Rasmea retrial set for May 16, 2017

Support the defense now!

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)

Rasmea Defense Committee statement - December 21, 2016

Rasmea retrial set for May 16, 2017

Support the defense now!

This morning, Rasmea Odeh and her defense attorney Michael Deutsch were called into Judge Gershwin Drain's courtroom in Detroit, where the judge and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel were in attendance. The parties all agreed on May 16, 2017, as the new starting date for Rasmea's retrial.

The defense committee will continue to send regular updates regarding any pre-trial hearings or other appearances that Rasmea must make between now and the retrial, as well as requests to participate in regular defense organizing and activities.

In addition, we urge supporters to continue to
call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade
 at 313-226-9100,

or tweet @USAO_MIE

and demand that she stop wasting taxpayer money, that she stop persecuting a woman who has given so much to U.S. society, and that she #DropTheChargesNow against Rasmea.

Lastly, and in the spirit of the season, please help us win #Justice4Rasmea by making your end-of-year donation to the defense fund! We thank you all for your continued support!

Background info

Statement from Tuesday, December 13

U.S. Attorney extends political attack on Rasmea, brings new indictment against the Palestinian American

Today, U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade announced that a grand jury she had empaneled returned a new, superseding indictment against Rasmea Odeh for unlawful procurement of naturalization. This new indictment, just four weeks before her retrial, is a vicious attack by prosecutors desperate after a series of setbacks in their case against the Chicago-based Palestinian American community leader. From the outset, the government has attempted to exclude and discredit evidence of Rasmea's torture at the hands of Israeli authorities, but the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the prosecution, which led to the retrial; and the government's own expert affirmed that Rasmea lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Knowing that it faces the real prospect of losing a retrial before a jury, the U.S. Attorney's office has reframed its case against Rasmea, putting allegations of terrorism front and center. In the first trial in 2014, prosecutors were barred from using the word "terrorism," because Judge Gershwin Drain agreed the word would bias the jury. The new indictment adds two allegations that preclude this protection: first, that the crimes she was forced by torture to confess to are "terrorist activity"; and second, that she failed to report an alleged association with a "Designated Terrorist Organization." Despite the government's claim that this is a simple case of immigration fraud, this new indictment is written to ensure that Rasmea stands before a jury as an accused terrorist.

The Rasmea Defense Committee is urging supporters to call U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade at 313-226-9100, or tweet @USAO_MIE, and demand that she stop wasting taxpayer money, that she stop persecuting a woman who has given so much to U.S. society, and that she #DropTheChargesNow against Rasmea. In addition, the committee is calling on supporters to help win #Justice4Rasmea by donating to the defense and organizing educational events about the case.

"They [the prosecutors] are switching course because they know that a jury will believe Rasmea," says Nesreen Hasan of the Rasmea Defense Committee and its lead organization, the U.S. Palestinian Community Network. "We have always said, from day one, that this is a political case, and that the government is prosecuting Rasmea as part of a broader attack, the criminalization of the Palestine liberation movement. This new indictment is literally the same charge, with the same evidence - immigration forms. Only now, they want to paint Rasmea, and all Palestinians, as terrorists. The real criminals in this case are the Israelis who brutally tortured Rasmea 45 years ago, as well as those in the U.S. government who are trying to put her on trial for surviving the brutality committed against her."

Prosecutors will be disappointed to find that these new allegations fail to erode Rasmea's support. People have mobilized by the hundreds for countless hearings, every day of her 2014 trial, and her appeal earlier this year. "We have people ready to come from across the Midwest to stand with Rasmea in Detroit on January 10, but we are also prepared to adjust those plans to be there whenever we are needed," says Jess Sundin of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, who lives in Minneapolis and has mobilized dozens of Minnesotans and others in support of the defense. "We will redouble our organizing and fundraising work, and make certain Rasmea has the best defense possible."

According to lead defense attorney Michael Deutsch, "We also intend to challenge this indictment as vindictive and politically-motivated."

Visit www.justice4rasmea.org for more information.

### End ###

Copyright © 2016 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.

Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression

PO Box 14183

MinneapolisMN  55414

Add us to your address book




Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:












Trump and the National Park Service are trying to shut down Inauguration protests – don't let them win! 

January 20, 2017, 7:00 A.M.

Freedom Plaza

1355 Pennsylvania Ave N.W.

(14th Street and Pennsylvania Ave.)

Washington, D.C.

Here in San Francisco:

Fri. Jan. 20, 5pm
SF Protest: Say NO to Trump and the Trump Program on Inauguration Day
Fight Racism, Sexism and Bigotry—Defend Immigrants!
UN Plaza, near Civic Center BART, San Francisco

Share on Facebook

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Sign up to volunteer! Become an organizer in the fightback movement against Trump!

n8 sf

Progressive people from all over the country will be descending on Washington, D.C. on January 20, 2017, to stage a massive demonstration along Pennsylvania Avenue on Inauguration Day along with corresponding actions in San Francisco and other West Coast cities.

Trump's appointees are a motley and dangerous crew of billionaires, white supremacists and other extreme rightwingers. They have nothing good in mind for anyone but the banks, oil companies and the military-industrial complex.

It is more important than ever that we keep building the grassroots movement against war, militarism, racism, anti-immigrant scapegoating and neoliberal capitalism's assault against workers' living standards and the environment.

Real social change comes from the bottom, the mobilized grassroots, and not from the centers of institutional power, the professional politicians or the capitalist elites.

This country needs a real political revolution. Millions of people feel entirely disenfranchised by a political system that delivered the least favorable and trusted candidates in U.S. history. Many hoped that the Bernie Sanders campaign would represent a new direction and opportunity to take on entrenched power and extreme inequality, for a higher minimum wage, to defend Social Security, rebuild the labor movement, provide universal health care and free tuition.

Donald Trump is a racist, sexist bigot. On Inauguration Day, thousands will be in the streets to give voice to the millions of people in this country who are demanding systemic change and who reject Trump's anti-people program.

Join us on January 20, 2017, for a massive mobilization of the people!

More info: www.ANSWERsf.org or 415-821-6545. 



Read more about this action at:




We did it! Over 110,000 people sign White House petition for Chelsea!

Chelsea Manning Support Network
coming to an end

Read more









Defying the Tomb: Selected Prison Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson featuring exchanges with an Outlaw Kindle Edition

by Kevin Rashid Johnson (Author), Tom Big Warrior (Introduction), Russell Maroon Shoatz(Introduction)




Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

Click HERE to view in browser



Today is the 406th day that Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan

languishes in prison doing felony time for a misdemeanor crime he did not

commit. Today is also the day that Robert McKay, a spokesperson for the

Free Rev. Pinkney campaign, gave testimony before United Nations

representatives about the plight of Rev. Pinkney at a hearing held in

Chicago. The hearing was called in order to shed light upon the

mistreatment of African-Americans in the United States and put it on an

international stage. And yet as the UN representatives and audience heard

of the injustices in the Pinkney case many gasped in disbelief and asked

with frowns on their faces, "how is this possible?" But disbelief quickly

disappeared when everyone realized these were the same feelings they had

when they first heard of Flint and we all know what happened in Flint. FREE


Please send letters to:

Marquette Branch Prison

Rev. Edward Pinkney N-E-93 #294671

1960 US Hwy 41 South

Marquette, MI 49855

Please donate at http://bhbanco.org (Donate button) or send checks to BANCO:

c/o Dorothy Pinkney

1940 Union St.

Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney's defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.



State Seeks to Remove Innocent PA Lifer's Attorney! Free Corey Walker!

The PA Office of the Attorney General (OAG) filed legal action to remove Corey Walker's attorney, Rachel Wolkenstein, in November 2014. On Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the evidentiary hearing to terminate Wolkenstein as Corey Walker's pro hac vice lawyer continues before Judge Lawrence Clark of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas in Harrisburg, PA.

Walker, assisted by Wolkenstein, filed three sets of legal papers over five months in 2014 with new evidence of Walker's innocence and that the prosecution and police deliberately used false evidence to convict him of murder. Two weeks after Wolkenstein was granted pro hac vice status, the OAG moved against her and Walker.

The OAG claims that Wolkenstein's political views and prior legal representation of Mumia Abu-Jamal and courtroom arrest by the notorious Judge Albert Sabo makes it "intolerable" for her to represent Corey Walker in the courts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Over the past fifteen months the OAG has effectively stopped any judicial action on the legal challenges of Corey Walker and his former co-defendant, Lorenzo Johnson against their convictions and sentences to life imprisonment without parole while it proceeds in its attempts to remove Wolkenstein.

This is retaliation against Corey Walker who is innocent and framed. Walker and his attorney won't stop until they thoroughly expose the police corruption and deliberate presentation of false evidence to convict Corey Walker and win his freedom.

This outrageous attack on Corey Walker's fundamental right to his lawyer of choice and challenge his conviction must cease. The evidence of his innocence and deliberate prosecutorial frame up was suppressed for almost twenty years. Corey Walker must be freed!

Read: Jim Crow Justice – The Frame-up Of Corey Walker by Charles Brover

Go to FreeCoreyWalker.org to provide help and get more information.



TAKE ACTION: Mumia is sick

Judge Robert Mariani of the U.S. District Court has issued an order in Mumia's case, granting Mumia's lawyers Bret Grote and Robert Boyle's motion to supplement the record. 

New medical records documenting Mumia's deteriorated condition from February and March, will be presented June 6th. Judge Mariani has also instructed the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide any updates and changes in DOC hep C treatment and policies which affect the plaintiff's treatment.

Calling into Prison Radio, Mumia noted: 

"My friends, my brothers, it ain't over 'til it's over, but there is some motion. It means that we're moving closer to hopefully some real treatment not of my symptoms, but of my disease. I thank you all for being there. And freedom is a constant struggle. I love you all. From what used to be death row, this is Mumia, your brother."

Mumia remains quite ill. While stable, his curable hepatitis C is still active and progressive. The only treatment Mumia has received over the last 14 months to this day is skin ointment and photo therapy. He has not received the medically indicated treatment for hep C, the very condition that put him in the Intensive Care Unit in March 2015. 

Hepatitis C is a progressive disease that attacks Mumia's organs, skin and liver. Unless the court orders the new hepatitis C treatment - one pill a day for 12 weeks, with a 95% cure rate - Mumia's health will remain at serious risk.

Before the court is the preliminary injunction motion, which demands immediate medical care.

The exhaustion of administrative remedy and the procedural hurdles make it extremely difficult for people in prison to actually get their grievances heard through the review process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act was passed specifically to create these very almost insurmountable barriers to access to the courts.

Please read the New Yorker article, Why it is Nearly Impossible for Prisoners to Sue Prisons.

In Abu-Jamal vs. Kerestes, one very telling point was when the DOC's Director of Medical Care, Dr. Paul Noel, took the stand. He said that he had never testified before in court! He has worked for the DOC for over a decade.   

That meant that no prisoner had access to adversarial cross examination. Before Mumia's day in court in late December 2015, no prisoner ever had the opportunity to expose the PA DOC's blatant lies. Lies so bold that Dr. Noel disavowed his own signed affidavit, and in court he stated that he "did not sign it and it was false and misleading". The knowingly false and fabricated document was put in the record by Laura Neal, Senior DOC attorney.

Take Action for Mumia

Call prison officials to demand immediate treatment!

Dr. Paul Noel-Director of Medical Care, DOC
717-728-5309 x 5312

John Wetzel- Secretary of DOC
717+728-2573 x 4109

Dr. Carl Keldie-Chief Medical Officer, Correct Care Solutions
800-592-2974 x 5783

Theresa DelBalso-Superintendent, SCI Mahanoy
570-773-2158 x 8101

    Tom Wolf, PA Governor 

    Phone  717-787-2500

    Fax 717-772-8284

    Email governor@pa.gov

    Sign the Petition now to demand Mumia's right to life-saving hepatitis C care.

    Help Mumia's lawyers prepare to demand access to Mumia's medical records from court!

    Thank you for keeping Mumia in your heart and mind,

    Noelle Hanrahan

    Director, Prison Radio


    The Oasis Clinic in Oakland, CA, which treats patients with Hepatitis-C (HCV), demands an end to the outrageous price-gouging of Big Pharma corporations, like Gilead Sciences, which hike-up the cost for essential, life-saving medications such as the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, in order to reap huge profits. The Oasis Clinic's demand is:







    This message from:

    Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

    PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610 • www.laboractionmumia.org

    06 January 2016

    Mumia Is Innocent!  Free Mumia!




    Imam Jamil (H.Rap Brown) moved

    Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) was moved by bus from USP Canaan in Waymart, PA. to USP Tucson, Arizona.  His mailing address is:  USP Tucson United States Penitentiary P.O. Box Tucson, AZ. 85734  (BOP number 99974555)

    Sign the Petition:

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THE Bureau of Prisons, The Governor of Georgia

    We are aware of a review being launched of criminal cases to determine whether any defendants were wrongly convicted and or deserve a new trail because of flawed forensic evidence and or wrongly reported evidence. It was stated in the Washington Post in April of 2012 that Justice Department Officials had known for years that flawed forensic work led to convictions of innocent people. We seek to have included in the review of such cases that of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. We understand that all cases reviewed will include the Innocence Project. We look forward to your immediate attention to these overdue wrongs.

    ASAP: The Forgotten Imam Project

    P.O. Box 373

    Four Oaks, NC 27524


    Luqman Abdullah-ibn Al-Sidiq




    Major Battles On

    For over 31 years, Major Tillery has been a prisoner of the State.

    Despite that extraordinary fact, he continues his battles, both in the prison for his health, and in the courts for his freedom.

    Several weeks ago, Tillery filed a direct challenge to his criminal conviction, by arguing that a so-called "secret witness" was, in fact, a paid police informant who was given a get-out-of-jail-free card if he testified against Tillery.

    Remember I mentioned, "paid?"

    Well, yes--the witness was 'paid'--but not in dollars. He was paid in sex!

    In the spring of 1984, Robert Mickens was facing decades in prison on rape and robbery charges. After he testified against Tillery, however, his 25-year sentence became 5 years: probation!

    And before he testified he was given an hour and a ½ private visit with his girlfriend--at the Homicide Squad room at the Police Roundhouse. (Another such witness was given another sweetheart deal--lie on Major, and get off!)

    To a prisoner, some things are more important than money. Like sex!

    In a verified document written in April, 2016, Mickens declares that he lied at trial, after being coached by the DAs and detectives on the case.

    He lied to get out of jail--and because he could get with his girl.

    Other men have done more for less.

    Major's 58-page Petition is a time machine back into a practice that was once common in Philadelphia.

    In the 1980s and '90s, the Police Roundhouse had become a whorehouse.

    Major, now facing serious health challenges from his hepatitis C infection, stubborn skin rashes, and dangerous intestinal disorders, is still battling.

    And the fight ain't over.

    [©'16 MAJ  6/29/16]

    Major Tillery Needs Your Help and Support

    Major Tillery is an innocent man. There was no evidence against Major Tillery for the 1976 poolroom shootings that left one man dead and another wounded. The surviving victim gave a statement to homicide detectives naming others—not Tillery or his co-defendant—as the shooters. Major wasn't charged until 1980, he was tried in 1985.

    The only evidence at trial came from these jailhouse informants who were given sexual favors and plea deals for dozens of pending felonies for lying against Major Tillery. Both witnesses now declare their testimony was manufactured by the police and prosecution. Neither witness had personal knowledge of the shooting.

    This is a case of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption that goes to the deepest levels of rot in the Philadelphia criminal injustice system. Major Tillery deserves not just a new trial, but dismissal of the charges against him and his freedom from prison.

    It cost a lot of money for Major Tillery to be able to file his new pro se PCRA petition and continue investigation to get more evidence of the state misconduct. He needs help to get lawyers to make sure this case is not ignored. Please contribute, now.


      Financial Support: Tillery's investigation is ongoing, to get this case filed has been costly and he needs funds for a legal team to fight this to his freedom!

      Go to JPay.com;

      code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

      Tell Philadelphia District Attorney

      Seth Williams:

      Free Major Tillery! He is an innocent man, framed by police and and prosecution.

      Call: 215-686-8711 or

      Write to:

      Major Tillery AM9786

      SCI Frackville

      1111 Altamont Blvd.

      Frackville, PA 17931

        For More Information, Go To: Justice4MajorTillery/blogspot


        Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq. (917) 689-4009RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



        Commute Kevin Cooper's Death Sentence

        Sign the Petition:


        Urge Gov. Jerry Brown to commute Kevin Cooper's death sentence. Cooper has always maintained his innocence of the 1983 quadruple murder of which he was convicted. In 2009, five federal judges signed a dissenting opinion warning that the State of California "may be about to execute an innocent man." Having exhausted his appeals in the US courts, Kevin Cooper's lawyers have turned to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to seek remedy for what they maintain is his wrongful conviction, and the inadequate trial representation, prosecutorial misconduct and racial discrimination which have marked the case. Amnesty International opposes all executions, unconditionally.

        "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." - Judge William A. Fletcher, 2009 dissenting opinion on Kevin Cooper's case

        Kevin Cooper has been on death row in California for more than thirty years.

        In 1985, Cooper was convicted of the murder of a family and their house guest in Chino Hills. Sentenced to death, Cooper's trial took place in an atmosphere of racial hatred — for example, an effigy of a monkey in a noose with a sign reading "Hang the N*****!" was hung outside the venue of his preliminary hearing.

        Take action to see that Kevin Cooper's death sentence is commuted immediately.

        Cooper has consistently maintained his innocence.

        Following his trial, five federal judges said: "There is no way to say this politely. The district court failed to provide Cooper a fair hearing."

        Since 2004, a dozen federal appellate judges have indicated their doubts about his guilt.

        Tell California authorities: The death penalty carries the risk of irrevocable error. Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted.

        In 2009, Cooper came just eight hours shy of being executed for a crime that he may not have committed. Stand with me today in reminding the state of California that the death penalty is irreversible — Kevin Cooper's sentence must be commuted immediately.

        In solidarity,

        James Clark
        Senior Death Penalty Campaigner
        Amnesty International USA

          Kevin Cooper: An Innocent Victim of Racist Frame-Up - from the Fact Sheet at: www.freekevincooper.org

          Kevin Cooper is an African-American man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death in 1985 for the gruesome murders of a white family in Chino Hills, California: Doug and Peggy Ryen and their daughter Jessica and their house- guest Christopher Hughes. The Ryens' 8 year old son Josh, also attacked, was left for dead but survived.

          Convicted in an atmosphere of racial hatred in San Bernardino County CA, Kevin Cooper remains under a threat of imminent execution in San Quentin.  He has never received a fair hearing on his claim of innocence.  In a dissenting opinion in 2009, five federal judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals signed a 82 page dissenting opinion that begins: "The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man." 565 F.3d 581.

          There is significant evidence that exonerates Mr. Cooper and points toward other suspects:

            The coroner who investigated the Ryen murders concluded that the murders took four minutes at most and that the murder weapons were a hatchet, a long knife, an ice pick and perhaps a second knife. How could a single person, in four or fewer minutes, wield three or four weapons, and inflict over 140 wounds on five people, two of whom were adults (including a 200 pound ex-marine) who had loaded weapons near their bedsides?

            The sole surviving victim of the murders, Josh Ryen, told police and hospital staff within hours of the murders that the culprits were "three white men." Josh Ryen repeated this statement in the days following the crimes. When he twice saw Mr. Cooper's picture on TV as the suspected attacker, Josh Ryen said "that's not the man who did it."

            Josh Ryen's description of the killers was corroborated by two witnesses who were driving near the Ryens' home the night of the murders. They reported seeing three white men in a station wagon matching the description of the Ryens' car speeding away from the direction of the Ryens' home.

            These descriptions were corroborated by testimony of several employees and patrons of a bar close to the Ryens' home, who saw three white men enter the bar around midnight the night of the murders, two of whom were covered in blood, and one of whom was wearing coveralls.

            The identity of the real killers was further corroborated by a woman who, shortly after the murders were discovered, alerted the sheriff's department that her boyfriend, a convicted murderer, left blood-spattered coveralls at her home the night of the murders. She also reported that her boyfriend had been wearing a tan t-shirt matching a tan t-shirt with Doug Ryen's blood on it recovered near the bar. She also reported that her boyfriend owned a hatchet matching the one recovered near the scene of the crime, which she noted was missing in the days following the murders; it never reappeared; further, her sister saw that boyfriend and two other white men in a vehicle that could have been the Ryens' car on the night of the murders.

          Lacking a motive to ascribe to Mr. Cooper for the crimes, the prosecution claimed that Mr. Cooper, who had earlier walked away from custody at a minimum security prison, stole the Ryens' car to escape to Mexico. But the Ryens had left the keys in both their cars (which were parked in the driveway), so there was no need to kill them to steal their car. The prosecution also claimed that Mr. Cooper needed money, but money and credit cards were found untouched and in plain sight at the murder scene.

          The jury in 1985 deliberated for seven days before finding Mr. Cooper guilty. One juror later said that if there had been one less piece of evidence, the jury would not have voted to convict.

          The evidence the prosecution presented at trial tying Mr. Cooper to the crime scene has all been discredited…         (Continue reading this document at: http://www.savekevincooper.org/_new_freekevincooperdotorg/TEST/Scripts/DataLibraries/upload/KC_FactSheet_2014.pdf)

               This message from the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. July 2015




          Sign the Petition:


          Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:

          Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families.

          I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private.

          American Federation of Teachers

          Campaign for America's Future

          Courage Campaign

          Daily Kos

          Democracy for America


          Project Springboard

          RH Reality Check


          Student Debt Crisis

          The Nation

          Working Families



          Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Updates from Team Lorenzo Johnson

          Dear Supporters and Friends,

          Show your support for Lorenzo by wearing one of our beautiful new campaign t-shirts! If you donate $20 (or more!) to the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson, we will send you a t-shirt, while supplies last. Make sure to note your size and shipping address in the comment section on PayPal, or to include this information with a check.

          Here is a message from Lorenzo's wife, Tazza Salvatto:

          My husband is innocent, FREE HIM NOW!

          Lorenzo Johnson is a son, husband, father and brother. His injustice has been a continued nightmare for our family. Words cant explain our constant pain, I wish it on no one. Not even the people responsible for his injustice. 

          This is about an innocent man who has spent 20 years and counting in prison. The sad thing is Lorenzo's prosecution knew he was innocent from day one. These are the same people society relies on to protect us.

          Not only have these prosecutors withheld evidence of my husbands innocence by NEVER turning over crucial evidence to his defense prior to trial. Now that Lorenzo's innocence has been revealed, the prosecution refuses to do the right thing. Instead they are "slow walking" his appeal and continuing their malicious prosecution.

          When my husband or our family speak out about his injustice, he's labeled by his prosecutor as defaming a career cop and prosecutor. If they are responsible for Lorenzo's wrongful conviction, why keep it a secret??? This type of corruption and bullying of families of innocent prisoners to remain silent will not be tolerated.

          Our family is not looking for any form of leniency. Lorenzo is innocent, we want what is owed to him. JUSTICE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FREEDOM!!! 

                                    Lorenzo's wife,

                                     Tazza Salvatto

          Lorenzo is continuing to fight for his freedom with the support of his lead counsel, Michael Wiseman, The Pennsylvania Innocence Project, the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation for Justice, and the Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson.

          Thank you all for reading this message and please take the time to visit our website and contribute to Lorenzo's campaign for freedom!

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com


                        Directly on ConnectNetwork -- instructions here

          Have a wonderful day!

          - The Team to Free Lorenzo Johnson

          Write: Lorenzo Johnson

                      DF 1036

                      SCI Mahanoy

                      301 Morea Rd.

                      Frackville, PA 17932

           Email: Through JPay using the code:

                        Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC


                        Directly at LorenzoJohnson17932@gmail.com













          1)  Hard-Right Choice for U.S. Envoy to Israel Draws Polarized Reactions

           DEC. 16, 2016


          The hard-right views of David M. Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer who is President-elect Donald J. Trump's choice as the next ambassador to Israel, have drawn polarized responses in Israel and the United States.

          Mr. Friedman, who has represented Mr. Trump in matters involving Atlantic City casinos, has no diplomatic experience. He has long espoused hard-right, pro-Israel views that are often at odds with decades of United States policy toward the region.

          He doubts the need for a two-state solution; endorses continued settlements in Palestinian territory and even the annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank; has accused the Obama administration of anti-Semitism; and once likened left-leaning Jewish critics to Nazi collaborators.

          In a column, he called supporters of J Street — a liberal American Jewish organization that supports a negotiated two-state solution — "far worse than kapos – Jews who turned in their fellow Jews in the Nazi death camps." He wrote: "The kapos faced extraordinary cruelty and who knows what any of us would have done under those circumstances to save a loved one? But J Street? They are just smug advocates of Israel's destruction delivered from the comfort of their secure American sofas – it's hard to imagine anyone worse."

          J Street announced its firm opposition on Friday morning to Mr. Friedman.

          Mr. Friedman, the organization noted on Twitter, had "called Obama an anti-Semite"; "backs unlimited settlement expansion"; and "says liberal Zionists 'worse than kapos.' " Benjamin Silverstein, the organization's digital director, vowed to work to block Mr. Friedman's appointment, which requires confirmation by the Senate.

          The left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, in an editorial, called Mr. Friedman "an extreme right-winger," adding: "He makes Benjamin Netanyahu seem like a left-wing defeatist."

          Mr. Friedman, in a statement on Thursday, said he looked forward to doing the job "from the U.S. Embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."

          For decades, the United States embassy in Israel has been in Tel Aviv. That is largely because the American position has been that the status of Jerusalem must be determined as part of a broader peace deal and that having an embassy there could seem like taking sides in the fraught argument over who has the right to control the ancient city. Mr. Trump has promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but so did several of his predecessors.

          A senior Palestinian cleric, Sheikh Ikrama Sabri, warned against Mr. Friedman's support for moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem.

          "If this happens," Mr. Sabri, a former mufti of Jerusalem, said during a Friday sermon at Al Aqsa Mosque in the city, "the U.S. is declaring a new war on the Palestinians and all Muslim Arabs."

          Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely of Israel called the appointment "very welcome news for Israel," adding: "His positions reflect the desire to strengthen the standing of Israel's capital Jerusalem at this time and to underscore that the settlements have never been the true problem in the area."

          Danny Ayalon, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, congratulated Mr. Friedman on his nomination. Yossi Dagan, the head of a regional council of settlers in the West Bank, called Mr. Friedman "a friend and a true partner of Israel and the settlements."

          In the United States, the Republican Jewish Coalition said it hoped Mr. Friedman would "repair relations with our greatest ally in the Middle East that have eroded over the last eight years," while former Senator Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican, said Mr. Friedman would help "build a much closer and stronger" relationship between the United States and Israel.

          For the Palestinian leadership, the choice of someone with views at odds with the broad American approach to Israel over decades poses a grave challenge. The office of President Mahmoud Abbas has not yet commented on the appointment.

          Other observers, including a number of prominent American Jews, expressed dismay at the choice.

          Martin S. Indyk, executive vice president of the Brookings Institution and a former ambassador to Israel, said that Mr. Friedman would be a "a great ambassador for the deep settler state," referring to right-wing Israels who want to expand their presence in the Palestinian territories. "But David Friedman needs to be U.S. envoy to all Israelis," Mr. Indyk wrote on Twitter. "Is he up for that?"

          Daniel C. Kurtzer, a retired career diplomat and Princeton professor who was ambassador to Israel from 2001 to 2005, under President George W. Bush, said in an interview that the appointment alarmed him. "Mr. Friedman's published articles and public statements will create significant damage for American interests and for the possibility of Israeli-Palestinian peace," Mr. Kurtzer said. "He has made clear that he will appeal to a small minority of Israeli — and American — extremists, ignoring the majority of Israelis who continue to seek peace. Friedman's appointment as ambassador runs directly contrary to Mr. Trump's professed desire to make the 'ultimate deal' between Israelis and Palestinians."

          Peter Beinart, an author and journalist who has written extensively about Israel, called Mr. Friedman "totally unqualified," likening his nomination to that of Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon who has been tapped by Mr. Trump to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.



          2)  Corpus Christi Chemical Leak Reported Earlier Than Thought

           DEC. 17, 2016





          DALLAS (AP) — A chemical leak from an asphalt plant that led Corpus Christi officials to warn residents last week not to drink tap water was apparently reported a week earlier, according to an email from a state environmental official.

          The internal email was sent Wednesday by Susan Clewis, a regional director for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and it contained a report that described the leak as a "backflow incident from a chemical tank impacting the public water system." It was reported Dec. 7 at a plant run by Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions. The email does not say who initially reported the leak on Dec. 7, or to whom.

          "Obviously we are concerned about that initial report, that this may have been known for seven days and it may have been going on for that long," said Luis Moreno, the chief of staff for State Senator Juan Hinojosa, whose district includes Corpus Christi. "And why did it take so long for T.C.E.Q. to get notified? Those are all things that I think are starting to be figured out right now."

          Dan McQueen, the mayor of the Gulf Coast city of about 300,000 people, has said local officials also only learned of the leak on Wednesday. Neither Ms. Clewis nor city officials responded to requests for comment on Friday, when many schools remained closed for a second day.

          The commission's report indicates that a combination of Indulin AA-86 and hydrochloric acid leaked into the water supply. Indulin is an asphalt emulsifying agent that is corrosive and can burn the eyes, skin and respiratory tract in concentrated amounts. It is considered a hazardous material by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Up to 24 gallons of it may have seeped into a pipeline carrying water, allowing it to move to other areas of the city, Kim Womack, a spokeswoman for the city, said.

          Ergon has said in a statement that it has been in contact with the environmental commission and was "working cooperatively to provide all information to ensure state officials can remedy the situation as quickly as possible." Bill Miller, a company spokesman, declined to explain Friday how a hazardous chemical may have entered the water supply.

          State and city officials have referred to a "backflow problem" at the plant, and Ms. Womack said inspectors did not find a device in place that prevented contaminated water from flowing backward into a potable water supply. Ergon, though, has argued that the plant does have a prevention device, Ms. Womack said. Mr. Miller said Ergon is leasing the property for manufacturing purposes. The privately held conglomerate's Corpus Christi subsidiary makes paving and pavement preservation products.

          State and federal records list no problems at the plant over the last five years. Nationwide, the Environmental Protection Agency reports no current "significant violations" at Ergon facilities but shows seven fines since 2010 — the highest, $17,200, paid by a Vicksburg, Miss., refinery.

          City officials have continued to ease restrictions on the use of tap water while workers flushed water pipes. Limited use of water is allowed in some neighborhoods. Water can be used for showering and washing clothes, but not yet for drinking. They warn that young children and those with weakened immune systems should avoid bathing so as not to accidentally swallow the water.

          Officials said Thursday that residents in some parts of the city could consume water as they wish, but there were are still sections where the authorities urged no use at all. In additional to closing schools, the leak also continued to disrupt commerce. Officials said plenty of bottled water had been donated to help residents.

          City officials have said that no one has turned up at area hospitals with symptoms that might indicate they were harmed by the chemical. A city councilman, Michael Hunter, told The Corpus Christi Caller-Times that it was unlikely the leaked chemical was concentrated enough to do harm, but that every precaution must be taken.

          The episode is the latest in a string of water scares for Corpus Christi. In May, the city issued its third boil-water advisory in a year as a precaution after nitrogen-rich runoff from rain flowed into the water system, resulting in low chlorine disinfectant levels in the water supply. Boil-water notices were issued last year because of elevated levels of E. coli and another for low chlorine levels, The Caller-Times previously reported. The notices mirrored two others that were issued in 2007.



          3)  Larry Colburn, Who Helped Stop My Lai Massacre, Dies at 67

          "A Pulitzer Prize-winning report by Mr. Hersh for The Dispatch News Service in November 1969 provoked international outrage and eventually resulted in charges against more than a dozen officers. Only one, however, was convicted: Lieutenant Calley, for the murder of 22 civilians. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but ended up serving only three and a half years under house arrest at Fort Benning, Ga."

           DEC. 16, 2016




          Larry Colburn, who became an 18-year-old American hero when he intervened with two comrades to halt the massacre of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by United States soldiers in 1968, elevating an innocuous hamlet named My Lai into a watchword for the horrors of war, died on Tuesday at his home in Canton, Ga. He was 67.

          The cause was liver cancer, his wife, Lisa, said.

          Mr. Colburn was the last surviving member of a three-man helicopter crew that was assigned to hover over My Lai on Saturday morning, March 16, 1968, to identify enemy positions by drawing Vietcong fire.

          Instead, the men encountered an eerie quiet and a macabre landscape of dead, wounded and weaponless women and children as a platoon of American soldiers, ostensibly hunting elusive Vietcong guerrillas, marauded among defenseless noncombatants.

          The crew dropped smoke flares to mark the wounded, "thinking the men on the ground would come assist them," Mr. Colburn told Vietnam Magazine in 2011.

          "When we would come back to those we marked," he said, "we'd find they were now dead."

          Audaciously and on his own initiative, the pilot, Chief Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson Jr., swooped down and landed the copter.

          "Mr. Thompson was just beside himself," Mr. Colburn recalled in an interview in 2010 for the PBS program "The American Experience." "He got on the radio and just said, 'This isn't right, these are civilians, there's people killing civilians down here.' And that's when he decided to intervene. He said, 'We've got to do something about this, are you with me?' And we said, 'Yes.' "

          Mr. Thompson confronted the officer in command of the rampaging platoon, Lt. William L. Calley, but was rebuffed. He then positioned the helicopter between the troops and the surviving villagers and faced off against another lieutenant. Mr. Thompson ordered Mr. Colburn to fire his M-60 machine gun at any soldiers who tried to inflict further harm.

          "Y'all cover me!" Mr. Thompson was quoted as saying. "If these bastards open up on me or these people, you open up on them. Promise me!"

          "You got it boss," Mr. Colburn replied. "Consider it done."

          Mr. Thompson, Mr. Colburn and Glenn Andreotta, the copter's crew chief, found about 10 villagers cowering in a makeshift bomb shelter and coaxed them out, then had them flown to safety by two Huey gunships. They found an 8-year-old boy clinging to his mother's corpse in an irrigation ditch and plucked him by the back of his shirt and delivered him to a nun in a nearby hospital.

          Crucially, they reported what they had witnessed to headquarters, which ordered a cease-fire. By then, as many as 500 villagers had been killed.

          Would Mr. Colburn have fired at his fellow Americans?

          "How could I ever be prepared for something like that?" he replied years later. "Would I have? I guess that's the $64,000 question, isn't it?"

          Seymour M. Hersh, the independent journalist who later uncovered the My Lai massacre, said of Mr. Colburn in a phone interview on Friday that "for a door gunner in Vietnam to point his machine gun at an American officer" under those circumstances "was in the greatest tradition of American integrity."

          Lawrence Manley Colburn was born on July 6, 1949, in Coulee Dam, Wash. His father, Harry, a World War II veteran, was a civil engineer who had helped build the Grand Coulee Dam. His mother, the former Catherine Manley, was a homemaker. His father died when Larry was 15.

          An altar boy, he attended Roman Catholic elementary and junior high schools and a public high school, where, after an altercation with an assistant principal, he was suspended for two weeks. Rather than return to school, he joined the Army. Because he was 17, he needed his mother's permission.

          He earned his high school equivalency diploma in the Army before being shipped to Vietnam in December 1967.

          The full extent of the gang rapes, massacre and mutilations by Charlie Company in My Lai and another hamlet, on the South Central Coast, was not exposed until two months after Mr. Colburn was discharged.

          A Pulitzer Prize-winning report by Mr. Hersh for The Dispatch News Service in November 1969 provoked international outrage and eventually resulted in charges against more than a dozen officers. Only one, however, was convicted: Lieutenant Calley, for the murder of 22 civilians. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but ended up serving only three and a half years under house arrest at Fort Benning, Ga.

          Mr. Colburn entered Green River College in Auburn, Wash., on the G.I. Bill but struggled academically and financially and quit before graduating to become a commercial fisherman in Alaska.

          He later moved to Oregon, where he met Lisa Cale, a student at Eastern Oregon State College. They married in 1985 and moved to Atlanta, where he sold orthopedic rehabilitation equipment.

          She survives him, along with their son, Connor, and his sisters, Sheila Beal, Mary Jones and Colleen Capestany.

          My Lai became a paradigm for unbridled brutality and an object lesson in battlefield ethics, but the crewmen whose audacious intervention prevented even more bloodshed were largely forgotten.

          Their heroism was acknowledged with Bronze Stars, which they considered inappropriate recognition: The Bronze Star is awarded for bravery under enemy assault, they reasoned, and they had demonstrated courage in the face of friendly fire.

          After the investigations and trial, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Colburn received something else, too: hate mail.

          "One of the most infuriating things is being called a whistle-blower, as if we went and ratted someone out," Mr. Colburn told Vietnam Magazine. "That is completely false; there was no back-stabbing going on. We were right in their face at My Lai. We were ready to confront those people then and there. And we did, the best we could."

          In the late 1980s, after seeing Mr. Thompson interviewed on a television documentary, David Egan, a professor at Clemson University in South Carolina, began a crusade to recognize, belatedly, the crew's actions.

          Trent Angers, the author of "The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story" (1999), told The Associated Press that Mr. Colburn had "stood up, shoulder to shoulder with Hugh and Glenn, to oppose and stand down against those who were committing crimes against humanity."

          "Without his assistance," he added, "Hugh might not have done what he did."

          In 1998, 30 years after the massacre, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Colburn were awarded the Soldier's Medal, which is granted for lifesaving bravery not involving direct contact with an enemy.

          "It is my solemn wish that we all never forget the tragedy and brutality of war," Mr. Colburn said at the ceremony, held at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington. "I would like to quote Gen. Douglas MacArthur: 'The soldier, be he friend or foe, is charged with the protection of the weak and the unarmed. It is his very existence for being.' "

          Mr. Thompson and Mr. Colburn walked the short distance to the memorial, where they made a rubbing of the inscribed name of Mr. Andreotta, who was killed in Vietnam three weeks after the massacre. He was awarded the Soldier's Medal posthumously.

          The two men returned to My Lai that year, meeting some of the villagers they had rescued and dedicating an elementary school. On the flight home, Mr. Colburn recalled, he turned to Mr. Thompson and said, "It was so good to see all those little kids smiling again, not having to worry about being blown up, not having to be looking over their shoulders all the time, just being able to be kids."

          Mr. Thompson died of cancer in 2006 at 62.

          Two years later, on the 40th anniversary of the massacre, Mr. Colburn returned to Vietnam and was reunited with Do Ba, who as a boy had been rescued by Mr. Colburn from an irrigation ditch.



          4)   Free Cash in Finland. Must Be Jobless.

          Finland will soon hand out cash to 2,000 jobless people,

          free of bureaucracy or limits on side earnings. The idea,

          universal basic income, is gaining traction worldwide.

           DEC. 17, 2016


          OULU, Finland — No one would confuse this frigid corner of northern Finland with Silicon Valley. Notched in low pine forests just 100 miles below the Arctic Circle, Oulu seems more likely to achieve dominance at herding reindeer than at nurturing technology start-ups.

          But this city has roots as a hub for wireless communications, and keen aspirations in innovation. It also has thousands of skilled engineers in need of work. Many were laid off by Nokia, the Finnish company once synonymous with mobile telephones and more recently at risk of fading into oblivion.

          While entrepreneurs are eager to put these people to work, the rules of Finland's generous social safety net effectively discourage this. Jobless people generally cannot earn additional income while collecting unemployment benefits or they risk losing that assistance. For laid-off workers from Nokia, simply collecting a guaranteed unemployment check often presents a better financial proposition than taking a leap with a start-up in Finland, where a shaky technology industry is trying to find its footing again.

          Now, the Finnish government is exploring how to change that calculus, initiating an experiment in a form of social welfare: universal basic income. Early next year, the government plans to randomly select roughly 2,000 unemployed people — from white-collar coders to blue-collar construction workers. It will give them benefits automatically, absent bureaucratic hassle and minus penalties for amassing extra income.

          The government is eager to see what happens next. Will more people pursue jobs or start businesses? How many will stop working and squander their money on vodka? Will those liberated from the time-sucking entanglements of the unemployment system use their freedom to gain education, setting themselves up for promising new careers? These areas of inquiry extend beyond economic policy, into the realm of human nature.

          The answers — to be determined over a two-year trial — could shape social welfare policy far beyond Nordic terrain. In communities around the world, officials are exploring basic income as a way to lessen the vulnerabilities of working people exposed to the vagaries of global trade and automation. While basic income is still an emerging idea, one far from being deployed on a large scale, the growing experimentation underscores the deep need to find effective means to alleviate the perils of globalization.

          The search has gained an extraordinary sense of urgency as a wave of reactionary populism sweeps the globe, casting the elite establishment as the main beneficiary of economic forces that have hurt the working masses. Americans' election of Donald J. Trump, who has vowed to radically constrain trade, and the stunning vote in Britain to abandon the European Union, have resounded as emergency sirens for global leaders. They must either update capitalism to share the spoils more equitably, or risk watching angry mobs dismantle the institutions that have underpinned economic policy since the end of World War II.

          Universal basic income is a catchall phrase that describes a range of proposals, but they generally share one feature: All people in society get a regular check from the government — regardless of their income or whether they work. These funds are supposed to guarantee food and shelter, enabling people to pursue their own betterment while contributing to society.

          A Silicon Valley start-up incubator, Y Combinator, is preparing a pilot project in Oakland, Calif., in which 100 families will receive unconditional cash grants ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 a month. Voters in Switzerland recently rejected a basic-income scheme, but the French Senate approved a trial. Experiments are being readied in Canada and the Netherlands. The Indian government has been studying basic income as a means of alleviating poverty.

          "The last two years, there's been an explosion of interest in basic income," says Guy Standing, a research associate with the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, and a co-founder of the Basic Income Earth Network, an institution created to promote the idea. "The elites realize that the inequalities are becoming politically dangerous."

          For generations, policy makers have sought the magic formula for so-called full employment, with nearly everyone who wants a job able to find one. Traditional unemployment insurance schemes were devised in an age when the cyclical nature of factory life was dominant. Workers who were idled in lean times could pay their bills using unemployment benefits while awaiting the inevitable return of flush ones.

          Universal basic income is gaining consideration in part as an acknowledgment that the labor market has changed so fundamentally that full employment may amount to a fantasy. Factories have been refashioned into urban-chic office spaces. Robots are replacing workers, while the gig economy turns full-time jobs into contract positions.

          Basic income is intended to be permanent, built for an age in which demand for labor may be perpetually slack. Whatever happens — say everyone becomes a part-time Uber driver, or Uber drivers are replaced by self-driving cars — everyone can count on sustenance.

          Strikingly, basic income is being championed across the ideological spectrum.

          Utopian dreamers envision it as an emancipation from the meaninglessness of low-wage work. People stuck in dead-end jobs at fast-food restaurants could abandon laboring over the fryolator in favor of growing organic vegetables and reading to their children.

          Labor advocates embrace basic income as a means of increasing bargaining power, enabling workers to eschew poverty-level wages while holding out for better.

          Libertarians see it as a means of shrinking government by consolidating social service programs. Liberals envision it as a way to remove the stigma of public assistance: Instead of standing in line at the grocery store bearing food stamps while suffering the judgment of other shoppers — Shouldn't she be buying spinach instead of frozen pizza? — poor people would get the same check as everyone else.

          The technology world has seized on basic income as the response to automation and its threat of joblessness. If everyone's needs are being met, then society can embrace robots and liberation from drudge work.

          Yet the expensive price tag attached to anything that is truly universal makes it a political nonstarter in many countries — especially in the United States, where Mr. Trump just appointed a labor secretary who is critical of simply raising the minimum wage.

          If every American were to receive just $10,000 a year, the tab would be roughly $3 trillion a year, roughly eight times what the United States now spends on social service programs. The government might just as well commit to handing out unicorns.

          Beyond arithmetic, basic income confronts fundamental disagreements about human reality. If people are released from fears that — absent work — they risk finding themselves sleeping outdoors, will they devolve into freeloaders?

          "Some people think basic income will solve every problem under the sun, and some people think it's from the hand of Satan and will destroy our work ethic," says Olli Kangas, who oversees research at Kela, a Finnish government agency that administers many social welfare programs. "I'm hoping we can create some knowledge on this issue."

          Start-Ups in Pine Forests

          Half a millennium ago, Thomas More's seminal novel, "Utopia," included the suggestion that public assistance might be a better way to deter thieves than a death sentence. More than two centuries later, the American revolutionary agitator Thomas Paine proposed creating a national pool of money distributed to every adult.

          The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. promoted basic income. The libertarian economist Milton Friedman embraced a variant: negative income taxes that would put cash in the pockets of the poor.

          Yet with the exception of a few experiments, basic income has been confined to the margins of policy conversations.

          Until now.

          Finland's concerns are pragmatic. The government has no interest in freeing wage earners to write poetry. It is eager to generate more jobs.

          The global financial crisis and its aftermath played out against a wrenching economic refashioning here. The growth of tablets and smartphones assailed a major industry, commercial papermanufacturing. A crisis in neighboring Russia diminished trade. Over the last decade, Finland's economy has grown not at all.

          For workers, the shock has been cushioned by a comprehensive social welfare system. In the five years after suffering a job loss, a Finnish family of four that is eligible for housing assistance receives average benefits equal to 73 percent of previous wages, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That is nearly triple the level in the United States.

          But the social safety net also appears to be impeding the reinvigoration of the economy by discouraging unemployed people from working part time.

          "It always should be worth taking the job rather than staying home and taking the benefits," says Finland's minister for social affairs and health, Pirkko Mattila. "We have to take the risk to do this experiment."

          Oulu, a city of nearly 200,000 people on the Nordic Sea, stands as a potentially fertile testing ground.

          In centuries past, inhabitants occupied themselves shipping salmon and tar upriver to Russia while trying not to freeze to death. More recently, the city has evolved into a center for wireless communications.

          Three years ago, Microsoft purchased Nokia's handset business, raising local hopes of a revival. But last year, Microsoft went on to shutter the operation. Local Nokia jobs have been halved, falling to 2,500 from 5,000. Oulu's unemployment rate now sits above 16 percent, more than double the national average.

          City leaders portray this as an opportunity to start over, describing a future centered on companies like Asmo Solutions.

          With its office in a first-story walk-up, the company checks the boxes for requisite elements of a modern start-up. Coders stare into laptops while leaning against beanbag chairs arrayed across red shag carpeting. The founder, Asmo Saloranta, 35, wears a silver hoop earring, his blond hair pulled back into a ponytail. He used to be chief executive; now he is chief visionary. He has designed a phone charger that draws power only when a phone is connected.

          Oulu is an ideal place to start a technology business, he says: "There are highly talented tech people."

          But hiring them is maddeningly complicated.

          Mr. Saloranta has his eyes on a former Nokia employee who is masterly at developing prototypes. He only needs him part time. He could pay 2,000 euros a month (about $2,090). Yet this potential hire is bringing home more than that via his unemployment benefits.

          "It's more profitable for him to just wait at home for some ideal job," Mr. Saloranta complains.

          Basic income would fix this, he says: "It would activate many more unemployed people."

          This is a part of the debate that often gets missed. Monthly checks for everyone may look like socialism, but proponents advance it as a way to invigorate capitalism.

          From Italy to India, companies that would like to leave behind unprofitable enterprises in favor of fresh pursuits hold back because of the expense and reputational damage of firing people. Basic income could be the tool that makes restructuring palatable.

          With basic income in place, companies might be more inclined to take a risk on hiring more aggressively — adding vigor to the local economy — knowing they have the freedom to be ruthless in cutting loose those workers who prove disappointing.

          "It does make it easier to have labor flexibility," says Karl Widerquist, a philosopher at Georgetown University in Qatar, and a leading advocate for basic income. "I know that if I have to close down this operation, everyone is going to be O.K."

          People Want Better

          People who lose jobs would do well to gain training in modern trades. On this point, economists universally concur. Yet in many countries, social welfare systems are so laden with rules that jobless people tend to acquire just one skill: They gain savvy in navigating the bureaucracy.

          This dependency is a key justification for basic income. If people receive money without having to endure appointments with government bureaucrats, they will have time for more productive exploits.

          "Basic income is kind of a symbol that we believe in your capacity and we think that you are actually able to do things which are beneficial to you, and also for your community," says Heikki Hiilamo, a professor of social policy at Helsinki University. "It's built on a kind of a positive view of human beings. People want to be autonomous. They want to improve their well-being."

          Jaana Matila has three degrees in computing and an obsessive interest in software, and intense aspirations to forge a career in the Oulu technology scene.

          What she does not have — has never had — is a full-time job.

          At 29, she has completed three unpaid internships. Her last stint ended when her employer folded.

          She teaches adults to swim. She catches freelance jobs, recently designing a website for a hair salon. Mostly, she lives on unemployment benefits — 700 euros a month (about $732).

          Ms. Matila would like to do more freelance work, but she lives in fear of derailing her unemployment benefits. She is supposed to fill out forms that account for every bit of income while providing pay stubs, bank documents and work contracts. Earlier this year, she failed to secure a receipt for the swim lessons. While she tracked one down, she lost her benefits for a month.

          "I had to ask my boyfriend, 'Can you give me some monthly money so I can buy some food?'" she says. "It's really frustrating."

          She thinks about starting a website. Mostly, though, she goes for walks through the forest with her dog. She frets that she is falling behind in skills as technology advances.

          "People in a disadvantaged position, they use a major part of their cognitive ability worrying about their lives, worrying about where they will get their next meal," says Mikko Annala, a researcher at Demos Helsinki, a think tank. "What if we have this potential there that is continuously worrying about life, about making it? What if we can get that into use by giving them something? That is a hypothesis that we should absolutely test."

          The most compelling argument against basic income is the most obvious: If everyone gets money without a requirement to do anything, humans may become morally depraved slackers.

          Jari Viljala finds this notion ridiculous.

          An electrician by trade, Mr. Viljala is accustomed to braving Arctic blasts of wind in minus-35-degree temperatures while threading wires into the spines of new housing complexes. He has left his wife and two daughters behind for as long as eight months at a time to venture north for construction projects.

          His gaze intense, his arms covered in tattoos, he takes pride in his reputation as the guy who will do anything.

          "The dirtiest, trickiest job that no one else wanted to do," he says, "I have always volunteered."

          But since the summer, Mr. Viljala has been out of work. His 3,300 euros in monthly wages (about $3,450) have given way to 650 euros (about $680) in monthly unemployment benefits.

          He needs money for new brakes on his 11-year-old Ford sedan, which failed inspection. Without a car, he cannot get to what work he may secure. He also needs money to get current on the rent, having fallen more than two months behind.

          At 36, he is wiry and strong. He could earn additional cash on the side. But the unemployment rules say otherwise.

          So he stays home and does what he can — making dinner for his girls, doing the laundry. He rides the bus through the gray dawn to the unemployment office.

          He waits and he worries. He wonders how it makes any sense that an able-bodied man with every compulsion to work must stay idle to ensure that he can support his family.



          5)  For Immigrants, the Threat of Indefinite Detention

          By    DEC. 19, 2016





          The New York Times Op-Docs is presenting a virtual reality film, "Indefinite," about the indefinite detention of immigrants in Britain. To view it, either watch in the video player or for the full experience use the NYT VR app on your mobile device. (To download the app, go herefor Android, and here for iPhone.)

          Tonight, more than 40,000 immigrants — men, women and children — will sleep in county jails, federal incarceration centers and privately run prison facilities in the United States. They are not being locked up as a form of punishment; they are behind bars because they are defending themselves against deportation. Many will ultimately prevail and stay legally in the United States. A large majority of them have been incarcerated without any hearing, and have no way of knowing when their detention will end.

          The Op-Docs virtual reality film "Indefinite," which documents similar practices in Britain, shows how indefinite detention imposes hardship and suffering on incarcerated immigrants, their families and communities. In the United States, countless people are detained unnecessarily for months or even years under similar conditions — eroding our basic constitutional notions of due process and liberty and driving up costs to taxpayers. As a society, we cannot afford this.

          Jennings v. Rodriguez, a case the American Civil Liberties Union argued before the Supreme Court on Nov. 30, shows a simple way out of this constitutional and moral crisis: a hearing before an immigration judge.

          In recent years, a Federal District Court in Los Angeles and the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit both rejected the government's routine practice of detaining immigrants for months or years without a hearing and held that an immigration judge must conduct a hearing when incarceration became prolonged (presumptively after six months). These rulings gave thousands of immigrants in nine Western states a chance, for the first time, to explain to an immigration judge why they would not pose a flight risk or a danger to the community if released on bond while fighting their cases. And for the first time, the government had to prove to an immigration judge why detention was required for each person based on the facts of each case.

          In a great majority of these cases — 70 percent — the immigration court ordered the person released on a bond. Perversely, it turned out that the people with the strongest cases for staying in the United States were detained for the longest periods, because their cases took longer to litigate and adjudicate. People who were locked up for prolonged periods were five times as likely to win their immigration cases than the average detainee.

          In Jennings, the government appealed the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals. The evidence the A.C.L.U. presented in the case showed that thousands of people had been incarcerated for no good reason — leaving their families without financial support, hampering their own ability to defend against the government's deportation case, and suffering from often abominable prison conditions and crushing despair. The record in this case also shows that immigration judges are fully capable of doing their job and making determinations of flight risk and danger.

          Nonetheless, the government has stubbornly stuck to its position that it should be permitted to run a regime of prolonged detention without a hearing. This is contrary to a basic constitutional principle: When the government locks someone up, the person must have a hearing in which an independent judge determines whether the government has a sufficient reason for doing so.

          For example, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that an individualized custody hearing is a requirement for involuntary civil commitment cases involving people with serious mental health issues, and in setting bail for people facing criminal charges. The Fifth Amendment's due process clause does not permit a prosecutor or a police officer to decide unilaterally to keep a person fighting his or her case locked up for a prolonged period. But when it comes to immigrants facing deportation, the government is effectively claiming that power.

          When immigration agents seize that power, they make costly mistakes and even willfully abusive decisions. Consider the case of an Ethiopian client of the A.C.L.U., a survivor of torture who had passed the initial hurdle for asylum but who was denied release by immigration agents. Why? The case file shows that the immigration agent handling the case mistook the Ethiopian man for Somali, and then acted on a blanket assumption that "all" Somalis "present a paradigm of deceit" and are categorically untrustworthy when presenting identity information. That is, the agent applied an invidious ethnic profile of Somalis to an Ethiopian man.

          Or take the case of Ahilan Nadarajah, an A.C.L.U. client who fled Sri Lanka and sought asylum in the United States. He was incarcerated in an immigration jail for more than five years while he fought his case, even after he twice won his asylum claim before an immigration judge. Today, he is a United States citizen.

          Or consider the case of the lead plaintiff in Jennings, Alejandro Rodriguez, a lawful permanent resident who was brought to the United States as an infant. The government put him in deportation proceedings based on convictions for simple possession of drugs and for joy riding. Mr. Rodriguez was detained for more than three years and was released only after he sued the government. Ultimately, he won his case seven years after his initial arrest. If the government had its way, he would have been detained for the entire duration of his deportation case, without any hearing to serve as a check on the government's detention power.

          President-elect Donald J. Trump has promised to lock up more immigrants than ever while pursuing mass deportations. If these policies come into effect, more immigrants with claims to lawful status will find themselves incarcerated for months or years while their cases are in legal limbo. In America, we have constitutional guarantees of due process to protect everyone, including immigrants, in order to avoid precisely this kind of injustice.



          6)  Workplace Deaths in 2015 Reached Six-Year High

           DEC. 20, 2016





          More workers died from on-the-clock injuries in 2015 than in any of the six previous years, though the rate of such deaths has been falling, according to data released last week by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

          The census of workplace fatalities, first conducted in 1992, provides a detailed view of workplace safety in America and shows the demographic groups and professions most at risk of fatal workplace injury.

          Here's a look at some of the key figures from the new report.


          That's the total number of fatal workplace injuries in 2015, the highest since 2008, when such injuries resulted in 5,214 deaths.

          High as the total may seem, the rate of workplace deaths — as a share of every 100,000 full-time equivalent workers — fell slightly from 2014 and has fallen relatively steadily since 2006.

          Men accounted for all but 7 percent of the total workplace deaths last year.


          That's the number of transportation-related episodes that resulted in fatalities, accounting for about 42 percent of all workplace deaths.

          As a result, 745 drivers of heavy and tractor-trailer trucks died because of injuries at work last year, more than any other major civilian occupation.

          Falls, slips and trips made up the next most common major cause of workplace fatalities, resulting in 800 deaths last year.


          That's the number of Hispanic or Latino workers who died in 2015, approximately two-thirds of them foreign-born. More Hispanics or Latinos died from workplace injuries in 2015 than in any year since 2007, when the number for the group was 937.


          Workers 65 years and older died at higher rates last year than their peers in any other age group. With 650 deaths for those senior workers, 2015 was the second-worst year for the age group since the data was first collected in 1992. Only last year's total, 684, was larger.

          18 percent

          That's the decline in the number of workplace suicides from 2014. The homicide rate rose 2 percent. Over the last five years, both declined.



          7)  James Taylor Cancels Concert in Philippines, Citing Bloody Antidrug Campaign

           DEC. 21, 2016


          BEIJING — The American singer-songwriter James Taylor has canceled a February concert in Manila to protest the Philippinesbloody antidrug campaign, in which thousands of people have been killed.

          Mr. Taylor, 68, best known for 1970s hits like "You've Got a Friend" and "Fire and Rain," announced the decision in a statement posted to his website and Twitter account on Wednesday morning.

          "For a sovereign nation to prosecute and punish, under the law, those responsible for the illegal trade in drugs is, of course, understandable, even commendable," Mr. Taylor wrote. "But recent reports from the Philippines of summary executions of suspected offenders without trial or judicial process are deeply concerning and unacceptable to anyone who loves the rule of law."

          Mr. Taylor apologized to his fans and said all tickets for the concert, on Feb. 25, would be refunded. The decision, he said, would not affect plans for the rest of his tour, which includes stops in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore.

          The announcement comes amid growing international outrage over the brutal crackdown on drug dealers and users ordered by the Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte, who took office in June. Since the antidrug campaign began, about 2,000 people have been killed by the police, and there have been more than 3,500 unsolved killings.

          This month, Mr. Duterte boasted of having personally killed criminal suspects when he was mayor of the Philippine city of Davao. On Tuesday, the top human rights official at the United Nations, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, called on the judicial authorities in the Philippines to investigate Mr. Duterte for murder.

          The Philippine government has repeatedly denied carrying out extrajudicial killings, insisting that those killed in the antidrug campaign were resisting arrest. Many Filipinos have voiced support for the crackdown, which Mr. Duterte has said he will continue throughout his term.

          For Mr. Taylor, who struggled for years with drugs like heroin and methadone, the subject is personal. "The scourge of addiction is a worldwide problem and does serious harm, not only to the addict but to our society," he said in his statement.

          He said that he did not think of his music as "particularly political" but that "sometimes one is called upon to make a political stand."



          8)  YouTube Stars Say They Were Removed From Delta Flight for Speaking Arabic

           DEC. 21, 2016




          Two Muslim American YouTube stars who were returning home to New York after a world tour said they were removed from a Delta Air Linesflight at a London airport on Wednesday after other passengers expressed discomfort with their presence on the flight.

          Adam Saleh, 23, a filmmaker from Manhattan, and his friend Slim Albaher, 22, from Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, said they were asked by the captain to leave their flight at Heathrow Airport after Mr. Saleh spoke in Arabic to his mother and they followed up by speaking to each other in Arabic, setting off anger and alarm among British passengers on the flight.

          The news was met on social media with anger against the airline industry, but also skepticism. Mr. Saleh, who has more than 2 million subscribers on YouTube, has a history of perpetuating video hoaxes and pranks, some of them aimed at exposing stereotypes about Muslims. In his latest YouTube video, posted this month, he pretended to smuggle himself onto a plane in a suitcase.

          In a phone interview Wednesday from Heathrow before he and Mr. Albaher boarded a new flight, Mr. Saleh insisted this was not a stunt: "The only thing I can say is, I would never film a phone video. That's when it's really serious, and I must film." His video camera was in his luggage.

          Delta is reviewing the incident. Morgan Durrant, a spokesman for the airline, said in a statement that two passengers had been removed from the flight after "a disturbance in the cabin resulted in more than 20 customers expressing their discomfort."

          He did not identify the passengers nor would the airline elaborate on the statement.

          "We are taking allegations of discrimination very seriously," it said. "Our culture requires treating others with respect."

          Camilla Goodman, a spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan Police, confirmed that two passengers had been removed from the flight and that they "didn't do anything lawfully wrong." They were not arrested, she said. Mr. Saleh and Mr. Albaher later boarded a Virgin flight to New York.

          In Periscope videos and the interview with The Times, Mr. Saleh and Mr. Albaher gave their version of events.

          Mr. Saleh said he had just spoken to his mother on the phone, in Arabic, to tell her when his flight would land. After the call, he and Mr. Albaher continued to speak briefly in Arabic, when they were interrupted by a woman in front of them who asked them to speak English because they were making her uncomfortable.

          They did not respond aggressively, Mr. Saleh said, but told her that they were speaking Arabic and asked whether she had ever heard another language. Then, Mr. Saleh said, a man with a British accent who appeared to be traveling with her swore at them and said that they be "chucked" off the plane.

          "At this point, me and Slim looked at each other," Mr. Saleh said in the interview. "We didn't know what to do. We felt like we were terrorists."

          The situation escalated, Mr. Saleh said, and other passengers joined in asking that Mr. Saleh and Mr. Albaher be kicked off the plane. Some of them mentioned Monday's terrorist attack in Berlin, he said.

          After the disturbance continued for what Mr. Saleh said was about seven minutes, the captain was summoned, and he asked that the two men leave the plane with their baggage.

          At that point, Mr. Saleh started filming with his phone. He later shared the video and others from the airport on Twitter, where he has more than 250,000 followers.

          In the footage, Mr. Saleh was being escorted from the plane as he pointed out passengers who were heckling him, yelling goodbye and waving at the camera.

          "You guys are racist," Mr. Saleh shouts in the video, as he retells the story of the confrontation. "Six white people against us bearded men."

          With Mr. Saleh's large following, the story quickly took off, and many people were immediately critical of Delta.

          Reports of Muslims being asked to leave planes have risen in recent months, according to advocacy groups. Zainab Chaudry, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the United State's largest Muslim civil rights group, said in a phone interview today that "more and more reports have been made of Muslims or Arabs, or people who were perceived to be Muslim or Arabs, who were removed from planes by airline personnel.

          "There isn't one particular airline I can point to and say we've been hearing more reports on this airline than others," she said. "Delta has not been one of the more common offenders."

          In April, a college student was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight in California when he was heard speaking Arabic, a week after a Muslim woman was asked to leave another Southwest flight when she asked to switch seats. In May, an Italian professor was removed from an American Airlines flight when a passenger reported becoming alarmed by his handwritten notes, which were in fact math equations.

          Mr. Saleh and Mr. Albaher, who are best friends and frequently work together, had recently traveled to Kuala Lumpur and Sydney to perform their stage show, which mixes comedy with inspirational speaking. Their audience largely consists of young English-speaking Muslims from around the world, Mr. Albaher said, though he added that "a bunch of other people watch us too."

          Mr. Saleh was born and raised in New York City. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he was afraid to tell people he was Muslim, but he later embraced his culture and religion: "I wanted to show people we can have fun, we can be normal just like everyone else."



          9)  Executions Hit 25-Year Low and Support Is Falling, Report Finds

           DEC. 21, 2016




          Executions, new death sentences and public support for capital punishment in the United States all fell this year to their lowest levels in decades, continuing sharp declines underway since the 1990s. States carried out fewer executions in 2016 than they had in 25 years, and juries imposed fewer death sentences than in any year since 1972, when the Supreme Court struck down all of the death penalty laws then on the books.

          This year continued another trend, as new death sentences were more concentrated than ever in a handful of jurisdictions.

          The new figures come from a report released on Wednesday by the Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit research group that opposes capital punishment.

          The declines have been driven by a variety of factors, including court rulings limiting the use of the death penalty, moratoriums imposed by governors, the cost of appeals and difficulty obtaining lethal injection drugs.

          Executions in 2016: 20

          States carried out 20 executions in 2016, and the federal government had none, an 80 percent decline from when 98 were carried out in 1999, the peak year for executions since the 1950s. This year, Georgia, with nine, and Texas, with seven, accounted for the bulk of executions, while Alabama carried out two, and Missouri and Florida had one each. This year's total was down from the previous modern low, last year, of 28 executions.

          Death sentences imposed: 29

          American courts have imposed 29 death sentences in 2016, with one more possible, a steep decline from 1996, when 315 cases resulted in capital sentences — the highest figure in modern times. This year's total is well below the total of 49 for 2015, which was by far the lowest figure since 1973.

          Counties imposing death penalties: 27

          Just 27 of the nation's roughly 3,000 counties imposed death sentences this year, the lowest figure in decades, compared with 60 counties four years earlier. Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous, had the largest number, with four. Harris County, Tex., which has imposed far more death sentences — and seen far more carried out, 116 — than any other county in the country over the last four decades, had none for the second year in a row. Over the last four decades, 15 counties — 0.5 percent of the total — that have pursued the death penalty aggressively have accounted for 30 percent of the nation's executions.

          Americans opposed: 2 of 5

          About two out of every five Americans oppose the death penalty, the highest figure in at least 44 years, according to polls by the Pew Research Center and by Gallup. Pew put support for capital punishment at 49 percent, and Gallup at 60 percent, but either figure would be the lowest in decades.

          On death row: 2,905

          While executions and new death sentences have fallen sharply, the number of inmates on state death rows has not. As of July 1, there were 2,905, according to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, down from 2,984 a year earlier, and a recent peak of 3,593 in 2000. California, which has not carried out an execution in almost 11 years, had the largest death row this year: 741 inmates.



          10) The Long-Term Jobs Killer Is Not China. It's Automation

           DEC. 21, 2016

          Andrew F. Puzder, Mr. Trump's pick for labor secretary and chief executive of CKE Restaurants, extolled the virtues of robot employees over the human kind in an interview with Business Insider in March. "They're always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case," he said.


          The first job that Sherry Johnson, 56, lost to automation was at the local newspaper in Marietta, Ga., where she fed paper into the printing machines and laid out pages. Later, she watched machines learn to do her jobs on a factory floor making breathing machines, and in inventory and filing.

          "It actually kind of ticked me off because it's like, How are we supposed to make a living?" she said. She took a computer class at Goodwill, but it was too little too late. "The 20- and 30-year-olds are more up to date on that stuff than we are because we didn't have that when we were growing up," said Ms. Johnson, who is now on disability and lives in a housing project in Jefferson City, Tenn.

          Donald J. Trump told workers like Ms. Johnson that he would bring back their jobs by clamping down on trade, offshoring and immigration. But economists say the bigger threat to their jobs has been something else: automation.

          "Over the long haul, clearly automation's been much more important — it's not even close," said Lawrence Katz, an economics professor at Harvard who studies labor and technological change.

          No candidate talked much about automation on the campaign trail. Technology is not as convenient a villain as China or Mexico, there is no clear way to stop it, and many of the technology companies are in the United States and benefit the country in many ways.

          Mr. Trump told a group of tech company leaders last Wednesday: "We want you to keep going with the incredible innovation. Anything we can do to help this go along, we're going to be there for you."

          Andrew F. Puzder, Mr. Trump's pick for labor secretary and chief executive of CKE Restaurants, extolled the virtues of robot employees over the human kind in an interview with Business Insider in March. "They're always polite, they always upsell, they never take a vacation, they never show up late, there's never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex or race discrimination case," he said.

          Globalization is clearly responsible for some of the job losses, particularly trade with China during the 2000s, which led to the rapid loss of 2 million to 2.4 million net jobs, according to research by economists including Daron Acemoglu and David Autor of M.I.T.

          People who work in parts of the country most affected by imports generally have greater unemployment and reduced income for the rest of their lives, Mr. Autor found in a paper published in January. Still, over time, automation has had a far bigger effect than globalization, and would have eventually eliminated those jobs anyway, he said in an interview. "Some of it is globalization, but a lot of it is we require many fewer workers to do the same amount of work," he said. "Workers are basically supervisors of machines."

          When Greg Hayes, the chief executive of United Technologies, agreed to invest $16 million in one of its Carrier factories as part of a Trump deal to keep some jobs in Indiana instead of moving them to Mexico, he said the money would go toward automation.

          "What that ultimately means is there will be fewer jobs," he said on CNBC.

          Take the steel industry. It lost 400,000 people, 75 percent of its work force, between 1962 and 2005. But its shipments did not decline, according to a study published in the American Economic Review last year. The reason was a new technology called the minimill. Its effect remained strong even after controlling for management practices; job losses in the Midwest; international trade; and unionization rates, found the authors of the study, Allan Collard-Wexler of Duke and Jan De Loecker of Princeton.

          Another analysis, from Ball State University, attributed roughly 13 percent of manufacturing job losses to trade and the rest to enhanced productivity because of automation. Apparel making was hit hardest by trade, it said, and computer and electronics manufacturing was hit hardest by technological advances.

          Over time, automation has generally had a happy ending: As it has displaced jobs, it has created new ones. But some experts are beginning to worry that this time could be different. Even as the economy has improved, jobs and wages for a large segment of workers — particularly men without college degrees doing manual labor — have not recovered.

          Even in the best case, automation leaves the first generation of workers it displaces in a lurch because they usually don't have the skills to do new and more complex tasks, Mr. Acemoglu found in a paper published in May.

          Robert Stilwell, 35, of Evansville, Ind., is one of them. He did not graduate from high school and worked in factories building parts for tools and cars, wrapping them up and loading them onto trucks. After he was laid off, he got a job as a convenience store cashier, which pays a lot less.

          "I used to have a really good job, and I liked the people I worked with — until it got overtaken by a machine, and then I was let go," he said.

          Dennis Kriebel's last job was as a supervisor at an aluminum extrusion factory, where he had spent a decade punching out parts for cars and tractors. Then, about five years ago, he lost it to a robot.

          "Everything we did, you could program a robot to do it," said Mr. Kriebel, who is 55 and lives in Youngstown, Ohio, the town about which Bruce Springsteen sang, "Seven hundred tons of metal a day/Now sir you tell me the world's changed."

          Since then, Mr. Kriebel has barely been scraping by doing odd jobs. Many of the new jobs at factories require technical skills, but he doesn't own a computer and doesn't want to.

          Labor economists say there are ways to ease the transition for workers whose jobs have been displaced by robots. They include retraining programs, stronger unions, more public-sector jobs, a higher minimum wage, a bigger earned-income tax credit and, for the next generation of workers, more college degrees. Few are policies that Mr. Trump has said he will pursue.

          "Just allowing the private market to automate without any support is a recipe for blaming immigrants and trade and other things, even when it's the long impact of technology," said Mr. Katz, who was the Labor Department's chief economist under President Clinton.

          The changes are not just affecting manual labor: Computers are rapidly learning to do some white-collar and service-sector work, too. Existing technology could automate 45 percent of activities people are paid to do, according to a July report by McKinsey. Work that requires creativity, management of people or caregiving is least at risk.

          Ms. Johnson in Tennessee said both her favorite and highest-paying job, at $8.65 an hour, was at an animal shelter, caring for puppies.

          It was also the least likely to be done by a machine, she said: "I would hope a computer couldn't do that, unless they like changing dirty papers and giving them love and attention."



          11)  Medicaid Funding to End for Planned Parenthood in Texas, State Says

           DEC. 20, 2016




          In a critical step in a longstanding fight, Texas formally said on Tuesday that it was ending Medicaid funding of Planned Parenthood, a move the group said could affect 11,000 patients.

          The office of inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission issued a final notice terminating Planned Parenthood's enrollment in the state-funded health care system for the poor. If it is not stopped, the termination will be effective in 30 days.

          Planned Parenthood officials said on Tuesday night that they would continue to provide birth control, cancer screenings, H.I.V. tests and other care to Medicaid patients and seek an injunction in federal court to stop the state. The group sued the state in 2015 after a preliminary notice was filed, but the court case has lingered pending further action by the state.

          At stake is about $4 million a year in Medicaid funding. The formal notice is the latest salvo in a legal and political fight that dates back years but intensified 15 months ago when the state issued a preliminary notice to end Medicaid funding for the group's 34 health care centers.

          "Texas is a cautionary tale for the rest of the nation," said Cecile Richards, the president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "If the nation goes the way of Texas, it will be nothing less than a national health care disaster."

          In a statement on Tuesday night, the office of Gov. Greg Abbott said, "Texans expect that when taxpayer dollars are granted to health care providers, it is only to those who demonstrate that the health and safety of their patients come before a profit motive that puts women at greater risk."

          The termination notice, signed by the inspector general, Stuart W. Bowen Jr., cited violations that found Planned Parenthood was unqualified to provide medical services "in a professionally competent, safe, legal and ethical manner."

          The notice cited "extensive undercover video" obtained from a Planned Parenthood center in April 2015. The secretly recorded videospurported to show officials trying to illegally profit from the sale of aborted fetal tissue and discussing the issue with abortion opponents who posed as representatives of a biomedical firm. Planned Parenthood has said that the videos were deceptively edited and that the group did nothing illegal or unethical.

          Representatives from the Health and Human Services Commission and the inspector general could not be immediately reached on Tuesday night about the timing of the notice.

          Planned Parenthood has 15 days to file an administrative appeal. A spokeswoman said the group was evaluating whether to pursue an appeal in addition to seeking relief in federal court.



          12)  Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists

          DEC. 21, 2016


          A spate of extreme warmth in the Arctic over the past two months has startled scientists, who warn that the high temperatures may lead to record-low ice coverage next summer and even more warming in a region that is already among the hardest hit by climate change.

          In mid-November, parts of the Arctic were more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than observed averages, scientists said, and at the pole itself, mean temperatures for the month were 23 degrees above normal. Although conditions later cooled somewhat, the extreme warmth is expected to return, with temperatures forecast to be as much as 27 degrees above normal beginning Thursday.

          Jeremy Mathis, who directs the Arctic Research Program for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the warmth had led to a later than usual "freeze-up" of ice in the Arctic Ocean. That in turn may lead to record-low ice coverage in the spring and summer, which could lead to more warming because there will be less ice to reflect the sun's rays and more darker, exposed ocean to absorb them.

          "We're going to be watching the summer of 2017 very closely," Dr. Mathis said in an interview.

          On Wednesday, researchers released a study linking the abnormally high Arctic temperatures to human-caused climate change. Using simulations of the climate, both current and before widespread carbon emissions, they found that the likelihood of extreme temperatures like those that occurred this fall had increased to about once every 50 years from about once every 1,000 years.

          "A warm episode like the one we are currently observing is still a rare event in today's climate," said one of the researchers, Friederike E.L. Otto, a senior scientist at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford in Britain. "But it would have been an extremely unlikely event without anthropogenic climate change."

          What's more, Dr. Otto said, if climate change continues at its current pace, spates of extreme Arctic warmth may become common, on the order of once every two years.

          "It's quite impressive how much the risk of these kinds of events is changing," she said. "It's one region where we see the impacts of climate change very strongly."

          Walt Meier, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said that the current warmth had been brought on by fluctuations in the jet stream, which have allowed frigid air to make its way south into North America and warm air into parts of the Arctic.

          While such outbreaks of extreme warmth are not new, he said, there are many signs that climate change is making them more frequent. "We're loading the dice to make this more likely," he said.

          While the earth over all has been warming — 2015 set a record for warmth, and 2016 is expected to exceed it — the Arctic has been warming at least twice as fast as the global average. In part, scientists say, that is because of declines in sea ice coverage. Ice typically reflects from about half to 70 percent of the solar energy that hits it, but water reflects only 6 percent, and so the water warms up. That melts more ice, which in turn leads to more exposed ocean and still more melting — what's known as a positive feedback loop.

          The recent high temperatures have had a severe impact on Arctic sea ice formation this fall. Ice coverage was the lowest for any November since satellite records began in 1979, NOAA said. Sea ice is also getting thinner on average, as thicker, multiyear ice melts and is replaced by ice that lasts only a year.

          Temperatures this fall were so far off the charts that NOAA took the unusual step of extending the time frame for its annual "Arctic report card" by a few days into early December. "Because we have seen such amazing trends in the last few months, we did an addendum," Dr. Mathis said.

          The report, which includes findings from NOAA-sponsored research projects involving more than 60 scientists, was released last week at a scientific meeting in San Francisco. At a news conference, Dr. Mathis said that in addition to the extreme warm periods, the overall year was the warmest on record.

          "We've seen a year in 2016 in the Arctic like we've never seen before," he said.

          While some of the warming is attributable to the effects of El Niño, which affected weather patterns worldwide last year, those effects are on top of what is already a clear warming trend.

          The NOAA review also showed that the Greenland ice sheet continued to lose mass from melting, as it has every year since 2002, when satellites began measurements. Melting began earlier this year than any previous year except 2012.

          At the news conference, Dr. Mathis noted that warming effects in the Arctic have had a cascading effect through the environment, "including down into Arctic ecosystems."

          He said that communities that rely on hunting and fishing for their food security "should be very concerned."

          "It's getting harder and harder for them to harvest resources as the ice pulls back further and further away from the coast," he said.

          But Dr. Mathis added that changing conditions in the far north should concern everyone. "We need people to know and understand that the Arctic is going to have an impact on their lives no matter where they live."



          13)  Charged a Fee for Getting Arrested, Whether Guilty or Not

          By   DEC. 26, 2016




          WASHINGTON — Corey Statham had $46 in his pockets when he was arrested in Ramsey County, Minn., and charged with disorderly conduct. He was released two days later, and the charges were dismissed.

          But the county kept $25 of Mr. Statham's money as a "booking fee." It returned the remaining $21 on a debit card subject to an array of fees. In the end, it cost Mr. Statham $7.25 to withdraw what was left of his money.

          The Supreme Court will soon consider whether to hear Mr. Statham's challenge to Ramsey County's fund-raising efforts, which are part of a national trend to extract fees and fines from people who find themselves enmeshed in the criminal justice system.

          Kentucky bills people held in its jails for the costs of incarcerating them, even if all charges are later dismissed. In Colorado, five towns raise more than 30 percent of their revenue from traffic tickets and fines. In Ferguson, Mo., "city officials have consistently set maximizing revenue as the priority for Ferguson's law enforcement activity," a Justice Department report found last year.

          An unusual coalition of civil rights organizations, criminal defense lawyers and conservative and libertarian groups have challenged these sorts of policies, saying they confiscate private property without constitutional protections and lock poor people into a cycle of fines, debts and jail.

          The Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a separate challenge to a Colorado law that makes it hard for criminal defendants whose convictions were overturned to obtain refunds of fines and restitution, often amounting to thousands of dollars. That case, Nelson v. Colorado, will be argued on Jan. 9.

          The Colorado law requires people who want their money back to file a separate lawsuit and prove their innocence by clear and convincing evidence.

          The sums at issue are smaller in Ramsey County, which includes St. Paul. But they are taken from people who have merely been arrested. Some of them will never be charged with a crime. Others, like Mr. Statham, will have the charges against them dismissed. Still others will be tried but acquitted.

          It is all the same to the county, which does not return the $25 booking fee even if the arrest does not lead to a conviction. Instead, it requires people like Mr. Statham to submit evidence to prove they are entitled to get their money back.

          When the case was argued last year before the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Paul, a lawyer for the county acknowledged that its process was in tension with the presumption of innocence.

          "There is some legwork involved," the lawyer, Jason M. Hiveley said, but noted that it is possible for blameless people to get their $25 back. "They can do it as soon as they have the evidence that they haven't been found guilty."

          The legwork proved too much for Mr. Statham. He never got his $25 back.

          He did get a debit card for the remaining $21. But there was no practical way to extract his cash without paying some kind of fee. Among them: $1.50 a week for "maintenance" of the unwanted card, starting after 36 hours; $2.75 for using an A.T.M. to withdraw money; $3 for transferring the balance to a bank account; and $1.50 for checking the balance.

          In its appeals court brief, the county said the debit cards were provided "for the convenience of the inmates," who might find it hard to cash a check.

          Mr. Statham is represented by Michael A. Carvin, a prominent conservative lawyer who has argued Supreme Court cases challengingthe Affordable Care Act and fees charged by public unions.

          Mr. Carvin said the county's motives were not rooted in solicitude for the people it had arrested. "Revenue-starved local governments are increasingly turning toward fees like Ramsey County's in order to bridge their budgetary gaps," he wrote in a Supreme Court brief. "But the unilateral decision of a single police officer cannot possibly justify summarily confiscating money."

          "Providing a profit motive to make arrests," he said, "gives officers an incentive to make improper arrests."

          Ramsey County did not bother to submit a response in the Supreme Court. "We have not filed a brief in opposition to the petition, nor do we plan to," Mr. Hiveley said in a Dec. 8 email. The county, he said, would take its chances before the justices without presenting its side of the story.

          Six days later, the Supreme Court ordered the county to file a brief in the case, Mickelson v. County of Ramsey. It is due Jan. 13.

          Through his lawyers, Mr. Statham declined a request for an interview. He lost in the lower courts, which said his right to due process had not been violated by the $25 booking charge or the debit card fees, which were both, the trial judge said, "relatively modest."

          It is true that $25 is not a lot of money — unless you are poor. It represents almost half a day's work at the federal minimum wage, a federal judge wrote in a dissent in another case on booking fees, and it is nearly the average amount the government allots to help feed an adult for a week under the federal food-stamp program

          In its appeals court brief, the county took a different view of the economic imperatives. "Municipal services," the brief said, "come at a cost."










































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