Please make 3 phone calls to demand

health care for Mumia

If you're sick, you can go to a doctor or an emergency room to be examined and treated, in a hospital if necessary. If you're being held behind bars, getting sick can be a death sentence. Profits come before prisoner care for the Dept. of Correction's medical contractors.

SCI Mahanoy political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal needs your help in getting treatment for a severe skin disease so bad he told his wife Wadiya he "can't take it any more." For more than 2 years, he 

has suffered from intense itching all over his body.

The treatment for hepatitis C which we fought for and won has not cleared up his skin conditions.He is also concerned about his cirrhosis of the liver and neuropathy. People suspect tainted water may be causing problems for many prisoners.

Mumia and recent visitors report he can't sleep because the itching is so overpowering and relentless. His condition is worsening: his back, chest and arms have become rough and leathery, alligator-like. There appear to be hairline cracks in his skin that show bleeding.

Instead of a hands-on exam by an expert dermatologist, the DOC's doctor had a teleconference with Mumia, after which Ultra Violet (UVB) treatment and Dupixent were recommended.

Mumia stopped unsupervised, self-administered UVB treatment last year because his skin got burned.  Mumia's UVB treatment should be safely administered at a hospital with a Narrow Band UVB, reducing the risk of burns and is more effective than Broad Band UVB.

Mumia needs a full diagnostic work-up before he receives a new medicine like Dupixent, which can have serious side effects if administered incorrectly outside of a hospital setting.

Mumia has been unjustly imprisoned for 36 years. The DOC's continuing failure to effectively diagnose and treat this severe skin disease is nothing less than torture and is one more reason Mumia should be released from prison, now.

1.  Please call:

  •  SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa DelBalso: 570-773-2158
  •  PA Secretary of Corrections John E. Wetzel:
  • PA Dept of Health Acting Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine: 717-787-9857

Demand that Mumia be taken to an independent medical facility such as Geisinger Hospital, as in 2015, which has the expertise to provide thorough hands-on diagnostic evaluation and offer supervised patient care.

2. Pack the court on Jan 17 in Philadelphia to support his legal case eventually lead to Mumia's freedom. 

International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal  International Action Center,
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (NYC),
Campaign to Bring Mumia Home
Educators for Mumia

__________________________This message was sent to info@socialistviewpoint.org


International Letter in Support of Mumia Abu-Jamal


December 9, 2017
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner From:
Concerned Members of International Community


We, the undersigned individual and organizational members of the international community concerned with issues of human rights, call your attention to an egregious example of human rights violations in your respective jurisdictions: the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Specifically, we call on you both, key officials with the power to determine Abu-Jamal's fate, to:

  1. Assure that all the District Attorney and police files relevant to Abu-Jamal's case, be released publicly as the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is reviewing the potential involvement of retired Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille in a conflict of interest when he reviewed Abu Jamal's case as a PA Supreme Court Justice.
  2. Release Abu-Jamal now from his incarceration. That given the mounds of evidence of Abu-Jamal's innocence and even more evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, his unjust incarceration, including almost 30 years on death row, his twice near-executions, his prison-induced illness which brought him to the brink of death, and the lack of timely treatment for his hepatitis-C which has left him with a condition, cirrhosis of the liver, which poses a potential threat to his life ... we call for the freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal now.

Now, Abu-Jamal has a new legal challenge in the Pennsylvania courts on the grounds that PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille had a conflict of interest when he denied Abu-Jamal's appeals from 1998-2014. The new action is based on a precedent setting U.S. Supreme Court decision, Williams v. Pennsylvania, that a judge who had been personally involved in a critical prosecutorial decision violates the defendant's right to an impartial judicial review if he then gets to rule on the case as a State Supreme Court Justice. Castille was the Philadelphia elected District Attorney during Abu-Jamal's first appeal process, after his conviction and death sentence, from 1986-1991. He was a PA Supreme Court Justice from 1994 to 2014, during which time Abu-Jamal's case came before him multiple times.

We demand: Public disclosure of the police and DA files! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!!

To sign onto this letter please email infomumia@gmail.com with the subject line "International Letter for Mumia." Submit your full name as you want it listed and your organizational or professional identification.This identification is critical in a letter of this sort, as names alone carry little leverage.

page1image2213076912 page1image2213077200 page1image2213077488 page1image2213077840 page1image2213078128 page1image2213078416 page1image2213078704 page1image2213079056 page1image2213079344 page1image2213079632 page1image2213079920 page1image2213080208 page1image2213080496 page1image2213080848 page1image2213081136 page1image2213081680 page1image2213081904 page1image2213082128 page1image2213082416 page1image2213082704 page1image2213082992 page1image2213083280

frantzfanonfoundation@amail.com - 58. rue Daquerre, 75014 Paris. +336 86 78 39 20. frantzfanonfoundation-fondationfrantzfanon.com 



Artwork by Kevin "Rashid" Johnson

Prisoner Name:
Kevin "Rashid" Johnson #158039


Kevin "Rashid" Johnson (#158039) wrote an article about the Florida

prison strike, which was published online on January 9, 2018. The

following day warden Barry Reddish retaliated against Kevin's use of his

First Amendment rights, ordering that he be given a disciplinary

infraction for "inciting a riot". Further, on January 19th Johnson was

thrown in a cold cell, with a broken toilet, no heating, and with a

window that will not fully close, allowing cold wind to blow into the

cell. The cell has the same temperature as the outside, where

temperatures have been repeatedly at or below freezing. We have not

heard anything from Kevin since January 19th. Warden Barry Reddish must

be held accountable for illegal retaliation and, now, the torture of

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson.

We demand that Johnson is moved to a safe and clean cell, with normal

indoor temperatures and with a toilet that works. We demand that Johnson

be allowed to call his attorneys immediately. We demand that warden

Reddish and all other Florida Department of Corrections officials stop

retaliating against Kevin for his reporting on conditions in their prisons.


Warden Barry Reddish

Florida State Prison

Raiford, FL 32083



Move Johnson to a properly climate controlled cell with a working toilet

Immediately allow Johnson to make phone calls to his attorneys

Stop retaliating against him for reporting on conditions in your prisons

Please report back on the response to your call

Send reports back to:





SoCal & NorCal Rallies Planned to Protest New Offshore Drilling Plan

Heal the Bay, California Coastkeeper Alliance & Surfrider Foundation

JAN 27, 2018 — Major rallies are planned in California to Protect the Pacific and REJECT Washington's dangerous new offshore drilling draft proposal. There is ONLY ONE public meeting scheduled in California and as a result most people in the state are not able to access this opportunity to learn more about a huge proposal to give away ONE BILLION acres of U.S. coastal waters to potential oil and gas drilling. In fact, each state considered in the drilling plan only gets one public meeting. So, many Americans are out of luck. Which is why we must keep speaking out and making our voices heard.

In Southern California, a rally in protest of offshore drilling will take place on February 3 at the Santa Monica Pier. Please join us and make your voice heard - take the Metro or ride your bike to avoid traffic and parking fees. 
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/2264202686938806/

In Northern California, a similar rally will occur in Sacramento at the Capitol on the day of the public meeting, which is February 8. Bus transportation is available to the rally (while space lasts) and we encourage public transportation as well.
RSVP: https://www.facebook.com/events/1754774281233684/

San Francisco Bus Page: 

Oakland Bus Page:

Santa Rosa Bus Page:

Ventura Bus Page:

There are many other rallies and protests planned throughout the state and nation. If you are attending an event near you, please share more details and the event link in the comments so others can consider joining too.

If you haven't already, please submit a public comment to federal officials by March 9.

We're taking a stand, we hope you can too!






From Clifford Conner

Dear friends and relatives

Every day the scoundrels who have latched onto Trump to push through their rightwing soak-the-poor agenda inflict a new indignity on the human race.  Today they are conspiring to steal the tips we give servers in restaurants.  The New York Times editorial appended below explains what they're trying to get away with now.

People like you and me cannot compete with the Koch brothers' donors network when it comes to money power.  But at least we can try to avoid putting our pittance directly into their hands.  Here is a modest proposal:  Whenever you are in a restaurant where servers depend on tips for their livelihoods, let's try to make sure they get what we give them.

Instead of doing the easy thing and adding the tip into your credit card payment, GIVE CASH TIPS and HAND THEM DIRECTLY TO YOUR SERVER. If you want to add a creative flourish such as including a preprinted note that explains why you are doing this, by all means do so.  You could reproduce the editorial below for their edification.

If you want to do this, be sure to check your wallet before entering a restaurant to make sure you have cash in appropriate denominations.

This is a small act of solidarity with some of the most exploited members of the workforce in America.  Perhaps its symbolic value could outweigh its material impact.  But to paraphrase the familiar song: What the world needs now is solidarity, sweet solidarity.

If this idea should catch on, be prepared for news stories about restaurant owners demanding that servers empty their pockets before leaving the premises at the end of their shifts.  The fight never ends!

Yours in struggle and solidarity,


The Trump Administration to Restaurants: Take the Tips!

The New York Times editorial board, December 21, 2017

Most Americans assume that when they leave a tip for waiters and bartenders, those workers pocket the money. That could become wishful thinking under a Trump administration proposal that would give restaurants and other businesses complete control over the tips earned by their employees.

The Department of Labor recently proposed allowing employers to pool tips and use them as they see fit as long as all of their workers are paid at least the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour nationally and higher in some states and cities. Officials argue that this will free restaurants to use some of the tip money to reward lowly dishwashers, line cooks and other workers who toil in the less glamorous quarters and presumably make less than servers who get tips. Using tips to compensate all employees sounds like a worthy cause, but a simple reading of the government's proposal makes clear that business owners would have no obligation to use the money in this way. They would be free to pocket some or all of that cash, spend it to spiff up the dining room or use it to underwrite $2 margaritas at happy hour. And that's what makes this proposal so disturbing.

The 3.2 million Americans who work as waiters, waitresses and bartenders include some of the lowest-compensated working people in the country. The median hourly wage for waiters and waitresses was $9.61 an hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, there is a sordid history of restaurant owners who steal tips, and of settlements in which they have agreed to repay workers millions of dollars.

Not to worry, says the Labor Department, which argues, oddly and unconvincingly, that workers will be better off no matter how owners spend the money. Enlarging dining rooms, reducing menu prices or offering paid time off should be seen as "potential benefits to employees and the economy over all." The department also assures us that owners will funnel tip money to employees because workers would quit otherwise.

t is hard to know how much time President Trump's appointees have spent with single mothers raising two children on a salary from a workaday restaurant in suburban America, seeing how hard it is to make ends meet without tips. What we do know is that the administration has produced no empirical cost-benefit analysis to support its proposal, which is customary when the government seeks to make an important change to federal regulations.

The Trump administration appears to be rushing this rule through — it has offered the public just 30 days to comment on it — in part to pre-empt the Supreme Court from ruling on a 2011 Obama-era tipping rule. The department's new proposal would do away with the 2011 rule. The restaurant industry has filed several legal challenges to that regulation, which prohibits businesses from pooling tips and sharing them with dishwashers and other back-of-the-house workers. Different federal circuit appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on those cases, so the industry has asked the Supreme Court to resolve those differences; the top court has not decided whether to take that case.

Mr. Trump, of course, owns restaurants as part of his hospitality empire and stands to benefit from this rule change, as do many of his friends and campaign donors. But what the restaurant business might not fully appreciate is that their stealth attempt to gain control over tips could alienate and antagonize customers. Diners who are no longer certain that their tips will end up in the hands of the server they intended to reward might leave no tip whatsoever. Others might seek to covertly slip cash to their server. More high-minded restaurateurs would be tempted to follow the lead of the New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and get rid of tipping by raising prices and bumping up salaries.

By changing the fundamental underpinnings of tipping, the government might well end up destroying this practice. But in doing so it would hurt many working-class Americans, including people who believed that Mr. Trump would fight for them.





Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

Charity for the Wealthy!

GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017




























Addicted to War:

And this does not include "…spending $1.25 trillion dollars to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and $566 billion to build the Navy a 308-ship fleet…"










Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:

Love this guy!








Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:











Save the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper

From: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>

Date: December 19, 2017 at 6:42:58 PM PST

To: SF Bay View <sfbayview@lists.riseup.net>

Subject: [sfbayview] Bay View faces loss and challenge

Reply-To: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>

Bay View faces loss and challenge

With profound sadness, we bid farewell to Troy Williams, who we'd hoped would lead the Bay View's regeneration and build it into the New York Times of the Prison Abolition Movement he envisioned. Our challenge today is survival; we must face the fact that the fate of the Bay View is in your hands. To grow the number of hands willing to help, please share this message far and wide.

Please keep reading. There may not be a January paper without your help.

The problem: Advertising revenue is down for all newspapers still in print including the Bay View. Each monthly Bay View paper used to carry its own weight, with ads sufficient to pay the basic expenses of printing, distribution and mailing – and then some. Not any more. In 2017, total income from all sources – ads, subscriptions and donations – averaged only $8,000 per month. Those three basic expenses total almost $7,000 a month, and the Ratcliffs' social security barely covers the rent and a bit of the utilities.

People always ask, "Why not go web-only, like Black Agenda Report," an excellent and very influential source of news and analysis. The Bay View's role is different. The Bay View is the only publication in the country widely distributed both inside prison and out. Of the 20,000 papers we print every month, 3,000 are mailed to subscribers in prisons around the country (who pass them around to thousands more) and the other 17,000 are distributed in hoods around the Bay. 

Therein lies the solution:  The millions of people in prison and the hoods are our FREEDOM FIGHTERS. From the most intense oppression, like diamonds from coal, comes an unquenchable thirst for liberation – and the Bay View gives that force a voice and an organizing network. As a result, the Prison Abolition Movement is burgeoning everywhere and, to its leaders, the Bay View is essential. Similar energy in the hoods is making the Bay View fly off the stands faster than ever. 

Subscription revenue is way up, but at just $24 for a year, that income is a big help but it's not sufficient to pay the big bills. For that, we need more advertising and donations. 

Advertising – Are you or your friends or colleagues organizing an event for Martin Luther King Day in January or Black History Month in February? Email your flier or postcard and we'll quote you an affordable price for running it in the Bay View. Same for agencies and nonprofits with goods or services our readers should know about. Special low prices apply to Religious Directory ads and Black Pockets Directory ads for professionals and entrepreneurs. Call 415-671-0789 today to discuss an advertising campaign to support your project and your newspaper.

Donations – Hit the DONATE button near the top left side of the Bay View homepage to make a big donation if you're able or a smaller recurring donation. More and more readers are doing that, keeping the Bay View alive. The Bay View also has a nonprofit arm, so your donation can be tax deductible; read all about it HERE. I repeat: There may not be a January paper without your help. At the moment, we are flat broke.

The Ratcliffs are "older than dirt" and need to pass the torch to new leadership and a real newspaper staff. For that, we need a major fund drive. We hear about successful social media drives. Are you an expert on that or want to learn? Email editor@sfbayview.com to volunteer for a fundraising or development committee, and let's make it happen!

Good news: new website coming soon – An expert website designer is volunteering to build the Bay View a new website that can easily be read on your mobile device. A beautiful new website should convince potential donors, advertisers and subscribers that the Bay View will outlive the Ratcliffs!

Indulge in some recent stories and discover new ones every day at sfbayview.com ... 

Find a friend among the Bay View Pen Pals, who write, "I would love to hear my name at mail call."

Looking for a job, a contract, affordable housing or a scholarship or other opportunity? Check theBayView Classifieds today.

Finally, follow the Bay View on Facebook and Twitter – and lead everyone you know to do the same. 

To reach the Bay View, email editor@sfbayview.com

To subscribe to this list, email sfbayview-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

Mary Ratcliff

SF Bay View

(415) 671-0789








1)  How U.S. Tariffs Will Hurt America's Solar Industry

 JAN. 24, 2018




A new tariff on solar panels is likely to reduce the number of jobs for installers, which is the fastest-growing job category in the country. CreditJoe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump's decision to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of solar panels and components is the opening salvo of his America First campaign to protect domestic manufacturers from Chinese competition. The stakes are high: Solar is the world's fastest-growingenergy industry, attracting over $160 billion in investment in 2017.

Yet these tariffs will do little to make American manufacturers competitive with dominant Chinese ones. Instead, they might actually discourage domestic investments in innovation, crucial to an American solar manufacturing revival. On top of this, the tariffs will cause collateral damage by slowing down the installation of solar panels in the United States, destroying more jobs than they create, and provoking trade disputes and retaliation.

The United States enacted tariffs on solar imports from China in 2012 (they were expanded to include Taiwan in 2014), when the Obama administration concluded that China had lavished generous subsidies on its domestic manufacturers, which dumped below-cost solar panels on global markets.

But by that point, established manufacturers as well as Silicon Valley start-ups developing solar technologies had already been washed away by a flood of cheap Chinese panels based on conventional silicon technology. American manufacturers' share of global solar-components production had plunged below 5 percent by 2011, down from over a quarter a decade earlier. What remained after the carnage was a hollowed-out American industry in no shape to compete with the huge scale of Asian producers.

Against this backdrop, the Trump administration hopes to breathe new life into the enfeebled domestic solar industry with tariffs of 30 percent on solar imports from nearly every country. This approach comes at the behest of two manufacturers, which complained that they couldn't compete with cheap solar panel imports.

Yet if the old tariffs represented closing the barn door after the horse has bolted, the new measures amount to putting a lock on the door. True, Chinese subsidies to its solar manufacturers clearly played an important role in driving American producers to ruin. But the low cost of Asian solar exports no longer depends as much on government largess. Producers there have wrung costs out of their factories to survive in a brutally competitive market. Those that couldn't keep up collapsed when the Chinese government stopped propping them up.

Because Asian manufacturers are now so far ahead, Mr. Trump's tariffs are unlikely to stimulate much investment in domestic production. These tariffs are set to ramp down gradually and expire within four years — with no guarantee of extension — leaving a vanishing window for businesses to recoup investments in expensive factories (which would be highly automated and create few jobs).

Overall, the tariffs will likely destroy more jobs than they create. That's because most solar jobs in the United States are in the installation of solar panels, 80 percent of which are produced abroad. By raising prices, tariffs could shave American demand for panels by over 10 percent over the next five years. That would not only cost solar panel installer jobs, the fastest-growing job category in the country, but also set back progress on reducing carbon emissions.

Moreover, the tariffs could set off trade disputes. South Korea has already announced it will appeal the tariffs to the World Trade Organization. And China may well retaliate by imposing its own tariffs on American exports, including airplanes and agricultural products.

Tariffs also threaten to erode the one advantage the United States does have: technological superiority. The most efficient solar panels in the world are still made by American companies serious about research and development. But even before the news of the tariffs, the chief executive of one such company — which produces panels abroad that would be subject to the new tariffs when sold in the United States — told me that any hit to short-term cash flow would force cuts in research-and-development spending.

Yet innovation is the only hope for the American solar manufacturing industry to wrest back market share from Asian giants. New solar technologies have recently made astounding strides in the laboratory. A front-runner, a material known as perovskite, could be printed in dirt-cheap rolls and achieve far higher efficiencies than today's solar panels. The Trump administration should redouble government investment in solar research to seed the pipeline with breakthrough technologies and should also provide facilities and funding to support American companies.

Tariffs might be satisfying and flashy, but they won't promote the innovation that the solar industry in the United States desperately needs to get back on its feet.



2)  Video Shows U.S. Park Police Firing 9 Times in Fatal Shooting of Driver

 JAN. 25, 2018



The United States Park Police officers who fatally shot a 25-year-old Virginia man last fall after a minor car collision and a brief chase fired at him at least nine times at close range, a video released on Wednesday shows.

The man, Bijan Ghaisar, died on Nov. 27 — 10 days after he was shot four times on the left side of his head, and once in his right wrist, one of his family's lawyers said in a telephone interview on Wednesday.

Video of the shooting, which revealed new information about the closely watched case, was released by Edwin C. Roessler Jr., the chief of the Fairfax County Police Department. Fairfax County officers provided backup during the Park Police pursuit of Mr. Ghaisar, but according to the chief, they did not discharge their weapons.

In a statement, Chief Roessler justified the release of the in-car video by calling it "a matter of transparency to all in our community, especially the Ghaisar family."

"The video does not provide all the answers," he said. "However, we should all have confidence in the F.B.I.'s investigation of this matter as I know it will be thorough, objective and professional."

The Department of the Interior's traffic crash report, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, says the episode began on Nov. 17 at 7:31 p.m. According to the report, Mr. Ghaisar was driving south on George Washington Memorial Parkway — a federal road — in a green Jeep when he abruptly "stopped in the roadway." The car behind Mr. Ghaisar then rear-ended him, according to the report, and Mr. Ghaisar drove away.

The driver who struck Mr. Ghaisar's Jeep got a citation for failing to "maintain proper control," according to the police report, which did not classify the episode as a hit-and-run.

It was not entirely clear why the Park Police sought Mr. Ghaisar, given that they cited the other driver.

The video captured by the Fairfax County police begins about six minutes later, at 7:37 p.m. It appears to show the Jeep being pursued by a Park Police car, its lights flashing and sirens blaring. A Fairfax County police officer follows behind.

Soon, the Park Police vehicle catches up to the Jeep, and after the Jeep stops, the police vehicle pulls up alongside it. An officer gets out of the passenger-side door and appears to point a gun at the Jeep's driver-side window and tug at the door. The Jeep, though, pulls away, and the officer bangs on the window as Mr. Ghaisar flees.

The Fairfax County police officer gives chase — its in-car camera still recording — until the Park Police vehicle catches up. All three vehicles then exit the parkway and stop.

The video then appears to show two Park Police officers approaching the Jeep's driver-side door. At least one of the officers appears to have his gun drawn. The officer kicks the door as the Jeep, once again, drives away.

The chase continues along several residential streets; at 7:41 p.m., the Jeep stops at a stop sign, and the Park Police vehicle wheels around in front of it, effectively blocking it.

The video then appears to show one officer approach the Jeep's driver-side door, with a gun drawn and pointed toward the Jeep door's window; the Jeep moves slightly forward; then one gunshot rings out.

After a brief pause, three more shots are fired as the car continues to lurch forward; another officer then approaches, and the sound of a fifth gunshot can be heard on the video.

After having come to a stop during the gunfire, the Jeep veers to the right — a few feet toward the stop sign and off the road. Two more gun shots can be heard on the video.

A third officer in a different uniform then appears onscreen with a gun drawn. The Jeep then lurches a few feet farther off the road and into a ditch, knocking over the stop sign as it begins listing; two more gunshots can be heard.

In a statement on Wednesday, lawyers for the Ghaisar family called the video "disturbing" and said it showed a "senseless killing."

The lawyers, Roy L. Austin Jr. and Thomas Connolly, also said the family was grateful to Chief Roessler "for all he has done to ensure the appropriate amount of transparency throughout this process."

"Bijan Ghaisar was repeatedly threatened by over-aggressive and out-of-control law enforcement officers, after he drove away from a minor traffic incident in which he was the victim and in which there was little property damage and no known injuries," the lawyers said in the statement.

Mr. Ghaisar was a college graduate who had been working as an accountant, Mr. Austin said in a phone interview on Wednesday night.

Asked to explain why Mr. Ghaisar had repeatedly fled when police officers attempted to stop him, Mr. Austin said that "his behavior is what a lot of people would do when they feel like they're threatened."

"I think it's fair to say he was finding a more populated, better-lit space to go to based on the behavior of the officers," he said.

Although the F.B.I. is leading the inquiry, Robert D. MacLean, the chief of the United States Park Police, said in a statement that he recognized that there is a "desire for more information and details" about it.

The statement said the chief had met with the Ghaisar family in the days after the shooting and pledged a fair and impartial investigation.

The Park Police did not appear to have released any identifying information about the officers involved in the shooting. They remain on administrative leave, a Park Police sergeant told The Washington Post.

"Public and community trust remain paramount to our agency and profession," Chief MacLean said in the statement.

In an email late Wednesday, a spokeswoman for the F.B.I.'s Washington field office said the agency was unable to provide additional information because the investigation was continuing.



3) Hurricane-Torn Puerto Rico Says It Can't Pay Any of Its Debts for 5 Years

 JAN. 24, 2018




San Juan, P.R., in November. The governor of Puerto Rico, citing the crippling aftermath of Hurricane Maria, said the island would not be able to pay any of its debts until 2022.CreditIlana Panich-Linsman for The New York Times

The devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria is making Puerto Rico's already dire financial situation even worse. The island's leaders acknowledged late Wednesday that they will not be able to pay down any portion of their more than 70 billion debt for the next five years because of the damage.

Just before the hurricane, Puerto Rico had made plans to pay creditors a total of $3.6 billion through 2022. That was just a fraction of the amount due, had the island, a United States commonwealth, not gone into default.

Now, Puerto Rico expects its budget to be $2 billion to $3 billion in the red, Gov. Ricardo A. Rosselló told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday — a deficit that will take five years to shrink. By then, he said, the cumulative effect of tough economic austerity measures will help the island's government achieve a balanced budget, as required by the federal oversight board that controls Puerto Rico's troubled finances.

Puerto Rico submitted an updated fiscal plan to the board, including the five-year debt moratorium. An earlier draft had been approved, with certain exceptions, before Hurricanes Irma and Maria slammed into the Caribbean island in September. But that plan had to be reworked in light of Maria's vast devastation, which prompted tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans to flee the island amid job layoffs and power blackouts. Nearly a third of customers remain without electricity, more than four months after the storm.

"We already had a recession in Puerto Rico," Mr. Rosselló said. He added that the hurricane's "social impact was significant, because of the exodus and population decrease we've had in Puerto Rico, and expect to have in the future."

Before the hurricanes, Puerto Rico figured it would lose 0.2 percent of its population of 3.4 million every year over the next five years, as a result of a recession that has lasted more than a decade. Now, the government projects its population will shrink by 7.7 percent — nearly 262,000 people — in fiscal year 2018 alone, with the exodus slowing over the next four years.

The fiscal plan must now be approved by the oversight board, which has been at odds with Puerto Rican leaders over how to restore fiscal balance after years of spending more than they had, and borrowing to make up the difference. The board, for example, has insisted on reducing public employee pensions by 10 percent, on average, as a way to spread the economic suffering evenly among Puerto Ricans. Mr. Rosselló maintained on Wednesday that the pensioners are too "vulnerable" a population.

Puerto Rico declared a form of bankruptcy last May, giving the island a way to decide how much to cut pensions, debt payments and other obligations under federal court supervision. The federal oversight board will represent the Puerto Rican government in the proceedings — but first it must accept the governor's fiscal plan. If it disagrees, it is empowered to impose its own fiscal plan on the island.

On Monday, Mr. Rosselló announced his intention to privatize the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, known as Prepa, saying it would make electricity cheaper and more reliable and attract more business to the island. Many Puerto Ricans blame Prepa, which is insolvent, and their government for their suffering during the long blackout. The utility hired a little-known contractor in Montana, Whitefish Energy Holdings, to handle repairs immediately after the storm, breaking with the usual procedure of allowing another utility to make repairs at cost after a natural disaster. Prepa was forced to cancel the contract after it came under intense federal scrutiny.

Prepa is so short on cash that it shut down two power plants on Tuesday night to save fuel. The government said people who had already gotten their power back would not be affected.

The federal government, however, has questioned whether Puerto Rico is as cash-poor as it says. On Jan. 9, the Treasury and the Federal Emergency Management Agency notified Puerto Rico it could not begin drawing on its share of a $4.9 billion disaster-relief loan approved by Congress because the commonwealth still has about $1.7 billion in cash available to spend on its own — as well as another $6.9 billion in cash "on deposit in over 800 accounts across all Commonwealth governmental entities."

Last Friday, the oversight board asked Puerto Rican officials about the $6.9 billion, which was discovered in December. About $4.3 billion was said to be tied up in funding for other government agencies, even as the power, water and sewer utilities struggle to make ends meet.



4) Larry Nassar's Imprisonment and Lou Anna Simon's Resignation Are Not Nearly Enough

An institution turned a blind eye to serial sexual assault. An institution needs to be held accountable.

By Dave Zirin and David Tigabu


Larry Nassar, the former sports doctor who admitted molesting some of the nation's top gymnasts, sits at his sentencing hearing.  (AP Photo / Carlos Osorio)

The serial sexual assaulter of USA Gymnastics and Michigan State, disgraced doctor Larry Nassar, was sentenced yesterday to 40-175 years after being convicted of seven counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. Later that day, MSU President Lou Anna Simon announced her resignation, after student demonstrations and faculty resolutions called for her ouster.

While seeming to provide some justice to those who survived Nassar's abuses, these two outcomes are not enough. Not when institutions of USA Gymnastics—under the auspices of the US Olympic Committee—and Michigan State didn't believe the women who came forward and de facto let this continue again and again.

In the wake of massive calls on the Michigan State community for her resignation, Michigan State trustee Joel Ferguson issued a statement in defense of Lou Anna Simon. In it, he demonstrates everything wrong with the modern neoliberal university, and the role of college sports as an economic tentpole.

The meeting we had the other day was five hours. And talking Lou Anna was 10 minutes. We unanimously decided in that meeting right away… that we were going to support her staying as president. There's so many more things going on at the university than just this Nassar thing. When you go to the basketball game, you walk into the new Breslin, and the person who hustled and got all those major donors to give money was Lou Anna Simon. There's just so many things that make up being president at a university that keeps everything moving and everything right with the deans, everything at a school where we have a waiting list of people, of students who want to come. [Emphasis Deadspin's.]

To Ferguson, serial sexual assault is just "the Nassar thing." None of it matters, because there is a new athletic facility. But any attempt at plausible deniability by school officials was rendered obsolete after a recent investigation by The Detroit News uncovered that 14 university officials were notified about Nassar's misconduct 20 years before he was finally arrested in December 2016. The article is littered with accounts of young women athletes seeking medical counsel, experiencing assault and its resultant trauma, reaching out to various athletic staff at Michigan State–all to be brushed aside.

There's Larissa Boyce, a then-16-year-old high-school gymnast in Williamston who was a victim of Nassar, briefing Michigan State gymnastics coach Kathie Klages about an incidents of assault, only to be dismissed by the coach who would allegedly go on to give the doctor a heads up.

Then there's Tiffany Thomas Lopez, who in 2000 would move to East Lansing to play softball for the Spartans. After going to Nassar because of lower-back pain she was experiencing, Thomas Lopez was violated, and when she came forward to tell trainers Lianna Hadden (who is currently on staff at Michigan State) and Destiny Teachnor-Hauk, she was told by Teachnor-Hauk that this was normal medical treatment. Thomas Lopez was also told that coming forward would "cast a burden over my family."

As Keith Olbermann tweeted, "Fire Lou Anna Simon Fire this clown Joel Ferguson Fire the entire university management Convene a grand jury and indict everybody who turned a blind eye—or is now defending others who did—to Larry Nassar's institutionally-protected crimes."

I would add that calls for congressional investigation into not only the USAG but the IOC could be necessary as well. I spoke with Nancy Hogshead Makar, three-time Olympic gold medalist turned attorney and she said: "Congress should investigate Scott Blackmun and the USOC because of their deliberate indifference to the safety of athletes. The Olympic sports movement is a pedophile's dream set-up. Families are expected to give complete control over to the coach, often times banning parents from watching practices. Emotional abuse is considered 'motivation,' and there is almost no coaching oversight from sport governing bodies like US Soccer. To make matters worse, the US Olympic Committee's official legal position is that the organization doesn't protect athletes from sexual abuse, that removing pedophiles from the Olympic movement isn't their job. Really. If that doesn't raise the hair on your neck, consider that club owners are for-profit businesses and have zero economic incentive to report sexual abuse to police or child services. The bad PR could cost them dearly if word of the abuse got out. Club owners frequently fire the abusing coach quietly, and he is hired at another club, becoming someone else's problem. In 2014, I represented 19 victims of coach sex abuse in swimming, who were protesting Chuck Wielgus's induction into the hall of fame, because of his miserable handling of sexual abuse. One week later Blackmun announced that the USOC would create 'SafeSport.' It took him almost three years to open its doors. No business can wait three years to start an HR department. Meanwhile, his pay and expense account ballooned. Think of the hundreds—if not thousands—of victims that could have been saved."

It has to end. Under the current set up, instead, we are just waiting for the next scandal. When handing down the sentencing to Larry Nasser, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina said, "Justice requires more than what I can do on this bench." She's right. That will be up to us.



5) The Mysterious Interior World of Exercise

By Gretchen Reynolds, January 24, 2018


When we exercise, far-flung parts of our bodies apparently communicate with one another, thanks to tiny, particle-filled balloons that move purposefully through the bloodstream from one cell to another, carrying pressing biochemical messages, according to an important new study of the biology of exercise.

The study helps to clarify some of the body-wide health effects of working out and also underscores just how physiologically complex exercise is.

For some time, scientists have suspected that the body's internal organs are as gossipy and socially entangled as any 8th-grade classroom. It is thought that, under the right conditions, fat cells chat with muscle cells, and muscle cells whisper to brain cells and everybody seems to want to be buddies with the liver.

These interactions are especially abundant during exercise, when continued movement demands intricate coordination of many different systems within the body, including those that create cellular energy.

But the precise mechanics of how different parts of the body communicate during exercise (or at other times) have remained surprisingly mysterious. Scientists have shown that many tissues pump out hormones, such as insulin, and other proteins that move through the blood and jump-start physiological processes elsewhere in the body.

But these actions do not explain all of the seeming coordination between organs during exercise.

So recently, an international group of scientists from the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia, and other institutions began to consider vesicles.

Vesicles are microscopic globules within cells that contain tiny bits of biological material. Released into the blood, they once were thought to hold cellular garbage, as if the cells were heaving out their trash.

But scientists now know that vesicles also can contain useful matter, including tiny amounts of genetic material and proteins that convey biological messages to other cells.

Some researchers have speculated that exercise must cause an upsurge in such vesicles, resulting in inter-body communications that allow the body to keep moving.

But that idea had remained speculative until, for the new study, which was published this month in Cell Metabolism, the Australian scientists and others applied new technologies to the blood of exercising people.

They began by inserting tubes into the thighs of 11 healthy men and drawing blood from their femoral arteries. Then they had them ride a stationary bicycle for an hour at an increasingly strenuous pace, while they continued to draw blood. The men then rested for four hours, after which the scientists drew more blood.

The researchers next used sophisticated new sampling techniques to quantify the proteins and vesicles in the men's blood.

And they noted striking differences before, during and after exercise. They found that about 300 types of protein-containing vesicles grew more common during exercise, and then largely disappeared after four hours of rest.

The majority of these proteins were already known to be important for metabolism and the body's ability to regulate energy. But they had not previously been found in people's bloodstreams during exercise.

It wasn't clear from this sampling, though, where these vesicles and their proteins went within the body and what happened when they arrived.

So the scientists subsequently turned to laboratory mice, having some run and others remain sedentary.

They carefully isolated vesicles from the blood of both groups of animals, added a fluorescent marker to make the vesicles glow, injected them into the bloodstreams of other mice, and tracked where the glowing little bubbles went.

Most of the vesicles from the runners made a beeline for the animals' livers, the scientists found, directed by biological signals that were not obvious but insistent.

This journey made biological sense, the scientists realized, since the liver helps to make energy during exercise.

When the scientists next added vesicles from the blood of the running mice directly into liver cells isolated from other mice, they watched as the vesicles' exterior walls dissolved and their protein payload became absorbed into the liver cell, its biochemical message effectively delivered.

In essence, the scientists had found that exercise prompts the creation of vesicles that somehow know to head for the liver and tell it to ramp up energy production.

"This study reveals a huge amount of complexity in the circulating blood during exercise that we might have previously underestimated," says Martin Whitham, a biologist at the Garvan Institute who, with his fellow Garvan researcher Mark Febbraio, led the new study.

The results also provide some new insights into how exercise pervasively affects our metabolisms, Dr. Whitham says. It has not been altogether clear before, for instance, how the liver knows that exercise is underway and that cells far, far distant from that organ need energy. This study provides added clarity about that issue.

Still, many questions remain, Dr. Whitham says, including what specific tissues are creating these vesicles and what else the little bubbles probably contain, including portions of genes or even bits of fat that could convey their own unique messages to other cells.

But the fundamental message of the findings is that our bodies contain a different interior world when we move than when we do not.



6)  BBC, Criticized Over Pay Gap, Cuts Salaries of Some Male Journalists

 JAN. 26, 2018




The BBC presenter Jeremy Vine was one of several male journalists at the British broadcast to take a salary cut. CreditNeil Hall/Reuters

LONDON — The BBC said on Friday that it was reducing the salaries of several of its most prominent male journalists following Carrie Gracie's decision this month to leave her position as the British broadcaster's China editor to protest unequal pay between men and women at the organization.

"The BBC has agreed to pay cuts with a number of leading BBC News presenters and others have agreed in principle," the organization said Friday, although it was unclear how much they had agreed to reduce their salaries. The BBC said that an independent audit into equal pay will be published next week.

Among those receiving pay cuts are the presenters Jeremy Vine, Huw Edwards and John Humphrys. A tape of a conversation Mr. Humphrys had with a colleague in which he seemed to be making light of Ms. Gracie's concerns over the pay gap was recently reported on in the British press. Ms. Gracie left her post in Beijing this month and returned to the BBC newsroom in London, where she said she would be "paid equally."

Her resignation revived criticism of Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, which last summer published the salaries of its top stars. The data revealed a startling gap in pay between its most senior male and female journalists. After that became public, the BBC's most senior female journalists demanded the organization take action.

Mr. Vine described his decision to take a wage cut as a "no-brainer."

"I think it needs to be sorted out and I support my female colleagues who have rightly said they should be paid the same when they're doing the same job," he told the BBC. "I think the BBC's on it and this story is part of it."

According to the BBC's annual report, Mr. Vine earned up to 750,000 pounds, or $1.1 million, last year. Mr. Humphrys earned about £650,000 and Mr. Edwards around £600,000.

The highest earner at the BBC, the presenter Chris Evans, earned about £2.3 million. By contrast, the highest paid woman, the presenter Claudia Winkleman, earned roughly £500,000.

A report commissioned by the BBC last year found the gender pay gap at the organization was 9.3 percent, about half that of the national average. While the wage gap grew as job levels rose, the audit found "no question of any systemic gender discrimination" among rank-and-file employees.

Ms. Gracie had been one of four international editors at the BBC. For the year that ended in March 2017, Jon Sopel, the North America editor, was paid between £200,000 and £249,999 annually, according to the data released by the BBC. Jeremy Bowen, the Middle East editor, was paid between £150,000 and £199,999. She was paid under £150,000, the threshold to have salaries made public.

Ms. Gracie said that she was offered a raise before quitting, but not one that would have paid her equally to her male counterparts.

"I was not interested in more money," Ms. Gracie said at the time. "I was interested in equality"



7)  Julian Assange Asks U.K. Court to Drop His Arrest Warrant

 JAN. 26, 2018




Julian Assange speaking at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London last year.CreditDaniel Leal-Olivas/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images 

Lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange asked a British judge on Friday to drop a 2012 arrest warrant, a request that if granted could allow Mr. Assange to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, where he has been living for five and a half years, and fly to Ecuador, which has granted him citizenship.

Mr. Assange, a 46-year-old native of Australia, was ordered extradited to Sweden in February 2011 to face a charge of rape, which he denied. After his challenges to the extradition order were refused, he skipped bail and fled to the embassy in June 2012. He was granted asylum two months later and has remained at the embassy, in the wealthy Knightsbridge district of West London, ever since.

Mr. Assange feared that Sweden would turn him over to the United States to face prosecution over WikiLeaks' publication of troves of classified government documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraqclassified diplomatic cables and electronic hacking by the C.I.A., among other subjects.

Sweden dropped the rape inquiry in May, and withdrew the European arrest warrant it had requested. But the British authorities insist that Mr. Assange could still be arrested, for bail violations, if he leaves the embassy.

Britain has turned down Ecuador's request to grant Mr. Assange diplomatic immunity, which would allow him to leave the embassy without fear of arrest. So he is now trying to quash the British warrant.

No known charges have been filed against Mr. Assange in the United States, but the Justice Department has contemplated prosecuting him, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that arresting Mr. Assange was a priority.

On Friday, Mr. Assange's lawyer, Mark Summers, told the Westminster Magistrates' Court that Sweden's withdrawal of the European arrest warrant meant that the British arrest warrant for violating bail no longer applied.

"It's lost its purpose and its function," he said.

He argued that the purpose of the British warrant was to let the extradition case — now moot — continue, not to charge Mr. Assange with violating bail.

And even if the court disagrees, Mr. Summers said, it should find that it was "not in the public interest" to charge Mr. Assange with bail violations.

Mr. Assange had "reasonable grounds" for having sought refuge in the embassy, his lawyer argued, citing the case of Chelsea Manning, the former Army soldier who was imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks, until her sentence was commuted last year; calls by Mike Huckabee for Mr. Assange to be executed; and findings by United Nations experts that his stay in the embassy amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.

"He has spent 5½ years in conditions which, on any view, are akin to imprisonment, without access to adequate medical care or sunlight, in circumstances where his physical and psychological health have deteriorated and are in serious peril," Mr. Summers wrote in a note to the court.

Aaron Watkins, representing the Crown Prosecution Service, asked the court to deny Mr. Assange's request. He said that the warrant should stand and that Mr. Assange could be arrested and prosecuted for the crime of skipping bail.

He said it could not be in the public interest for Mr. Assange — having evaded arrest for so long that Swedish prosecutors dropped their case — "not to be arrested or punished for his failure to surrender and for his contempt for the court process."

Mr. Assange's hypothetical fear of extradition to the United States was "not a reasonable explanation" for his contempt of court, Mr. Watkins added.

The court's chief magistrate, Emma Arbuthnot, who noted doctors' statements that Mr. Assange suffered from depression, tooth pain and a stiff shoulder, adjourned the hearing until Feb. 6.



8) Florida OKs $4.5 million payout for brutal prison shower death of Darren Rainey

BY JULIE K. BROWN, jbrown@MiamiHerald.com

January 26, 2018


Darren Rainey was serving a short sentence on a drug charge when he died after being locked in a shower for nearly two hours. Florida Department of Corrections

The family of Darren Rainey, the 50-year-old schizophrenic inmate whose barbaric shower death led to sweeping reforms in the Florida prison system, has settled a civil rights lawsuit against the state of Florida and others for $4.5 million, the Miami Herald has learned.

The deal comes nearly six years after Rainey's death, which was all but ignored by authorities until 2014 — when the Miami Herald wrote about it as part of a three-year investigation into the abuse and suspicious deaths of inmates in the Florida Department of Corrections.

It also comes as Florida is set to open a new residential prison treatment facility next month for state prison inmates with mental illnesses. The program is one of a number of initiatives for inmates with disabilities begun since the Herald's series. 

Rainey's daughter, brother and sister filed the civil lawsuit against the state; Corizon, the Department of Corrections' former mental health contractor; Jerry Cummings, the former warden at Dade Correctional Institution; and two former corrections officers, Roland Clarke and Cornelius Thompson. It charged that they had subjected Rainey to cruel and unusual punishment, in violation of his constitutional rights.

"I'm thankful for the family appears to have reached a resolution. However, it is not finalized at this moment, so I am reserving any further comment,'' Milton Grimes, the Rainey family attorney, said on Thursday.

Harold Hempstead, the whistleblower who alerted the Herald to Rainey's death, said he is grateful that the case not only led to changes in Florida, but prompted other states to rethink the way they treat and house inmates with disabilities.

"Even though it was a really bad and evil thing, when I look back and see the good that came as a result of attention to the problems in the prison system, I'm happy. It's sad that someone had to die to make change happen. But they say God has a way of bringing good out of evil,'' said Hempstead, who is now assigned to a prison out of state for his protection.

On June 23, 2012, Rainey was locked in a blistering hot shower by corrections officers who had specially rigged it to punish inmates who misbehaved in the prison's mental health unit, the Herald found. The temperature controls were in another room.

A video from inside Dade Correctional Institution, which was released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office on March 17, 2017, shows prison guards removing inmate Darren Rainey from his cell.

Rainey screamed and begged to be let out of the steaming stall for nearly two hours until he finally collapsed and died, his skin peeling off his body, the Herald found.

Dade CI's guards also used other forms of torture: dousing prisoners with buckets of chemicals, over-medicating them, forcing them to fight each other and starving them. A group of officers at the prison that served inmates empty food trays was known as the "diet squad.''

For more than a year afterward, Hempstead, an orderly at the prison, sent letters to Miami-Dade homicide detectives, the county medical examiner, the office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle and the prison system's inspector general, telling them that the guards at the prison had killed Rainey and were harming other inmates. But no action was taken.

Authorities, facing public pressure after the Herald stories, finally reopened the case. The Department of Corrections forced the warden and assistant warden out, the head of the agency stepped down and dozens of officers accused of abusing inmates across the state were fired or forced to retire.

Two inmates talk about rigged shower at Dade Correctional

Darren Rainey was not the first prisoner to be placed in the shower that killed him. Here are the recorded statements of two who talked with investigators about the experience.

Florida lawmakers and the governor then undertook a number of statewide reforms in the treatment and housing of inmates with mental illnesses and other disabilities. Next month, a new residential mental health treatment center is scheduled to open at Wakulla Correctional Institution, located in the Panhandle.

Rainey, who grew up in Tampa, was serving a two-year sentence for drug possession and had been at Dade for about four months at the time of his death. He had reportedly soiled himself in his cell and refused to clean himself up, angering the guards, who forced him into the shower.

The officers claimed they checked on Rainey every half an hour and that he was fine.

In March 2017, Fernández Rundle issued a final report on the case, announcing her decision not to file charges. She pointed to the autopsy results, which concluded that his skin damage was not caused by burns, and her contention that many of the witnesses, including Hempstead, were not consistent in their statements.

A Miami Herald analysis of her investigation, however, showed that the detectives failed to pursue key lines of questioning and ignored or downplayed leads provided by credible witnesses, such as medical personnel and corrections officers.

Rainey's death nevertheless led to the growth of an active prison reform movement by human rights groups, among them a local group called SPAN (Stop Prison Abuse Now). Its activists have held protests and pressured the state for changes.

Disability Rights Florida, the Florida Justice Institute, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU of Florida — along with many civil rights attorneys around the state — spearheaded a call for the more humane treatment of Florida's 99,000 inmates.

The U.S. Department of Justice continues to investigate Rainey's case. Miami FBI spokesman Michael D. Leverock said: "We are not in a position to comment on this matter at this time."

In confirming the settlement, FDC Secretary Julie Jones issued the following statement: "Since my appointment in 2015 we have worked to make meaningful improvements to our state correctional institutions — with a specific focus on the mental health population in our custody. We have achieved significant mental health accomplishments that ensure these inmates are given appropriate clinical services. I am absolutely committed to continuing this important work and our focus on the rehabilitation of those with behavioral health needs, as FDC works to become a national leader in correctional mental health."

As part of the settlement, the Department of Corrections was dismissed from the suit. 

Martha Harbin, director of external relations for Corizon, said: "Although every defense lawyer in the case knew Corizon had no liability for Mr. Rainey's death, Corizon contributed $100,000 to the settlement in order to bring the case to a conclusion. Later, an FDOC representative thanked Corizon for making a contribution of any kind."

Exclusive video: the inmate who exposed the Darren Rainey case

On Oct. 8, 2015, Miami Herald reporter Julie Brown interviewed Harold Hempstead, the whistleblower in the Darren Rainey case. The interview took place at the Martin Correctional Institution.

Prison guards respond to a collapsed Darren Rainey

A video from inside Dade Correctional Institution, which was released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office on March 17, 2017, shows the moment prison guards respond to a medical emergency regarding inmate Darren Rainey.



9)  The Gathering Threat to Abortion Rights

JAN. 28, 2018




Protesters on both sides of the abortion issue gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington during the March for Life. CreditSusan Walsh/Associated Press


People who care about basic American freedoms should be grateful to the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, for one thing: He has given liberals another good reason to flock to the polls in November.

Mr. McConnell is set to hold a procedural vote this week on a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is part of a long-term legislative effort by the anti-abortion movement to gut Roe v. Wade and severely curtail abortion access nationwide.

Twenty-week abortion bans, enacted in more than a dozen states and struck down in two, violate the Supreme Court's standard that abortion can be restricted only when a fetus is viable outside the womb. Many, including the one being considered by the Senate, are based on claims not supported by most scientists about when a fetus feels pain.

Only about 1 percent of women seeking abortions do so after 21 weeks, and they often make that decision because a fetal abnormality has been found or because their own health is in danger. Twenty-week bans particularly curb access for poor women, who often struggle to find the money and time for the procedure.

The Senate bill contains exceptions for rape and incest if the women reported the abuse to law enforcement and sought counseling 48 hours before the abortion. But there is no exception to protect the health of the pregnant woman.

Abortion providers, who already face harassment and threats to their lives and work, would face criminal penalties, with a sentence of up to five years, for performing abortions after 20 weeks. The locations of all such procedures would need to be reported to the federal government.

Though President Trump urged Congress to "pass this important law and send it to my desk for signing" in his address to the anti-abortion March for Life this month, Republicans are almost certain to fall short of the 60 votes needed to formally take up the bill.

Still, abortion rights advocates and medical professionals are taking the legislation seriously, since abortion foes are working hard for it. The prospects for such a ban considerably diminish if the Democrats take back either house of Congress after the 2018 midterm elections. And if they control the Senate, Mr. Trump will have virtually no chance of picking another anti-abortion Supreme Court justice.

Since announcing his candidacy, Mr. Trump, at one time a supporter of abortion rights, has embraced anti-abortion politics with zeal. But that seems to be a matter of maintaining evangelical support. His concern for fetal life cannot be fairly measured, but his sensitivity to the needs of women, or lack of it, is well known.

Some sponsors of the version of this bill that the House passed in October seem to share Mr. Trump's attitude. One, Trent Franks, Republican of Arizona, resigned his seat in December after it was reported that a female staff member had felt pressured to have sex with him as part of a surrogacy scheme. Another, Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican, voted for the bill just hours after news broke that he was accused of pressuring his mistress to — get this — have an abortion. He later quit.

Ultimately, the fate of the ban and other anti-abortion measures will be in the hands of voters. For supporters of abortion rights, the choice should be clear.



10) Chuck Close Is Accused of Harassment. Should His Artwork Carry an Asterisk?

JAN. 28, 2018




The artist Chuck Close, who has been accused of sexually harassing women he considered as models for his artwork. CreditRyan Pfluger for The New York Times 

When the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery was preparing the wall text in 2014 to accompany an image of the boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., the museum decided to note that Mr. Mayweather had been "charged with domestic violence on several occasions," receiving "punishments ranging from community service to jail time."

Such context is common for controversial subjects in art. But far less so for artists themselves — centuries of men like Picasso or Schiele who were known for mistreating women, but whose works hang in prominent museums without any asterisks.

Now, museums around the world are wrestling with the implications of a decision, by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, to indefinitely postpone a Chuck Close exhibition because of allegations of sexual harassment involving potential portrait models that have engulfed the prominent artist in controversy. Mr. Close has called the allegations "lies" and said he is "being crucified."

The postponement news on Thursday has raised difficult questions about what to do with the paintings and photographs of Mr. Close — held by museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Tate in London and the Pompidou in Paris, as well as by high-spending private collectors — and whether the work of other artists accused of questionable conduct needs to be revisited or recontextualized.

It is a provocative moment for the art world, as the public debate about separating creative output from personal conduct moves from popular culture into the realm of major visual artists from different eras and the institutions that have long collected and exhibited their pieces.

"We're very used to having to defend people in the collection, but it's always been for the sitter" rather than the artist, said Kim Sajet, director of the Portrait Gallery, which has a large body of Mr. Close's work. "Now we have to think to ourselves, 'Do we need to do that about Chuck Close?'"

"You can't talk about portraiture in America without talking about Chuck Close," she added. "There are lots of amazing artists who have been less than admirable people."

For the most part, curators and museum directors say that making artistic decisions based on personal behavior is a dangerous road to go down. All of the museum officials interviewed said they plan to continue to retain and show their Close holdings, in part because he has not been charged with any crime and the accusations have not been proven in a court of law.

"How much are we going to do a litmus test on every artist in terms of how they behave?" said Jock Reynolds, the director of the Yale University Art Gallery, which collects Mr. Close's work. "Pablo Picasso was one of the worst offenders of the 20th century in terms of his history with women. Are we going to take his work out of the galleries? At some point you have to ask yourself, is the art going to stand alone as something that needs to be seen?"

To be sure, art history is riddled with important figures of ill repute.

The Baroque painter Caravaggio was accused of murder, as was the 19th-century photographer Eadweard Muybridge. The early 20th-century painter Egon Schiele spent 24 days in jail on charges of statutory rape involving a 13-year-old girl. (He was acquitted of rape, but found guilty of exposing children who posed for erotic drawings in his studio.)

The 16th-century Italian sculptor Benvenuto Cellini was put on trial after a female model accused him of rape.

Picasso, who famously abused some of his lovers, once described women as "machines for suffering." But for most of art history, scholars say, male artists have rarely been held accountable for the treatment of women who posed for them.

"Women who were available to serve as artist models were almost always considered sexually 'compromised,'" said Rebecca Zorach, a professor of art history at Northwestern University. "They didn't have even the modicum of leverage some women might have against sexual assault."

There have been recent attempts to call attention to artists' alleged misdeeds toward women. Last spring, for example, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles's exhibition of work by the minimalist sculptor Carl Andre, protesters (including a former curator at the museum) handed out postcards asking in Spanish, "Where is Ana Mendieta?" It was a reference to charges that Mr. Andre had contributed to the death of Ms. Mendieta, his wife and a fellow artist, in a fall from a window of their apartment in 1985. (Mr. Andre, now 82, was acquitted of charges of second-degree murder in 1988.)

Generally, however, museum officials argue that the quality of the art should be kept separate from the conduct of the artist.

"By taking action in the form of canceling an exhibition or removing art from the walls, a museum is creating an understanding of an artist's work only through the prism of reprehensible behavior," said Sheena Wagstaff, the Met's chairman for Modern and contemporary art. "If we only see abuse when looking at a work of art, then we have created a reductive situation in which art is stripped of its intrinsic worth — and which in turn provokes the fundamental question of what the museum's role in the world should be."

Moreover, art experts say, Mr. Close's work deserves to remain in the canon, given its important influence in redefining portraiture. His immense photographic paintings — the best known of which depict leading cultural figures like the composer Philip Glass and President Bill Clinton (who in 2000 presented Mr. Close with the National Medal of Arts) — have been acclaimed as both technically realistic and emotionally expressive.

"He innovated how the portrait could be seen," Mr. Reynolds said. "That is a creative force that's got to be reckoned with and will endure."

The National Gallery had planned to feature about two dozen paintings, photographs and works on paper by Mr. Close as part of a rotating series of installations called "In the Tower."

The museum's decision to cancel the show — its Close painting "Fanny/Fingerpainting" will remain on view — may have been influenced by the fact that the National Gallery gets 72 percent of its $164 million budget from the federal government, which tends to avoid courting controversy. Anabeth Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the gallery, said the decision to postpone the Close show was made solely because of the harassment accusations and not because of political pressure.

Art experts say the National Gallery's cancellation has a significant impact, akin to rescinding an Oscar from an actor.

"It has enormous symbolic authority and power as an institution," said Tom Eccles, executive director of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. "This is a time when sending messages is very, very important, particularly for national institutions. Their message is: If you're accused of these acts, you will not get an exhibition at the National Gallery."

Rather than focus on which artists to censure, Mr. Eccles added, institutions should consider which artists will expand the definition of what belongs in a museum, namely female artists and people of color.

"We can't not show artists because we don't agree with them morally; we'd have fairly bare walls," he said. "It's about addition — bringing new voices in and new artworks in."

Some museums increasingly provide personal information to contextualize their art. In describing the Clinton portrait by Mr. Close that is currently — and will remain — on view, for example, the Portrait Gallery's wall text says: "Clinton's denial of his sexual relationship with a White House intern, while under oath, led to his impeachment, but he was not convicted in the Senate trial." The museum's online entry for the rap artist Tupac Shakur says that he was "repeatedly condemned for his explicit, violent, and at times misogynistic lyrics."

Whatever museums ultimately decide to do about Mr. Close, some say they can no longer afford to simply present art without addressing the issues that surround the artist — that institutions must play a more active role in educating the public about the human beings behind the work.

"The typical 'we don't judge, we don't endorse, we just put it up for people to experience and decide' falls very flat in this political and cultural moment," said James Rondeau, the president and director of the Art Institute of Chicago, which has Close works in its collection. "We must be keenly aware of the responsibility and consequences of our decisions within this context."

"The question is," he added, "what are the decisions that place us on the right side of history?"



11) When Animals Are at Risk, Special Netherlands Police Force Defends Them

JAN. 29, 2018




Sgt. Erik Smit, left, and a firefighter rescued a dog from a balcony where it had been left alone in snowy conditions in The Hague. CreditJasper Juinen for The New York Times 

THE HAGUE — Hours before a rare snowstorm hit this city last month, Sgt. Erik Smit got a call from dispatch: A Jack Russell was locked out on a third-story balcony.

Neighbors heard it barking and knew that the owner, who had left for work at 7:30 a.m., would not be back until the end of day, when the terrace would be covered by several inches of snow.

Sergeant Smit, a 39-year veteran of the national police force, rang a few doorbells and yelled some questions to curious but uninformed residents. He then radioed for a 22-ton fire truck with a crane and platform.

A half-hour later, at a taxpayer cost of roughly 500 euros or roughly $620, the rescued dog was warming up in an animal ambulance. Sergeant Smit got back into his squad car and continued his day.

"He'll have to call me and explain the situation," he said of the dog's owner, who would eventually be fined 150 euros for animal neglect.

Sergeant Smit is one of roughly 250 full-time members of the animal police force in the Netherlands (many more are trained but do not carry out the function exclusively). Of the approximately three million calls made to The Hague area police each year, roughly 3,000 involve animals.

Like a Humane Society with guns, handcuffs and badges, members of the animal police force are regular officers with extra training and special equipment. A 911-type emergency line for animals — dial 144 from any phone in the Netherlands — dispatches the officers and supplies the vast majority of their leads.

The work is a mix of animal protection and human social services, finding practical solutions — like monthly visits to a troubled dog and its owner to ensure all is well — and judicial procedures like fines.

"Obviously, the first thing I do is to look after the animals, but often when you look further, you see the things aren't going so well for the owner of the animals," said Sergeant Smit, who estimates he sees malicious intent in only about 20 percent of cases.

During a normal working day, he might help rescue a sick seal at the beach, help to leash or confine an aggressive dog or investigate private residences where people collect animals. That included recently rescuing 60 guinea pigs from a home after neighbors complained about the smell.

Well-known in the Netherlands, the animal police force was created when the far-right Party for Freedom briefly supported the mainstream Liberals that led a minority government in 2010. For their support on key votes, the Party for Freedom demanded formation of an 800-person animal police force. When the party's support weakened in 2012, some wanted to abandon the idea, but the national police argued for keeping at least a smaller version of it.

Legislation known as the Animals Act became law in 2013, guaranteeing animals freedom from thirst, hunger, physical and emotional discomfort and chronic stress.

"Animals — and our entire society — need the animal police. There is a direct link between violence against animals and violence against humans," said Marianne Thieme, the head of the progressive Party for the Animals, which holds five of Parliament's 150 seats.

Still, Ms. Thierne and some other animal activists wish the animal police were empowered to do more, including helping the millions of animals raised for food on commercial farms, which are regulated by the Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority.

"The law says that when an animal is in serious problems, you should help the animals, but in the factory farming there are about six million pigs dying every year without veterinarian support," said Hans Baaij, the director of Dier en Recht, a small nongovernmental organization that aims to use the court system to get the government to precisely define what constitutes animal abuse.

There are successful prosecutions, however.

Last week in Hague district court, for example, a man was convicted of having beaten and kicked his dog, after a 40-minute trial with testimony from neighbors, a court-appointed veterinarian and the defendant. He was sentenced to 56 hours of community service and prohibited from acquiring pets for a year.

"People learn more from community service than a fine," said Tamara Verdoorn, the prosecutor in charge of animal cases in The Hague district court.

In lesser cases, she can hand out fines and community service without taking the case to a judge. But about 100 times a year the cases go to court, with maximum penalties of three years in prison or fines of nearly $25,000, though such sentences are rare.

Like Sergeant Smit, Ms. Verdoorn sees a lot of people whose run-ins with animal law-enforcement reflects larger problems. "Most people who neglect animals are also neglecting themselves," she said.

While some animals caught up in the legal system are given up for adoption, certain dogs are examined to ensure they do not pose a threat.

One of the first officers to be trained in the animal police force, Sergeant Smit says he has learned most skills through talking with veterinarians, farmers and other experts.

And while his job leads him to some gruesome scenes — a week before the snowstorm, a pony in a city farm was fatally beaten — many encounters end happily.

During a visit to an apartment in a low-income neighborhood in the town of Delft, southwest of The Hague, Sergeant Smit was invited to tour what had been a problematic household. Inside, three fish, two lizards, two rabbits, four cats, a chinchilla and a large dog shared a small living room. The owner was proud to show him how clean everything was.

Sergeant Smit, who visits the place every couple of months, was welcomed, he said, because he had helped the owners put a litter of kittens up for adoption.



12) Officers in Florida Shootings Say They Can Stand Their Ground, Too

JAN. 28, 2018




A rally for Corey Jones, who was shot and killed by Nouman K. Raja, an off-duty police officer, in West Palm Beach, Fla., in 2015. Mr. Raja is seeking Stand Your Ground protection in the killing.CreditJoe Raedle/Getty Images


MIAMI — Florida's Stand Your Ground law was meant to make sure that average residents could defend themselves without fear of arrest or trial.

Now, police officers accused of using excessive force are trying to claim the law's protection.

They have sought to use the law to avoid trial in cases in which a 63-year-old man was stomped, a man in a wheelchair was beaten, and two men were shot dead in separate incidents.

In some instances, judges have granted their request.

"The law says it applies to 'any person,'" said Eric Schwartzreich, a lawyer representing a Broward County sheriff's deputy who made a successful Stand Your Ground claim in the 2013 killing of a computer engineer. "Law enforcement is any person. Why would there be a law that applies to one person in the criminal justice system and not another?"

The law has a contentious history and was opposed by prosecutors as soon as it was passed in 2005. It eliminates a person's duty to retreat from a dangerous situation and frees them to use deadly force "if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary" to prevent harm or death. It shields people from both criminal trials and civil lawsuits.

Stand Your Ground became widely known in 2012, when the police in Sanford, Fla., cited it as the reason that they declined to arrest the killer of an unarmed black teenager, Trayvon Martin. Critics say the law makes it too easy to claim self-defense when violence could have been avoided, and that white people's fears are more likely to be deemed "reasonable" than black people's.

Nearly two dozen states around the nation have such laws, but experts believe Florida is the only place where police officers have used it.

Civil rights lawyers say letting police officers invoke the law stretches its intent, and creates another avenue for them to get away with unjustified shootings. The state senator who sponsored the law, Dennis K. Baxley, said he was surprised to see officers invoke it, and even a lawyer for one of the officers who claimed Stand Your Ground said the law should be changed.

The police are already authorized to use force when they perceive danger, and even in highly disputed cases they usually avoid facing charges.

Stand Your Ground gives them an additional chance to do so, if they can persuade a judge. "A police officer has full immunity under the law if he uses deadly force appropriately," said David I. Schoen, a lawyer for the family of one of the police shooting victims. "You can't also give him Stand Your Ground."

Last week, lawyers notified the court that Nouman K. Raja, a former Palm Beach Gardens police officer, intended to seek Stand Your Ground protection in the 2015 killing of Corey Jones, a 31-year-old musician and housing inspector. Mr. Jones was waiting on the side of the road in a broken-down car when Mr. Raja, in plain clothes and an unmarked vehicle, approached him in the middle of the night without identifying himself.

Mr. Jones had a new gun which he bought because he frequently carried cash on his way home from gigs. The officer claimed Mr. Jones pointed it at him, but prosecutors say Mr. Raja fired at Mr. Jones six times even as he fled, hitting him three times.

The encounter was recorded by the roadside assistance service Mr. Jones had called for help.

Mr. Raja, a rookie in the department, was fired. His Stand Your Ground hearing has been scheduled for March, when prosecutors must present a mini-trial before the judge, who will decide whether to dismiss the charges.

The hearing gives defendants a chance to beat the charges before trial. Prosecutors have argued that officers already have immunity for lawful shootings under a different law that specifically addresses law enforcement.

In a court motion, the Florida attorney general's office said police officers should not be allowed to get protection from both laws. Victims' families have also objected.

"I think it's very sad that police officers are taking advantage of that law, especially when they are in the wrong," said Mr. Jones's father, Clinton Jones Sr. "I think it's a disgrace to the police department."

Benjamin L. Crump, the family's lawyer, said the case "risks a terrible precedent."

"To extend it to police officers on the street gives them a license to kill just by saying they felt fear — no standards, no objective check and balance," Mr. Crump said.

Mr. Raja's lawyer, Richard Lubin, declined to comment while the case is pending.

He was not the first to try the defense. A judge granted the Stand Your Ground claim of Mr. Schwartzreich's client, Broward Sheriff's Deputy Peter Peraza, in the 2013 killing of Jermaine McBean. Mr. McBean, 33, was walking down the street, wearing earbuds and with an air rifle propped on his shoulders, when Mr. Peraza ordered him from behind to drop it.

The officer claimed that Mr. McBean pointed the air rifle at him, although witnesses disputed his account. After a hearing, a judge ruled in Mr. Peraza's favor and dismissed the case.

The Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, but because the decision was in direct conflict with another appeals court ruling, the case is headed to the Florida Supreme Court.

In 2012, the Second District Court of Appeal rejected an officer's use of the law to avoid trial for stomping on a 63-year-old man. Juan Caamano, a former police officer in Haines City, south of Orlando, instead went to trial and was acquitted.

Last summer, two Miami police officers successfully invoked Stand Your Ground immunity when they were sued for damages in the beating of a man in a wheelchair.

Even Mr. Caamano's lawyer said police officers should not be allowed to invoke Stand Your Ground.

Local judges often have ties to law enforcement or are reluctant to rule against police officers for political reasons, the lawyer, Lawrence H. Collins, said.

"What it does in the case of police officers is it puts a decision of whether an action was justified in the hands of a judge rather than a jury," he said. "The law needs to be changed. You don't want that decision in the hands of a judge."



13)  Indian Slavery Once Thrived in New Mexico. Latinos Are Finding Family Ties to It.

JAN. 28, 2018



St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Abiquiú, N.M., a village settled by former Indian slaves, or Genízaros, in the 18th century. CreditAdria Malcolm for The New York Times 

ALBUQUERQUE — Lenny Trujillo made a startling discovery when he began researching his descent from one of New Mexico's pioneering Hispanic families: One of his ancestors was a slave.

"I didn't know about New Mexico's slave trade, so I was just stunned," said Mr. Trujillo, 66, a retired postal worker who lives in Los Angeles. "Then I discovered how slavery was a defining feature of my family's history."

Mr. Trujillo is one of many Latinos who are finding ancestral connections to a flourishing slave trade on the blood-soaked frontier now known as the American Southwest. Their captive forebears were Native Americans — slaves frequently known as Genízaros (pronounced heh-NEE-sah-ros) who were sold to Hispanic families when the region was under Spanish control from the 16th to 19th centuries. Many Indian slaves remained in bondage when Mexico and later the United States governed New Mexico. 

The revelations have prompted some painful personal reckonings over identity and heritage. But they have also fueled a larger, politically charged debate on what it means to be Hispanic and Native American.

A growing number of Latinos who have made such discoveries are embracing their indigenous backgrounds, challenging a long tradition in New Mexico in which families prize Spanish ancestry. Some are starting to identify as Genízaros. Historians estimate that Genízaros accounted for as much as one-third of New Mexico's population of 29,000 in the late 18th century.

"We're discovering things that complicate the hell out of our history, demanding that we reject the myths we've been taught," said Gregorio Gonzáles, 29, an anthropologist and self-described Genízaro who writes about the legacies of Indian enslavement.

Those legacies were born of a tortuous story of colonial conquest and forced assimilation.

New Mexico, which had the largest number of sedentary Indians north of central Mexico, emerged as a coveted domain for slavers almost as soon as the Spanish began settling here in the 16th century, according to Andrés Reséndez, a historian who details the trade in his 2016 book, "The Other Slavery." Colonists initially took local Pueblo Indians as slaves, leading to an uprising in 1680 that temporarily pushed the Spanish out of New Mexico.

The trade then evolved to include not just Hispanic traffickers but horse-mounted Comanche and Ute warriors, who raided the settlements of Apache, Kiowa, Jumano, Pawnee and other peoples. They took captives, many of them children plucked from their homes, and sold them at auctions in village plazas.

The Spanish crown tried to prohibit slavery in its colonies, but traffickers often circumvented the ban by labeling their captives in parish records as criados, or servants. The trade endured even decades after the Mexican-American War, when the United States took control of much of the Southwest in the 1840s.

Seeking to strengthen the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, Congress passed the Peonage Act of 1867 after learning of propertied New Mexicans owning hundreds and perhaps thousands of Indian slaves, mainly Navajo women and children. But scholars say the measure, which specifically targeted New Mexico, did little for many slaves in the territory.

Many Hispanic families in New Mexico have long known that they had indigenous ancestry, even though some here still call themselves "Spanish" to emphasize their Iberian ties and to differentiate themselves from the state's 23 federally recognized tribes, as well as from Mexican and other Latin American immigrants.

But genetic testing is offering a glimpse into a more complex story. The DNA of Hispanic people from New Mexico is often in the range of 30 to 40 percent Native American, according to Miguel A. Tórrez, 42, a research technologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and one of New Mexico's most prominent genealogists.

He and other researchers cross-reference DNA tests with baptismal records, marriage certificates, census reports, oral histories, ethnomusicology findings, land titles and other archival documents.

Mr. Tórrez's own look into his origins shows how these searches can produce unexpected results. He found one ancestor who was probably Ojibwe, from lands around the Great Lakes, roughly a thousand miles away, and another of Greek origin among the early colonizers claiming New Mexico for Spain.

"I have Navajo, Chippewa, Greek and Spanish blood lines," said Mr. Tórrez, who calls himself a mestizo, a term referring to mixed ancestry. "I can't say I'm indigenous any more than I can say I'm Greek, but it's both fascinating and disturbing to see how various cultures came together in New Mexico."

Revelations about how Indian enslavement was a defining feature of colonial New Mexico can be unsettling for some in the state, where the authorities have often tried to perpetuate a narrative of relatively peaceful coexistence between Hispanics, Indians and Anglos, as non-Hispanic whites are generally called here.

Pointing to their history, some descendants of Genízaros are coming together to argue that they deserve the same recognition as Native tribes in the United States. One such group in Colorado, the 200-member Genízaro Affiliated Nations, organizes annual dances to commemorate their heritage.

"It's not about blood quantum or DNA testing for us, since those things can be inaccurate measuring sticks," said David Atekpatzin Young, 62, the organization's tribal chairman, who traces his ancestry to Apache and Pueblo peoples. "We know who we are, and what we want is sovereignty and our land back."

Some here object to calling Genízaros slaves, arguing that the authorities in New Mexico were relatively flexible in absorbing Indian captives. In an important distinction with African slavery in parts of the Americas, Genízaros could sometimes attain economic independence and even assimilate into the dominant Hispanic classes, taking the surnames of their masters and embracing Roman Catholicism.

Genízaros and their offspring sometimes escaped or served out their terms of service, then banded together to forge buffer settlements against Comanche raids. Offering insight into how Indian captives sought to escape their debased status, linguists trace the origins of the word Genízaro to the Ottoman Empire's janissaries, the special soldier class of Christians from the Balkans who converted to Islam, and were sometimes referred to as slaves.

Moisés Gonzáles, a Genízaro professor of architecture at the University of New Mexico, has identified an array of Genízaro outposts that endure in the state, including the villages Las Trampas and San Miguel del Vado. Some preserve traditions that reflect their Genízaro origins, and like other products of colonialism, many are cultural amalgams of customs and motifs from sharply disparate worlds.

Each December in the village of Alcalde, for instance, performers in headdresses stage the Matachines dance, thought by scholars to fuse the theme of Moorish-Christian conflict in medieval Spain with indigenous symbolism evoking the Spanish conquest of the New World.

In Abiquiú, settled by Genízaros in the 18th century, people don face paint and feathers every November to perform a "captive dance" about the village's Indian origins — on a day honoring a Catholic saint.

"Some Natives say those in Abiquiú are pretend Indians," said Mr. Tórrez, the genealogist. "But who's to say that the descendants of Genízaros, of people who were once slaves, can't reclaim their culture?"

Efforts by some Genízaro descendants to call themselves Indians instead of Latinos point to a broader debate over how Native Americans are identified, involving often contentious factors like tribal membership, what constitutes indigenous cultural practices and the light skin color of some Hispanics with Native ancestry. Some Native Americans also chafe at the gains some Hispanics here have sought by prioritizing their ancestral ties to European colonizers.

Pointing to the breadth of the Southwest's slave trade, some historians have also documented how Hispanic settlers were captured and enslaved by Native American traffickers, and sometimes went on to embrace the cultures of their Comanche, Pueblo or Navajo masters.

Kim TallBear, an anthropologist at the University of Alberta, cautioned against using DNA testing alone to determine indigenous identity. She emphasized that such tests can point generally to Native ancestry somewhere in the Americas while failing to pinpoint specific tribal origins.

"There's a conflation of race and tribe that's infuriating, really," said Ms. TallBear, a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate tribe of South Dakota who writes about tribal belonging and genetic testing. "I don't think ancestry alone is sufficient to define someone as indigenous."

The discovery of indigenous slave ancestry can be anything but straightforward, as Mr. Trujillo, the former postal worker, learned.

First, he found his connection to a Genízaro man in the village of Abiquiú. Delving further into 18th century baptismal records, he then found that his ancestor somehow broke away from forced servitude to purchase three slaves of his own.

"I was just blown away to find that I had a slaver and slaves in my family tree," Mr. Trujillo said. "That level of complexity is too much for some people, but it's part of the story of who I am."



































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