Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, August 4, 2020



Join Us On-line for a Unique 75th Anniversary 

Hiroshima Day Rally 

Thursday, August 6 from 8 AM to 9:30 AM (Pacific Time), with a moment of silence at 8:15 AM, 

when the first atomic bomb was used in war by the United States against the people of Hiroshima.

Date & Time: Thursday, August 6 from 8 AM to 9:30 AM (Pacific Time), with a moment of silence at 8:15 AM, when the first atomic bomb was used in war by the United States against the people of Hiroshima.

Link: This event is free, and all people of good will are invited to participate. Circle your calendar today. Check www.trivalleycares.org before the event to obtain the link. You will be able to simply click the link on our website and participate.

Background: Tri-Valley CAREs and colleagues from Northern California peace and justice groups annually host a rally, march and nonviolent direct action at 8am at the gates of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. This year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are moving the event on-line.

Our program: Expect great speakers and musicians for this 75th anniversary rally and commemoration. (See the list below.) Expect also some action footage of Livermore Lab, one of two locations where all U.S. nuclear weapons are designed.

Purpose: Join Tri-Valley CAREs on-line this year to abolish nuclear weapons on the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Our event, and your participation in it, will stand with the A-bomb survivors, known as Hibakusha as they continue to appeal for a world free of nuclear weapons based on their fervent hope that “no one shall ever again suffer as we have.”

Our event will look at the decision to use the bomb on this special anniversary, and we will address current nuclear weapons policy, including the new warheads being developed today. Together, in word and song we will also celebrate the joys of taking collective action for peace, justice and our Earth.

# Still Here: In this 75th anniversary year, Tri-Valley CAREs has joined with non-profits across the country to highlight and deepen activism for change. We chose the hash tag #StillHere to note nuclear weapons are still here, but so are we…

“We are a coalition of anti-nuclear activists representing a variety of organizations nationwide. We share the common goals of ridding the world of the risk of nuclear weapons, and bringing justice to the communities affected by nuclear weapons testing, production and use. We came together specifically to honor nuclear survivors as we acknowledge that in the 75th year of the nuclear age, survivors and the weapons are still here.”

This national collaboration has enabled two full days of on-line commemorative events, beginning with our rally on August 6 at 8 AM Pacific Time - and continuing with fresh programming throughout the day on August 6 and August 9, when the U.S used an atomic bomb on the people of Nagasaki.

Collaborative website: You will find lots of information and resources your can use at:
 www.HiroshimaNagasaki75.org. Check it out.

We hope to see you at our lively, multi-faceted rally – and, perhaps, at others too as your schedule permits. The same link will work for all of the rallies and events.



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Coalition meeting
Stop Police Violence —
Slash SFPD's Stash!
Thursday, August 6th, 6 pm

Join with community members and activists in the Slash SFPD's Stash coalition, which is calling on the San Francisco city government to make major cuts to the police budget.

By decreasing the cops’ allotment by half or more, the racist practices of the police can be reined in. Funds should be re-directed to provide jobs, training programs, housing, education and healthcare, including mental health and nutrition programs, to the city’s most underserved communities.

All are welcome. Come share your ideas for making police defunding a reality.

Online meeting.

To register: bit.ly/Slash-SFPD-Budget

Find us on social media!

Facebook: fb.com/SlashSFPDStash · Instagram & Twitter: @SlashSFPDstash
Read LaterRead Later

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To see the booklist at Red Letter Press or to find out more about the Freedom Socialist Party, go to www.socialism.com, or reply to this message. We would love to hear from you!

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Mailing address:

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Telephone: (415) 864-1278






The remaining six Kings Bay Plowshares 7 defendants were granted a continuance for sentencing by Judge Lisa Godbey Wood of the Southern District Federal court of Georgia in Brunswick from the end of July until September 3rd and 4th. Due to spikes in COVID-19 cases in GA and ensuing travel restrictions the anti-nuclear activists had asked the court to further postpone sentencing toaccommodate their right to be sentenced in person in open court, not by video, witnessed safely by family, supporters and the press.
The new sentencing dates and times are September 3rd: Carmen Trotta at 9 am, Fr. Steve Kelly at 1 pm, Clare Grady at 4 pm. On September 4 will be Mark Colville at 9 am, Patrick O'Neill at 1 pm, Martha Hennessy (granddaughter of Dorothy Day who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement) at 4 pm. It is possible that there will be further delays depending on the course of the virus over the next month. We will try to keep you updated as we find out more as that time approaches.
The defendants had asked for home confinement during this time of COVID-19, as entering prison, especially for those over 60 years of age with health issues, could be a death sentence. Their request was opposed by the prosecution and the probation department which argued the charges involved a threat to human life (their own) by entering a restricted zone on the base where lethal force is authorized. This would raise the level of the offense and make them ineligible for home confinement. Judge Wood upheld this interpretation in the first sentencing of Elizabeth McAlister on June 8. At 80 years-old, the eldest of the KBP7 defendants and widow of Phil Berrigan, she was sentenced by video conferencing while at her home in Connecticut. Liz had served over 17 months before trial. The judge agreed with the US attorney's request for a sentence of time served plus 3 years supervised probation and restitution at $25 monthly (of $33,000 owed by all 7 jointly).

We are still urging people to write to Judge Wood not so much to ask for leniency but for justice and not a death sentence. Details are on the website: https://kingsbayplowshares7.org/2020/05/letters-to-judge-wood/

For the momentous 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki there will be numerous events happening physically and virtually around the world. We urge you to participate as you can to say no to nuclear weapons. The world is lurching towards a new nuclear arms race and treaties to limit them are being discarded. Trillions will be spent on new submarines and new weapons while the coronavirus is ravaging people throughout the world with limited resources available to stop it. Nevertheless there are some signs of hope. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has been ratified by 40 of the 50 nations needed for it to go into effect. Pope Francis has condemned even the possession of nuclear weapons for deterrence as no longer justifiable although the U. S. Church has quite a way to go to catch up.

U.S. vigils and actions are listed on The Nuclear Resister website. http://www.nukeresister.org/future-actions/ Groups normally planning civil resistance on Aug. 6-9 are adjusting plans, with some canceled. Some civil resistance actions, with risk of arrest, are still happening.

The defendants will be participating in local events.
Clare Grady will walk with Buddhist Nun, Jun San, in Ithaca, NY on August 1 at 12 noon. Beginning with a circle next to the pavilion just north of the Children’s Garden it will follow the Water Trail loop going north and back for first 3 miles and possibly on up West Hill, totaling approximately 6 miles.

Patrick O'Neill will participate in a remembrance and repentance service on Zoom at 7:30-8:30 am ET on August 6. Details will be on the KBP7 website.

There will be a vigil at the Kings Bay base on the morning of August 6, 10am-1pm. And a Zoom event that evening, #Blacklivesmatter and the Bomb, 7-8:40pm, with Professor Vincent Intondi. Details for both at:https://www.nonukesyall.org
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons Events https://www.icanw.org/events

Physicians for Social Responsibility Calendar https://www.psr.org/calendar/tag_ids~111/




Join us to demand that Governor Gretchen Whitmer release Grace from Children’s Village youth prison into her mother’s custody.


Join us to demand that Governor Gretchen Whitmer release Grace from Children’s Village youth prison into her mother’s custody.

During a court hearing on May 14, Judge Mary Ellen Brennan ordered that a 15-year-old high school student, Grace, be sent to Children's Village youth prison in Oakland County, Michigan for not submitting schoolwork. [1]

Imagine being sent to jail, being separated from your family, for missing homework assignments during a pandemic?!

This is an awful situation that we cannot let stand. The start of Grace’s probation coincided with the closing of schools through the remainder of the school year and the start of remote learning. Prior to the order for schools to close, Grace was doing well and had near perfect attendance. Grace shared with her caseworker that she felt unmotivated and overwhelmed when online learning began April 15, about a month after schools closed. Grace’s mom was also concerned that her daughter would struggle without the in-person support from teachers outlined in her Individualized Education Plan. She was right in her concerns, and as remote learning began, Grace did not continue to receive those critical supports.[2]

The reality is schools across the country weren’t prepared for abrupt closures and a pivot to remote learning. And across the country schools, teachers, parents and students have struggled to create continuous learning for students during this pandemic. Grace’s school was no different.

Still Judge Mary Ellen Brennan found Grace “guilty of failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school” and outrageously called Grace a “threat to (the) community” for not doing her homework.

“It just doesn’t make any sense, how is this a better situation for her?” - Charisse, Grace’s mother.

This didn't have to happen. In fact, Michigan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had issued an executive order in March that temporarily suspended the confinement of juveniles who violate probation unless directed by a court order and encouraged eliminating any form of detention or residential placement unless a young person posed a “substantial and immediate safety risk to others.”

Grace is NOT a “substantial and immediate safety risk to others,” and not doing your homework is NOT a crime. Judge Brennan’s ruling to incarcerate a child, sending her away from her family during a pandemic is cruel, harsh, and highlights an alarming trend of Black girls being criminalized at alarming rates in comparison to their white peers.[3]
Join us in demanding that Governor Gretchen Whitmer:
Release “Grace” from Children’s Village youth detention facility into her mother’s custody;
Request the immediate resignation of of Judge Mary Ellen Brennan from the Oakland County Family Court;
Drop all charges against “Grace” immediately;
End the racialized practice of arresting and prosecuting children, and ensure Michigan kids get the support they need including alternatives to incarceration and detention and trauma informed support and services.
Prison is no place for a kid. The United States still incarcerates more young people than any other country. [4] Our kids deserve a future free of criminalization, a future that supports their development and capacity to contribute meaningfully to society. Putting kids in prisons does the opposite of this. In fact they do little to improve community safety when compared to community based efforts that provide alternatives to incarceration by supporting young people, providing the services they need, and providing access to opportunities to address harm in meaningful ways.
Together we can END this toxic culture of criminalizing children, and of putting kids in prison, and we can start with Grace. Sign on to demand Governor Gretchen Whitmer #FreeGrace NOW! Click the link below to sign now:
- Beatriz, Monifa, Diarra and the whole MomsRising / MamásConPoder team

[1] Teen Who Was Incarcerated After Not Doing Schoolwork Won't Be Released, Judge Says
[2] A Teenager Didn’t Do Her Online Schoolwork. So a Judge Sent Her to Juvenile Detention.
[3] What can be done to stop the criminalization of black girls? Rebuild the system



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

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

Contact Us

Alliance for Global Justice
225 E 26th St Ste 1

Tucson, Arizona 85713-2925
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Party for Socialism and Liberation

Gloria La Riva nominated by Peace and Freedom Party in California

Now on the ballot in California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey and New Mexico!
Longtime San Francisco labor and anti-war activist Gloria La Riva was chosen today as the Peace and Freedom Party nominee for U. S. President. The party's state central committee cast 62 votes for La Riva and 3 votes for Howie Hawkins, with three abstentions. Anti-racist and disability rights advocate Sunil Freeman of Washington DC was then chosen without opposition as the party's nominee for Vice President.
La Riva received over 2/3 of the vote for the nomination in the March primary, but the State Central Committee's action Saturday will officially place the La Riva / Freeman ticket on California's November general election ballot. They will appear in a number of other states on the ballot lines of the Vermont Liberty Union Party and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Gloria La Riva said "We are honored to be the nominees of the Peace and Freedom Party. We are running not just to represent voters, but to represent the millions without the right to vote: undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, prisoners and parolees who are unable to cast a ballot. This is their country too."
Kevin Akin of Riverside, the new California State Chair of the party, reports that the ticket expects to get more votes in California than in any other state. "It's a clear way for a voter to show support for peace, socialism, and the immediate needs of the working class."

Read our Campaign Statements

Gloria La Riva Condemns Israeli Annexation Plan Calls for Solidarity with Palestinian People and End to U.S. Aid to Israel

Upcoming Events

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 Reality Winner Tests Positive for COVID, Still Imprisoned

With great anguish, I’m writing to share the news that NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, still in federal prison, has tested positive for COVID-19. Winner, despite her vulnerable health conditions, was denied home release in April – the judge’s reasoning being that the Federal Medical Center, Carswell is “presumably better equipped than most to deal with the onset of COVID-19 in its inmates”. 
Since that ruling, COVID infections at Carswell have exploded, ranking it now as second highest in the nation for the number of cases, and substantially increasing the likelihood that its medical capacity will be overwhelmed.
This news comes one week after Trump’s commutation of convicted felon Roger Stone, and two months after the home release of Trump’s convicted campaign manager, Paul Manafort:

Roger Stone’s Freedom Is All the More Outrageous While Reality Winner Languishes in Prison

Donald Trump’s commutation of Roger Stone’s prison sentence is galling on numerous levels. It’s a brazen act of corruption and an egregious obstruction of an ongoing investigation of the President and his enablers. There are few figures less worthy of clemency than a Nixonian dirty trickster like Stone. But the final twist of the knife is that Reality Winner, the honest, earnest, anti-Stone of the Russian meddling saga, remains in federal prison.

Continue Reading
Please share this with your networks, and stand with us in support of Reality Winner and her family during this critical time.
Thank you,
Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)
Twitter: @JesselynRadack

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Demand the San Francisco Police Officers Association
be declared a 
Non Grata Organization and Shut Down!

Every Friday
1:00pm – 2:00pm

San Francisco Police Officers Association
800 Bryant Street
6th  Street & Bryant
San Francisco

Wear masks; practice social distancing


Photo by Jessica De Guadalupe Aguallo-Hurtado
Of Brown Berets National Organization


City leaders pledge to reject SFPOA support – July 27, 2020

Protest calls for SF police union to stand down in blocking any department reforms  - July 27, 2020


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


—Unknown source



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



Timeless words of wisdom from Friedrich Engels:

This legacy belongs to all of us:

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



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


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


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



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

Fannie Lou Hamer 

Dear Community, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

You feel that? We’re going to win. 

With Black Love, 

Jessica Byrd and the Black National Convention Planning Teamp




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

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

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

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

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

Tell Blackrock: stop investing in Tasers!

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

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

Donate Now!

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





Kimberly Jones

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

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

Kimberly Jones on YouTube 



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

So what has protesting accomplished?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

👉🏾Street in front of the White House is renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza.”
Military forces begin to withdraw from D.C.

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

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

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

💓The self-reflection.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Keep protesting.


How beautiful is that?








*I do not know the original author*

Copy & paste widely!






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



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

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






Trump Comic Satire—A Proposal
          By Shakaboona

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

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









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

Enough is Enough: Global Nuclear Weapons 

Spending 2020

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



Shooting and looting started: 400 years ago

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











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

Veterans Join Call for a Global Ceasefire 

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

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

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

For more information about events go to:




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

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





















From Business Insider 2018



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

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

—Johnny Gould (Follow @tandino415 on Instagram)







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



















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

Major Tillery (with hat) and family

Dear Friends of the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please write and call Acting Superintendent Kenneth Eason at:

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

Telephone: (610) 490-5412

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal



Kiah Morris

May 7 at 6:44 AM

So, in MY lifetime....

Black people are so tired. 😓

We can’t go jogging (#AhmaudArbery).

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t sell CD's (#AltonSterling).

We can’t sleep (#AiyanaJones)

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

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

We can’t go to church (#Charleston9).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We can’t run (#WalterScott).

We can’t breathe (#EricGarner).

We can’t live (#FreddieGray).

We’re tired.

Tired of making hashtags.

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

Tired of dying.




So very tired.

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








1) Should N.Y. Be Jailing Parolees for Minor Lapses During a Pandemic?
On probation since 2018, Earl Russell was sent to Rikers for sleeping in his own bed instead of in the shelter where he was mandated to stay.
"That routinization comes with all the predictable disparities. In New York City, Black people re-enter the jail system on these technicalities at a rate more than 12 times that of whites."
By Ginia Bellafante, July 31, 2020
Dave Sanders for The New York Times

In December, before most of us had directed our attention to the looming terrors of the coronavirus, Earl Russell was already getting apprehensive. At 42, he struggled with high blood pressure and was living in a men’s shelter in Brooklyn. Most people in shelters are there because all their other housing options have run dry, but Mr. Russell had somewhere to go — an apartment in the Rockaways where his girlfriend lived with their 6-year-old daughter, both of whom wanted him home.

The bizarre vagaries of New York state’s parole system were making it impossible for him to join them, however. Returning to his family would have been a violation of the terms of his prison release — an action punishable with jail time.

When Mr. Russell was paroled in 2018, after two years in prison on a weapons-possession charge in the second degree, he was remanded to the shelter system, where he was to remain until the fall of 2021, even though he would be needlessly taking up space in the midst of the city’s ongoing and epic housing emergencies.

At the end of March, in an effort to curtail the spread of Covid-19 among the incarcerated, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced plans to release 1,100 people from jails around the state, who were being held for technical violations of their parole. These infractions are not crimes; they include missing curfew, failing to contact parole officers at designated times, testing positive for alcohol and living at addresses other than the ones compelled, among others.

Two months later, 379 of these technical parole violators had been released from jails in New York City. But their ranks were soon replaced. Mr. Russell was among those who found themselves at Rikers, detained for what logic would concede were minor infractions..

Since March 27, according to new admissions data from the Vera Institute of Justice, 295 people have returned to city jails because of low-level parole transgressions. The first two people to die of Covid-19 on Rikers were there precisely for these reasons: missing parole appointments and failing a drug program. One of them, a man named Raymond Rivera, had waited months for a final decision on his release and died the day after it was rendered.

Already, by the end of May, 160 people had been newly sent to Rikers on technicalities, leading Vincent Schiraldi, a director of Columbia University’s Justice Lab and the city’s former probation commissioner, to correctly predict that some of the gains made by the governor’s edict would essentially be erased by the middle of the summer.

“It was bad policy to be incarcerating so many people for noncriminal violations even before the pandemic,” Mr. Schiraldi told me. “It’s absolutely ridiculous and dangerous now.”

The policy has been in place for decades. When asked for the rationale behind it, the State Department of Corrections did not respond for comment. In the spring, as the decision was made to refrain from issuing arrest warrants for those who had broken the less egregious rules of parole, certain exceptions were carved out for those considered at high risk for offending behaviors.

Given that incidents of domestic violence were sure to rise during the pandemic, anyone who made contact with a partner he or she had abused in the past was eligible for re-arrest, an official in the Cuomo administration explained. So too, was a sex offender who made contact with a minor.

The modern parole system began in New York State in the 19th century as a means of helping ex-convicts adjust to society. Parole officers were volunteers; the whole idea was rooted in a benevolent paternalism.

But in the 1970s, as crime escalated, the system became more punitive .tThe faith that people who did bad things could transform began to wane, and the goal shifted to preventing recidivism. While the state has succeeded in detaining far fewer people on technicalities in recent years, the policy, exercised at the discretion of corrections officials, nevertheless remains.

In a speech two years ago, Governor Cuomo acknowledged the problems inherent in it. “Jails and prisons should not be filled with people who may have violated the conditions of their parole but present no danger to our communities,” he said. New York State spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year enforcing these violations. “Cops troll hospitals looking for violators,’’ Mr. Schiraldi said. “While the guy is dying, they slap a technical on him. At a certain point you routinize the deprivation of people’s liberties so much, you’re just checking a box.”

That routinization comes with all the predictable disparities. In New York City, Black people re-enter the jail system on these technicalities at a rate more than 12 times that of whites.

Before Christmas, Mr. Russell, who had already violated his parole on other occasions by leaving the shelter and going home to his family, sent a text to his parole officer explaining that he could not tolerate his circumstance any longer and might as well be in jail. “With this being said,” he wrote her, “send me back if that’s what you want to do because I’m not returning to the shelter.’’ He helpfully provided his home address.

The logic behind sending him to a shelter to serve out his parole, in the first place, involved a single domestic-violence charge that had been filed against him years earlier. One evening in 2013, Mr. Russell and his current girlfriend were drinking on their stoop and began to argue. According to his recollection, the fight did not get physical, but a neighbor called the police and once officers arrived, he became “unruly’' with them, he said.

As a matter of precaution, it is common for the state’s corrections department to send parolees with any history of domestic incidents to shelters rather than allow them to go home. In Mr. Russell’s case, it did not seem to matter that he had received mandated counseling. The system demands rehabilitation and then all too often denies redemption. In March of last year, his girlfriend wrote to parole officials asking them to let Mr. Russell come home. The request was denied.

In mid-June he was taken into custody and spent the subsequent few weeks in Rikers.

“It was scary. A lot of the corrections officers aren’t wearing masks,” Mr. Russell told me. “Ninety percent of inmates weren’t wearing masks. Then you’re shackled next to people when you are transferred,’’ he said. “Beds were less than a pinkie apart. Sleeping, the guy beneath me, my foot could have kicked his head.”

The Legal Aid Society eventually got him out. Mr. Russell works as a porter in a condominium building in the Ozone Park section of Queens, and his bosses wrote a letter on his behalf explaining that they would welcome him back if he were released.

When he left Rikers, though, he was sent back to a shelter — a hotel in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, far from his job and his family. Making it back in time for curfew made it almost impossible to see his partner for dinner or put his daughter to bed. Because parolees are not allowed to drive, he is left incurring the risks and lags of public transportation.

A bill currently before the New York State Legislature would loosen many of the restrictions around parole, making it easier for people exiting the prison system to reintegrate into the real world. Many prosecutors across the state support the bill.

Inevitably, there will be those in and out of government fearful of reform at a moment of rising violence. But diverting technical violators from the jail system could protect public health without endangering public safety. Of the 791 parole violators who had their warrants lifted since the end of March, not one was rearrested for a gun-related crime.

The convergence of the pandemic with a powerful movement to rectify the racial injustices of the past would seem to provide the ideal moment for rethinking the ways we manage people coming out of prison. If it cannot happen now, it seems unlikely that it ever could.



2) Why Protest Tactics Spread Like Memes
When items like umbrellas and leaf blowers are subverted into objects of resistance, they become very shareable.
By Tracy Ma With Natalie Shutler. Written by Jonah Engel Bromwich. Video by Shane O’Neill, July 31, 2020
Hong Kong, August 2019. Credit...Getty Images

Washington, D.C., May 2020. Credit...Getty Images

A video frame captured in Hong Kong in August 2019 shows a group of pro-democracy protesters, smoke pluming toward them, racing to place an orange traffic cone over a tear-gas canister. A video taken nine months later and 7,000 miles away, at a Black Lives Matter protest in Minneapolis, shows another small group using the same maneuver. Two moments, two continents, two cone placers, their postures nearly identical.

Images of protest spread on social media reveal many other matching moments from opposite sides of the world, and they often feature everyday objects wielded ingeniously.

Leaf blowers are used to diffuse clouds of tear gas; hockey sticks and tennis rackets are brandished to bat canisters back toward authorities; high-power laser pointers are used to thwart surveillance cameras; and plywood, boogie boards, umbrellas and more have served as shields to protect protesters from projectiles and create barricades.

An Xiao Mina, a researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, has studied these echoes. In the summer of 2014, when the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong and the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States that followed the police killing of Michael Brown were taking place, she noted that the protesters spoke a common language, even sharing the same hand gesture characterized by the chant “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

Occasionally, there was even direct acknowledgment between the disparate groups, “as when Ferguson protesters donned umbrellas against the rain and cheekily thanked protesters in Hong Kong for the idea,” Ms. Mina wrote in her 2018 book, “Memes to Movements.”

But often, she noted, the images’ similarity was unwitting. In their spread, their simultaneity and their indirect influence on each other, the protest videos had all the characteristics of memes, those units of culture and behavior that spread rapidly online. The same cultural transfer that gives us uncanny cake-slicing memes and viral challenges also advances the language of protest.

“We live in this world of attention dynamics so it makes sense that tactics start to converge,” Ms. Mina said. She called the images’ tendency to build on each other “memetic piggybacking,” and noted that everyday items that are subverted into objects of protest are “inherently charismatic.”

Franklin López, a founder and former member of Sub.media, an anarchist video collective that has filmed dozens of protests, said that “videos shared through social media and mainstream media reports become rough ‘how-to guides’ on protest tactics.”

“You see peeps in Hong Kong using umbrellas as countersurveillance tools and folks over here will say, ‘hey, brilliant idea!’ and you’ll see umbrellas at the next militant protests,” he said.

Of course, it’s not just social media mimicry. Ms. Mina pointed out that “activists from around the world do actively learn from each other and exchange tactical tips.”

On the topic of direct communication between groups in Hong Kong and the United States, Mr. López said: “Texts outlining not only tactics and strategies but reports of what worked and what didn’t are shared and translated, but also talked about in in-person events, film screenings and internet talks.”

In June, for example, Lausan, a group that formed during the Hong Kong protests that seeks to connect leftist movements in various countries, was a host of a webinar. It provided a forum for Hong Kong and American activists to share strategies.

Katharin Tai, a doctoral candidate in political science at M.I.T. who studies Chinese foreign policy and the intersection of international politics and the internet, separated information sharing between Hong Kong and the United States into two categories.

One was group-to-group sharing of tactics between the sets of protesters, though she noted that because both protest efforts were non-hierarchical, they were not necessarily organized from above.

The second, she said, included the translation of helpful graphics and information — say, which sort of gas masks best protect against tear gas — that are then posted online. “That’s the less organized way, where they’re just kind of pushing it out into the ether,” she said.

The social internet has sped up a long history of direct and indirect dialogue between protest movements around the world.

Mark Bray, an organizer of Occupy Wall Street and a lecturer at Rutgers University, said that sharing or imitating protest strategies and tactics is “as old as protest strategies and tactics are,” but that social media “has exposed people to more different tactics.”

“In that sense, like all kinds of new communications technologies, it has shortened the perceived distance between movements around the world,” said Mr. Bray, who is the author of “Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook,” a history of that movement.

Anastasia Veneti, who teaches at Bournemouth University in England and specializes in media coverage of protest movements, said that photographs and video that have been produced and circulated by the protesters “have influenced professional photographers who have begun to produce similar images.”

“With this global wave of post-2010 activism, we’ve seen that this paradigm or media framing has started to change and to a great extent, this change is to be credited to the fact that protesters themselves are better organized thanks to the use of new media technologies,” she said.

Matching protest images are not only found between Hong Kong and the United States. They crop up in Mexico and Greece, Kurdistan and Catalonia.

But Hong Kong does play a central role in the activist imagination, scholars and activists said, thanks both to the tactical ingenuity of protesters there, as well as Western media’s willingness to cover pro-democracy demonstrations extensively.

Gabriella Coleman, a professor at McGill University who studies digital activism, noted that even nonpolitical publications were moved to cover the Hong Kong protests. “Because Hong Kong is seen as a Western-style democracy that’s being eaten up by its authoritarian parent, there’s no controversy in reporting on it,” she said.

Asked whether Hong Kong loomed particularly large in the eyes of experienced protesters, Mr. López answered emphatically: “Hell yeah!” He called the protests in Hong Kong “epic.”

“More than anything the discipline, organization and persistence of these folks has been awe inspiring,” Mr. López said, adding that the people of Hong Kong “are showing us what is possible.”



3) Scientists Worry About Political Influence Over Coronavirus Vaccine Project
Operation Warp Speed has moved along at a rapid clip. But some people involved in the process fear pressure to deliver an October surprise for President Trump.
By Sharon LaFraniere, Katie Thomas, Noah Weiland, Peter Baker and Annie Karni, Aug. 2, 2020
President Trump has been relentlessly promoting the administration’s vaccine efforts, including during an appearance at a biotechnology laboratory in North Carolina last week.

In April, with hospitals overwhelmed and much of the United States in lockdown, the Department of Health and Human Services produced a presentation for the White House arguing that rapid development of a coronavirus vaccine was the best hope to control the pandemic.

“DEADLINE: Enable broad access to the public by October 2020,” the first slide read, with the date in bold.

Given that it typically takes years to develop a vaccine, the timetable for the initiative, called Operation Warp Speed, was incredibly ambitious. With tens of thousands dying and tens of millions out of work, the crisis demanded an all-out public-private response, with the government supplying billions of dollars to pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, providing logistical support and cutting through red tape.

It escaped no one that the proposed deadline also intersected nicely with President Trump’s need to curb the virus before the election in November.

The ensuing race for a vaccine — in the middle of a campaign in which the president’s handling of the pandemic is the key issue after he has spent his time in office undermining science and the expertise of the federal bureaucracy — is now testing the system set up to ensure safe and effective drugs to a degree never before seen.

Under constant pressure from a White House anxious for good news and a public desperate for a silver bullet to end the crisis, the government’s researchers are fearful of political intervention in the coming months and are struggling to ensure that the government maintains the right balance between speed and rigorous regulation, according to interviews with administration officials, federal scientists and outside experts.

Even in a less politically charged environment, there would be a fraught debate about how much to accelerate the process of trials and approval. The longer that vaccines are tested before being released, the likelier they are to be safe and effective.

But with 1,000 people dying each day in the United States, schools finding it difficult to reopen and the deep recession inflicting economic pain across the country, the desire to find a way to return to normal life is powerful and transcends partisan politics and borders. On Sunday, Russia announced that it planned to start a nationwide inoculation campaign in October with a vaccine that had yet to complete clinical trials, the latest evidence of the global potential for cutting corners.

Despite concerted efforts by the Trump administration and a bevy of pharmaceutical companies it is working with, the original October target has slipped, with the administration now pushing to have hundreds of millions of doses available by the end of the year or early 2021.

But experts inside and outside the government still say they fear the White House will push the Food and Drug Administration to overlook insufficient data and give at least limited emergency approval to a vaccine, perhaps for use by specific groups like front-line health care workers, before the vote on Nov. 3.

“There are a lot of people on the inside of this process who are very nervous about whether the administration is going to reach their hand into the Warp Speed bucket, pull out one or two or three vaccines, and say, ‘We’ve tested it on a few thousand people, it looks safe, and now we are going to roll it out,’” said Dr. Paul A. Offit of the University of Pennsylvania, who is a member of the Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory committee.

“They are really worried about that,” he added. “And they should be.”

Mr. Trump relentlessly touts progress toward a vaccine, raising hopes of quick approval. Touring a North Carolina biotechnology lab last week, he vowed to “deliver a vaccine in record time.” In a tweet last month, he explicitly tied vaccines to his re-election hopes.

On a campaign call with supporters in Pennsylvania on Sunday evening, Mr. Trump said the “F.D.A. has been great, at my instruction,” and he again raised hopes of rapid progress.

“We expect to have a vaccine available very, very early before the end of the year, far ahead of schedule,” he said. “We’re very close to having that finalized.”

The president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who is helping to steer the re-election campaign from the White House, is a regular participant in meetings of a board formed to oversee the vaccine effort.

While White House officials do not specifically mention the election during the board’s discussions, people familiar with the conversations say they ask regularly about October, a date that hangs over the effort. Trump campaign advisers privately call a pre-election vaccine “the holy grail.”

The Food and Drug Administration’s approval of a new vaccine is typically an exhaustive process, where agency employees meticulously go through data from clinical trials to review whether the vaccine is both safe and effective. The threshold for approving vaccines is typically higher than it is for therapeutic drugs because they will be used in millions of otherwise healthy people, meaning that even rare side effects could affect many more people than a drug that treats a specific illness.

An independent advisory panel of outside experts also weighs in, and while the agency has the power to make its own decision, it typically follows the advice of its outside panels. The Food and Drug Administration’s senior regulator has the power to approve or deny vaccines for emergency use, but that decision could be overridden by the agency’s top leaders, or by the secretary of health and human services.

White House officials said that Mr. Trump would not distort the vaccine review process to help his campaign. “The rapid research, development, trials and eventual distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine is emblematic of President Trump’s highest priority: the health and safety of the American people,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman. “It has nothing to do with politics.”

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told lawmakers on Friday that he remained “cautiously optimistic that we will have a vaccine by the end of this year and as we go into 2021.”

Dr. Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, has not ruled out emergency approval of a vaccine.

“We would consider using an emergency use authorization if we felt that the risks associated with the vaccine were much lower than the risks of not having a vaccine,” he told The Journal of the American Medical Association in an online interview.

He also said regulators would certify that any vaccine would meet the agency’s rigorous standards, adding, “My job as commissioner is to make sure to the fullest extent possible that any pressure that comes to the agency is not reflected downward” onto regulators and scientists studying the vaccines.

At the same time, a senior administration official refused to promise that any emergency approval of a vaccine would be vetted through the Food and Drug Administration’s outside advisory panel of experts, scheduled to meet on Oct. 22.

Operation Warp Speed got its start in April, the brainchild of Dr. Peter Marks, a pencil-thin, bespectacled physician who leads the regulatory unit at the Food and Drug Administration that approves vaccines and therapies.

A “Star Trek” fan, Dr. Marks named the initiative Warp Speed and pitched it in an April 10 phone call to Alex M. Azar II, the secretary of health and human services, who quickly embraced it. In a follow-up phone call a few days later, according to a person familiar with the discussions, several health officials said the October deadline was unrealistic; over the next few months, officials began publicly citing the end of the year or early 2021 as a target.

With his job on the line, Mr. Azar, the target of Mr. Trump’s wrath over the virus, was especially eager to prove his worth to the White House. He teamed up with Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, whose department has long experience with vaccine development and distribution to protect troops. An expert in complex logistics, Gen. Gustave F. Perna, became the operation’s chief operating officer.

Mr. Kushner, Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus coordinator, and others interviewed Dr. Moncef Slaoui, a pharmaceutical industry veteran, and orchestrated his appointment as chief scientific adviser despite concerns within the Food and Drug Administration about conflicts of interest because of his financial ties to two companies that are developing a vaccine. Rather than being bothered by the conflict, Mr. Kushner and others reasoned that it took someone with such industry experience to oversee the effort.

Dr. Slaoui resigned from the board of Moderna, which has received nearly $1 billion in federal support to develop a vaccine. But as of May he still had nearly $10 million of stock in GlaxoSmithKline, a partner with the French drugmaker Sanofi, which last week signed a $2.1 billion agreement to produce 100 million doses. Dr. Slaoui, who is working on a $1 contract, cleared an ethics review by the Department of Health and Human Services and has said he is determined to avoid any conflict.

Shortly after Dr. Slaoui’s appointment, Dr. Marks resigned from the project he conceived and returned full-time to his post as a senior regulator at the Food and Drug Administration, where he will be the key decision maker on whether a vaccine merits approval.

The administration has conducted the vaccine hunt with a focus lacking in much of the rest of its pandemic response. Contracts have been executed at a brisk pace. Mobile trailers have been speedily delivered for experimental doses to be administered. When a company was short on needles, the Pentagon dispatched planes to deliver supplies within 48 hours.

The pharmaceutical companies are reporting the results of their trials at regular intervals, accelerating the review process. With the government paying much of the cost, the companies are beginning the process of manufacturing millions of doses of vaccine essentially on spec so that they can be distributed quickly if they secure approval.

The process has moved at a remarkable clip. Two vaccine candidates, one developed by Moderna in conjunction with Dr. Fauci’s institute and another by Pfizer, last week began Phase 3 trials, the final stage of clinical experimentation. Others are expected soon.

In Mr. Azar’s conference room at the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters, Mr. Kushner and Dr. Birx join meetings with Mr. Azar, Mr. Esper and others. Mr. Kushner repeatedly pushes the group to move faster and has deputized two close associates, Brad Smith and Adam Boehler, to press the case.

The team has sought to ensure that a variety of different types of potential vaccines are being pursued to increase the chances that at least one will work. Dr. Birx has been interested in what is known as a subunit protein vaccine, and at one point called executives at the biotechnology company Genentech and asked what they could do. (Warp Speed is now working with two companies pursuing that type of vaccine.)

Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, also talks with pharmaceutical executives. People briefed on the discussions say the White House has also pushed for progress by the fall on therapeutics — drugs to treat people who fall ill to the disease — including the possibility of an emergency use authorization for one or more of those drugs. Late last month, Mr. Trump called the chief executive of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to check on the progress of a potential antibody treatment.

Career officials have assured Dr. Hahn that they would stand behind him to head off any vaccine decision not based on science. But Dr. Hahn already lost a measure of credibility with the scientific community for approving the emergency use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, two anti-malaria drugs promoted by the president as treatments for the coronavirus over the objections of his public health advisers. The Food and Drug Administration later revoked the authorization, concluding the risks outweighed the benefits.

Scientists have argued that it would be unwise to cut corners on a vaccine that is to be injected into some 300 million Americans, adding that a failed effort would fuel public distrust of vaccines generally.

But a senior White House official, who discussed the matter on the condition of anonymity, said that it would also be unethical to withhold an effective vaccine for an extra three or four months while more people died just to check the boxes of a more routine trial process.

Michael R. Caputo, a spokesman for Mr. Azar, said October was not the goal.

“Everybody at H.H.S. hopes Operation Warp Speed will achieve 300 million doses of a safe and effective Covid vaccine for Americans by January 2021,” he said. “We know that’s optimistic. I have never heard mention of any other timeline, and certainly not from the secretary.”

“Careless talk about career F.D.A. regulators somehow approving an unsafe and ineffective vaccine just for politics only undermines confidence in the public health system,” he added.

It is not clear that a vaccine approval shortly before the election would be an “October surprise” sufficient to alter the outcome of the vote. An announcement could give Americans hope that the end is in sight. But some Republican strategists said that it might not help Mr. Trump because his opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee, would surely continue the vaccine process if elected.

“Does it turn everything around for him politically? I don’t know,” said Sarah Longwell, a conservative strategist and prominent Republican opponent of Mr. Trump who regularly conducts focus groups and has found that public attention is more focused on government relief checks and school reopenings.

“If the vaccine is an October surprise, there’s a lot of other things that are cutting against” it as a game-changer, she said.

The drug companies find themselves caught in the middle. While eager to bring products to market as quickly as possible, they face risks in moving too quickly in order to fit an election calendar, analysts said.

“They are acutely aware of the political dynamic here,” said Rob Smith, the director of Capital Alpha Partners, a research firm. A vaccine that flopped would jeopardize their broader business, he said, and it would not make sense “to take a huge reputational risk not just for your vaccine but for all the products across your portfolio to benefit the president politically.”

Dr. Fauci has expressed confidence that the system will hold.

“Historically, the F.D.A. has based their decisions on science,” he told a House committee last week. “They will do so this time also, I am certain.”

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting and Kitty Bennett contributed research.



4) A Vast Racial Gap in Death Penalty Cases, New Study Finds
Defendants convicted of killing white people, the study found, were far more likely to be executed than the killers of Black people.
By Adam Liptak, Aug. 3, 2020
Members of the Abolitionist Action Committee participated in an annual protest and hunger strike against the death penalty outside the Supreme Court last year.

WASHINGTON — Black lives do not matter nearly as much as white ones when it comes to the death penalty, a new study has found. Building on data at the heart of a landmark 1987 Supreme Court decision, the study concluded that defendants convicted of killing white victims were executed at a rate 17 times greater than those convicted of killing Black victims.

There is little chance that the new findings would alter the current Supreme Court’s support for the death penalty. Its conservative majority has expressed impatience with efforts to block executions, and last month it issued a pair of 5-to-4 rulings in the middle of the night that allowed federal executions to resume after a 17-year hiatus.

But the court came within one vote of addressing racial bias in the administration of the death penalty in the 1987 decision, McCleskey v. Kemp. By a 5-to-4 vote, the court ruled that even solid statistical evidence of race discrimination in the capital justice system did not offend the Constitution.

The decision has not aged well.

In 1991, after he retired, Justice Lewis F. Powell Jr., the author of the majority opinion, was asked whether there was any vote he would like to change.

“Yes,” he told his biographer. “McCleskey v. Kemp.”

One of the dissenters in the case, Justice John Paul Stevens, was still stewing over it after his own retirement in 2010.

“That the murder of Black victims is treated as less culpable than the murder of white victims provides a haunting reminder of once-prevalent Southern lynchings,” he wrote that year in The New York Review of Books.

Opponents of the death penalty have been deeply critical of the decision, comparing it to the Dred Scott case, the Supreme Court’s 1857 ruling that enslaved Black people were property and not citizens.

“McCleskey is the Dred Scott decision of our time,” Anthony G. Amsterdam, a law professor at New York University, said in a 2007 speech. “It is a declaration that African-American life has no value which white men are bound to respect. It is a decision for which our children’s children will reproach our generation and abhor the legal legacy we leave them.”

The McCleskey decision considered a study conducted by David C. Baldus, a law professor who died in 2011. It looked at death sentences rather than executions, and it made two basic points.

The first was that the race of the defendant does not predict the likelihood of a death sentence. The second was that the race of the victim does.

Killers of white people were more than four times as likely to be sentenced to death as killers of Black people, Professor Baldus found.

The new study, published in The Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, examined not only death sentences but also whether defendants sentenced to death were eventually executed. “The problematic sentencing disparity discovered by Baldus is exacerbated at the execution stage,” wrote the study’s authors, Scott Phillips and Justin Marceau of the University of Denver.

Professor Baldus’s study examined more than 2,000 murders in Georgia from 1973 to 1979, controlling for some 230 variables.

Though some have argued that Professor Baldus did not consider every possible variable, few question his bottom-line conclusion, and other studies have confirmed it.

In 1990, the General Accounting Office, now called the Government Accountability Office, reviewed 28 studies and determined that 23 of them found that the race of the victim influenced “the likelihood of being charged with capital murder or receiving a death sentence.”

“This finding was remarkably consistent across data sets, states, data collection methods and analytic techniques,” the report said. A 2014 update came to a similar conclusion.

One factor Professor Baldus could not analyze, given the decades that often pass between sentencings and executions, was whether the race of the victim correlated to the likelihood of the defendant being put to death.

The new study, the product of exhaustive research, supplied the missing information. It found that 22 of the 972 defendants convicted of killing a white victim were executed, as compared with two of the 1,503 defendants convicted of killing a Black victim.

The new study also confirmed just how rare executions are. Of the 127 men sentenced to death in the Baldus study, 95 left death row thanks to judicial action or executive clemency; five died of natural causes; one was executed in another state; one escaped (and was soon beaten to death in a bar fight); and one remains on death row.

A more general and less granular 2017 study compared two sets of nationwide data: homicides from 1975 to 2005 and executions from 1976 to 2015. Its conclusions were similarly striking.

About half of the victims were white, that study found, but three-quarters of defendants put to death had killed a white person. About 46 percent of the victims were Black, but only 15 percent of defendants who were executed had killed a Black person.

Eric M. Freedman, a law professor at Hofstra, said courts and lawmakers had failed to confront the question of racial bias in the administration of capital punishment.

“The continuing adherence of the Supreme Court to McCleskey is a continuing statement that Black lives do not matter,” he said. “The continuing failure of Congress and the state legislatures to remedy the situation is a continuing admission that the states are unable to run racially unbiased death penalty systems.”

Professor Phillips, one of the authors of the new study, said the issue was part of a broader societal struggle.

“It’s not necessarily that the death penalty has a race problem,” he said. “It’s more that the United States has a race problem that happens to infect the death penalty.”



5) Coronavirus Live Updates: Fight Over Aid Package Drags On
Tens of millions of Americans have lost crucial jobless benefits, and lawmakers still can’t seem to agree on a relief measure. Israel’s troubled school reopenings could be a lesson for the U.S.
RIGHT NOW The secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres, said that more than a billion children worldwide were affected by school closures last month.
New York Times, August 4, 2020

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer spoke to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on Monday. Credit...Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

‘Long days, long nights’: Washington prepares for a prolonged fight over virus relief.

Negotiators on Tuesday are set to reconvene on Capitol Hill to continue hammering out differences over a coronavirus relief package, with top Trump administration officials scheduled to return for another meeting with congressional Democrats.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, will meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority leader. Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Meadows will also join Senate Republicans for a closed-door policy lunch.

The Senate is scheduled to take a monthlong recess at the end of the week, but it is unclear if lawmakers will leave Washington without a deal. Tens of millions of Americans have lost crucial unemployment benefits as well as a federal moratorium on evictions, and economists warn that permanent damage could be wrought on the economy without action.

“I’ve never been a gambler,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Republican of Alaska, when asked about the prospect of a deal before the end of the week. “But if I were a gambler, I’d say we need to have some long days, long nights. Work hard.”

White House officials and Democratic leaders reported some progress over the weekend, but there are still substantial differences. Democrats are proposing a $3 trillion rescue plan that would include restoring $600-per-week jobless aid payments that expired on Friday and extending them through January, while Republicans are pushing a $1 trillion package that would reduce those payments substantially.

President Trump on Monday raised the idea of using an executive order to address the moratorium on evictions, while also hurling insults at Democratic leaders who were meeting with his top advisers in search of a compromise. But he has been notably absent from the negotiations themselves.

Mr. Trump accused Democrats of being focused on getting “bailout money” for states controlled by Democrats, and unconcerned with extending unemployment benefits.

Democrats have proposed providing more than $900 billion to strapped states and cities whose budgets have been decimated, but it is Republicans who have proposed slashing the jobless aid. Democrats have refused to do so, cementing the stalemate.

Fueling an already complicated impasse, outside advisers are also trying to get the president to bypass Congress and unilaterally impose a temporary payroll tax cut, an idea that Mr. Trump has championed but that his negotiators dropped amid opposition from both parties.

Congressional staff and lobbyists who are engaged in discussions said on Monday that the talks between administration officials and Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer had essentially frozen negotiations between top Democrats and Republicans on key committees who would have to hammer out the details of any deal.

That could leave the parties little time to flesh out any compromises over additional aid to businesses or individuals, yielding a plan that mostly consists of re-upping existing aid programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and direct payments to individuals.



6) The Unemployed Stare Into the Abyss. Republicans Look Away.
The cruelty and ignorance of Trump and his allies are creating another gratuitous disaster.
By Paul Krugman, Opinion Columnist, Aug. 3, 2020

A couple waiting with their children to get help filing unemployment insurance claims in Oklahoma. Credit...Joseph Rushmore for The New York Times

In case you haven’t noticed, the coronavirus is still very much with us. Around a thousand Americans are dying from Covid-19 each day, 10 times the rate in the European Union. Thanks to our failure to control the pandemic, we’re still suffering from Great Depression levels of unemployment; a brief recovery driven by premature attempts to resume business as usual appears to have petered out as states pause or reverse their opening.

Yet enhanced unemployment benefits, a crucial lifeline for tens of millions of Americans, have expired. And negotiations over how — or even whether — to restore aid appear to be stalled.

You sometimes see headlines describing this crisis as a result of “congressional dysfunction.” Such headlines reveal a severe case of bothsidesism — the almost pathological aversion of some in the media to placing blame where it belongs.

For House Democrats passed a bill specifically designed to deal with this mess two and a half months ago. The Trump administration and Senate Republicans had plenty of time to propose an alternative. Instead, they didn’t even focus on the issue until days before the benefits ended. And even now they’re refusing to offer anything that might significantly alleviate workers’ plight.

This is an astonishing failure of governance, right up there with the mishandling of the pandemic itself. But what explains it?

Well, I’m of two minds. Was it ignorant malevolence, or malevolent ignorance?

Let’s talk first about the ignorance.

The Covid recession that began in February may have been the simplest, most comprehensible business downturn in history. Much of the U.S. economy was put on hold to contain a pandemic. Job losses were concentrated in services that were either inessential or could be postponed, and were highly likely to spread the coronavirus: restaurants, air travel, dentists’ visits.

The main goal of economic policy was to make this temporary lockdown tolerable, sustaining the incomes of those unable to work.

Republicans, however, have shown no sign of understanding any of this. The policy proposals being floated by White House aides and advisers are almost surreal in their disconnect from reality. Cutting payroll taxes on workers who can’t work? Letting businesspeople deduct the full cost of three-martini lunches they can’t eat?

They don’t even seem to understand the mechanics of how unemployment checks are paid out. They proposed continuing benefits for a brief period while negotiations continue — but this literally can’t be done, because the state offices that disburse unemployment aid couldn’t handle the necessary reprogramming.

Above all, Republicans seem obsessed with the idea that unemployment benefits are making workers lazy and unwilling to accept jobs.

This would be a bizarre claim even if unemployment benefits really were reducing the incentive to seek work. After all, there are more than 30 million workers receiving benefits, but only five million job openings. No matter how harshly you treat the unemployed, they can’t take jobs that don’t exist.

It’s almost a secondary concern to note that there’s almost no evidence that unemployment benefits are, in fact, discouraging workers from taking jobs. Multiple studies find no significant incentive effect.

And unemployment benefits didn’t prevent the U.S. from adding seven million jobs, most of them for low-wage workers — that is, precisely the workers often receiving more in unemployment than from their normal jobs — during the abortive spring recovery.

By the way, a great majority of economists believe that unemployment benefits have helped sustain the economy as a whole, by supporting consumer spending.

So the attack on unemployment aid is rooted in deep ignorance. But there’s also a strong element of malice.

Republicans have a long history of suggesting that the jobless are moral failures — that they’d rather sit home watching TV than work. And the Trump years have been marked by a relentless assault on programs that help the less fortunate, from Obamacare to food stamps.

One indicator of G.O.P. disingenuousness is the sudden re-emergence of “deficit hawks” claiming that helping the unemployed will add too much to the national debt. I use the scare quotes because as far as I can tell not one of the politicians claiming that we can’t afford to help the unemployed raised any objections to Donald Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy.

Nor was disdain for the unlucky the only reason the G.O.P. didn’t want to help Americans in need. The recent Vanity Fair report about why we don’t have a national testing strategy fits with a lot of evidence that Republicans spent months believing that Covid-19 was a blue-state problem, not relevant to people they cared about. By the time they realized that the pandemic was exploding in the Sun Belt, it was too late to avoid disaster.

At this point, then, it’s hard to see how we avoid another gratuitous catastrophe. The fecklessness of the Trump administration and its allies means that millions of Americans will soon be in dire financial straits.



7) Will Covid-19 Patients in Rural Areas Get the Care They Need?
In one study, people admitted to hospitals with fewer than 50 I.C.U. beds were three times more likely to die.
By Daniela J. Lamas, Critical care doctor, Aug. 4, 2020

A coronavirus message is posted in California’s rural Imperial County which has been hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic on July 23, in El Centro, California. Imperial County currently suffers from the highest death rate and near-highest infection rate from COVID-19 in California. Credit...Mario Tama/Getty Images

There she was. After more than three weeks on the ventilator, after battling weakness and delirium on the general medical floor and a stay at the long-term rehab hospital where she rebuilt the strength to walk again, my patient had made it home. The dark shadows beneath her eyes were fading. Her skin was tanned. The persistent shortness of breath had finally abated, and she had recently run four miles to commemorate four months since she was diagnosed with Covid-19.

Four months. I closed my eyes and found myself once again in those early days of the pandemic, clustered outside her room with a team of doctors and nurses. Nearly two weeks in, she still needed high levels of support from the ventilator and we were starting to talk about the impossible decisions we might face if her lungs never improved. But we waited, because this was a new virus and we did not know its course, and because we had the resources to do so. And now there she was, in clinic — months later, doing far better than I would have predicted.

I have been surprised by similar recoveries in the past weeks. People we thought could die, or at least end up significantly impaired, have made it home. But there is something troubling about this, too. It is clear to me that there was no one specific therapy that determined the outcomes of our sickest coronavirus patients in the intensive care unit.

On the contrary. While even the best possible treatment couldn’t save everyone, those who survived did so because of meticulous critical care, which requires a combination of resources and competency that is only available to a minority of hospitals in this country. And now, even as we race toward the hope of a magic bullet for this virus, we must openly acknowledge that disparity — and work to address it.

Since the beginning of this crisis, conversations about death from Covid-19 have revolved around patient characteristics — men are more likely to die than women, as are people who are older or obese, or those with co-morbidities. But we now know that the hospital matters, too.

In a large study that was recently published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, a team of researchers examined hospital mortality rates in more than 2,200 critically ill coronavirus patients in 65 hospitals throughout the country. Their findings? Patients admitted to hospitals with fewer than 50 I.C.U. beds — smaller hospitals — were more than three times more likely to die than patients admitted to larger hospitals.

Though they were not able to study factors like staffing and hospital strain, these likely contributed. In fact, a recent investigative piece in The Times examined mortality data for hospitals in New York City — and found that at the peak of the pandemic, patients at some community hospitals (with lower staffing and worse equipment) were three times more likely to die as patients in medical centers in the wealthiest areas.

Knowing firsthand what it requires to keep critically ill Covid-19 patients alive, this does not surprise me. Though the public has largely focused on new treatments — with excitement and controversy swirling around remdesivir and dexamethasone and convalescent plasma — none of these are any use without the people and systems to deliver critical care, a laborious and resource-intensive process.

In the I.C.U., we must interpret and react to each indicator. Our nurses are frequently at the bedside, attuned to the most minute change. We make constant small tweaks to the ventilator and to our medications to support blood pressure. Though it looks passive in a way — a comatose patient in a bed — and is not at all glamorous, critical care is an immensely active process.

We are all familiar with the images of Covid-19 patients lying on their chests, and we know that prone positioning saves lives. But the simple act of turning a critically ill patient is physically strenuous and, if done hastily, treacherous. Breathing tubes and intravenous lines can become dislodged. The head must be repositioned every two hours.

At my hospital, during the height of the pandemic, we formed a dedicated “prone team” of respiratory and physical therapists who were available 24 hours a day. This spared the bedside nurses and kept patients as safe as possible. Even so, breathing tubes became kinked, and on at least one occasion, we had to urgently replace a breathing tube — a risky procedure. This is why in some hospitals, prone positioning might not have been offered at all. Indeed, the JAMA study found rates of prone positioning to range from just under 5 percent at one hospital to nearly 80 percent at another. Patients would have suffered as a result.

Anyone who has cared for a coronavirus patient knows how quickly they can crash. Thick mucus blocks airways and endotracheal tubes. Oxygen levels plummet. Heart rhythms go haywire. As a doctor, I’ll admit that we are rarely the first to intervene in these moments of crisis. Instead, we rely on nurses and respiratory therapists. More times than I would like to count, I have watched with gratitude as their interventions — suctioning, repositioning a breathing tube, increasing the dose of medications to raise blood pressure — avert certain disaster. It is humbling to realize that had our nurses been spread too thin, these relatively small events would have turned catastrophic.

Perhaps most importantly, because we had the resources to do so, we were able to give our patients time for their lungs to recover. I think of one man, a father, so sick that he was dependent not just on the ventilator but also on a heart-lung bypass machine. These machines, and the staff who know how to manage them, are a truly limited resource. Large academic centers have five of them, maybe 10. Some community hospitals do not have any.

This man had been on the machine for weeks, encountering one complication after another. He bled, we stopped blood thinners, and then surgeons had to rush in overnight to replace a part of the machine when it clotted off. There seemed to be no way out. But then, even as we prepared to say enough, his lungs started to improve. I remember standing outside his room one overnight, amazed, as his stiff lungs began to work with the ventilator once again.

He has now left the hospital. On the night of his return home, his son sent me a note: “Finally family is back, and that is the best feeling of this world.”

You might say he was lucky. But so were we. He was able to return home not because of any 11th-hour save on our part, but because we were able to watch and wait. And we could only afford to do so because here in Boston, we were busy but never underwater. Of course, we made mistakes, miscalculations and errors in judgment as we learned about this new disease. But we were in a privileged position. It could have been far worse. And as the pandemic tears through rural areas of the country with even less access to resource-rich hospitals, I am worried that the inequities of this virus will only become more entrenched.

Just as we devote resources to finding a vaccine, we must also devote resources to helping hospitals deliver high-quality critical care. Maybe that will mean better allocating the resources we do have through a more robust, coordinated system of hospital-to-hospital patient transfers within each region. Maybe it means creating something akin to dedicated coronavirus centers of excellence throughout the country, with certain core competencies. Maybe it will mean expanding the reach of experienced critical care hospitals through telehealth. This will not be easy. But as this virus will be with us for the foreseeable future, it is our duty to try.

As the video visit with my patient ended that day, she reminded me that she had been transferred to us from a small hospital in the western part of our state. “If I hadn’t been transferred, I would have died,” she said. I paused, reflecting on that. What had we done for her, really? We had never enrolled her in a clinical trial. There was no mystery diagnosis to be solved, no high-risk procedure performed. We simply did our best to minimize damage to her lungs and keep her other organs functioning while we waited.

Which makes it even more painful to admit that she might be right.

Daniela J. Lamas is a critical care doctor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.



8) It’s Not Just You. We’ve All Got a Case of the Covid-19 Blues.
New data show that Americans are suffering from record levels of mental distress.
By Jennifer Senior, Opinion Columnist, Aug. 5, 2020
Lyfe Tavarres in his apartment in Portland, Ore. He has found support during the coronavirus crisis by reaching out to family members and friends. Credit...Leah Nash

I am trying to think of when I first realized we’d all run smack into a wall.

Was it two weeks ago, when a friend, ordinarily a paragon of wifely discretion, started a phone conversation with a boffo rant about her husband?

Was it when I looked at my own spouse — one week later, this probably was — and calmly told him that each and every one of my problems was his fault?

(They were not.)

Or maybe it was when I was scrolling through Twitter and saw a tweet from the author Amanda Stern, single and living in Brooklyn, who noted it had been 137 days since she’d given or received a hug? “Hello, I am depressed” were its last four words.

Whatever this is, it is real — and quantifiable, and extends far beyond my own meager solar system of colleagues and pals and dearly beloveds. Call it pandemic fatigue; call it the summer poop-out; call it whatever you wish. Any label, at this point, would probably be too trivializing, belying what is in fact a far deeper problem. We are not, as a nation, all right.

Let’s start with the numbers. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, roughly one in 12 American adults reported symptoms of an anxiety disorder at this time last year; now it’s more than one in three. Last week, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a tracking poll showing that for the first time, a majority of American adults — 53 percent — believes that the pandemic is taking a toll on their mental health.

This number climbs to 68 percent if you look solely at African-Americans. The disproportionate toll the pandemic has taken on Black lives and livelihoods — made possible by centuries of structural disparities, compounded by the corrosive psychological effect of everyday racism — is appearing, starkly, in our mental health data.

“Even during so-called better times, Black adults are more likely to report persistent symptoms of emotional distress,” Hope Hill, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the psychology department at Howard University, told me. “So when I hear about that fifteen-point difference, it’s upsetting, but it’s not surprising, given the impact of long-term, race-based trauma and inequality.”

But even the luckiest among us haven’t been spared. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 36 percent of Americans report that coronavirus-related worry is interfering with their sleep. Eighteen percent say they’re more easily losing their tempers. Thirty-two percent say it has made them over- or under-eat.

I’m solidly in the former category. Turns out the extra ten extra pounds around my middle have moved in and unpacked, though I’d initially hoped they were on a month-to-month lease.

So. How to account for this national slide into a sulfurous pit of distress?

The most obvious answer is that the coronavirus is still claiming hundreds of lives a day in the United States, whipping its way through the South and heaving to the surface once again in the West. This is true, and on its face is awful enough. But I suspect it’s more than that.

America’s prodigious infection rates are also a testament to our own national failure — and therefore a source of existential ghastliness, of sheer perversity: Why on earth were so many of us sacrificing so much in these past four and a half months — our livelihoods, our social connections, our safety, our children’s schooling, our attendance at birthdays and anniversaries and funerals — if it all came to naught? At this point, weren’t we expecting some form of relief, a resumption of something like life?

“People often think of trauma as a discrete event — a fire, getting mugged,” said Daphne de Marneffe, author of an excellent book about marriage called “The Rough Patch” and one of the most astute psychologists I know. “But what it’s really about is helplessness, about being on the receiving end of forces you can’t control. Which is what we have now. It’s like we’re in an endless car ride with a drunk at the wheel. No one knows when the pain will stop.”

Nor, I would add, do any of us know what life will look like once this pandemic has truly subsided. Will the economy remain in tatters? (One word for you: inflation.) Will our city centers be whistling, broken conch shells, gritty and empty at their cores? (Lord, I hope not.) Will President Trump be re-elected, transforming democracy as we’ve known it into an eerie photonegative of itself?

In her own therapeutic practice, de Marneffe has noticed that families with pre-existing tensions and frailties are doing much worse: The pandemic has only provided more opportunities for struggling couples to communicate poorly, roll their eyes and project rotten motives onto one another. (“And marriage is already a hotbed of scapegoating,” she noted.) Parents who were barely limping along, praying for school to start, are now brimming with despair and ruing their lack of imagination: How are they supposed to make it through another semester of remote schooling?

“Those of us who are average parents rely on structure,” she told me. “We need school.”

I recently thumbed through “The Plague,” to see if Albert Camus had intuited anything about the rhythms of human suffering in conditions of fear, disease and constraint. Naturally, he had. It was on April 16 that Dr. Rieux first felt the squish of a dead rat beneath his feet on his landing; it was in mid-August that the plague “had swallowed up everything and everyone,” with the prevailing emotion being “the sense of exile and of deprivation, with all the crosscurrents of revolt and fear set up by these.” Those returning from quarantine started setting fire to their homes, convinced the plague had settled into their walls.

Camus sensed, in other words, that the four-month mark got pretty freaky in Oran. That’s more or less what happened here. If only we knew how it ended.



9) No Relief Bill, No Vacation
Millions of Americans can’t wait while the Senate takes the rest of the summer off.
By The Editorial Board, Aug. 4, 2020
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, seems to be in hiding when it comes to a new pandemic relief bill. Credit...Michael Reynolds/EPA, via Shutterstock

On Friday, Congress effectively pushed millions of Americans off a financial cliff when it failed to extend the enhanced unemployment benefits put in place in March to soften the economic pain of the coronavirus pandemic. Millions of Americans are also in imminent danger of losing their homes as federal moratoriums on evictions expire.

Preventing this widespread suffering should be the top priority for lawmakers. Instead, the Republican-led Senate dragged its feet for months on another aid package. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion relief plan in mid-May. It took until July 27 for the Republican Senate leaders to offer their anemic, $1 trillion counterbid, which everyone seems to have a problem with, albeit for differing reasons. Democrats think it is insufficient to the magnitude of the crisis. The White House favors a short-term, piecemeal fix — larded with unrelated measures, like $1.75 billion for a new F.B.I. headquarters and nearly $400 million to renovate the West Wing — and many Republican members oppose any additional relief.

Negotiations are, to put it mildly, going poorly. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is engaged in a political charade in which he proclaims himself a hapless bystander, buffeted by the whims of the White House on one side and House Democrats on the other. He is not even attending key meetings between Democratic leaders and the administration’s top negotiators.

But Mr. McConnell is far from without leverage. He must make clear to his members that they need to compromise and help the millions of their fellow Americans who are stuck in miles-long food lines, a hair’s breadth from eviction, jobless, financially ruined or ill because of this terrible disease. One quick and direct way to send a message: Cancel the Senate’s August recess, or at least postpone it until a deal is reached.

It may sound odd to call for treating high elected officials like naughty schoolchildren by denying them their summer break. But lawmakers value their time back home. In a brutal election cycle, with control of the Senate on the line and Mr. Trump’s weak poll numbers giving his party agita, Republican members on the ballot in November are eager to concentrate on their re-election prospects. Nothing focuses the congressional mind quite like anxiety about one’s own political fortunes.

Staying in Washington until they get this crucial piece of the job done is the least that senators can do to show their solidarity with the legions of Americans who are facing far worse this summer than a canceled holiday.



10) Can a Physically Taxing Job Be Bad for Our Brains?
Physical demands required for work may have negative consequences for brain health, a new study suggests.
By Gretchen Reynolds, Aug. 5, 2020

Regular exercise helps to bulk up our brains and improve thinking skills, numerous studies show. But physically demanding jobs, even if they are being carried out in an office, might have a different and opposite effect, according to a provocative new study of almost 100 older people and their brains and work histories. It finds that men and women who considered their work to be physically draining tended to have smaller memory centers in their brains and lower scores on memory tests than other people whose jobs felt less physically taxing.

The study does not prove that physical demands at work shrunk people’s brains. But it does raise interesting questions about whether being physically active on the job might somehow have different effects on our brains than being active at the gym or out on the trails.

Most of us probably expect that physical activity is physical activity and its benefits and impacts should be about the same, no matter where or under what conditions the activity occurs. But a growing body of science suggests that context matters. In studies with lab rodents, for instance, similar amounts of exercise can lead to contrasting health outcomes, depending on whether the animals run voluntarily on wheels, meaning they control their own workouts, or are placed on little treadmills, with researchers manipulating the pace and duration of their exertions. In general, wheel workouts produce healthier rodents than treadmill training.

Some studies with people have identified a related dynamic. For most of us, under most conditions, being physically active reduces our risk of dying young. But in multiple epidemiological studies, people — and in particular, men — whose jobs require physical labor face heightened risks of premature death, compared to men working in relatively sedentary professions, even when researchers control for factors such as income, body weight, smoking and socioeconomic status. Most researchers suspect that cumulative, added physical and psychological stress from exertions on the job is likely to contribute to this outcome. But the causes remain unknown.

Recently, researchers at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and other institutions began to wonder whether there might be a similar interaction between occupational physical activity and brain health. A wealth of studies show strong relationships between working out and healthier brains and minds, but we know little about whether the physical exertions we might do at work likewise influence the shape and workings of our brains

So, for the new study, which was published in July in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, the scientists turned to an existing group of volunteers. Aged at least 60, these men and women had participated a few years before in a neuroscience study involving brain scans, medical exams, cognitive work-ups and questionnaires about their exercise habits and lifestyles. All were cognitively healthy for their age.

Now, the researchers asked these men and women if they would complete detailed questionnaires about their current or most recent job, and if they were unemployed or retired. The questionnaires asked about their professions and whether they considered their job to be physically demanding, meaning it involved, in their opinion and experience, some amount of labor. The researchers also asked about the jobs’ cognitive demands — did the work involve decision-making, task juggling, planning and so on — and general workplace conditions and stresses, such as workloads and relations with co-workers and bosses.

They got completed questionnaires from 99 of them. The scientists compared their answers now with their brain scans and cognitive test scores from a few years before and found some interesting relationships.

The researchers had expected to see links between cognitively demanding jobs and greater volumes in people’s hippocampus, which is a portion of the brain involved in memory and thinking. But those links did not exist: The researchers found no significant relationships between thinking on the job and better brain structure or cognitive test scores. They also saw no meaningful associations between considering your workplace psychologically stressful and the state of your brain.

But there were associations between physical job demands and the brain. People who reported that their job drained them physically turned out also to be people with relatively smaller hippocampal volume and lower scores on their memory tests, even after the researchers controlled for their socioeconomic status, income and whether they exercised during their off hours. Few of these workers were laborers. Most had office jobs. But their brains looked different if they felt that their jobs were physically hard than if they did not.

Outside of work, though, moving was a plus. Those people who reported regular physical activity on their own time generally had greater hippocampal volume and better memories than inactive people. But physical activity at work did not amplify those benefits; it dampened them.

The implications of these results are murky but worrying, says Aga Burzynska, an assistant professor at Colorado State University who led the new study. It is possible that exercise affects the brain one way and “occupational physical activity has a different” and perhaps less-desirable effect, she says.

But many questions remain unanswered. People self-reported their job’s physical demands, she points out; the researchers did not measure energy expenditure, so one person’s draining exertions may have involved filing, while someone else was hefting loaded crates. The researchers also did not delve into workers’ sense of agency, so they do not know if feeling coerced into moving affected outcomes, or how occupational activity could have affected brains at all. Fatigue, stress hormones, differing levels of various brain chemicals or other factors might play a role, Dr. Burzynska says.

Most important, the study does not show that physically demanding work causes brains to change, she says, only that “they are related in some way.”

The findings do suggest, though, that we need to better understand and consider the complex interplay of work, stress, physical activity — on the job and elsewhere — and the health of our brains, Dr. Burzynska says. The relationship between physical demands, our jobs and our brains may be especially relevant now, during the pandemic, when work and home so often overlap.



11) Real Life Horror Stories From the World of Pandemic Motherhood

‘I have been given two options: either resign or get fired.’

By Joan C. Williams, Aug. 6, 2020


Delphine Lee

Employers are using the pandemic to get rid of mothers, and our attempts to protect them are failing.


The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was enacted this spring for the express purpose of providing workers with expanded family and sick leaves for reasons related to Covid-19 and its accompanying school and child care closings. But between April and June, caregiver-related calls to our hotline at the Center for WorkLife Law, which provides legal resources to help workers claim workplace accommodations and family leaves, increased 250 percent compared to the same time last year. We’ve heard from lots and lots of workers, many of them mothers. And the stories they’re sharing make it clear that Families First is falling short.


One single mom is ineligible for Families First, which excludes health care workers, emergency responders and those who work for companies with over 500 employees. She has no child care options for her 6-year-old and 8-month-old. She exhausted all of her paid leave options while on maternity leave. “I have been given two options: either resign or get fired,” she told us. She resigned. She’s one of an estimated 106 million people not guaranteed coverage under the act.


Even those who appear to be covered by Families First often end up losing their jobs. A single mom wanted to begin to work part time, taking Families First leave for a few days each week. She felt this worked well, but at the time, taking leave in chunks was allowed only if the employer agreed to it. Hers ultimately didn’t — and she was fired. (On Monday, a federal judge in New York ruled it illegal for employers to refuse intermittent leaves; the Trump administration will likely appeal that decision.)


One grocery worker was able to return to work — provided it was on the same part-time schedule she had always worked. But when she asked for that, her employer cut her to zero hours and ghosted her, refusing to respond to queries about why those hours had been reduced, whether she was laid off, what was happening. She’s out of luck unless she can prove her termination was discriminatory, which is often hard and sometimes impossible.


We heard from another single mother whose daughter has a disability that makes her especially vulnerable to Covid, and who had successfully worked from home since near the beginning of the pandemic. She was fired because her employer insisted she return to the office, which she couldn’t do without putting her daughter at risk. If a worker has an underlying medical condition, sometimes we can get them telecommuting as an accommodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act. But if they need to telecommute to protect the health of a relative, typically they’re out of luck.


We know that Covid-related job loss has disproportionately affected women. We also know that the women we’re hearing from aren’t quitting because they don’t want to work; they’re being driven out by a combination of family care requirements and employer rigidity. And when workers try to push back, they face a labyrinth of laws that are often ineffectual.


Figuring out whether you’re eligible for Families First is so complicated that a chart explaining the program looks like a game of Chutes and Ladders. It seems clear that many states understand neither Families First nor a companion program known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.


Traditionally, workers have been denied unemployment when they leave a job because of a lack of child care; Pandemic Unemployment Assistance explicitly reversed this until the end of the year. If calls to our hotline are any indication, many employers don’t know that, and some states have set up Byzantine systems that ask workers to apply for standard unemployment and get rejected before they apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. (To add to the chaos, Virginia announced a policy of denying unemployment insurance to workers whose kids’ camps are closed — a clear violation of the act, as the Department of Labor recently reiterated.) The end result is that many mothers find that once they have been pushed out, employers derail their unemployment claims on the grounds that they left their jobs for personal reasons.


One single mother of two found herself without day care and had no income for two months while the state twice deemed her ineligible for unemployment benefits. Another couldn’t even appeal her state’s decision because of a faulty internet connection. We hear from low-income women who have to return to work, leaving small children home alone. Now they worry someone will call Child Protective Services and they will lose their children.


Recently, we’re hearing a lot from mothers whose 12-week Families First leaves are running out, and who still have no option for child care. If schools aren’t given the resources to open safely this fall, there’s going to be a blood bath. As it is, we may well be facing a generational wipeout of mothers’ careers: research shows that when mothers leave the labor force it hurts their economic prospects for decades, often permanently. A society that pushes mothers out of their jobs is a society that impoverishes both mothers and children.


We’re in this mess because, even before coronavirus, the legal protections for working mothers consisted of a convoluted matrix of federal, state and local laws. Mothers who want time and space for pumping breast milk turn to not-very-enforceable provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Mothers who need pregnancy accommodations often turn to the Americans With Disabilities Act. Mothers fired when a disabled child’s health care costs cause their employer’s insurance costs to skyrocket turn to a tax law. The lack of straightforward legal protections is just one of many ways that public policy fails mothers; the haphazard nature of Families First is merely one symptom of a broader problem.


This crisis should help us finally recognize that mothers are raising the next generation of citizens; motherhood is not a private frolic like hang gliding. In June, Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation that would, in a simple and straightforward way, protect all mothers — and fathers, and other family caregivers — from employment discrimination. That’s long overdue but we need much more. If, God and Wisconsin willing, Democrats win in November, we also need nationwide paid family leave and what many other advanced industrial countries also have: neighborhood-based, nationally financed child care to replace the patched-together Rube Goldberg machine that just broke.


Joan C. Williams is a professor of law and director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings, College of the Law.



12) Nixon Also Called In the Military Against Protesters

Washington’s police chief took the blame. But Nixon was behind the decision.

By Lawrence Roberts, Aug. 6, 2020

Military troops in May 1971 guarded thousands of Mayday antiwar protesters detained on the practice field of Washington’s N.F.L. team. Soldiers also fended off demonstrators at bridges and federal buildings in the city. Credit...Associated Press

In the spring of 1971, Richard Nixon found himself in a situation not unlike President Trump’s. His approval rating was falling — in Mr. Nixon’s case, to a first-term low — just as an energetic social movement was hitting the streets. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Nixon was tempted to use military force to counter those dissenters. And like the current president, Mr. Nixon and his aides found a way around the Pentagon’s resistance.


The occasion was the most audacious plan yet by the six-year-old movement against the Vietnam War. A group called the Mayday Tribe organized a traffic blockade of Washington under the slogan “If the government won’t stop the war, we’ll stop the government.”


As the Mayday action unfolded on May 3, twin-engine Chinook helicopters roared down by the Washington Monument, disgorging troops from the 82nd Airborne Division, who trotted off to the Capitol and other hot spots. In all, the administration summoned 10,000 soldiers and Marines, turning “the center of the nation’s capital into an armed camp with thousands of troops lining the bridges and principal streets, helicopters whirring overhead and helmeted police charging crowds of civilians with nightsticks and tear gas,” according to a New York Times report. More than 12,000 people were swept up over three days, the largest mass arrest in U.S. history.


John Dean, the Nixon aide who flipped on his boss in the Watergate scandal, wrote recently in The Times: “Never once did I hear anyone in the Nixon White House or Justice Department suggest using United States military forces, or any federal officers outside the military, to quell civil unrest or disorder. Nor have I found any evidence of such activity after the fact, when digging through the historical record.”


Mr. Dean and I were there on Mayday (he was inside the White House; I was on the streets). He has suggested that the troops were called by city officials, not Mr. Nixon, and in any case weren’t used offensively to quell the blockade. I also dug through the historical record, for a new book on those events, and came to quite a different conclusion. What I found in White House tapes, in minutes of planning meetings and in the papers of Mr. Nixon’s aides, including those of his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, and his chief domestic adviser, John Ehrlichman, left no doubt that a half century ago, a president under siege resorted to military force and mass arrests for political gain.


The Mayday protest was the finale of an extraordinary season of dissent. After Mr. Nixon expanded the Vietnam War into Laos, hundreds of thousands of protesters arrived in Washington for a variety of events. Among them were Vietnam veterans, “flower children,” self-styled revolutionaries and pacifists. Veterans hurled medals onto the Capitol’s steps. Quakers held pray-ins. A mass march, almost surely the biggest the city had seen, stretched along the National Mall. Then, on the first weekend in May, more than 40,000 people gathered by the Potomac River for the Mayday action.


The antiwar movement had already helped turn public opinion against Mr. Nixon’s conduct of the war. He was determined to deny activists a victory that could cause further political damage. He blasted them in private with rants like “Little bastards are draft dodgers, country-haters or don’t-cares.”(If Mr. Nixon had access to Twitter, his tweets would have been eerily similar to Mr. Trump’s.) He instructed aides to ensure the blockade would fail and, as one put it, didn’t care if it took 100,000 troops, and if they came up short, “someone will be in big trouble.”


Mr. Nixon’s men convened a war council with representatives of the police, the military and the National Guard. Presiding was the deputy attorney general, Richard Kleindienst. Washington didn’t yet have home rule, so the police chief, Jerry V. Wilson, answered to the White House. Mr. Kleindienst and Mr. Ehrlichman batted away objections from Chief Wilson and Army Lt. Gen. Hugh Exton, who questioned Mr. Kleindienst’s demand for 10,000 regular troops, given that thousands of police and guardsmen were already available. They suggested such force might do more to inflame the situation than calm it. Separately, Pentagon officials told Mr. Kleindienst that his plan “to combat dissent,” as they characterized it, might not comport with the rules. They reminded him of the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, which generally bans active duty troops from law enforcement.


Mr. Kleindienst overrode their concerns with an opinion from the Justice Department’s legal counsel, William Rehnquist, who had been his protégé in their home state, Arizona. Mr. Rehnquist said the act didn’t apply; the president had “inherent constitutional authority” to use troops “to protect the functioning of the government.” (Mr. Rehnquist would be named to the Supreme Court by Mr. Nixon later that year and elevated to chief justice under President Ronald Reagan.)


Mr. Kleindienst faced another obstacle. David Packard, the deputy secretary of defense, pointed out the procedures a president should follow, under the Insurrection Act, in calling forth the military: a formal order that demonstrators disperse and, if they don’t, an executive order to send in troops. Mr. Nixon’s predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, had done this during the riots in Washington in 1968 after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. The White House, however, wanted to keep its involvement under wraps. According to Mr. Haldeman’s diary, Mr. Nixon let Mr. Packard know he wanted troops sent without any public presidential action. The White House spread the fake news that city officials had requested the military help.


In contrast, Mr. Trump has been open about his desire to send troops to “dominate” streets in cities with Black Lives Matter protests. After Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, stood in the way of using active-duty military, the president dispatched forces from agencies including Customs and Border Protection. In June, those agents cleared peaceful demonstrators from Lafayette Square outside the White House for the president’s now-famous photo op in front of a church. In Portland, Ore., they used tear gas and other riot tools to disperse largely peaceful protesters outside the federal courthouse.


During the 1971 Mayday action, as 12,000 people tried to snarl rush-hour traffic with nonviolent civil disobedience, a majority of the regular troops fended off protesters at bridges and federal buildings, or guarded large groups of detained protesters. Most soldiers didn’t confront demonstrators directly, but their presence and hardware bolstered the authoritarian tactics and escalated tensions. A police dragnet swept up 7,000 people that Monday, including many young people just walking on the streets wearing hippie-style clothing, and took in more than 5,000 other demonstrators over the next two days. My research confirmed that Mr. Nixon gave the order to make the mass arrests. He made it clear later to a group of conservative members of Congress: “The point is, I had the responsibility,” he told them. “I approved this plan.”


As criticism mounted that the dragnet was unconstitutional (courts ultimately agreed, awarding detainees millions in damages), Mr. Nixon’s involvement was suspected. The White House denied it. Aides instructed the police chief, Mr. Wilson, to take the heat. “I wish to emphasize the fact that I made all tactical decisions relating to the recent disorders,” he said in a public statement. “I took these steps because I felt they were necessary to protect the safety of law-abiding citizens and to maintain order in the city.” The tapes show Mr. Nixon’s men were delighted.


“Wilson went to the mat today,” Mr. Ehrlichman confirmed to Mr. Nixon. “Good for him!” the president said. Mr. Ehrlichman added, “We programmed him to do this this morning, and he did better than you could possibly have programmed.” He went on: “He has never let us down yet.”


No military leader expressed second thoughts in the weeks after Mayday.


But in June, after General Milley accompanied Mr. Trump to Lafayette Square wearing combat fatigues as protesters were dispersed by federal agents and police, he said he regretted taking part.


“We must hold dear the principle of an apolitical military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic,” General Milley told graduates of National Defense University. “And this is not easy. It takes time and work and effort, but it may be the most important thing each and every one of us does every single day. And my second piece of advice is very simple: Embrace the Constitution.”


Lawrence Roberts, a former editor at ProPublica and The Washington Post, is the author of “Mayday 1971: A White House at War, a Revolt in the Streets, and the Untold History of America’s Biggest Mass Arrest.”



13) The Real Reason the American Economy Boomed After World War II

How expanding opportunity for women, immigrants and nonwhite workers helped everyone — and why we need to do so again.

By Jim Tankersley, Aug. 6, 2020

Credit...AJ Dungo

The United States long reserved its most lucrative occupations for an elite class of white men. Those men held power by selling everyone else a myth: The biggest threat to workers like you are workers who do not look like you. Again and again, they told working-class white men that they were losing out on good jobs to women, nonwhite men and immigrants.


It was, and remains, a politically potent lie. It is undercut by the real story of how America engineered its Golden Era of shared prosperity — the great middle-class expansion in the decades after World War II.


Americans deserve to know the truth about that Golden Era, which was not the whitewashed, “Leave It to Beaver” tale that so many people have been led to believe. They deserve to know who built the middle class and can actually rebuild it, for all workers, no matter their race or gender or hometown.


We need to hear it now, as our nation is immersed in a pandemic recession and a summer of protests demanding equality, and as American workers struggle to shake off decades of sluggish wage growth. We need to hear it because it is a beacon of hope in a bleak time for our economy, but more important, because the lies that elite white men peddle about workers in conflict have made the economy worse for everyone, for far too long.


The hopeful truth is that when Americans band together to force open the gates of opportunity for women, for Black men, for the groups that have long been oppressed in our economy, everyone gets ahead.


I have spent my career as an economics reporter consumed by the questions of how America might revive the Golden Era of the middle class that boomed after World War II. I have searched for the secret to restoring prosperity for the sons of lumber-mill workers in my home county, where the timber industry crashed in the 1980s, or the burned-out factories along the Ohio River, where I chased politicians in the early 2000s who were promising — and failing — to bring the good jobs back.


The old jobs are not coming back. What I have learned over time is that our best hope to create a new wave of good ones is to invest in the groups of Americans who were responsible for the success of our economy at the time it worked best for working people.


The economy thrived after World War II in large part because America made it easier for people who had been previously shut out of economic opportunity — women, minority groups, immigrants — to enter the work force and climb the economic ladder, to make better use of their talents and potential. In 1960, cutting-edge research from economists at the University of Chicago and Stanford University has documented, more than half of Black men in America worked as janitors, freight handlers or something similar. Only 2 percent of women and Black men worked in what economists call “high-skill” jobs that pay high wages, like engineering or law. Ninety-four percent of doctors in the United States were white men.


That disparity was by design. It protected white male elites. Everyone else was barred entry to top professions by overt discrimination, inequality of schooling, social convention and, often, the law itself. They were devalued as humans and as workers. (Slavery was the greatest devaluation, but the gates of opportunity remained closed to most enslaved Americans and their descendants through Emancipation and its aftermath.)


Women and nonwhite men gradually chipped away at those barriers, in fits and starts. They seized opportunities, like a war effort creating a need for workers to replace the men being sent abroad to fight. They protested and bled and died for civil rights. And when they won victories, it wasn’t just for them, or even for people like them. They generated economic gains that helped everyone.


The Chicago and Stanford economists calculated that the simple, radical act of reducing discrimination against those groups was responsible for more than 40 percent of the country’s per-worker economic growth after 1960. It’s the reason the country could sustain rapid growth with low unemployment, yielding rising wages for everyone, including white men without college degrees.


America’s ruling elites did not learn from that success. The aggressive expansion of opportunity that had driven economic gains was choked off by a backlash to social progress in the 1970s and ’80s. The white men who ran the country declared victory over discrimination far too early, consigning the economy to slower growth. Sustained shared prosperity was replaced by widening inequality, lost jobs and decades of disappointing income growth for workers of all races.


In important ways, much of the work of breaking down discrimination stalled soon after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. “It was fundamentally over by the time of the Reagan presidency,” William A. Darity Jr., a Duke University economist who is one of his profession’s most accomplished researchers on racial discrimination, told me. Over the past several decades, some barriers to advancement for women and nonwhite men have grown back. New ones have grown up beside them.


A host of studies illustrate this. A recent and devastating one is co-authored by a University of Tennessee economic historian, Marianne Wanamaker, who served a year in the White House on President Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers. She and a co-worker went back to Reconstruction and measured how much easier it was for the sons of poor white men to climb the economic ladder than the sons of poor Black men.


In terms of economic mobility, they found, the penalty for being born Black is the same today as it was in the 1870s.


Women have made more progress in recent decades than Black men, but they are nowhere close to equality. They still earn less for the same work, and they are still blocked by harassment, discrimination and policies from reaching the same heights as white men in many of America’s most important industries.


Take Silicon Valley. In 2018, venture capitalists in the United States distributed $131 billion to start-up businesses, hoping to seed the next Google or Tesla. That money went to nearly 9,000 companies. Just over 2 percent of them were founded entirely by women. Another 12 percent had at least one female founder. The rest, 86 percent, were founded entirely by men.


The statistics show tragedy. They also show opportunity. If America can once again tear down barriers to advancement, it can tap a geyser of entrepreneurship, productivity and talent, which could by itself produce the strong growth and low unemployment that historically drive up wages for the working class, including working-class white men.


If you want to know where the new good jobs will come from — those that will help millions of Americans climb back into the middle class — this is where you should look, to the great untapped talent of America’s women, of its Black men, of the highly skilled immigrants that study after study show to be catalysts of innovation and job creation.


That is not the appeal that populist politicians make to working-class white men, who have been rocked by globalization and automation and the greed of the governing class. But it should be.


All Americans have a stake in the protests for equality they see every night on the news. Working-class white men, like the guys I went to high school with, have a bond with the Black men, the immigrants and the women of all races who have taken to the streets.


The real story of America today is this: If you want to restore the greatness of an economy that doesn’t work for you or your children the way that it used to, those women and men are your best shot at salvation. Their progress will lift you up.


Jim Tankersley covers economic policy in the Washington bureau of The Times. He is the author of “The Riches of This Land: The Untold, True Story of America’s Middle Class,” from which this essay is adapted.



14) After Atomic Bombings, These Photographers Worked Under Mushroom Clouds

A new book of photos documents the human impact of the bombings that ended World War II — and challenges a common American perception of the destruction in Japan.

By Mike Ives, Aug. 6, 2020

Patients being treated in a medical tent in Hiroshima on Aug. 9. Credit...Yotsugi Kawahara, courtesy Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum

In August 1945, a Japanese newspaper sent a photographer from Tokyo to two cities that the United States military had just leveled with atomic bombs.


The photographer, Eiichi Matsumoto, had covered the firebombings of other Japanese cities. But the scale of the calamity that he encountered in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, he later recalled, was on another level.


At a Red Cross hospital near Hiroshima’s ground zero, he met victims dotted with red spots, a sign of radiation sickness. And on the desolate, rubble-strewn streets of Nagasaki, he watched families cremating loved ones in open-air fires.


“I beg you to allow me to take pictures of your utmost sufferings,” Mr. Matsumoto, who was 30 at the time, said he told survivors. “I am determined to let people in this world know without speaking a word what kind of apocalyptic tragedies you have gone through.”


Mr. Matsumoto, a photojournalist for the Asahi Shimbun newspaper who died in 2004, is among dozens of photographers who bore witness after the bombings, which forced Japan’s surrender and ended World War II.


Some of their images, banned until the American occupation ended in 1952, were eventually exhibited in museums and other venues across Japan. They also became fodder for antinuclear activists waging nonprofileration campaigns.


But in the United States, the photographs are still virtually unknown.


“Americans, when they think about atomic war, think about the mushroom cloud,” said Benjamin Wright, a doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin who helped curate “Flash of Light, Wall of Fire,” a new book of photographs about the 1945 bombings.


“Perhaps they think of a destroyed city, but it’s very much a bird’s-eye view,” Mr. Wright said by telephone.


The book, published this month by the University of Texas Press to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombings, attempts to change that. It includes images from more than a dozen Japanese photographers, starting with Mr. Matsumoto’s photo of a Hiroshima wall clock that stopped at the moment when a nuclear bomb detonated above the city in a flash of light.


Hiding the negatives


Even though the two bombs, which fell on Aug. 6 and 9, killed more than 200,000 people in the two cities and injured many others, the United States enforced a ban, in both countries, on photographs that showed the civilian impact.


For seven years, photographers who had documented the bombings hid negatives from American and Japanese officials wherever they could — in a locker, in Mr. Matsumoto’s case. But after the United States occupation ended in 1952, hidden negatives began to trickle into public view, and books about the atomic bombings were published weeks later.


Michiko Tanaka, a newspaper reporter in Hiroshima who wrote the new book’s afterword, said in an email that even today, the Japanese public remains interested in survivor testimonies, historical documents and other visceral reminders of the atomic bombings.


“In my mind, the photographs are a powerful medium and play a crucial role in furthering our understanding of the circumstances surrounding the atomic bombing,” she said.


But aside from a 1952 Life magazine feature about the bombings, Mr. Wright said, whatever public memory existed of them in the United States was effectively eclipsed by other conflicts, including the wars in Korea and Vietnam.


A shared goal


The idea of publishing in the United States images from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings was first proposed to the University of Texas at Austin in 2017 by the Anti-Nuclear Photographers’ Movement of Japan, one of the organizations that have worked for decades to collect and preserve such photographs.


The group was seeking an American publisher because it worried about rising tensions enveloping North Korea, Japan and the United States at the time, and it wanted to broadcast its antinuclear message to a wider audience. Through an intermediary, it approached the Texas university’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, whose collection includes photographs of the Vietnam War by the American photojournalist Eddie Adams.


Because the atomic bombings have stirred bitter arguments in both Japan and the United States for decades, any book about them would clearly have an “intrinsic controversial nature,” Hank Nagashima, the intermediary for the antinuclear group, wrote in an email to the Briscoe center’s executive director in 2018.


“By the same token, we believe it is the right time to present the dreadful consequences that no words can describe of the nuclear weapons once deployed,” he wrote.


The center’s director, Don Carleton, said that while he initially worried that the Japanese group might use the project to “assign war guilt,” it turned out that the two sides had a simple goal in common: educating the public about the horrors of nuclear war. The association eventually agreed to make its photos available as a digital archive at the university, starting in 2021.


“I was very leery of this whole thing because I was afraid there was going to be an agenda,” Dr. Carleton said. “And there was an agenda — but it was the same one I was interested in.”


Misery, up close


Survivors of atomic bombings often used the term pika-don. It translates as “flash-bang” or “flash-boom” and describes how nuclear weapons produce blinding light before an explosion.


Even though many Americans associated the bombings with the multistory mushroom clouds they produced, Japanese survivors found that their term “captured the dazzling sight and thundering sound of the misery they experienced up close,” the University of Texas historian Michael B. Stoff wrote in an essay for the new book.


When the two bombs were detonated, thermal heat from the explosions seared human skin and vaporized some people instantly. “The closer to ground zero and the more exposed you were, the more horribly you were likely to die, but the less likely you were to be aware of it,” Professor Stoff wrote.


Those who survived woke up in a moonscape.


In Hiroshima, an estimated 140,000 of the city’s 350,000 people were killed, and the vast majority of structures were either damaged or destroyed. Japanese Navy submarines were left abandoned in a nearby bay.


Feelings of powerlessness, desperation and defeat “all came together,” Shigeo Hayashi, who traveled there on assignment for a military propaganda magazine, recalled in a 1991 interview for the Japan Photographers Association’s newsletter. “I pressed the shutter button almost unconsciously to capture the scene in front of me.”


In Nagasaki, Mr. Matsumoto saw bonfires and assumed they were for cooking. Later, he realized that people were cremating their relatives because the bodies had putrefied.


Photographers who covered the bombings might have sensed that the assignment was dangerous, but at the time, even medical experts did not fully understand the health risks of exposure to nuclear radiation.


Decades later, Mr. Matsumoto met with Soviet photographers who had covered the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster. They asked what type of protective gear he had worn in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said he replied, according to the 1991 newsletter. He and his colleagues had “absolutely no idea” about the health risks, he added, so they wore ordinary clothing.



15) A Family Cries ‘Justice for Hannah.’ Will Its Rural Town Listen?

People in rural areas are killed in police shootings at about the same rate as in cities, but victims’ families and activists say they have struggled to get justice or even make themselves heard.

By Jack Healy, Aug. 6, 2020

“We’re just doing it all on our own,” said Amy Fizer, whose daughter Hannah was shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy in Sedalia, Mo. Credit...Whitney Curtis for The New York Times

SEDALIA, Mo. — Seven weeks had passed, and still there were no answers. So once again, a small cluster of friends and family gathered in the leafy courthouse square and marched for Hannah Fizer, an unarmed woman shot and killed by a rural Missouri sheriff’s deputy during a traffic stop.


“Say her name! Hannah!”


“Prosecute the police!”


Their chants echoed protests over police killings in Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta and beyond. But this was no George Floyd moment for rural America.


Though people in rural areas are killed in police shootings at about the same rate as in cities, victims’ families and activists say they have struggled to get justice or even make themselves heard. They say extracting changes can be especially tough in small, conservative towns where residents and officials have abiding support for law enforcement and are leery of new calls to defund the police.


“It’s like pulling teeth,” Ms. Fizer’s mother, Amy, said.


The deputy who shot Ms. Fizer has not been charged or disciplined, and Ms. Fizer’s parents say they have not received any updates about the investigation into her June 13 death. They said that investigators never interviewed them, and that the sheriff declined to tell them the name of the deputy who shot her.


Over the weeks, the rallies for Ms. Fizer tapered from a hundred protesters to a couple dozen. Every Saturday morning, they wave signs and ask passing cars to honk in support of the 25-year-old woman with a big grin and flower tattoo, who loved swimming and Chinese takeout and dreamed of having children, and of a larger life beyond her night-shift job at a gas station. Her family and friends have become her movement.


“We’re just doing it all on our own,” Amy Fizer said.


There are hundreds of stories of law enforcement killings in small towns and rural areas, but scant research into how and why they happen. One analysis by FiveThirtyEight found that between 2013 and 2019 there was a slight rise in shootings by officers in rural and suburban areas and a decline in big cities. Experts say rural shootings may be tied to higher rates of gun ownership, a lack of mental health services, or insufficient training for officers responding to people in crisis.


Ms. Fizer’s parents said they know only the barest facts about what happened the night she died.


She spent the last day of her life splashing around in a kiddie pool with her best friend, Taylor Browder, and Ms. Browder’s young children, talking about life and her future in Sedalia, an old railroad town of 21,000 people that is home to the Missouri State Fair. Ms. Fizer had attended the Sedalia Police Department’s citizen’s academy in 2016 but quickly decided she did not want to become a cop. She sometimes talked about working as a parole officer.


Ms. Browder said that Ms. Fizer headed home to the apartment she shared with her boyfriend to take a nap and shower before her overnight shift at the Eagle Stop gas station on the western edge of town.


At about 10 that night, a Pettis County sheriff’s deputy pulled her over for speeding. In an interview, Sheriff Kevin Bond said that the deputy “met with verbal resistance” when he walked up to Ms. Fizer’s car and that he told investigators she claimed she had a gun and threatened to kill him.


Ms. Fizer’s friends and family have a hard time believing that. Ms. Fizer’s boyfriend owned a gun, they said, but in a conservative county where the Second Amendment is sacrosanct, Ms. Fizer did not like guns or carry one.


Investigators later found five shell casings by the driver’s side door of her Hyundai, but no gun in her car.


David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, said the prevalence of guns may explain why cities and rural areas have nearly equal rates of law enforcement killings even though murders and violent crime rates tend to be higher in cities.


More than half of the people fatally shot by rural officers were reported to have a gun, according to a seven-year tally by Mapping Police Violence. Ms. Fizer was among the roughly 10 percent who were unarmed.


Ms. Fizer and the deputy who shot her were both white, a common dynamic in shootings that occur in overwhelmingly white, rural parts of the country. Black and Hispanic people are killed at higher rates than white people in rural areas, but the demographics of rural America mean that about 60 to 70 percent of people killed by law enforcement there are white, according to an analysis by Harvard researchers.


Unlike in other cases that have galvanized efforts to change policing, there is no body camera footage of the shooting. The sheriff’s office stopped using body cameras after software problems and a crash on the hard drive that recorded the data. Fixing it was “just cost prohibitive” for a rural sheriff’s office where money is tight and starting pay for deputies is $26,000, Sheriff Bond said.


Sheriff Bond said there had been no prior use-of-force complaints against the deputy who shot Ms. Fizer. The deputy, who has not been named, was put on paid leave, and the sheriff said he immediately called in the Missouri State Highway Patrol to handle the scene and investigate the shooting.


The Highway Patrol finished its investigation last week and handed over a report to the Pettis County prosecuting attorney, who had a special prosecutor appointed. Ms. Fizer’s family said they have not been told about the results of the report, and have been following developments through the news.


“If this would’ve happened in the city, something would have been done by now,” said Haley Richardson, a friend who said Ms. Fizer was kindhearted and stood up for vulnerable people. “We’re going to stay out here. We just want answers.”


Ms. Fizer’s relatives said that a divide in money and class between them and authorities in Pettis County had made them feel like second-rung citizens. Ms. Fizer was not rich, and members of her family had been in and out of prison and struggled with drug addictions.


“If you’re on the outer fringes of society you’d know,” Amy Fizer said. “They pull you over. They do what they want, when they want.”


Some of Ms. Fizer’s friends and relatives said they had already been outraged by Mr. Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis police custody, which happened about three weeks before Ms. Fizer was shot. They joined Black Lives Matter rallies as the movement spread throughout small towns across America.


But they also emphasized that they did not want to abolish the police. They supported law enforcement. Just not this deputy, or this sheriff. The aftermath of the shooting led to calls for Sheriff Bond to resign and prompted a police sergeant in suburban Kansas City to challenge the sheriff in November’s election.


“You have law enforcement running around without any body cameras, dash cameras, the minimal equipment,” said the challenger, Brad Anders, who lives in Sedalia. “The investigation, whatever it may reveal, is never going to be enough. There are questions that will never be answered.”


The anger over Ms. Fizer’s death exploded on local Facebook groups. Sheriff Bond said people had threatened to publish his home address and harassed and threatened a deputy and his family, and he warned that “instigators” were using Ms. Fizer’s death to sow “social chaos.”


When a statue of a World War I “doughboy” infantryman honoring veterans was vandalized in July in the town square — an incident unrelated to the protests for Ms. Fizer — his officers opened an investigation and arrested an 18-year-old on vandalism charges.


“Do you want this to continue and cause irrevocable harm to our community?” the sheriff wrote. “Are you willing to allow Pettis County to become the test project for some social justice experiment for rural America?”


Ms. Fizer’s father, John, had complicated feelings about the upwelling of nationwide anger at the police. He was angry. He wanted justice for his daughter. But he counted himself as a conservative Republican and worried that the protests in Sedalia could be co-opted by left-wing outsiders — a pervasive, but largely unfounded fear in small towns after Mr. Floyd’s killing.


In a Facebook post, Mr. Fizer wrote that he did not want “Antifa-type outrage here in our quiet hometown.”


“I love my law enforcement,” he said. “I’d hate to think where we’d be without them.”

























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

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