Israel Has Blocked Medical Supplies From Gaza for 10 Days, WHO Says

Aid workers have warned that all health facilities in Gaza are at risk of shutdown because of Israel’s fuel prohibition.

Israeli forces have not allowed medical aid to enter Gaza for over 10 days, UN officials have warned, with Israel’s near-total blockade of humanitarian aid at Gaza border crossings threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
On Friday, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jašarević said that “the last medical supplies that we got in Gaza was before May 6,” adding, “we don’t have fuel, we have hospitals that are under evacuation order, we have a situation where we cannot move physically.”
The comment is yet another show of how dire conditions are in Gaza as Israel works to systematically dismantle the humanitarian aid and health systems in the region. For months, Israel’s extreme restrictions on medical aid entering Gaza have left medical staff unable to provide patients with many basic aspects of care. The blockade has also forced Palestinians, many of whom have been injured by Israel’s relentless bombing campaign, to endure surgeries without anesthetic, including C-sections and amputations that would be unnecessary if medical facilities had proper materials.
Hospitals that haven’t been destroyed by Israeli forces are completely overrun, and seeing an influx of patients and bodies as Israel has escalated its genocide in recent weeks. Israel has been deliberately targeting medical workers in attacks, having committed over 400 recorded incidents of attacks against health care workers and facilities since October, and now blocking international doctors on medical missions from entering the region.
Israel’s closure of the Rafah crossing has been a major factor contributing to its near-total aid blockade. Prior to last week, the crossing was the primary entry point for aid, including medical aid, but it has been closed for nearly two weeks and taken over by Israeli forces.

Perhaps more so than the lack of medical supplies, Israel’s prohibition of fuel is threatening to totally collapse the medical system. Humanitarian workers have warned that all hospitals in Gaza are at imminent risk of shutdown because of the fuel shortage, which prevents hospitals from being able to keep the lights on while also preventing aid workers from being able to deliver life-saving supplies in the first place.
It is unclear how much fuel is left in the region, but UN groups are warning they’re set to run out in just days. As of Thursday, 11 bakeries in southern Gaza have been forced to cease operations due to a lack of fuel, leaving only five bakeries left open across the entire Gaza Strip, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian affairs.
Meanwhile, epidemics of illnesses like hepatitis are already spreading across Gaza and an unknown amount of people are dying due to Israel’s famine campaign.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said on Thursday that its food distributions in Rafah have come to a halt, while the famine has “never loomed larger” due to Israel’s Rafah assault. The only way to stop the famine from getting worse is a major influx of humanitarian aid, aid groups say, as well as an immediate, permanent ceasefire.
On Friday, U.S. officials said the U.S. military had finished setting up a floating pier off of the coast that they say will serve as another entry point for humanitarian aid. At full capacity, the pier is expected to be able to bring 150 trucks of aid into Gaza each day, if Israel allows.
But the pier has been harshly criticized for being nothing more than a PR stunt from U.S. officials to distract from the obvious, least expensive and most simple solution to the humanitarian crisis manufactured by Israel: for the U.S. to facilitate an immediate ceasefire and compel Israel to allow aid to flow freely into Gaza.

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Samuel Alito Flew Upside-Down Flag, Symbol of Trump Support, Days After Jan. 6

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is facing steep criticism, including calls for his removal from the bench, after a new report detailed how a U.S. flag flew upside-down in front of his home days after the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of loyalists to former President Donald Trump.
According to U.S. flag code, the flying of the flag in such a manner is “a signal of dire distress.” However, in recent years it has come to symbolize deep dissatisfaction with a political outcome — during that time specifically, it was used by Trump loyalists to express their opposition to the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, which was won by President Joe Biden. Indeed, upside-down flags were prevalent during the Capitol attack itself, and social media posts from Trump supporters in January 2021 encouraged others to hang their flags upside-down to symbolize their continued support for the then-outgoing president and his false claims of election fraud.
According to a report from The New York Times, Alito’s home had an upside-down flag flying during this time, too.
According to neighbors’ accounts, the flag flew for a few days. Images of the flag obtained by the Times show that it was flying on January 17, 2021, just 11 days after the Capitol attack, and just four days after the House voted to impeach Trump for his role in instigating the chaos.
The flag wasn’t reported on until now due in large part to Alito’s neighbors’ fears of “add[ing] to the contentiousness” in the neighborhood and potential “reprisals” against them, the Times noted.

The appearance of such a charged political symbol in front of a jurist’s home is highly unethical. Amanda Frost, a law professor at the University of Virginia, told the Times that a flag displayed in that manner was “the equivalent of putting a ‘Stop the Steal’ sign in your yard, which is a problem if you’re deciding election-related cases.”
The Supreme Court had considered a number of such cases, and had just decided against hearing another challenge when the flag was flying. Alito dissented in that case, maintaining that the Court should have heard the challenge.
For any other federal judge, ethics rules could require a misconduct review for the flagrant display of a political symbol. But the Supreme Court has no mechanism in place to force such a review.
In a statement emailed to the Times regarding the upside-down flag, Alito blamed his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, claiming she had flown it in response to a neighborhood dispute.
“I had no involvement whatsoever in the flying of the flag. It was briefly placed by Mrs. Alito in response to a neighbor’s use of objectionable and personally insulting language on yard signs,” Alito said.

More telling — and disqualifying — than the sheer antidemocratic sentiment this “Stop the Steal” flag displayed is the hair-splitting sophistry of Justice Alito’s pathetic effort to shift blame from himself to his wife or someone else in his household. https://t.co/80vaEfWL2N— Laurence Tribe 🇺🇦 ⚖️ (@tribelaw) May 17, 2024

The dispute in question had to do with signage from a neighbor critical of Trump that used an expletive in its wording. It’s unclear how flying a flag upside-down, without any added context on or near the flagpole, could convey disagreements with such signage.
Numerous political and legal experts weighed in on the controversy, noting that Alito’s excuse was insufficient.
In response to Alito’s comments, former U.S. Attorney and current University of Alabama law school professor Joyce Vance opined:

Justice Alito blamed his wife when asked [about the flag]. As though a sitting Supreme Court Justice, upon pulling up to his home and seeing the flag, wouldn’t immediately take it down and say, ‘Honey, I understand your feelings, but as a Justice on the United States Supreme Court, I must avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and that flag conveys a political sentiment that is an affront to the rule of law I’m sworn to uphold, especially after rioters carrying it swarmed the Capitol a week and a half ago.’

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow described the flag hanging outside Alito’s home in the days after January 6 as “unsettling” and “gross,” and suggested that Chief Justice John Roberts take action against his colleague.
“I’ve never heard anything like this in the entire history of every controversy I’ve ever known about with the United States Supreme Court,” Maddow added.
Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a history professor at NYU and expert on facism and authoritarianism, took the criticism further, stating that Alito should be removed from the Court over these and other ethics concerns, including his and fellow Justice Clarence Thomas’s acceptance of extravagant gifts over the years from far right benefactors.
“Clean up the Court. Thomas and Alito must go,” Ben-Ghiat said on the social media platform X. “They are far-right activists masquerading as impartial justices.”
Other commentators agreed with her assessment.
“Justice Alito should be impeached and removed!!” wrote progressive political commentator Dean Obeidallah. “If a liberal justice flew a flag in support of a coup attempt waged by a Democratic President, the House GOP would immediately impeach him! “
Norman Ornstein, emeritus scholar at the center-right American Enterprise Institute, also supported initiating hearings to consider removing Alito from the High Court.“It is time for a House member to introduce an impeachment resolution against Sam Alito,” Ornstein said. “He has openly and blatantly violated every standard we expect for any judge, not to mention the Supreme Court.”

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There is a nature gap, but we can fix that

As a mom and an environmental advocate, I am fortunate to live in Washington, D.C., which has the number-one-ranked city park system, according to Trust for Public Land’s ParkScore. But even in a city where 99 percent of residents live ten minutes away from a park, inequities—such as the size, safety, and quality of the nearby parks—persist. 

In cities like Los Angeles and Detroit, park inequities are more stark. Los Angeles’ majority-white neighborhoods have access to 141 percent more park space per person than the city’s average. Detroit’s neighborhoods with majority residents of color have access to 26 percent less park space per person than the city’s average.

As 86 percent of U.S. residents live in urban areas and that number is rising, there is a growing need to ensure the benefits of nature are reaching everyone. The science is clear that nature-based health interventions can alleviate physical and mental health challenges, such as high blood pressure and depression. There’s a significant connection between mental health benefits among Black youth and the availability of neighborhood amenities like parks.

But, as The Washington Post reported earlier this year, the disparity in nature access results in lower income and Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities being more likely to miss out on these benefits. Three-quarters of people in lower-income communities of color live in nature-deprived areas. On average, parks in communities of color are half as large as those in white communities, and parks in low-income communities are a quarter the size of parks in higher income communities. And for the many Americans who rely on public transportation, our federal public lands and waters—many of which are only accessible by car—are out of reach. Great Falls Park, which sits just outside of D.C., is not on any public transportation routes—the nearest Metro station is five miles away.

With summer rapidly approaching, the nature gap is more stark than ever as more people start venturing outside to enjoy time outdoors. But this isn’t an insurmountable problem. 

Tree planting projects are often touted as a solution for nature access, even with the difficulties in implementing those projects in urban areas. One way to work through those difficulties is by partnering with programs designed to facilitate those sorts of projects. The U.S. Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program, for example, was created to support urban tree planting. With a recent $1.5 billion boost from the Inflation Reduction Act, it is in a prime position to support local efforts to improve urban tree canopy nationwide.

If the question is about who can plant those trees once the project has been funded, the newly created American Climate Corps (ACC) could fulfill that role. The ACC was designed to support climate and conservation work while creating new career path opportunities for youth. 

We can also make a difference by improving policy. The House just passed its outdoor recreation package, the EXPLORE Act. EXPLORE includes bills such as the Outdoors for All Act, which supports a program that funds the creation or improvement of outdoor recreation amenities in underserved communities, and an extension of the Every Kid Outdoors program, which grants all fourth graders free access to federal public lands and waters. But for all of that to go into effect, the Senate still needs to pass the legislation. Reach out to your elected officials to encourage them to pass a strong outdoor recreation package that includes these important outdoor equity provisions.

Aside from increasing the accessibility of nature, another way to address the disparity is by increasing the ways people can reach existing green spaces and public lands. In simpler terms: We need to improve the public transit options. 

For neighborhoods in nature-deprived areas with no upcoming outdoor-equity projects, or even projects that will come to fruition years down the line, expanding their freedom of movement and ability to access existing parks and waters is an obvious solution. Creating more public transportation routes, or even extending and improving safety on existing routes, would benefit communities beyond helping them reach parks.

It is necessary to invest in these multiple solutions concurrently to reach the very achievable goal of reducing the disparity in access to nature that so many urban communities face.

This column was produced by Progressive Perspectives, which is run by The Progressive magazine and distributed by Tribune News Service.

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Columbia Journalism Award Recipient: Resist Normalization of Evil and Injustice

Our guest is the Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass, the only Israeli Jewish journalist to have spent 30 years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank. She is the recipient of the 2024 Columbia Journalism Award, and on Wednesday she addressed the graduating class of the Columbia Journalism School in New York City. Hass discusses the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza, why journalists should “resist the normalization of evil and injustice,” Israel’s recent censorship of Al Jazeera, its maintenance of a strict apartheid system, its complete rejection of the prospect of Palestinian statehood and more. “Israel took Palestinian life, liberty and freedom as hostage for the past 75 years,” says Hass. “You go to Tel Aviv, you think you are in New York or you are in London — and 40, 50 kilometers away, Palestinians live in cages.”
We also play an excerpt from the student and faculty-led “People’s Graduation” held Thursday at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City in response to Columbia University’s crackdown on student protest, which culminated in the administration’s cancellation of university-wide commencement. Centering Palestinian solidarity, the People’s Graduation featured speakers including the Pulitzer Prize-winning data journalist and illustrator Mona Chalabi, who praised the work of student journalists. While “our institutions have failed us these past seven months, … we listened to your radio stations if we wanted the truth,” she said.
TRANSCRIPT
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
Israel is intensifying its bombardment of the Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza, destroying dozens of residential buildings in heavy airstrikes overnight and pushing residents to flee to other parts of the city. This comes as Israel is vowing to escalate its ground attack in the southernmost city of Rafah, with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant saying Thursday additional troops would enter Rafah and that military operations will intensify in the city. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also said Thursday, quote, “The battle in Rafah is critical,” unquote.

One-point-four million Palestinians — over half of Gaza’s population — had been displaced to Rafah seeking shelter. Now more than 600,000 have fled Rafah over the past week and a half since Israel launched its ground offensive there. Since then, no food, fuel or other aid has entered the two main border crossings in southern Gaza, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. Some 1.1 million Palestinians are on the brink of starvation, according to the U.N., while a full-blown famine is taking place in the north, this confirmed by the World Food Programme.
The developments come as the International Court of Justice has wrapped up two days of hearings in The Hague after South Africa’s request last week for emergency measures to halt Israel’s assault on Rafah. It marked the third time the U.N.’s top court held hearings on Gaza since South Africa filed a case in December accusing Israel of committing genocide. On Thursday, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Vusimuzi Madonsela, urged the court to order Israel to “totally and unconditionally withdraw” from the Gaza Strip.

VUSIMUZI MADONSELA: When we last appeared before this court to halt this genocidal process, to preserve Palestine and its people, instead, Israel’s genocide has continued apace and has just reached a new and horrific stage. Israel has sought to hide its crimes through the weaponization of international humanitarian law. It pretends that the civilians it ruthlessly kills, through its 2,000-pound bombs, through its targeted airstrikes, through its artificial intelligence systems, through its executions, are human shields. This whitewashing of Israel’s genocide misses the key and fundamental element, that of the massive and still mounting evidence of Israel’s genocidal intent.

AMY GOODMAN: Israel presented its defense at the World Court today and denied it’s carrying out a genocide in Gaza. This is the head of the Israeli delegation to the court, Gilad Noam.

GILAD NOAM: South Africa presents the court yet again, for the fourth time within the scope of less than five months, with a picture that is completely divorced from the facts and circumstances. Israel is engaged in a difficult and tragic armed conflict. South Africa ignores this factual context, which is essential in order to comprehend the situation, and also ignores the applicable legal framework of international humanitarian law. It makes a mockery of the heinous charge of genocide.

AMY GOODMAN: The International Court of Justice today ordered representatives for Israel to submit more information about humanitarian conditions in its so-called evacuation zones in Gaza. This comes as foreign ministers from 13 countries have signed onto a letter warning Israel to halt its ground operations in Rafah and to get more aid to Palestinians. The letter is signed by all G7 members minus the United States.
For more, we’re joined by longtime Israeli journalist Amira Hass. Born in 1956 in Jerusalem, her parents Holocaust survivors, she’s the Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, based in Ramallah. She’s the only Israeli Jewish journalist to have spent 30 years living in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank. Her books include Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege. Amira Hass is the recipient of the 2024 Columbia Journalism Award. And on Wednesday, she addressed the graduating class of the Columbia Journalism School here in New York. She now joins us in our New York studio.
Amira, welcome to Democracy Now!
AMIRA HASS: Thank you, Amy.
AMY GOODMAN: Congratulations on your award, but more importantly on your reporting. You are so unusual in Israel as the only Israeli Jewish journalist who lived in the Occupied Territories for the last 30 years. As you gave your address to the Columbia Journalism School, a number of its students threatened by New York police to even step outside the school when they were trying to cover the Gaza Solidarity Encampment outside, as police moved in, and, ultimately, I think, the number of arrests on campus numbered more than 200. Can you talk about the coming together of the issues that you cover, and what you feel it’s so important that journalists should understand about their role in society?
AMIRA HASS: As I said in my address to the students, it is — if I want to sum it up not in a professional way or like a teacher-like way, is to resist the normalization of evil and of injustice, because we are so used to so — there is so much injustice in this world, not in — everywhere. And we have to use our — the unwritten social contract between us and citizens the world over to scrutinize, to monitor, to challenge power, centers of power, the abusive power. Any power can be abusive or is abusive, only we have the power to at least try and restrain it. I think this is — this should be the role — not the only role, but this should be a main role of journalists, to restrain power, wherever it is being manifested.
AMY GOODMAN: Ever the journalist, in your J school address, you quoted a friend in Gaza. This is particularly important as —
AMIRA HASS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: — what happened just feet from where the school is. If you can tell us who he is —
AMIRA HASS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: — and what he said?
AMIRA HASS: Yeah. Just a few — two weeks before the address, I received a WhatsApp from a friend called Bassam Nasser. I met him in the early ’90s when he was still a student. And we haven’t been in touch for many years. He’s a father of four. He’s heading a aid institution or center in Gaza. He was displaced, like so many others, from Gaza to Rafah to save his life. His house, I know, is in ruins now in Gaza. And now he had to flee again with his family from — and the institution, from Rafah to Deir al-Balah in the center. And he sent me a very — he, from time to time, writes something on WhatsApp in English, and I guess he shares it with some others, and he shares his thoughts and feelings. And he shared with me something concerning the demonstrations and protests in American campuses. And I thought, of course, fit to bring it to the — to read it. So I can read it now. Sorry. And this is from the talk and what I — the quote that I brought on Wednesday to the students.
“A glimmer of hope emerges from university students demonstrating the enduring presence of humanity. Panicked, hypocritical politicians swiftly resort to force in order to quell the movement, fearing its global expansion. Repression is enacted to stifle voices challenging the status quo. Police and National Guards are deployed, arresting students who were expelled just hours earlier for speaking out against the violence in Palestine. From Gaza to New York and other major cities worldwide, I want to express deep gratitude for these voices. While you may not be able to save every child in Gaza or restore our shattered lives and dreams, and your efforts won’t prevent the next devastating airstrike that will wipe out our entire family, on behalf of every Palestinian, I want to express heartfelt appreciation for raising awareness to our plight.” And I know he’s not the only one. I mean, I know that if there was some kind of, really, a ray of hope in people’s life in — people’s hell — it’s not life — in the last month, are those demonstrations and protests.
AMY GOODMAN: Now, I wanted to go to someone else talking about those protests. You gave your graduation address on Wednesday at the Columbia Journalism School. The president, Minouche Shafik, had canceled the main graduation ceremony because of the protests. But yesterday, faculty, to say the least, completely exhausted, organized a People’s Graduation. Columbia students and faculty celebrated an alternative People’s Graduation as they gathered for a ceremony just nearby at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, with many students wearing their blue graduation gowns. On the stage with the professors was the Reverend Herbert Daughtry, the New York civil rights leader who was an early mentor to now-Mayor Eric Adams, who’s claimed the protests at Columbia were, quote, “coopted by professional outside agitators.” But among the speakers who addressed the students was the poet Fady Joudah, who read his poem, “Dedication,” about Palestinians killed by Israel; the Palestinian American lawyer and human rights activist Noura Erakat; and the award-winning journalist Mona Chalabi, who has rejected her 2023 Pulitzer Prize and has been highly critical of Gaza coverage by mainstream U.S. media outlets. In her address, she paid tribute to the student journalists in the audience who covered the Gaza encampment, often while facing arrest themselves.

MONA CHALABI: Hi, habibis. I’m just going to talk to you for two minutes, because I have the huge honor of acknowledging my fellow journalists in the room. So, as many of you know, our institutions have failed us these past seven months, and long before that. Writers and editors at some of the most respected newsrooms have told lies about what is happening in Gaza. They have said that death threats falling from the skies are evacuation orders. They have described forced displacement as migration. They have issued warnings to their staff, telling them not to use words like “ethnic cleansing” or “genocide.” In short, they’ve used their reporting to minimize the suffering in Gaza and maintain a status quo. And they’ve had that reporting honored by the Pulitzers. They’ve even sought to —
AUDIENCE: Shame!
MONA CHALABI: They’ve even sought to discredit or ignore Palestinian journalists, like Hind, who face death every day.
So I shouldn’t have been surprised when I heard what happened last month. A reporter at The New York Times was told that something seemed to be happening at Columbia University. Students appeared to have claimed a lawn as theirs. So, like any breaking news story, a select channel had been created for the journalists to discuss details and assign stories. This is what they do at The New York Times. When this reporter joined the select channel, they were surprised to find that it had been titled “Antisemitism on Campus.” They had decided what the story was before they even took a train uptown.
AUDIENCE: Shame!
MONA CHALABI: Meanwhile, journalists on campus have had a very different perspective. You had begun reporting before a single tent was assembled. You have not only witnessed the encampments, you listened to the chants, you read the signs, and you spoke to the organizers. You did the work, and you did it so well that journalists like me off campus turned to your words, your Instagram accounts, and we listened to your radio stations if we wanted the truth.
And you did that truth telling while cops harassed, assaulted and arrested you and your fellow students. And you did it all while trying to graduate and to grieve. That is true for anti-Zionist Jewish students who were having their faith questioned by those who want them to fall silent. It’s true for students whose parents look like the mothers and fathers being killed every day. And it is especially true for the Palestinian students who continue to report the facts while navigating unbearable grief. I am so proud to call you my colleagues. Would the journalists in the room please stand?

AMY GOODMAN: That’s the award-winning journalist Mona Chalabi, who just won the 2023 Pulitzer Prize, though she rejected it. At the award ceremony, Mona called out fellow journalists for their unwillingness to say the word “Palestine.” She donated her $15,000 prize money to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate to help fight what she talked about as the asymmetry of information that elevates Israeli voices over Palestinian ones in the mainstream media. She was addressing the People’s Graduation yesterday at St. John the Divine for the Columbia and Barnard students.
Amira Hass, as you listen to Mona and you think about also the Palestinian journalists who have died in Gaza, the astounding number of journalists who have died —
AMIRA HASS: Who have been killed.
AMY GOODMAN: Who have been killed.
AMIRA HASS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: Talk about that, then. And do you feel that they were directly targeted, so often wearing the press vests and the helmets?
AMIRA HASS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: I remember one Palestinian journalist, as he heard about his dear friend just having been killed, ripped off his press and helmet and said, “Why are we wearing these? They just make us a target.”
AMIRA HASS: Yeah. I guess, you know, one part in me wants to think that this is not true, I mean, that they were killed because they are in places which are dangerous and because they circulate a lot, I mean, move around in times when people try not to move around. I think there is what we call a finger — I think, a fingerprint targeting or profiling, because anybody who uses a drone, even for filming, for photographing, is considered by the people behind the Israeli assaulting drones, or Predator drones, as somebody who is part of the fighting units, so they kill them automatically without checking if they are only taking photos. So, I think there is a variety of excuses or explanation that Israel would give. But certainly, in some cases, they were connecting journalists to the 7th of October or to other activities completely not as journalists and wanting to take revenge of them. But this has to be checked, and I think it is being checked by several venues, each one case.
But certainly, when there are so many people, so many journalists killed, it shows that there is a pattern. And our role is to discover the pattern. But there are patterns of other things. There are patterns of whole families who are being killed, so 40, 30, 35. So, you can say that you are targeting one of the family, which means that you allow the killing of — let’s say that this one person is very dangerous to the security of Israel. Then it means that you allow yourself to kill 30 people, 40 people, 25 people, including children, including babies, for one person. So this is a pattern. We can learn about it from the reality. We don’t need to have secret documents for it. But it was so. There is a very important investigation by Yuval Abraham of +972, who did talk to intelligence, soldiers in the intelligence, and proved that there is an Israeli OK to kill so-and-so many for one person.
AMY GOODMAN: And we interviewed Yuval —
AMIRA HASS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: — on Democracy Now! talking about the AI programs Lavender and Where’s Daddy?
AMIRA HASS: Yes, yeah, yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: So, you have the killing of journalists and then the banning of journalists. And I wanted to go for a moment — I think it was two days after World Press Freedom Day that Israel banned Al Jazeera inside —
AMIRA HASS: Israel.
AMY GOODMAN: — the country, police officers raiding the network’s Jerusalem bureau, seizing broadcast equipment. Over the past seven months, Al Jazeera, one of the only international outlets with reporters on the ground inside Gaza — a few of whom were killed. This is a prerecorded video message by Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan from East Jerusalem.

IMRAN KHAN: If you’re watching this prerecorded report, then Al Jazeera has been banned in the territory of Israel. On April the 1st, the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, passed a law that allowed the prime minister to ban Al Jazeera. He’s now enacted that law.
Let me just take you through some of the definitions within the law. They’ve banned our website, including anything that has the option of entering or accessing the website, even passwords that are needed, whether they’re paid or not, and whether it’s stored on Israeli servers or outside of Israel. The website is now inaccessible. They’re also banning any device used for providing content. That includes my mobile phone. If I use that to do any kind of news gathering, then the Israelis can simply confiscate it. Our internet access provider, the guy that simply hosts AlJazeera.net, is also in danger of being fined if they host the website. The Al Jazeera TV channel, completely banned. Transmission by any kind of content provider is also banned, and holding offices or operating them in the territory of Israel by the channel. Also, once again, any devices used to provide content for the channel can be taken away by the Israelis.
It’s a wide-ranging ban. We don’t know how long it will be in place for, but it does cover this territory of the state of Israel.
Imran Khan, Al Jazeera, occupied East Jerusalem.

AMY GOODMAN: And that was his last report from occupied East Jerusalem. Now Al Jazeera reporters say, when they’re reporting from, for example, Amman, “We are banned from Israel.” But interestingly, Amira Hass, you don’t have the same thing happening with CNN and MSNBC. No, they’re not banned from reporting in Israel, but they are not allowed by Israel to go into Gaza. And each time they have a report outside of Gaza, they don’t say, “And we want to remind you, we are not on the ground in Gaza because the Israeli government has prevented that.”
AMIRA HASS: I cannot — I don’t watch them when I’m in Ramallah. But I want to say that when it comes to the Israeli public, it doesn’t matter if Al Jazeera are inside Israel or not inside Israel. The general Israeli public does not want to know about what’s happening in Gaza. And the Israeli media does not show anything. I mean, they show very, very, very few images of the destruction. They give very little information and footage of the death, of the wounded people. I mean, there is no relation between what is happening and what is shown on Al Jazeera and what the Israeli media shows.
But it is not — it is not a dictate from above. It is not state censorship, unlike with Al Jazeera. It is a decision of most of the Israeli venues, most of the Israeli media venues, especially the TV, of course, not to show those horrible scenes, that might give some sense to some Israelis that this is, not morally, but this is — logically, cannot produce — cannot produce a change in Palestinian attitudes or a change for accepting Israel or accepting Israeli right to exist, etc., etc., for eight months it launches such an onslaught of revenge and supremacy against them. But the Israeli public is not looking for it, is not searching for it, in general. I mean, of course there are exceptions, like the Israeli left wing, Israeli activists, Israeli human rights activists, political leftist activists. Of course, there are exceptions, so it’s not the entire society. And, of course, there are the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens. But the banning of Al Jazeera is not the reason why Israelis do not see — do not see the reality in Gaza. And this is not the reason. This is the choice not to know.
AMY GOODMAN: Interestingly, hostage families — you don’t even see in the U.S. media hostage families saying, “End this war.” You certainly see them talking about the horror of —
AMIRA HASS: Yeah.
AMY GOODMAN: — their loved ones being held in Gaza. But the second part of it, for a number of these hostage families, are “End the war now.”
AMIRA HASS: Yeah, number, not all, but number, yes, of course. But this is the American media. I mean, it’s not — we do know that there are families among the hostage families that do speak differently than the choir.
AMY GOODMAN: I want to ask you about the Nakba, about what happened in 1948 and what’s happening today, when we come back from break. We’re speaking with longtime Israeli journalist Amira Hass, Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She’s based in Ramallah. And she lived in Gaza for three years, wrote a book called Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege. She’s the only Israeli journalist to have lived in the Occupied Territories for decades. Stay with us.
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AMY GOODMAN: Composer and pianist Vijay Iyer performing “Kite” during the People’s Graduation Thursday at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He dedicated the song to the Palestinian writer and poet Refaat Alareer, who was killed in December by an Israeli airstrike along with his brother, sister and four of his nieces, children.
This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, as we continue our conversation with the longtime Israeli journalist Amira Hass, the Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She’s now based in Ramallah, the only Israeli Jewish journalist to have spent 30 years in and reporting from Gaza and the West Bank. Among her books, Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege, and editing her mother’s memoir from Bergen-Belsen, from the concentration camp. She is the daughter of Holocaust survivors.
Talk about what happened 76 years ago this week, May 15th, Amira, and talk about what’s happening today.
AMIRA HASS: I’ll start from with today, because I think that we — look, there is a country with two peoples, Palestinians and Jews. And we can have a long discussion, historiographical discussion, and debate about how it came about that there are two peoples in this country and why in 1948 there was a state for Jews established, while the U.N. resolution about a state for Palestinians — Arabs, as they were called — was not established. It doesn’t change the fact that there are two peoples. And it doesn’t change the fact that people want to live in their homeland. It doesn’t change the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of refugees, Palestinian refugees, who were — or hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were chased out of the country, of their homeland, in 1948, and that, by now, with their children and grandchildren, there are several millions, and they see this country as their country, as their homeland. And it doesn’t change the fact that there are Israeli Jews who see Israel and the country as their country.
And there is a decision that has to be made. Do they want to live, do they want their grandchildren to live, and live well, in that country, in justice? Or do they want to send their grandchildren and children for wars forever, that will force some people, who have the money, who have the talents, who have the contacts, to emigrate, and for others to remain and to live in destitute and in hunger and in ignorance for the rest of their lives and their — I don’t know — for the end of the generations, or until the world expires? So, this is why we feel that we still live the Nakba and the outcomes of the Nakba, because there is no —
AMY GOODMAN: The Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe.”
AMIRA HASS: For “catastrophe” — because there is no acknowledgment that you cannot live in this unbearable injustice, that one people has the rights and one people controls and dictates the life of the other people in the land. The thing is that we have to acknowledge there are two peoples in the land, and peoples have rights. And right now we deprive the Palestinians of their very basic rights, not only the basic right of life, as we see going on in Gaza right now, but on the normal days of occupation, we deprive them of water, freedom of movement, land, housing rights, planning, travel, living with their families, choosing their university, developing their economy, prospering, investing, all these things. At any moment, Israeli soldiers can confiscate millions of dollars from Palestinians for one pretext or another. Israeli settlers carry out Israeli policies, but in much more zeal, and confiscate land, take over land. I mean, Palestinians’ life is never — they are never safe. They never live in security, for more than 75 years, in both sides of the Green Line, both in Israel and the territory occupied in ’67.
So, there has to be a decision by Israeli people: Do we want to live for — we came — Israel was established so that Jews will feel secure and live normally. This is not normal life. They pretended that this is normal life, that we can occupy another people and feel normal. No, on the 7th of October, with all the atrocities and the enormous suffering that families and the casualties and the victims on 7th of October are living through, all this suffering and the, really, trauma, terrible trauma and cruelty, but this was a kind of a very expected answer by Hamas and by Palestinians to yearslong atrocities perpetuated by Israel and perpetrated by Israel.
And the main thing is the refusal, refusal to accept and to acknowledge the national rights of Palestinians for statehood. They were ready for it in the ’90s, I know. I know that the Israelis try to switch everything around and say that they sabotaged the Oslo agreement. Not correct. And this is one of the things that I followed very closely, how Israel did everything, from the beginning, under the guise of a peace process, did everything possible to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian side alongside Israel. And there is a — you know, we go back all the time to this, because all the time Israelis say that it’s the opposite. But they completely avoid all the evidence.
So, Israel did — what Israel did during the last 30 years is to prove to the world and to the Palestinians that the Palestinians were right from the beginning of the ’30s and the ’40s, when they said that Israel is a colonial entity or a settler-colonial entity. Israel had the chance in 1993 to stop its settler-colonial activity in the West Bank and Gaza and to say, “OK, we don’t go back to ’48. Let’s start for now and build a different, a new phase, a new historical phase.” It did the opposite. It continued with its bans on Palestinian construction, on Palestinian development. It disconnected Palestinians from each other, disconnected Gaza from the West Bank, started to fragment more and more the West Bank by roads that are meant only for Jews. And this is in the ’90s. This is in the ’90s. Rabin said himself he did not want — he was not opting for a state. So this is the question of Israeli settler colonialism. It’s Israel that proved that it’s settler-colonial.
And we live with it now with all of this abnormalcy. Israeli Jews wanted to live normally, happily. You go to Tel Aviv, you think you are in New York or you’re in London — and 40, 50 kilometers away, Palestinians live in cages, in cages disconnected from each other, and everything is dictated by Israel — the quantity of water. In my place, in my home in al-Bireh, in summer, we have — the water quantities are rationed, because there is not enough water. But when you go to a nearby settlement, it’s lush. It’s green in so much water they have. Israeli ranchers take over by violence, take over hundreds of thousands or tens of thousands of dunams, something that built settlements could not do. And they do it by violence and by the assistance and silence or indifference or encouragement of the Israeli authorities — the police, the army, the prosecution, everybody.
So, this is — when Palestinians say that the Nakba is ongoing, they don’t only mean — they mean Gaza, of course. And for many people, as I know, they feel that what’s the carnage in Gaza now is much worse than they experienced in 1948. But it’s also the — Israel took the Palestinian life and liberty and freedom as hostage for the past 70 years, 75 years, all over, in many forms. Inside Israel, Palestinians do not dare to speak out, because then they will be — if they just say a word, like if they say the word ”shahid,” which is “martyr,” and they mourn the deaths of so many Palestinians in Gaza, they might be taken. They might be arrested for incitement. So —
AMY GOODMAN: If they use the word “martyr”?
AMIRA HASS: Yeah, like on Facebook. I don’t — in Facebook, you see that they — or “martyr” or something like this. I mean, it’s just an example of how people are afraid to use words that are very normal. Even a sentence from the Qur’an can be taken as a proof that they are — that they support Hamas. So —
AMY GOODMAN: As you talk about Gaza and the West Bank, let’s talk more about the West Bank. Thousands of people have been arrested. Hundreds have been killed since October 7th. You talk about what you call the Smotrich plan. Bezalel Smotrich, now the minister of finance since 2022.
AMIRA HASS: Yeah, and he is a minister also in the Ministry of Defense, and he’s responsible on the settlements, actually, on the development of the settlements of the West Bank.
AMY GOODMAN: Both he and Ben-Gvir are settlers.
AMIRA HASS: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. He published in 2017 something called the Decisive Plan, which actually says that the Palestinians have to accept that they will never have a state, that we will never be equal citizens in this country, and they can enjoy their individual rights. If they don’t want, they can go, they can emigrate, which is, of course, the preferable option for him. And then, if they refuse both and they resist — sometimes he says “violently resist,” sometimes he says “resist” — they will — the army will know, or the security apparatus will know how to deal with it. And it was, in one way or the other, interpreted as, “OK, they will be killed.” He rejected when people — people assumed that he meant that civilians will be killed. He rejected this.
But anyway, we see now that what is happening is the implementation of the Decisive Plan. But it shows that, all over, Palestinians are targeted for any — as a message that if you want to live in peace, I mean, normally, or seemingly or quasi-normally, you have to be silent. You shouldn’t say anything. You certainly should not demonstrate. You certainly shouldn’t take arms. You certainly shouldn’t convene, do something to show support. Even defend yourself, protect yourself from settlers’ violence can cause you an arrest.
So, this message — and Smotrich would not have succeeded to such an extent if the state has not prepared the ground and has not really been in the same position for the last 20 years at least. So, it’s not that Smotrich is such a genius that he can — or so powerful that he can impose his position on the rest of the government. In a way, he is, because, I mean, he knows where Netanyahu is vulnerable. He knows how much also the Orthodox Jews want this government to continue. But the fact that, in practice, all Israeli authorities are part of the repression of the Palestinians, in so many ways, and in such a way that is so similar to Smotrich’s plans, shows that it has been in the DNA of the system of this deep state for so many years.
AMY GOODMAN: As we wrap up this discussion, where do you see what’s happening right now? Just as we sat down, Israel finished its defense for the emergency appeal by South Africa to prevent it from a full-scale ground offensive in Rafah, Israel insisting that aid is coming through with ease at all the entry points, and South Africa saying they must be stopped. How do you see this ending?
AMIRA HASS: Right now I hope that the judges will move, because the way that Israel has been able for almost six months to play and to drag it into — and how the Western countries allow this to continue without putting leverage, that they have, on Israel in order to stop the carnage and the famine and the starvation, and the deliberate starvation, our hopes now are with the judges, that they will see that Israel is lying.
AMY GOODMAN: And what about with the United States? I mean, you have President Biden now announcing $1 billion of military weapons in the pipeline for Israel, including $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million in tactical vehicles, $60 million in mortar rounds. The significance of what position the U.S. takes and what Biden is doing?
AMIRA HASS: He supports Israel to continue the war. I mean, I see no other explanation to this. I mean, all his words that he’s worried about Rafah or famine or whatever, so it’s such hypocrisy that I feel almost speechless. You think, on the one hand, they are sending aid, or they say that they are sending aid, but it takes so long, and it is so little. And on the other hand, they encourage Israel to continue with the war against Gaza, where we see that already Israel is defeated. I mean, it’s defeated. If such a huge military power is still fighting Hamas after eight months, it doesn’t give anything good to the Israelis, I mean, except of some groups that want it to continue. But —
AMY GOODMAN: Five seconds.
AMIRA HASS: Yeah. But for the majority of Israelis, it’s clear that the majority of Israelis understand, even though they support the war, on the one hand, they understand it’s against them, too.
AMY GOODMAN: Longtime Israeli journalist and author Amira Hass, Haaretz correspondent for the Occupied Palestinian Territories. I’m Amy Goodman. Thanks for joining us.

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Schools and Parents Still Fight Segregation 70 Years After “Brown v. Board”

Pasadena, California — After starting elementary school in the late 1960s, Naomi Hirahara and three other girls formed a clique called the C.L.A.N., an acronym that represented each of the girl’s first initials. Hirahara said she and her friends didn’t consider the racial implications of their group’s name until one of their fathers objected: “The Klan is very bad!”
The group consisted of Hirahara, who is Japanese-American, two Black girls and a White Jewish girl. They attended Loma Alta Elementary, a racially diverse school in Altadena, Calif., that stood out from many others in the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), especially its high schools, which were more racially homogenous.
“I really treasured the fact that we could form these interracial and intercultural relationships,” Hirahara said of her school, where, she recalled, students acknowledged racial differences, but weren’t fixated on them.
By 1970, the racial makeup of PUSD schools would command the attention of the entire country. A U.S. district court judge determined the school system had “knowingly assigned” students to schools by race and ordered it to desegregate based on the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision that “separate but equal” schools were unconstitutional. To racially integrate, PUSD launched what CBS News and The New York Times described then as the most substantial busing program outside the South.
Seventy years after the Brown v. Board decision on May 17, 1954, PUSD is still rebounding from the White flight that followed its desegregation order. More than 27,700 school-age youth live in Pasadena, Altadena and Sierra Madre, the communities served by the district, but only about half of them attend public school.

With 133,560 residents, Pasadena has one of the densest concentrations of private schools in the country, according to school officials. But the moms in the community who support public schools have organized to create a more equitable and diverse educational landscape.
They have teamed up with local educational organizations to advocate for the school district, and by extension, for racially and economically diverse schools. They have reached out to families with preschoolers, joined public school tours and gone door-to-door to reframe the narrative around PUSD. District officials, for their part, have expanded magnet and dual language immersion offerings, among other competitive programs, at schools to attract families from a wide range of backgrounds.
Families and officials have also worked together to educate realtors. It turns out that some of them dissuaded homeowners from enrolling children in PUSD, contributing to the exodus to private schools and, more recently, charter schools.
Changing negative perceptions that date back to school desegregation during the 1970s hasn’t been easy, they said. Back then, the backlash to the busing program occurred almost as soon as it started, with a recall campaign against school board members and a near 12-percentage-point drop in White student enrollment. Ronald Reagan, who was California’s governor at the time, stoked the fire when he signed legislation that prohibited busing without parental consent.
Today, advocating for Pasadena’s public schools is all the more challenging when considering that more than 40 private schools have been established in PUSD’s boundaries; the district has 23 public schools. In interviews, community members told The 19th that the proliferation of private schools has enabled White, middle- and upper-class families to evade public schools in the five decades since court-ordered desegregation.
“We really, truly haven’t recovered from the very pervasive belief in the area that PUSD schools are not up to snuff,” said Brian McDonald, who served as PUSD’s superintendent for nine years before stepping down in 2023.
California is not usually a place associated with segregation, though segregation has historically been a problem in the state. A 1973 report by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights concluded that school segregation there and elsewhere in the West is frequently “as severe as in the South.” A report released last month by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA — “The Unfinished Battle for Integration in a Multiracial America – from Brown to Now” — ranked California as the top state in the country where Black and Latino students attend schools with the lowest percentages of White students.
“California has gone through a major racial transition,” said Gary Orfield, one of the authors of the report and the co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. “It was an overwhelmingly White state in terms of school enrollment at the time of the Brown decision, but it’s now, of course, a state that is overwhelmingly non-White in terms of student enrollment. That’s basically caused by tanking birth rates and immigration.”
Fueling segregation, Orfield said, is the fact that California has largely lacked state policies designed to racially balance schools since the 1960s and 1970s, when court orders brought about change.
In Pasadena, some residents say that the school district’s reputation is improving and more people want to invest and enroll their children in public schools. Although White and Asian-American students remain underrepresented in PUSD, the White student population has slightly increased over the past 20 years despite the drop in the city’s White population during that period.
After failed attempts, Pasadena voters have approved ballot measures to increase funding for local schools in recent years, enabling the district to make millions of dollars in upgrades. The district has also received national recognition for its academic programs, school tours are packed and young parents now tend to view diversity as an asset, its supporters say.
“Most school districts across the country have given up on integration. It’s not on the radar screen,” said Richard Kahlenberg, who has authored studies on PUSD and is director of housing policy at the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. “Pasadena, along with a number of other forward-looking communities, is trying to do something about that. They haven’t reached all their goals, but I’m inspired that there is a critical mass of parents who recognize the benefits of diversity for all students.”
During a recent information session for prospective public school parents, Nancy Dufford, executive director of the Pasadena Education Network (PEN), which works to get families involved in district schools, told the audience: “Probably, a lot of you were told when you moved here that you couldn’t send your kids to public school.”
She was stunned to find out that none of the families had actually heard such comments. It was the first time she had spoken to a group of parents who hadn’t been warned away. In Pasadena, Dufford said, it has been tradition for established families not to send their children to public schools. “So many people live here for long periods of time,” she said. “So you have generations of families here who have that message.”
The message ends up making its way to newer Pasadenans. Dufford said she heard it herself after becoming a mother in the 1990s, shortly after relocating to the city. In fact, PEN, the group she runs today, was started in 2006 by a group of preschool parents who had heard the same thing yet refused to listen.
They were among the parents who asked questions like, “Why do people say the schools aren’t good?”
Kimberly Kenne, president of the PUSD Board of Education and one of the founding members of PEN, said that she also wondered about this “pervasive narrative” when she moved to town in the early 1990s. She wasn’t aware of the bias against public schools in Pasadena, though her husband, who was raised in the city, attended private school when the desegregation order came down.
After their first child was born in 1997, Kenne considered enrolling him in the neighborhood public school — only to be admonished by fellow parents. “Are you sure you’re going to share the values of the other parents at public school?” she recalled them asking.
She enrolled her son in a private school, but changed her mind. One reason is that the school wasn’t equipped to meet his needs as a neurodivergent child. Another is that the private school lacked racial diversity in the student body, something that mattered to her.
Jennifer Hall Lee, vice president of PUSD’s Board of Education, also enrolled her daughter, who is now 20, in private school — regretting the decision when she realized her daughter didn’t seem comfortable interacting with people from a wide range of backgrounds.
Lee herself had gone to a public high school in Atlanta in the 1970s that had equal percentages of Black and White students. After switching her daughter to public school, Lee noticed that the child’s worldview changed.
“She would talk to me about the kids in the schools, from first-generation immigrant kids to foster youth,” Lee said. “She began to really understand the differences in socioeconomic status and understand that people lived in apartments and not everybody owned a home. She started understanding the full breadth of her community.”
In a city where the median home sale price is $1.1 million and the median household income is almost six figures, it’s confusing for newcomers to understand why the school system has a poor reputation since affluence in a community typically translates into quality in its public schools.
Pasadena, however, has become known as “a tale of two cities,” a place where the gap between the rich and the poor has only widened and the two groups don’t mingle socially or academically. At $97,818, the median household income is just above the state’s and $23,000 above the nation’s. At the same time, the city’s poverty rate of 13.4 percent is slightly higher than the state and national rate.
When the school district’s critics mention that its test scores are lower than those in surrounding school systems, supporters respond that the city has a wealth gap that’s largely absent from the more homogeneous neighboring suburbs. Many of the detractors, Dufford said, are also unaware that PUSD’s “bad” reputation coincided with the 1970 desegregation order that accelerated the departure of White, middle- and upper-income families from the district.
White flight out of Pasadena has been traced back as far as the 1940s. The reasons include lower birth rates among White families, an economic downturn in the aerospace industry that limited employment opportunities and the restructuring of neighborhoods to make way for freeways. By 1960, the racial demographics of the city were also changing, with communities of color expanding rapidly. The next year, PUSD lost about 400 students when the mostly White community of La Cañada broke away from the district to form its own separate school system, which to this day is ranked as one of the state’s best. In 1976, La Cañada Flintridge became its own city.
“The fact that people are willing to create whole new municipalities, so they don’t have to integrate — that should really wow people,” said Shannon Malone, PUSD’s senior director of principals, who added that her views were not the school district’s but her own. “You would rather create a whole new city than to let your child sit next to a person of color. I don’t think people have a full understanding of that at all.”
Having lived through the desegregation order, Hirahara, who is now an award-winning mystery writer, wishes more people knew about the history of the city’s schools. In 2016, she received a grant from the Pasadena Arts & Culture Commission and the City of Pasadena Cultural Affairs Division to present “Loma Alta: Tales of Desegregation,” a talk at a public library that featured her and two other district alumni sharing their experiences.
“So many people don’t even know that it was the first West Coast school district to get the order to desegregate, so it’s a very unique and telling experience of why we’re still dealing with issues of race today,” Hirahara said.
When Hirahara was enrolled in Loma Alta, about half of its students were Black. It was one of Pasadena’s top-performing elementary schools, which the 1973 report from the Civil Rights commission attributed to the fact that many of the students came from middle-class households. Other high-achieving schools in the district with large Black populations included Audubon Primary School and John Muir High School. Six students at John Muir were accepted into the elite California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1972, a rare feat that prompted Caltech’s then-president to write about the accomplishment in the local newspapers.
The Brown v. Board decision had the unintended consequence of costing tens of thousands of Black educators their jobs as many White schools did not want to employ these teachers and principals after integration. The consequences have endured for decades. In 2021, about 15 percent of public school students nationwide were Black, but only 6 percent of public school teachers nationwide were, according to a forthcoming report by the Southern Education Foundation, a nonprofit that works to advance equitable education policies.
Malone, who is Black and was bused to schools in Los Angeles, underscored the results of studies that show that students of color excel when they have Black teachers, demonstrating better academic and behavioral outcomes. But when Black children attend integrated schools, their support systems don’t usually accompany them, she said.
The achievements of students at racially diverse schools in the district didn’t stop the parents bent on leaving PUSD from doing so, administrators complained to federal officials in 1973. The biggest obstacle preventing the district from truly becoming integrated, the administrators said, was “white flight.” The Civil Rights commission’s report quoted one administrator making a remark that could have come from a PUSD supporter today: “White parents don’t take time to see whether the system is bad or not. They simply listen to people who criticize the district without foundation.”
What’s different is that now the district has an army of moms actively challenging these attitudes. Victoria Knapp is one of them, but it took time and trust in herself before she became a public school crusader.
When Knapp entered grade school in Pasadena in the 1970s, she heard that children her age were being bused from one neighborhood to another, but she didn’t understand why it was being done or what it was like. Knapp did not attend the city’s public schools.
“My schools were predominantly White, predominantly Catholic and predominantly middle class or above,” she said.
She had some familiarity with public schools because her mother taught for the Los Angeles Unified School District, but she didn’t know that a contentious debate about integrating them had unfolded in her own community. Years later, after the birth of her older son, she felt pressure from fellow moms to send her children to private school. The aversion to public school in her moms’ group made her reflect on her city’s past. She thought to herself: “You mean to tell me that whatever was going on here 40 years ago is still going on?”
Still, her Catholic school upbringing and the nudging from the private school enthusiasts led Knapp, chair of the Altadena Town Council’s executive committee, to rule out PUSD. First, she and her husband enrolled their eldest son in a parochial school. Then they tried a nonsectarian private school. The couple felt that both schools exposed their children to experiences and behaviors they did not appreciate, like the sense of entitlement expressed by some of their classmates. Knapp, for the first time, began to consider an alternative.
“It did seem counterintuitive to me that I was going to have this relatively homogenous group of moms dictate what we were going to decide for our own kid,” she said.
After touring PUSD schools, Knapp questioned the idea that they were inferior to the city’s private schools. She wondered, “What’s not good? Is it that our public schools are predominantly Black and Brown children?”
When some parents raised safety concerns, she responded that elementary schools aren’t typically dangerous and that fights, gun violence and truancy occur at private and public schools alike. “They could never really articulate what safety meant,” Knapp said. “What safety meant was they didn’t want their child in an integrated, diverse school. They just didn’t. And that’s exactly where I wanted my privileged White sons to be.”
Both of her sons, a 6th grader and an 11th grader, have now attended public school for years. Her younger son attended Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson’s alma mater, Cleveland Elementary School.
Knapp became an active PUSD parent, serving as a PTA president at Altadena Arts Magnet, the school her younger son attended next, and an ambassador for the Pasadena Education Network, a role that has her regularly participate in school tours. Going on tours allows her to field questions from prospective parents. What the families see often surprises them, Knapp said.
“They think they’re going to see chaos and mayhem, then they come in,” she said. “Altadena Arts is an inclusion school, so kids of all neurodiversities are included in the same classroom. It’s socioeconomically diverse, it’s racially diverse, it’s gender diverse, it’s very integrated. You walk up there and it’s like, ‘This is what a school should look like.’”
Karina Montilla Edmonds, who moved to Pasadena in 1992 to attend Caltech, never doubted the city’s public school district. When her now 22-year-old daughter was entering kindergarten, Edmonds and her former husband turned down the chance to send her to the neighboring San Marino Unified School District (SMUSD), which ranks as one of the state’s Top 10 school systems. Her then-husband taught for SMUSD, qualifying their eldest daughter for an interdistrict transfer to the suburb where the median household income is $174,253 and more than 85 percent of students are proficient in reading and math.
Edmonds wasn’t interested. “At the time, I was like, ‘That’s not my school. That’s not my community. I have a school two blocks away. Why wouldn’t I go there?’”
The decision appalled many of her fellow parents. “People thought I was nuts,” she said. “Luckily, I have a PhD in aeronautics from Caltech, so they knew I wasn’t stupid, but they definitely thought I was crazy.”
The mom of three from Rhode Island didn’t fear that her children wouldn’t get a good education in Pasadena’s public schools because she excelled in the public education system in her state while growing up in a household of few resources, raised by parents with limited formal education. “I thought I was rich because everybody around me was on public aid,” she said. When she attended a competitive public high school, she learned just how economically disadvantaged her family was. “I was like, ‘Oh, wait, I’m poor.’”
She now serves on the board of the Pasadena Educational Foundation, a nonprofit focused on developing community partnerships to help the city’s public schools excel. The organization also works with the Pasadena-Foothills Association of Realtors to educate real estate agents about the public schools since some realtors had a history of discouraging homebuyers from enrolling their children in PUSD. McDonald, the former superintendent, said that it happened to him when he was buying a home several years ago.
“She advised me to put my kids in every other school and district except for PUSD,” he said. “But I’m happy to say that through the efforts of the district and the Pasadena Educational Foundation, primarily utilizing the realtor initiative, we were able to change a few minds.”
Edmonds agrees that educating realtors is an important step. Her perspective on public schools and the surrounding communities, she added, also comes from the fact that her ex-husband taught in Pasadena before San Marino. Was he suddenly a better teacher because he moved from a less affluent school district to a more affluent one? She didn’t think so. She also didn’t compare the two district’s test scores because their populations are different. Pasadena Unified has significantly more low-income students, foster youth, English language learners and Black and Brown students than San Marino Unified, which is predominantly White and Asian American.
“To me, that’s part of the enrichment of getting to be with and learn from a broader part of our community,” she said, adding that children don’t suffer because they attend school in diverse environments.
The idea of seeking out or avoiding schools based on demographics concerns her.
“I feel like our democracy depends on an educated population,” she said. “I think every child should have access to excellent education and have an opportunity for success because I know the opportunities that I had given to me through the public school system.”
The year after McDonald became the PUSD superintendent in 2014, he wrote a column in the local paper describing the difficulties the district was experiencing because of the high percentage of parents sending their children to private school. He estimated that the district was losing out on about $14 million because of declining enrollment, money that could help PUSD prevent school closures, teacher layoffs and cuts to student services.
But he also touted the district’s variety of programs for students such as dual language immersion schools and International Baccalaureate, as well as the piloting of a dual enrollment program with the local community college. Since then, the district has expanded its initiatives and created new ones. In addition to Spanish and Mandarin, the district’s dual language immersion tracks now include French and Armenian. From 2013 to 2022, PUSD also received three federal magnet assistance program grants that allow it to bring more academic rigor to its schools.
“We lose enrollment because people have a negative perception of our schools, so I think the idea of a magnet theme, whether it’s arts or early college, or a dual-language program, can really get people excited about something that their students are really interested in or maybe a value that their family has, let’s say, around the arts,” said Shannon Mumolo, PUSD’s director of magnet schools, enrollment, and community engagement. Schools with themed magnet programs, she added, can sway families who weren’t interested in PUSD to consider at least going on a school tour.
Enrollment at PUSD’s John Muir High School has increased since it became an Early College Magnet in 2019, Mumolo said. Across the board, enrollment of students from underrepresented groups — White and Asian American — have gone up since the school district expanded its academic programs over the past decade.
“But I also want to make sure to emphasize that the schools have maintained their enrollment of their Black and Latino students,” Mumolo said. “We want to make sure that we’re keeping our neighborhood students and maintaining enrollment for those groups.”
The former superintendent also touts PUSD’s Math Academy, which The Washington Post in 2021 lauded as “the nation’s most accelerated math program.” The course allows gifted middle school students to take classes, such as Advanced Placement Calculus BC, that are so rigorous that only a small percentage of high school seniors take them.
Kenne, the school board president, said that her children, now both in their 20s, were gifted math students. The Math Academy was not available when they were in grade school. She and her husband switched them out of PUSD in high school, in part, because at the time they had more opportunities to excel in math in private school, she said, acknowledging that it was a controversial choice for a parent who advocates for public education.
“People do have reasons,” Kenne said of some parents who choose private school. But she also said that private school overall wasn’t especially rigorous for her children. “My son calculated that he didn’t need to do homework for some classes to get a decent grade,” she said.
By introducing a wide variety of academic programs, including in math, PUSD has challenged the gap between what outsiders perceive it to be and what the district actually is, according to McDonald. “I think if we had not implemented those programs, the declining enrollment would have been much more acute,” he said.
Kahlenberg, the researcher, agrees. He said data suggests that when middle-class families get the right incentives to go to a public school, even one that’s outside their neighborhood, they do.
Since the busing integration program did not succeed in the district, Kahlenberg, in his studies of the school district, recommended that PUSD take creative approaches to lure in middle-income families. That includes introducing unique academic programs as well as developing or deepening partnerships with institutions in or around Pasadena — Caltech, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Pasadena Playhouse, Art College Center of Design, the Norton Simon Museum, the Huntington Library.
But the focus on winning parents back has led to some tensions, Kenne said.
“Sometimes a message that we’ve heard in the last 10, 20 years is do we care more about marketing to the people who don’t come to our district, or working hard for the people who are already here?” Kenne said. “Because sometimes the public-facing message seems to be all about getting kids back, and it makes the people in the system go, ‘Am I not important to you? I’m already here.’”
Nationwide, Black students who attended school in the late 1960s were more likely to be in integrated classrooms than Black youth today. Supreme Court decisions, such as 1991’s Board of Education of Oklahoma City v. Dowell and 2007’s Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, have contributed to the resegregation of the nation’s schools by phasing out court-ordered busing and making it harder to racially balance schools, according to experts.
Kahlenberg said schools nonetheless have a duty to continue trying to integrate — if not by race, then by class.
“The children of engineers and doctors bring resources to a school, but so do the children of recent immigrants or children whose parents have struggled,” Kahlenberg siad. “The more affluent kids benefit as well from an integrated environment. When people have different life experiences they can bring to the discussion novel ideas and new ways of thinking, and that nicely integrated environment is possible in a place like Pasadena.”
Hirahara, for one, still cherishes her childhood in the school district, back when she befriended the girls in the C.L.A.N. As schools across the nation have largely re-segregated, she fears that too few young people get to experience what she did.
“I’m so glad that I had that kind of upbringing,” she said, “and I think it prepared me better for life.”

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16 House Democrats Vote to Pass Bill Barring Pausing of Israel Arms Shipments

The House passed a bill on Thursday that would essentially ban the Biden administration from pausing or canceling weapons shipments to Israel as it carries out its genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
The bill, known as the Israel Security Assistance Support Act, condemns President Joe Biden’s decision to pause shipments of thousands of 2,000 pound and 500 pound bombs to Israel earlier this month. It compels the Department of Defense and Department of State to ensure all arms deals for Israel be carried through or else face defunding.
It passed 224 to 187, with 16 Democrats joining Republicans in voting to pass the bill. Three Republicans voted against the legislation. The Democrats who voted for the bill represent the most ideologically conservative lawmakers in the House Democratic caucus and some of Israel’s staunchest supporters, including Reps. Henry Cuellar (Texas), Josh Gottheimer (New Jersey) and Ritchie Torres (New York).
The vote — the latest show of the extremist fealty to Israel festering within the halls of Congress — is largely symbolic. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has said the bill wouldn’t go anywhere in the Senate. Further, the White House has put out a statement of administration policy stating that it “strongly opposes” the bill and that Biden would veto it.
“This bill could raise serious concerns about infringement on the President’s authorities under Article II of the Constitution, including his duties as Commander-in-Chief and Chief Executive and his power to conduct foreign relations,” the White House wrote, while still affirming the Biden administration’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel as it embarks on the most destructive phase of its genocide yet.

Still, the bill is a potent show of Congress’s insistence that the U.S. supply Israel’s genocide — a stance that is wildly out of step with the public’s views on weapons transfers to Israel. Critics say it is a severe overcorrection to Biden’s weapons pause, which is unlikely to dissuade Israel from escalating its genocide and appears instead to be an engineered PR move for Biden’s flailing presidential campaign.
Further, the bill “reeks of McCarthyism” due to a provision that would specifically suspend salaries for employees within the government who facilitate an arms shipment pause or cancellation, as Janet Abou-Elias and Lillian Mauldin, leaders of Women for Weapons Trade Transparency and fellows at the Center for International Policy, wrote in an op-ed on the bill.
“This bill is an unprecedented attack on the administration’s legal obligation to conduct arms transfers in line with U.S. and international law,” they wrote. “[T]he bill’s punitive measures use McCarthyist tactics of intimidation and suppression of dissent and threaten administrative officials simply for upholding their commitments to ensure that U.S. law is implemented.”
Weapons deals typically take months, if not over a year, to carry out between approval and shipment. Barring a deal from being reversed or paused could mean that the U.S. would be locked into sending Israel weapons shipments even if domestic assessments or international court rulings found that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza and beyond — which experts and humanitarian groups have said Israel has been doing for months, if not decades.
For instance, a recently released report from the State Department found that Israel has “likely” used U.S. weapons to violate international law in Israel — something that humanitarian groups have found to be true many times now. The State Department, in following with Biden’s full-throated support of Israel, bizarrely concluded that, despite the likely human rights violations, it is still appropriate for the U.S. to send weapons to Israel; this conclusion was shredded by groups saying that it showed the administration is only interested in following humanitarian law when politically convenient.
If the report had made the alternative conclusion, which is backed by a deluge of experts, that the U.S. cannot send weapons to Israel without breaking domestic or international law, it would have compelled the U.S. to halt weapons shipments immediately — or else be complicit in future findings of genocide and other war crimes on the international stage. The Israel Security Assistance Support Act would bar the administration from doing that, in essence forcing the U.S. into complicity.
“The administration’s recent pledge to pause certain transfers to Israel if it carries out a full-scale attack on Gaza is small, and an inadequate step towards reining in the Netanyahu government’s criminal conduct in Gaza,” said Bill Hartung, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft senior research fellow, per Abou-Elias and Mauldin’s op-ed. “But even this small step is too much for the authors of the Israeli Security Support Act [who] apparently believe that Israel should be allowed to kill civilians in Gaza with impunity.”

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Louisiana Legislature Passes Transgender Bathroom Ban Bill

If signed into law, the bill will affect the estimated 20,000 transgender people who live in Louisiana.

On Thursday, Louisiana lawmakers passed a bill that would force transgender people to use facilities based on the sex they were assigned at birth. If signed into law, the bill will affect the estimated 20,000 transgender people who live in Louisiana.
“This bill represents a deeply troubling attempt to deny the humanity and dignity of an already vulnerable population by seeking to eliminate legal recognition of gender identities beyond the binary,” SarahJane Guidry, executive director of Forum for Equality, said at a committee hearing.
This bill, House Bill 608, not only affects school restrooms and changing rooms but also mandates that people in prisons and domestic violence shelters use bathrooms and sleeping quarters based on the sex they were assigned at birth. House Bill 608 also creates a course of action for people who feel like they have suffered from a violation of the law to bring a legal claim for injunctive relief and monetary damages.
“This bill will only create more fear in the transgender community about bathrooms,” said Peyton Rose Michelle, executive director of Louisiana Trans Advocates. “As a trans person who utilizes public bathrooms…I already get nervous about it.”
The bill now heads to Gov. Jeff Landry (R) for signature. While Louisiana’s previous governor, John Bel Edwards (D), vetoed several anti-LGBTQ bills last year, Landry has backed numerous anti-LGBTQ measures, including two that limit discussions of gender and sexuality in K-12 schools, and is likely to sign the bill into law.

“If signed, Louisiana will join other extreme states in banning transgender people from bathrooms matching their gender. While the bill primarily targets correctional facilities, public schools, and domestic violence shelters, its effects will be more far reaching than that as it allows for any entity to have a bathroom ban,” LGBTQ legislative researcher Allison Chapman told Truthout. “While it’s not surprising, I’m appalled at the passage of the bill and will be adding Louisiana to the states I cannot travel to as a trans woman.”
Currently, eleven states prohibit transgender people from using bathrooms and facilities — such as locker rooms, shower rooms, changing rooms and other sex-segregated spaces — that align with their gender identity in certain locations. These include government-run buildings like K-12 schools, city halls, courthouses, state legislative buildings, colleges or universities, jails or prisons, and, in some cases, airports and public parks. Additionally, two states — Florida and Utah — make it a criminal offense in certain circumstances for transgender people to use bathrooms or facilities that align with their gender identity.
The bill would require that domestic violence shelters in Louisiana turn transgender people away from shelters that match their gender identity, which LGBTQ advocates say would put transgender people, who face elevated levels of domestic violence, at a higher risk of danger.
“Additionally, by forcing trans people, who already face high rates of domestic violence, into shelters that do not match their gender identity the state will be subjecting trans people to additional trauma and potentially additional violence,” Chapman said.

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Critics Say Info Provided to GOP-Proposed Pregnancy Database Could Be Weaponized

Last week, leading up to Mother’s Day, Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) introduced the More Opportunities for Moms to Succeed (MOMS Act), a bill that would create a federal database for pregnant people nationwide.
Specifically, the database would be called “pregnancy.gov,” and provide resources related to pregnancy — including adoption agencies and pregnancy care providers — but it excludes abortion-related services. In fact, the proposed legislation forbids anyone who “performs, induces, refers for or counsels in favor of abortions” to be included.
In addition to excluding abortion providers, users could “take an assessment through the website” and provide consent to have the user’s information shared with the government who might conduct outreach via phone or email to provide additional support. The bill would also provide grants to crisis pregnancy centers and apply child support obligations during pregnancy, signaling support and further acceptance of fetal personhood.
The news sparked public outrage as concerns were raised about how it could be used to collect data on and monitor abortion seekers. A spokesperson for Britt has publicly denounced these concerns, stating that the website wouldn’t require users to log in to the site and that it wouldn’t ask for a person’s pregnancy status.
This news comes a couple weeks after a report surfaced that a man in Texas submitted a petition to investigate his ex-partner’s out-of-state abortion. In 2023, another Texas man attempted to sue three women for wrongful death, claiming they allegedly helped his now ex-wife end her pregnancy by undergoing a medication abortion via the abortion pill.

As Dr. Carole Joffe, a professor in Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) at the University of California–San Francisco, told Salon in 2022, a post-Roe landscape would likely have “less injuries,” as self-managed abortions are safer than ever thanks to abortion medication — but it will come with “more surveillance.” The culmination of recent events show in many ways abortion surveillance is already here.
“In a world in which abortion is legal everywhere, there were still dangers because we saw various prosecutions before Dobbs,” David S. Cohen, a professor of law at Drexel Kline’s School of Law, told Salon, mentioning the 2022 case in Nebraska when Meta turned over chats between a mother and her daughter in an investigation of an abortion. “But now in a world where abortion is illegal in 14 states, highly restricted and another six or seven states, there’s just that more of a possibility for legal consequence if the information becomes public.”
As explained by If/When/How’s 2023 report, pro-abortion advocates have been long concerned about digital surveillance. Digital communications with friends and family, internet searches, data shared with mobile apps and locations can become evidence used in prosecutions against women obtaining abortions and those helping people obtain abortions.
“With people increasingly relying on technology in day-to-day life and the proliferation of artificial intelligence (AI), digital traces left on websites and personal devices such as cell phones and computers expand private parties and state actors’ ability to gather, track and share information about users,” the report stated. “Whether abortion laws target providers, aiders and abettors, or women themselves, the criminalization of abortion necessarily involves the surveillance of women.”
Cohen said digital data is available for people who seek it out, but that he doesn’t think it’s being “sought out a lot.”
“We have a few lawsuits in Texas, like I mentioned, even though I think it seems like it’s too easily attainable, the information, it does not seem like it’s being used right now, in any kind of high-volume way to harm people,” he said. “But that could change and it’s scary to think of possibilities.”
As Axios previously reported, period tracking apps have been of high concern. “There really aren’t any real safeguards against the ways police can weaponize this data against users, when they’re actively investigating a crime in a world where abortion increasingly is criminalized,” Albert Fox Cahn, founder of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, told Axios.
Both California and Washington have data shield laws that include provisions to prevent companies from turning over data requested by law enforcement from abortion ban states for cases related to abortions. As researchers at Brookings noted in a recent report, such shield laws could provide one significant hurdle if law enforcement attempts to investigate and prosecute women who have abortions.
Dr. Josie Urbina, an OBGYN and complex family planning specialist at the University of California-San Francisco, told Salon if she had patients in a state with abortion bans or restrictions, she wouldn’t advise that they use period apps.
“We only know about the cases that have been highlighted in the news,” Urbina said, adding that surveillance is happening in marginalized communities and these stories might not be making news headlines. “We know that there’s criminalization of pregnant people occurring that nobody knows about — that is definitely happening — and it’s happening to people in marginalized communities, who often get forgotten about and that’s why we haven’t been seeing them in the news.”
When asked about Britt’s proposed MOMS Act, Cohen said any kind of identifiable information about someone during pregnancy that’s stored by the government could be weaponized against them. And there are already plenty of examples when the government knows people are pregnant or starts monitoring anything related to that, and then using that data to police people.
“We’ve seen states like South Carolina and Alabama and Tennessee take action against pregnant people in large numbers because they are doing things that they think will damage a pregnancy.” he said. “That kind of information could be weaponized against someone who’s pregnant.”
Urbina agreed.
“Anything that mentions pregnancy without mentioning abortion is completely not supportive of the paradigm of full spectrum sexual and reproductive health care, and that’s what people like me, like OBGYNs get trained to offer,” Urbina said. “We would be doing a disservice to the American people if abortion isn’t included as an option and in the conversation. And the fact that these grants would be given to so-called crisis pregnancy centers, it’s abhorrent.”
Urbina said crisis pregnancy centers are known for preying on pregnant people and providing them with misinformation.
If people want to protect themselves from surveillance, Urbina recommended using one of the encrypted period tracking apps like Euki, which is available in English and Spanish.

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Rule Change to Obscure Political Campaign Contributions Narrowly Avoided at FEC

All three Republican members of the Federal Election Commission on Thursday voted in favor of a new rule change that would have made it even easier for right-wing megadonors to hide their political campaign contributions from public view.
While the three Democratic members forced a deadlocked vote that prevented passage of the proposal, pro-democracy watchdogs said the unanimous vote by the Republican-appointed members shows the powerful commitment by GOP forces to increase the ability for wealthy individuals and corporate interests to mask their political giving.
FEC chairman Sean Cooksey was joined by his two Republican colleagues Allen Dickerson and James “Trey” Trainor III in backing the measure, but all three Democrats — Commissioners Shana Broussard, Dara Lindenbaum, and vice chair Ellen Weintraub — voted against to nullify it.
The proposal, Sludgereported earlier this week, would “supercharge” the flow of so-called “dark money” in political campaigns and was proposed by Dickerson, a Trump-nominated member who “previously worked at an anti-campaign finance regulation organization funded by conservative political megadonors.”
Dickerson’s proposed rule change, per the FEC, would have allowed advocacy groups or campaigns to “withhold, redact, or modify contributors’ identifying information in campaign finance disclosure reports” — reports currently mandated so that the public is made aware of who is funding such organizations.

Ahead of the vote, Scott Greytak, director of advocacy for Transparency International U.S., said the implications if it passed would reach far beyond the United States.
“With half of the world’s population living in countries that will hold a nationwide vote this year, the United States must embody and exemplify the importance of transparent and informed elections,” Greytak said in a statement opposing the proposal. “As democracy faces its biggest test yet around the world, it is difficult to believe that the world’s oldest democracy is even considering further eroding the public’s right to know who is influencing their elections.”
In a May 2 memo detailing his argument in favor of exempting donors from mandated disclosure requirements, Dickerson claims it is “a Constitutional right” because “Americans are entitled to make political contributions without being attacked, threatened, or fired.”
In view of such arguments, which right-wing forces have made for some time, Stuart McPhail, director of campaign finance litigation with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), has explained why such bad-faith misdirection is an effort to obscure what’s really going on.
While it’s true that some groups historically were granted exemptions for donor disclosures — including the NAACP and the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), whose supporters and members faced coordinated, state-sponsored violence due to their political activities — claims like the one Dickerson makes, McPhail contends, fails on various merits.
“Campaign finance disclosure does not subject any viewpoint to discriminatory burdens,” McPhail explained in a 2022 blog post. “Rather, the aim of the laws has nothing to do with expression at all: they target transfers of wealth that could be and are used to corruptly influence officials, defraud voters and undermine democracy. Rather than state-sponsored suppression, dark money funders face criticism from concerned and less powerful citizens.”
It should be clear, he continued, that powerful “Dark money groups, their donors, and the candidates are trying to evade responsibility, not prevent retaliation.” When people like Dickerson make such moves, argued McPhail, they are trying to help groups and their allies “to avoid accountability by hiding their donors and silencing critics who may speak out against them.”
This is why Thursday’s votes in favor of such a proposal, said Craig Holman, Ph.D., a government ethics expert with Public Citizen, should be viewed with alarm.
“Commissioners of the FEC, regardless of party affiliation, have always defended the need for disclosure of campaign money sources — until now,” Holman said following the 3-3 vote. “Preventing the disclosure of the sources of political spending would deprive voters of critical information and undermine the essential need for checks on monetary power. It is truly disturbing to see half of the Commission now undermining that core principle, which is so important to an open democratic society.”

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Dobbs Had the Opposite Effect Conservatives Intended

New data shows that telehealth abortions, and shield laws, have helped drive the post-Dobbs rise in abortions nationwide.Michael Nigro/Pacific Press/ZUMA Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters. Something curious has happened since the Supreme Court handed down the Dobbs decision in June 2022: More people…

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