Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, December 12, 2022


Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!

This is the cry heard around the world 

Make it reverberate in San Francisco on December 15th, and Oakland on December 16!

December 15, 2022, 5:00 P.M.

Federal Building, San Francisco

Meet for the protest at 7th and Mission

Civic Center BART, exit 7th St.

December 16th, 12:30 P.M. 

Oscar Grant Plaza, Oakland 

12th and Broadway…12th St. BART

 Mumia Is innocent!

But this innocent, framed-up man has been held for over four decades in prison. Mumia is an internationally known political prisoner. As a former Black Panther and MOVE supporter, Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit because he criticized the racist criminal justice system as a radio journalist. The evidence that should free him has now come to light, after being kept in the dark by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office. 

Now, he will hear a judgement on his case for freedom in the Philadelphia PA Court of Common Pleas on the 16th of December.

Initiated by The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.  



Railroad Workers United Launches Major Fundraising Campaign


Railroad Workers United (RWU) has received a remarkable outpouring of support and solidarity as our struggle for a fair contract has caught national attention, and the daily realities of our working conditions have reached the hearts and minds of our communities. Railroaders, friends, and allies are joining our membership organization, subscribing to our newsletter service, and asking how they can help.


Despite actions by Congress and the Biden Administration, we intend to continue to organize for our dignity and job quality, and fight exploitation by Class I rail carrier billionaires.


We are a group of fighting railroaders, and we fight for all workers.


Amid this season of giving, RWU humbly asks you to help propel our campaigns and capacity building forward. Your donation will support:


·      Expanding our campaign for public ownership of the railroads

·      Fighting to consolidate the railroad craft unions to achieve one strong and unified voice at the next round of bargaining — organizing for which begins today!

·      Funding research, development, and labor education

·    Building our staff and administrative capacity to meet the needs of a growing membership, and to support member organizing


By giving to Railroad Workers United, you become a steward of fairness and decency on the railroads, which are so crucial to the supply chain. Join our struggle and please donate today. Thank you!


Donate Here - Help Build the Movement!






Free The Land!

Dr. Mutulu Shakur comes home this week!  We are thankful to everyone who has contributed to the campaign and fundraising efforts.  The outpouring of support has been overwhelming and heart-warming.  We want to send a clear message - Mutulu is Welcome Here-by raising $50,000 this week to help insure him and his family has what they need to bring him home.  
We can do this Together by donating and asking others to give as well.

 Will you donate this week and share/reshare the graphic and ask others to give as well?  

Links to Family and Friends of Mutulu Shakur and Community Aid and Development can be found at https://linktr.ee/FreeMutuluNow

Straight Ahead,

Shakur Squad No. 1
Free Mutulu NOW Campaign



Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal Update

The struggle continues!

At 12:45pm October 26, 2022, a proposed order denying Mumia Abu-Jamal’s constitutional claims of jury bias and suppressed evidence was issued by Common Pleas court Judge Lucretia Clemons.


Abu-Jamal’s defense petition included newly discovered evidence that had been buried in the prosecutor’s own files.  This evidence documented key witnesses receiving promises of money for their testimony and evidence of favorable treatment in pending criminal cases. The petition also documented the abhorrent and unconstitutional practice of striking Black jurors during Mumia’s original trial. 


Racism remains the ELEPHANT in the room.   


“I am going to help them fry the n---word”--Original trial court Judge Albert Sabo said this in front of court clerk Terri Maurer Carter and fellow Common Pleas Court judge Richard Kline during the first week of Mumia’s 1982 trial.  


Philadelphia ADA Jack McMahon made the policy clear in a 1986 training tape stating that getting “a competent, fair and impartial jury. Well, that's ridiculous,'…“You don't want smart people. But if you're sitting down and you're going to take Blacks, you want older Blacks." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag2I-L3mqsQ


If you put thick blinders on that block out all reality and rely on procedural minutia for cover, honestly, it is still impossible to avoid the scorchingly blatant racism of trial judge Albert Sabo, Assistant District Attorney Joseph McGill, Mayor and former police chief Frank Rizzo, District Attorney during Mumia’s trial Ed Rendell, and Ron Castille DA on appeal.


Yesterday, Judge Lucretia Clemons in her oral statements from the bench continued a common practice of adopting wholesale the Philadelphia District Attorney’s positions. These positions only seek to preserve convictions at all costs.  These arguments prevent the defense from putting on the record evidence of discrimination.  PCRA procedural rules such as time bar, due diligence, waiver, previously litigated, all avoid a judicial review of the merits.


The racism is so transparent and indefensible so the DA is using court created law to dismiss cases before hearing new suppressed evidence. This is a blatantly dishonest practice routinely used by the prosecution and the courts when everyone knows, and I mean everyone knows, that racism was a hallmark of the original trial.


Striking Blacks from the Jury

Judge Clemons stated that she was dismissing the claim of striking Black jurors on procedural grounds, without addressing the merits of the claim.  She suggested that former counsel for the defense had not sought prosecutor McGill’s previously buried notes (notes that highlight his impermissible race based tracking and discrimination). Clemons adopts the prosecution position that the defense had the opportunity to receive these notes by merely asking the prosecution or cross examining ADA McGill in prior court proceedings. This is a key and deliberate misreading of the record. At no time were these crucial notes and the motivations that guided ADA McGill ever available to the defense. McGill struck Black jurors at a 71% rate, significantly higher than the strike rate for white jurors. His reasons for seating some white jurors and not seating nonwhite jurors were not on the record, they were in his notes.


One only has to look at the McMann training tapes that were made by the Philadelphia DA’s office which instructed district attorney’s how to strike black jurors. These were made after Mumia’s trial but they document the practice which was the norm in the office.  This is the context for this ruling which misstates the record and ignores the reality in these Philadelphia courtrooms.  Judge Lucretia Clemons and her law clerks complained on the record about how long it took them to find Pennsylvania cites to bolster their opinion.  Why is Judge Clemons working so hard to avoid the elephant in the room?


Suborning Perjury: Paying Witnesses

Additionally, at issue is the note from supposed “eye witness” Robert Chobert that asked ADA McGill after the trial “where is the money that is owe to me?” This note was scrubbed from any filings and buried by the prosecution for 40 years. This dramatic “Brady evidence” previously unavailable to the defense, was dismissed by the Judge in her written opinion as not “being material.” Meaning it would not have affected the jury’s verdict.  Underlying this is the wholesale adoption of the credibility determinations of the original trial court judge Albert “I am going to help them fry the n---word” Sabo.  It allows his racist tainted rulings to stand.


She also dismissed records from ADA McGill that extensively track and monitor another key witness Cynthia White, who’s pending criminal cases were ALL were dropped by the prosecution following her testimony.


How can the court ignore the context.  Note this information which follows had been previously prevented from being added to the record by Albert Sabo and other judges on appeal:


Photos from the Philadelphia Bulletin that prove Robert “I was on probation, did not have a license to drive a cab, and threw a Molotov cocktail into a school for pay” Chobert was not parked at the scene of the shooting. Chobert could not have witnessed the shooting. He was NOT parked directly behind the officer’s car as he claimed to be.  The answer is: because the PCRA (Post Conviction Relief Act) allows the dismissal of this critical evidence through by time bar.


Finally, Judge Lucretia Clemons admonished the defense to limit their briefs challenging her proposed ruling to cite Pennsylvania law.  It is commonly understood here, rather than being the birthplace of liberty, Pennsylvania is the place where the US Supreme Courts constitutional standards for criminal defendants are the very last place to be honored.


This case proves that racism reigns unabated in the American justice system, Mumia Abu-Jamal is the canary in the coal mine.   


Judge Clemons’ 31pg proposed opinion will be available today, 10-27-22. The Defense has 20 days to reply, and prosecution given 10 additional days to respond before the court’s order dismissing Mumia’s request for a new trial becomes final and appealable.  


Mumia Abu-Jamal has spent 42 years in prison for the death of Philadelphia Police officer Daniel Faulkner on Dec. 9th 1981. He has maintained his innocence and has sought his freedom by appealing to the very courts that now seek to preserve his unjust and unconstitutional conviction. At age 67 he has spent 42 years in prison.


Mumia Abu-Jamal is a broadcast journalist and internationally recognized author. Mr. Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence at SCI Mahanoy in Pennsylvania. He is the author of 13 books, holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature and is currently working on the requirements to complete a PhD in the History of Consciousness Department at University of California Santa Cruz.


Noelle Hanrahan, Esq. nhanrahanlaw@gmail.com 415-793-7958 www. Prisonradio.org


Every act matters.  Stand up. Join us as we launch Love Not Phear.


Cuando luchamos ganamos, When We Fight, We Win


Noelle Hanrahan

Prison Radio Co-Director




Urgent support needed for cancer-stricken, imprisoned writer/artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Legal Fund!

Fundraiser for an attorney to represent Rashid’s struggle for medical care
A campaign is underway to hire an attorney to represent Kevin Rashid Johnson’s struggle for medical care. The prison has denied this care to him, despite a cancer diagnosis discovered over one year ago for which no treatment has yet been provided.

Here is the donation link for Rashid’s legal fund: 
Please be as generous as you can.


Prostate cancer can be cured if discovered and treated before it spreads (metastasizes) beyond the prostate. But once it spreads it becomes incurable and fatal.

Rashid's prostate cancer was discovered over a year ago and diagnosed by biopsy months ago, before it had spread or any symptoms had developed. However, he has now developed symptoms that indicate it likely has metastasized, which would not have happened if he had begun receiving treatment earlier. Denied care and delayed hospital appointments continue, which can only be intended to cause spreading and worsening symptoms.

I just received word from Rashid through another prisoner where he is, that he was transported on October 25, 2022 to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) hospital, which is a state hospital where Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials also work. MCV appears to have a nefarious relationship with the VDOC in denying prisoners needed treatment. Upon arrival to the hospital he was told the appointment had been rescheduled, which has now become a pattern.

The appointment was for a full body PET scan to determine if and to what degree his cancer has metastasized. When he met with a radiologist on October 4, 2022, after 3 prior re-schedulings, there was concern that his cancer may have spread because of symptoms he's begun developing. This is his fourth rescheduled hospital appointment which has delayed appointments for weeks to months, preventing him from receiving care.

Because of delayed testing and denied care Rashid has developed symptoms that continue to worsen, which include internal bleeding and pain. The passage of time without care is worsening his condition and making the likelihood of death from the spread of his cancer more certain.





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.



Dear friends, 

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:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



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)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “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.



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603


Bury My Heart with Leonard Peltier

How long will he still be with us? How long will the genocide continue?

By Michael Moore

—VIA Email: michaelmoore@substack.com

LEONARD PELTIER, Native American hero. An innocent man, he’s spent 44 years as a political prisoner. The prosecutor who put him behind bars now says Peltier is innocent. President Biden, go to Mass today, and then stop this torture. (Sipa/Shutterstock)

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


Phone: 202-456-1111

E-mail: At this link



Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland


Phone: 202-208-3100

E-mail: feedback@ios.doi.gov


Attorney General Merrick Garland


Phone: 202-514-2000

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”



The Moment

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!



Union Membership—2021

Bureau of Labor Statistics

U.S. Department of Labor

For release 10:00 a.m. (ET) Thursday, January 20, 2022

Technical information: 

(202) 691-6378 • cpsinfo@bls.gov • www.bls.gov/cps

Media contact: 

(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).

Union Representation

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: 

www.bls.gov/covid19/effects-of-covid-19-pandemic-and- response-on-the-employment-situation-news-release.htm.



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. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

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: 

National Hotline

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: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) The Supreme Court Is About to Ask the Wrong Question About the First Amendment

By David Cole, Dec. 5, 2022

Mr. Cole is the national legal director of the A.C.L.U. 


A statue at the Supreme Court with a rainbow in the sky behind it.
Damon Winter/The New York Times

Can an artist be compelled to create a website for an event she does not condone? That’s the question the Supreme Court has said it will take up on Monday, when it hears oral arguments in 303 Creative v. Elenis. The answer would seem to be obviously “no.”


But that’s the wrong question. The right question is whether someone who chooses to open a business to the public should have the right to turn away gay customers simply because the service she would provide them is “expressive” or “artistic.” Should an architecture firm that believes Black families don’t deserve fancy homes be permitted to turn away Black clients because its work is “expressive”? Can a florist shop whose owner objects to Christianity refuse to serve Christians? The answer to these questions would seem to be, just as obviously, “no.”


So why is the first question the wrong one in this dispute? The case before the court was brought by 303 Creative, a business that says it wants to offer wedding website design services to the public, but doesn’t want to serve gay couples. Under Colorado’s “public accommodations law,” businesses that choose to serve the public at large cannot turn people away because of their race, sex, religion, sexual orientation or other protected characteristics. 303 Creative claims that because its service is expressive and its owner objects to same-sex marriage, it can’t be required to obey Colorado’s law. Not to afford it an exemption, the company argues, compels it to speak against its will and violates its free speech rights.


If this sounds familiar, that’s because five years ago the Supreme Court considered a similar case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, in which a bakery asserted a free-expression right to turn away a gay couple that asked it to make a cake to celebrate their wedding. The court resolved that dispute on other grounds, so did not answer the question. Masterpiece Cakeshop’s lawyers are back before the court, making the same argument with a new client. (303 Creative has actually never made a wedding website for anyone, but it claims that it can’t even get started without a legal ruling that it can turn away gay couples.)


The A.C.L.U. has been this nation’s leading defender of free speech for more than a century. We firmly believe that states cannot compel artists or anyone else to express messages with which they disagree.


But we filed an amicus brief supporting Colorado in 303 Creative, and we defended the same law five years ago on behalf of the gay couple denied service by Masterpiece Cakeshop. We did so because Colorado’s law does not do what 303 Creative claims it does. Public accommodations laws, which have been on the books since the 19th century, ensure that everyone has equal access to the public marketplace without regard to attributes historically marking them for second-class status. Those laws don’t trigger serious First Amendment concerns because they treat all businesses equally, whether they take corporate headshots or serve burgers and fries. The purpose of these laws is not to dictate the content of anyone’s speech, but to make sure that nobody is denied goods or services in commercial markets for discriminatory reasons.


Two features of the law make clear that Colorado’s law does not coerce artists to express a message with which they disagree.


First, no artist has to open a business to the public in the first place. Most writers, painters and other artists never do; they pick their subjects and leave it at that. The photographer Annie Leibovitz, for example, does not offer to take photographs of anyone who offers to pay her fee, but chooses her subjects. She is perfectly free to photograph only white people or only Buddhists.


But if Ms. Leibovitz were to open a portrait photography business that offered to take portraits on a first-come, first-served basis to the public at large, as many corporate photography studios do, she could not turn away subjects just because they were Black or Christian. Her photographic work would be just as expressive. But the choice to benefit from the public marketplace comes with the legal obligation to equally serve members of the public. And requiring businesses that offer expressive services in the public marketplace to follow the same rules as all other businesses does not violate the First Amendment.


Second, even businesses open to the public are free to define the content of what they sell. A Christmas store can sell only Christmas items without running afoul of public accommodations laws. It need not stock Hanukkah candles or Kwanzaa cards. But it cannot put a sign on its doors saying, “We don’t serve Jews” or “No Blacks allowed.”


303 Creative argues that it is not turning away same-sex couples because they are gay, but because it objects to the message that making a wedding website for them would convey. The company has, however, asked the court to declare its right to refuse to make any website for a same-sex couple’s wedding, even if its content is identical to one it would design for a straight couple. According to this line of argument, the company could refuse a gay couple even a site that merely announced the time and location of the wedding and recommended places to stay.


Colorado’s law doesn’t dictate the content of what a business sells. 303 Creative is free to post on all the websites it designs, “The Bible condemns gay marriage.” And by the same token, it could refuse to design a site that says, “The Bible blesses gay marriage,” if it would not design that website for anyone. In that case, the decision would not be discrimination based on the customer’s identity, but a permissible decision to define the product it sells.


303 Creative has plenty of freedom to speak or not speak as it wishes. It need not serve the public and it need not design wedding websites featuring content it would not sell to anyone. But the First Amendment does not give it an exemption from laws requiring equal treatment of customers simply because its service is “expressive.”


Otherwise, interior decorators, landscape architects, tattoo parlors, sign painters and beauty salons, among countless other businesses whose services contains some expressive element, would all be free to hang out signs refusing to serve Muslims, women, the disabled, African Americans or any other group. The First Amendment protects the right to have and express bigoted views, but it doesn’t give businesses a license to discriminate.



2) I’m an N.Y.C. Paramedic. I’ve Never Witnessed a Mental Health Crisis Like This One.

By Anthony Almojera, Dec. 7, 2022

Mr. Almojera is a lieutenant paramedic with the New York City Fire Department Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and the author of “Riding the Lightning: A Year in the Life of a New York City Paramedic.” 


Anthony Almojera standing inside his emergency medical services station.
Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

There are New Yorkers who rant on street corners and slump on sidewalks beside overloaded pushcarts. They can be friendly or angry or distrustful. To me and my colleagues, they’re patients.


I’m a lieutenant paramedic with the Fire Department’s Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, and it’s rare to go a day without a call to help a mentally ill New Yorker. Medical responders are often their first, or only, point of contact with the chain of health professionals who should be treating them. We know their names and their routines, their delusions, even their birthdays.


It is a sad, scattered community. And it has mushroomed. In nearly 20 years as a medical responder, I’ve never witnessed a mental health crisis like the one New York is currently experiencing. During the last week of November, 911 dispatchers received on average 425 calls a day for “emotionally disturbed persons,” or E.D.P.s. Even in the decade before the pandemic, those calls had almost doubled. E.D.P.s are people who have fallen through the cracks of a chronically underfunded mental health system, a house of cards built on sand that the Covid pandemic crushed.


Now Mayor Eric Adams wants medical responders and police officers to force more mentally ill people in distress into care. I get it — they desperately need professional help, and somewhere safe to sleep and to get a meal. Forceful action makes for splashy headlines.


People with mental health challenges can be victims of violence. I’m also painfully aware of the danger people with serious mental illness and without access to treatment can pose to the public. Assaults on E.M.S. workers in the New York City Fire Department have steadily increased year over year. Our medical responders have been bitten, beaten and chased by unstable patients. A man who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia has been charged with fatally stabbing my colleague, Capt. Alison Russo-Elling, in Queens on Sept. 29.


But dispatching medical responders to wrangle mentally disturbed people living on the street and ferry them to overcrowded psychiatric facilities is not the answer.


For one thing, the mayor is shifting more responsibility for a systemic crisis to an overworked medical corps burned out from years of low pay and the strain of the pandemic. Many E.M.S. workers are suffering depression and lack adequate professional mental health support, much like the patients we treat. Several members of the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services have died by suicide since the pandemic began, and hundreds have quit or retired. Many of us who are still working are stretched to the breaking point.


I’ve gone down the road of despair myself. The spring and fall of 2020 left me so empty, exhausted and sleepless that I thought about suicide, too. Our ambulances are simply the entrance to a broken pipeline. We have burned down the house of mental health in this city, and the people you see on the street are the survivors who staggered from the ashes.


Those who are supposed to respond and help them are not doing well either. Since March 2020, the unions that represent the Fire Department’s medical responders have been so inundated with calls from members seeking help that we set up partnerships with three mental health organizations, all paid for by the E.M.S. F.D.N.Y. Help Fund, an independent charity group founded and funded by medical responders and the public through donations to help us out in times of crisis.


We need to sift through the embers and see what we can salvage. Then we need to lay a new foundation, put in some beams to support the structure and start building.


What New York, like so many cities around the United States, needs is sustained investment to fund mental health facilities and professionals offering long-term care. This effort would no doubt cost tens of millions of dollars.


I’m not opposed to taking mentally ill people in distress to the hospital — our ambulances do this all the time. But I know it’s unlikely to solve their problems. Hospitals are overwhelmed, so they sometimes try to shuffle patients to other facilities. Gov. Kathy Hochul has promised 50 extra beds for New York City’s psychiatric patients. We need far more to manage those patients who would qualify for involuntary hospitalization under Mr. Adams’s vague criteria.


Often, a patient is examined by hospital staff, given a sandwich and a place to rest for a few hours, and then discharged. If the person is intoxicated, a nurse might offer a “banana bag” — an intravenous solution of vitamins and electrolytes — and time to sober up. Chances are the already overworked staff can’t do much, if anything, about the depression that led the patient to drink or take drugs in the first place.


Let’s say a patient does receive treatment in the hospital. Mr. Adams says that under the new directive, this patient won’t be discharged until a plan is in place to connect the person with ongoing care. But the systems responsible for this care — sheltered housing, access to outpatient psychiatric care, social workers, a path to reintegration into society — are horribly inadequate. There aren’t enough shelters, there aren’t enough social workers, there aren’t enough outpatient facilities. So people who no longer know how to care for themselves, who need their hands held through a complex process, are alone on the street once again.


A few days ago, I treated a manic-depressive person in his late 30s who was shouting at people on a subway platform in Downtown Brooklyn. The man said he’d gone two years without medication because he didn’t know where to get it. He said he didn’t want to go to a shelter, and I told him I knew where he was coming from: I was homeless for two years in my early 20s, and I slept in my car to avoid shelters — one night at the Bedford-Atlantic Armory was enough for me.


I persuaded the man to come with me to Brooklyn Hospital Center and made sure he got a prescription. Whether or not he’ll remember to take it, I don’t know.


While I don’t know how forcing people into care will help, I do see how it will hurt. Trust between a medical responder and the patient is crucial. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to get patients to talk to us, to let us touch them or stick needles filled with medications into their arms. But if we bundle people into our ambulances against their will, that trust will break.


Also, medical responders aren’t equipped to handle standoffs with psychiatric patients. In my experience, police officers are not keen to intervene with the mentally ill. They don’t have the medical knowledge to evaluate patients. So, who is going to decide whether to transport them? What if we disagree? Protocol has been that it is the E.M.S. personnel who make the decision. Will the police now order us to take them? I can only imagine the hours that medical responders and cops will spend debating what to do with a patient.


Rather than looking for a superficial fix, Mayor Adams should turn his attention to our neglected health care apparatus. We must heavily invest in social services, housing and mental health care if we want to avoid this ongoing tragedy. We need this kind of investment across the United States, where there’s a serious post-pandemic mental health crisis. My contact with New York City’s mentally ill population over the years and my own brushes with depression and homelessness have taught me we are all much closer to the abyss than we think.



3) Covid-19 Isn’t a Pandemic of the Unvaccinated Anymore

By David Wallace-Wells, Dec. 7, 2022


Ibrahim Rayintakath

Americans received their first Covid-19 vaccine doses in December 2020, which means we are now approaching the beginning of the third year of the pandemic’s vaccine phase. And yet hundreds of Americans are still dying each day. Who are they? The data offers a straightforward answer: older adults.


Though it’s sometimes uncomfortable to say it, mortality risk has been dramatically skewed by age throughout the pandemic. The earliest reports of Covid deaths from China sketched a pattern quickly confirmed everywhere in the world: In an immunologically naïve population, the oldest were several thousand times more at risk of dying from infection than the youngest.


But the skew is actually more dramatic now — even amid mass vaccinations and reinfections — than it was at any previous point over the last three years. Since the beginning of the pandemic, people 65 and older accounted for 75 percent of all American Covid deaths. That dropped below 60 percent as recently as September 2021. But today Americans 65 and over account for 90 percent of new Covid deaths, an especially large share given that 94 percent of American seniors are vaccinated.


Yet these facts seem to contradict stories we’ve told about what drives vulnerability to Covid-19. In January, Joe Biden warned that the illness and death threatened by the Omicron variant represented “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” But that month, in which nearly 85,000 Americans died, the unvaccinated accounted for 59 percent of those deaths, down from 77 percent the previous September, according to analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The share of deaths among older adults that January was nearly 74 percent.


Over the months that followed, the unvaccinated share of mortality fell even further, to 38 percent in May 2022. The share of deaths among people vaccinated and boosted grew significantly as well, from 12 percent in January 2022 to 36 percent in April. Those levels held roughly steady throughout the duration of the summer, during which time just about as many boosted Americans were dying as the unvaccinated. The share of deaths among older adults kept growing: In April, 79 percent of American deaths were among those 65 and older. In November, 90 percent.


As many Twitter discussions about the “base rate fallacy” have emphasized, this is not because the vaccines are ineffective — we know, also from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, that they work very well. Estimates of the effectiveness of updated bivalent boosters suggest they reduce the risk of mortality from Covid in Americans over the age of 12 by more than 93 percent compared with the population of unvaccinated. That is a very large factor.


But it isn’t the whole story, or vaccinated older adults wouldn’t now make up a larger share of Covid deaths than the unvaccinated do. That phenomenon arises from several other factors that are often underplayed. First is the simple fact that more Americans are vaccinated than not, and those older Americans most vulnerable to severe disease are far more likely to be vaccinated than others.


It is also partly a reflection of how many fewer Americans, including older ones, have gotten boosters than got the initial vaccines: 34 percent, compared to 69 percent. The number of those who have gotten updated bivalent boosters is lower still — just 12.7 percent of Americans over the age of 5.


Finally, vaccines are not as effective among older adults because the immune system weakens with age. It’s much harder to train older immune systems, and that training diminishes more quickly. In Americans between the ages of 65 and 79, for instance, vaccination reduced mortality risk from Covid more than 87 percent, compared to the unvaccinated. This is a very significant reduction, to be sure, but less than the 15-fold decline observed among those both vaccinated and bivalent-boosted in the overall population. For those 80 and above, the reduction from vaccination alone is less than fourfold.


That is a very good deal, of course. But it also means that, given the underlying age skew, a vaccinated person in their late 80s shares a similar risk of Covid death as a never-vaccinated 70-year-old. Which is to say, some real risk. If it was ever comfortable to say that the unconscionable levels of American deaths were a “pandemic of the unvaccinated,” it is surely now accurate to describe the ongoing toll as a “pandemic of the old.”


So why aren’t we?


One answer is that as a country, we prefer just to not see those deaths at all, regarding a baseline of several hundred deaths a day as a sort of background noise or morbid but faded wallpaper. We don’t need to understand who is dying or why in part because we don’t want to reckon with the fact that around 300 Americans are now dying from Covid-19 every day, at a rough pace of about 100,000 per year, making it the country’s third leading cause of death. This is normalization at work, but it is also a familiar pattern: We don’t exactly track the ups and downs of cancer or heart disease either.


Another answer is that — partly to promote good behavior, partly to more easily blame others for our general predicament — the country spent a lot of time emphasizing what you could do to protect yourself, which left us without much of a vocabulary to describe what underlying vulnerability inevitably remained. Vaccine refusal was a cancer on the American experience of the Covid years — that is undeniable. But we got so comfortable equating personal choices and individual risk that even identifying vulnerabilities came to feel like an accusation of irresponsibility. And where does that leave older adults? In a pandemic of the unvaccinated, what do you say to or about the 41 percent of Americans who died in January who’d gotten their shots? Or the roughly 60 percent of them that died this summer?


Many of us were also turned off by dismissive rhetoric from the beginning of the pandemic, when those minimizing the threat pointed to the disproportionate risks to the very old as a reason to not worry all that much about limiting spread. The country as a whole may be ageist, without all that much empathy for the well-being of octogenarians and nonagenarians. But hearing the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro or the Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick so blithely dismissing the deaths of older adults in 2020 probably made the whole subject seem considerably more taboo to the rest of us than it might’ve been otherwise.


Throughout the last few years, the country has also struggled to consider individual risk and social risk separately. In the first year of the pandemic, we seemed to build our sense of individual risk backward from the social need to limit spread — underemphasizing some of the differential threat and focusing instead on universal measures like social distancing and mask wearing. With the arrival of vaccines, we began to build a collective picture of social risk in the opposite way, up from an individual basis instead.


The picture that resulted was hugely relieving to most of us without being, at the highest levels, misleading: Vaccination and natural immunity had indeed dramatically reduced the country’s overall mortality risk. But while it’s comforting to believe that protection is a choice, for some populations it isn’t. And in moving pretty swiftly from treating everyone as high-risk to treating everyone as low-risk, we neglected to pay much attention to the differential of risk: that even if the average American had reduced his or her chances of dying by a factor of five or 10, 300 or more Americans might still be dying each day for many months, and there were probably some targeted things to do about that.


What are they? There is no simple or silver-bullet solution, which may be another reason we’ve spent more energy on the need for vaccination than on the vulnerabilities of age (that is, the fix is far more straightforward). But clearer communication — from public health officials to politicians and the media — about differential risk could nevertheless help, emphasizing not just that more shots are good but that different groups probably need different approaches, and that even with up-to-date vaccination and bivalent boosting, infection represents a considerable threat to older adults.


More targeted guidance might also underline the way that boosters still deliver what would have seemed like mind-blowing reductions in risk two years ago, even if they don’t eliminate it entirely, and point to certain settings where rapid testing should continue or be reinstituted (nursing homes, say). And there is surely much more to be done to aggressively promote treatments like Paxlovid, which are being criminally underutilized given their efficacy in vulnerable populations. (Their efficacy for younger and healthier people remains a kind of open question.) And while infrastructure investments and other mitigation strategies do not come as cheaply as communication, there is a bundle of things we know could help reduce transmission almost invisibly, without really burdening individuals: higher indoor air quality standards, for instance. You might even choose to target those investments and improvements less in schools than in care facilities, too.


Would all that be sufficient? Probably not to eliminate some ongoing death toll, unfortunately, given how promiscuously the disease is spreading. But it would presumably reduce by some fraction those hundreds of deaths we’re seeing each day. At the moment, the country is treating those deaths as the cost of normalcy.



4) Britain Is Miserable, but Britons Are Fighting Back

By Rachel Shabi, Dec. 8, 2022

Ms. Shabi is a journalist who writes about British politics and society. 


An illustration of hundreds of figures coming together to hold up sculptures of protesters' heads and fists. The figures are orange, the sculptures are gray and the background is yellow.

Bryce Wymer

Inflation is in double digits, and the recession — the worst of all Group of 7 countries — is expected to last deep into 2024. The National Health Service is on life support, public transport is sputtering, and post-Brexit worker shortages are widespread. Homeowners face soaring mortgage rates, renters are subject to no-fault evictions, and millions can’t afford to heat their homes. Food banks, which barely existed a decade ago, are at breaking point, and 14.5 million people are in poverty. Winter is here, and it’s bleak.


But Britons are fighting back. Months after what was called a hot strike summer, in which almost 200,000 workers staged walkouts, Britain is witnessing industrial action on a scale not seen in decades — and in all sorts of unlikely places. University staff members recently staged their biggest walkout, for example, and the Royal College of Nursing, which represents N.H.S. nurses, will soon take strike action for the first time in its 106-year history. The breadth of disputes is striking. Among those picketing or about to strike are postal workers, civil servants, charity workers, bus drivers, firefighters and factory workers.


The strikes, usually contentious, have unexpectedly captured the public mood. People go to picket lines and speak up for workers on television and radio phone-ins. Support, so far, is holding up: In August, three in five adult Britons backed industrial action, and polling in October showed 65 percent support for a nursing staff walkout. Rail strikes are less backed, especially with the approach of Christmas, but Mick Lynch, the leader of the transport union that has been at the forefront of strikes, has become an unlikely national hero. His refusal to accept things as they are, as well as his evisceration of hostile interviewers, has struck a chord.


Against those who insist that there is no alternative but to suffer, ordinary Britons are saying that, actually, there is — and it’s called solidarity.


Their defiance stands in stark contrast to the mood in Westminster. After weeks of political infighting and chaos, a solemn fatalism has taken hold there. To counter unsustainable levels of government debt and a global energy crisis, the argument goes, the country must make difficult decisions. As the finance minister put it before setting out a punitive budget last month, there is a “tough road ahead.” In these straitened times, everyone will have to make sacrifices for the good of the country.


Britain has heard that before. In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, politicians reached for similar arguments to justify cuts to state spending. Drawing on the figure of the welfare scrounger, assisted by an acquiescent media and compliant opposition party, the government persuaded the public that austerity was a reasonable response. This time, the approach isn’t working. According to the National Center for Social Research, 52 percent of people now think there should be more government support, not less. What’s more, fewer people now agree that welfare is too generous and prevents people from standing on their own two feet. After all, it’s hard to blame individuals for financial woes that are so widely shared.


Instead, another narrative is taking hold. In this version, the profound economic pain afflicting Britain is not acceptable or inevitable. Union leaders describe the cost-of-living crisis as a class war, effectively a money-siphoning opportunity for profiteering companies, facilitated by the government. The government’s refusal to countenance raising taxes on the very wealthy — something that, according to Tax Justice UK, an advocacy organization, could raise 37 billion pounds, or $45 billion, a year — in favor of stealth tax increases that hit low- and middle-income people is a case in point.


Abandoned by the government, people are stepping up. The Enough Is Enough campaign, started in August by trade unions, community organizers and legislators from the Labour Party’s left, has signed up 750,000 people and staged packed-out nationwide rallies. The campaign has five key demands: a real pay rise, an end to food poverty, slashed energy bills, decent housing for all and higher taxes on the highest earners. Organizers say they are reaching unlikely corners of the country, including Conservative strongholds, and the campaign is channeling supporters onto picket lines.


The grass-roots group Don’t Pay UK, set up in June, has taken things a step further. Undergirded by hundreds of support groups nationwide, 250,000 people pledged to start a coordinated national payment strike on energy bills on Dec. 1, joining the estimated three million who simply cannot pay their bills. Against criticism that nonpayment would inflict heavy penalties on the most vulnerable, the campaign seeks to provide collective support for people whose individual situations are often terrifying.


Seen as a whole, it looks like a public more prepared to stand together. Behind this sentiment, perhaps paradoxically, is the Covid pandemic. For one thing, it showed that — with political will — funds could be found to spend on public services and pay. For another, it forged such intense gratitude for nurses and other key workers that it’s now hard to dismiss their demands for better pay and conditions. Crucially, the experience of lockdown and widespread illness spawned thousands of mutual aid groups, premised on collectivism and reconnecting atomized communities. It’s this civic spirit that’s now being revived.


Four decades ago, Margaret Thatcher famously insisted that “there’s no such thing as society.” Perhaps Britain is finally ready to prove her wrong.



5) Thousands of Teens Are Being Pushed Into Military’s Junior R.O.T.C.

In high schools across the country, students are being placed in military classes without electing them on their own. “The only word I can think of is ‘indoctrination,’” one parent said.

By Mike Baker, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Ilana Marcus, Dec. 11, 2022


J.R.O.T.C. students in full dress uniform stand at their desks in a South Atlanta High School classroom, reciting a pledge.

At South Atlanta High School, the principal decided several years ago to start all freshmen in J.R.O.T.C. Credit...Zack Wittman for The New York Times

DETROIT — On her first day of high school, Andreya Thomas looked over her schedule and found that she was enrolled in a class with an unfamiliar name: J.R.O.T.C.


She and other freshmen at Pershing High School in Detroit soon learned that they had been placed into the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, a program funded by the U.S. military designed to teach leadership skills, discipline and civic values — and open students’ eyes to the idea of a military career. In the class, students had to wear military uniforms and obey orders from an instructor who was often yelling, Ms. Thomas said, but when several of them pleaded to be allowed to drop the class, school administrators refused.


“They told us it was mandatory,” Ms. Thomas said.


J.R.O.T.C. programs, taught by military veterans at some 3,500 high schools across the country, are supposed to be elective, and the Pentagon has said that requiring students to take them goes against its guidelines. But The New York Times found that thousands of public school students were being funneled into the classes without ever having chosen them, either as an explicit requirement or by being automatically enrolled.


A review of J.R.O.T.C. enrollment data collected from more than 200 public records requests showed that dozens of schools have made the program mandatory or steered more than 75 percent of students in a single grade into the classes, including schools in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City and Mobile, Ala. A vast majority of the schools with those high enrollment numbers were attended by a large proportion of nonwhite students and those from low-income households, The Times found.


The role of J.R.O.T.C. in U.S. high schools has been a point of debate since the program was founded more than a century ago. During the antiwar battles of the 1970s, protests over what was seen as an attempt to recruit high schoolers to serve in Vietnam prompted some school districts to restrict the program. Most schools gradually phased out any enrollment requirements.


But 50 years later, new conflicts are emerging as parents in some cities say their children are being forced to put on military uniforms, obey a chain of command and recite patriotic declarations in classes they never wanted to take.


In Chicago, concerns raised by activists, news coverage and an inspector general’s report led the school district to backtrack this year on automatic J.R.O.T.C. enrollments at several high schools that serve primarily lower-income neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides. In other places, The Times found, the practice continues, with students and parents sometimes rebuffed when they fight compulsory enrollment.


“If she wanted to do it, I would have no problem with it,” said Julio Mejia, a parent in Fort Myers, Fla., who said his daughter had tried to get out of a required J.R.O.T.C. class in 2019, when she was a freshman, and was initially refused. “She has no interest in a military career. She has no interest in doing any of that stuff. The only word I can think of is ‘indoctrination.’”


J.R.O.T.C. classes, which offer instruction in a wide range of topics, including leadership, civic values, weapons handling and financial literacy, have provided the military with a valuable way to interact with teenagers at a time when it is facing its most serious recruiting challenge since the end of the Vietnam War.


While Pentagon officials have long insisted that J.R.O.T.C. is not a recruiting tool, they have openly discussed expanding the $400 million-a-year program, whose size has already tripled since the 1970s, as a way of drawing more young people into military service. The Army says 44 percent of all soldiers who entered its ranks in recent years came from a school that offered J.R.O.T.C.


High school principals who have embraced the program say it motivates students who are struggling, teaches self-discipline to disruptive students and provides those who may feel isolated with a sense of camaraderie. It has found a welcome home in rural areas where the military has deep roots but also in urban centers where educators want to divert students away from drugs or violence and toward what for many can be a promising career or a college scholarship.


And military officials point to research indicating that J.R.O.T.C. students have better attendance and graduation rates, and fewer discipline problems at school.


But critics have long contended that the program’s militaristic discipline emphasizes obedience over independence and critical thinking. The program’s textbooks, The Times found, at times falsify or downplay the failings of the U.S. government. And the program’s heavy concentration in schools with low-income and nonwhite students, some opponents said, helps propel such students into the military instead of encouraging other routes to college or jobs in the civilian economy.


“It’s hugely problematic,” said Jesús Palafox, who worked with the campaign against automatic enrollment in Chicago. Now 33, he said he had become concerned that the program was “brainwashing” students after a J.R.O.T.C. instructor at his high school approached him and urged him to join the classes and enlist in the military.


“A lot of recruitment for these programs are happening in heavy communities of color,” he said.


Schools also have a financial incentive to push students into the program. The military subsidizes instructors’ salaries while requiring schools to maintain a certain level of enrollment in order to keep the program. In states that have allowed J.R.O.T.C. to be used as an alternative graduation credit, some schools appear to have saved money by using the course as an alternative to hiring more teachers in subjects such as physical education or wellness.


Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman, a spokeswoman for the Pentagon and a former J.R.O.T.C. student herself, said that, while the program helped the armed forces by introducing teenagers to the prospect of military service, it operated under the educational branch of the military, not the recruiting arm, and aimed to help teenagers become more effective students and more responsible adults.


“It’s really about teaching kids about service, teaching them about teamwork,” Commander Schwegman said.


But she expressed concern about The Times’s findings on enrollment policies, saying that the military does not ask high schools to make J.R.O.T.C. mandatory and that schools should not be requiring students to take it.


“Just like we are an all-volunteer military, this should be a volunteer program,” she said.


Across the Country


With their uniforms in pristine condition — not a name tag out of place — a group of cadets rose in their classroom at South Atlanta High School on a recent morning to bellow a creed that vowed their commitment to family, patriotism, truth, leadership and accountability.


“I am the future of the United States of America,” the cadets said in unison.


In a school where every student qualifies for free lunch and the allure of drugs and gangs is a constant concern, South Atlanta’s longtime principal, Patricia Ford, decided several years ago to have all freshmen start in J.R.O.T.C. It was a change inspired by her brother, she said. J.R.O.T.C. had shaped him into a leader and set him on a pathway to a successful career in the U.S. Navy.


The school is less strict about enrollment than others around the country, allowing students to drop the class after they have taken some time to try it. Several cadets said they had initially resisted their placement in the program, wary of the uniforms or the intensity of the instructors, but had grown to love it. One freshman said she attempted to drop the class this year, got yelled at for trying and now says she is glad she stayed.


Several of the cadets spoke about how instructors had helped them mature into better people and pressed them to get better grades in all of their classes. Half of the students gathered on a recent morning indicated that they were considering a future in the military.


Parents, Dr. Ford said, have welcomed the class with little objection.


But in some cases, parents who discovered that their children had been enrolled in military-sponsored training have struggled to pull them out of the classes.


Mr. Mejia, whose daughter was put against her will into a class in Fort Myers, met with a series of school officials while trying to get his daughter out. He said he supported the military — his sister is in the Navy — but was outraged that his daughter was being forced into the program.


The school let his daughter out of the class, he said, only after he complained that an instructor had grabbed her by the shoulders during an exercise, an incident school officials did not dispute when they noted in a response to The Times that they had ultimately allowed the girl to drop the class.


A school district spokesman said that seven high schools in Lee County automatically enrolled students in J.R.O.T.C. but that those who objected could change their schedules.


The program has always been heavily represented in regions like Texas and the Southeast, where the military has deeper roots and military families often proudly span generations. But, even there, data released in response to federal, state and local public records requests showed that some schools had relatively small enrollments in J.R.O.T.C.


Hillsborough County, Fla., for example, has made a major commitment to J.R.O.T.C., with a program at every one of its high schools. But without enrollment mandates, the district averaged about 8 percent of freshmen enrolled last year.


On the other hand, The Times’s review found a number of high schools where at least three-quarters of a grade’s students were enrolled in J.R.O.T.C., including in Baton Rouge, La.; Cape Coral, Fla.; Charlotte, N.C.; Memphis; Port Gibson, Miss.; San Diego; Spring, Texas; and Vincent, Ala.


Many other schools have more than half of all students in some grades enrolled in the program, including some in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Miami, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.


In analyzing data released by the Army, The Times found that among schools where at least three-quarters of freshmen were enrolled in J.R.O.T.C., over 80 percent of them had a student body composed primarily of Black or Hispanic students. That was a higher rate than other J.R.O.T.C. schools (over 50 percent of them had such a makeup) and U.S. high schools without J.R.O.T.C. programs (about 30 percent).


For some districts examined by The Times, it was difficult to discern whether a school required J.R.O.T.C. or if some other reason had led a large percentage of its freshmen to enroll in the program.


In Detroit, where Ms. Thomas said she had been forced to take the class, the district said in a statement that administrators did not require students to take J.R.O.T.C. although they “do encourage students in ninth grade to take the course to spark their interest.” But two recent students at Pershing, in addition to Ms. Thomas, said in interviews that they had been required to take the class. District data showed that 90 percent of freshmen were enrolled in J.R.O.T.C. during the 2021-22 school year.


Three other Detroit high schools also enrolled more than 75 percent of their freshmen in the class, according to district data.


School district officials gave various explanations for why they were putting a large proportion of their students into J.R.O.T.C.


In Pike County, Ala., which automatically enrolls all freshmen in J.R.O.T.C., administrators said the program’s focus on character and leadership had helped students improve their study habits and increase their involvement in other school programs.


“All in all, it seems to be a very positive thing that we’ve got right now,” said Jeremy Knox, who leads the district’s career education programs.


In Philadelphia, a district spokeswoman said that one school in the district, Martin Luther King High School, automatically enrolled all freshmen into J.R.O.T.C. to expose them to possible military careers and “to create a culture of teamwork, collaboration and discipline.” Star Spencer High School in Oklahoma City said it placed all freshmen in J.R.O.T.C. at the start of the school year in part because of a shortage of physical education teachers.


The principal of McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C., said students were automatically enrolled in the class so that they could learn leadership and discipline, though some did not take the course because of religious beliefs or opposition to the military.


Nearby, at Surrattsville High School in Clinton, Md., about 50 percent of freshmen were in J.R.O.T.C. last year. Katrina Lamont, the principal, said the school had been placing students in the program when they had not chosen other electives or needed to fill out their schedules. But doing so created a problem, she said, when students who had dreadlocks or other longer hairstyles ran up against the program’s strict grooming requirements. She said the school was seeking to be more accommodating this year.


Conflicts in Classrooms


Forcing students into J.R.O.T.C. has at times created problems with discipline and morale.


William White, a retired Army major who taught for years as a J.R.O.T.C. instructor in three states, said he found during his time in Florida that there was a constant emphasis on keeping enrollment elevated, with students required to take the class even when they were so opposed to it that they refused to do the work.


Mr. White recalled two students who had religious objections complaining to him about having to take the class.


“Kids were forced into the program,” he said, adding that he faced blowback after trying to get students removed who did not want to be there.


Marvin Anderson, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army who is the senior J.R.O.T.C. instructor at Green Oaks Performing Arts Academy, a public high school in Shreveport, La., said students were required to take the program in their freshman year to fulfill a physical education credit, and in their sophomore year to fulfill a health credit. He said the program provided valuable training in leadership, community service and discipline. But that many students do not want to be in the class makes it difficult to maintain those values, he said.


“I have issues with behavior, and issues with grooming requirements and other things,” Colonel Anderson said. He said he struggled constantly to maintain a structured class “for teenagers who don’t want to be in the program.”


The program has also led to pushback from civilian teachers, some of whom have been uncomfortable with military posters and recruiters on campus and the curriculum taught in J.R.O.T.C. classes.


Of the textbooks obtained and examined by The Times, one from the Navy states that a U.S. military victory in Vietnam was hindered by the restrictions political leaders had placed on the tactics the military could use. That hawkish interpretation of the war fails to account for the fundamental problem that many civilian textbooks point out: the lack of popular support among South Vietnamese for their government, which was America’s chief ally in the war.


A Marine Corps textbook describing the “Trail of Tears” during the 1830s fails to mention that thousands of people died when Native Americans were forced from their lands in the southeastern United States.


Sylvia McGauley, a former high school history teacher in Troutdale, Ore., said she was troubled when she found that the J.R.O.T.C. textbooks being used at her school were teaching “militarism, not critical thinking.”


“The version of history that I was hearing from my J.R.O.T.C. kids was quite different from the versions of history that I tried to teach in my classroom,” she said.


Community Debate


Schools that have faced questions over mandatory or automatic enrollments have often responded by backing away from the requirements, as Chicago did last year.


In that case, which came to light after an article from the education news website Chalkbeat, an investigation by the school district’s inspector general found that 100 percent of freshmen had been enrolled in J.R.O.T.C. at four high schools that served primarily low-income students on the city’s South and West sides.


It was “a clear sign the program was not voluntary,” the report said.


At many schools, it said, freshman enrollment in J.R.O.T.C. “often operated like a prechecked box: students were automatically placed in J.R.O.T.C. and they had to get themselves removed from it if they did not want it. Sometimes this was possible; sometimes it was not.”


The district said in response that it was updating its parental consent process and making sure students had a choice between enrolling in J.R.O.T.C. or other, nonmilitary physical education classes.


The Buffalo school district agreed in 2005 to ensure that the program was optional after the New York Civil Liberties Union had raised questions.


In 2008, parents and other residents in San Diego confronted school district officials over concerns about forced enrollment, and won what they believed was a promise by the district to ensure that the program would be strictly optional. They also worked to eliminate J.R.O.T.C. air rifle programs in the schools.


But The Times’s review of data provided by the school district found that there continued to be schools with high J.R.O.T.C. numbers, with 77 percent of freshmen enrolled in the program at Kearny School of Biomedical Science and Technology last year. A district spokeswoman said that the data the district had provided had “some inaccuracies” but over the past several weeks did not provide new enrollment numbers and would not comment further.


“It’s almost like trying to kill a vampire,” said Rick Jahnkow, who has worked for three decades to oppose military recruitment in San Diego’s schools. “You think that you dispensed with it, and it keeps coming back.”


In some cases, students who at first balked at being forced to enroll in the program said they had ended up embracing it.


Azaria Terrell, a schoolmate of Ms. Thomas’s in Detroit, said she had changed her mind as she had begun to bond with her classmates and to heed some of her instructor’s lessons on leadership and honesty. After her required stint during her freshman year, she stayed in the program for three more years — by choice — and earned a position as the unit’s battalion commander.


“I found myself becoming a better person,” said Ms. Terrell, who ended up going to college instead of joining the military.


Ms. Thomas, on the other hand, said she had never learned to like the class and had often skipped it. When she received a failing grade, she was put back in the class for her sophomore year.


Ms. Thomas said she and other students who had been forced into J.R.O.T.C. often heard from recruiters who pitched the idea of signing up for the military in order to get help paying for college. One of Ms. Thomas’s classmates joined the military, and Ms. Thomas filled out initial recruiting paperwork one day, lured by the promises of the recruiters who had visited the school. But she was never serious, she said, and ultimately stuck with her plan to pursue a civilian career in health care.


Ms. Thomas, now a freshman in college, said she no longer responded to the recruiter, though she still heard from him.


“He still texts me to this day,” she said.



6) J.R.O.T.C. Textbooks Offer an Alternative View of the World

Descriptions of civic life and some key historical events differ from the way they are taught in typical public school textbooks.

By Mike Baker and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Dec. 11, 2022


An excerpt from a J.R.O.T.C. textbook discussing proper attire for cadets.
“A Marine Corps textbook tells female cadets that, in uniform, they should wear lipstick and shape their hair in an ‘attractive feminine style.’”

One textbook for high school military cadets says girls should wear lipstick when in uniform. Another offers what a history professor described as a “frightening” interpretation of how the Vietnam War was lost. Another blames the death of Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana frontman who fatally shot himself in 1994, on heroin addiction.


A majority of public school textbooks receive extensive professional and government vetting, undergoing revision, rejection and public debate. But the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, in courses taught at thousands of high schools around the country, uses textbooks that have bypassed those standard public reviews.


The J.R.O.T.C. curriculum materials cover a wide range of subjects, with lessons on financial literacy and public speaking, on healthy eating and first aid, on preparing for college and life in the military. Most of them offer a presentation similar to what might be found in any public high school study materials.


But a New York Times review of thousands of pages of the program’s textbooks found that some of the books also included outdated gender messages, a conservative shading of political issues and accounts of historical events that falsify or downplay the failings of the U.S. government.


Here is a closer look at 10 issues covered in the texts:


Gulf of Tonkin


A textbook produced by the U.S. Air Force informs students that the United States entered the Vietnam War after the North Vietnamese attacked a U.S. destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin in August 1964.


But the authors never mention a key part of the story: It was the report of a second, full-on attack two days later that led Congress to approve America’s escalated involvement in Vietnam — and that attack, history eventually revealed, never happened.


A review of that history published by the U.S. Naval Institute concluded that the second incident did not happen and that U.S. officials, including the nation’s defense secretary, “distorted facts and deceived the American public about events that led to full U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.”


A textbook that the Navy distributes to J.R.O.T.C. students is more forthcoming than the Air Force book but says only that “evidence gathered later seemed to indicate the alleged attack may never have occurred.”




The textbooks give students an overview of the dangers of alcohol and drugs, warning especially about marijuana. One textbook from the Navy falsely claims that marijuana is more likely to cause lung cancer than cigarettes.


An Air Force textbook published during a time when states were approving both medicinal marijuana and broader legalization measures offers a critical take of those trends, saying that voters who approved such measures “do not necessarily understand how harmful a substance like marijuana is.”


“These new laws may make it seem as if it’s safe or ‘OK' to use marijuana,” the textbook says. “However, it’s not OK!”


Air Force officials, in response to a query from The Times, said they would be reviewing that section for possible revision.


One textbook implies that Kurt Cobain died because of a heroin addiction, omitting the fact that it was a gun that ended his life.


Grooming and Etiquette


A Marine Corps textbook tells female cadets that, in uniform, they should wear lipstick and shape their hair in an “attractive feminine style.”


In an era when women are fully integrated into combat jobs, an Army textbook details how men should not sit “until all the ladies at his table are seated.” It recommends that men help women sit down.


“If a lady leaves the table at any time, the gentleman who seated her rises and assists with the lady’s chair,” the book says.


Army officials said in a statement that their pages were designed to “teach cadets about customs, courtesies and etiquette referring to military balls and other formal events.”




An Army textbook begins by laying out the case for diversity, saying it can enrich culture and make people more understanding of others. The text then notes that some people fear that diversity could erode “social cohesion.”


“This could also damage our ideas about the common good, as people become more focused on their own self-interests,” the text says. The section ends by asking students: “Is there such a thing as too much diversity?”


The Army said in a statement that the lesson was intended not as a statement on multiculturalism but as a critical thinking exercise.


Libya Bombing


A Navy textbook describes the U.S. bombing of Libya in 1986, carried out in response to an attack at a dance club in Germany.


The U.S. conducted the bombing “with the agreement of most of its European allies,” it says. But Stephen Zunes, a professor at the University of San Francisco who specializes in Middle East politics and who reviewed excerpts from the J.R.O.T.C. textbooks, noted that Spain and France were so opposed to the bombing that U.S. flights had to go around their airspace.


Iran Air Flight 655


A Navy textbook puts a defensive spin on a disastrous 1988 incident in the Persian Gulf, when a U.S. Navy missile cruiser shot down an Iranian passenger jet inside Iranian airspace. All 290 people aboard Iran Air Flight 655 were killed.


Mr. Zunes noted that the textbook called it an “unfortunate incident” and downplayed the culpability of the U.S. military, saying the airliner had approached the Navy vessel “in what seemed to be a threatening manner.” But a Navy investigation found that the aircraft had been “on a normal climb” out of Iran and “within the established air route” toward Dubai.


The U.S. Military in Vietnam


Two of the Navy’s textbooks examine why the U.S. military did not succeed in Vietnam, a failure that continues to be scrutinized and debated to this day. One section is titled “Restrictions Hinder Victory” and describes how political leaders limited who and where the military could bomb.


“According to many analysts, America lost the Vietnam War largely because of these limitations,” the other textbook says. (That text goes on to question recent limitations placed by political leaders on the military in conducting an air campaign against Islamic State militants in the Middle East.)


That assessment is far from universal, especially among the many historians who have studied the Vietnam conflict. They have largely concluded that many factors — including, perhaps most important, the messy political dynamics in the region — meant that a U.S. military victory was not achievable within any reasonable cost.


Lien-Hang T. Nguyen, a history professor at Columbia University who specializes in the Vietnam War, said the text gave a false interpretation of the war.


“It’s one of those hawkish, conservative military history interpretations of the war that says if the military had not had to fight with one arm behind its back, it would have won. That’s wrong,” said Ms. Nguyen. “It’s frightening what’s being written.”


Second Amendment


One typical civilian classroom textbook in California, dealing with the Second Amendment, informs students that the courts have allowed the government to regulate firearms. A Texas textbook in a similar section on constitutional amendments does not include information about how the courts have interpreted the amendment.


But a textbook used in the Navy’s J.R.O.T.C. program offers a different analysis than either one of them, saying: “This amendment prevents the government from forbidding citizens to own weapons.”


Robert E. Lee


In introducing freshmen students to the idea of leadership, a Marine Corps textbook offers the Confederate general Robert E. Lee as an example to emulate. Lee, the textbook says, “showed, in his attitude and appearance at Appomattox, that he was an officer and a gentleman.”


Trail of Tears


In discussing the history of how Native Americans were forced from their lands in the southeastern United States during the 1830s, a Marine Corps textbook describes what is widely known as the “Trail of Tears” as a “march” and a “trek” to lands west of the Mississippi River that spanned several months and thousands of miles. But the text omits any mention of the brutal reality of that mass removal: Thousands of Native Americans died along the way.


What the Military Says


Military officials said they sought to regularly review and update textbooks used in J.R.O.T.C. training, relying in part on instructors and consultants to shape the curriculum. Some of the textbooks highlighted were published years ago, they said, and are coming due for the periodic reviews that are conducted “to ensure the information is updated, relevant and accurate.”


In response to inquiries from The Times, some of the service branches said they planned to take a closer look at some of the highlighted passages. The Marine Corps said it was “grateful for the attention highlighting these necessary modifications.”


Dana Goldstein contributed reporting.



7) ‘Cuba Is Depopulating’: Largest Exodus Yet Threatens Country’s Future

The pandemic and tougher U.S. sanctions have decimated Cuba’s economy, prompting the biggest migration since Fidel Castro rose to power.

“Many experts say that U.S. policy toward the island is helping fuel the very migration crisis that the administration is now struggling to address.”

By Ed Augustin and Frances Robles, Dec. 10, 2022


Roger García Ordaz has tried to leave Cuba for the United States 11 times. “Of course I am going to keep on throwing myself into the sea until I get there,” he said.

Roger García Ordaz has tried to leave Cuba for the United States 11 times. “Of course I am going to keep on throwing myself into the sea until I get there,” he said. Credit...Eliana Aponte Tobar for The New York Times

BARACOA, Cuba — Roger García Ordaz makes no secret of his many attempts to flee.


He has tried to leave Cuba 11 times on boats made of wood, Styrofoam and resin, and has a tattoo for each failed attempt, including three boat mishaps and eight times picked up at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard and sent home.


Hundreds of homemade, rickety boats have left this year from the shores of Baracoa, a fishing village west of Havana where Mr. García, 34, lives — so many that locals call the town “Terminal Three.”


“Of course I am going to keep on throwing myself into the sea until I get there,” he said. “Or if the sea wants to take my life, so be it.”


Living conditions in Cuba under Communist rule have long been precarious, but today, deepening poverty and hopelessness have set off the largest exodus from the Caribbean Island nation since Fidel Castro rose to power over half a century ago.


The country has been hit by a one-two-punch of tighter U.S. sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic, which eviscerated one of Cuba’s lifelines — the tourism industry. Food has become even more scarce and more expensive, lines at pharmacies with scant supplies begin before dawn and millions of people endure daily hourslong blackouts.


Over the last year, nearly 250,000 Cubans, more than 2 percent of the island’s 11 million population, have migrated to the United States, most of them arriving at the southern border by land, according to U.S. government data.


Even for a nation known for mass exodus, the current wave is remarkable — larger than the 1980 Mariel boatlift and the 1994 Cuban rafter crisis combined, until recently the island’s two biggest migration events.


But while those movements peaked within a year, experts say this migration, which they compare to a wartime exodus, has no end in sight and threatens the stability of a country that already has one of the hemisphere’s oldest populations.


The avalanche of Cubans leaving has also become a challenge for the United States. Now one of the highest sources of migrants after Mexico, Cuba has become a top contributor to the crush of migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, which has been a major political liability for President Biden and which the administration considers a serious national security issue.


“The numbers for Cuba are historic, and everybody recognizes that,” said a senior State Department official who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter. “That said, more people are migrating globally now than they ever have been and that trend is certainly bearing out in our hemisphere, too.”


Many experts say that U.S. policy toward the island is helping fuel the very migration crisis that the administration is now struggling to address.


To appeal to Cuban American voters in South Florida, the Trump administration discarded President Barack Obama’s policy of engagement, which included restoring diplomatic relations and increasing travel to the island. President Donald J. Trump replaced it with a “maximum pressure” campaign that ratcheted up sanctions and severely limited how much cash Cubans could receive from their families in the United States, a key source of revenue.


“This is not rocket science: If you devastate a country 90 miles from your border with sanctions, people will come to your border in search of economic opportunity,” said Ben Rhodes, who served as deputy national security adviser under Mr. Obama and was the point person on talks with Cuba.


Although President Biden has begun to retreat from some of Mr. Trump’s policies, he has been slow to act for fear of angering the Cuban diaspora and incurring the wrath of Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat and a powerful Cuban American who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said William M. LeoGrande, a professor at American University, who has written extensively on U.S.-Cuba relations.


The administration has also expressed concerns over human rights on the island following the Cuban government’s crackdown on massive protests last year.


“These two reasons — one domestic politics and one foreign policy — reinforce one another,” Mr. LeoGrande said.


While any significant rollback of sanctions remains off the table, the two governments are engaged in efforts to address the extraordinary migration surge.


Washington recently announced that it would restart consular services in Havana in January and issue at least 20,000 visas to Cubans next year in line with longstanding agreements between the two nations, which officials hope will dissuade some people from trying to make dangerous journeys to the United States.


Havana has agreed to resume accepting flights from the United States of Cubans who are deported, another move to try to discourage migration. The Biden administration has also reversed the cap on money that Cuban Americans are allowed to send to relatives and licensed a U.S. company to process the wire transfers to Cuba.


The Cuban government has long blamed Washington’s sanctions and a decades-old trade embargo for crippling the country’s economy and pushing people off the island, and says a law in place since 1966 that gives most Cubans who meet certain criteria a fast track to residency is a key reason for migration surges.


The law essentially assumes that all Cubans are political refugees who need protection, but has been widely criticized for giving them privileges that are not provided to any other nationality.


But Cuba also has a long history of using migration to rid the nation of those it considers malcontents. When political unrest grew, Fidel Castro would publicly bid the agitators — he called them “degenerates” and “worms” — good riddance.


Some 3,000 people left from the port of Camarioca in 1965, and 125,000 departed from Mariel in 1980. In 1994, street protests led to an exodus of about 35,000 people, who washed up on Florida shores on inner tubes and rickety vessels.


Cuba’s free fall has been accelerated by the pandemic: Over the last three years, Cuba’s financial reserves have dwindled, and it has struggled to stock shore shelves. Imports — largely food and fuel — have dropped by half. The situation is so dire that the government electric company boasted this month that electrical service had run uninterrupted that day for 13 hours and 13 minutes.


Last year, fed up by the economic decline and a lack of freedom compounded by a Covid-19 lockdown, tens of thousands of Cubans took to the streets in the biggest antigovernment protests in decades. A crackdown followed, with nearly 700 people still imprisoned, according to a Cuban human rights group.


Cubans of fewer means try to leave by building makeshift boats, and at least 100 have died at sea since 2020, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has intercepted nearly 3,000 Cubans at sea in the past two months alone.


But these days most Cuban migrants fly off the island, with relatives abroad often paying the airfare, followed by a tough overland journey. (Cuba lifted an exit visa requirement to leave by air a decade ago, though it is still illegal to leave by sea.)


The floodgates opened last year, when Nicaragua stopped requiring an entrance visa for Cubans. Tens of thousands of people sold their homes and belongings and flew to Managua, paying smugglers to help them make the 1,700-mile journey by land to the U.S. border.


Katrin Hansing, an anthropologist at the City University of New York who is on sabbatical on the island, noted that the soaring migration figures do not account for the thousands who have left for other countries, including Serbia and Russia.


“This is the biggest quantitative and qualitative brain drain this country has ever had since the revolution,” she said. “It’s the best and the brightest and the ones with the most energy.”


The departure of many younger, working-age Cubans augurs a bleak demographic future for a country where the average life expectancy of 78 is higher than for the rest of the region, experts said. The government already can barely afford the meager pensions the country’s older population relies on.


The hemorrhaging of Cubans from their homeland is nothing short of “devastating,” said Elaine Acosta González, a research associate at Florida International University. “Cuba is depopulating.”


Just a few years ago, the country’s future seemed far different. With the Obama administration loosening restrictions on travel to Cuba, American tourists pumped dollars into the island’s fledgling private sector.


Now, travel is again severely limited and years of economic downturn have for many Cubans extinguished the last embers of optimism.


Joan Cruz Méndez, a taxi driver who has tried to leave three times, looked out to the sea in Baracoa and explained why so many boats that once lined the town’s shores are gone, along with their owners.


“The last thing you can lose is hope, and I think a large part of the population has lost hope,” said Mr. Cruz, recounting how he had once made it out 30 miles to sea only to be forced to turn back, because too many people onboard got seasick and vomited.


In March, Mr. Cruz, 41, bought a plane ticket for his wife to fly to Panama and tapped his savings to pay a smuggler $6,000 to get her to the United States, where she claimed political asylum. She is working at an auto-parts store in Houston.


In the woods just beyond the town, people were busy building more boats, stripping motors from cars, electric generators and lawn mowers.


When the sea is calm, they wait for the local Cuban Coast Guard contingent to clock off its shift, before carrying the makeshift vessels on their shoulders through town and over craggy rocks before lowering them gently into the water.


In May, Yoel Taureaux Duvergel, 32, and his wife, Yanari, who was five months pregnant with their only child, and four others set out in the wee hours. But their motor broke. They started rowing, but were intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard just a few miles from the United States and taken back to Cuba, where Mr. Taureaux tries to get by doing odd jobs.


Asked why he had tried to leave, he laughed. “What do you mean why did I want to leave?” he said. “Don’t you live in the Cuban reality?”


He intends to try again. “Once you start, you can’t stop,” he said.


Sitting beside him, Maikol Manuel Infanta Silva, 19, had sold his family’s refrigerator to build a boat that sank. He, too, will try again.


By law, he is supposed to be serving in the military, but he fled and tries to make a living catching fish with a harpoon.


In Cuba, he said, “everything keeps getting worse.”



8) The Root Cause of Violent Crime Is Not What We Think It Is

By Phillip Atiba Goff, Dec. 12, 2022

Phillip Atiba Goff is the chair and Carl I. Hovland professor of African American studies and professor of psychology at Yale University.


A large and well-worn combat boot about to crunch down on a small, cheerful patch of colorful flowers.
Illustration by Lauren Peters-Collaer; Photograph by yeraylc, via Getty

There is a prevailing narrative about crime that positions bad people as the problem and toughness — in the form of police and prisons — as the solution. It’s emotionally powerful, enough to make politicians allocate money for more cops and more jails in order to avoid being labeled weak, or worse, pro-crime. The recent decision by Mayor Eric Adams of New York to get more homeless mentally ill people involuntarily committed — which shocked even the N.Y.P.D. — is just the latest example.


But policies like this have little if any effect on violent crime, in part because they do not address what causes the problem.


The 2022 midterm elections, in which the Republican Party poured considerable sums into a tough-on-crime message and did far worse than expected, offers hope that change is at last possible. Candidates with the courage to do so can run — and win — on a promise to reduce the causes of violence, addressing it before it occurs instead of just punishing it when the damage is already done.


If throwing money at police and prisons made us safer, we would probably already be the safest country in the history of the world. We are not, because insufficient punishment is not the root cause of violence. And if someone is talking about how tough they are and how scared you should be, they care more about keeping you scared than keeping you safe.


The tough-on-crime narrative acts like a black hole. It subsumes new ideas and silences discussions of solutions that are already making a difference in people’s lives. And it provides bottomless succor to politicians who are more interested in keeping themselves in power than keeping people safe.


I have seen the message of “strong communities keeping everyone safe” open the minds of Republican voters, Democratic voters, and many in between. It is backed up by science. Academics, government commissions and even many police chiefs have agreed with the substance behind the message for decades. And there is evidence, including the results of last month’s midterms, that it can work politically on a larger scale.


Local successes can be harder for national and statewide candidates to take credit for. But they are still better off telling a story about solutions than trying to out-punish their opponents. Senator-elect John Fetterman, Democrat of Pennsylvania, often advertised his efforts to eliminate shooting deaths as the mayor of Braddock, Pa.


In contrast, many New York State Democrats defaulted to a defensive posture. In the closing weeks of the midterms, Gov. Kathy Hochul cut an ad highlighting stricter bail terms and trumpeted increased police presence in New York City. Sean Patrick Maloney sought (and received) the endorsement of the powerful Police Benevolent Association of New York City even though his district is not in the city. It didn’t work. Hochul survived an unexpectedly close race, but Maloney lost his seat, as did many other Democrats in the state.


Even in areas that have doubled down on punishment, the police are finding it exceedingly difficult to solve crimes. This is particularly true of homicides. In New York City, by contrast, the decision to end the unconstitutional tactic of stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of mostly young Black and brown men did not lead to a spike in crime.


Meanwhile, local policies that get closer to the cause are showing results. Dozens of communities are demonstrating how to ensure safety and, in many cases, save money along the way. In Austin, Texas, a 911 call from a person reporting a mental health emergency used to get directed to the police. Now, if there is no immediate danger, dispatchers have the option to transfer the call to a mental health clinician. In the first eight months after the program’s 2019 launch, 82 percent of calls that were transferred were handled without police involvement, which resulted in savings to the taxpayer of $1,642,213. By the 2021 fiscal year, the program was involved in almost 2,000 calls. In Brooklyn, young people who completed an alternative program for illegal gun possession had a 22 percent lower rearrest rate than peers who went to prison. In Olympia, Wash., a new unit of the Police Department that provides “free, confidential, and voluntary crisis response assistance” has responded to 3,108 calls since 2019, all while minimizing arrests and with zero injuries to responders.


Communities that have adopted these approaches have not done away with enforcement; they have just required less of it. In Denver, a five-year randomized control trial of a program that provides housing subsidies to those at risk of being unhoused found a 40 percent reduction in arrests among participants. These kinds of results are why localities from New Jersey to New Mexico are restructuring their local governments to invest in the social determinants of health and safety.


And yet, as I have learned over more than two decades of work in this field, the black hole narrative cannot be changed by statistics alone. If you want policies that actually work, you have to change the political conversation from “tough candidates punishing bad people” to “strong communities keeping everyone safe.” Candidates who care about solving a problem pay attention to what caused it. Imagine a plumber who tells you to get more absorbent flooring but does not look for the leak.


Because the old narrative is so ingrained, candidates often assume that voters agree with it. But common sense and recent polling show that a majority of voters are concerned about crime and also supportive of changes in how we keep communities safe. This has fueled thousands of local innovations across the country. City governments, community groups and nonprofits are comparing notes on what works. And organizations like One Million Experiments are tracking innovations aimed at producing scalable solutions that do not rely on punishment. Reducing crime and reducing reliance on punishment only seem incompatible if you accept, as the narrative black hole dictates, that police and prisons are the only solution.


Voters know the status quo does not work. In the run-up to 2024, for the sake of public safety, candidates need to give them real alternatives. That is the only way to get out of the black hole and into the light.



9) As Protests Rage, Iran Executes Another Man, This Time in Public

Majidreza Rahnavard was hanged after being accused of killing two members of a paramilitary force in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

By Emma Bubola, Dec. 12, 2022


This image was taken from a video reportedly showing protesters marching in Zahedan, southeastern Iran, on Friday.

This image was taken from a video reportedly showing protesters marching in Zahedan, southeastern Iran, on Friday. Credit...Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iran announced on Monday that it had hanged a man in a public execution in what is believed to be the second death sentence carried out against a protester since the Islamic Republic began a crackdown on antigovernment demonstrations that first flared in September.


The man, Majidreza Rahnavard, was hanged in the city of Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, “in public in the presence of a group of people” from the city, according to the news agency Mizan, which is overseen by the Iranian judiciary.


The news agency posted images of a young man in light clothes that it said was Mr. Rahnavard, his head covered, hanging from a rope attached to a crane at night.


Mr. Rahnavard was accused of stabbing to death two members of the Basij militia — a plainclothes volunteer force that is part of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps — and of wounding four other people in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad last month, Mizan said. A court convicted Mr. Rahnavard of “moharebeh,” or “waging war against God,” the agency reported.


Mashhad, like other cities across Iran, has been the scene of furious protests for the past three months, with protesters calling for an end to the Islamic Republic. The protests erupted in September after a young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in the custody of the morality police after being arrested and charged with violating the country’s strict head scarf law.


Mizan said that Mr. Rahnavard was arrested on Nov. 19 as he was planning to flee Iran. The agency did not give Mr. Rahnavard’s age or provide further details about him.


Mr. Rahnavard is one of 11 people accused of being protesters who have so far been sentenced to death by Tehran, according to Iran Human Rights, a nongovernmental organization based in Oslo. Last week, the Iranian government announced that it had hanged a 23-year-old prisoner accused of blocking a street in Tehran and of attacking a member of the Basij militia with a machete. He was also accused of waging war against God.


The speedy executions were seen as an intensification of the government’s response to the demonstrations and an attempt to intimidate protesters who have been calling for the end of clerical rule.


At least 458 people, including 63 children, have been killed in the continuing nationwide protests, according to Iran Human Rights, and thousands more were said to have been arrested.


According to Mizan, Mr. Rahnavard was judged in court in the presence of his lawyers; witnesses; and “the martyrs’ family members,” referring to the victims’ relatives, in a trial that began on Nov. 29. The agency said that Mr. Rahnavard had confessed to having made a mistake and that he had come to the conclusion that the protesters were wrong.


Iranian activists and public figures called the proceedings a “mock trial” and said that Mr. Rahnavard had been denied due process.


“Majidreza Rahnavard was sentenced to death based on coerced confessions, after a grossly unfair process and a show trial,” Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, director of Iran Human Rights, said in a statement. “There is a serious risk of mass-execution of protesters,” he added.


An organization that shares updates about the protests, 1500 Tasvir, posted on Twitter that Mr. Rahnavard’s mother had visited him in prison but had not been told that he would be executed.


The Human Rights Activist News Agency, an Iranian opposition website based in the United States, said that Mr. Rahnavard was 23 and had been working in a fruit shop in Mashhad before his arrest.


The German foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, said on Monday that the European Union would impose new sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards.


“We are targeting in particular those who are responsible for the executions, the violence against innocent people,” Ms. Baerbock told reporters in Brussels.


Leily Nikounazar and Christopher F. Schuetze contributed reporting.



10 Israelis Have Put Benjamin Netanyahu Back in Power. Palestinians Will Likely Pay the Price.

By Diana Buttu, Dec. 13, 2022

Ms. Buttu is a lawyer and former adviser to the negotiating team of the Palestine Liberation Organization.


Photo of Israel’s prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu standing between two Israeli flags.
Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

HAIFA, Israel — As the prime minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu finalizes the formation of Israel’s most extreme right-wing government to date, I, along with other Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories, am filled with dread about what the next few years will bring.


Every day since the elections, Palestinians wake up with a what-now apprehension, and more often than not, there’s yet another bit of news that adds to our anxiety. The atmosphere of racism is so acute that I hesitate to speak or read Arabic on public transportation. Palestinian rights have been pushed to the back burner.


We Palestinians live knowing that a vast majority of Israeli politicians don’t support an end to Israel’s military rule over the West Bank and Gaza Strip nor equality for all of its citizens. We are made to feel as though we are interlopers whose presence is temporary and simply being tolerated until such time as it is feasible to get rid of us.


According to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey, 48 percent of Jewish Israelis agree that “Arabs should be expelled or transferred from Israel.” I look around in my mixed Haifa neighborhood and wonder which of my neighbors voted for the extremist candidates who have voiced similar opinions. “It is only a matter of time before we are gone,” my friends tell me. To add insult to injury, Israelis blame Palestinians for the rise in extremism and racism, rather than looking at how racism has become normalized in Israeli society. It is blaming the victim rather than the aggressor.


Since his recent election, Mr. Netanyahu has been offering important positions in government to vocal anti-Palestinian politicians. The incoming governing coalition includes the extremist and racist Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power, party, whose leaders have a history of supporting violence against Palestinians.


Itamar Ben-Gvir, a settler who leads the Jewish Power party, has been convicted of incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist group. Earlier this month, Mr. Ben-Gvir reportedly hailed an Israeli soldier who fatally shot a Palestinian young man in the West Bank during a scuffle — an act caught on video and widely circulated on social media — by remarking, “Precise action, you really fulfilled the honor of all of us and did what was assigned to you.” Israel’s current police chief blamed him for helping ignite the surge in violence in May 2021. He will now be minister for national security, putting him in charge of Israel’s domestic police and border police in the occupied West Bank, home to roughly three million Palestinians.


Over the course of decades, and especially since the erection of the wall along the West Bank, Israelis seem to have become immune to how Palestinians live under Israeli military rule and what it is to be Palestinian in Israel. Conversations with neighbors in Haifa about the nakba — or “catastrophe,” in which hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled or were expelled with the creation of Israel in 1948 — or Israel’s military occupation that amounts to apartheid or even racism in Israel are always met with denial or with justification, so we have learned never to speak to one another.


On Dec. 1, Mr. Netanyahu inked a coalition agreement with Bezalel Smotrich, another settler and head of the Religious Zionism party, naming him minister of finance and giving him control over a Defense Ministry department. Mr. Smotrich has called himself a “proud homophobe” and has said that the 2015 firebombing of a Palestinian home in the West Bank by suspected Jewish militants in which an 18-month-old child and his parents were burned to death was not a terrorist attack. In 2016, he said that he was in favor of segregation between Jewish and Palestinian women in Israeli hospital maternity wards.


Last year, Mr. Smotrich mentioned that David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, didn’t “finish the job” of expelling Palestinians in 1948. He has also promoted a subjugation plan in which Palestinians (who accept the plan) would be considered “resident aliens” while those who do not would be dealt with by the Israeli Army. As part of his Defense Ministry post, Mr. Smotrich will have unprecedented authority over the policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank and over Palestinian construction, and will be able to appoint the heads of the administration responsible for the government’s civil policy in the West Bank.


Both the Jewish Power and the Religious Zionism party platforms are almost exclusively focused on Palestinians and about ensuring that Jewish supremacy reigns. The Religious Zionism party aims to retroactively legitimize settlements in the West Bank.


I fear that Israel’s violent repression of Palestinians will only increase in the near future as I consider the record of Mr. Netanyahu and his previous coalitions — a history of relentless race-baiting and incitement of prejudice against Palestinians in Israel, the passage of the Jewish Nation-State law (which enshrines the privileging of Jewish citizens), the open fire policy, Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian homes, its continued colonization of the West Bank and repeated mass bombings of Gaza.


With Mr. Ben-Gvir, Mr. Smotrich and other extremists in his coalition, Mr. Netanyahu will very likely continue in this path, particularly since he has been the enabler of so many of these policies. Jewish Power and Religious Zionism are natural extensions of Mr. Netanyahu’s policies. Failing to recognize this is akin to putting one’s head in the sand.


If there is any silver lining to our grim situation it might be that the rise of Mr. Ben-Gvir and his fellow extremists will open the eyes of more Americans. Some former State Department officials and diplomats have already called upon the Biden administration not to deal with the most extreme members of the new Israeli coalition. American Jewish groups have also expressed alarm at the new coalition. But American policy is unlikely to change in response to these dark tidings. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken of “equal measures of freedom, security, opportunity, justice and dignity” for Israelis and Palestinians, but what guarantees will he be offering to ensure that Palestinians live in freedom and security with this new government?


As Israel lurched further to the right, the United States and other Western governments continued to normalize and legitimize extremists once deemed beyond the pale — from the notorious former general Ariel Sharon, when he became prime minister, to the race-baiting ultranationalist and settler Avigdor Lieberman when Mr. Netanyahu, during his second run as prime minister, made him a cabinet minister in 2009.


At the time, the appointment of Mr. Lieberman — who had called for loyalty oaths for Israel’s Palestinian and Jewish citizens and a redrawing of borders that would strip Palestinians of their Israeli citizenship — was widely criticized. But soon enough American and European officials were meeting with Mr. Leiberman.


There is little hope that this won’t happen this time, too, and what was unthinkable but a few years ago will become a reality, with Palestinians inevitably paying the heaviest price for Israel’s electoral choices.



11) Senate Report Finds Widespread Sexual Abuse of Women in Federal Prisons

Federal Bureau of Prisons employees have abused female inmates in at least 19 of the 29 federal facilities that have held women over the past decade, the report says.

By Glenn Thrush, Dec. 13, 2022


A watchtower stands over Federal Correctional Complex Coleman in Florida.

Federal Correctional Complex Coleman in Florida, where numerous women have said they were abused by prison employees. Credit...Phelan Ebenehack/Reuters

WASHINGTON — In 2019, Lauren Reynolds took the lonely, terrifying, trailblazing risk of identifying the officer who pressured her for sex when she served at a federal women’s prison in Florida — and quickly found out she was one of at least 10 women who had been abused.


“There’s a lack of accountability, a secrecy, if nobody gets out there and talks about it,” said Ms. Reynolds, whose decision to speak to investigators prompted other women to expose yearslong rampant sexual abuse at Federal Correctional Complex Coleman, another harrowing chapter in an epidemic of assaults against female prisoners at the 160,000-inmate Federal Bureau of Prisons.


A bipartisan Senate investigation is now revealing damning new details about the bureau’s handling of the problem. Buttressed by interviews with dozens of whistle-blowers, current and former prison officials and survivors of sexual abuse, a report set to be released on Tuesday paints a stark and disturbing picture of a crisis that Justice Department officials have identified as a top priority.


Among the findings to be made public by a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee: Bureau employees abused female prisoners in at least 19 of the 29 federal facilities that have held women over the past decade; in at least four prisons, managers failed to apply the federal law intended to detect and reduce sexual assault; and hundreds of sexual abuse charges are among a backlog of 8,000 internal affairs misconduct cases yet to be investigated.


A committee analysis of court filings and prison records over the past decade found that male and female inmates had made 5,415 allegations of sexual abuse against prison employees, of which 586 were later substantiated by investigators.


The plague of sexual assault at the Bureau of Prisons, a Justice Department agency hamstrung by labor shortages, budget shortfalls and mismanagement, had become increasingly evident in recent years. The perpetrators have included male employees at every level of the prison hierarchy: warden, pastor, guard — and the warehouse manager who targeted Ms. Reynolds as she served the final year of a 12-year prison sentence.


The report criticizes the department’s leadership for failing to bring charges against many of those accused of abusing inmates at the now-shuttered women’s unit at Coleman, in rural Central Florida. It also takes to task the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, assigned to review abuse allegations, for declining to investigate six male officers at Coleman accused of abusing prisoners.


All six officers “already had admitted to sexually abusing female prisoners under their supervision,” the report’s authors wrote. “None of these six officers was ever prosecuted.”


Under federal law, any sexual contact between a prison employee and a prisoner is illegal, even if it would be considered consensual outside the system. Guards at Coleman, when confronted with evidence that they had sex with female inmates, admitted they were worried about being charged with a crime in affidavits to be made public by the subcommittee on Tuesday.


In May 2021, the federal government paid 15 women who had served at Coleman at least $1.25 million to settle a case cited extensively in the report. That included Ms. Reynolds, who got a college degree after leaving prison and now works for a construction company.


“If you sweep it under the rug, nothing will change,” she said.


Investigators identified three other prisons as sites where abusers were allowed to target female inmates with relative impunity: the Metropolitan Correctional Center and Metropolitan Detention Center Brooklyn, both in New York, and Federal Correctional Institution Dublin, near Oakland, Calif.


A former warden at Dublin, Ray Garcia, was found guilty of seven charges of sexual abuse this month after molesting female inmates and forcing them to pose for nude photographs.


As of May, 17 current or former employees at Dublin were under investigation for sexual abuse, including the prison’s former pastor.


The situation at Dublin, which prompted Senator Jon Ossoff, the Georgia Democrat who leads the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, to embark on his panel’s broader investigation last spring, has also spurred the Justice Department to consider an overhaul of its policies governing compassionate release orders for inmates who have been abused.


In September, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco wrote a letter to the prisoners’ rights group Families Against Mandatory Minimums, saying that she had ordered the bureau’s new director, Colette S. Peters, to “review whether B.O.P.’s policy regarding compassionate release should be modified” to accommodate female prisoners who had been assaulted by federal employees.