The Rock, Bernal Hill, San Francisco
Olivia Rodrigo - F*** You (feat. Lily Allen) (Glastonbury 2022)
With Olivia Rodrigo and Lily Allen
[Verse 1: Lily Allen]
Look inside, look inside your tiny mind
Then look a bit harder
'Cause we're so uninspired, so sick and tired
Of all the hatred you harbour
So you say it's not okay to be gay
Well, I think you're just evil
You're just some racist who can't tie my laces
Your point of view is medieval
[Chorus: Lily Allen]
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please, don't stay in touch
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please, don't stay in touch
[Verse 2: Olivia Rodrigo, Lily Allen & Olivia Rodrigo]
Do you get, do you get a little kick out of being small minded?
You want to be like your father, it's approval you're after
Well, that's not how you find it
Do you, do you really enjoy living a life that's so hateful?
'Cause there's a hole where your soul should be
You're losing control of it
And it's really distasteful
[Chorus: Olivia Rodrigo, Lily Allen & Olivia Rodrigo]
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
'Cause we hate what you do
And we hate your whole crew
So please, don't stay in touch
Fuck you, fuck you very, very much
'Cause your words don't translate
And it's getting quite late
So please, don't stay in touch
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you
[Verse 3: Lily Allen]
You say you think we need to go to war
Well, you're already in one
'Cause it's people like you that need to get slew
No one wants your opinion
Doctors for Assange Statement
Doctors to UK: Assange Extradition
‘Medically & Ethically’ Wrong
Ahead of the U.K. Home Secretary’s decision on whether to extradite Julian Assange to the United States, a group of more than 300 doctors representing 35 countries have told Priti Patel that approving his extradition would be “medically and ethically unacceptable”.
In an open letter sent to the Home Secretary on Friday June 10, and copied to British Prime Minster Boris Johnson, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice Robert Buckland, the Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the doctors draw attention to the fact that Assange suffered a “mini stroke” in October 2021. They note:
“Predictably, Mr Assange’s health has since continued to deteriorate in your custody. In October 2021 Mr. Assange suffered a ‘mini-stroke’… This dramatic deterioration of Mr Assange’s health has not yet been considered in his extradition proceedings. The US assurances accepted by the High Court, therefore, which would form the basis of any extradition approval, are founded upon outdated medical information, rendering them obsolete.”
The doctors charge that any extradition under these circumstances would constitute negligence. They write:
“Under conditions in which the UK legal system has failed to take Mr Assange’s current health status into account, no valid decision regarding his extradition may be made, by yourself or anyone else. Should he come to harm in the US under these circumstances it is you, Home Secretary, who will be left holding the responsibility for that negligent outcome.”
In their letter the group reminds the Home Secretary that they first wrote to her on Friday 22 November 2019, expressing their serious concerns about Julian Assange’s deteriorating health.
Those concerns were subsequently borne out by the testimony of expert witnesses in court during Assange’s extradition proceedings, which led to the denial of his extradition by the original judge on health grounds. That decision was later overturned by a higher court, which referred the decision to Priti Patel in light of US assurances that Julian Assange would not be treated inhumanely.
The doctors write:
“The subsequent ‘assurances’ of the United States government, that Mr Assange would not be treated inhumanly, are worthless given their record of pursuit, persecution and plotted murder of Mr Assange in retaliation for his public interest journalism.”
“Home Secretary, in making your decision as to extradition, do not make yourself, your government, and your country complicit in the slow-motion execution of this award-winning journalist, arguably the foremost publisher of our time. Do not extradite Julian Assange; free him.”
Julian Assange remains in High Security Belmarsh Prison awaiting Priti Patel’s decision, which is due any day.
Sign the petition:
If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.
UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".
Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”
Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”
The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.
Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.
The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense."
The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.
The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.
Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)
Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus
• a petition you can sign
• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom
• a Donate button to support his campaign
• a link to our campaign website.
Please take a moment and help.
Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.
Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar:
Here is the Facebook link:
Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:
Write to Governor Newsom’s office:
No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side
Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale
U.S. Air Force veteran, Daniel Everette Hale has recently completed his first year of a 45-month prison sentence for exposing the realities of U.S drone warfare. Daniel Hale is not a spy, a threat to society, or a bad faith actor. His revelations were not a threat to national security. If they were, the prosecution would be able to identify the harm caused directly from the information Hale made public. Our members of Congress can urge President Biden to commute Daniel's sentence! Either way, Daniel deserves to be free.
Laws are created to be followed
by the poor.
Laws are made by the rich
to bring some order to exploitation.
The poor are the only law abiders in history.
When the poor make laws
the rich will be no more.
—Roque Dalton Presente!
(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)
 Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.
“In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper
A film by Kenneth A. Carlson
Teaser is now streaming at:
Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022
“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com
Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”
That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.
Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.
For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.
The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.
New Legal Filing in Mumia’s Case
The following statement was issued January 4, 2022, regarding new legal filings by attorneys for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Campaign to Bring Mumia Home
In her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston wrote, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
With continued pressure from below, 2022 will be the year that forces the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office and the Philly Police Department to answer questions about why they framed imprisoned radio journalist and veteran Black Panther Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal’s attorneys have filed a Pennsylvania Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petition focused entirely on the six boxes of case files that were found in a storage room of the DA’s office in late December 2018, after the case being heard before Judge Leon Tucker in the Court of Common Pleas concluded. (tinyurl.com/zkyva464)
The new evidence contained in the boxes is damning, and we need to expose it. It reveals a pattern of misconduct and abuse of authority by the prosecution, including bribery of the state’s two key witnesses, as well as racist exclusion in jury selection—a violation of the landmark Supreme Court decision Batson v. Kentucky. The remedy for each or any of the claims in the petition is a new trial. The court may order a hearing on factual issues raised in the claims. If so, we won’t know for at least a month.
The new evidence includes a handwritten letter penned by Robert Chobert, the prosecution’s star witness. In it, Chobert demands to be paid money promised him by then-Prosecutor Joseph McGill. Other evidence includes notes written by McGill, prominently tracking the race of potential jurors for the purposes of excluding Black people from the jury, and letters and memoranda which reveal that the DA’s office sought to monitor, direct, and intervene in the outstanding prostitution charges against its other key witness Cynthia White.
Mumia Abu-Jamal was framed and convicted 40 years ago in 1982, during one of the most corrupt and racist periods in Philadelphia’s history—the era of cop-turned-mayor Frank Rizzo. It was a moment when the city’s police department, which worked intimately with the DA’s office, routinely engaged in homicidal violence against Black and Latinx detainees, corruption, bribery and tampering with evidence to obtain convictions.
In 1979, under pressure from civil rights activists, the Department of Justice filed an unprecedented lawsuit against the Philadelphia police department and detailed a culture of racist violence, widespread corruption and intimidation that targeted outspoken people like Mumia. Despite concurrent investigations by the FBI and Pennsylvania’s Attorney General and dozens of police convictions, the power and influence of the country’s largest police association, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) prevailed.
Now, more than 40 years later, we’re still living with the failure to uproot these abuses. Philadelphia continues to fear the powerful FOP, even though it endorses cruelty, racism, and multiple injustices. A culture of fear permeates the “city of brotherly love.”
The contents of these boxes shine light on decades of white supremacy and rampant lawlessness in U.S. courts and prisons. They also hold enormous promise for Mumia’s freedom and challenge us to choose Love, Not PHEAR. (lovenotphear.com/) Stay tuned.
—Workers World, January 4, 2022
Pa. Supreme Court denies widow’s appeal to remove Philly DA from Abu-Jamal case
Abu Jamal was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder of Faulkner in 1982. Over the past four decades, five of his appeals have been quashed.
In 1989, the state’s highest court affirmed Abu-Jamal’s death penalty conviction, and in 2012, he was re-sentenced to life in prison.
Abu-Jamal, 66, remains in prison. He can appeal to the state Supreme Court, or he can file a new appeal.
KYW Newsradio reached out to Abu-Jamal’s attorneys for comment. They shared this statement in full:
“Today, the Superior Court concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to consider issues raised by Mr. Abu-Jamal in prior appeals. Two years ago, the Court of Common Pleas ordered reconsideration of these appeals finding evidence of an appearance of judicial bias when the appeals were first decided. We are disappointed in the Superior Court’s decision and are considering our next steps.
“While this case was pending in the Superior Court, the Commonwealth revealed, for the first time, previously undisclosed evidence related to Mr. Abu-Jamal’s case. That evidence includes a letter indicating that the Commonwealth promised its principal witness against Mr. Abu-Jamal money in connection with his testimony. In today’s decision, the Superior Court made clear that it was not adjudicating the issues raised by this new evidence. This new evidence is critical to any fair determination of the issues raised in this case, and we look forward to presenting it in court.”
Questions and comments may be sent to: email@example.com
Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.
Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603
How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?
By Michael Moore—VIA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
American Indian Movement leader, Leonard Peltier, at 77 years of age, came down with Covid-19 this weekend. Upon hearing this, I broke down and cried. An innocent man, locked up behind bars for 44 years, Peltier is now America’s longest-held political prisoner. He suffers in prison tonight even though James Reynolds, one of the key federal prosecutors who sent Peltier off to life in prison in 1977, has written to President Biden and confessed to his role in the lies, deceit, racism and fake evidence that together resulted in locking up our country’s most well-known Native American civil rights leader. Just as South Africa imprisoned for more than 27 years its leading voice for freedom, Nelson Mandela, so too have we done the same to a leading voice and freedom fighter for the indigenous people of America. That’s not just me saying this. That’s Amnesty International saying it. They placed him on their political prisoner list years ago and continue to demand his release.
And it’s not just Amnesty leading the way. It’s the Pope who has demanded Leonard Peltier’s release. It’s the Dalai Lama, Jesse Jackson, and the President Pro-Tempore of the US Senate, Sen. Patrick Leahy. Before their deaths, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa and Bishop Desmond Tutu pleaded with the United States to free Leonard Peltier. A worldwide movement of millions have seen their demands fall on deaf ears.
And now the calls for Peltier to be granted clemency in DC have grown on Capitol Hill. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), the head of the Senate committee who oversees the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has also demanded Peltier be given his freedom. Numerous House Democrats have also written to Biden.
The time has come for our President to act; the same President who appointed the first-ever Native American cabinet member last year and who halted the building of the Keystone pipeline across Native lands. Surely Mr. Biden is capable of an urgent act of compassion for Leonard Peltier — especially considering that the prosecutor who put him away in 1977 now says Peltier is innocent, and that his US Attorney’s office corrupted the evidence to make sure Peltier didn’t get a fair trial. Why is this victim of our judicial system still in prison? And now he is sick with Covid.
For months Peltier has begged to get a Covid booster shot. Prison officials refused. The fact that he now has COVID-19 is a form of torture. A shame hangs over all of us. Should he now die, are we all not complicit in taking his life?
President Biden, let Leonard Peltier go. This is a gross injustice. You can end it. Reach deep into your Catholic faith, read what the Pope has begged you to do, and then do the right thing.
For those of you reading this, will you join me right now in appealing to President Biden to free Leonard Peltier? His health is in deep decline, he is the voice of his people — a people we owe so much to for massacring and imprisoning them for hundreds of years.
The way we do mass incarceration in the US is abominable. And Leonard Peltier is not the only political prisoner we have locked up. We have millions of Black and brown and poor people tonight in prison or on parole and probation — in large part because they are Black and brown and poor. THAT is a political act on our part. Corporate criminals and Trump run free. The damage they have done to so many Americans and people around the world must be dealt with.
This larger issue is one we MUST take on. For today, please join me in contacting the following to show them how many millions of us demand that Leonard Peltier has suffered enough and should be free:
President Joe Biden
E-mail: At this link
Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland
Attorney General Merrick Garland
E-mail: At this link
I’ll end with the final verse from the epic poem “American Names” by Stephen Vincent Benet:
I shall not rest quiet in Montparnasse.
I shall not lie easy at Winchelsea.
You may bury my body in Sussex grass,
You may bury my tongue at Champmedy.
I shall not be there. I shall rise and pass.
Bury my heart at Wounded Knee.
PS. Also — watch the brilliant 1992 documentary by Michael Apted and Robert Redford about the framing of Leonard Peltier— “Incident at Oglala”
By Margaret Atwood*
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can't breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!
Bureau of Labor Statistics
U.S. Department of Labor
For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022
(202) 691-6378 • email@example.com • www.bls.gov/cps
(202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov
In 2021, the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions continued to decline (-241,000) to 14.0 million, and the percent who were members of unions—the union membership rate—was 10.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The rate is down from 10.8 percent in 2020—when the rate increased due to a disproportionately large decline in the total number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The 2021 unionization rate is the same as the 2019 rate of 10.3 percent. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent and there were 17.7 million union workers.
These data on union membership are collected as part of the Current Population Survey (CPS), a monthly sample survey of about 60,000 eligible households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population age 16 and over. For further information, see the Technical Note in this news release.
Highlights from the 2021 data:
• The union membership rate of public-sector workers (33.9 percent) continued to be more than five times higher than the rate of private-sector workers (6.1 percent). (See table 3.)
• The highest unionization rates were among workers in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). (See table 3.)
• Men continued to have a higher union membership rate (10.6 percent) than women (9.9 percent). The gap between union membership rates for men and women has narrowed considerably since 1983 (the earliest year for which comparable data are available), when rates for men and women were 24.7 percent and 14.6 percent, respectively. (See table 1.)
• Black workers remained more likely to be union members than White, Asian, or Hispanic workers. (See table 1.)
• Nonunion workers had median weekly earnings that were 83 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($975 versus $1,169). (The comparisons of earnings in this news release are on a broad level and do not control for many factors that can be important in explaining earnings differences.) (See table 2.)
• Among states, Hawaii and New York continued to have the highest union membership rates (22.4 percent and 22.2 percent, respectively), while South Carolina and North Carolina continued to have the lowest (1.7 percent and 2.6 percent, respectively). (See table 5.)
Industry and Occupation of Union Members
In 2021, 7.0 million employees in the public sector belonged to unions, the same as in the private sector. (See table 3.)
Union membership decreased by 191,000 over the year in the public sector. The public-sector union membership rate declined by 0.9 percentage point in 2021 to 33.9 percent, following an increase of 1.2 percentage points in 2020. In 2021, the union membership rate continued to be highest in local government (40.2 percent), which employs many workers in heavily unionized occupations, such as police officers, firefighters, and teachers.
The number of union workers employed in the private sector changed little over the year. However, the number of private-sector nonunion workers increased in 2021. The private-sector unionization rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in 2021 to 6.1 percent, slightly lower than its 2019 rate of 6.2 percent. Industries with high unionization rates included utilities (19.7 percent), motion pictures and sound recording industries (17.3 percent), and transportation and warehousing (14.7 percent). Low unionization rates occurred in finance (1.2 percent), professional and technical services (1.2 percent), food services and drinking places (1.2 percent), and insurance (1.5 percent).
Among occupational groups, the highest unionization rates in 2021 were in education, training, and library occupations (34.6 percent) and protective service occupations (33.3 percent). Unionization rates were lowest in food preparation and serving related occupations (3.1 percent); sales and related occupations (3.3 percent); computer and mathematical occupations (3.7 percent); personal care and service occupations (3.9 percent); and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations (4.0 percent).
Selected Characteristics of Union Members
In 2021, the number of men who were union members, at 7.5 million, changed little, while the number of women who were union members declined by 182,000 to 6.5 million. The unionization rate for men decreased by 0.4 percentage point over the year to 10.6 percent. In 2021, women’s union membership rate declined by 0.6 percentage point to 9.9 percent. The 2021 decreases in union membership rates for men and women reflect increases in the total number of nonunion workers. The rate for men is below the 2019 rate (10.8 percent), while the rate for women is above the 2019 rate (9.7 percent). (See table 1.)
Among major race and ethnicity groups, Black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2021 (11.5 percent) than White workers (10.3 percent), Asian workers (7.7 percent), and Hispanic workers (9.0 percent). The union membership rate declined by 0.4 percentage point for White workers, by 0.8 percentage point for Black workers, by 1.2 percentage points for Asian workers, and by 0.8 percentage point for Hispanic workers. The 2021 rates for Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics are little or no different from 2019, while the rate for Asians is lower.
By age, workers ages 45 to 54 had the highest union membership rate in 2021, at 13.1 percent. Younger workers—those ages 16 to 24—had the lowest union membership rate, at 4.2 percent.
In 2021, the union membership rate for full-time workers (11.1 percent) continued to be considerably higher than that for part-time workers (6.1 percent).
In 2021, 15.8 million wage and salary workers were represented by a union, 137,000 less than in 2020. The percentage of workers represented by a union was 11.6 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2020 but the same as in 2019. Workers represented by a union include both union members (14.0 million) and workers who report no union affiliation but whose jobs are covered by a union contract (1.8 million). (See table 1.)
Among full-time wage and salary workers, union members had median usual weekly earnings of $1,169 in 2021, while those who were not union members had median weekly earnings of $975. In addition to coverage by a collective bargaining agreement, these earnings differences reflect a variety of influences, including variations in the distributions of union members and nonunion employees by occupation, industry, age, firm size, or geographic region. (See tables 2 and 4.)
Union Membership by State
In 2021, 30 states and the District of Columbia had union membership rates below that of the U.S. average, 10.3 percent, while 20 states had rates above it. All states in both the East South Central and West South Central divisions had union membership rates below the national average, while all states in both the Middle Atlantic and Pacific divisions had rates above it. (See table 5 and chart 1.)
Ten states had union membership rates below 5.0 percent in 2021. South Carolina had the lowest rate (1.7 percent), followed by North Carolina (2.6 percent) and Utah (3.5 percent). Two states had union membership rates over 20.0 percent in 2021: Hawaii (22.4 percent) and New York (22.2 percent).
In 2021, about 30 percent of the 14.0 million union members lived in just two states (California at 2.5 million and New York at 1.7 million). However, these states accounted for about 17 percent of wage and salary employment nationally.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Impact on 2021 Union Members Data
Union membership data for 2021 continue to reflect the impact on the labor market of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Comparisons with union membership measures for 2020, including metrics such as the union membership rate and median usual weekly earnings, should be interpreted with caution. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 led to an increase in the unionization rate due to a disproportionately large decline in the number of nonunion workers compared with the decline in the number of union members. The decrease in the rate in 2021 reflects a large gain in the number of nonunion workers and a decrease in the number of union workers. More information on labor market developments in recent months is available at:
Resources for Resisting Federal Repression
Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests.
The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page.
If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities.
State and Local Hotlines
If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for:
If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:
Know Your Rights Materials
The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides.
WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office
We also recommend the following resources:
Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources
By Ivan Nechepurenko, July 26, 2022https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/26/world/europe/brittney-griner-russia-court.html
Wearing a black and gray sweatshirt with the slogan “Black lives for peace” printed on the back, Brittney Griner, the W.N.B.A. star who has been detained in Russia on drug charges, appeared in a court near Moscow on Tuesday as her defense team continued to present evidence that she had not intended to break the law.
She was escorted to a courtroom by a group of police officers, one of them wearing a balaklava, and stood in a metal cage, holding photographs of her relatives, teammates and friends, according to video footage from the scene published by Russian state television.
After being detained in a Moscow airport one week before Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Ms. Griner has become an unlikely pawn in a diplomatic game between Moscow and Washington. With her guilty plea making the verdict seem a foregone conclusion, experts said that her best hope was that the Biden administration could find a way to swap her for a high-profile Russian being held by the United States.
During court hearings, her defense team argued for leniency, saying that Ms. Griner had not intended to smuggle narcotics into Russia and that, like many other international athletes, she had used cannabis to help ease pain from injuries.
A narcology expert testified in court on Tuesday, Ms. Griner’s lawyers said, to present a case that in some countries, including the United States, medical cannabis “is a popular treatment, specifically among athletes.”
“With the prescription in place, Brittney may have used it for medical, but not for recreational purposes,” said Maria Blagovolina, one of Ms. Griner’s lawyers and a partner at Rybalkin, Gortsunyan, Dyakin & Partners, a firm in Moscow.
At the previous hearing, the lawyers presented a note from Ms. Griner’s doctor recommending cannabis to treat her pain. Ms. Griner was also expected to appear in court on Wednesday, when she could be called to testify.
Ms. Griner had traveled to Russia because she played for a team in the country to earn extra money during the off-season. Russian customs officials discovered two vape cartridges with hashish oil — a cannabis derivative — in her luggage.
Ms. Griner was taken into custody near Moscow and accused of willfully smuggling the vape cartridges, a charge that can carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
On July 7, Ms. Griner pleaded guilty to the charges, saying that she had unintentionally carried a banned substance into Russia because she had packed in a hurry. The Russian authorities have signaled that no possible exchange can take place before a verdict in court.
American officials have said that they are doing all they can to return Ms. Griner home, arguing that she was wrongfully detained. Last week, Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that such statements were “political, biased, and illegitimate.”
“If an American citizen was detained on drug trafficking charges and she does not deny it herself, then this should correspond to Russian legislation, and not to the laws adopted in San Francisco,” Ms. Zakharova said.
By Maia Szalavitz, July 26, 2022
Ms. Szalavitz is a contributing Opinion writer. She covers addiction and public policy.https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/26/opinion/medicine-criminal-law.html
With the fall of Roe v. Wade, physicians across the country are struggling to balance the conflicting imperatives of their calling to care with their institutional duty to avoid legal liability, all to the detriment of their patients.
Medicine is hard to govern with the blunt instrument of criminal law. Human biological processes, including pregnancy, are enormously variable. In many cases, determining the precise moment when someone’s life or health is so threatened that abortion would be legal under a particular law is not an ethically answerable scientific question. And so doctors turn to lawyers, often with no medical experience, to protect themselves from prison.
Under Roe, most obstetricians and gynecologists didn’t face this level of legal peril. But this isn’t the first time America has criminalized aspects of medicine. Physicians who prescribe controlled substances like opioids carry a similar burden. They can face decades in prison if prosecutors target them for overprescribing. Although there are cases of bad actors who prescribed opioids for profit, even legitimate physicians may fear being targeted by law enforcement, and research shows that the threat of legal action has a broad chilling effect on the way doctors provide care. The war on drugs shows that when medicine is criminalized and politicized, harm to patients and doctors increases, while the activities that the laws are intended to curb continue or even increase.
The inability of criminal law to regulate medicine safely is visible in how people in pain or with suspected addiction are treated. I’ve written about suicides by chronic pain patients who were cut off from opioid medications that had helped them, in part because of doctors’ fears of legal consequences. Research now shows that for this group, cutting prescriptions dramatically increases risk of overdose and mental health crisis, compared with staying the course. But since physicians remain scared, the cutbacks continue.
Criminalization simply doesn’t allow for nuances that are part and parcel of medicine, such as the fact that some people need large doses of opioids because the enzymes that metabolize drugs vary widely because of genetics and other factors. Even in terminal cancer care — in which few if any deny the need for opioids — doses fell by 38 percent between 2007 and 2017, as legal pressure to do something about rising overdose deaths grew.
And criminalization invites suspicion, framing patients as liars. Health care providers, often unconsciously, can become contemptuous of those whose cases may bring legal scrutiny, corroding care. In 2017, for example, the artist Quána Madison said, an E.R. nurse called the police to remove her from the hospital and claimed that she was seeking drugs. Ms. Madison has chronic pain from complications of major surgeries required to reduce the cancer risk from a genetic syndrome. “As a Black woman, I know to never say ‘I’m seeking pain relief’ and to focus on the issue because I’m not taken seriously otherwise,” she said, describing how she believes it was only the presence of her white boyfriend that allowed her to avoid being jailed.
It’s not hard to imagine, in the wake of Roe’s demise, similar or worse happening to women who seek medical help for pregnancy complications and are suspected of having illegal abortions. Already women say the laws in their state are preventing them from receiving the care they need, including for miscarriages.
The drug war, according to Dana Sussman, the deputy executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, “laid the foundation for criminalizing pregnancy and all pregnancy outcomes more broadly” and “deputized health care providers to report their patients.”
At least 1,700 women were prosecuted from 1973 to 2020 for stillbirths, miscarriages or exposing their fetus to some actual or perceived risk of harm, including, in many cases, for allegations of drug use during pregnancy. Consequences included lengthy prison sentences and child custody loss, even when there was no proof that the substances caused damage. Many were reported to the police by medical professionals; those targeted were overwhelmingly poor and disproportionately Black.
Loopholes in medical privacy laws — often justified by drug enforcement — mean that hospitals have discretion to share records without patient consent. Only 19 states ban warrantless searches of prescription drug monitoring databases, and at the federal level, the Drug Enforcement Administration claims that it should be able to search these databases without a warrant in any state. Almost half of the states define drug use during pregnancy as child abuse, which triggers mandatory reporting to child welfare agencies and can also result in criminal charges. It’s not too difficult to see how similar data could be used to target women seeking abortions or doctors helping with their care.
Terrified of legal action, some physicians are already taking extreme measures to protect themselves from abortion prosecutions, such as ending women’s prescriptions for an immune disorder treatment, methotrexate, because if they get pregnant, it can cause miscarriage. The Texas Medical Association recently asked state regulators to act, saying that several hospitals are turning away patients with pregnancy complications for fear of violating the state’s abortion ban. Women who are miscarrying have been left to wait until they have severe bleeding before help is offered. As with the drug war, legal fear is driving doctors to prioritize themselves over their patients’ health.
The Supreme Court, however, offers one glimmer of hope in the fight against escalating medical criminalization. In a little-noticed 9-to-0 decision, Ruan v. United States, released just days after Roe was overturned, it decided to draw a line in the war on drugs. Some circuit courts had ruled that doctors accused of running “pill mills” could be convicted simply for prescribing more than prosecutors found acceptable. Others, in contrast, had ruled that drug dealing requires criminal intent and that doctors must have the right to defend themselves as practicing in good faith.
The Supreme Court sided with physicians. Prescribing outside the mainstream still risks malpractice suits, but without signs of criminal intent like selling specific drugs for specific dollar amounts, doctors can’t be convicted as dealers, the court ruled. It’s unclear why this intent requirement would not pertain to abortion cases as well.
But it is already obvious that prosecuting physicians hasn’t ended the overdose crisis. Instead, it scared many into defensive medicine and drove people with addiction and even some pain patients to far more deadly street drugs. Last year, the United States had its highest rate of overdose death, with the majority lost to opioids.
As with the drug war, criminalizing abortion will increase harm while failing to stop the behavior it is intended to reduce.
By Edgar Sandoval, July 26, 2022https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/26/us/texas-heat-poverty-islands-san-antonio.html
SAN ANTONIO — One day last week, Juanita Cruz-Perez poked her head out the back door of her two-bedroom home in San Antonio and shook her head no. It wasn’t quite noon yet, and the heat was already unbearable. She opened the front and back doors, praying for any kind of breeze, and turned on a plastic fan that sputtered hot air. She resisted the temptation to turn on the power-guzzling air-conditioner.
“The A.C. only goes on at night, no matter how hot it gets,” she said.
Ms. Cruz-Perez suffers from a slew of health problems that are exacerbated by the stifling heat, including diabetes and high blood pressure, but her $800-a-month budget leaves little room for what she would consider a luxury.
In San Antonio, weathering the second week of a heat wave that has been ferocious even by Texas standards, lower-income residents like Ms. Cruz-Perez are sometimes left with few options to relieve the misery. Not only can she not afford air-conditioning during the hottest part of the day, she lives in the Westside, one of several parts of San Antonio — nearly all of them working-class or poor neighborhoods — where there are few trees to provide shade.
Simple things like venturing into the back yard, walking to the store or waiting for a bus can be perilous.
“When you are poor, the sun finds you faster,” Ms. Cruz-Perez said.
San Antonio has seen at least 46 days of 100-plus-degree weather so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. Through July 25, measurements taken at the city’s airport have detected that all but one day in July has surpassed the 100-degree mark.
The heat wave has been blamed for a series of wildfires, including a blaze that damaged at least 29 homes Monday evening in Balch Springs, a suburb of Dallas. The heat has also tested the state’s beleaguered power grid. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which runs the power grid, has pleaded for power conservation from those who can afford air-conditioning to avoid rolling blackouts.
High temperatures have afflicted much of the southern and eastern parts of the United States over the past two weeks, and have reached this week into the normally temperate Pacific Northwest. The oppressive impact is particularly visible in places like the San Antonio metropolitan area, a Latino-majority region where nearly 18 percent of the population lives in poverty.
The heat is inescapable in the city’s historic Westside, where the high ratio of asphalt to green space — along with old structures, freight trains and an abundance of concrete — creates the kind of “heat island effect” that is known to lead to higher energy consumption, more pollution and a greater risk of related health problems.
“It is the poor who usually end up suffering through these heat spells, because they lack the resources,” said Kayla Miranda, who heads the Coalition for Tenant Justice, an advocacy group that is pushing for more green spaces in San Antonio. “We feel forgotten by those in power. The wealthier neighborhoods have more green spaces, shade.”
Ms. Miranda knows this personally. She and her four children live in public housing, at the Alazan-Apache Courts, where her door opens onto a landscape of dry lawns and blistering sidewalks. She often struggles to pay the nearly $350-a-month electric bill to keep her children cool.
The heat is a lot more tolerable in San Antonio’s best-known area, the River Walk, where tourists drink margaritas from colorful plastic cups and ride boats under the shade trees that trace the placid river. The city’s wealthier neighborhoods, a few miles north of downtown San Antonio, are often adorned with soap-opera-style mansions, manicured lawns and lush green foliage.
The Westside, by contrast, is dotted with taquerias, small stores known as tienditas, and murals of the Virgin of Guadalupe and of folkloric singers that honor the neighborhood’s Mexican American history. A little more than a mile from the city center, the neighborhood lies next to Interstate 35.
San Antonio as a whole is no stranger to scorching temperatures. When the temperature hit 107 degrees on July 11, that was only the sixth hottest day since 1885, according to the National Weather Service; the hottest day on record, reaching a blistering 111 degrees, was 22 years ago.
Even so, scientists are increasingly finding that, as the climate warms across the globe, heat in urban areas is not distributed equitably. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is joining other agencies this year in mapping the distribution of heat in 14 cities around the country. Urban heat islands, often located in the neighborhoods occupied by lower-income residents and people of color, can be up to 20 degrees hotter than adjacent areas on summer days, researchers already have found.
In Austin, Texas, about 80 miles northeast of San Antonio, the University of Texas is using a grant from NOAA’s Climate Office to research the city’s hot spots and strategies for cooling them down.
These can include planting more trees, installing vegetation-covered or reflective roofs and canopies, and using “cool” pavement that absorbs more water than concrete or asphalt, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
San Antonio officials said the city had created a campaign known as “Beat the Heat” to offer some temporary relief. Cooling centers are open during the hottest days, and residents are reminded through various media to stay indoors as much as possible, drink plenty of fluids and take frequent cool baths if air-conditioning is not an option.
But some residents in the Westside have to take a bus to get to the cooling centers. And with little shade, waiting for a bus can often be an excruciating experience.
On a recent day, Amelia Castillo, 67, walked slowly behind her husband, Antonio Castillo, 66, struggling with a walker, to reach a bus stop with no roof along Guadalupe Avenue in the Westside. Mr. Castillo settled onto an old wooden bench and winced as the sun baked his skin. His wife tilted a blue umbrella above their heads.
“It feels like the sun is getting hotter every day,” Ms. Castillo said. “And we are still in July.”
Minutes later, a bus arrived, and Ms. Castillo shared a surprised smile. “Sometimes we have to wait for 40 to 50 minutes,” she said.
Not far from the bus stop, Jessica Vasquez fanned herself with her hands as her three children and their Great Pyrenees puppy Simba took turns sipping warm water from the water fountain at Cassiano Park.
The pool at the park was closed, with a sign indicating that it would reopen on Saturday and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. “I wish it was open,” Ms. Vasquez said. “That would have been great. I don’t know why they close it during the week when the kids are out of school.”
Another pool less than a mile away is open during the week, a city pool worker said.
Elpidio Palacios, 56, rolled his wheelchair in her direction. He said he had lost both of his legs years ago when he fell off a train and landed on the tracks. He took a bottle of cold water from Ms. Segura and took a sip. He then showed off a straw hat that Ms. Segura had given him the day before — his version of shade.
“If it wasn’t for her, I don’t know what I would do in this heat,” Mr. Palacios said. “You can’t outrun the sun.”
By Sofo Archon
According to the World Health Organization, about 300 million people suffer from depression.
So, why is that?
If you pay attention to what pharmaceutical companies have to say on depression, you might come to believe that the cause of depression is chemical imbalance in the brain, and that the only way to treat it is by taking chemical drugs, and more specifically, antidepressants.
But here’s the truth pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know: There is absolutely no evidence supporting the claim that depression is caused by chemical imbalance in the brain. Yet most people – including mental health “experts” such as psychiatrists – think otherwise, having fallen victim to the misinformation pharmaceutical companies spread in order to sell their products.
Contrary to what pharmaceutical companies like us to believe, the body is not a machine that you can just tweak here and there with chemical substances and restore its health. Rather, the body is an organic unity, which is intrinsically connected to our psyche as well as our social and natural environment. Hence, you can’t treat a multidimensional condition like depression with the one-dimensional approach of just taking drugs.
Although depression often does have a biological, genetic, neurochemical component, it can’t be understood in isolation of psychological, social and ecological factors. Why? Because our neurochemistry, genes and biology are greatly influenced by those factors. For example, research shows that early life stress, such as childhood maltreatment, has a detrimental effect on brain structure, which significantly increases the risk of developing depression. Racism, sexism, unemployment, poverty, unfair working conditions, loneliness, nature deprivation and tragic events — among plenty of other factors — have also been shown to significantly increase the risk of developing depression.
To deal with the epidemic of depression, therefore, we need to address all those issues, instead of just ingesting antidepressants, as if they alone can magically heal us. In fact, studies suggest that, generally speaking, antidepressants have little to no positive effect on treating depression. Even worse, it can be argued that, overall, antidepressants do more harm than good, considering their severe side effects, which include weight gain, fatigue, loss of libido, insomnia, emotional flatness, agitation, increased suicidal thoughts and withdrawal symptoms. (Note: If you’re on antidepressants, I’m not implying or suggesting here that you should stop taking them. I’m only putting things into perspective.)
The good news is that, over the last few years there has been a slight yet noteworthy shift in approach when it comes to the treatment of depression. For example, more and more psychiatrists are becoming aware of the dangers of antidepressants, as well as the ineffectiveness of them alone in healing depression. As a result, many (although not most) psychiatrists are extra careful when to prescribe antidepressants, and when they do prescribe them they additionally advise their patients to engage in psychotherapy and other healing modalities, such as hypnosis, meditation, yoga, gardening, forest bathing and life coaching – all of which have been shown to be beneficial in treating depression.
But here’s one thing that nearly nobody in mental health care is talking about: changing society – and by that I mean our social systems and institutions. Psychiatrists and psychotherapists are focused on treating the individual, and their work’s goal is essentially to fix them so that they can become readjusted to society and function as “normal” people. But what if society itself is sick? Then it’s not really the individuals that need fixing, but the social conditions that mess them up in the first place.
For example, if someone is depressed due to stress caused by unemployment, then helping that individual heal from depression by finding her a job won’t do much to help minimize depression on a large social scale. Nor is it an effective, long-term strategy for dealing with depression on a personal level, for that individual might lose her job again due to the market’s inherent instability and competition. In comparison, a true, lasting solution would be changing our economic system from its very foundations so that it doesn’t produce unemployment anymore.
The same can be argued about loneliness, unfair working conditions, nature deprivation and other causes of depression that I mentioned earlier – all inevitable results of the various social systems in place.
Of course, supporting depressed individuals is important too, but if our goal is to deal with depression on a population level, then we need to address its root causes (the social systems) instead of merely its symptoms (the depressed individuals). An analogy I often give to illustrate my point is that of a sick tree which is producing sick leaves. One might try to treat the leaves one by one, but if the source of their sickness — that is, the tree — isn’t addressed, then there are extreme chances that the leaves won’t be healed. And even if one could somehow (maybe with some magical drug!) heal a leaf or two, the tree will still keep on producing new, sick leaves.
That is the holistic understanding we as a collective need to develop in order to effectively deal with depression. If we don’t, we will only achieve to perpetuate — and quite possibly worsen — this serious mental disorder that’s spreading like wildfire across the globe.
By David Wallace-Wells, July 27, 2022
Illustration by Ibrahim Rayintakath
In the energy scramble provoked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, American liquid natural gas has so far played the role of Europe’s white knight. If Europe manages to keep its lights on, homes heated and factories running this winter, when energy demand is highest, it will be in large part thanks to shipments of American gas, which have more than doubled since the war began. Today, two-thirds of American oil and even more of its gas comes from hydraulic fracturing, better known as fracking, which has played this heroic-seeming role before, in the country’s long effort post-9/11 to get out from the grip of Middle Eastern producers and secure what is often described as “energy independence.” (Donald Trump preferred the term “energy dominance.”) It hasn’t proved quite as useful as you might think: Because energy prices are set on global markets, domestic production doesn’t mean Americans pay less at the pump. But thanks in large part to fracking, the United States has become the world’s largest producer of both oil and gas.
Perhaps the most striking fact about the American hydraulic-fracturing boom, though, is unknown to all but the most discriminating consumers of energy news: Fracking has been, for nearly all of its history, a money-losing boondoggle, profitable only recently, after being propped up by so much investment from venture capital and Wall Street that it resembled less an efficient-markets no-brainer and more a speculative empire of bubbles like Uber and WeWork. The American shale revolution did bring the country “energy independence,” whatever that has been worth, and more abundant oil and gas. It has indeed reshaped the entire geopolitical landscape for fuel, though not enough to strip leverage from Vladimir Putin. But the revolution wasn’t primarily a result of some market-busting breakthrough or an engineering innovation that allowed the industry to print cash. From the start, the cash moved in the other direction; the revolution happened only because enormous sums of money were poured into the project of making it happen.
Today, with profits aided by the energy price spikes of the last year, the fracking industry is finally, at least for the time being, profitable. But from 2010 to 2020, U.S. shale lost $300 billion. Previously, from 2002 to 2012, Chesapeake, the industry leader, didn’t report positive cash flow once, ending that period with total losses of some $30 billion, as Bethany McLean documents in her 2018 book, “Saudi America,” the single best and most thorough account of the fracking boom up to that point. Between mid-2012 and mid-2017, the 60 biggest fracking companies were losing an average of $9 billion each quarter. From 2006 to 2014, fracking companies lost $80 billion; in 2014, with oil at $100 a barrel, a level that seemed to promise a great cash-out, they lost $20 billion. These losses were mammoth and consistent, adding up to a total that “dwarfs anything in tech/V.C. in that time frame,” as the Bloomberg writer Joe Weisenthal pointed out recently. “There were all these stories written about how V.C.s were subsidizing millennial lifestyles,” he noted on Twitter. “The real story to be written is about the massive subsidy to consumers from everyone who financed Chesapeake and all the companies that lost money fracking last decade.”
At the risk of oversimplifying the never-ending complexities of energy, there is a climate lesson here — a clear contrast to draw. Fracking was nothing less than a genuine energy transition, enacted quite rapidly and at enormous upfront expense with only speculative paths to real profit, requiring large-scale infrastructure build-outs against some cultural and political resistance and yet celebrated all the while as a product of irrepressible capitalism, the almost inevitable result of the never-ending appetite Americans have for cheap energy. And yet for a decade, as fracking boomed, Americans were told again and again — and not just by climate deniers — that rushing a green transition would be too expensive, imposing a huge burden on taxpayers, who would be footing the bill to subsidize and support a renewable build-out that couldn’t possibly be justified in terms of market logic or demand. For those exact same years, though middlemen profited off fracking, sector-wide losses mounted. “The industry, you know, it destroyed a lot of wealth,” Jeffrey Currie, the head of commodities research at Goldman Sachs, said recently. “Like 10 to 20 cents on every single dollar. I think the number is actually closer to 30 cents on every dollar.”
The contrast raises a basic question: What does it mean to call one form of energy “expensive” or to say that transitioning to another would “cost too much”? Put another way: Why did the country decide it was OK to lose money on one kind of energy but anathema to lose it on another?
The question is a purposefully naïve one, of course, eliding some important differences. It’s true that the “subsidy” to fracking has come primarily from private markets and investors, not from public handouts designed to produce a particular energy-balance outcome. Measured by benefits to consumers, fracking has been a sort of bonanza. And it’s also true that renewables have received their fair share of investor support, on top of the tax subsidies and R. & D. money that came out of the 2009 Recovery and Reinvestment Act; in fact, clean tech has enjoyed its own speculative boom years lately. But at the level of policy and public discourse, we spent a decade applying an intuitive market test to green energy — remember the right-wing furor over the bankruptcy of the solar company Solyndra? — even as the dirty alternative boom was itself flailing, quarter after quarter, producing billion-dollar bankruptcy after billion-dollar bankruptcy.
Clean energy has found its footing anyway, but renewables still account for only 12 percent of energy consumption in the United States, compared with 32 percent for natural gas and 36 percent for petroleum. Imagine what those figures might look like if there had been a decade of strategic subsidy and directed regulatory support of the kind that, in recent weeks, has been taken off the table by Senator Joe Manchin, who spiked President Biden’s compromise energy bill, and by the Supreme Court’s limiting of the power of federal energy regulation in West Virginia v. E.P.A.
Those setbacks come at a time when the viability of green energy creation has never been greater. The International Energy Agency has declared solar photovoltaic power “the cheapest electricity in history,” and a huge majority of the world’s population lives in places where renewables are already more affordable than power from fossil fuels. Those triumphs are a result of an astonishing decade-long, investment-powered decline in the cost of solar, wind and battery power: Between 2010 and 2020, the cost of solar power fell 90 percent, and the cost of wind and battery power fell nearly as much. In June, the International Energy Agency announced that global investment in clean, green and renewable technologies had exceeded investment in fossil fuels for the first time, accounting for more than $1.4 trillion of the total global investment of $2.4 trillion.
These advances have come despite, not because of, the major oil and gas companies, which are currently contributing less than 5 percent of all investment into clean tech — even as their net income, according to the International Energy Agency, is projected to more than double in 2022 to a staggering $4 trillion. And the United States too is sitting largely on the sidelines: For example, in 2004 the country sold 13 percent of all photovoltaic cells worldwide, but in 2021 that figure had fallen to less than 1 percent, even as China’s share has grown to nearly 80 percent now. Assessing overall clean-energy investment, the I.E.A. tellingly breaks up its numbers into three “regions”: first, “advanced economies,” which includes the United States and Europe; second, “emerging markets and developing economies”; and third, China, all on its own, getting its own bar in the three-bar graph and spending far more than either Europe or the United States individually. America should try to do something about that disparity — perhaps by taking a broader view of what qualifies, on a perilously warming planet, as a worthwhile investment.
Things to Read
This week, the International Renewable Energy Agency released its annual industry update with the headline news that, just in 2021, the standard industry measure of cost had fallen 15 percent for onshore wind and 13 percent for both offshore wind and utility-scale solar. The declines over the last decade, IRENA said, represented a “seismic improvement.”
In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there were months of panic about food price spikes and the possibility of grain shortages, given that 40 percent of globally traded wheat comes from those two countries. But as of a few weeks ago, wheat was trading at lower prices than it had been before the war began. Then a “grain deal” was reached to allow exports to continue — and though the impact was immediately muddied by a Russian airstrike on the port of Odesa, the price didn’t budge on the news.
“Supercharged biotech rice yields 40 percent more grain,” Science reports.
“Researchers have found that the climatic influence of global air pollution has dropped by up to 30 percent from 2000 levels,” according to another report in Science. While that may seem like unalloyed good news, it actually comes with a worrying climate dimension: Because aerosol pollution reflects sunlight back into space, reduced pollution may have boosted warming anywhere from 15 to 50 percent, according to Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at Leipzig University and the lead author of the underlying study. “There is a lot more of this to come,” he told Science.
In The New Yorker, Dhruv Khullar reports from the ground during India’s brutal monthslong heat wave. (More on that here and here.)
According to initial tabulations, 1,700 people in Spain and Portugal died during last week’s heat wave, and one statistical analysis suggests that almost 1,000 may have died in Britain. Together, that’s more than 25 times the official death toll of India’s horrifying heat wave.
In Missouri, there was more rain in five hours than the state had ever received before in a single day; in Saint Louis, in six hours, there was two full months’ worth of precipitation. As The Washington Post points out, models suggest this kind of rainfall has only a 0.1 percent chance of happening in any given year, though it also points out that, of anywhere in the United States, the Midwest has observed the greatest increase (42 percent) of extreme precipitation events like this.
Los Angeles is considering a ban on new gas pumps.
In The Los Angeles Times, the first two of what are sure to be a long line of tributes to the legendary writer Mike Davis, who is in hospice.
In The Nation, Thea Riofrancos reviews the ambivalent eco-terrorist Andreas Malm’s quasi-manifesto “How to Blow Up a Pipeline,” which was taken remarkably seriously by voices of the liberal establishment (The Times’s Ezra Klein, The New Yorker’s David Remnick and Vox’s Sean Illing) when it was first published last year.
In High Country News, Sean Patrick Carney reviews Elvia Wilk’s “Death by Landscape”: “Wilk proposes that in addition to your public meat body — the body that goes to work, has sex or gets headaches — you have a second body, an ‘ecosystems body,’ that is ‘tethered’ — in ways both identifiable and mysterious — to microbes, mosquitoes, whales, ice shelves, landfills, and annual average rainfall, as well as, of course, human political and social formations.”
In Science, Charles Piller reports on the landscape-shifting revelation that the conceptual model for almost all treatment of Alzheimer’s disease over the last few decades may rest on basic fraud.
By Norman Lear, July 27, 2022
Mr. Lear, a father of six, is an Emmy-winning television producer and a co-founder of the advocacy organization People for the American Way.https://www.nytimes.com/2022/07/27/opinion/archie-bunker-donald-trump-norman-lear.html
Well, I made it. I am 100 years old today. I wake up every morning grateful to be alive.
Reaching my own personal centennial is cause for a bit of reflection on my first century — and on what the next century will bring for the people and country I love. To be honest, I’m a bit worried that I may be in better shape than our democracy is.
I was deeply troubled by the attack on Congress on Jan. 6, 2021 — by supporters of former President Donald Trump attempting to prevent the peaceful transfer of power. Those concerns have only grown with every revelation about just how far Mr. Trump was willing to go to stay in office after being rejected by voters — and about his ongoing efforts to install loyalists in positions with the power to sway future elections.
I don’t take the threat of authoritarianism lightly. As a young man, I dropped out of college when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and joined the U.S. Army Air Forces. I flew more than 50 missions in a B-17 bomber to defeat fascism consuming Europe. I am a flag-waving believer in truth, justice and the American way, and I don’t understand how so many people who call themselves patriots can support efforts to undermine our democracy and our Constitution. It is alarming.
At the same time, I have been moved by the courage of the handful of conservative Republican lawmakers, lawyers and former White House staffers who resisted Mr. Trump’s bullying. They give me hope that Americans can find unexpected common ground with friends and family whose politics differ but who are not willing to sacrifice core democratic principles.
Encouraging that kind of conversation was a goal of mine when we began broadcasting “All in the Family” in 1971. The kinds of topics Archie Bunker and his family argued about — issues that were dividing Americans from one another, such as racism, feminism, homosexuality, the Vietnam War and Watergate — were certainly being talked about in homes and families. They just weren’t being acknowledged on television.
For all his faults, Archie loved his country and he loved his family, even when they called him out on his ignorance and bigotries. If Archie had been around 50 years later, he probably would have watched Fox News. He probably would have been a Trump voter. But I think that the sight of the American flag being used to attack Capitol Police would have sickened him. I hope that the resolve shown by Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, and their commitment to exposing the truth, would have won his respect.
It is remarkable to consider that television — the medium for which I am most well-known — did not even exist when I was born, in 1922. The internet came along decades later, and then social media. We have seen that each of these technologies can be put to destructive use — spreading lies, sowing hatred and creating the conditions for authoritarianism to take root. But that is not the whole story. Innovative technologies create new ways for us to express ourselves, and, I hope, will allow humanity to learn more about itself and better understand one another’s ideas, failures and achievements. These technologies have also been used to create connection, community and platforms for the kind of ideological sparring that might have drawn Archie to a keyboard. I can only imagine the creative and constructive possibilities that technological innovation might offer us in solving some of our most intractable problems.
I often feel disheartened by the direction that our politics, courts and culture are taking. But I do not lose faith in our country or its future. I remind myself how far we have come. I think of the brilliantly creative people I have had the pleasure to work with in entertainment and politics, and at People for the American Way, a progressive group I co-founded to defend our freedoms and build a country in which all people benefit from the blessings of liberty. Those encounters renew my belief that Americans will find ways to build solidarity on behalf of our values, our country and our fragile planet.
Those closest to me know that I try to stay forward-focused. Two of my favorite words are “over” and “next.” It’s an attitude that has served me well through a long life of ups and downs, along with a deeply felt appreciation for the absurdity of the human condition.
Reaching this birthday with my health and wits mostly intact is a privilege. Approaching it with loving family, friends and creative collaborators to share my days has filled me with a gratitude I can hardly express.
This is our century, dear reader, yours and mine. Let us encourage one another with visions of a shared future. And let us bring all the grit and openheartedness and creative spirit we can muster to gather together and build that future.
Norman Lear produced “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “The Jeffersons” and “Good Times,” among other groundbreaking television shows. He is a member of the Television Academy Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. An activist and philanthropist, he co-founded and serves on the board of the advocacy organization People for the American Way.
In the fight against warming, a formidable ally hides just beneath our feet.
Climate correspondent Somini Sengupta and photographer Tomás Munita reported from Chile on scientists building a global atlas of underground fungal networks. July 27, 2022https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/07/27/climate/climate-change-fungi.html
There’s just a brief window of time when mushrooms are visible.
[You must click on the link to read this article, and see the photographs and animated illustrations online, it's really fascinating. —Bonnie Weinstein]