Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, July 21, 2020



National Day of Action for Unemployment Insurance
Today is a critical day for action for people who have lost their jobs because of COVID-19! It is only 10 days before the $600 per week expanded unemployment insurance benefits expire (and 72 hours until states start sending out letters to millions of unemployed workers telling them their benefits will be reduced or cut all together). [1]
**This is why we need YOU to take one very important action today: Call your U.S. Senators and tell them to extend unemployment insurance NOW! 
Text “ExtendUI” to 747464 and we’ll connect you directly with your U.S. Senator’s office.
Today is the National Day of Action for Unemployment Insurance and we are joining people from around the country in calling our U.S. Senators, speaking out on social media, delivering your letters to Congress, holding virtual town halls, and even showing up in-person (6 feet apart with masks on of course!) on Capitol Hill and to U.S. Senate offices in the states. Why are we doing this? Because with cases of the virus surging in many states, an unemployment rate still sitting at around 13.3% (including 1 in 6 Black women in May being unemployed), and with 59% of CEOS saying they are implementing hiring freezes; now is NOT the time for Congress to short change struggling Americans and undercut our economy by cutting off the boost to unemployment benefits that has kept so many families and communities afloat. [2,3]
Unemployment Insurance is a vital lifeline for families and essential stimulus for the economy that will be critical to our nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. We need Congress to ensure this safety net will be available to all who need it until our economy has sufficiently recovered. In particular, the U.S. Senate must take immediate action and continue the $600 per week boost past the arbitrary July 31st deadline and tie its phase out to economic indicators. Failing to do so would mean more than 25 million workers will lose the $600 federal unemployment supplement, to the tune of more than $15 billion per week. [4] That is money our families and economy needs to recover!
***Take a few quick minutes now to call your U.S. Senator from California and tell them to #ExtendUI and #Savethe600! We make it super easy for you--> 
Just text “ExtendUI” to 747464 and we’ll connect you directly with your Senator’s office (you can even call again and we’ll connect you with your other Senator’s office).
Speaking out today, when so many others around the country are doing the same, will send a powerful message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his allies in the Senate who are trying to stand in the way of extending the current level of unemployment benefits.
After you make your phone calls, please forward this email to 5 friends and ask them to call as well so you can double down on your impact! We need as many people as possible speaking out to make sure our elected leaders know that struggling families still need help and that we need them to take immediate action to extend unemployment benefits.
Thank you so much for continuing to stand up for all of our families during this difficult time!
-Elyssa, Donna, Kristin, Hanna, Joy, Gloria, and the entire MomsRising.org/MamásConPoder team
P.S. As part of the Day of Action we are holding a Twitterstorm starting at 12pmET/9amPT using #ExtendUI and #Savethe600. Join us on Twitter! You can tweet your unemployment story to your Senators or use our social media toolkit to speak out on this important issue.

Vote     Facebook     Twitter     Radio     Donate     
What should MomsRising tackle next? Tell us!



Timeless words of wisdom from Friedrich Engels:

This legacy belongs to all of us:

“Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor and elsewhere, destroyed the forest to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture they were laying the basis for the present forlorn state of those countries. . . Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature–but that we, with flesh, blood and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other creatures of being able to learn its laws and apply them correctly.” The Part played by Labour in the Transition from Ape to Man 1876. —Friedrich Engels




Do you see what’s happening in Portland? That could be Oakland next!

A provision in the proposed police commission ballot measure would give the police chief ABSOLUTE POWER to disregard all policies on use of force and crowd control in ‘exigent circumstances!’

Please sign and share with others! This is going down on Tuesday at the City Council meeting!




Transit Workers Need COVID Protection; Help Keep Them Safe and Build Union Power!

By August 1st 

ATU members and supporters at Transit Equity Day, 2020

Transit Workers Need COVID Protection; Help Keep Them Safe and Build Union Power!

Sign this letter to our regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission:  https://bit.ly/ridesafecalif
One click--you don’t need to compose anything original. Do it now!
By Aug 1stSign this state-wide Ride Safe petition to be delivered by ATU to transit authorities throughout the state:  https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/california-ride-safe-campaign/
Transit operators are getting sick and essential workers who depend on transit are at grave risk.
The Amalgamated Transit Union has reached out for our help; sign both the petition and the letter above!
We know a Green New Deal calls for Free, Accessible, Expanded and Emissions-free Public Transit. But right now, public transit operators need us join their fight for COVID health and safety protection.
This ATU demand for protection of majority Black workers and majority Black and Brown riders sits right at the intersection of Labor, Racial, and Environmental Justice—where working class power is building right now.
Sign both of the petition and the letter right now!
•             Letter to our regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission: https://bit.ly/ridesafecalif 
•            State-wide Ride Safe petition: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/california-ride-safe-campaign/



Oust Duterte: Stop The Killings in the Philippines

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.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
1332 15th Ave
San FranciscoCA  94122-2008

Add us to your address bookWant to change how you r



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.



Urgent Action: Garifuna leader and 3 community members kidnapped and disappeared in Honduras

Share This 
On the morning of Saturday, July 18, Garifuna leader Snider Centeno and other three members of the Triunfo de la Cruz community where kidnapped and disappeared by a group of men wearing bullet proof vests with the initials of the Honduran National Police (DPI in Spanish). The DPI is the Investigative Police Directorate and when it was formed years ago, was trained by the United States. As of this Monday Morning, there is still no word on the whereabouts of Mr. Centeno, Milton Joel Marínez, Suami Aparicio Mejía and El Pri (nickname).
Snider was the president of the elected community council in Triunfo de la Cruz and his community received a favorable sentence from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in 2015. However, the Honduran state has still not respected it. The kidnapping and disappearance of Snider and the 3 other men is another attack against the Garifuna community and their struggle to protect their ancestral lands and the rights of afro-indigenous and indigenous people to live.
National and international pressure forced the Honduran Ministry of Human Rights to put out a statement urging authorities to investigate and act. Your support can make the difference!
For more information and updated on what is happening in Honduras, please follow the Honduras Solidarity Network

Contact Us

Alliance for Global Justice
225 E 26th St Ste 1

Tucson, Arizona 85713-2925
Follow Us 
Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser



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


—Unknown source



Subject: Shut Down Fort Hood! Justice for Vanessa Guillén. Sign the petition!



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


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


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



"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




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



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





Kimberly Jones

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

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

Kimberly Jones on YouTube 



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

So what has protesting accomplished?

👉🏾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.


🌎 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...


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

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

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

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

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

Keep protesting.


How beautiful is that?








*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!






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



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

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






Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frida Berrigan's Statement

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

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

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

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

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

Liz's Statement

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

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

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

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



View this email in your browser
To: Comrades, Friends, and Supporters of Kevin Rashid Johnson
From: Shupavu wa Kirima
Re: Organized Dial-In on Behalf of Comrade Rashid for Monday, 07.20.2020
Date: 07.18.2020

Dear Comrades, Friends, and Supporters,

I want to thank each of you who have united around the call to support Rashid as he faces retaliatory abuse at the hands of prison officials and staff at Pendleton Correctional Facility where he is being detained in Pendleton, IN. I learned of Rashid’s situation early Thursday morning and since that time individuals and organizations from around the country have shown their support by sharing the call on social media and by phoning and emailing the prison themselves expressing concern and outrage.

On Monday, we plan to step up our protest by having folks from around the country carry out an organized dial-in to key officials located at the Indiana Department of Corrections and Virginia Department of Corrections.  These calls will happen in two waves, morning and afternoon.  The first wave of calls will happen between 9 am - 11:30 am EST with the second wave of calls taking place in the afternoon from 2 pm - 4:30 pm EST.  By synchronizing these waves of calls we intend to let the prison officials know that we are organized and we mean business.  This action will also serve to turn up the pressure on this situation and hopefully, expedite the satisfaction of our demands which are as follows:

  • We demand that the retaliatory and punitive measures against Kevin Rashid Johnson and his neighbor, Mark Patterson, end.  This includes the repeated cell searches, destruction of property, denial of phone calls to the outside, and seizure of commissary items.

  • We demand that Rashid’s tablet be replaced at no cost to him. This is only right since it was, in fact, the guards who purposefully broke the tablet in retaliation for Rashid exercising his rights to free speech and political expression. 

  • We demand that Rashid be allowed his right to legal counsel by speaking with his attorney, Dustin McDaniel of the Abolitionist Law Center.  This right has been refused since Rashid’s time at Pendleton even after providing proof of Mr. McDaniel’s credentials proving that he is Rashid’s attorney.  Rashid has not been allowed to add Mr. McDaniel to his phone call or visitation list.

The evening before the dial-in (Sunday, 07.19.2020) we will hold a brief meeting at 7 pm EST to go over the planned action for Monday in further detail.  This meeting will be held via conference call and should take no more than 15 - 20 minutes.

If you can unite to make calls at any time during Monday’s dial-in or have any other questions or concerns, please reply to this email or contact me using the information listed below.  I will reply with the meeting agenda and call details.  Again, I thank everyone for their support and I want to extend a special thanks to the following organizations that have expressed solidarity during this time:

The People’s Revolutionary Party of Long Beach, Third World People’s Alliance, Afrofuturist Abolitionists of the Americas, AnarkataFuturists of the Americas, Roanoke People’s Power Network, Quaker Insurrection, Black is Back-Health for the Revolution, Lucy Parsons Center, Upsetting the Upset, FTP-Baltimore, FTP-Boston, FTP-Twin Cities, FTP-Philly, FTP-San Diego, FTP-Chicago, and FTP-St. Louis 

Shupavu wa Kirima

All Power to the People!
Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win!
The following individuals should be contacted in regard to Kevin Rashid Johnson (#264847) and his neighbor, Mark Patterson's (#988302) current situation.  Please feel free to share widely among your contacts and across social media platforms.

John Adam Ferguson, Chief Legal Officer
(317)460-6307, mobile
(317)233-8861, office

Charlene A. Burkett, Ombudsman

Joseph Walters, Deputy Director VADOC
(Proxy for Harold W. Clarke, Director of Dept. of Corrections)

James Parks, Interstate Compact Administrator
Dushan Zatecky, Warden

Our mailing address is:
Kevin Rashid Johnson
D.O.C. #264847
Pendleton Correctional Facility 4490 W. Reformatory Rd
PendletonIN  46064

Add us to your address book

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp







This will make you smile!

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




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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 

Spending 2020

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



Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

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



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

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

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

Our mailing address is:

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

PendletonIN  46064

Want to change how you receive these emails?


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













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

Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 

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

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

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

For more information about events go to:




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

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





















From Business Insider 2018



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

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)







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



















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

Major Tillery (with hat) and family

Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

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

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal



Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

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

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

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

We can’t walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin).

We can’t hold a hair brush while leaving our own bachelor party (#SeanBell).

We can’t party on New Years (#OscarGrant).

We can’t get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland).

We can’t lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile).

We can't break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones).

We can’t shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)p^p.

We can’t have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher).

We can’t read a book in our own car (#KeithScott).

We can’t be a 10yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover).

We can’t decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese).

We can’t ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans).

We can’t cash our check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood).

We can’t take out our wallet (#AmadouDiallo).

We can’t run (#WalterScott).

We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).

We can’t live (#FreddieGray).

We’re tired.

Tired of making hashtags.

Tired of trying to convince you that our #BlackLivesMatter too.

Tired of dying.




So very tired.

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








1) The Next Disaster Is Just a Few Days Away
Millions of unemployed Americans face imminent catastrophe.
By Paul Krugman, July 16, 2020
Opinion Columnist

A worker at a food bank in Texas in May. Since then, things have only gotten worse. Credit...Ilana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

Some of us knew from the beginning that Donald Trump wasn’t up to the job of being president, that he wouldn’t be able to deal with a crisis that wasn’t of his own making. Still, the magnitude of America’s coronavirus failure has shocked even the cynics.

At this point Florida alone has an average daily death toll roughly equal to that of the whole European Union, which has 20 times its population.

How did this happen? One key element in our deadly debacle has been extreme shortsightedness: At every stage of the crisis Trump and his allies refused to acknowledge or get ahead of disasters everyone paying attention clearly saw coming.

Blithe denials that Covid-19 posed a threat gave way to blithe denials that rapid reopening would lead to a new surge in infections; now that the surge is upon us, Republican governors are responding sluggishly and grudgingly, while the White House is doing nothing at all.

And now another disaster — this time economic rather than epidemiological — is just days away.

To understand the cliff we’re about to plunge over, you need to know that while America’s overall handling of Covid-19 was catastrophically bad, one piece — the economic response — was actually better than many of us expected. The CARES Act, largely devised by Democrats but enacted by a bipartisan majority late in March, had flaws in both design and implementation, yet it did a lot both to alleviate hardship and to limit the economic fallout from the pandemic.

In particular, the act provided vastly increased aid to workers idled by lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. U.S. unemployment insurance is normally a weak protection against adversity: Many workers aren’t covered, and even those who are usually receive only a small fraction of their previous wages. But the CARES Act both expanded coverage, for example to gig workers, and sharply increased benefits, adding $600 to every recipient’s weekly check.

These enhanced benefits did double duty. They meant that there was far less misery than one might otherwise have expected from a crisis that temporarily eliminated 22 million jobs; by some measures poverty actually declined.

They also helped sustain those parts of the economy that weren’t locked down. Without those emergency benefits, laid-off workers would have been forced to slash spending across the board. This would have generated a whole second round of job loss and economic contraction, as well as creating a huge wave of missed rental payments and evictions.

So enhanced unemployment benefits have been a crucial lifeline to tens of millions of Americans. Unfortunately, all of those beneficiaries are now just a few days from being thrown overboard.

For that $600 weekly supplement — which accounts for most of the expansion of benefits — applies only to benefit weeks that end “on or before July 31.” July 31 is a Friday. State unemployment benefit weeks typically end on Saturday or Sunday. So the supplement will end, in most places, on July 25 or 26, and millions of workers will see their incomes plunge 60 percent or more just a few days from now.

Two months have gone by since the House passed a relief measure that would, among other things, extend enhanced benefits through the rest of the year. But neither Senate Republicans nor the White House has shown any sense of urgency about the looming crisis. Why?

Part of the answer is that Trump and his officials are, as always, far behind the coronavirus curve. They’re still talking about a rapid, V-shape recovery that will bring us quickly back to full employment, making special aid to the unemployed unnecessary; they’re apparently oblivious to what everyone else sees — an economy that is stumbling again as the coronavirus surges back.

Delusions about the state of the economic recovery, in turn, allow conservatives to indulge in one of their favorite zombie ideas — that helping the unemployed in a depressed economy hurts job creation, by discouraging people from taking jobs.

Worrying about employment incentives in the midst of a pandemic is even crazier than worrying about those incentives in the aftermath of a financial crisis, but it seems to be at the core of White House thinking (or maybe that’s “thinking”) about economic policy right now.

One last thing: My sense is that Republicans have a delusional view of their own bargaining position. They don’t seem to realize that they, not the Democrats, will be blamed if millions are plunged into penury because relief is delayed; to the extent that they’re willing to act at all, they still imagine that they can extract concessions like a blanket exemption of businesses from pandemic liability.

Maybe the prospect of catastrophe will concentrate Republican minds, but it seems more likely that we’re heading for weeks if not months of extreme financial distress for millions of Americans, distress that will hobble the economy as a whole. This disaster didn’t need to happen; but you can say the same thing about most of what has gone wrong in this country lately.



2) Doing Schoolwork in the Parking Lot Is Not a Solution
In a pandemic-plagued country, high-speed internet connections are a civil rights issue.
By The Editorial Board, July 18, 2020
The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.

Students getting Wi-Fi and meals from a school bus provided by the Sunnyside district of Tuscson, Ariz.  Credit...Adriana Zehbrauskas for The New York Times

When Autumn Lee, a pre-med junior at the University of New Mexico, needs to download lectures or class assignments, she hops in her car and drives 45 minutes to the McDonald’s nearest to her town of Sanders, Ariz., to connect to reliable Wi-Fi from her car. After the university sent students home because of the coronavirus pandemic, Ms. Lee grew frustrated with what she said is expensive and data-restricted internet service in Sanders, an unincorporated village of fewer than 1,000 people in eastern Arizona. Relying on her smartphone data plan wasn’t much of an alternative. “It took one or two hours to watch a 20-minute lecture,” she said. “I just got so frustrated, I figured there had to be another way.” So she made the 40-mile trek several times each week — and she’ll likely have to keep doing it now that the school has canceled nearly all in-person classes for the fall.

Like Ms. Lee, many other Americans sheltering from Covid-19 are discovering the limitations of the country’s cobbled-together broadband service. Schooling, jobs, government services, medical care and child care that once were performed in person have been turned over to the web, exposing a deep rift between the broadband haves and have-nots.

Those rifts are poised to turn into chasms, as the global pandemic threatens another year of in-person schooling for American children. Large public-school districts like Los Angeles and Prince George’s County in Maryland, as well as a variety of colleges and universities, from Hampton to Harvard to Scripps, have canceled in-school instruction at the start of the coming year. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday announced rules that would require the vast majority of schools in California to begin the year remotely, meaning millions of pupils will need a reliable internet connection throughout the day for instruction. Additional districts that are going online only at the start of the year include Nashville, Houston and Atlanta.

Other districts will surely follow, as the raging contagion in their communities gives them little alternative. An adequate connection is no longer a matter of convenience; it is a necessity for anyone wishing to participate in civil society.

Service is often unavailable or too expensive in rural communities and low-income neighborhoods. This has forced people into parking lots outside libraries, schools and coffee shops to find a reliable signal — while others are simply staying logged off. At the same time, there is pressure on small businesses that are still using pen and paper to modernize or face extinction.

Yet, federal and local initiatives have failed to bring swift internet service to tens of millions of Americans. Like electricity, internet service has become a necessity for modern life.

“What Covid-19 has done is accelerate the pace of technological change,” said Kathryn de Wit, manager of the Pew Charitable Trust’s broadband research initiative. “Getting online isn’t an option anymore, and if you don’t have that connection, you’re pretty much cut off.”

Efforts to fix this inequity extend back at least as far as 2009, when Congress directed the Federal Communications Commission to develop a plan to get broadband service to nearly every American.

Some 21 million still lack it, according to commissioners’ estimates. Yet that might be an underestimate: One study puts it far higher, at around 42 million. The Pew Research Center said as many as one in four rural Americans lack high-speed internet service, because of either the cost or a lack of availability. Microsoft and others have disputed the F.C.C.’s data, which relies on self-reporting from internet service providers — reporting that can indicate an entire census block has service even if service is provided to just one household within the area.

Getting an accurate count of where broadband is needed is critical, because it helps federal programs like the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund determine where to spend to expand broadband’s reach, meaning the Opportunity Fund’s $20.4 billion in planned outlays over the next 10 years could still leave many Americans behind. Two of the F.C.C.’s five commissioners dissented over parts of the funding, citing the faulty accounting.

Two bills passed by the House last year would help improve how broadband’s reach is counted. These bills are encouraging bipartisan steps toward addressing the problem.

Also worthy of strong consideration is a bill introduced last month by Representative James Clyburn, Democrat of South Carolina. It was followed by a Senate version this month, that would devote $100 billion toward making broadband accessible in underserved areas. But Republicans have indicated that they are not likely to support it.

In urban areas, the struggle to get reliable or affordable internet service disproportionately affects minorities.

The cost of broadband makes it three times more likely that households without internet service can be found in urban, rather than rural, environments, according to John B. Horrigan of the Technology Policy Institute. Distance learning over Zoom may be a poor substitute for the real thing, but with school closings amid the coronavirus extending into the fall, students without home internet connections could slip further behind.

To help bridge the gap, some school districts distributed Wi-Fi hot spots and laptops to needy students. Francine Hernandez drove to a Tucson, Ariz. parking lot with her 14-year-old daughter every day for nearly a month to access Wi-Fi beamed from yellow district school buses. She said the family had lost service after her husband lost his job, making this the best alternative.

“It was the only way she could finish her homework,” said Ms. Hernandez. She said she sat in the car with her daughter for three hours at a stretch until the buses left before lunch.

Today, broadband is a patchwork of infrastructure and services offered primarily by major corporations like Verizon and AT&T. But swaths of the country have been left with no service, either because of a lack of perceived profits or a lack of the political will to extend fiber to harder-to-reach communities.

Electrifying the entire country a century ago was made possible by a coordinated federal plan from the administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt The Rural Electrification Administration brought electricity to areas outside city centers through federal loans to small cooperatives formed to bring power lines and generators to their communities.

While such a centralized effort may be unlikely today without the urgency of the New Deal, the coronavirus has demonstrated that it is time for the federal government to think more creatively and to act more swiftly to deploy broadband service.

As service areas exist today, Geoff Wiggins cannot get broadband internet service extended to his house in Liberty Township, Ohio, near Columbus, even though he lives just a few houses in either direction from available service. He said a local provider told him he’d have to pay more than $30,000 to get internet cable extended just to his driveway. So he has relied on wireless service from phone providers and weekend excursions to the parking lots of nearby businesses.

Universal broadband will be costly, but shelter-in-place orders have demonstrated that it is even more costly to leave so many Americans behind. A House bill to accelerate deployment of the $20.4 billion overseen by the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is a start, but the F.C.C. has estimated it could take $80 billion to reach nearly every American without broadband. House Democrats proposed in April that more than $80 billion be authorized over five years for broadband expansion.

“People are afraid of the price tag,” said Mr. Clyburn, a co-sponsor of the bill along with Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan. “We can’t afford not to do it.”

Perhaps more daunting is the challenge of providing service that is speedy and at a price that even lower-income Americans can afford. One study found that poorer Americans can afford only $10 a month for internet service. But such service is typically at far slower speeds than what is available in more affluent neighborhoods, or for free at Starbucks.

Private industry may have little desire to provide lower-tier broadband service when it can profit far more from higher-end services. The expansion of federal programs, like E-Rate, to allow schools to distribute broadband service directly to students could also help lower costs.

But those solutions are not a fix to the broader problem. Drawing Wi-Fi from school buses and fast-food restaurants isn’t a long-term solution.



3) Federal Officers Deployed in Portland Didn’t Have Proper Training, D.H.S. Memo Said
Rather than tamping down persistent protests in Portland, Ore., a militarized presence from federal officers seems to have re-energized them.
By Sergio Olmos, Mike Baker and Zolan Kanno-Youngs, July 18, 2020

Protesters at the Multnomah County Justice Center on Friday night. Credit...Mason Trinca/Getty Images

A federal law enforcement officer shoots pepper spray into the air during a protest in Portland on Friday. Credit...Nathan Howard/Reuters

PORTLAND, Ore. — The federal agents facing a growing backlash for their militarized approach to weeks of unrest in Portland were not specifically trained in riot control or mass demonstrations, an internal Department of Homeland Security memo warned this week.

The message, dated Thursday, was prepared by the agency for Chad F. Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, as he arrived in Portland to view the scene in person, according to a copy of the memo obtained by The New York Times. It listed federal buildings in the city and issues officers faced in protecting them.

The memo, seemingly anticipating future encounters with protesters in other cities as the department follows President Trump’s guidance to crack down on unrest, warns: “Moving forward, if this type of response is going to be the norm, specialized training and standardized equipment should be deployed to responding agencies.”

The tactical agents deployed by Homeland Security include officials from a group known as BORTAC, the Border Patrol’s equivalent of a S.W.A.T. team, a highly trained group that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations, as opposed to protesters in cities.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The issue is playing out as the aggressive federal campaign to suppress protests in Portland appears to have instead rejuvenated the city’s movement, as protesters gathered by the hundreds late Friday and into Saturday morning — the largest crowd in weeks.

Federal officers at times flooded street corridors with tear gas and shot projectiles from paintball guns, while demonstrators responded by shouting that the officers in fatigues were “terrorists” and chanting: “Whose streets? Our streets.”

A court ruling has largely prohibited the local police from using tear gas during the recent protests, which have played out for more than 50 consecutive nights.

With one Portland protester severely injured in front of the federal courthouse and others pulled by unidentified federal agents into unmarked vans, the extraordinary campaign to subdue protesters has led to widespread condemnation of the federal response in Portland and beyond.

While the protesters have repeatedly decried the city’s own police tactics, Mayor Ted Wheeler, who also serves as police commissioner, and other leaders have united in calls for federal agencies to stay away. Jo Ann Hardesty, a city commissioner, went to join protesters gathered outside the county Justice Center downtown, saying the city would “not allow armed military forces to attack our people.”

“Today we show the country and the world that the city of Portland, even as much as we fight among ourselves, will come together to stand up for our Constitutional rights,” Ms. Hardesty said Friday.

While officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security have described the stepped-up involvement of federal officers as part of an effort to oppose lawlessness in the city, state and local leaders contended that the federal officers themselves may be violating the law.

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the injury of one protester, who appeared to have been shot in the head with a less-lethal weapon outside the federal courthouse in downtown Portland. Ellen Rosenblum, the state’s attorney general, has filed a lawsuit, accusing federal officers of unlawful tactics in how they went about detaining people by pulling them into unmarked vans.

The pushback against the militarized federal deployment involving officers in fatigues and tactical gear has also extended to the streets, where the presence of those federal agents has rejuvenated a movement that had shown signs of finally slowing down after weeks of protest against police violence and militarization.

Hundreds continued to demonstrate after midnight on Saturday, playing music, holding shields, tearing down temporary fences and throwing fireworks at the county’s Justice Center.

Along with street medics, protesters also have the support of a snack van that offers free Gatorade and instant noodles, and a makeshift kitchen called Riot Ribs that cooks bratwursts and Beyond Meat sausage. Someone on Saturday had set up a stand selling T-shirts promoting racial equity and hand washing.

The protests have long featured a mix of tactics, with some there displaying signs to sustain a Black Lives Matter movement that emerged in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in May. Others have engaged in more unruly responses, such as graffiti or throwing objects at officers. Dozens have been arrested over the weeks, including some by federal officers, such as a man accused of hitting an officer with a hammer last week.

Protests around the federal courthouse — tagged with messages such as “Stop Using Violence On Us” and “History Has Its Eye On You” — have drawn the ire of federal leaders. Mr. Wolf got a tour there this week and shared images of himself in front of graffitied walls.

The arrival of a more aggressive federal presence came after President Trump, who at one point called on states to “dominate” protesters, directed federal agencies to increase their presence to protect federal properties, including statues and monuments that have at times been the target of protesters. Mr. Trump said last week that he had sent personnel to Portland because “the locals couldn’t handle it.”

Gov. Kate Brown said in an interview that she believed that the protests were starting to ease before the federal officers waded into the scene. She said she had asked Mr. Wolf to keep federal agents off the streets but that he rejected the suggestion.

Mr. Wheeler, the mayor, said he got the same response. But he said he believed the unified local response could change the federal tactics and keep federal officers off the streets.

“I can’t recall a single instance where we have had federal, state and local officials all in alignment, saying the presence of federal troops in our city is harmful to our residents,” Mr. Wheeler said.

Mr. Wheeler himself has been the target of protests, with crowds at times gathering outside of his condo. For weeks, he has called for an end to destructive demonstrations, saying he was concerned about “groups who continue to perpetrate violence and vandalism on our streets.”

Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat of Oregon, said in a tweet that he and Oregon’s other Democratic senator, Ron Wyden, next week would introduce an amendment to the defense bill to stop the Trump administration “from sending its paramilitary squads” onto America’s streets.

Ms. Rosenblum said her office was working with the Multnomah County district attorney, Rod Underhill, on a criminal investigation focused on the injury of a protester on July 12. In that case, video appeared to show a man being struck in the head by an impact munition near the federal courthouse, and his family said he subsequently needed surgery.

The attorney general’s office also filed a lawsuit late Friday accusing federal officers of using unlawful tactics. Protesters, along with videos posted on social media, have described scenes of federal officers seizing people and pulling them into unmarked vans.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon has also filed in court to curtail the actions of federal officers, and the group said “many” more lawsuits that would be forthcoming.

Mary B. McCord, a professor at Georgetown Law and former national security official at the U.S. Department of Justice, said the federal tactics and use of unmarked vehicles were reminiscent of the much-criticized federal response to demonstrations in Washington in June.

Ms. McCord said federal officials were on dangerous ground with the tactics they were using, including seizing and detaining protesters off the streets and seemingly portraying all protesters as part of a dangerous movement.

“It sends the message that these people are terrorists and need to be treated like terrorists,” Ms. McCord said.

She added: “This is the kind of thing we see in authoritarian regimes.”

Sergio Olmos reported from Portland and Mike Baker reported from Seattle. Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting.



4) Roger Stone Uses Racial Slur on Radio Show
Mr. Stone, while being questioned about the commutation of his sentence by President Trump, used a racial slur in referring to his interviewer, who is Black.
By Aimee Ortiz and Marie Fazio, July 19, 2020
Roger Stone arriving at his criminal trial in Washington last November. On Saturday night, he used a racial slur in referring to a radio host who was interviewing him. Credit...Tom Brenner/Reuters

The host, Morris O’Kelly, said that Mr. Stone’s remark made him “disappointed and dismayed that in 2020, that’s where we are.” Credit...kfiam640.iheart.com

During a live radio show on Saturday, Roger Stone, the political operative who was spared a prison sentence this month by his friend President Trump, used a racial slur while speaking with the host, who is Black.

Mr. Stone was speaking on the “The Mo’Kelly Show," a program based at a Los Angeles radio station and hosted by Morris W. O’Kelly, known as Mo’Kelly.

On the show, Mr. O’Kelly questioned the role that Mr. Stone’s relationship and proximity to the president played in the commutation of his sentence.

The host asked: “There are thousands of people treated unfairly daily, how your number just happened to come up in the lottery, I am guessing it was more than just luck, Roger, right?”

Mr. Stone, who was speaking by phone, responded by muttering: “arguing with this Negro”; the beginning of his sentence was hard to hear. It sounded as if Mr. Stone were not speaking directly into the phone, but rather to himself or someone in the room with him.

When Mr. O’Kelly asked him to repeat what he said, Mr. Stone let out a sigh, then remained silent for almost 40 seconds. Acting as if the connection had been severed, Mr. Stone vehemently denied that he used the slur.

“I did not, you’re out of your mind,” Mr. Stone told the host.

On July 10, days before he was set to report to prison, Mr. Trump commuted Mr. Stone’s sentence. Mr. Stone had been sentenced to a 40-month term for seven felony crimes relating to obstruction of a congressional investigation into Mr. Trump’s 2016 campaign and possible ties to Russia. Attempts to reach Mr. Stone on Saturday night were unsuccessful.

Mr. O’Kelly continued the interview after the awkward exchange. After the interview was over and Mr. Stone had left the air, Mr. O’Kelly explained to listeners that he had kept speaking with Mr. Stone because his job was “to keep him talking for your benefit, as the audience, and my benefit to have that conversation.”

Later, listing television and radio networks he has appeared on and newspapers in which he has been published, Mr. O’Kelly then said: “The only thing that I felt was true, honest and sincere that Roger Stone said was in that moment that he thought I was not listening.”

“All of my professional accolades, all my professional bona fides went out the window because as far as he was concerned, he was talking and arguing with a Negro.”

The slur that Mr. Stone used was commonly used to refer to Black Americans through part of the 1960s, but for decades it has been considered offensive.

Mr. O’Kelly said in an interview with The New York Times on Saturday night that Mr. Stone’s use of the word was “clear, it was discernible, and it was unmistakable.”

It was the second time he had spoken with Mr. Stone, Mr. O’Kelly said, adding that he did not invite him on the show to provoke or goad him.

Mr. O’Kelly said he was “disappointed and dismayed that in 2020, that’s where we are.”

“It’s the diet version of the N-word, but as an African-American man, it’s something I deal with pretty frequently,” he said. “If there’s a takeaway from the conversation, it is that Roger Stone gave an unvarnished look into what is in the heart of many Americans today.”

Mr. Stone has been accused of using this kind of language in the past, according to Media Matters for America, a liberal-leaning media watchdog, which noted in 2016 that Mr. Stone had scrubbed his Twitter account of inappropriate posts.

“The Mo’Kelly Show” is broadcast on Saturday and Sunday nights on KFI-AM640 in Los Angeles and on iHeartRadio.



5) After 50 Years, Sanitation Workers Still Fight for Dignity
A determined handful of men in New Orleans carry on the cause Dr. King died defending in Memphis.
By Daytrian Wilken, July 20, 2020
Ms. Wilken is the spokesperson for the City Waste Union in New Orleans.

Anthony Perkins one of the members of the new City Waste Union currently on strike. Credit...William Widmer for The New York Times

Sanitation workers on strike in Memphis in 1968. Credit...Bettmann Archive/Getty Images

“All labor has dignity,” the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. told striking sanitation workers in Memphis more than 50 years ago.

“One day,” he said, “our society will come to respect the sanitation worker, if it is to survive. For the person who picks up our garbage, in the final analysis, is as significant as the physician. For if he doesn’t do his job, diseases are rampant.”

I never paid much attention to what sanitation workers did until a small group of them went on strike in early May in my hometown, New Orleans. They are called “hoppers,” because they spend all day hopping on and off the backs of trucks, rounding up garbage containers, and using their strength to dump them into the barrel that crushes the trash.

My Uncle Jonathan is one of them, and he asked me to help him and his fellow Black workers organize their City Waste Union in the first weeks of the strike. Their fight, which has now gone on for more than two months, has shown me more clearly than ever before that Black people are still shackled to a cycle of generational poverty and mistreatment.

They often carry signs that say, “I Am a Man,” as they protest.  It’s the iconic sign Memphis sanitation workers first carried in 1968, in their bitter, 65-day strike, during which Dr. King was assassinated after coming to support them. I am only 25, but it’s obvious to me that my uncle and his co-workers are still waging the same civil rights battle 52 years later.

In 1968, a living wage and safer working conditions were among the Memphis strikers’ top demands — the same things New Orleans strikers are asking for in 2020. The men in Memphis worked full time, but their pay was so low that they still qualified for food stamps.

In New Orleans, before our strike, my uncle, for example, got paid $10.25 an hour, which isn’t a living wage.

“I get up every day and go to work,” said Darnell Harris, 34, another hopper. “But I can’t take care of my family off what they paid me. I am just tired of being stepped on. Me and all the guys, we’re tired of it.”

Our members are asking for $15 an hour. “In the 14 years I’ve been working as a hopper,” said Harold Peters, 43, “I’ve never made much more than $100 a day. To actually see a decent income, you have to be out there 60 or 70 hours a week.”

In 1968, work-safety fears set off the Memphis strike, after two workers were crushed to death in the barrel of their truck. Today in New Orleans, fears of Covid-19, which hit the city so early and so hard, prompted our strike. The men’s longtime concern that their health and safety on the job are not taken seriously turned urgent. That’s why the hoppers are asking for $150 a week in hazard pay, and assurances of a steadier supply of personal protective equipment.

One difference between the two strikes is that the New Orleans sanitation workers today actually have less bargaining power than the 1968 Memphis strikers had.

The 1,300 Black men who stood up against the mayor and the city of Memphis worked for the sanitation department and negotiated directly with city leaders. But in 2020, outsourcing of garbage pickup means a few private contracting companies manage many small groups of New Orleans sanitation workers.

Only 14 Black men are on strike in New Orleans, but their experience echoes those of many more hoppers in the city. And support from the larger community has kept us going. A strike fund we set up on GoFundMe has raised almost $200,000. In addition, the National Labor Relations Board is investigating some of our complaints.

But with the mix of private employers, one of which hired a public relations firm to help during the strike, it is nearly impossible for a large number of the workers doing the same jobs across the city to band together and negotiate their working conditions with any one company or with elected officials. That means Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the sanitation department are insulated, remaining one or two steps removed from dealing directly with the men on the front lines.

In my uncle’s case, the city contracts with Metro Service Group, a Black-owned, New Orleans-based company, for part of its residential sanitation pickup. Then, Metro subcontracts with an employment company called People Ready, a division of True Blue Inc., based in Washington State, that oversees and pays my uncle and his co-workers.

So when we spoke out about how the men’s pay was less than the $11.19 living wage that the city requires, the mayor pointed to Metro for answers. And Metro pointed to People Ready. After more than two months, no one from the mayor’s office has spoken directly with the men.

At one point, Metro subcontracted with another company to replace the strikers with prison inmates, who were paid even less than the men on strike got paid. But after that arrangement was made public, the subcontractor backed out.

As I understood it, one of the original goals of contracting out the work years ago was to give more opportunity and power to Black and brown private contractors in a majority-Black city. And a goal of the city’s living wage ordinance was to protect the people those companies hired. I don’t think anyone set out to take advantage of working-class Black men; I just think it has turned into that.

“Instead of actually helping everybody,” said Kendrick Anderson, 27, a hopper, “they just went along with that system they already have going.”

In a city that makes millions of dollars off Mardi Gras, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and the Essence Festival, when you see City Council members swinging beads and Mayor Cantrell second lining, our guys are riding behind them, cleaning it all up. But these men feel invisible and uncared for.

Don’t my uncle, the other hoppers and their families deserve the dignity that Dr. King spoke of a half-century ago? Isn’t it about time to do right by these Black men, and meet their simple demands to be treated as significant in their own city?

Daytrian Wilken is the spokesperson for the City Waste Union in New Orleans. This was written in collaboration with Emily Yellin, who produced the video series “1,300 Men: Memphis Strike ’68” on The Root.com.



6) On Portland’s Streets, Chaotic Scenes Continue Tradition of Protest
The demonstrations that have shuddered through Portland for 54 consecutive days have drawn out a complicated mix of emotions and grievances.
By Mike Baker, July 21, 2020
Federal agents clashed with protesters in Portland, Ore., early Tuesday morning. Credit...Mason Trinca for The New York Times

PORTLAND, Ore. — With a ski helmet and goggles on her head, Allison Hyder said she had told her family members that she planned to stand at the rear of protests in downtown Portland. But, in the early hours of Tuesday, the grandmother of five found herself right up front, locking arms with other mothers dressed in yellow.

Standing with a pack of other protesters, she chanted in front of the boarded-up entrance to the federal courthouse. Even as some in the crowd began prying at the wood affixed to the courthouse, leaving Ms. Hyder uneasy about where things were headed, she remained resolute.

“I am the face of anarchy,” Ms. Hyder said. “The people of the U.S. need to know that moms, grandmas and nurses are out here in the middle of the night demanding rights for everybody.”

The demonstrations that have shuddered through Portland for 54 consecutive days have drawn out a complicated mix of emotions and grievances, and an array of people who are expressing them.

In a state with a deep history of racial-exclusion laws and spirited protest tradition, the Portland protests have persisted even as Black Lives Matter demonstrations have waned in parts of the country.

But some leaders in the Black community, grateful for a reckoning on race, worry that what should be a moment for racial justice could be squandered by violence. Businesses supportive of reforms have been left demoralized by the mayhem the protests have brought. The city’s mayor, Ted Wheeler, despised by many of the protesters, has now been fighting to have federal officers leave them alone.

Amid the Gordian knot of grievances and escalations, most everyone seems to agree about one thing: The combative deployment of camouflaged federal agents has only made things worse.

President Trump, in launching a law-and-order message for his re-election campaign, has embraced a dark portrayal of Portland as a lawless place filled with people who “hate our country.” His administration’s crackdown has brought armed officers from a wide variety of federal agencies to the streets of Portland, where they have been firing tear gas and pulling protesters into unmarked vans.

The president’s portrayal and the crackdown he has unleashed have infuriated protesters, who see Mr. Trump as trying to use the city’s unrest as political theater during an election year, forcing a federal presence on a city that doesn’t want it.

It is not the first time that Portland has gotten under a president’s skin. The city’s tradition of protest — which included bonfire lighting and egg throwing whenever former President George H.W. Bush came to town in the early 1990s, once prompted an aide to refer to the city as Little Beirut.

Protesters, some of whom identify with the loosely organized group known as antifa, see the unusual deployment of federal power as compelling evidence that their fears about rising fascism in the United States are justified.

On the streets, the scenes can resemble mayhem.

On Tuesday morning, police said another jewelry store had been looted. As federal agents appeared to try detaining one person, others in the crowd rushed to free the person.



7) Trump’s Occupation of American Cities Has Begun
Protesters are being snatched from the streets without warrants. Can we call it fascism yet?
By Michelle Goldberg, July 20, 2020
Opinion Columnist
Federal agents confronting Black Lives Matter protesters in Portland, Ore., on Monday. Credit...Noah Berger/Associated Press

The month after Donald Trump’s inauguration, the Yale historian Timothy Snyder published the best-selling book “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons From the Twentieth Century.” It was part of a small flood of titles meant to help Americans find their bearings as the new president laid siege to liberal democracy.

One of Snyder’s lessons was, “Be wary of paramilitaries.” He wrote, “When the pro-leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the end has come.” In 2017, the idea of unidentified agents in camouflage snatching leftists off the streets without warrants might have seemed like a febrile Resistance fantasy. Now it’s happening.

According to a lawsuit filed by Oregon’s attorney general, Ellen Rosenblum, on Friday, federal agents “have been using unmarked vehicles to drive around downtown Portland, detain protesters, and place them into the officers’ unmarked vehicles” since at least last Tuesday. The protesters are neither arrested nor told why they’re being held.

There’s no way to know the affiliation of all the agents — they’ve been wearing military fatigues with patches that just say “Police” — but The Times reported that some of them are part of a specialized Border Patrol group “that normally is tasked with investigating drug smuggling organizations.”

The Trump administration has announced that it intends to send a similar force to other cities; on Monday, The Chicago Tribune reported on plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to Chicago. “I don’t need invitations by the state,” Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said on Fox News Monday, adding, “We’re going to do that whether they like us there or not.”

In Portland, we see what such an occupation looks like. Oregon Public Broadcasting reported on 29-year-old Mark Pettibone, who early last Wednesday was grabbed off the street by unidentified men, hustled into an unmarked minivan and taken to a holding cell in the federal courthouse. He was eventually released without learning who had abducted him.

A federal agent shot 26-year-old Donavan La Bella in the head with an impact munition; he was hospitalized and needed reconstructive surgery. In a widely circulated video, a 53-year-old Navy veteran was pepper sprayed and beaten after approaching federal agents to ask them about their oaths to the Constitution, leaving him with two broken bones.

There’s something particularly terrifying in the use of Border Patrol agents against American dissidents. After the attack on protesters near the White House last month, the military pushed back on Trump’s attempts to turn it against the citizenry. Police officers in many cities are willing to brutalize demonstrators, but they’re under local control. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, however, is under federal authority, has leadership that’s fanatically devoted to Trump and is saturated with far-right politics.

“It doesn’t surprise me that Donald Trump picked C.B.P. to be the ones to go over to Portland and do this,” Representative Joaquin Castro, Democrat of Texas, told me. “It has been a very problematic agency in terms of respecting human rights and in terms of respecting the law.”

It is true that C.B.P. is not an extragovernmental militia, and so might not fit precisely into Snyder’s “On Tyranny” schema. But when I spoke to Snyder on Monday, he suggested the distinction isn’t that significant. “The state is allowed to use force, but the state is allowed to use force according to rules,” he said. These agents, operating outside their normal roles, are by all appearances behaving lawlessly.

Snyder pointed out that the history of autocracy offers several examples of border agents being used against regime enemies.

“This is a classic way that violence happens in authoritarian regimes, whether it’s Franco’s Spain or whether it’s the Russian Empire,” said Snyder. “The people who are getting used to committing violence on the border are then brought in to commit violence against people in the interior.”

Castro worries that since the agents are unidentified, far-right groups could easily masquerade as them to go after their enemies on the left. “It becomes more likely the more that this tactic is used,” he said. “I think it’s unconstitutional and dangerous and heading towards fascism.”

On Friday, the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, tweeted about what’s happening in Portland: “Trump and his storm troopers must be stopped.” She didn’t mention what Congress plans to do to stop them, but the House will soon vote on a homeland security appropriations bill. People outraged about the administration’s police-state tactics should demand, at a minimum, that Congress hold up the department’s funding until those tactics are halted.

Through the Trump years, there’s been a debate about whether the president’s authoritarianism is tempered by his incompetence. Those who think concern about fascism is overblown can cite several instances when the administration has been beaten back after overreaching. But all too often the White House has persevered, deforming American life until what once seemed like worst-case scenarios become the status quo.

Trump has already established that his allies, like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, are above the law. What happens now will tell us how many of us are below it.

My NYT Comment:
Are we to let the occupation of our communities by Federal Agents continue until a new Homeland Security bill is passed prohibiting it? Is all the Democratic Party can do is tweet its objections to this and let it go on? Are they totally helpless? The only way we, the people, can stop this is to be out in the streets en masse outnumbering these invaders and the cops and politicians that back them up. We must unite and stand up to them! I suggest everyone who is outraged by this new assault on our freedom organize mass protests in the streets against them. "Whose Streets? Our Streets!" "We Will Not Be Occupied!" "Black Lives Matter!" —Bonnie Weinstein



8) Anti-Asian Harassment Is Surging. Can Ads and Hashtags Help?
With more than 2,000 incidents and little action from the federal government, efforts to curtail pandemic-related racism have fallen to P.S.A.s and social media campaigns.
By Tiffany Hsu, July 21, 2020

A new public service ad from the Ad Council and the writer Alan Yang is focused on pandemic-related harassment of Asians. Credit...The Ad Council

A new public service announcement makes a point that federal leaders have largely overlooked: Asian-Americans are facing a surge of harassment linked to fears about the coronavirus pandemic.

The spot, which debuted on Tuesday, includes testimonials from a firefighter, a nurse, a driver, an artist, the celebrity chef Melissa King and others, who describe being told to “go back to China” or having people spit in their direction.

The somber ad, produced by the nonprofit Advertising Council with help from the Emmy-winning writer Alan Yang, ends with a request: “Fight the virus. Fight the bias.”

Anxiety about the novel respiratory virus, which was first detected in Wuhan, China, has fueled xenophobia and bigotry toward people of Asian descent. A coalition of civil rights groups recorded more than 2,100 incidents in 15 weeks; the New York City Commission on Human Rights recently described a “sharp increase in instances of hostility and harassment.” A list of recent cases compiled by the Anti-Defamation League chronicles “surging reports of xenophobic and racist incidents,” including Asian-owned stores defaced with racist graffiti, video chats disrupted by anti-Asian comments and people being beaten or denied entry to businesses.

President Trump has repeatedly described the coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and, in recent weeks, as “kung flu,” despite saying publicly that it is “very important that we totally protect our Asian-American community in the United States” and that the pandemic is “not their fault in any way.” Inflammatory statements from leaders can exacerbate racist behavior, according to researchers and civil rights leaders.

The fight against pandemic-related harassment of Asian-Americans has largely fallen to civil rights groups, marketing agencies, social media accounts and nonprofit organizations, which have promoted hashtags like #IAmNotCovid19, #RacismIsAVirus, #HealthNotHate and #MakeNoiseToday.

Asiancy, an affinity group of the Wieden + Kennedy Portland ad agency, posted a video in May about the repercussions of recent anti-Asian discrimination. The marketing firm IW Group recruited actors, musicians, designers and influencers to participate in the #WashTheHate campaign.

The Ad Council, which also introduced a face mask initiative with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York this month, will roll out the new anti-harassment campaign online and on television.

The issue of racism toward Asians hit “very close to home,” said Mr. Yang, who is known for popular shows like “Parks and Recreation” and “Master of None.” He had just finished directing and publicizing “Tigertail,” a family drama made for Netflix featuring a nearly all-Asian and Asian-American cast.

One of the lead “Tigertail” actors, Tzi Ma, was at a Whole Foods store in Pasadena, Calif., early in the outbreak when a man approached in a car and told Mr. Ma that he “should be quarantined,” Mr. Yang said. Later, during an interview with Mr. Yang on Instagram Live, viewers left comments saying he and the interviewer, an Asian man, were the same person.

“This wasn’t an abstract idea to me, something theoretical,” Mr. Yang said. “I knew people this was happening to.” He described the production process as “an emotionally fraught time,” when he toggled between overseeing the shoot over Zoom and attending Black Lives Matter protests.

The result, Mr. Yang said, is a rare example of a nationwide marketing effort focused on Asian issues, represented by Asian-Americans from a wide range of backgrounds.

“It’s very meaningful to me,” he said. “I never saw this growing up.”

In a Pew Research Center survey, 58 percent of English-speaking Asian-American adults said expressions of racist or insensitive views about Asians had become more common since the pandemic began. More than 30 percent said they had encountered slurs or racist jokes in recent months, and 26 percent said they feared being threatened or physically attacked because of their race — a higher percentage than for Black, white and Hispanic adults.

But many Americans, including several non-Asian members of the production team working on the Ad Council’s campaign, have been unaware of pandemic-related racism, Mr. Yang said.

Steven Moy, the chief executive of the Barbarian ad agency, said campaigns like this one were “a good starting point.”

“I don’t know if this is enough, or how effective it will be, but let’s do baby steps and create awareness,” he said. “I have not seen enough of this — we should do more.”



9) Black Children Are More Likely to Die After Surgery Than White Peers, Study Shows
A large study, published in the journal Pediatrics, suggests that disparities exist in surgery outcomes, even among healthy children.
By Jenny Gross, July 20, 2020
An operating room at a hospital in New Haven, Conn., in 2018. Credit...Christopher Capozziello for The New York Times

Black children are more than three times as likely to die within a month of surgery as white children, according to a study published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday.

Disparities in surgical outcomes between Black and white patients have been well established, with researchers attributing some of the difference to higher rates of chronic conditions among Black people. But this study, which looked at data on 172,549 children, highlights the racial disparities in health outcomes even when comparing healthy children.

Researchers found that Black children were 3.4 times as likely to die within a month after surgery and were 1.2 times as likely to develop postoperative complications. The authors performed a retrospective study based on data on children who underwent surgery from 2012 through 2017.

Olubukola Nafiu, the lead author of the study and a pediatric anesthesiologist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, said the authors were not surprised to find that healthy children, across the board, had extremely low rates of mortality and rates of complications after surgery. But what surprised them was the magnitude of the difference in mortality and complication rates by race.

“The hypothesis we had when we started was that if you studied a relatively healthy cohort of patients, there shouldn’t be any difference in outcomes,” Dr. Nafiu said.

The authors, in their paper, acknowledged limitations of the study: They did not explore the site of care where patients received their treatments or the insurance status of patients, which can be used as a proxy for socioeconomic status. This meant they could not account for differences in the quality of care that patients received or the economic backgrounds of the patients.

Another limitation was that because mortality and postoperative complications are so uncommon among healthy children, it is possible that most of the cases came from a few hospitals, Dr. Nafiu said.

But while Black people are more likely to receive care in low-performing hospitals, that may not be the main factor driving the gap this study found, Dr. Nafiu said. The hospitals examined in the study were all part of the National Surgical Quality Improvement Program, a voluntary program, meaning they had the resources to be part of the program and the belief that quality improvement is important.

Adil Haider, dean of the medical college at Aga Khan University, who was not involved with the study, said that it told a key piece of the story about racial disparities in surgical outcomes, but that there were still many questions about what drives disparities.

“The real take home is that we just need to start reporting data within hospitals and when we aggregate hospitals — by race and by insurance status — so that we know that, at a given hospital, people from different backgrounds are all receiving the same outcomes,” said Dr. Haider, the former director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health, a joint initiative of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Many studies have shown that people of color receive less and often worse care than white Americans because of reasons including lower rates of health coverage and racial stereotyping.

But one study, published in June by JAMA, suggested some signs of improvement. That research paper, which looked at more than 20,000 extremely preterm infants, suggested that racial disparities in mortality rates had shrunk from 2002 to 2016. The results were significant because the racial disparities around maternal mortality, premature birth and infant mortality have been persistent.

Dr. Nia Heard-Garris, a pediatrician researcher at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, who was not involved with the study, said the research was significant because it relied on a large, national sample.

“We’re not talking about one small health system, within one small city, or even one big city — we’re talking about trends nationally,” said Dr. Heard-Garris, who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics’s Section on Minority Healthy, Equity and Inclusion. “As a mom of a Black son who at some point will need surgery, it’s very scary.”



10) Soledad 3 a.m. raid on 200+ Black prisoners
Soledad guards in riot gear at 3 a.m. July 20 snatched 200+ Black prisoners from their bunks, brutalized them, crammed them into the kitchen for hours, zip-tied, unmasked
By Tasha Williams, July 20, 2020
Soledad prison at night.

In the pre-dawn hours of Monday, July 20, white and Hispanic guards at the Correctional Training Facility at Soledad State Prison in California violently ripped hundreds of Black prisoners from their bunks, regardless of good behavior and lack of gang affiliation. The men were slammed around by wannabe commandos in full riot gear, then zip-tied and led in the dark to the chow hall. The men were barefoot, wearing only what they’d fallen asleep in. They weren’t even allowed to grab their masks.

Reports from the prison indicate upwards of 200 men were assaulted then forced to sit shoulder to shoulder with other unmasked inmates in the kitchen as a tower sniper was called just in case one or some of the cuffed men needed to be executed on the spot. The men were made to sit there for hours without even being told what was happening. 

My husband was one of those inmates. He was violently tossed off his top bunk – woke up as he was in the air – and slammed his head into the cinderblock wall. His head still hurts nearly 24 hours later. His hands were bound so tightly that they turned blue. I know what you’re thinking: “But what did HE do?” That’s the thing. He, just like countless other Black men in his building, had done nothing to deserve the treatment they received Monday at 3 a.m.

Gavin Newsom . . . allows California prisons to be run like internment camps with rations unsuitable for a child and abusive untrained, unskilled officers.

My husband eventually saw a piece of paperwork with his picture on it and something about his father being affiliated with the Black Panthers nearly 40 years ago. My husband is affiliated with no organization and was given permission by CDCR to correspond with his father, who is incarcerated at another facility. That hasn’t stopped them from raiding his cell multiple times over the years and targeting him as gang affiliated. 

See, my husband reads books by Black revolutionaries and even has his own revolutionary works. The guards have told him flat-out that if he sagged his pants and had less books that he’d be ignored like the rest. So, see, my husband is a threat to Soledad State Prison not because of his crime, but because of his education.

Little did the men know, but as they were sitting in wait, their cells were being ransacked. Guards took every book, piece of mail, note and phone book that they could find. My husband had hundreds of dollars worth of books alone. Will they ever receive these things back? Did the former high school jock failures who stole their belongings bother to separate and label each inmate’s things? Doubtful. That would take actual work, which is something no one with a badge wants to do. The men returned to their empty cells in pain, cold and dirty. 

After hearing from her husband Monday, one woman wrote on Facebook:

I received a call from my husband Monday morning letting me know what had happened and to get a hold of anyone who would listen about what’s happening in Soledad. Not only was what the guards did a violation of California state law by forcing inmates in such small quarters with so many other men, but it is a violation of the inmates’ constitutional right to life by refusing them their masks. Many men were still unable to call their loved ones Monday night, as their phone books were confiscated “pending an investigation.” 

Now it’s time for us. You and me. To stand up to Warden Craig Koenig (craig.koenig@cdcr.ca.gov) and demand answers for this inhumane treatment of non-hostile prisoners.

Importantly, why were no Black guards present and why were only Black inmates assaulted?

We want Gavin Newsom to issue a statement as well as to why he allows California prisons to be run like internment camps with rations unsuitable for a child and abusive untrained, unskilled officers. Please reach out to these people and demand the targeting of Black inmates ends today.

Call or email now: Black Lives Matter! Stop the targeting of Black prisoners!

Warden Craig Koenig: 831-678-3951, craig.koenig@cdcr.ca.gov
Corrections Secretary Ralph Diaz: 916-324-7308, Ralph.Diaz@cdcr.ca.gov 
Gov. Gavin Newsom, 916-445-2841, governor@governor.ca.gov or https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov40mail/

Tasha Williams, an activist dedicated to bringing her husband home, can be reached at tashachildress@gmail.com.



11) ‘Occupy City Hall’ Encampment Taken Down in Pre-Dawn Raid by N.Y.P.D.
Officers in riot gear cleared the makeshift camp in City Hall Park, which began as a protest against police abuses but then turned into a gathering of homeless people.
By Alan Feuer and Juliana Kim, July 22, 2020
The scene at City Hall Park in early July, where protesters set up an encampment in Manhattan. Credit...Byron Smith for The New York Times

Police officers in riot gear cleared out the “Occupy City Hall” encampment in City Hall Park near dawn on Wednesday, shutting down a monthlong demonstration against police brutality that recently had attracted numerous homeless people.

A phalanx of officers in helmets started closing in on dozens of protesters and homeless people shortly before 4 a.m., moving in lock-step behind a wall of plastic shields, according to protesters and videos posted on social media.

Seven people were arrested after sporadic clashes erupted between officers and residents of the camp, officials said.

As the police moved through the camp, officers took down a series of tarps and makeshift tents that demonstrators and several homeless people had been living in and tossed them into city garbage trucks.

By 8 a.m., city cleaning crews had arrived to scrub graffiti from the walls of several buildings in the area.

A similar raid was launched almost a decade ago to dismantle the Occupy Wall Street camp in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan.

In November 2011, dozens of officers marched into the park at 1 a.m., rousting protesters who had been there since September and removing their tents, tarps and belongings.

On Wednesday, Yessenia Benitez, 29, of Harlem, said she saw about 100 officers converge on City Hall Park well before sunrise, announcing to protesters that they were breaking the law and ordering them to leave at once.

Most people dispersed, she said, but a small group watched the police operation from Foley Square, a few blocks to the north.

A few protesters said the police had told them that they would be able to return to the park to retrieve their belongings. But when they went back everything — their water, clothing and personal effects — had been tossed into sanitation trucks, they said.

The occupation began on June 23 when about 100 people set up camp on a small patch of grass to the east of City Hall with the mission of bringing pressure on the City Council to cut the New York Police Department’s funding at an upcoming vote before the July 1 budget deadline.

Within a week, the small squatters’ colony grew into a ramshackle community with food service, a hand-sanitizing station and even a library where campers could go to hear lectures on mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.

Hundreds slept in the park each night, festooning benches and fences with signs decrying racism and police brutality. The plaza’s sidewalks became a kind of horizontal gallery of protest art.

The project reached its peak on June 30 when thousands crowded into the plaza after dark to watch the Council vote on a giant video screen. While the Council ultimately decided to shift nearly $1 billion away from the police, many of the protesters expressed disappointment, wanting deeper cuts. Most went home within days.

Those that remained quickly assumed a new responsibility: caring for the dozens of homeless people who had flocked to the site — which protesters started calling Abolition Park — for its free meals, open-air camping and communal sensibility.

While organizers said they felt a duty to tend to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents, problems soon arose. Fights broke out. Passers-by were harassed.

Some local residents, even those who said they supported the project’s politics, started to complain that the once-peaceful compound had turned into a shantytown marred by violence and disorder.

The camp, just feet from City Hall, presented a thorny political problem for Mayor Bill de Blasio. He has been routinely criticized by the demonstrators and his Black supporters since the larger, citywide protests, prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, started in late May.

This week, Mr. de Blasio said in response to questions by reporters that he would let police officials decide when to shut down the encampment.

Neither the police nor officials at City Hall immediately responded to questions about why officers had chosen to act on Wednesday morning.

The decision to close the encampment came only days after President Trump sent teams of heavily-armed federal agents to Portland to protect federal property and to subdue protests there that have turned violent on occasion.

Mr. Trump has also threatened to send agents to New York and other cities.

Though the occupation at City Hall was over, some protesters said it was not a fatal blow to their cause.

“It’s a reminder that the fight isn’t over, and you know what, I’m glad that they reminded us now,” said Gabe Quinones, 22, who worked at the camp as a volunteer “de-escalator,” settling disputes and soothing frayed tempers. “We’ll go somewhere else with everything that we learned here and continue our work.”



12) No, My Toddler Doesn’t Need to Learn to Code
Sales in educational toys are booming, but often there isn’t much weight to their claims of teaching kids science and math.
By Chavie Lieber, July 21, 2020

Credit...By Nick Little

Botley is a small plastic robot that makes a big claim. According to toymaker Learning Resources, Botley can teach children as young as 5 how to program computer codes. In fact, “he’ll have kids coding in minutes,” the company promises on Amazon.

Using a remote control, children can “program” a path for the robot to navigate, like moving forward or turning around. In a way, kids create an algorithm, which is a building block for computer commands.

Can Botley, which retails for about $60, teach your kid how to execute step-by-step instructions? Sure. Will Botley turn your toddler into a mini Mark Zuckerberg by the time they march into first grade? Probably not.

Botley’s not alone in tapping into parental desires to get their children on the fast track to cognitive success. The market for STEM toys — or toys that promote science, technology, engineering and math — was projected to grow at a solid clip even before schools across the world began closing. The coronavirus has supercharged this trend.

Between March 15 and July 4, the sale of science-themed toys has skyrocketed 66 percent compared to the same time last year, according to market research firm NPD Group, with parents frantically ordering chemistry sets and robotics toys to occupy their kids at home. KiwiCo, a STEM toy subscription box that delivers monthly “Kiwi Crates,” has seen a 150 percent increase in year-over-year sales from March to June.

But when it comes to STEM learning, the line between marketing and reality gets a little blurry. Many toy manufacturers make bold claims, assuring parents STEM toys will teach their kids about engineering, chemistry, robotics and so on, and the industry has ballooned in recent years, but there is little evidence to support the hype. (A spokesperson for Learning Resources confirmed the company has never performed clinical trials to prove whether Botley can teach children how to code.)

“A lot of the toys we review come with all sorts of unscrupulous claims that are not backed by science,” said Amanda Gummer, a child development psychologist and founder of the Good Play Guide, a UK-based research organization which provides advice on play and development. “Everyone wants their kid to be a genius, and that’s part of the problem,” she said.

Whether it’s Fisher-Price’s musical octopus that helps children learn “adding, subtracting and patterning skills,” hand2mind’s slime kits for kids to “learn the science behind polymer chemistry,” or Learning Resources’ robot that teaches your kid to code, STEM toys can’t always deliver on the promises of their marketing copy. Parents hoping they will somehow supplement in-school learning should be skeptical.

“The brutal honest answer is that you don’t know if it works,” Dr. Gummer said. “A lot of it is P.R.”

Dr. Gummer recommends that parents look at STEM as a category and not an accreditation — the way parents buying arts and crafts supplies would expect them to expose kids to painting or coloring without the guarantee they’ll soon have pieces in MoMA.

“A STEM toy does not mean it will teach a child something more than a regular toy, it just means that it is engaging a child in those areas,” Dr. Gummer said.

STEM learning is hard to pin down.

Educational toys are as old as toys themselves, but the term STEM dates back to the early aughts, when research reports found that the technical skills of U.S. students were inferior to those of their international counterparts. Education advocates pushed the U.S. to take a more aggressive approach to STEM categories in school, like hiring more teachers fluent in the subjects.

National anxiety about American students losing out on jobs to international candidates eventually trickled down to the toy industry, and companies have rushed to slap STEM stickers onto their products. The STEM toy industry was valued at $3.6 billion last year, according to Technavio, a market research firm. But the industry isn’t regulated by an organization like the Food and Drug Administration, which requires companies to prove the efficacy of their products, and it’s not clear how accurate many companies’ claims are.

Ken Seiter, an executive who helps develop marketing and messaging guidelines for the Toy Association, the primary trade group for the U.S. toy industry, said he realized the market had a problem when he was walking through the aisles of an annual toy fair a few years ago. STEM toys were everywhere, “but any time I would ask what qualified them as such, I got 500 different definitions,” he said.

Last year, the association released a white paper that listed 14 guidelines for STEM toys, saying they should be “open-ended” or involve “tactile sensory experiences.” However, the recommendations are not mandatory, nor is there accountability for companies that use the STEM label in their marketing without following the guidelines. The Toy Association recommends various products, but does not offer any market data or scientific evidence to support their educational value.

In fact, few researchers have studied the impact of STEM toys long enough to give weight to their claims, and those who have say the science is murky. “We’ve been studying toys for 10 years, and the one thing we’ve found that’s consistent is that every child is different. And so I’d be skeptical of any product that makes big claims,” said Julia DeLapp, the director of the Center for Early Childhood Education at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Still, big claims are not hard to find, like Learning Resources’ car tracks that teach “key science concepts of gravity, inertia, friction, push/pull, and more”; Thames & Kosmos’ DNA kits for kids 10 and up to “learn about dominant and recessive genes, the makeup of cells, chromosomes and more”; and LeapFrog’s plastic garden toys that can allegedly teach a 9-month-old about “early science concepts” and “the plant life cycle.” (Fisher-Price and LeapFrog declined to comment for this story. Hand2Mind did not respond for comment. A spokesperson for Thames & Kosmos confirmed the company does not conduct trials or experiments with its toys.)

As great as this sounds, these companies don’t provide any evidence that babies will, say, crawl away with any horticultural knowledge after playing with their toys.

For real STEM toys, get back to basics.

Childhood experts say that although there’s much to be wary of, plenty of STEM toys are beneficial — so long as parents tailor their expectations.

DeLapp believes that for toddlers and preschoolers, the simplest toys are the most effective. For math, it’s toys that help children add and subtract, and for science it’s as simple as cause and effect. She recommends Tinkertoys, MagnaTile, Lego, Lincoln Logs and Plus Plus. For science, she points to a good old magnifying glass, allowing children to inspect insects and grass.

“Simple, building toys are STEM toys, because they teach the foundations; like shapes, why a building topples over when the biggest piece goes on top,” said DeLapp. “Some of the oldest toys are still around for a reason.”

Sandra Oh Lin, the founder of KiwiCo, which sends educational toys to kids once a month, said that her company tries to demystify STEM. A recent Kiwi Crate, for example, had children ages 3 to 4 dripping water through colorful tissue paper and onto a white tote bag, showing how bleeding dyes merged to make different colors.

“STEM has a tendency to use big words and concepts, but we want to make it as accessible as possible,” said Lin.

Some experts say kids gain more from toys when they play with them on their own rather than with adults. Tzvi Hametz, who runs the Makerspace room at a Los Angeles private school called the Gindi Maimonides Academy, has seen many toys claiming to boost kids’ skills in math, science and tech. However, most, he said, require an adult’s help.

“STEM toys should be able to be done by children alone,” Hametz said. “My 3-year-old cannot use that coding toy on his own.”

Hametz still believes there’s value in exposing young children to STEM through toys, so long as parents understand that children might just be playing with the toys, as opposed to learning from them.

“STEM toys do not and will not teach your kids coding and the like, but they will hopefully allow kids to play and discover interests,” he said.

Experts say STEM toys should get children thinking, which doesn’t require expensive or flashy tech. Activities as simple as planting seeds can be just as effective in teaching children about math and science.

“You want toys that get children interested in the world around them, that get them to ask questions about how things work and why,” said DeLapp.



13) Minneapolis Police Experience Surge of Departures in Aftermath of George Floyd Protests
The retention and recruitment problems that many police departments have experienced in recent years are especially pronounced after four Minneapolis officers were charged with Mr. Floyd’s death.
By John Eligon, July 21, 2020
“It’s almost like a nuclear bomb hit the city, and the people who didn’t perish are standing around,” Officer Rich Walker Sr., a 16-year Minneapolis police veteran and union official, said of the mood within the department. Credit...Andrea Ellen Reed for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Nearly two months after four of its officers were charged with killing George Floyd, the Minneapolis Police Department is reeling, with police officers leaving the job in large numbers, crime surging and politicians planning a top-to-bottom overhaul of the force.

Veteran officers say that morale within the department is lower than they have ever experienced. Some officers are scaling back their policing efforts, concerned that any contentious interactions on the street could land them in trouble. And many others are calling it quits altogether.

“It’s almost like a nuclear bomb hit the city, and the people who didn’t perish are standing around,” Officer Rich Walker Sr., a 16-year Minneapolis police veteran and union official, said of the mood within the department. “I’m still surprised that we’ve got cops showing up to work, to be honest.”

Many American police departments have faced challenges in retention and recruitment in recent years amid growing criticism of police abuses. But the woes in Minneapolis and elsewhere have only grown since May, when Mr. Floyd was killed after the police detained him.

Nearly 200 officers have applied to leave the Minneapolis Police Department because of what they describe as post-traumatic stress, said Ronald F. Meuser Jr., a lawyer representing the officers. The prospect that a department of about 850 could lose about 20 percent of its force in the coming months has prompted major concern.

Already, about 65 officers have left the department this year, surpassing the typical attrition rate of 45 a year, Chief Medaria Arradondo told the City Council during a meeting last week. Dozens of other officers have taken temporary leave since Mr. Floyd’s death, complicating the staffing picture.

Minneapolis’s police force has long had a troubled relationship with the community. Excessive force complaints have become commonplace, especially by Black residents, who account for about 20 percent of the city’s population but are more likely to be pulled over, arrested and have force used against them than white residents.

Cmdr. Scott Gerlicher, head of the Special Operations and Intelligence Division, wrote in an email to supervisors this month that, “Due to significant staffing losses of late,” the department was “looking at all options” for responding to calls, including shift, schedule and organizational changes.

The email, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, also said the department would not “be going back to business as usual.” The guiding principle going forward, Commander Gerlicher wrote, would be to “do no harm,” and he highlighted potential reforms, including, “Looking for reasonable and safe alternatives to police services in some areas.”

“Front line supervisors play the most critical role in making meaningful changes,” he wrote. “Don’t take this lightly.”

With fewer officers to patrol, some of those on the streets find themselves stretched thin and working longer hours. Complaints about the lack of support from politicians, community members and even department commanders are part of the daily conversation in precincts and squad cars.

For years, police departments nationwide have faced a work force crisis, according to a report published last year by the Police Executive Research Forum. In a survey of more than 400 departments nationwide, the forum found that 63 percent of them saw a slight or significant decrease in the number of applicants over the previous five years, 41 percent had growing staff shortages and nearly half reported that officer tenures were decreasing.

The current climate differs from six years ago — when the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparked national unrest — in that the demands are not just to reform police departments, but to get rid of them, said Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the forum.

Many activists see an overdue reckoning for an institution that they say has long gotten away with brutalizing people of color with impunity.

“Policing as an institution has largely been untouchable, despite the many, many, many failings that are cultural,” said Jeremiah Ellison, a Minneapolis City Council member who supports defunding the police. “Here we are in a moment where people all over the country are saying, ‘No, no, no, no, no, we are interested in real accountability.’”

nstead of embracing change, Mr. Ellison added, the police are saying, “You’re picking on us, you don’t know how hard our job is and we’re going home.”

Several officers in Minneapolis said they felt like they all were being stereotyped because of Derek Chauvin, the white former officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes before Mr. Floyd died.

“If anything has the propensity to have a violent interaction, we already know we’re judged before they even hear the facts,” said Officer Walker, whose stop of a motorist 11 years ago led to a lawsuit that the city settled for $235,000 after several responding officers punched and kicked the driver in an episode captured on video.

To Sasha Cotton, the director of the Office of Violence Prevention in Minneapolis, there is a cruel irony to officers saying they feel stereotyped. Her office regularly works with Black men and boys to try to keep them out of violence.

“Our officers are experiencing what so often our young men and boys, who we service through the program, say they feel,” she said. “They feel like they are being judged based on the behavior of some of their peers.”

Minneapolis officers say that much of their frustration is rooted in an uncertainty over what comes next. A majority of City Council members have pledged to defund the Police Department, and they are currently in the process of trying to replace the agency with a new public safety department.

Many officers say they feel like city leaders and some residents have turned their backs on them, making them less inclined to go “above and beyond what they need to do,” said Officer Walker, the union official.

“Cops have not been to the work level of before, but it’s not a slowdown,” he added. “They’re just not being as proactive because they know they’re not supported in case something bad happens.”

Officers said they were also concerned about their job security.

Sgt. Anna Hedberg, a 14-year Minneapolis police veteran and board member of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union representing officers, said a colleague recently told her he had another job opportunity. He has been on the force for six years, but it takes 10 years to be fully vested in his pension, so he was unsure whether he should leave.

“I told him to leave because he’s not happy,” Sergeant Hedberg said.

The tensions between the city and its Police Department come as crime is on the rise. There have been 16 homicides since June 1, more than twice as many as during the same period last year. Violent crime is up by 20 percent compared with the same stretch a year ago. Experts say there are many reasons for the spike, not just police staffing levels.

Alondra Cano, a City Council member who supports defunding the police, said that any change to the department would take time and that officers would not lose their jobs overnight. It would be better for everyone — officers included — if they worked together toward a transition, she said.

“I would prefer that people don’t resort to those extreme decisions of quitting or collecting a paycheck but not responding to calls,” she said.

For one senior officer on leave because of PTSD symptoms, the problems started when he could not sleep after long nights of work during the unrest following Mr. Floyd’s death. Eventually he got headaches, he said, and lost his appetite and desire to do anything.

“We were stepchildren. We were abandoned,” said the officer, who asked that his name be withheld because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He saw a therapist, who told him he should take time off. He is torn about whether he will return.

“I’m coming back to chaos,” he said. “I’m coming back to no leadership. I’m coming back to an administration that doesn’t care about the officers. I’m coming back to a City Council that doesn’t want us here. I’m coming back to a family, or a community, that doesn’t want me here. Why do I want to come back to that?”

Many officers are on edge in part because they believe that Chief Arradondo and other senior department leaders have not provided clear direction to the rank and file, Sergeant Hedberg said.

“They’re waking up the next day: ‘Is it going to be the day I get transferred? Is it the day my unit’s going to be dissolved?’” she said. “People are concerned about it.”

John Elder, a spokesman for the department, said in an email: “We have not heard those complaints; in fact I have received compliments from staff about the support from the front office.”

While many officers express anxiety about the future, Officer Charles Adams III said he supported the efforts of Chief Arradondo, the first Black officer to lead the force.

Although Officer Adams has felt unsupported by the community and demoralized at times — especially after he was removed from his job as a school resource officer when the school district ended its contract with the Police Department — he said thoughts of leaving the force never crossed his mind.

“Now is not the time for us to run away,” said Officer Adams, a 19-year veteran and native of the city’s predominantly Black North Side.

“I’m a Black face. I can be out there,” he added. “I wear blue, but let’s talk: ‘What do you want to see done? How can I help you?’ I think it’s my opportunity to give people what they’ve been asking for.”



14) End of $600 Unemployment Bonus Could Push Millions Past the Brink
A weekly supplement has helped the jobless to pay their bills and cushioned the economy. As it expires, Congress will determine what comes next.
By Ben Casselman, July 21, 2020

Rebekka Dunlap

When millions of Americans began losing their jobs in March, the federal government stepped in with a life preserver: $600 a week in extra unemployment benefits to allow workers to pay rent and buy groceries, and to cushion the economy.

With economic conditions again deteriorating, that life preserver will disappear within days if Congress doesn’t act to extend it. That could prompt a wave of evictions and inflict more financial harm on millions of Americans while further damaging the economy.

Even the threat of a lapse in benefits could prove harmful, economists warn, by forcing households to make precautionary spending cuts.

The benefits program, Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, expires at the end of July. But because of a quirk in the calendar, workers in most states won’t qualify for the payments after this week. Most will be left with regular unemployment benefits, which total only a few hundred dollars a week in many states.

That means that more than 20 million Americans could soon see their weekly income fall by half or more at a time when the unemployment rate remains higher than in any period since World War II.

Economists warn that it isn’t just individual recipients who will suffer if the benefits are cut. The federal payments are injecting billions of dollars into the economy each week, money that flows to landlords, grocery stores, retailers and countless other businesses. Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department official and an economist at Evercore ISI Research, has estimated that if the payments ceased, the U.S. gross domestic product would be 2 percent smaller at the end of 2020 and there would be 1.7 million fewer jobs nationwide.

“These unemployment benefit checks are really doing a large job in propping up spending by these unemployed households,” said Joseph Vavra, a University of Chicago economist who has been studying the impact of the benefits. If they expire, he said, “there’s a good chance that what is now an unemployment problem becomes a foreclosure crisis and eviction crisis.”

Congress returned from recess this week to consider a new relief package, which could include at least a partial extension of the extra unemployment benefits. Senate Republicans and the White House are considering a roughly $1 trillion package that would retain the program but scale it back. Democrats are pressing to continue paying the full $600 a week.

But Congress seems unlikely to act before benefits lapse. And because of the antiquated computer systems in many state unemployment offices, which do the processing, it could take weeks to restart payments. That means that millions are likely to see their income drop at least temporarily.

For people depending on the checks, that uncertainty is frustrating.

“I have no idea why Congress would wait until a few days before the checks are going to run out,” said Jacob Perlman, a benefits recipient in Chicago. “This should have been done a month ago.”

Mr. Perlman, 26, earned $12 an hour as a housekeeper at a fitness club, making him one of the millions of Americans earning more on unemployment than they had on the job. But he is eager to return to work.

“The jobs simply are not there right now,” he said.

Mr. Perlman’s regular benefits from the state of Illinois total $159 a week, barely enough to cover his $500 share of the monthly rent, let alone food or other expenses. So he is already trying to save as much as possible.

Decisions like Mr. Perlman’s to curtail spending even before the benefits expire, multiplied across millions of households, are a sort of uncertainty tax on the broader economy, damping the stimulative effect of the payments.

“There are people who are on the precipice of financial disaster here,” said David Wilcox, a former Federal Reserve official who is an economist at the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “We may think that the odds are that Congress will come to a reasonable conclusion. But for a person who is on the precipice of financial disaster, it’s very low comfort to be told, ‘You know, I think there’s a 70 percent chance that this is going to work out fine.’”

The risk is particularly acute for Black and Latino workers, who have been disproportionately affected by job losses and are less likely to have savings or other assets to fall back on. A recent working paper from researchers at the University of Chicago and the JPMorgan Chase Institute found that Black and Latino households cut spending by far more than white households when their income drops.

“When 30 percent of your population has no wealth, this has real implications,” said William E. Spriggs, a Howard University professor and the chief economist for the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “There isn’t a piggy bank. This is it. So when you cut their benefits, their drop in consumption is going to be huge.”

The extra unemployment payments were part of a multitrillion-dollar federal response to the pandemic’s economic devastation. Congress expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits and food stamps, sent $1,200 checks to most households and offered forgivable loans to millions of small businesses.

Together, those programs did much to offset the damage: Average personal income rose in April, the worst month of the crisis to date, and consumer spending rebounded quickly once federal dollars started flowing into the economy. Mortgage delinquencies, credit card defaults and other signs of financial stress rose by less than many forecasters initially feared.

When Congress created the various programs, it still seemed possible that the pandemic would have begun to ebb by summer and that the economy would no longer need as much federal help.

Instead, after falling steadily in May and early June, virus cases are rising in much of the country, and states are reimposing business restrictions. Real-time measures suggest that the economic recovery that began in May has begun to lose momentum, and some economists expect the unemployment rate to start climbing again.

The threat of an economic stall has led some Republicans in Washington to embrace more aggressive federal action than they were considering a few weeks ago. Larry Kudlow, a top economic adviser to President Trump and a critic of the $600 payments, said this week that there was “no way” Republicans would allow the benefits to expire entirely. But the congressional outcome remains unclear.

Some economists, particularly on the right, say there are good reasons to wind down the payments as the economy improves. But even economists who have been critical of the extra benefits say it would be a mistake to cut them off entirely.

“That’s a lot of income to just withdraw from the economy really suddenly,” said Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “Right now there’s no question that the positive economic effects of those payments are outweighing the negative economic effects.”

Mr. Strain and many other economists would like to see the benefits linked to economic conditions, ideally at the state level. That would allow payments to shrink as local economies improve, while eliminating the uncertainty that comes with setting a fixed end date and then waiting to see if Congress extends it.

Progressive economists also favor linking benefits to economic conditions. But they dismiss concerns about discouraging work when there are millions more unemployed workers than available jobs. And they argue that cutting benefits now would set off economic ripples that would lead to more job losses.

“When they can’t pay their rent, now it’s the landlord whose business is hurting,” said Sharon Parrott, a senior vice president at the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “Those are all dollars that are not circulating through the economy.”

Cutting off benefits could also increase the spread of the virus by forcing people to take jobs in which they might be exposed to it or expose others.

“When that $600 goes away, people who live week to week, paycheck to paycheck, they’re suddenly going to be unable to pay basic expenses and will be desperate for work,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst for the National Employment Law Project.

For now, people like Mr. Perlman, who lost his job at a fitness club, are left to wonder what comes next.

“I just want security,” he said. “That’s what I want. I’m not looking to profit off this. If there was a job out there, I would take it.”

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

































TheWrongIceisMelting%2Bcopytion: none; } #ygrp-sponsor #ov li { font-size: 77%; list-style-type: square; padding: 6px 0; } #ygrp-sponsor #ov ul { margin: 0; padding: 0 0 0 8px; } #ygrp-text { font-family: Georgia; } #ygrp-text p { margin: 0 0 1em 0; } #ygrp-text tt { font-size: 120%; } #ygrp-vital ul li:last-child { border-right: none !important; } -->

Posted by: Bonnie Weinstein <bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com>

Reply via web postReply to sender Reply to group Start a New TopicMessages in this topic (2)
Yahoo! Groups
• Privacy • Unsubscribe • Terms of Use