7/05/2020

BAY AREA UNITED AGAINST WAR NEWSLETTER, JULY 5, 2020



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For Immediate Release                                                            



Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679



Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628


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

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

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Support the Campaign to Reopen the Case of 



Alton Sterling’s Murder by Louisiana Police 

On July 5, 2020 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Veda Sterling and the United Panther Movement will hold an event to shine light on the injustice of Alton Sterling’s death by the Louisiana Police. We want to reopen the case against the two police officers who shot Alton in cold blood. WE DEMAND JUSTICE. The fascist pigs who shot and killed Alton are Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake II. Salamoni is in hiding and Lake is still in the police department doing paperwork.

WE WILL SHUT DOWN THE STREETS UNTIL WE GET JUSTICE!
Veda Washington, the aggrieved aunt of Alton Sterling, is calling for support.

She is initiating a campaign to reopen the case of the 2016 police murder of Alton, and also the 2018 death of her nephew Demario Sterling who also died in police custody. And she needs to know we support her! 

Veda and the UPM need support in continuing this fight. We need resources for the event, for accommodation, for food, for support!
Please send what you can to Veda’s CashApp:
$VedaSterling 

Dare to Struggle Dare to Win!
All Power to the people


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

—Unknown source




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

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

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

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

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

Fannie Lou Hamer 

Dear Community, 

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

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

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

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


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

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

You feel that? We’re going to win. 

With Black Love, 

Jessica Byrd and the Black National Convention Planning Teamp


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CODEPINK.ORG


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

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

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

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

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

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

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

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

Donate Now!

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

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

SAY HIS NAME!


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


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Kimberly Jones

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

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


Kimberly Jones on YouTube 


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

So what has protesting accomplished?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

๐Ÿ’“The self-reflection.

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

Globally:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keep protesting.

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

How beautiful is that?

ALL LIVES CANNOT MATTER UNTIL YOU INCLUDE BLACK LIVES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!


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BLACK LIVES MATTER


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


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





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

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



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Credit...

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Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Frida Berrigan's Statement


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

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

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

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

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

Liz's Statement

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

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

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

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

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This will make you smile!


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


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


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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 


Spending 2020

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

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Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

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



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CALL TO ACTION: 



Respected Elder Jalil Muntaqim 

Hospitalized with COVID-19





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


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


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


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


Here's what you can do:


TWEET!


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


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


CALL  the Attorney General and Commissioner


Attorney General  Letitia James - (718) 560-2040



Sample Script For AG: 


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




Commissioner Annucci - (518) 457-8126


Sample Script For Commissioner: 



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


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




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

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

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

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


Our mailing address is:

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

PendletonIN  46064




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Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin 



conviction integrity unit—confession and all





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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Dear Friend,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be well and take care. 

DONATE NOW

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

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Resolution for Funding for the Undocumented




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

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

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

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

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

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

Contact: 

Kristen Pursley, President,

Adult School Teachers United (ASTU)

(510)-741-8359




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

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




Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 


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

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

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


For more information about events go to:

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




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

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

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From Business Insider 2018

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

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)

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


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




Major Tillery (with hat) and family


Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

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

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

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

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

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


In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal




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Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. ๐Ÿ˜“

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

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

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

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t run (#WalterScott).

We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).

We can’t live (#FreddieGray).

We’re tired.

Tired of making hashtags.

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

Tired of dying.

Tired.

Tired.

Tired.

So very tired.

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

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1) Yes, Even George Washington
Slavery was a cruel institution that can’t be excused by its era.
"This is not an erasure of history, but rather a better appreciation of the horrible truth of it."
By Charles M. Blow, June 28, 2020
Opinion Columnist
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/28/opinion/george-washington-confederate-statues.html?searchResultPosition=2
A statue of George Washington near the New York Stock Exchange in New York. Credit...Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters

On the issue of American slavery, I am an absolutist: enslavers were amoral monsters.

The very idea that one group of people believed that they had the right to own another human being is abhorrent and depraved. The fact that their control was enforced by violence was barbaric.

People often try to explain this away by saying that the people who enslaved Africans in this country were simply men and women of their age, abiding by the mores of the time.

But, that explanation falters. There were also men and women of the time who found slavery morally reprehensible. The enslavers ignored all this and used anti-black dehumanization to justify the holding of slaves and the profiting from slave labor.

People say that some slave owners were kinder than others.

That explanation too is problematic. The withholding of another person’s freedom is itself violent. And the enslaved people who were shipped to America via the Middle Passage had already endured unspeakably horrific treatment.

One of the few written accounts of the atrocious conditions on these ships comes from a man named the Rev. Robert Walsh. The British government outlawed the international slave trade in 1807, followed by the United States in 1808. The two nations patrolled the seas to prevent people from continuing to kidnap Africans and bringing them to those countries illegally. In 1829, one of the patrols spotted such a ship, and what Walsh saw when he boarded the ship is beyond belief.

The ship had been at sea for 17 days. There were over 500 kidnapped Africans onboard. Fifty-five had already been thrown overboard.

The Africans were crowded below the main deck. Each deck was only 3 feet 3 inches high. They were packed so tight that they were sitting up between one another’s legs, everyone completely nude. As Walsh recounted, “there was no possibility of their lying down or at all changing their position by night or day.”

Each had been branded, “burnt with the red-hot iron,” on their breast or arm. Many were children, little girls and little boys.

Not only could light not reach down into the bowels of those ships, neither could fresh air. As Walsh recounted, “The heat of these horrid places was so great and the odor so offensive that it was quite impossible to enter them, even had there been room.”

These people, these human beings, sat in their own vomit, urine and feces, and that of others. If another person sat between your legs, their bowels emptied out on you.

These voyages regularly lasted over a month, meaning many women onboard experienced menstruation in these conditions.

Many of the enslaved, sick or driven mad, were thrown overboard. Others simply jumped. In fact, there was so much human flesh going over the side of those ships that sharks learned to trail them.

This voyage was so horrific that I can only surmise that the men, women and children who survived it were superhuman, the toughest and the most resilient our species has to offer.

But of the people who showed up to greet these reeking vessels of human torture, to bid on its cargo, or to in any way benefit from the trade and industry that provided the demand for such a supply, I have absolute contempt.

Some people who are opposed to taking down monuments ask, “If we start, where will we stop?” It might begin with Confederate generals, but all slave owners could easily become targets. Even George Washington himself.

To that I say, “abso-fricking-lutely!”

George Washington enslaved more than 100 human beings, and he signed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793, authorizing slavers to stalk runaways even in free states and criminalizing the helping of escaped slaves. When one of the African people he himself had enslaved escaped, a woman named Ona Maria Judge, he pursued her relentlessly, sometimes illegally.

Washington would free his slaves in his will, when he no longer had use for them.

Let me be clear: Those black people enslaved by George Washington and others, including other founders, were just as much human as I am today. They love, laugh, cry and hurt just like I do.

When I hear people excuse their enslavement and torture as an artifact of the times, I’m forced to consider that if slavery were the prevailing normalcy of this time, my own enslavement would also be a shrug of the shoulders.

I say that we need to reconsider public monuments in public spaces. No person’s honorifics can erase the horror he or she has inflicted on others.

Slave owners should not be honored with monuments in public spaces. We have museums for that, which also provide better context. This is not an erasure of history, but rather a better appreciation of the horrible truth of it.

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2) To Be Hungry in the Middle of the Pandemic
In the neighborhoods most devastated by the coronavirus, food insecurity has emerged as a major concern.
Photographs and Text by Yunghi Kim, July 4, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/opinion/coronavirus-food-banks-hunger.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
People lined up at a Catholic Charities pop-up food distribution at St. Finbar Catholic Church in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. Credit...Yunghi Kim/Contact Press Images

The line at a food distribution center in Corona, Queens, organized by Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz and the World Central Kitchen is sometimes seven blocks long. Credit...Yunghi Kim/Contact Press Images

In the best of times, life in New York City can be unforgiving. It was hard enough, working full tilt, to cover rent, child care and food before the pandemic. Now, in the neighborhoods most devastated by the coronavirus, life has become more precarious. And the most elemental human need — food — has become a pressing, urgent concern.

The pandemic is hitting low-income families and people of color — who often work in critical service jobs — the hardest.

Jerome Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, said that almost 40 percent of Americans earning less than $40,000 a year lost their jobs in March.

Before the pandemic, at least a million families in New York City were already struggling. When schools closed, many children lost their only meal of the day.

Mayor Bill de Blasio estimates that at least two million families are facing food insecurity. “We are dealing with an unprecedented crisis,” he said in an interview in May.

The city’s scores of food banks and soup kitchens are racing to fight hunger. Some have organized food drives and distribution sites to meet the increase in people seeking help.

People line up as early as 5 in the morning and wait as long as six hours at some of the larger distribution sites. Some business groups and grocery stores have also stepped up, organizing distributions of food in all boroughs.

Denise Scaravella, the executive director of Community Help in Park Slope, or CHiPS, a soup kitchen in Brooklyn that had 150 weekly volunteers, closed the site because of the risk of exposure to the virus.
Ms. Scaravella, with two volunteers, now prepares to-go bags with enough meals and snacks — and on occasion, face masks — to hold people over until the following morning. She estimated that the soup kitchen served about 300 meals a day before the pandemic. It is now distributing 700 to 900 meals a day, seven days a week.

At a recent Catholic Charities pop-up food distribution at St. Finbar Catholic Church, in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, Joe Devivo bowed his head and said “God bless you” to each person leaving with bags of food. “Thank you,” some said in appreciation.

Yunghi Kim (@Yunghi) is a photojournalist.

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3) Soledad O’Brien: A MeToo Moment for Journalists of Color
We’re finally feeling empowered to speak openly about racism in the newsroom.
By Soledad O’Brien, July 4, 2020
Ms. O’Brien is a journalist.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/04/opinion/soledad-obrien-racism-journalism.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Soledad O’Brien, Credit...Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Every journalist of color has a story.

My first job as an on-air reporter was at KRON in San Francisco from 1993 to 1996. I saw my new colleagues having a lively conversation and wanted to jump in. I discovered that they were talking about the “affirmative-action hire,” who turned out to be me. That’s how they saw me — it didn’t matter that I’d been a researcher and producer at NBC News or that I had gone to Harvard.

At that same job, the managers half-joked that they had taken their lives into their own hands when their morning commute was rerouted through Oakland. I was the bureau chief for the East Bay, which includes Oakland, and they would be signing off on my reports hours later.

So, as other journalists of color in these recent weeks have spoken up about their lack of representation and influence in newsrooms, and how that warps coverage, I know exactly what they’re talking about: how treatment leads to unfair coverage. What’s most disturbing, though, is how much their stories, in 2020, sound like mine from several decades ago.

After my time at KRON, I moved on to NBC News in New York and worked my share of nights and weekends, as is standard for young reporters. It wasn’t lost on me that people of color were usually the ones who got stuck there, at the bottom on the ladder. I didn’t, fortunately, eventually becoming an anchor, and then in 2003, I became an anchor at CNN. This was a great opportunity to work with journalists at a network known for its saturation coverage of news events.

But people of color were rarely included in reports unless they were about crime or tragedy or poverty. Deeper reporting on our community was often limited to Black and Hispanic history months — a “special report” that often felt more marginalizing than special. When CNN responded to internal pressure for more coverage of people of color and their communities, it created the series “Uncovering America,” as if the network were revealing some secret world.

When I began reporting the “Black in America” documentary series in 2008, followed by the “Latino in America” series, the production team had so few producers of color that they had to draft them from the news gathering unit. The first team meeting about “Latino in America” ended with approximately 15 people debating whether Puerto Ricans on the island should count as part of the Latino community in the States.

This was at the same news outlet where staff members had complained for years, to no avail, about Lou Dobbs’s racist, and frequently inaccurate, reporting on immigration. When “Latino in America” debuted, Latino activists picketed our screenings because of him. When the “Black in America” series aired, I was attacked by racist trolls.

In both cases, the leaders of CNN stayed on the sidelines.

I left CNN more than seven years ago. But I watch its coverage, and that of other news networks — the panel-driven journalism that sometimes gives voice to liars and white supremacists; the excuse of “balance” to embolden and normalize bigots and bigotry by posing them as the “other side.” When I criticize CNN (as I do frequently on social media), the company attacks me as “more of a liberal activist than a journalist,” a common dig against journalists of color who criticize newsroom management.

I have never been alone in speaking up, but these days something seismic is finally happening. Journalists of color are sidestepping management and going straight to the public: Absent a hashtag but buoyed by this public awakening over Black Lives Matter, we have collectively inaugurated our own #MeToo movement.

Grievances have been laid bare in all corners of the media: The New York Times, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Bon Appรฉtit, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

We are risking jobs and status and a metaphorical stoning by bigots on social media to call out an industry that reports on racism and segregation while shamefully allowing it to fester within.

To be clear, this is not just about how reporters of color are treated when they talk about race in the newsroom. The thin ranks of people of color in American newsrooms have often meant us-and-them reporting, where everyone from architecture critics to real estate writers, from entertainment reporters to sports anchors, talk about the world as if the people listening or reading their work are exclusively white.

There are simply not enough of us in the newsroom to object effectively — not in TV, print or online, certainly not in management. So our only option is to mimic the protester’s strategy: Talk directly to the public and just talk loud.

According to the News Leaders Association in 2019, 21 percent of newspaper employees and 31 percent of online-only news employees belonged to so-called minority groups — that includes African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans and Native Americans. I say “so-called” because people of color are not minorities in many parts of this country. Blacks, Latinos and Asians are about 37 percent of the American population and much more in big cities where big news organizations exist.

According to the report, from 2004 to 2019, only 38 percent of newsrooms gained racial diversity, while 15 percent became less diverse. Moreover, just 18.8 percent of newsroom managers at print, digital and online-only publications are people of color.

It’s so bad that The Village Voice recently republished a 1995 two-part series called “The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing,” by James Ledbetter, without an update, because nothing has changed.

There is better news in television newsrooms, where, a study found, people of color made up 25.9 percent of staff in 2019. The study noted, however, that “in the last 29 years, the population of people of color in the U.S. has risen 12.8 points” while “in TV news it is up just 8.1.”

I run an independent production company now, so I have less to lose when I speak up. I can even speak for those who can’t: This is a moment, propelled by the outrage over brutal policing and so many other flagrant inequities, when Black and brown reporters won’t await your awakening.

We are letting viewers, listeners and readers know that the absence of reporting on communities of color is why it took shocking videos of police killings to awaken them to police brutality. We are telling the public about the editor who wore brownface and the puffy article about the first lady that fails to mention she is a birther and the pained euphemisms that replace calling the president a racist when he acts out.

We refuse to be benched or tainted as activists or deemed incapable of objectivity, while white reporters are hailed for their “perspective” on stories.

It’s been 52 years since the Kerner Commission declared: “The press has too long basked in a white world, looking out of it, if at all, with white men’s eyes and a white perspective. That is no longer good enough.” You don’t get another 52 years. Time’s up on hiring and promoting and giving us voice. We can’t stand it anymore. I’m optimistic that the public will agree.

Soledad O’Brien (@soledadobrien) is the host of “Matter of Fact With Soledad O’Brien” and chief executive of Soledad O’Brien Productions.

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4) A Racist Attack on Children Was Taped in 1975. We Found Them.
A snippet of the documentary “Rosedale: The Way It Is” has ricocheted across the internet, upending for another generation New York City’s narrative as a bastion of tolerance.
By Sarah Maslin Nir, June 21, 2020
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/21/nyregion/racist-video-rosedale-queens.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage
Screen Shot

The video rolls on a sunny suburban street, and a group of black children bike toward what looks to them like a parade — there’s a small crowd, and an American flag. Suddenly, they’re swarmed by a group of white children, who hurl racial epithets and rocks. Adults gathered nearby do nothing.

The black children had bicycled straight into a white supremacist rally.

The scene captured in 1975 by “Bill Moyers Journal,” a PBS documentary series, has echoes of the racist clashes more than a decade earlier in places like Selma, Ala., Birmingham, Ala., and Little Rock, Ark. But it unfolded in New York City, in the bedroom community of Rosedale in Queens, nearly a dozen years after the Civil Rights Act was made law.

Forty-five years later, that virulent two-minute, 20-second snippet of the documentary, “Rosedale: The Way It Is,” resurfaced online, shared last year by a graduate student, and boomeranged across the internet. Its quietly forgotten subject, a rash of firebombings of black families’ homes in Queens, upended for a new generation the city’s narrative as a bastion of tolerance and exposed its core falsehood: that racism is a scourge of elsewhere.

And it shocked the children even then: “I never even knew people were like that,” one of the black girls says after the attack in 1975 as the documentarian films, her pigtailed friend looking on. “I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life.”

In recent weeks, the city’s story line of a utopian melting pot has been further punctured as New York heaves with unrest over the systemic racism black people face, and the video has again gone viral.

As it ricocheted around the internet, racking up millions of views, provoking anguished discussion about the city’s past, one line of questioning coalesced:

Who were those children? How did it shape them? Where are they now?

“I’m still here,” Samantha Brown-Carter said. She was the girl in pigtails; now she is 55 years old. She sat for an interview in the home she grew up in, a neighborhood just north of where the episode unfolded nearly half a century ago.

“Was it traumatic? Will I always remember it? Yes,” Ms. Brown-Carter said. “But I never felt an urge to leave, never for any reason at all.”

She is one of five of the about a dozen black children in the PBS documentary that The New York Times was able to locate as part of an exhaustive, monthslong search that encompassed property records, elementary school yearbooks and local memory.

But while over 90 people linked to Rosedale were contacted, just one person identified any of the numerous unnamed white children or adults in the film — a teenager who would later become her brother-in-law, the person said, and who has since died. The person asked that her name not be published, for fear of reprisals from her community.

The Rosedale of the 1970s was a predominantly white working-class neighborhood of about 25,000, home to civil service workers, police officers and firefighters of mainly Italian, Irish and Jewish descent. But like much of New York City at that time, demographics were shifting as black and immigrant families moved in and, in response, some white families headed out.

In 1974, Ormistan and Glenda Spencer, Trinidadian immigrants from London, moved their family into a Cape Cod house at 243-11 136th Avenue — and unwittingly into a cresting battle of real estate and race. On New Year’s Eve the next year, while the family was asleep at home, a pipe bomb was thrown through the home’s window.

“In England, you hear about this happening in the South,” Mr. Spencer told The Times shortly after the attack. “But you just don’t think it happens in New York City.”

Then it happened again: Arsonists set fire to another black family’s home. Then again: A Molotov cocktail was chucked through the window of a home recently purchased by a black person. And there were still more attacks.

But the black children on that sunny afternoon in 1975, out for what they called a “bike hike,” had only a vague understanding of the social forces fomenting in Rosedale, the neighborhood beside their own of Cambria Heights.

They did not know that it had become a launchpad of “white flight,” the phenomenon of mass migration of white people from urban areas to the suburbs as nonwhite immigrants and black people moved in.

Or that some white residents of Rosedale instead entrenched, and used violence to do so.

The young friends had other things on their mind that day — juicy burgers. They got on their bikes and pedaled toward the McDonald’s on the other side of Rosedale. Partway there, the children spotted a crowd. Above the gathering flew an American flag.

“The last thing that I remember was someone saying, ‘Oh, a parade!’ And so we went down to go see the parade,” said Mark Blagrove, who is now 57 and works in information technology sales and consulting. “And I laugh about it until this day, because it was a parade,” he said, “to get the black people out of Rosedale.”

At the march and rally was ROAR: Return Our American Rights, a racist neighborhood group whose mission was to prevent black people from buying area homes. As police officers stood guard in front of the Spencers’ home, white residents massed, chanting racist epithets. (Among their complaints was that the family had been given a police guard.)

“The American flag is the image when I think about that incident,” said Renรฉe Lipscomb-McDonald, now 58 years old and a social worker. “That’s the symbol that pulled us into that situation, because of the idea that we live in America, the American flag means good things.”

She began to cry. “They took that beautiful image and turned it into something ugly for me,” she said.

She straightened. “I want the flag back.”

Mr. Moyers, who served as press secretary to President Lyndon B. Johnson, said he was drawn to Rosedale as a journalist because he was interested in the societal ramifications of the Johnson administration’s efforts to put an end to segregation. Mr. Moyers and his camera crew set out to understand its impact and stumbled upon its real-world consequence on a street corner: the attack on their peers by children steeped in hate.

What he discovered in Queens, he said, was racism enmeshed with economic anxiety — a belief that the newcomers would bring waves of crime and slash property values. Plus, there was a toxic fear held by white residents of losing their dominance, he said, something he sees echoed in the politics of today.

“We are in the last battle of white supremacy at the moment, and that was incipient in what was happening in Rosedale in the early 1970s,” Mr. Moyers said. “The past is very much alive today. Rosedale is being played out in a hundred different ways.”

Today Rosedale is 80 percent black and 5 percent white, and still a cozy commuter community of civil service workers and tidy, mowed lawns. It has seen little of the types of protests and marches that have engulfed much of the city in recent weeks, demanding the end of systemic racism and police brutality against black people.

But as the video has plastered Ms. Brown-Carter’s Facebook feed, questions being raised across the city plague her: “What I wonder about is those white children — they grew up,” she said. “Did they become police officers? Or did their children become police officers?”

The incident still fills Ms. Lipscomb-McDonald with rage, both for the little girl she was, and in light of this era’s similar struggles, how intractable racism seems. In recent days, she said, she has marched in Black Lives Matter protests near her home in Bel Air, Md., with her children. “Which is beautiful,” she said, “and very sad that another generation has to take up the cause.”

But that cruel moment of rocks, bikes and brutal words has also impelled her forward, even informing her choice to become a social worker. “My role is to provide hope,” she said of her profession.

“Maybe that’s the most significant lesson I got out of that day,” Ms. Lipscomb-McDonald added. “That no little girl will ride down the block and ever believe for a second that she’s not worthy of respect.”

_____

Producers
Whitney Hurst
Christiaan Triebert
Sarah Maslin Nir

Cinematographer
Jonah M. Kessel

Editor
Jeff Bernier

Additional Reporting
Susan C. Beachy

Assistant Editor
Meg Felling

Archival Footage
WNET

Additional Research
Susan C. Beachy
Dahlia Kozlowsky

Director of Cinematography
Jonah M. Kessel

Executive Producer
Solana Pyne

Thanks
Sola Olosunde

Sarah Maslin Nir covers breaking news for the Metro section. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her series “Unvarnished,” an investigation into New York City’s nail salon industry that documented the exploitative labor practices and health issues manicurists face. @SarahMaslinNir

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5) I’m a Direct Descendant of Thomas Jefferson. Take Down His Memorial.
Monticello is shrine enough for a man who wrote that “all men are created equal” and yet never did much to make those words come true.
By Lucian K. Truscott IV, July 6, 2020
Mr. Truscott is a journalist.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/opinion/thomas-jefferson-memorial-truscott.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Illustration by Mark Harris; Photographs by Benjamin F. Powelson, via The New York Public Library, and duncan1890 and ZU_09, via Getty Images

When my brother Frank and I were boys visiting our grandparents at their home in Virginia, just outside of Washington, we used to heckle our grandmother until she would drive us into town so we could visit the Smithsonian museum on the Mall.

As we crossed the Potomac River on the 14th Street Bridge, the Jefferson Memorial stood off to the left, overlooking the Tidal Basin. I don’t remember ever visiting the memorial, even though it was just a short walk from the museums. It was located on the Mall, along Jefferson Drive, naturally.

We were surrounded by the history of Thomas Jefferson when we made those visits to our grandparents. We would drive down to Charlottesville with our grandmother to visit our great-aunts and our great-grandmother — and they would take us up the mountain to Monticello and drop us off to play in the house and on the grounds. They treated Monticello like it was the family home, because in a way it was: They were great-granddaughters of Jefferson. They had been born and grew up only a few miles away at a family plantation, called Edgehill.

I guess that’s why my brother and I, the great-grandsons, took the Jefferson Memorial for granted. We had his ancestral home as a playground. It was where all of our great-grandparents and great-aunts and great-uncles were buried, and where one day, we were told, we would be buried, too. We didn’t need the Jefferson Memorial. Monticello was enough.

It’s still enough. In fact, as a memorial to Jefferson himself, it’s almost perfect. And that is why his memorial in Washington should be taken down and replaced. Described by the National Park Service as “a shrine to freedom,” it is anything but.

The memorial is a shrine to a man who during his lifetime owned more than 600 slaves and had at least six children with one of them, Sally Hemings. It’s a shrine to a man who famously wrote that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence that founded this nation — and yet never did much to make those words come true. Upon his death, he did not free the people he enslaved, other than those in the Hemings family, some of whom were his own children. He sold everyone else to pay off his debts.

In fact, some of his white descendants, including his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph, my great-great-great-great grandfather, fought in the Civil War in defense of slavery. My great-grandmother lived with him at Edgehill after she was born there in 1866. That is how close we are not only to Jefferson but also to slavery. When we visited her as children, there was only one dead man between my brother and me and Thomas Jefferson.

I am the sixth-generation great-grandson of a slave owner. My cousins from the Sally Hemings family are also the great-grandchildren of a slave owner. But the difference is that our great-grandfather owned their great-grandmother. My family owned their family. That is the American history you will not learn when you visit the Jefferson Memorial. But you will learn it when you visit Monticello: There’s now an exhibit of Sally Hemings’s bedroom in her cavelike living quarters in the south wing, a room my brother and I used to play in when we were boys.

A tour of Monticello these days will tell you that it was designed by Jefferson and built by the people he enslaved; it will point out joinery and furniture built by Sally’s brother, John Hemings. Today, there are displays of rebuilt cabins and barns where those enslaved lived and worked. At Monticello, you will learn the history of Jefferson, the man who was president and wrote the Declaration of Independence, and you will learn the history of Jefferson, the slave owner. Monticello is an almost perfect memorial, because it reveals him with his moral failings in full, an imperfect man, a flawed founder.

That’s why we don’t need the Jefferson Memorial to celebrate him. He should not be honored with a bronze statue 19 feet tall, surrounded by a colonnade of white marble. The time to honor the slave-owning founders of our imperfect union is past. The ground, which should have moved long ago, has at last shifted beneath us.

And it’s time to honor one of our founding mothers, a woman who fought as an escaped slave to free those still enslaved, who fought as an armed scout for the Union Army against the Confederacy — a woman who helped to bring into being a more perfect union after slavery, a process that continues to this day. In Jefferson’s place, there should be another statue. It should be of Harriet Tubman.

To see a 19-foot-tall bronze statue of a Black woman, who was a slave and also a patriot, in place of a white man who enslaved hundreds of men and women is not erasing history. It’s telling the real history of America.

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6) ‘Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil’
For Trump, the truth about patriarchal white supremacy defiles the American heroes who practiced it.
By Charles M. Blow, July 5, 2020
Opinion Columnist
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/05/opinion/trump-monuments.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

As Donald Trump gave his race-baiting speeches over the Fourth of July weekend, hoping to rile his base and jump-start his flagging campaign for re-election, I was forced to recall the ranting of a Columbia University sophomore that caught the nation’s attention in 2018.

In the video, a student named Julian von Abele exclaims, “We built the modern world!” When someone asks who, he responds, “Europeans.”

Von Abele goes on:

“We invented science and industry, and you want to tell us to stop because oh my God, we’re so baaad. We invented the modern world. We saved billions of people from starvation. We built modern civilization. White people are the best thing that ever happened to the world. We are so amazing! I love myself! And I love white people!”

He concludes: “I don’t hate other people. I just love white men.”

Von Abele later apologized for “going over the top,” saying, “I emphasize that my reaction was not one of hate” and arguing that his remarks were taken “out of context.” But the sentiments like the one this young man expressed — that white men must be venerated, regardless of their sins, in spite of their sins, because they used maps, Bibles and guns to change the world, and thereby lifted it and saved it — aren’t limited to one college student’s regrettable video. They are at the root of patriarchal white supremacist ideology.

To people who believe in this, white men are the heroes in the history of the world. They conquered those who could be conquered. They enslaved those who could be enslaved. And their religion and philosophy, and sometimes even their pseudoscience, provided the rationale for their actions.

It was hard not to hear the voice of von Abele when Trump stood at the base of Mount Rushmore and said, “Seventeen seventy-six represented the culmination of thousands of years of Western civilization and the triumph not only of spirit, but of wisdom, philosophy and reason.” He continued later, “Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children.”

To be clear, the “our” in that passage is white people, specifically white men. Trump is telling white men that they are their ancestors, and that they’re now being attacked for that which they should be thanked.

The ingratitude of it all.

How dare historically oppressed minorities in this country recall the transgressions of their oppressors? How dare they demand that the whole truth be told? How dare they withhold their adoration of the abominable?

At another point, Trump said of recent protests:

“This left-wing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American Revolution. In so doing, they would destroy the very civilization that rescued billions from poverty, disease, violence and hunger, and that lifted humanity to new heights of achievement, discovery and progress.”

In fact, many of the protesters are simply pointing out the hypocrisy of these men, including many of the founders, who fought for freedom and liberty from the British while simultaneously enslaving Africans and slaughtering the Indigenous.

But, Trump, like white supremacy itself, rejects the inclusion of this context. As Trump put it:

“Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country, and to believe that the men and women who built it were not heroes, but that were villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies — all perspective is removed, every virtue is obscured, every motive is twisted, every fact is distorted, and every flaw is magnified until the history is purged and the record is disfigured beyond all recognition.”

In fact, the record is not being disfigured but corrected.

According to Trump: “This movement is openly attacking the legacies of every person on Mount Rushmore. They defile the memory of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt.”

Is it a defilement to point out that George Washington was an enslaver who signed a fugitive slave act and only freed his slaves in his will, after he was dead and no longer had earthly use for them?

Is it a defilement to point out that Thomas Jefferson enslaved over 600 human beings during his life, many when he wrote the Declaration of Independence, and that he had sex with a child whom he enslaved — I call it rape — and even enslaved the children she bore for him?

Is it a defilement to recall that during the Lincoln-Douglas debates Abraham Lincoln said:

“I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and the Black races. There is a physical difference between the two, which in my judgment will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong, having the superior position.”

Is it defilement to recall that Theodore Roosevelt was a white supremacist, supporter of eugenics and an imperialist? As Gary Gerstle, a professor of American history at the University of Cambridge, once put it, “He would have had no patience with the Indigenous and original inhabitants of a sacred American space interfering with his conception of the American sublime.”

It is not a defilement, but deprogramming. It is a telling of the truth, and the time for it is long overdue.

As the old folks used to put it, “Tell the truth and shame the devil.”

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7) How a Covid-19 Vaccine Could Cost Americans Dearly
The United States is the only developed nation unable to balance cost, efficacy and social good in setting prices.
"If a Covid-19 vaccine yields a price of, say, $500 a course, vaccinating the entire population would bring a company over $150 billion, almost all of it profit.
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, July 6, 2020"
Dr. Rosenthal is a contributing opinion writer.
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/06/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-cost.html?action=click&module=Opinion&pgtype=Homepage
A person receiving a shot as part of a first-stage safety study of a potential vaccine for Covid-19. Credit...Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Yes, of course, Americans’ health is priceless, and reining in a deadly virus that has trashed the economy would be invaluable.

But a Covid-19 vaccine will have an actual price tag. And given the prevailing business-centric model of American drug pricing, it could well be budget breaking, perhaps making it unavailable to many.

The last vaccine to quell a global viral scourge was the polio inoculation, which ended outbreaks that killed thousands and paralyzed tens of thousands each year in the United States. The March of Dimes Foundation covered the nominal drug cost for a free national vaccination program, estimated at $50,000.

It came in the mid-1950s, before health insurance for outpatient care was common, before new drugs were protected by multiple patents, before medical research was regarded as a way to become rich. It was not patented because it was not considered patentable under the standards at the time.

Now we are looking for viral deliverance when drug development is one of the world’s most lucrative businesses, ownership of drug patents is disputed in endless court battles, and monopoly power often lets manufacturers set any price, no matter how extraordinary. A new cancer treatment can cost a half-million dollars and old staples like insulin have risen manifold in price to thousands of dollars annually.

And the American government has no effective way to fight back.

Recent vaccines targeting more limited populations, such as a meningitis B vaccine for college students and the shingles vaccine for older adults, have a retail cost of $300 to $400 for a full course.

If a Covid-19 vaccine yields a price of, say, $500 a course, vaccinating the entire population would bring a company over $150 billion, almost all of it profit.

Kevin Schulman, a physician-economist at Stanford Business School, called that amount “staggering.” But Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy, said that from society’s perspective “$150 billion might not be an unreasonable sum” to pay to tame an epidemic that has left millions unemployed and cost the economy trillions.

Every other developed country has evolved schemes to set or negotiate prices, while balancing cost, efficacy and social good. The United States instead has let business calculations drive drug price tags, forcing us to accept and absorb ever higher costs. That feels particularly galling for treatments and vaccines against Covid-19, whose development and production is being subsidized and incentivized with billions in federal investment.

When AZT, the first effective drug for combating the virus that causes AIDS, was introduced in 1992, it was priced at up to $10,000 a year or about $800 a month. It was the most expensive prescription drug in history, at that time. The price was widely denounced as “inhuman.” Today that price gets you some drugs for toenail fungus.

Investors already smell big money for a Covid-19 vaccine.

The market cap of Moderna, a small Boston area company that has partnered with the National Institutes of Health in the vaccine race, has tripled since Feb. 20, to $23 billion from $7 billion, turning its chief executive into an overnight billionaire. While Moderna’s vaccine is regarded as a strong contender, the company has never brought a successful drug to market.

Manufacturers have traditionally claimed that only the lure of windfall profits would encourage them to take the necessary risks, since drug development is expensive and there’s no way of knowing whether they’re putting their money on a horse that will finish first, or scratch.

More recently they have justified high prices by comparing them to the costs they would prevent. Expensive hepatitis C drugs, they say, avoid the need for a $1 million liver transplant. No matter that the comparison being made is to the highly inflated costs of treating disease in American hospitals.

Such logic would be disastrous if it were applied to a successful Covid vaccine. Covid-19 has shut down countless businesses, creating record-high unemployment. And the medical consequences of severe Covid-19 mean weeks of highly expensive intensive care.

“Maybe the economic value of the Covid vaccine is a trillion and even if the expense to the company was a billion. That’s 1,000 times return on investment,” said Dr. Schulman. “No economic theory would support that.”

In 2015, the Senate Finance Committee came up with a simpler explanation for high drug prices. After reviewing 20,000 pages of company documents, it found that Gilead had, what the committee’s ranking Democratic member Ron Wyden of Oregon called, “a calculated scheme for pricing and marketing its hepatitis C drug based on one primary goal, maximizing revenue.”

In setting prices, drug makers rarely acknowledge the considerable federal funding and research that has helped develop their products; they have not offered taxpayer-investors financial payback.

The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a federal agency known as Barda, is giving Moderna up to $483 million for late-stage development of its vaccine.

The basic science that has allowed the small company to move so rapidly was developed with a huge prior infusion of federal money to develop a treatment for diseases like Zika.

Francis Collins, the head of the National Institutes of Health, has said the government has some intellectual property rights. Moderna seems to dispute that view, saying that it is “not aware of any I.P. that would prevent us from commercializing” a Covid-19 vaccine.

Likewise, AstraZeneca, another top competitor, has received a Barda promise of up to $1.2 billion for commercializing a product derived from research at the University of Oxford.

There is no simple, direct mechanism for regulators or legislators to control pricing. Our laws, in fact, favor business: Medicare is not allowed to engage in price negotiations for medicines covered by its part D drug plan. The Food and Drug Administration, which will have to approve the manufacturer’s vaccine for use as ‘safe and effective,’ is not allowed to consider proposed cost. The panels that recommend approval of new drugs generally have no idea how they will be priced.

“The idea that we would allow ourselves to be held hostage in an emergency is mind boggling,” said David Mitchell, head of Patients for Affordable Drugs, an advocacy group.

That’s why a bipartisan coalition in the House recently proposed two new bills to prevent “price gouging” for “taxpayer funded Covid-19 drugs” to ensure affordable pricing.

The exact mechanisms for enacting the provisions therein — such as requiring manufacturers to reveal their actual development costs — remain unclear. The industry has previously protected development data as a trade secret. The bills would also require “reasonable pricing clauses” be included in agreements between drug companies and agencies funding their work. They propose waiving exclusive licenses for Covid-19 drugs, allowing competitors to sell the same products so long as they paid the patent holder royalties.

Other countries, such as Britain, take a more head on approach: a national body does a cost-benefit analysis regarding the price at which a new drug is worth being made available to its citizens. Health authorities then use that information to negotiate with a drug maker on price and to develop a national reimbursement scheme.

We could too, but would need to consider mechanisms outside of our current box — at least for this national emergency.

The federal government could, for example, invoke a never-before-used power called “march-in rights,” through which it can override a patent holder’s rights if it doesn’t make its medicines “available to the public on reasonable terms.” (Unfortunately, in already-signed agreements with Barda, some drug makers have explicitly watered down or eliminated that proviso.)

We could, alternatively, allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices — a proposal that has been raised by politicians and beaten back by industry again and again. We would then need to restrict markup for a Covid-19 vaccine for the private market. Otherwise we’d get the kinds of results emerging from the Covid testing industry, where Medicare pays $100 for the test but some labs charge insurers over $2,000.

There is already reason to worry that our deliverance from coronavirus will cost us plenty. Barda paid AztraZeneca up to $1.2 billion toward development, production and delivery of its candidate vaccine, in order to secure 300 million doses in October. Britain paid the equivalent of $80 million to secure 100 million doses in September — one-fifth of what the United States government agreed to pay per dose.

Ms. Baicker, the public policy school dean, thinks public scrutiny will prevent outrageous pricing. The industry has made various pledges, trying to balance corporate citizenry, while making eager investors happy: Astra Zeneca has promised one billion doses for low- and middle-income countries. Johnson and Johnson says it would make the Covid-19 vaccine available on a “not for profit basis” at $10 for “emergency pandemic use.”

We’ve heard such offers before. Pharmaceutical companies routinely provide coupons to cover patient co-payments for expensive drugs, so that we don’t squawk when they charge our insurance company tens of thousands for the medicine, driving up premiums year after year. A naloxone injector to reverse heroin overdoses is given free to some clinics, but priced at thousands for the rest.

And it won’t feel like a bargain if we get free or cheap vaccines during a pandemic, but pay dearly for annual Covid-19 shots thereafter.

Drug companies deserve a reasonable profit for taking on this urgent task of creating a Covid-19 vaccine. But we deserve a return, too.

So before these invaluable vaccines hit the market, we should talk about an actual price. Otherwise we will be stuck paying dearly for shots that the rest of the world will get for much less.

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8) Summer Taylor, 24, DIES in hospital hours after she was one of two protesters hit by a wrong-way Seattle freeway driver – The US Sun
By Danielle Cinone, Jul 5 2020
https://www.the-sun.com/news/1087756/summer-taylor-dies-hospital-protesters-seattle-freeway/

Summer Taylor, 24, died after being struck by a car on a freeway in Seattle, Credit: GoFundMe


Diaz Love, 32, was left in serious condition after the early Saturday crash, Credit: Facebook

A 24-YEAR-old woman died in the hospital just hours after she was one of two protesters hit by a wrong-way driver early Saturday morning.

Summer Taylor was killed and Diaz Love, 32, was left in serious condition after a driver crashed into a nightly demonstration on a freeway in Seattle, Washington, The Seattle Times reported.

Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg confirmed Taylor succumbed to her injuries on Saturday night, as Love remained in the intensive-care unit.

The two women had been protesting on a closed portion of Interstate 5 when they were struck by a man- who drove the wrong direction on an off-ramp while entering the interstate.

According to Washington State Patrol, the man driving a white Jaguar was 27-year-old Dawit Kelete, of Seattle.

He had been attempting to drive onto the interstate via the Stewart Street off-ramp, police said.

Kelete, who was not believed to be impaired, was booked into King County Jail on Saturday morning on investigation of felony vehicular assault, according to The Seattle Times.

His white vehicle was captured on video at a high speed at around 1.30am Saturday.

Kelete's car was seen driving around two vehicles, which were placed as protection for the protesters on the freeway, before slamming into the two women.

In a lengthy livestream Facebook video shared by Love, which started out with protesters chanting "f*** the police," someone is heard yelling "Car!" before the fatal impact took place.

The Black Femme March highway demonstration had been sparked by the death of George Floyd while he was being arrested in Minneapolis on May 25.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, died after a Minneapolis cop was seen in video kneeling on his neck.

WA State Patrol announced to Twitter on the day of the crash: "@wastatepatrol will not be allowing protesters to enter I-5.

"For the safety of all citizens including protesters and motorists, pedestrians walking on the freeway will be arrested."

They also extended their sympathies to the friends and family of the young woman that passed away.

State Patrol Capt. Ron Mead said: “Blocking a freeway is a crime and no longer are we going to enable that criminal conduct to continue.

“We are not going to be allowing protesters to access the freeway unimpeded, and there are consequences for criminal conduct.”

A possible motive was not included in a probably-cause statement detailing the WA State Patrol's case.

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

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