7/14/2020

Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, July 14, 2020


No To Trump-Duterte Terror

&
Get Out Philippine National Police [PNP]!

This Friday, July 17, when the ATL goes into effect, we call on all Filipinos and Solidarity Forces to declare San Francisco ATL-free and to demand that the PNP headquarters in the San Francisco Consulate close down and get out of town!

Friday, 7/17
Caravan at 1:30pm - RSVP & Org Endorsements:
bit.ly/July17OustDuterteSF
Rally 2pm @ SF Philippine Consulate


Duterte’s signing of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL) in the Philippines signals a slippery slope to martial-law and full on fascism in the Philippines. The ATL law affects all Filipinos and anyone who speaks out against Duterte.

Both in the Philippines and in the United States, we have seen increasing government-sanctioned violence, human and civil rights violations, and increasing attacks on our freedom of speech and our right to organize and respond to injustice. No one should ever be condemned or punished for exercising their right to engage and participate in political discourse and demonstrations.

Human rights activists in the US have already been targets of smear campaigns for their advocacy and activism against Duterte's corruption & repression.

This is especially concerning as the San Francisco Consulate hosts the Philippine National Police (PNP) headquarters in the US. We know that the bill impacts Filipinos and others outside the Philippines and that the PNP intends to build relationships with local law enforcement agencies through their Global Police Community Relations efforts.

In addition, the recent vote to shut down the leading broadcaster in the nation, ABS-CBN, further shows that Duterte will stop at nothing to shut down critics and kill press freedom.

Organizers: ABSF, MalayaSF, Pin@y Educational Partnerships, SFCHRP.

To add your organization as an endorser please contact:
malayamovementsf@gmail.com or fill out bit.ly/July17OustDuterteSF

Please wear a face mask. We will encourage physical distancing.

#oustduterte #junkterrorlaw #fightfascism #endstateterror

SAVE THE DATE
People's State of the Nation Address!

Justice 4 Brandon Lee Fundraiser Closer to $10k Goal for $10k Match!

SFCHRP continues to support the fundraising efforts for Brandon Lee, an environmental and indigenous rights advocate who was shot by an agent of the Philippine government for his work in the Cordillera region. Brandon is recovering in San Francisco and is also looking for accessible ADA housing for his family of three.

We have raised nearly $3,000 in the last couple of weeks, getting us closer to the $10k needed to secure a $10k matching donation from an anonymous donor. Please share this fundraising tool, Love4Brandon, which includes artwork and skills donated by talented friends and supporters of Brandon. We are also still accepting donations through Venmo @sfchrp.

If you are interested in joining the Justice 4 Brandon Lee Coalition, please click here. To learn more about Brandon's story, go to www.ichrpus.org/savebrandonlee.


Copyright © 2020 SFCHRP, All rights reserved.
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SFCHRP
1332 15th Ave
San FranciscoCA  94122-2008

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The Concert for Cuba
July 18th and 19th

Dear Pacifica Member,

The Pacifica Foundation is proud to be a media sponsor for The Concert For Cuba live streamed from Havana on July 18th and 19th on HotHouseGlobal

This epic event unites 50 of the world's legendary supporters of Cuba's humanitarian efforts during the Covid crisis. 

Join Danny Glover, Micheal Moore, Los Van Van, Omara Portuondo and Eliades Ochoa and so many more. More information can be found on https://hothouse.net.

Live stream the video feed on https://www.twitch.tv/hothouseglobal/.

Thank you,
Lydia Brazon
Executive Director 

To donate, please visit pacifica.org to make your tax deductible donation through ActBlue, credit card or Paypal.


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Conversation on the Intersection of Politics, Labor, & Race with Dr. Stephen Pitts on July 23rd.
We are living at the intersection of racial injustice, labor and politics. The times we are in demand a labor movement that is leading the conversation and at the same time building capacity and pursuing public policy that brings justice to the working class. Join Bay Area Labor Councils for this important discussion. RSVP here.
In Solidarity,
SF Labor Council Team



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For Immediate Release                                                            



Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679



Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628





LaborFest is committed to providing unique and relevant labor theme events while practicing proper social distancing to prevent the spread of the virus.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be no printed program booklet and all LaborFest 2020 program events will be available online only at https://laborfest.net/.  Events will be available through YouTube or Facebook using a web address provided in the program schedule.  Events are subject to change or cancellation due to COVID-19 related issues.  Check our website at https://laborfest.net/ prior to each event.



LaborFest is the premier labor cultural arts and film festival in the United States.  LaborFest recognizes the role of working people in the building of America and making it work even in this time of COVID-19.  The festival is self-funded with contributions from unions and other organizations that support and celebrate the contributions of working people.



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"While you're worried about 'bad apples', We're wary of the roots. because NO healthy tree, naturally bears Strange 

Fruit."



—Unknown source




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The San Francisco Mime Troupe will not be performing their traditional live show in Sana Cruz this year.  Instead they are offering one of their classic shows with a timely theme to stream online.

Watch FREEDOMLAND now through July 19 for a ticket price of 99 cents.  This non-profit theater troupe will also appreciate an additional donation.

-Jeffrey Smedberg
Reel Work Labor Film Festival


The San Francisco Mime Troupe’s FREEDOMLAND 
available online Monday, July 6 - Sunday, July 19!
In 2015 the Tony award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe presented an original tragic farce - FREEDOMLAND - to critical praise in parks around the Bay Area, and in theaters across California. FREEDOMLAND is the story of the lengths a Black man will go to in order to keep his grandson safe and alive in a country that seems to prefer Black men in jail or dead. Pulling no punches while still managing to be comedic, FREEDOMLAND was a brutal, tragic, yet in the Mime Troupe tradition sardonic look at the results of the War on Drugs, how fear is used as a weapon of racial oppression, and how police violence destroys Black lives in our police state. And now, for the first time, the San Francisco Mime                                                           Troupe will be making one of its most hard-hitting shows available for a limited time online!

Visit www.sfmt.org for more details, and see the show 
anytime between July 6 to July 19 on Vimeo.

See FREEDOMLAND for FREE but a suggested 
donation of $20 is greatly appreciated!
Watch a trailer!
SF Mime Troupe is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, tax ID 94-1602975.
All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law.
Donate Today to FREEDOMLAND!
We also accept checks made out to SFMT.
(And we get your full donation, no third party charges when you send a check!)
Mail to: 855 Treat Ave, SF, CA 94110

San Francisco Mime Troupe | 855 Treat Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

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      HAVE YOU CONTRIBUTED TO SUPPORT THE WORK OF LC4PJ LATELY?

Members of LC4PJ make a voluntary annual donation of $30 (or whatever they can afford) as dues.  While you don't need to be a member to subscribe to this list, we hope you will also support this urgently important work with a financial contribution.

Send donations to LC4PJ c/o 4654 Congress Ave., Oakland, CA 94601.  Make checks payable to LC4PJ or Labor Committee for Peace & Justice.  Send inquires to labor-for-peace-and-justice@igc.org.

Thanks for your support!


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From: "FIRE (Fight for Im/migrants & Refugees Everywhere)" <info@fightformigrants.org>
Date: July 13, 2020 at 10:40:48 PM PDT
To: Carole Seligman <caroleseligman@sbcglobal.net>
Subject: Shut Down Fort Hood! Justice for Vanessa Guillén. Sign the petition!


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Marvin Gaye - What's Going On (Official Video 2019)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5TmORitlKk



Because once is not enough. Because sometimes music is my only solace. Because sometimes it hurts too much too care but to be human is to hurt. Because I feel lucky to have grown up with great music. Because that music was harmonic and melodious. Because that music had soul. Because I grew up with Blues and Motown and Jazz. Because I grew up with Black friends and we played ball everyday and we had fun and we were winners. Because they taught me about music and soul and acceptance. Because they didn't hate me for being white. Because I was brought up with Irish Catholics who taught me that fighting and arguing for justice kept depression in its place. Because they taught me that if you never quit fighting you haven't lost so never quit fighting for justice. Because I was in a union and learned that solidarity is the original religion. Because without solidarity you are alone. And alone is hell and because I have never been in hell. Because I am part of the human race. Because the human race is the only race on earth. Because I am grateful for Marvin Gaye, and John Coltrane, and Sam Cooke and because you know what I am talking about. Because we are going to win and we are going to have fun. Because that's the truth. Because no lie can defeat truth. Because you are there to hear me. Because I know I am not alone.  —Gregg Shotwell

https://www.greggshotwell.com



(Gregg Shotwell is a retired autoworker, writer and poet.)



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"When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don't speak out, ain't nobody going to speak out for you."

Fannie Lou Hamer 

Dear Community, 

Do you know what wakes me up every day? Believing that we will win. We always knew that we were on the right side of history—but this summer between unveiling the racist outcomes of COVID-19, the global uprisings and the nationwide 650+ Juneneenth actions, we have momentum like we’ve never had before, and the majority of the country is with us. We know that the next step in our pathway to liberation is to make a strong political move at the ballot box—and we need you to lead the effort to entice, excite, educate, and ignite our people, from the babies to the grannies. Black August belongs to the Electoral Justice Project; it is our turn to set the national Black Political Agenda, and we want you to join us!

In a crisis, we have found resilience and the opportunity to make history. This is the genius of our Blackness—even amid a devastating pandemic that exposed racism and anti-Blackness as the real pre-existing conditions harming our communities, we are rising up and taking action to build power and demand that our rights and dignity be upheld and respected.

This summer, we will continue the legacy of Black Political Power-building and the righteous anger and momentum in the streets to shape a movement that will extend to the November elections and beyond. 

We invite you to join the Movement for Black Lives on Friday, August 28, at for the Black National Convention—a primetime event in celebration of Black Culture, Black Political Power-building, and a public policy agenda that will set forth an affirmative vision for Black Lives.


We are drawing from a legacy of struggle for Black Liberation. In 1964, Black communities across Mississippi and the South united in the face of systemic racism and voter suppression. That summer, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act, which after decades of violence and segregation, was won through sheer will. Then, on March 10, 1972, 4,000 Black people from every political affiliation attended the National Black Political Convention in Gary, Indiana, to yield power for Black people. While the historic event generated a new Black Political Agenda and quadrupled the number of Black elected officials by the end of the 1970s, it was not without its divisions and tensions—ranging from questions about the efficacy of Reverend Jesse Jackson’s assertion of a “Liberation Party” to the isolation of then–Presidential Candidate Shirley Chishom.

Despite the varied outcomes, the National Black Political Convention was an influential moment in Black History. Forty-eight years later, we are meeting yet another opportunity for radical change. This Black August, join us as we unveil one of the boldest political platforms our country has ever seen, partnering to ignite millions across the country. www.blacknovember.org

You feel that? We’re going to win. 

With Black Love, 

Jessica Byrd and the Black National Convention Planning Teamp


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CODEPINK.ORG


Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers that police have used to kill thousands of Americans!

BlackRock loves to make a killing on killing: Over a thousand Americans have been killed by Tasers — 32 percent of them are Black Americans. Tasers are made by the colossal law enforcement supplier Axon Enterprise, based in Arizona.
One of their top shareholders happens to be Blackrock. Recently Blackrock has been trying to be sympathetic to the atrocities of murders waged on Black Americans and communities of color. If we ramp up massive pressure and blow the whistle on their deadly stocks, we can highlight that divesting from Tasers and the war in our streets will be a step in the right direction in building a fair and just society.
This issue is important to having peace in our streets. But this will only work if people participate. Send an email to Blackrock to divest from the Taser manufacturer Axon Enterprise which is responsible for the killing of thousands of Americans, and CODEPINK will pull out all the stops to make sure Blackrock execs hear our call:

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

Blackrock could do this. They recently announced that they were divesting from fossil fuels — signaling a shift in their policies. If CEO Larry Fink cares about “diversity, fairness, and justice” and building a “stronger, more equal, and safer society” — he should divest from Tasers.
Plus, compared to Blackrock’s other holdings, Taser stocks aren’t even that significant!

But if Blackrock does this, it could be the first domino we need to get other investment companies on board too. Send an email to BlackRock and share this widely! 

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

If there’s one thing our community stands for, it’s peace and social justice. And one way we can help achieve that is by cutting off the flow of cash into the manufacturing of Tasers. So, let’s come together to make that happen, and help prevent more innocent Americans from being killed with these senseless tools.

With hope,
Nancy, Carley, Jodie, Paki, Cody, Kelsey, and Yousef

Donate Now!

This email was sent to giobon@comcast.net. To unsubscribe,  click here
To update your email subscription, contact info@codepink.org.
© 2020 CODEPINK.ORG | Created with NationBuilder
    
 

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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?

👉🏾Within 10 days of sustained protests:
Minneapolis bans use of choke holds.

👉🏾Charges are upgraded against Officer Chauvin, and his accomplices are arrested and charged.

👉🏾Dallas adopts a "duty to intervene" rule that requires officers to stop other cops who are engaging in inappropriate use of force.

👉🏾New Jersey’s attorney general said the state will update its use-of-force guidelines for the first time in two decades.

👉🏾In Maryland, a bipartisan work group of state lawmakers announced a police reform work group.

👉🏾Los Angeles City Council introduces motion to reduce LAPD’s $1.8 billion operating budget.

👉🏾MBTA in Boston agrees to stop using public buses to transport police officers to protests.

👉🏾Police brutality captured on cameras leads to near-immediate suspensions and firings of officers in several cities (i.e., Buffalo, Ft. Lauderdale).

👉🏾Monuments celebrating confederates are removed in cities in Virginia, Alabama, and other states.

👉🏾Street 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:

💓The really difficult public and private conversations that are happening about race and privilege.

💓The realizations some white people are coming to about racism and the role of policing in this country.

💓The self-reflection.

💓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:

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

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

🌎 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.

🌎 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.

🌎 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 Traoré, a 24-year-old black man who was subdued by police officers and gasped the sentence before he died outside Paris in 2016.

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

✊🏽 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."

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

✊🏾 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.

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

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

✊🏾 In Spain, people gathered to march and hold up signs throughout Barcelona and Madrid.

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

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

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

✊🏾 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.

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

💐 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.

💐 In Poland, candles and flowers were laid out next to photos of Floyd outside the US consulate.

💐 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.

🖤🖤🖤BLACK LIVES MATTER🖤🖤🖤

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




Want to change how you receive these emails?


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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all





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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

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

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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359




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

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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. 😓

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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Articles


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1) The Left Is Remaking the World
“Defund the police” and “cancel rent” aren’t reforms, but paths to revolution.
By Amna A. Akbar, July 11, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/11/opinion/defund-police-cancel-rent.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Adam Maida

The uprisings in response to the killing of George Floyd are far different from anything that has come before. Not just because they may be the largest in our history, or that seven weeks in, people are still in the streets (even if the news media has largely moved on). But also because, for the last few years, organizers have been thinking boldly.

They have been pushing demands — from “defund the police” to “cancel rent” to “pass the Green New Deal” — that would upend the status quo and redistribute power from elites to the working class. And now ordinary people are, too; social movements have helped spread these demands to a public mobilized by the pandemic and the protests.

These movements are in conversation with one another, cross-endorsing demands as they expand their grass-roots bases. Cancel the rent campaigns have joined the call to defund the police. This month, racial, climate and economic justice organizations are hosting a four-day crash course on defunding the police.

Each demand demonstrates a new attitude among leftist social movements. They don’t want to reduce police violence, or sidestep our environmentally unsustainable global supply chain, or create grace periods for late rent. These are the responses of reformers and policy elites.

Instead, the people making these demands want a new society. They want a break from prisons and the police, from carbon and rent. They want counselors in place of cops, housing for all and a jobs guarantee. While many may find this naïve, polls, participation in protests and growing membership in social movement organizations show these demands are drawing larger and larger parts of the public toward a fundamental critique of the status quo and a radical vision for the future.

Consider the appeal to defund and dismantle the police, championed by almost every major social movement organization on the left, from the Black Visions Collective to Mijente to the Sunrise Movement, and echoed on the streets.

Defunding, part of a strategy to eventually abolish the police, challenges the prevailing logic of police reform: the idea that police brutality is caused by individual bad apples acting without sufficient oversight and training. This idea undergirds the familiar panoply of reforms: body cameras, community policing, implicit bias workshops. If officers are properly equipped and controlled, there will be less violence, its proponents argue — despite no significant evidence to back that up.

Defunding suggests the problem is not isolated, nor is it a result of a few officers’ attitudes. It challenges the power, the resources and the enormous scope of the police. Whether they are responding to a mental health emergency or deployed to a protest, their training and tools are geared toward violence.

The demand for defunding suggests, as the police and prison abolitionist Rachel Herzing often says, that the only way to reduce police violence is to reduce police officers’ opportunities for contact with the public. The protests have forced us to rethink state-sanctioned violence as our default response to social problems, to reconsider the hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent on prisons and the salaries of more than 800,000 sworn law enforcement officers.

The uprisings have also expanded the space for a reckoning with the failures of liberal reforms and with the possibility of doing things in radically different ways. Tinkering and training cannot fix our reliance on police officers to deal with routine social problems through violence and the threat of it.

The demand for defunding calls into question the fundamental premise of policing: that it produces safety. It urges us to take collective responsibility for collective care, repair and redress. It shifts our vantage point on persistent problems: for example, to guarantee housing for all rather than to continue to arrest and cage this country’s more than 567,000 homeless people.

The call to defund the police is often accompanied by a call to shift resources elsewhere, to education, housing and health care. The pandemic has put on display the spectacular contradiction such appeals reveal. We have no guaranteed health care, wages, housing or food; we can’t even provide personal protective equipment. These failures have devastated Black communities in particular.

But then, in response to Black Lives Matter protests, the police show up in high-tech gear and military-style vehicles to arrest, gas and bludgeon protesters, demonstrating where our tax dollars have gone instead. The demand for defunding shifts power and our imaginations away from the police and toward a society rooted in collective care for ordinary people. It brings into sharp relief who we have allowed ourselves to become and offers a vision for who we could be.

Taking money away from the police is not the sole demand. Consider the push to cancel rent. It asks the state to abolish tenants’ obligations to pay their landlords each month. But rent is the product of a private contract about private property: the foundation of our social, economic and political order.

So when organizers make the demand to cancel rent, they are conjuring up a state whose primary allegiance is to people’s needs instead of profit. The demand raises the possibility of a world where housing is an entitlement rather than a commodity. It aims to shift power from landlords to tenants, in the service of visions of housing for all.

Or consider the environment. The Green New Deal does not merely call for less pollution. It requires that we restructure our economy so we can move to clean, renewable energy sources and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

To get there, the Green New Deal calls for enormous investments in public transit, universal health care, free public college tuition and millions of high-wage green jobs. It emphasizes that everyone ought to carry out its projects, with a central role for working-class people of color. The bill’s vision is so counter to the actual practices of the state, and to the talking points of the Democratic and Republican Parties, you have to stretch your imagination to understand it. And that is the point.

Organizers often call these demands “non-reformist reforms,” a term coined in the 1960s by the French socialist André Gorz. Reform on its own is a tired continuation of liberal politics and legalism, expert-driven and elite-centered. Even now, policing experts are grasping to turn the energy around ‘defund’ toward the same old reforms, and mayors are endorsing superficial budget cuts, diluting the bold demands.

The way to respond is to stay focused on building mass movements of ordinary people who are serious about restoring and redistributing social wealth, as the Red Nation’s Red Deal puts it, to those who created it: “workers, the poor, Indigenous peoples, the global South, women, migrants, caretakers of the land, and the land itself.” Here, too, you see the connections — among Indigenous resistance, environmental justice and more.

Leftist movements today see our crises as intersectional. Police violence, global warming and unaffordable housing are not disconnected, discrete problems; instead, they emerge from colonialism and capitalism. Organizers recall these histories, and tell stories of freedom struggles.

And whatever you think of their demands, you have to be in awe of how they inaugurate a new political moment, as the left offers not just a searing critique, but practical ladders to radical visions. These capacious demands create the grounds for multiracial mass movements, our only hope for a more just future.


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2) American Horror, Starring Donald Trump
The coronavirus pandemic is spiraling out of control, largely because of the president himself.
By Charles M. Blow, July 12, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/12/opinion/coronavirus-donald-trump.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
 President Trump visited the U.S. Southern Command in Florida on Friday. Credit...Samuel Corum for The New York Times

I think I echo many Americans, and people of the world in general, when I say that I’m having a hard time fully grappling with the gravity of this moment.

It is still hard to absorb that a virus has reshaped world behavior, halted or altered travel, strained the economy and completely reshaped the nature of public spaces and human interaction.

It is also hard to absorb that this may not be a quickly passing phase, an inconvenience for a season, but something that the world is forced to live with for years, even assuming that a vaccine is soon found.

There’s this notion that things could turn on a dime, not because of a human action, but rather because humans are under attack.

The idea that years of planning for graduations and weddings, home purchases and retirement, might all come to a screeching halt is humbling and disorienting. The confusion over how and when children can safely return to school and adults can safely return to work is frustrating because it leaves people’s lives in the lurch.

The idea that face coverings and elbow bumps may be the new normal is a shock to the system.

It seems that on multiple levels, society is being tested, and often failing.

People are rebelling against isolation, and against science and public health. They want the old world back, the pre-Covid-19 world back, but it cannot be had. The virus doesn’t feel frustration or react to it. It’s not aware of your children or your job or your vacation plans. It’s not aware of our politics.

The virus is a virus, mindless, and in this case, incredibly efficient and effective. It will pass from person to person for as long as that is possible. The political debate over mask wearing is a human concern, one that works to the virus’s benefit.

And it is these politics, particularly as articulated by Donald Trump, that are allowing the virus to ravage this nation and steal tens of thousands of lives that should not have been stolen.

It is Trump’s politicization of the virus that has resulted in a new surge of cases in this country when many other developed nations have been able to shrink the number of cases among their people.

It is because of Donald Trump that America has now reported 3.2 million cases and has tallied nearly 135,000 deaths.

But, instead of centering on the sick, dying and dead as the true victims of his malfeasance, Trump casts himself as the victim of circumstances. As The Washington Post reported last week, Trump has adopted a woe-is-me attitude with visitors. As the paper put it:

“Trump often launches into a monologue placing himself at the center of the nation’s turmoil. The president has cast himself in the starring role of the blameless victim — of a deadly pandemic, of a stalled economy, of deep-seated racial unrest, all of which happened to him rather than the country.”

How are we supposed to comprehend this idea that the president is eschewing that responsibility for political purposes, and in the process, putting untold American lives in danger and actually costing some?

How did it come to such a pass that scientists and experts could be hamstrung, that governors and mayors could be bullied, that millions of Americans could risk their own well-being and the well-being of others to make a political point?

This is the America we are all now navigating.

We’ve witnessed scene after scene of minimum-wage workers in conflict with customers — many no doubt who came in search of conflict, in search of a stage on which to perform their drama of defiance — who refuse to wear masks inside stores.

Part of the issue is that the virus is not only being politicized, its effects are also racialized: Black and brown people are having worse outcomes. Some of the states now seeing the greatest surges in cases are those in the South and West with large Black or Hispanic populations.

The effects of the disease are also ageist: Older people are more likely to die from it. Florida not only has a large Hispanic population, it also has a large population of retirees.

I believe that these variances add to the political callousness America is seeing: If the disease is seen as disproportionately hurting others — a Boomer killer, or a Black “Brotha” killer, or an abuela killer — then some younger, healthier white people might believe that the threat to themselves is lower and the restrictions on them should be looser.

We have a situation in this country where a disease is spiraling out of control, largely because of the president himself, and there is little sign or hope that it will be constrained soon.

We are living in a horror film, one starring Donald Trump.

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3) Attention All Women: Trump Is Coming for Your Health Care
Even with a pandemic raging, the president wants the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act.
By Kathleen Sebelius, July 13, 2020
https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=8268880#editor/target=post;postID=4383680567433012470;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=link
Ms. Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, was the secretary of health and human services in the Obama administration.

In the middle of America’s most catastrophic public health crisis, the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act. This is dangerous for many reasons — but for women, it’s devastating. They would be stripped of the protections they have had in the decade since passage of the law, known as Obamacare.

Before the law, insurance companies routinely discriminated against women. Those who didn’t work for employers with affordable health insurance or who weren’t old enough or poor enough to qualify for Medicare or Medicaid struggled to buy health insurance in the individual market, where insurance companies made all the rules.

In those days, insurers could charge women up to two or three times more than men for identical health policies. Women discovered that many of the services and medicines they needed were not even covered, like coverage for pregnancy, which was not included in most individual policies and was impossible to purchase once a woman became pregnant.

Insurance companies routinely denied coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, a practice that affects more women than men. About 30 million women have a pre-existing condition — like side effects from having taken Accutane as a teenager, depression or breast cancer — compared with about 24 million men, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Obamacare put an end to that gender discrimination. Women young and old, working in jobs or at home, gained coverage and health benefits that they never had before. Insurance companies were required to sell policies to women with pre-existing conditions and had to stop kicking them off their health plans if they got sick. And all health insurance policies had to include maternity coverage.

As the Affordable Care Act was being drawn up, Congress asked an expert panel of doctors and scientists to identify health services used by women that were missing from most health policies. As a result, the law required that women’s preventive services like depression screening, breast pumps for nursing mothers, various cancer screenings, well-woman visits and all methods of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration were included free in health plans. Over 50 million women got access to no-cost birth control, which has helped to reduce teen pregnancies and abortions in the United States to record lows.

But the Trump administration has worked hard to limit birth control benefits, and last week the Supreme Court upheld a Trump administration rule allowing employers with moral or religious objections to opt out of the Obamacare mandate to provide no-cost contraceptive services for women.

Other coverage made possible by Obamacare would also disappear if the Supreme Court overturns the law.

Before Obamacare, while federal rules mandated coverage for all pregnant women up to 60 days after delivery, state income thresholds then often terminated health insurance for new mothers. Now in the 37 states that have expanded Medicaid, Obamacare provides for continuing coverage for new mothers with low incomes. Low-income working women without children, like nurses’ aides and service workers, who often were not entitled to any Medicaid coverage based on income, now have access to low-cost health insurance in those states.

Women under the age of 26, whether they were married or single or had children, became eligible to stay on their parents’ insurance plans. Women over 65, enrolled in Medicare, had annual well-woman visits added to their benefits. And for those who take a lot of medications, their prescription drug costs were greatly reduced.

With the Covid-19 economic crash, many women with employer-sponsored health insurance are losing their coverage along with their jobs. But thanks to Obamacare, many unemployed workers qualify for Medicaid or for subsidized insurance, so women can continue to have health coverage as the economy recovers.

If President Trump wins his case to eliminate Obamacare, millions of women could lose coverage because of a pre-existing health condition, access to expanded Medicaid insurance and no-cost contraception and other preventive health services.

Women who own their own businesses or work in the gig economy could no longer rely on federal help in buying health insurance for themselves and their families. And once again, insurance companies could limit health benefits that women need and charge them more than men for their health care.

Women in American should make no mistake. The health progress we have made in the last decade would be wiped out by one Supreme Court decision if Donald Trump gets his way.

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4) Redskins to Drop Name, Yielding to Pressure From Sponsors and Activists
The N.F.L. team in Washington announced the move on Monday and will continue its search for a new name and logo.
By Ken Belson and Kevin Draper, July 13, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/sports/football/washington-redskins-new-name.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
FedEx, which pays about $8 million a year for the naming rights to the Washington team’s stadium in Landover, Md., said this month that it would back out of the deal if the team’s name was not changed. Credit...Mark Tenally/Associated Press

All the while, Snyder, who purchased the Washington team in 1999, remained steadfast. “We will never change the name of the team,” he said in 2013, a stance he maintained even in the face of pushback from activists, politicians and some fans.
What finally changed was, seemingly, wider American society around the team. After the death of Floyd, there has been a widespread reconsideration of statues, flags, symbols and mascots considered to be racist or celebrating racist history.
Now that the team has let go of its current name, it will have to find a replacement, a process that requires navigating trademarks and the league’s many licensing deals with partners and can often take years. Teams also want to use the name, logo and even new colors to forge a new identity, a process that can include speaking with sponsors, fans and other constituents.
Ed O’Hara, who has designed team names and logos for more than 30 years, said that dropping the existing name first will buy time for Snyder to find a replacement. The team’s existing colors are unique and powerful, he said. A good name, though, should have an easy connection to a mascot, be easy to say and be connected to the market where the team plays.
“The name is always the hardest part,” he said. “You get one chance to make this right for the next 80 years.”

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5) Flour and Toilet Paper Are Back at N.Y. Supermarkets, but There’s a Catch
Shoppers are accustomed to enjoying an extraordinary variety of choices, but the pandemic has changed that.
By Daniel E. Slotnik, July 14, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/nyregion/grocery-store-shortages.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage

Pasta, in many shapes and sizes, is back in abundance at most supermarkets, but some food companies have reduced their number of offerings. Credit...Juan Arredondo for The New York Times


Shoppers no longer stare at aisles devoid of toilet paper. Pasta, in many shapes and sizes, is back in abundance. And eager home bakers can restart their mixers and ovens now that flour and yeast have finally reappeared.

“I was thrilled to see King Arthur whole wheat in good supply at Fairway,” David Toberisky, 68, a retiree who lives on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, said of one highly desirable brand of flour.

But while the bare shelves brought on by the coronavirus pandemic have largely been restocked across New York City and the country, times are still far from normal at supermarkets, which face less pronounced but potentially more enduring shifts.

Americans have become accustomed to enjoying an extraordinary variety of choices — sometimes a dozen or more brands of everything from ketchup to potato chips to, yes, toilet paper.

The pandemic changed all that.

Many companies have “really curtailed the number of different offerings” they produce in order to focus on their best sellers and meet the spike in consumer demand, said Scott Mushkin, the chief executive for R5 Capital, a consulting firm focused on retail and consumer research.

Companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi have reduced the number of products they make, and during the pandemic some manufacturers have stopped producing some varieties of recognizable brands, like lightly salted Lay’s barbecue potato chips and reduced-fat Jif peanut butter.

“We’ve adjusted our operations to be as efficient as possible — and in some cases, we’re making fewer varieties of some products,” said Lynne Galia, a spokeswoman for Kraft Heinz.

Hershey’s has had to adjust to consumers wanting more chocolate bars and less gum.

“If you think about mint and gum, it’s very much a social courtesy, so when you’re home for whatever reason people are less concerned about minty fresh breath than when they are out and about,” said Susanna Zhu, the Hershey Company’s vice president of commercial planning and supply chain.

But now, as states have loosened their lockdowns, interest in gum seems to be rebounding, Ms. Zhu said. One Hershey’s brand, Ice Breakers, has started an advertising campaign built around the slogan “Mint Before You Mask.”

The shifts in production have reduced options at stores in New York and New Jersey. Shops that might have stocked six types of canned tuna fish are down to three or two, said Nelson Eusebio, the legislative director at the National Supermarket Association.

“What we’re going through is an extended period, like when there’s a huge snowstorm it takes two or three days to recover,” he said. “In this case, it’ll take two to three months to recover.”

Changes in inventory differ from store to store. Some items are still widely in short supply, including some popular disinfectant products.

“You can’t get Lysol for any money,” said John Catsimatidis, the owner of the Gristedes and D’Agostino supermarket chains in New York. “It ends up on the black market somehow and they’re overcharging customers.”

Mr. Toberisky’s search for flour, while ultimately successful, was still more work than he bargained for. Looking for King Arthur bread flour, his top choice, was “like searching for the Holy Grail.” Repeat visits to local supermarkets were fruitless, and he couldn’t even order any directly from King Arthur’s website.

Grocers are experimenting with new suppliers and goods to make up for shortfalls, like toilet paper made for commercial customers instead of more luxurious, softer options.

Some cuts of meat have also still not fully returned to many stores, in part because of meatpacking facilities that closed because of the virus. The shortages have also led to an increase in prices.

Stephen Corradini, the chief merchandising and marketing officer for Balducci’s and Kings Food Markets, said supply issues had led him to sell different cuts and to buy from unusual suppliers, like purveyors of expensive Wagyu beef that he typically only stocks for certain holidays.

“We’re still going to see challenges getting all of the meat we need, and the variety, especially in the summer months when the grills are fired up,” Mr. Corradini said.

While some shoppers have turned to Amazon and Fresh Direct for groceries, others have grown more reliant on local stores as they have become everyday home cooks by necessity, Mr. Mushkin, of R5 Capital, said.

He said that even when restaurants are eventually fully opened, a sizable number of people will likely be reluctant to return to enclosed places and will continue making meals at home.

The pandemic has also forced some shoppers with especially selective tastes to adapt to the shortages and change their buying and eating habits.

When Kyle Hamilton, a 31-year-old art dealer from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, could not find organic meat, he started embracing more vegetarian options.

“I’m definitely eating different types of mushrooms,” he said, “as well as more vegetarian and organic meat substitutes like faux-chicken tenders.”

Mr. Hamilton said the empty meat freezers turned out to be a boon because it “made me realize I was overeating meat.”

Tofu has been the most sought-after food for Nancy Cadet, a retired professor of modern languages at the City University of New York who splits her time between Brooklyn and East Hampton, N.Y.

“As vegans, fresh tofu is a main protein part of our diet,” Ms. Cadet, 68, said. “With the pandemic, we didn’t want to travel to Chinatown to try to find fresh tofu in shops.”

Ms. Cadet said that she had turned to tempeh, a fermented soy bean product, as a substitute and that she planned to stockpile freeze-dried tofu.

Many shoppers said they were going to the store less frequently and buying more when they did. Stockpiling has become commonplace.

Beth Anderson-Harold, a 70-year-old composer from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, said that her husband stocked up on green beans, pineapple, mushrooms and even Spam to help them cope with quarantine.

“When it first started, my husband bought 86 cans of tuna,” Ms. Anderson-Harold said, “of which we have used two.”

Lorraine Pastore, an executive vice president at a health care advertising firm who lives in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, said she was stocking up long before the virus arrived in New York.

“I am of Italian heritage, so we stockpile normally,” Ms. Pastore said. “I do have about 50 pounds of pasta at all times, and the pandemic hasn’t changed that. Heaven forbid if I don’t have the right shape for the sauce I am making.”

Still, Ms. Pastore misses the experience of shopping for food and perusing the aisles.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I miss browsing in the grocery store and seeing my cashier and delivery guy that I see every week,” she said. “I miss chatting with the local shopkeepers in the small local family-owned stores that I am too afraid to shop in anymore.”

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6) America Drank Away Its Children’s Future
As the school year looms, the pandemic is still raging.
By Paul Krugman, July 13, 2020
Opinion Columnist
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/opinion/coronavirus-schools-bars.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

David J. Phillip/Associated Press


A brief history of the past four months in America:

Experts: Don’t rush to reopen, this isn’t over.

Donald Trump: LIBERATE!

Covid-19: Wheee!

Trump officials: Here’s our opposition research on Anthony Fauci.

And we’re now faced with an agonizing choice: Do we reopen schools, creating risks of a further viral explosion, or do we keep children home, with severe negative effects on their learning?

None of this had to happen. Other countries stuck with their lockdowns long enough to reduce infections to rates much lower than those prevailing here; Covid-19 death rates per capita in the European Union are only a 10th those in the United States — and falling — while ours are rising fast. As a result, they’re in a position to reopen schools fairly safely.

And the experience of the Northeast, the first major epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, shows that we could have achieved something similar here. Death rates are way down, although still higher than in Europe; on Saturday, for the first time since March, New York City reported zero Covid-19 deaths.

Would a longer lockdown have been economically sustainable? Yes.

It’s true that strong social distancing requirements led to high unemployment and hurt many businesses. But even America, with its ramshackle social safety net, was able to provide enough disaster relief — don’t call it stimulus! — to protect most of its citizens from severe hardship.

Thanks largely to expanded unemployment benefits, poverty didn’t soar during the lockdown. By some measures it may even have gone down.

True, there were holes in that safety net, and many people did suffer. But we could have patched those holes. Yes, emergency relief costs a lot of money, but we can afford it: The federal government has been borrowing huge sums, but interest rates have remained near historical lows.

Put it this way: At its most severe, the lockdown seems to have reduced G.D.P. by a little over 10 percent. During World War II, America spent more than 30 percent of G.D.P. on defense, for more than three years. Why couldn’t we absorb a much smaller cost for a few months?

So doing what was necessary to bring the coronavirus under control would have been annoying, but entirely feasible.

But that was the road not taken. Instead, many states not only rushed to reopen, they reopened stupidly. Instead of being treated as a cheap, effective way to fight contagion, face masks became a front in the culture war. Activities that posed an obvious risk of feeding the pandemic went unchecked: Large gatherings were permitted, bars reopened.

And the cost of those parties and open bars extends beyond the thousands of Americans who will be killed or suffer permanent health damage as a result of Covid-19’s resurgence. The botched reopening has also endangered something that, unlike drinking in groups, can’t be suspended without doing long-run damage: in-person education.

Some activities hold up fairly well when moved online. I suspect that there will be a lot fewer people flying cross-country to stare at PowerPoints than there were pre-Covid, even once we finally beat this virus.

Education isn’t one of those activities. We now have overwhelming confirmation of something we already suspected: For many, perhaps most students there is no substitute for actually being in a classroom.

But rooms full of students are potential Petri dishes, even if the young are less likely to die from Covid-19 than the old. Other countries have managed to reopen schools relatively safely — but they did so with much lower infection rates than currently prevail in America, and with adequate testing, which we still don’t have in many hot spots.

So we’re now facing a terrible, unnecessary dilemma. If we reopen in-person education, we risk feeding an out-of-control pandemic. If we don’t, we impair the development of millions of American students, inflicting long-term damage on their lives and careers.

And the reason we’re in this position is that states, cheered on by the Trump administration, rushed to allow large parties and reopen bars. In a real sense America drank away its children’s future.

Now what? At this point there are probably as many infected Americans as there were in March. So what we should be doing is admitting that we blew it, and doing a severe lockdown all over again — and this time listening to the experts before reopening. Unfortunately, it’s now too late to avoid disrupting education, but the sooner we deal with this the sooner we can get our society back on track.

But we don’t have the kind of leaders we need. Instead, we have the likes of Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, politicians who refuse to listen to experts and never admit having been wrong.

So while there have been a few grudging policy adjustments, the main response we’re seeing to colossal policy failure is a hysterical attempt to shift the blame. Some officials are trying to blacken Dr. Fauci’s reputation; others are diving into unhinged conspiracy theories.

As a result, the outlook is grim. This pandemic is going to get worse before it gets better, and the nation will suffer permanent damage.

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7) Politics Won’t Stop the Pandemic
A comprehensive shutdown may be required in much of the country.
By John M. Barry, July 14, 2020
Mr. Barry is the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”
“As if explosive growth in too many states isn’t bad enough, we are also suffering the same shortages that haunted hospitals in March and April. In New Orleans, testing supplies are so limited that one site started testing at 8 a.m. but had only enough to handle the people lined up by 7:33 a.m.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/opinion/coronavirus-shutdown.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Matt Chase

When you mix science and politics, you get politics. With the coronavirus, the United States has proved politics hasn’t worked. If we are to fully reopen both the economy and schools safely — which can be done — we have to return to science.

To understand just how bad things are in the United States and, more important, what can be done about it requires comparison. At this writing, Italy, once the poster child of coronavirus devastation and with a population twice that of Texas, has recently averaged about 200 new cases a day when Texas has had over 9,000. Germany, with a population four times that of Florida, has had fewer than 400 new cases a day. On Sunday, Florida reported over 15,300, the highest single-day total of any state.

The White House says the country has to learn to live with the virus. That’s one thing if new cases occurred at the rates in Italy or Germany, not to mention South Korea or Australia or Vietnam (which so far has zero deaths). It’s another thing when the United States has the highest growth rate of new cases in the world, ahead even of Brazil.

Italy, Germany and dozens of other countries have reopened almost entirely, and they had every reason to do so. They all took the virus seriously and acted decisively, and they continue to: Australia just issued fines totaling $18,000 because too many people attended a birthday party in someone’s home.

In the United States, public health experts were virtually unanimous that replicating European success required, first, maintaining the shutdown until we achieved a steep downward slope in cases; second, getting widespread compliance with public health advice; and third, creating a work force of at least 100,000 — some experts felt 300,000 were needed — to test, trace and isolate cases. Nationally we came nowhere near any of those goals, although some states did and are now reopening carefully and safely. Other states fell far short but reopened anyway. We now see the results.

While New York City just recorded its first day in months without a Covid-19 death, the pandemic is growing across 39 states. In Miami-Dade County in Florida, six hospitals have reached capacity. In Houston, where one of the country’s worst outbreaks rages, officials have called on the governor to issue a stay-at-home order.

As if explosive growth in too many states isn’t bad enough, we are also suffering the same shortages that haunted hospitals in March and April. In New Orleans, testing supplies are so limited that one site started testing at 8 a.m. but had only enough to handle the people lined up by 7:33 a.m.

And testing by itself does little without an infrastructure to not only trace and contact potentially infected people but also manage and support those who test positive and are isolated along with those urged to quarantine. Too often this has not been done; in Miami, only 17 percent of those testing positive for the coronavirus had completed questionnaires to help with contact tracing, critical to slowing spread. Many states now have so many cases that contact tracing has become impossible anyway.

What’s the answer?

Social distancing, masks, hand washing and self-quarantine remain crucial. Too little emphasis has been placed on ventilation, which also matters. Ultraviolet lights can be installed in public areas. These things will reduce spread, and President Trump finally wore a mask publicly, which may somewhat depoliticize the issue. But at this point all these things together, even with widespread compliance, can only blunt dangerous trends where they are occurring. The virus is already too widely disseminated for these actions to quickly bend the curve downward.

To reopen schools in the safest way, which may be impossible in some instances, and to get the economy fully back on track, we must get the case counts down to manageable levels — down to the levels of European countries. The Trump administration’s threat to withhold federal funds from schools that don’t reopen won’t accomplish that goal. To do that, only decisive action will work in places experiencing explosive growth — at the very least, limits even on private gatherings and selective shutdowns that must  include not just such obvious places as bars but churches, also a well-documented source of large-scale spread.

Depending on local circumstances, that may prove insufficient; a comprehensive April-like shutdown may be required. This could be on a county-by-county basis, but half-measures will do little more than prevent hospitals from being overrun. Half-measures will leave transmission at a level vastly exceeding those of the many countries that have contained the virus. Half-measures will leave too many Americans not living with the virus but dying from it.

During the 1918 influenza pandemic, almost every city closed down much of its activity. Fear and caring for sick family members did the rest; absenteeism even in war industries exceeded 50 percent and eviscerated the economy. Many cities reopened too soon and had to close a second time — sometimes a third time — and faced intense resistance. But lives were saved.

Had we done it right the first time, we’d be operating at near 100 percent now, schools would be preparing for a nearly normal school year, football teams would be preparing to practice — and tens of thousands of Americans would not have died.

This is our second chance. We won’t get a third. If we don’t get the growth of this pandemic under control now, in a few months, when the weather turns cold and forces people to spend more time indoors, we could face a disaster that dwarfs the situation today.

John M Barry is a professor at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the author of “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”

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8) A Racial Awakening in France, Where Race Is a Taboo Topic
With an eye on the United States, children of immigrants from Africa and the Caribbean are bringing race into the public discourse, in a perceived challenge to France’s universalism.
By Norimitsu Onishi, July 14, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/world/europe/france-racism-universalism.html?action=click&module=News&pgtype=Homepage
“When I consider both countries, I’m not saying that one country is better than the other,” said Maboula Soumahoro, who has lived in both France and the United States. “For me, they’re two racist societies that manage racism in their own way.” Credit...Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times

A Black Lives Matter protest in Paris this month. A group of protesters raised a banner for Babacar Gueye, a Senegalese man fatally shot by the police in 2015. Credit...Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


PARIS — Growing up in France, Maboula Soumahoro never thought of herself as Black.

At home, her immigrant parents stressed the culture of the Dioula, a Muslim ethnic group from Ivory Coast in West Africa. In her neighborhood, she identified herself as Ivorian to other children of African immigrants.

It was only as a teenager — years after the discovery of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, “The Cosby Show” and hip-hop made her “dream of being cool like African-Americans’’ — that she began feeling a racial affinity with her friends, she said.

“We were all children of immigrants from Guadeloupe, Martinique, Africa, and we are all a little bit unlike our parents,’’ recalled Ms. Soumahoro, 44, an expert on race who lived in the United States for a decade. “We were French in our new way and we weren’t white French. It was different in our homes, but we found one another regardless, and that’s when you become Black.’’

Besides fueling heated debates over racism, the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis has underscored the emergence of a new way of thinking about race in the public discourse in France, a nation where discussion of race and religion has traditionally been muted in favor of elevating a colorblind ideal that all people share the same universal rights.

That ideal has often fallen short in reality, especially as French society has become more diverse and discrimination remains entrenched, leading some to wonder whether the universalist model has run its course.

Today it is being challenged perhaps most vociferously by the many Black French who have gone through a racial awakening in recent decades — helped by the pop culture of the United States, its thinkers, and even its Paris-based diplomats who spotted and encouraged young Black French leaders a decade ago.

To its opponents, Black and white, the challenge to the universalist tradition is perceived as part of the broader “Americanization” of French society. This challenge risks fragmenting France, they say, and poses a threat far more central to the modern republic’s founding principles than familiar complaints about the encroachment of McDonald’s or Hollywood blockbusters.

Even those Black French who have been inspired by the United States also consider America to be a deeply flawed and violently racist society. In France, people of different backgrounds mix far more freely, and while Black people occupy fewer high-profile positions than in the United States, like all French citizens they enjoy universal access to education, health care and other services.

“When I consider both countries, I’m not saying that one country is better than the other,” said Ms. Soumahoro, who has taught African-American studies at Columbia and now teaches at the Université de Tours. “For me, they’re two racist societies that manage racism in their own way.”

Most of France’s new thinkers on race are the children of immigrants from the former colonial empire. Growing up in households with a strong sense of their separate ethnic identities, they gradually began to develop a shared sense of racial consciousness in their neighborhoods and schools.

Pap Ndiaye — a historian who led efforts to establish Black studies as an academic discipline in France with the 2008 publication of his book “La Condition Noire,” or “The Black Condition’’ — said he grew aware of his race only after studying in the United States in the 1990s.

“It’s an experience that all Black French go through when they go to the United States,” said Mr. Ndiaye, 54, who teaches at Sciences Po. “It’s the experience of a country where skin color is reflected upon and where it is not hidden behind a colorblind discourse.”

The son of a Senegalese father and a Frenchwoman, Mr. Ndiaye is a “métis” in the French context, or of mixed race, though he identifies himself as a Black man.

His views of the world and himself were a radical challenge to the French state. Rooted in the Enlightenment and the Revolution, France’s universalism has long held that each human being enjoys fundamental rights like equality and liberty. In keeping with the belief that no group should be given preference, it remains illegal to collect data on race for the census and for almost all other official purposes.

But the unequal treatment of women in France and of nonwhite people throughout its colonies belied that universalist ideal.

“Universality could work easily enough when there weren’t too many immigrants or when they were white Catholics,” said Gérard Araud, France’s former ambassador to the United States. “But faced with Islam on one side and Black Africans on the other, this model has evidently reached its limits. And so the debate is that on one side is this universalism, which is a beautiful ideal, but on the other is how to say at the same time that, yes, it’s not working.”

Tania de Montaigne, a French author who has written about race, said that Black French will fully integrate only through the rule of law and citizenship. Emphasizing a racial identity, she said, would make Black French perpetual outsiders in a society where the overwhelming majority aspires to a colorblind universalism.

“They say that there’s something, wherever you are in the world, whatever language you speak, whatever your history, this Black nature endures,” said Ms. de Montaigne, 44, whose parents immigrated from Martinique and the Democratic Republic of Congo. “But that’s exactly how you make it impossible to become a citizen, because there will always be something in me that will never be included in society.”

In the United States, many immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean or Asia develop a shared sense of race and grow acutely aware of the role of race in America, a country where it is part of the daily conversation.

Rokhaya Diallo, 42, a journalist who is also one of France’s most prominent anti-racism activists, said she became aware of a shared sense of race only after she became an adult and often found herself the only Black person in an academic or professional setting. She grew up in La Courneuve, a suburb of Paris known as a banlieue, in a building with mostly immigrants from France’s former Southeast Asian colonies.

Race was never talked about. But fleeting images of Black people on French television struck a chord in Ms. Diallo, whose parents came from Senegal and Gambia. Like many people of her generation, she loved a children’s television series called “Club Dorothée.” But she could never forget an episode — a colonial trope — in which the host, a white woman, is boiled alive in a caldron by three Black men.

“I’d talk about it with my brother,’’ Ms. Diallo said. “We weren’t able to put it in words, but I remember how it annoyed us — cannibals, stupid Blacks, things like that.”

By contrast, American shows that were broadcast later in France, like “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” or “The Cosby Show,’’ showed Black people who were “comfortable in their skin,” Ms. Diallo said, adding, “The only positive images of Black people that I saw came from the United States.”

Thanks to a U.S. government program, Ms. Diallo, who founded an anti-racism organization called Les Indivisibles in 2007, visited the United States in 2010 to learn about “managing ethnic diversity in the U.S.”

Ms. Diallo is one of several high-profile individuals who took part in the U.S. program, a fact that has contributed to fears, especially among French conservatives, of an “Americanization’’ of French society.

The U.S. Embassy in Paris began reaching out to ethnic and racial minorities in France after the Sept. 11 attacks as part of a global push to “win hearts and minds.”

The embassy organized educational programs on subjects like affirmative action, a taboo concept in France, drawing nonwhite French audiences for the first time, said Randianina Peccoud, who oversaw the outreach programs and retired from the embassy last year.

Ms. Peccoud, who is from Madagascar, a former French colony, also identified grass-roots leaders like Ms. Diallo in the banlieues — often eliciting angry reactions from French officials and fueling enduring suspicions.

“They were afraid that people in the banlieues would start to be a little aware of their own situation in French society,” Ms. Peccoud said.

The visits to the United States, organized around themes like community organizing in Chicago and diversity, also gave participants an introduction to an alternative vision of society.

Almamy Kanouté, an actor, activist and leader in the ongoing protests against police violence in France, visited the United States in 2011 to learn about policies toward new immigrants. In Minneapolis, he met a French-speaking man from Laos whose roots were acknowledged despite his becoming an American citizen — in contrast to France’s assimilationist policies.

“Here, they want us to melt into a single body and put aside our cultural diversity,” said Mr. Kanouté, 40, whose parents are from Mali and who appeared in “Les Misérables,” the Oscar-nominated film. “With us, that’s not possible. We’re French, but we don’t forget what makes us whole.”

For younger Black people in France, their awareness of race partly grew out of the work of the older generation. Binetou Sylla, 31, a co-author of “Le Dérangeur,” a book about race in France, said she vividly remembers buying the first edition of Mr. Ndiaye’s “The Black Condition,” which helped established Black studies in France, and “had devoured” it.

Another co-author, Rhoda Tchokokam, 29, grew up in Cameroon before immigrating to France at the age of 17. While her racial awareness emerged in France, it evolved in the United States, where she went to study for two years, watched all of Spike Lee’s movies and discovered the works of Toni Morrison and Black feminists like Angela Davis and Audre Lorde.

“When I started meeting Black people in France, I started broadening my outlook a little,” Ms. Tchokokam said. “I still didn’t think of myself as Black because that’s a long process, where today I define myself as Black politically. Back then, I started becoming aware and when I arrived in the United States, it’s in fact there that I was able to put it in words.”


Aurélien Breeden and Constant Méheut contributed research.

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9) The Massacre That Destroyed Tulsa’s ‘Black Wall Street’
In 1921, the city of Tulsa erupted in a spasm of hate and fire that destroyed its prosperous Black district. A century later, excavators are uncovering a “crime scene.”
By Ben Fenwick, July 13, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/us/tulsa-massacre-graves-excavation.html?action=click&module=Well&pgtype=Homepage&section=US%20News
A forensic team on Monday began to remove earth from an 8-by-4-foot test dig in an effort that was expected to last about a week. Researchers are focusing on what is described as an “anomaly” in the ground, which could mean the earth there was disturbed. Credit...Joseph Rushmore for The New York Times

TULSA, Okla. — Incited by a salacious and largely fabricated news story about a young Black man assaulting a white girl, a lynch mob showed up at the Tulsa city jail, where he was being held. A group of African-Americans, many of them soldiers who had returned from fighting the First World War, rushed over to help guard the young man. Fighting broke out, then shooting.

The episode touched off a racist rampage. White rioters descended on the city’s Greenwood District, a Black community considered so affluent that Booker T. Washington, the author and orator, had called it “Black Wall Street.” Soon they were aided by a local National Guard unit with a water-cooled Browning machine gun. According to eyewitness accounts from 1921, planes circled overhead, shooting people as they fled and dropping incendiary devices.

While the young man at the jail was able to leave town and was later exonerated, the entire Black township lay burned to its foundations. City officials, law enforcement and guardsmen rounded up thousands of surviving residents and forced them to stay in a hastily arranged internment camp as the bodies of as many as 300 people were dumped in unmarked graves.

The massacre lay hidden for decades. Educators did not teach it. Government offices did not record it. Even archival copies of some newspaper accounts were selectively expunged.

On Monday, though, forensic investigators broke ground at the possible site of a mass grave in Oaklawn Cemetery, a few blocks from where much of the carnage occurred.

“There was a curtain of silence drawn to keep this quiet,” said Scott Ellsworth, a Tulsa historian who wrote a history of the massacre, “Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.” The dig defies the official silence, he said, which was an attempt to hide the crime.

“This is a major step,” Mr. Ellsworth said. “This is unprecedented.”

On Monday morning, the forensic team assembled by the city and the state began to remove earth from an 8-by-4-foot test dig in an effort that was expected to last about a week. The site lies within what ground-penetrating radar suggests might be a much larger pit. Researchers are focusing on what is described as an “anomaly” in the ground, which could mean the earth there was disturbed. The site lies in the unmarked section of the cemetery.

The dig is only an initial step, with further steps planned depending on what is found.

“We don’t know what we will find,” said Lesley Rankin-Hill, an emeritus professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Ms. Rankin-Hill, who is part of the investigative team, said the anomaly could be human remains, or it could be a box of debris — the instruments that were used to scan the area could not tell.

“We have analysis that shows there was a big disturbance in the dirt where we were told people were buried,” she said.

A 2001 report from a truth commission convened by the state notes numerous accounts showing that for years, despite official silence, local oral history from both Black and white people pointed to the Oaklawn site.

One of those cited is a Salvation Army major, O.T. Johnson, who said he oversaw diggers burying 150 bodies in Oaklawn. Similarly, the wife of a Black mortician, Eunice Cloman Jackson, recounted in the report that her stepfather was part of a crew of 55 gravediggers burying bodies in Oaklawn. The report also records the story of a young boy, Clyde Eddy, who saw large wooden crates containing several burned bodies next to workers digging a trench at the cemetery.

“While Mr. Eddy did not directly see the victims being placed in this trench-like area, it is reasonable to assume that its purpose was for a mass grave,” the report states.

Also suggesting the Oaklawn site are the few records of known victims, which listed 39 dead — 13 white and 26 Black. Of the Black victims, 21 were interred in Oaklawn, according to the report.

If the test site uncovers human remains, the diggers expect to halt their work. No exhumation is likely to occur at this phase, Ms. Rankin-Hill said. Even during the test dig, the site is closed to public viewing, although the dig will be recorded on video.

“There is a lot of protocol,” Ms. Rankin-Hill said. “It’s technically a crime scene they are going into.”

When he announced the investigation, Mayor G.T. Bynum of Tulsa also called the undertaking a crime investigation and called for the process to be “transparent.” Part of the transparency is an oversight commission.

Chief Egunwale Amusan, president of the African Ancestral Society in Tulsa, was one of many Tulsans who pressed for the inclusion of the oversight committee. He is one of the few community leaders who will be allowed to visit the dig site. He said the city faced a conflict of interest because, though the massacre occurred nearly a century ago, the city government was part of the crime.

“You are looking for a crime and that means there is a criminal,” Mr. Amusan said. “That investigation may turn up something. You start to find out who was involved.”

Also on the oversight committee is the Rev. Dr. Robert R.A. Turner, pastor of the Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Greenwood, a church that was all but destroyed in the fires and rebuilt shortly afterward. Mr. Turner visited the site on Sunday, the day before the dig, and prayed for the victims who might be buried there.

“We have a huge segment in the African-American community that has been advocating for this for decades, since the massacre in 1921,” he said. “We’ve been advocating for this since the bodies went missing.”

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10) Mass Death Is Not Inevitable
Some say we’re doomed. But science and public spending have saved us from pandemics worse than this one.
“They also agreed that whether immigrants had brought some diseases or simply suffered from them, no one was safe until everyone was safe, so they made public health universal.”
By Donald G. McNeil Jr., July 15, 2020
Mr. McNeil is a science reporter for The New York Times and has covered epidemics since 2002.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/sunday-review/coronavirus-history-pandemics.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

A depiction by the 17th-century painter Nicolas Poussin of a plague described in the Book of Samuel. Credit...G. Dagli Orti/De Agostini, via Getty Images

St. Louis Red Cross Motor Corps members during the influenza epidemic in 1918. That epidemic killed 675,000 Americans. Credit...Universal History Archive, via Getty Images

Nearly 140,000 Americans have been lost to coronavirus, and many experts fear the deaths will only accelerate in the fall as cold weather forces us indoors. By year’s end, half as many Americans may have died as did in the four years of World War II.

And yet we are still arguing over how to prevent this — each state struggling over how much lockdown to impose and what its governor can make its citizens do.

“You know the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance?” asked Dr. Emily Landon, a coronavirus expert at the University of Chicago medical school. “I think the American people are in all five of them — but different parts of the country are in different stages.”

As death stalks us, especially our elders, have we simply become inured to the idea that they are doomed?

The stock market appears to have priced in a huge wave of deaths. In the 2008-2009 recession, it fell 50 percent and took four years to recover. In March it fell only 34 percent and has made up much of that ground already. Looked at with Wall Street’s bloodless arithmetic, that makes sense: Most of the deaths are among the very elderly and nursing home residents, who no longer travel or dine out or contribute much to the economy, and who are a burden on the struggling Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds.

One can even argue that the acceptance of death as master of us all is part of the human psyche. But because of modern medicine, we have been out of touch with our ultimate fate for generations.

We’ve all heard of the Black Death and perhaps the Plague of Justinian, events that may have killed up to a third of mankind and rewrote the fates of empires. They seem lost in the mists of time.

But not that long back, our great-great-great-great-grandparents felt the omnipresence of death in ways we will never know.

There is chart famous among epidemiologists titled “The Conquest of Pestilence in New York City.” Produced by New York City’s health department, it tracks and explains deaths in the city from 1805 to the present.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

At first glance, it looks innocuous, like the ups and downs of the Dow Jones index. But the longer you stare at the fine print, the more horrified you become.

This past March, before coronavirus cases began to mount, the annual death rate in New York City was about six per 1,000 New Yorkers. The virus’s first wave added about 2.5 more deaths per 1,000 to that baseline. By contrast, from 1800 into the 1850s, deaths in the city rose in a relentless series of epidemic spikes, year after year, with only brief respites in between.

The annual baseline back then was about 25 deaths per 1,000 New Yorkers, and in some years the toll reached 50 per 1,000. In other words, in bad years, New Yorkers saw twice as many people around them die as usual. And they were used to seeing about four times as much death as we now do.

The sharpest peaks were the cholera epidemics of 1832, 1849 and 1854. But plagues came in waves, sometimes more than one simultaneously: yellow fever, smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, diphtheria, typhus and meningitis.

Other than cholera and typhus, most of those were childhood diseases that adults were immune to because they had survived them, so the chart is a parabola of maternal grief, each spike another nail in a hundred small coffins.

The death rate began dropping after the 1860s. New Yorkers — both citizens and doctors — had finally stopped arguing and reached consensus on some basic issues.

First of all, most finally accepted the “germ theory” of disease, acknowledging that it was caused by invisible enemies, not by swamps, trash, manure or the other nuisances that underlay the “miasma theory,” which held that bad smells caused disease. (Only a century earlier, Americans had given up on the “humors theory,” which posited that disease was caused by imbalances between blood, urine, sweat and bile that had to be rebalanced by bleeding, sweating or purging.)

They also agreed that whether immigrants had brought some diseases or simply suffered from them, no one was safe until everyone was safe, so they made public health universal.

As a result, New Yorkers took certain steps — sometimes very expensive and contentious, but all based on science: They dug sewers to pipe filth into the Hudson and East Rivers instead of letting it pool in the streets. In 1842, they built the Croton Aqueduct to carry fresh water to Manhattan. In 1910, they chlorinated its water to kill more germs. In 1912, they began requiring dairies to heat their milk because a Frenchman named Pasteur had shown that doing so spared children from tuberculosis. Over time, they made smallpox vaccination mandatory.

Libertarians battled almost every step. Some fought sewers and water mains being dug through their properties, arguing that they owned perfectly good wells and cesspools. Some refused smallpox vaccines until the Supreme Court put an end to that in 1905, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts.

In the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, many New Yorkers donned masks but 4,000 San Franciscans formed an Anti-Mask League. (The city’s mayor, James Rolph, was fined $50 for flouting his own health department’s mask order.) Slowly, science prevailed, and death rates went down.

Today, Americans are facing the same choice our ancestors did: We can listen to scientists and spend money to save lives, or we can watch our neighbors die.

“The people who say ‘Let her rip, let’s go for herd immunity’ — that’s just public-health nihilism,” said Dr. Joia S. Mukherjee, the chief medical office of Partners in Health, a medical charity fighting the virus in Massachusetts. “How many deaths do we have to accept to get there?”

A vaccine may be close at hand, and so may treatments like monoclonal antibodies that will cut our losses.

We need not accept death as our overlord — we can simply hang on and outlast him.

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11) Please Don’t Call Them Heroes
Parents and teachers need a real plan to reopen schools safely.
“I’m reminded of that famous presidential call to sacrifice: Ask not what your country can do for you … because, honestly, it probably won’t do much of anything, and your best bet when facing a crisis is to just learn to live with it. (This sounds like a joke, but it’s the actual plan: “The virus is with us, but we need to live with it,” one anonymous administration official recently told NBC News.)”
By Farhad Manjoo, July 15, 2020
Opinion Columnist
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/opinion/schools-reopening.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Audra Melton for The New York Times

In America, you should always get a little suspicious when politicians suddenly start calling you a hero. It’s a well-worn trick; they’re buttering you up before sacrificing you to the gods of unconstrained capitalism and governmental neglect.

A few months ago, it was nurses, doctors and other essential workers who were hailed as heroes — a perfectly accurate and heartwarming sentiment, but also one meant to obscure the sorry reality that the world’s richest country was asking health care workers to treat coronavirus patients without providing adequate protective gear.

“Please don’t call me a hero,” a nurse in Brooklyn wrote on a protest sign at the time. “I am being martyred against my will.”

Now, it’s America’s parents and teachers who are being valorized for doing a job that really should not require putting their lives on the line.

At a White House event last week to encourage the nation’s schools to reopen, Vice President Mike Pence laid the heroism on thick. Parents and teachers, he said, were “two categories of heroes that emerged” in the crisis. Since the pandemic is all but over, at least in the magical thinking of the Trump administration, Pence wants parents and teachers to again put on our capes and save the day. “To open up America again, we got to open up America’s schools,” he said.

I want schools to reopen as much any parent does. My wife and I were driven to the verge of breakdown this spring while trying to home-school our kids while working from home, and I am freaking out about having to do that again in the fall.

But parents and teachers would be wise to reject any invitation to unnecessary heroism. I don’t want educating my kids to be a heroic act of American defiance — I want it to be ordinary. And I’d rather not sacrifice my children’s teachers, either, so that America’s economy can begin humming once more.

Again and again in this crisis, the federal government’s callous incompetence has left Americans with no good options. Early research on school reopening suggests that classrooms can be safe when the virus is contained or declining, and as long as schools take necessary precautions to minimize the chance that classrooms become superspreaders. But in much of the nation, the virus remains uncontained, and so we face a grim future. There will likely be danger and chaos if the schools do not reopen, and there will be danger and chaos if they do.

The needs of children and working parents have long been ignored by American lawmakers, but I’ve never felt the government’s neglect as viscerally as in its inability to make school safe again during a pandemic.

Shouldn’t getting our kids back to school have been a primary goal of the federal government throughout the summer? What possible excuse can anyone muster for falling down on this job?

I’m reminded of that famous presidential call to sacrifice: Ask not what your country can do for you … because, honestly, it probably won’t do much of anything, and your best bet when facing a crisis is to just learn to live with it. (This sounds like a joke, but it’s the actual plan: “The virus is with us, but we need to live with it,” one anonymous administration official recently told NBC News.)

Experts say there are many ways to mitigate the risks of the coronavirus while reopening the schools. The most obvious of these would have been to reduce the spread of the virus, but you know how well that’s going.

The federal government could also have provided the hundreds of billions of dollars that school district officials say is necessary to remake education during a pandemic. We could have funded hazard pay for teachers and paid time off for parents, and come up with a plan to repurpose office buildings or gyms for the space required to teach students while social distancing.

In May, Democrats in the House passed a bill that calls for $58 billion in new funds for schools. But the Republican Senate has not taken up the measure, and President Trump has done little more than post several all-caps tweets demanding that they reopen. In cable-news interviews this weekend, Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, refused to say if schools should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s health guidelines, which calls for strict social distancing, masks and the installation of physical barriers and improved ventilation to reduce the spread of the virus.

DeVos’s plan, like Trump’s, appears to be little more than wishful thinking: Go to school. Don’t worry about it. Things will be fine. You’re a hero!

Forgive me if I feel less like a hero than like a chump. This week several large school districts, including Los Angeles and San Diego, announced that it’s too dangerous to open for in-person instruction. I expect that we’ll see a wave of others deciding the same, leaving parents across the country in an impossible bind.

There is a danger that frustrated parents blame teachers for the crisis. After all, distance learning has been a disaster. It’s unfair, and likely impossible, for kids to learn by themselves off a screen, and in my experience, remote learning requires a great deal of parental oversight, which is difficult or impossible for most overburdened parents.


But as I tried and failed to educate my kids during months under quarantine, I gained new appreciation for my children’s teachers, and I’m wary of asking more of them. Spending a day teaching kids has got to be one of the most difficult and most thankless job our society asks professionals to do. It doesn’t strike me as fair to demand that teachers now risk their lives, too, just because our government couldn’t be bothered to protect them. Teachers shouldn’t have to be heroes to do their jobs; educating our children should be heroism enough.

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12) Congress, Do Your Job: Help Americans Without One
Federal aid is about to lapse even as the coronavirus crisis rolls on.
By The Editorial Board, July 14, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/opinion/coronavirus-unemployment-stimulus-congress.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage

George Etheredge for The New York Times


Unemployment benefits provide people who lose jobs with a little help for a little while. The money is not really enough to live on, by design: People are supposed to find a new job.

During an economic crisis, however, people can’t find jobs. They need money to live on.

Congress recognized this reality in March when it responded to the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic by increasing unemployment benefits. But the expansion expires at the end of this month, even as the pandemic continues to rage. Congress, after dragging its feet for months, has all but run out of time to prevent a lapse in the distribution of extra aid.

The nation’s elected representatives need to act immediately to extend emergency benefits, and to authorize the extra aid to continue for the duration of the crisis.

Because crises are both inevitable and unpredictable — and because the federal government is slow to react whenever a crisis begins to unfold — the government also needs a set of rules that automatically switches the unemployment benefits program from normal mode to crisis mode, and back again, based on the evolution of economic conditions.

The need for more unemployment benefits is just part of a broader set of measures Congress must take to shore up the economy. State and local governments urgently need help, including funding for schools. So do businesses that the pandemic has shuttered, and health care providers it has overwhelmed.

But those who have lost jobs are singularly vulnerable — especially because pandemic job losses have been concentrated among low-wage workers with little money in the bank.

The program created in March has two main components. First, Congress expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to include self-employed workers, gig workers and others who were previously ineligible. Americans deserve to have that adjustment made permanent: It moves the safety net of unemployment benefits more squarely beneath the modern work force. As of the end of June, more than 14 million American workers had qualified for benefits under the expansion out of a total of 33 million workers drawing unemployment benefits.

The second component of the rescue package gave unemployed workers a $600 weekly payment from the federal government on top of their standard unemployment check, which averages $373 a week, although the amount varies widely by state. The average recipient is thus getting nearly $1,000 a week. People also can collect the benefits for up to 39 weeks, up from as little as 13 weeks before the crisis.

Federal aid, including the expansion of unemployment benefits, has helped to stabilize the finances, and thus the lives, of millions of American households and the communities of which they are a part. It’s not as good as a job: Among other things, millions of people have lost their health insurance. But even as the pandemic has pushed unemployment to the highest levels since the Great Depression, research suggests the aid is preventing any meaningful increase in the share of families living in poverty.

These are individual benefits with societal impact. Workers on federal aid can afford to make rent payments, easing the pressure on landlords. They can afford to shop at local stores, supporting hard-pressed small businesses.

When Congress slapped a July expiration date on the program, there was reason to hope that the United States might have brought the pandemic under control by now. Other nations have done so. But the United States has failed to control the spread of the virus, and fear continues to curtail economic activity. The need for continued aid is undeniable.

The House of Representatives passed a bill in May that would extend the aid program through January, but few economic analysts expect the economy to recover by then — particularly as the first wave of the coronavirus continues to spread rapidly across the Sun Belt. While any arbitrary deadline risks another battle over reauthorization, a January deadline would be particularly fraught. After the Republican Party lost control of the White House in 2009, during the last economic crisis, congressional Republicans decided it was politically expedient to oppose federal spending that was needed to revive the economy. Democrats would be wise to take the lesson.

The size of the $600 bonus is also a subject of controversy. The figure was chosen because lawmakers wanted to provide workers with the money they would have earned, but the antediluvian conditions in many state unemployment offices made it impossible to tailor benefits. Instead, Congress picked a figure that would make the average worker whole.

The White House, and some congressional Republicans, are upset that some workers are getting more money than they earned in their former jobs. They argue this could discourage workers from seeking new jobs.

This is not an immediate problem: At the moment, the United States is suffering a lack of jobs, not a lack of willing workers. Moreover, there is a ready solution: a plan to reduce the payments as the economy recovers.

Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, and Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, introduced legislation early this month to continue the emergency aid on a state-by-state basis until the jobless rates in each state recede. Expanded eligibility would last until unemployment dropped to 5.5 percent. Expanded benefits would drop by $100 when the rate fell below 11 percent, and by another $100 each time the rate dropped by another percentage point, ending when the rate hit 6 percent.

Congress can avoid the need for similarly ad hoc policymaking during future crises by providing funding for states to fix the problems that have impeded the distribution of benefits — and by adopting rules to automatically expand and contract supplemental benefits.

Claudia Sahm, then a Federal Reserve economist, wrote in a paper published last year that the movement of the unemployment rate could be used as a reliable indicator. She found that since the 1970s, when a three-month average of the unemployment rate rose half a percentage point above the lowest rate during the previous year, the economy was in a recession.

Ms. Sahm, now the director of macroeconomic policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, has proposed using this “Sahm rule” as a trigger to initiate aid programs such as supplemental unemployment benefits. The emergency aid would then continue until the unemployment rate fell back to that threshold. In the current crisis, emergency aid would continue until the unemployment rate, now 11.1 percent, receded to 5.3 percent.

That would be a smarter way to provide workers with necessary and timely aid.

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13) ‘Coming Out of the Woodwork’: Black Lives Matter in Small-Town America
A multiracial future has appeared, along with unprecedented conversations about race.
By Campbell Robertson, July 15, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/us/black-lives-matter-protests-small-towns.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

Protesters gathered at the main square in downtown Chambersburg, Pa., for the Juneteenth Love Demonstration held on June 20. Credit...Valerie Plesch for The New York Times


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Nikki Wilkerson was used to thinking of herself as the “small brown girl” growing up in rural Pennsylvania.

She has been eyed skeptically while out shopping and questioned by the police for no clear reason at all. But she had resigned herself to keeping quiet about racism, which her white friends never seemed to notice even when it happened right in front of them. Nobody around here ever talked about any of this. It’s just what it was.

And yet there one afternoon in early June, right in the middle of the county seat, she happened upon it: a crowd of white people demanding justice for Black lives. They would be joined by Black high school students, children of Latino farmworkers, “gays, lesbians, queer, transgender, whatever,” Ms. Wilkerson, 34, said. “This was not the Chambersburg I grew up in. I had no idea. All of these people are just coming out of the woodwork.”

The sight was inspiring, she said. But also frustrating. “Why weren’t we doing this a long time ago?”

Black Lives Matter could be responsible for the largest protest movement in U.S. history, which sprang up in countless cities and small towns after George Floyd was killed by the police in May. While the street protests have tapered off in most places, newly minted activists in small towns are still discussing plans for new events or standing in the back of otherwise empty City Council meetings to make their demands for police reform.

But beyond any policy changes, which could be slow in coming, a significant consequence of recent weeks could be the realization for many Americans in small towns that their neighbors are more multiracial and less willing to be quiet about things than most anyone had assumed.

Across the state in Lehighton, Pa., a town that is 95 percent white, Montreo Thompson, 26, pulled a lawn chair into his driveway in early June and held up a Black Lives Matter poster. Within days he was helping lead marches in towns all over the region, and also protesting alongside Black people he had never seen before — some of whom lived down the street. “They were literally walking distance from our house and I never knew they were there.”

Small-town America has never been racially and politically monolithic. After the 2016 election and especially in places where President Trump romped, thousands of women who were aghast at the result became politically active for the first time in their lives, meeting in library basements and organizing small but regular rallies. Still, that movement, powered chiefly by middle-aged, middle-class women in the suburbs and exurbs, was in many ways just a preamble to the mass wave of protests following Mr. Floyd’s death.

For weeks, protesters in Chambersburg gathered on the sidewalk in front of Central Presbyterian Church, a bronze-steepled landmark dedicated in 1871, just seven years after the town was burned to the ground by Confederate soldiers. The Rev. Scott Bowerman, who has been pastor of the church for eight years, called Mr. Trump’s election “an apocalyptic moment.” It was a deliberate word choice, he said, based in the root meaning of apocalypse: a revelation.

The 2016 election, Mr. Bowerman said, revealed that Franklin County, where Chambersburg sits, was not only conservative but enamored of a brand of America-first politics that truly electrified many of the white voters, who unfurled flags for Mr. Trump in a way they never had for any another candidate. Mr. Trump won the county by more than 45 points, 71 to 25 percent.

But the election also revealed a silent minority, long quiet about their politics. Many already knew one another (“the usual suspects,” Mr. Bowerman said) but they began forming overtly liberal groups — Franklin County Coalition for Progress, Community Uniting, Concerned Citizens of Franklin County — planning events to celebrate Pride month, for instance, and digging into issues like redistricting reform. A new organization called Racial Reconciliation began holding discussion groups at the Presbyterian church, with mostly white attendees.

But then the George Floyd demonstrations began. These protesters were not the Trump faithful, nor were they members of the so-called resistance. At first, nobody recognized them at all.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Linda Thomas Worthy, a founder of Racial Reconciliation and one of the county’s most outspoken figures on racial issues. She would drive through downtown during the first week of the protests to try to understand who all of the people coming out to denounce racism were. “I wanted to see how this unfolds.”

It started with Shiloh Hershey, 24, who had never done anything like this and declined to be interviewed. She is white. But, said Amy Stewart, her mother, Ms. Hershey knows something about being marginalized, having come out as transgender several years ago. “I know what it’s like to have a child who can be hated for who they are,” Ms. Stewart said.

On the last afternoon in May, Ms. Hershey and her mother walked downtown after gathering up markers, poster board and a concoction of baking soda and water to pour in their eyes if they were tear gassed. The protest soon became a standing appointment, growing larger and more eclectic by the day, filled mostly by people who did not know one another and had never protested before.

The protesters were mostly white but not exclusively so, not in a town where more than a third of the students in the local schools are minorities. Lexi Leydig, 23, who is mixed race and was raised by a Guatemalan stepfather, was there, as was Maricruz Cabrera, 26, a Mexican-American who waits tables down the street at Falafel Shack.

Protests followed in nearly every town in Franklin County: Shippensburg up the road, little Greencastle and Mercersburg, and Waynesboro, where a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan showed up to jeer.

The politics of the protesters were deeply eclectic. Many of those at the demonstrations in Chambersburg were avowedly apolitical, with little faith in either major party or electoral politics at all. In Shippensburg, a young Black nursing assistant who announced the rally there was joined by a Republican, a libertarian, a Democrat and a young man who described himself as a “radical Christian,” all committed to defunding the police.

The most unexpected champion, perhaps, has been the Franklin County district attorney, Matt Fogal, a Republican. For weeks he had been stewing, unhappy about how partisan the pandemic response had become and about the president’s provocations. Then one afternoon he heard the protest out of his office window.

“I’m listening to them out there and just people honking in support, absolutely peaceful, a contrast to some of the images that we had been seeing,” he said. He sent a statement to local media. “Black lives matter. Period,” it said, going on to urge people to put country over party in November. The former chairman of the local Republican Party called the statement “thoroughly disgusting.”

Few involved in the protests believe that the politics of the county had somehow been transformed overnight. Trump flags still hang from front porches all over the county, and on local Facebook pages, many commenters mock the protesters as ignorant and wasting their time. Many of the young people doubt much will come of this at all. “Once everything slows down,” said Ms. Leydig, “people will just go back to their ways.”

Still, there are some developments. The district attorney is forming an advisory group on racial matters. The meetings of Racial Reconciliation, which held a large demonstration in late June, are markedly bigger than they were. The liberal groups have begun letter-writing campaigns to downtown businesses, urging them to publicly support Black Lives Matter.

The protests themselves, fueled by the young and often working class, have been hard to keep going. A young woman who had taken over the organizing in Chambersburg soon found her days growing too complicated, especially after her mother was suddenly evicted from public housing.

The task of organizing transferred to a local graduate student, Kristi Rines, 30, who tries to keep a regular appointment in front of the church, taking meticulous notes about the ratio of honks to jeers (“3 p.m. — 4 p.m.; 9 incidents of backlash, 77 incidents of support”) but often standing by herself in the sweltering heat.

Ms. Wilkerson has tried to show up, but it is hard with children and a full-time job. She teaches teenagers at a private juvenile detention center in the county, and as one of the few Black employees, has been one of the only ones who will talk with the boys there about what has been happening outside.

“They heard how they’re changing names of syrup bottles and they’re canceling TV shows,” Ms. Wilkerson said. Her students tell her that they had never asked for any of those things, instead wanting “an end to watching my friends get beat up and watching my uncles and fathers and brothers get arrested over small amounts of marijuana.”

“They don’t have much faith in the system changing,” Ms. Wilkerson said. She tells them she hopes it will. “That’s all I can really say.”

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14) The Return of Jane Elliott
Before anti-racist reading lists and Instagram allyship, white people were presented with the “Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes” exercise. Its 86-year-old creator can’t believe she’s still being asked about it.
By Brianna Holt, July 15, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/style/jane-elliott-anti-racism.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage
Jane Elliott Credit...Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times, via Getty Images



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