areas with large Latino populations, like the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland.

The virus spread through Kings County, an agricultural area in the Central Valley with numerous meatpacking plants; it now has the second highest rate of infection in the state. Tulare County, whose population is 64 percent Hispanic, rose to fourth place among counties.

“We’re seeing a concentration of impacts from Covid-19 in industries that are majority Latino — indoor food processing, packaging, meat packing,” said Phoebe Seaton, co-executive director and co-founder of Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability, a civil rights organization based in Fresno, Calif., that is advocating for more workplace protections against the virus.

Ms. Ramirez’s employer, Ruiz Foods, is based in Dinuba, in Tulare County. The family-owned company was founded by Fred Ruiz, one of the state’s best known Latino philanthropists and a member of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pandemic task force on economic recovery. It now employs 1,500 people in California and 2,300 more at plants in Texas and South Carolina, making El Monterey burritos and about 200 other varieties of frozen Mexican food.

Rachel P. Cullen, the company’s chief executive, said that as with many companies, Ruiz’s initial response was to give employees the option to work at home, and to take vacation days or unpaid time off if their jobs could not be done remotely.

After Easter, however, the case count in Tulare County shot up, and the company moved aggressively to address the virus. Testing was mandated for all employees, Ms. Cullen said in a statement, and “increased physical distancing, mandatory mask wearing, flexible barriers, symptom monitoring and temperature screening, limiting visitors and travel restrictions” were quickly put into place.

No employees have died from Covid-19, Ms. Cullen said, but the Dinuba plant became a hot spot, and two workers were hospitalized. She said 331 employees have recovered from Covid-19 since April, and about 15 have active infections.

Ms. Ramirez suspects that she caught the virus in the company lunchroom, where tables are now cordoned off to enforce social distancing. On the production line where she works with hundreds of other people, she said, sheets of plastic separate employees and bottles of hand sanitizer have been placed at every walkway. That wasn’t the case before April, she said.

Still, she doesn’t blame her employer. “A lot of us didn’t believe in Covid at the beginning,” she said in Spanish. “I didn’t, because I didn’t know anyone who had it until I got it myself.”

A week after her test results came back, her 20-year-old daughter, Cynthia Orozco, also tested positive. Because her daughter also watches Ms. Ramirez’s two youngest children, ages 2 and 10, the doctor told Ms. Ramirez to assume that they, too, had the virus.

No one in the family has required hospitalization, but as word circulated among friends and relatives in California, Nevada and Mexico, she learned that her plight was not as unusual as she’d thought.

A co-worker of her husband’s at a dairy in Visalia was infected. So was a cousin in Bakersfield who clerked in a Dollar Store. In Modesto, a cousin in the construction business had Covid-19, and was worried about his crew in San Francisco.

“We’re the ones who are out in the work force,” said Ms. Orozco, a civil engineering major at California State University, Fresno, who added that the virus had cost her several weeks of work as well.

Ms. Orozco said she and her mother have not yet had follow-up tests. But last weekend, after heart-wrenching months of keeping their distance from loved ones, they put on masks and went to a big outdoor family party anyway.

“Everybody used hand sanitizer, and put their names on their cups so no one accidentally picked up anyone’s drink,” she said. “And we all just kind of did a fist pump in the air instead of hugging each other.”



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