We refuse to pay to protest!

Women's March on the Pentagon, October 2018

For Immediate Release
Contact: CindySheehan@MarchonPentagon.com

What: The day before Thanksgiving, Cindy Sheehan, co-coordinator of the recent Women's March on the Pentagon (WMOP) was presented with a $540.00 gill for "police escort" by the Arlington County Virginia Police Department (ACPD).

Background: Beginning in July, leadership of WMOP began taking steps to secure permits from the two jurisdictions that the WMOP would take on October 21st (51st anniversary of the March on the Pentagon during the Vietnam War): 

Arlington County (brief march) and the Pentagon. Although WMOP eventually obtained a permit from the Pentagon, WMOP was never able to obtain a permit from Arlington County and many phone messages left by DC area Co-ordinator Malachy Kilbride were never returned by the ACPD.

On the day of the March, about 1500 people gathered at the Pentagon City Metro station (for a 12pm March start) in front of the mall and at about 10:30am, to the surprise of March organizers, ACPD showed up and did stop traffic for the brief March through Arlington County.

The organizers of the WMOP are outraged and appalled by this obvious violation of our First Amendment rights to gather "peaceably" and demonstrate one of the sacrosanct rights to our Freedom of Speech. 

The DC area co-ordinator for the WMOP Malachy Kilbride had this to say upon receipt of the bill:  "As a former resident of Arlington County of over 20 years I am disturbed that the county is following in the footsteps of the Trump Administration which wants to charge people for First Amendment activity. Shame on Arlington County! The First Amendment is priceless and shouldn't be monetized."

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF)* the D.C. based non-profit legal organization that works to protect and advance the constitutional rights of protestors has issued the following letter to the ACPD on behalf of the Women's March on the Pentagon:

Chief Jay Farr

Lt. John Feden

Arlington County Police Department

1425 North Courthouse Rd
. Arlington, VA 22201
Dear Chief Farr and Lt. Feden:

We are writing on behalf of Cindy Sheehan in response to Lt. John Feden's e-mail correspondence dated November 21, 2018. 

The Arlington County Police Department (ACPD) has issued an invoice to Ms. Sheehan seeking to charge her for engaging in constitutionally protected First Amendment activities. Specifically, the invoice is stated to be "for the police services we provided October 21st during the March On the Pentagon," and demands $540.00 for what is described as "police escort for The Women's March on the Pentagon." 

This attempt to tax free speech is without lawful basis and violates Ms. Sheehan's constitutional rights. We request that this invoice be immediately withdrawn.

Ms. Sheehan did not request police "services," nor was she given prior notice that the ACPD intended to send police to the demonstration and charge her for their time.  At no time did Ms. Sheehan agree to pay for any such charges. 

Indeed, the ACPD actually refused to respond to Ms. Sheehan's efforts to coordinate the First Amendment activities with them. An application for a permit was submitted for the March and thereafter, Arlington Country was nonresponsive to follow up efforts. After failing and refusing to return phone calls regarding the March, the ACDP appeared at the Pentagon City mall in front of the metro stop entrance at the starting point for the march, well before the march was scheduled to step off. At that time Ms. Sheehan expressed her surprise at their presence given their refusal to communicate with the March organizers. 

The ACPD may not charge demonstrators for First Amendment activities at its own discretion. We are requesting that the ACPD provide all policy documents, guidelines, and criteria that the department relies upon in assessing charges on demonstration activities as well as any notice it believes was given to Ms. Sheehan of such policies and procedures. 

We further request that the ACPD issue instructions to personnel consistent with constitutional obligations to ensure that organizers of demonstration activity are not improperly charged in the future.


Mara Verheyden-Hilliard (PCJF)  

The Women's March on the Pentagon adamantly refuses to pay for this appalling violation of our constitutional rights.

*The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund is a free speech and civil rights organization that has defended First Amendment rights for over 20 years in Washington, D.C. and around the country. It is currently challenging the Trump Administration's proposed anti-protest rules that would levy potentially bankrupting fees and costs on demonstrators who engage in constitutionally protected free speech on public parkland in the nation's capital. More information here.

*(Women's) March on the Pentagon is a women-led coalition of activists, professionals, military veterans, and everyday citizens of the world with one thing in common: we are anti-imperialist. More info can be found here.

  This press release can also be found on our website:

Join the Facebook group:



America has spent $5.9 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001, a new study says

  • The U.S. wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Pakistan have cost American taxpayers $5.9 trillion since they began in 2001.
  • The figure reflects the cost across the U.S. federal government since the price of war is not borne by the Defense Department alone.
  • The report also finds that more than 480,000 people have died from the wars and more than 244,000 civilians have been killed as a result of fighting. Additionally, another 10 million people have been displaced due to violence.
  • https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/14/us-has-spent-5point9-trillion-on-middle-east-asia-wars-since-2001-study.html






An Appreciation of Howard Keylor on the 

Occasion of His Tribute

Please join ILWU Local 10 in honoring Howard on his 

93rd birthday

Sunday, December 9, 2018 

2:00 – 4:00 P.M.

ILWU Local 10, Henry Schmidt Room
400 North Point St, San Francisco (near Fisherman's Wharf)

Howard Keylor is a hero of working-class struggle against exploitation and oppression of all kinds, across the board. His record as a labor activist and communist is exemplary, and he should be honored in this time of his twilight years by all those who seek a true liberation for humankind.
As a long time member of the International Longshore Workers Union (ILWU), Howard stood out as an uncompromising leader of numerous struggles.  He led hot-cargo boycotts of goods from Chilean and El Salvadoran military regimes in 1975, 1978 and 1980. And in 1984, he was one of the leaders of 11-day ILWU strike against the South African ship Nedloyd Kimberly, which Nelson Mandela credited with aiding the South African anti-apartheid movement, and re-igniting the U.S. movement as well.
Never one to tolerate the crossing of a picket line, Howard helped lead longshore and Inlandboatmen's Union (IBU) workers who marched onto the Redwood City docks to stop scabs seeking to replace striking IBU workers in 1987. Howard also supported other ILWU allied struggles such as Local 6 warehouse in the 1974 KNC strike in which ILWU Mexican American immigrant workers battled scabs and police, and the 1974 and 2010 Boron miners' strikes. He also participated in the ILWU rank-and-file protest against the sellout contract at the grain terminal in Longview Washington in 2011-12.
Howard Keylor is a key member of the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, and was an organizer of the Coast-wide port shutdown in July 1999, and of the ILWU contingent, which led the march of 25,000 that day in San Francisco to free Mumia, an innocent political prisoner. Howard also was a key organizer of the pickets against the Zim ships, protesting the Israeli government's massacre of Palestinians in the Gaza war; and was a participant in ILWU actions protesting the police murder of Oscar Grant, and in the longshore action to stop a fascist rally in SF, inspired in part by the Trump regime.
Originally a member of the Communist Party, Howard became disgusted with the betrayals of that organization following the Stalinist betrayal of the principles of the Russian Revolution of 1917, which included the subversion of workers democracy in the party, and the theory of socialism in one country, which meant the refusal to extend the revolution internationally. This included the CP's endorsement of imperialist war in World War II. 
As a member of the U.S. armed forces, Howard's experience in the battle of Okinawa made him a lifelong opponent of imperialism who furthermore opposed the nuclear bombing of and Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which the Stalinists endorsed. He joined the Trotskyists of the Spartacist League, and later of the Bolshevik Tendency, to which he still belongs today.
Howard Keylor has stood for working-class revolution from capitalist tyranny throughout his entire adult life, and never wavered or compromised. He is a true Bolshevik.  Now is the time to honor his many contributions to working-class struggle, and to the cause of proletarian revolution world wide.
—Chris Kinder, Co-coordinator of the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal.



Open letter to active duty soldiers on the border
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country's elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief's suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.

Don't turn them away

The migrants in the Central American caravan are not our enemies

Open letter to active duty soldiers
Your Commander-in-chief is lying to you. You should refuse his orders to deploy to the southern U.S. border should you be called to do so. Despite what Trump and his administration are saying, the migrants moving North towards the U.S. are not a threat. These small numbers of people are escaping intense violence. In fact, much of the reason these men and women—with families just like yours and ours—are fleeing their homes is because of the US meddling in their country's elections. Look no further than Honduras, where the Obama administration supported the overthrow of a democratically elected president who was then replaced by a repressive dictator.
"There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone."
These extremely poor and vulnerable people are desperate for peace. Who among us would walk a thousand miles with only the clothes on our back without great cause? The odds are good that your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. lived similar experiences to these migrants. Your family members came to the U.S. to seek a better life—some fled violence. Consider this as you are asked to confront these unarmed men, women and children from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. To do so would be the ultimate hypocrisy.
The U.S. is the richest country in the world, in part because it has exploited countries in Latin America for decades. If you treat people from these countries like criminals, as Trump hopes you will, you only contribute to the legacy of pillage and plunder beneath our southern border. We need to confront this history together, we need to confront the reality of America's wealth and both share and give it back with these people. Above all else, we cannot turn them away at our door. They will die if we do.
By every moral or ethical standard it is your duty to refuse orders to "defend" the U.S. from these migrants. History will look kindly upon you if you do. There are tens of thousands of us who will support your decision to lay your weapons down. You are better than your Commander-in-chief. Our only advice is to resist in groups. Organize with your fellow soldiers. Do not go this alone. It is much harder to punish the many than the few.
In solidarity,
Rory Fanning
Former U.S. Army Ranger, War-Resister
Spenser Rapone
Former U.S. Army Ranger and Infantry Officer, War-Resister
Leaflet distributed by:
  • About Face: Veterans Against the War
  • Courage to Resist
  • Veterans For Peace
Courage to Resist has been running a strategic outreach campaign to challenge troops to refuse illegal orders while on the border, such as their Commander-in-Chief's suggestion that they murder migrants who might be throwing rocks, or that they build and help run concentration camps. In addition to social media ads, About Face, Veterans For Peace, and Courage to Resist, are also printing tens of thousands of these leaflets for distribution near the border. Please consider donating towards these expenses.
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*




New "Refuse War" Shirts

We've launched a new shirt store to raise funds to support war resisters. 

In addition to the Courage to Resist logo shirts we've offered in the past, we now  have a few fun designs, including a grim reaper, a "Refuse War, Go AWOL" travel theme, and a sporty "AWOL: Support Military War Resisters" shirt.

Shirts are $25 each for small through XL, and bit more for larger sizes. Please allow 9-12 days for delivery within the United States.

50% of each shirt may qualify as a tax-deductible contribution.

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. #41, Oakland, CA 94610, 510-488-3559
couragetoresis.org -- facebook.com/couragetoresist







Judge to Soon Rule on Mumia's Appeal Bid

By Kyle Fraser, December 4, 2018

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker promised a decision on whether a former prosecutor unlawfully took part as a judge in rejecting Mumia Abu Jamal's appeal of his 1981 conviction in the killing of a police officer. "We're not going to stop fighting until we see Mumia walk out of these prison walls," said Johanna Fernandez, of the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home. Pam Africa, of the MOVE organization, said Abu Jamal's supporters have sustained his defense for decades "no matter what kind of devious tricks this government has used to try to break this movement."

Listen to a radio report at Black Agenda Report:


Free Mumia Now!
Mumia's freedom is at stake in a court hearing on August 30th. 
With your help, we just might free him!
Check out this video:

This video includes photo of 1996 news report refuting Judge Castille's present assertion that he had not been requested at that time to recuse himself from this case, on which he had previously worked as a Prosecutor:
A Philadelphia court now has before it the evidence which could lead to Mumia's freedom. The evidence shows that Ronald Castille, of the District Attorney's office in 1982, intervened in the prosecution of Mumia for a crime he did not commit. Years later, Castille was a judge on the PA Supreme Court, where he sat in judgement over Mumia's case, and ruled against Mumia in every appeal! 
According to the US Supreme Court in the Williams ruling, this corrupt behavior was illegal!
But will the court rule to overturn all of Mumia's negative appeals rulings by the PA Supreme Court? If it does, Mumia would be free to appeal once again against his unfair conviction. If it does not, Mumia could remain imprisoned for life, without the possibility for parole, for a crime he did not commit.
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent and framed!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist censored off the airwaves!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal is victimized by cops, courts and politicians!
• Mumia Abu-Jamal stands for all prisoners treated unjustly!
• Courts have never treated Mumia fairly!
Will You Help Free Mumia?
Call DA Larry Krasner at (215) 686-8000
Tell him former DA Ron Castille violated Mumia's constitutional rights and 
Krasner should cease opposing Mumia's legal petition.
Tell the DA to release Mumia because he's factually innocent.
Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
SCI Mahanoy
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733



A Call for a Mass Mobilization to Oppose NATO, War and Racism
Protest NATO, Washington, DC, Lafayette Park (across from the White House)

1 PM Saturday, March 30, 2019.
Additional actions will take place on Thursday April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting

April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.

And yet, in a grotesque desecration of Rev. King's lifelong dedication to peace, this is the date that the military leaders of the North American Treaty Organization have chosen to celebrate NATO's 70th anniversary by holding its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C. This is a deliberate insult to Rev. King and a clear message that Black lives and the lives of non-European humanity really do not matter.   

It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" and declaring that he could not be silent.

We cannot be silent either. Since its founding, the U.S.-led NATO has been the world's deadliest military alliance, causing untold suffering and devastation throughout Northern Africa, the Middle East and beyond.

Hundreds of thousands have died in U.S./NATO wars in Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Yugoslavia. Millions of refugees are now risking their lives trying to escape the carnage that these wars have brought to their homelands, while workers in the 29 NATO member-countries are told they must abandon hard-won social programs in order to meet U.S. demands for even more military spending.

Every year when NATO holds its summits, there have been massive protests: in Chicago, Wales, Warsaw, Brussels. 2019 will be no exception.

The United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is calling for a mass mobilization in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 30.  Additional actions will take place on April 4 at the opening of the NATO meeting. 

We invite you to join with us in this effort. As Rev. King taught us, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

No to NATO!
End All U.S. Wars at Home and Abroad!
Bring the Troops Home Now! 
No to Racism! 
The Administrative Committee of UNAC,

To add your endorsement to this call, please go here: http://www.no2nato2019.org/endorse-the-action.html

Please donate to keep UNAC strong: https://www.unacpeace.org/donate.html 

If your organization would like to join the UNAC coalition, please click here: https://www.unacpeace.org/join.html



In Defense of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson

Update on Rashid in Indiana
By Dustin McDaniel

November 9, 2018—Had a call with Rashid yesterday. He's been seen by medical, psych, and
dental. He's getting his meds and his blood pressure is being monitored,
though it is uncontrolled. The RN made recommendations for treatment
that included medication changes and further monitoring, but there's
been no follow up.

He's at the diagnostic center and he (along with everyone else I've
talked to about it) expect that he'll be sent to the solitary
confinement unit at Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, though it could
be 30 days from now.

He's in a cell with no property. He has no extra underwear to change
into. The cell is, of course, dirty. He's in solitary confinement. He
didn't say they were denying him yard time. He didn't say there were any
problems with his meals.

They are refusing him his stationary and stamps, so he can't write out.
He gets a very limited number of phone calls per month (1 or 2), and
otherwise can only talk on the phone if a legal call is set up.

They are refusing to give him his property, or to allow him to look
through it to find records relevant to ongoing or planned litigation.
He's already past the statute of limitations on a law suit he planned to
file re abuses in Texas and other deadlines are about to pass over the
next month.

He has 35 banker boxes of property, or 2 pallets, that arrived in IDOC.
He needs to be allowed to look through these records in order to find
relevant legal documents. Moving forward, I think we need to find a
place/person for him to send these records to or they are going to be
destroyed. It would be good if we could find someone who would also take
on the task of organizing the records, getting rid of duplicates or
unnecessary paperwork, digitizing records, and making things easier to
search and access.

Although he does not appear in the inmate locator for IDOC, he does
appears in the JPay system as an Indiana prisoner (#264847). At his
request, I sent him some of his money so hopefully he can get stamps and

Hold off on sending him more money via JPay - I've been told that some
of the IDOC facilities are phasing out JPay and moving to GTL and
wouldn't want to have a bunch of money stuck and inaccessible due to
those changes. If you want to send him more money immediately, send it
to Abolitionist Law Center. You can send it via Paypal to
info@abolitionistlawcenter.org, or mail it to PO Box 8654, Pittsburgh,
PA 15221. We will hold on to it and distribute it according to Rashid's

Please write to him, if you haven't already. He's got nothing to do in
solitary with nothing to read and nothing to write with.

you can also hear a recent interview with Rashid on Final Straw podcast here: https://thefinalstrawradio.noblogs.org/post/tag/kevin-rashid-johnson/
Write to Rashid:
Kevin Rashid Johnson's writings and artwork have been widely circulated. He is the author of a book,Panther Vision: Essential Party Writings and Art of Kevin "Rashid" Johnson, Minister of Defense, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, (Kersplebedeb, 2010).

Kevin Johnson D.O.C. No. 264847
G-20-2C Pendleton Correctional Facility
4490 W. Reformatory Rd.
Pendleton, IN 46064-9001



Prisoners at Lieber Correctional Institution in South Carolina are demanding recognition of their human rights by the South Carolina Department of Corrections and warden Randall Williams.  Prisoners are also demanding an end to the horrific conditions they are forced to exist under at Lieber, which are exascerbating already rising tensions to a tipping point and people are dying. 
Since the tragedy that occured at Lee Correctional earlier this year, prisoners at all level 3 security prisons in SC have been on complete lockdown, forced to stay in their two-man 9x11 cells 24 hours a day (supposed to be 23 hrs/day but guards rarely let prisoners go to their one hour of rec in a slightly larger cage because it requires too much work, especially when you keep an entire prison on lockdown) without any programming whatsoever and filthy air rushing in all day, no chairs, tables, no radios, no television, no access to legal work, no access to showers, and no light!  Administration decided to cover all the tiny windows in the cells with metal plates on the outside so that no light can come in.  Thousands of people are existing in this manner, enclosed in a tiny space with another person and no materials or communication or anything to pass the time.  
Because of these horific conditions tensions are rising and people are dying. Another violent death took place at Lieber Correctional; Derrick Furtick, 31, died at approximately 9pm Monday, according to state Department of Corrections officials:
Prisoners assert that this death is a result of the kind of conditions that are being imposed and inflicted upon the incarcerated population there and the undue trauma, anxiety, and tensions these conditions create.  
We demand:
- to be let off solitary confinement
- to have our windows uncovered
- access to books, magazines, phone calls, showers and recreation
- access to the law library and our legal cases
- single person cells for any person serving over 20 years
Lieber is known for its horrendous treatment of the people it cages including its failure to evacuate prisoners during Hurricane Florence earlier this year:
Please flood the phone lines of both the governor's and warden's offices to help amplify these demands from behind bars at Lieber Correctional.
Warden Randall Williams:  (843) 875-3332   or   (803) 896-3700
Governor Henry McMaster's office:  (803) 734-2100

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Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more.  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018.  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102
Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name.  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Phone zap on Tuesday, November 13

**Mark your calendars for the 11/13 call in, be on the look out for a call script, and spread the word!!**

- Convene special review of Malik's placement in Ad-Seg and immediately release him back to general population
- Explain why the State Classification Committee's decision to release Malik from Ad-Seg back in June was overturned (specifically, demand to know the nature of the "information" supposedly collected by the Fusion Center, and demand to know how this information was investigated and verified).
- Immediately cease all harassment and retaliation against Malik, especially strip searches and mail censorship!

Who to contact:
TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier
Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)
Phone: (361) 362-2300


Background on Malik's Situation

Malik's continued assignment to Ad-Seg (solitary confinement) in is an overt example of political repression, plain and simple.  Prison officials placed Malik in Ad-Seg two years ago for writing about and endorsing the 2016 nationwide prison strike.  They were able to do this because Texas and U.S. law permits non-violent work refusal to be classified as incitement to riot.

It gets worse.  Malik was cleared for release from Ad-Seg by the State Classification Committee in June--and then, in an unprecedented reversal, immediately re-assigned him back to Ad-Seg.  The reason?  Prison Officials site "information" collected by a shadowy intelligence gathering operation called a Fusion Center, which are known for lack of transparency and accountability, and for being blatant tools of political repression.

Malik remains in horrible conditions, vulnerable to every possible abuse, on the basis of "information" that has NEVER been disclosed or verified.  No court or other independent entity has ever confirmed the existence, let alone authenticity, of this alleged information.  In fact, as recently as October 25, a representative of the State Classification Committee told Malik that he has no clue why Malik was re-assigned to Ad-Seg.  This "information" is pure fiction.   



Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018

Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 

We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:
  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.

In Solidarity,
Ramon Mejia
Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
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Major George Tillery
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.
In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.
Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.
The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.
This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.
Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.
Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years
The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.
During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.
Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.
Major Tillery Needs Your Help:
Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.
Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.
Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family

    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Security Processing Center
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    268 Bricker Road
    Bellefonte, PA 16823
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



    Free Leonard Peltier!

    Art by Leonard Peltier
    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132
    USP Coleman 1,  P.O. Box 1033
    Coleman, FL 33521



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 
    Charity for the Wealthy!





    1) A Mother's Right to Life
    By Rachael L. Harris and Lisa Tarchak, December 3, 2018

    Why are American mothers dying in childbirth at higher rates than in other developed countries? And who is to blame? Kim Brooks raised these questions in her Opinion essay "America Is Blaming Pregnant Women for Their Own Deaths." More than 900 readers responded with comments on the article, including parents who shared their own harrowing birth stories and who often said they felt their lives were devalued, in favor of their child's, by their doctors during the delivery process. 
    Medical professionals responded with accounts of systemic problems within the health care industry, such as the lack of emergency protocols in hospitals that would protect the life of the mother. Kayla Tab, a nurse in San Francisco, commented on the difficulties of weighing which life to prioritize in the case of an emergency: "In health care, we may make it seem like it's all about the baby, but that's often times because the fear of a stillbirth weighs so heavily on us. We feel caught in the middle."
    For one commenter and his wife, the decision was clear cut. "We went into it, no questions asked, mother's life," he wrote. "As tragic as a child's loss is, without the mother, the child doesn't happen."
    Read more comments below from our readers. They have been edited for clarity and length.

    This is not just a problem of hospitals, doctors and public policy, but also of social demands. Anything a woman desires for herself — autonomy, respect, physical wholeness — is considered selfish. Get a group of new mothers together and eventually they will start to tell their birth stories — the joys, horrors, indignities, pain and subtle, or not so subtle, misogyny. And in the midst of this "safe space" it never takes long before one woman will say, "You have a healthy baby, that's all that matters."
    This can only happen in a society in which women are constantly devalued. It's not a zero sum game: healthy baby or healthy mother; we can have both. — Corey Anderson, Atlanta

    There are many sides to making sure women are heard. Choice over our bodies also includes the right to a "medicalized" birth, if that is our preference. Medical interventions save lives, and many women, myself included, prefer that their doctors err on the side of the baby's life.
    Go on any pregnancy message board and you will find that there are tons of expectant mothers who put the "birth experience" before the health of their baby and who consider medical actions taken to save their child's life as some kind of affront to that experience. — A F, Connecticut

    We welcomed our first child this spring. The process left much to be desired. I feel if I hadn't been there to speak up for my wife, it could have gone awfully different. I don't have a whole lot of faith in the new generation of doctors. In our encounters, they seemed entitled and even forceful, taking steps without checking with the mother and pressing unneeded procedures. I had to assert myself into the situation more than once to have my wife's concerns heard. — WI Transplant, Madison, Wis.

    I am an obstetrician and this is an exceedingly important topic, one that many people are passionately devoting their lives to correcting. I believe that the system we work in is flawed from top to bottom, in ways that create serious gaps for low-income and low-resource patients. But I fear the author is doing a disservice to this topic by equating these particular terrifying outcomes with poor care by doctors. These anecdotes don't highlight this crisis particularly well and only fan the flames of the anti-medicine, anti-doctor rhetoric that gets in the way of caring for people. There are bad doctors just like there are bad plumbers, but it's the system that is failing people, not the individuals. — MMS, Cambridge, Mass.

    As a mother who recently gave birth, I am of two minds about this issue. Having seen many women of my generation flippantly reject medical care to give birth in their living rooms with midwives with little training, and others who feel guilt for years for having succumbed to C-sections, having "failed" at the ideal, natural birth, I wish that we could get over the medical-establishment-as-villain narrative. I've had seven pregnancies and have one living child. I have my living child because of, not in spite of, medical science. — Amv, New York

    The idea that women know what's best in some natural way is wrongheaded. My wife would have died if she'd made the now routine choice to determine her own care path and have the baby at home. This feels akin to the vaccine craze, something that's been safe for so long but now people don't feel the danger associated with deviating from the well-worn path. — John McDavid, Nevada

    Women don't need more doulas, midwives or listening to, although all of those things can be beneficial. The two greatest threats to women's health in and after childbirth are a doctor's low index of suspicion of symptoms that could indicate underlying injuries and a reluctance — or inability — to deploy high-tech interventions in a timely fashion. That's why California has had success in reducing maternal mortality. They've gone back to basics, recognizing that childbirth has always been, in every time, place and culture, one of the leading causes of death of women and that only technology used liberally can reduce that death rate. — Amy Tuteur, M.D., Boston

    Women are routinely not listened to or believed, especially black women, whose maternal mortality rates are 3.5 times higher than white women, as the author points out. Postpartum anxiety and depression, traumatic birth injuries, an abysmal lack of paid parental leave, judgment from family members, all of this is isolating, as well as physically and mentally debilitating. — New Mama, Massachusetts

    I am a physician and I have no doubt that the problems with obstetriccare described are real and in need of correction. However, conditions for an optimal outcome for mother and baby start much earlier in pregnancy, if not before. Many women, particularly those who are poor or in a minority, have other adverse factors like poor nutrition, teen pregnancy and substance abuse, to name a few. Pointing this out is not "blaming the victim," but rather showing the need for a vigorous public health response and universal access to family planning and prenatal care. — Hoarbear, Pittsburgh

    This story says nothing about one of the most obvious reasons why maternal mortality continues to rise in the U.S.A. but not in other developed countries: health insurance. The availability, or not, of high-quality prenatal, obstetric and postpartum care correlates directly with the mother's financial resources. Until all women can access high-quality medical care, nothing will change. — Nikki, Islandia

    It infuriates me that women in this country are denied birth control and autonomy over their own bodies by law when it comes to taking steps to prevent or terminate a pregnancy that took joint efforts with a man to create; seen as mere incubators and a secondary concern to a fetus once they are pregnant; and dismissed as mere statistics when they die in childbirth after a full-term pregnancy. 
    Spare me the "it's a scary time for young men in America" nonsense that's being parroted by the obtuse and ignorant misogynists, like Trump. If it's scary to be a man right now, then it's downright dangerous, even fatal, to be a woman. — EM, Los Angeles


    2) After a California Wildfire, New and Old Homeless Populations Collide
    By Alexandra S. Levine, December 3, 2018

    Rebecca Young sat on a pile of donated clothes in the parking lot outside a Walmart store in Chico, Calif., where many families like hers who lost their homes in the Camp Fire have been camping.

    Now, almost a month after the fire erupted, with the weather worsening and evacuation shelters closing or relocating farther away, tensions are growing between those who were already homeless and the newly homeless, as each group reaches for the other's resources.
    Local providers of shelter and aid are bracing for an influx of new people in need, putting even more pressure on the shelter system and forcing difficult decisions about who should get priority for limited space.

    California has one of the largest homeless populations of any state in the country — about 134,000 people, according to a 2017 Department of Housing and Urban Development report — and that population is growing faster than in other states. More than one-quarter of the nation's total homeless population is in California.
    Butte County alone already had about 2,000 homeless before the Camp Fire, with less than half of them making use of the county's emergency shelters and transitional housing, according to a report by the Butte Countywide Homeless Continuum of Care. Many more choose instead to live on the streets or in tents.
    Advocates say that in most cases, the goal of the shelters is to get people into temporary housing, support them on a path to self-sufficiency, and eventually get them settled in a permanent home. Along the way, there are fundamental issues to address, like mental illness, addiction and lack of income. But one of the biggest barriers to ending homelessness in Butte County is a dire shortage of available, affordable rental housing.
    The death toll from the fire stands at 88, with the number of missing at 25 as of Sunday, according to the Butte County Sheriff Department.
    Before the Camp Fire, the county had a housing vacancy rate of just 1 to 2 percent, much lower than the 2 to 5 percent needed in most healthy housing markets, according to Jennifer Griggs, the Continuum of Care coordinator. After the fire, "not only did all of that vacancy rate get swooped up right away, but now it's even more of a challenge to find any type of housing for anybody, regardless of their housing status prior," she said.

    "We know we're already short shelter beds, but shelter beds are a vehicle through which you get people into permanent housing," Ms. Cootsona added. "You can build more shelter beds, but if there's no path out, then that is just a Band-Aid."

    James Brown, 50, who lived in Magalia before his trailer was incinerated and has been sleeping since then in his car in the Walmart parking lot in Chico, said he would definitely move into a homeless shelter if could find one with space.
    "Where is all the housing?" he said as he walked through the tent city outside the store, where the displaced and the homeless are camp side by side in an open field. "The housing sucks. I mean, for a disaster area? It sucks. These people need housing, and tents are not good enough in this weather. They really ain't."
    The Esplanade House, part of the Community Action Agency of Butte County in Chico, offers transitional housing for homeless families with children. On Sunday, roughly 150 of its 200 spots were taken, after two evacuee families arrived last week, according to Tom Tenorio, the agency's chief executive. He said he expected the remaining spaces to be filled within a week.
    As he and his staff consider applicants — some of them evacuees, others previously homeless — they bear the weight of having to choose some and turn others away.
    "It's heart-wrenching, because you know the people sitting across from you really, really need to be able to be housed," Mr. Tenorio said. "I've had my staff in tears; it's a tough thing on our end."
    But, he added, "it's trying to preserve the initial purpose and mission of this house: to provide supportive services to homeless families. That's why we're not going to give any empty units to single people."

    In that case, Roslyn Roberts, part of the older population disproportionately affected by the disaster, wouldn't qualify.

    "I'm going to stay here in Chico and just become one of Chico's homeless people until I can get back up the hill," said Ms. Roberts, 73, who lost her home in Paradise and had been staying with her dog, Princess, at the Neighborhood Church shelter in Chico, an official Red Cross site that closed and moved farther away last week. "FEMA couldn't seem to help me, the Red Cross couldn't seem to help me, I haven't had one penny for relocation, I haven't been approached that there's a room in town — other people have, but I've received nothing, and we don't have anywhere to go."
    Sites like the Walmart lot, where many self-described "burnouts" — those who lost their homes to the Camp Fire — have taken refuge, pose considerable dangers. Several volunteers said they had seen people who were displaced by the fires become targets for theft by those who were already homeless.
    "They've been through the good, the bad and the ugly here," said Rich Wilson, 68, a volunteer outside Walmart.
    James Tyler Steen, 49, who had been homeless in Paradise for five years and has been living on the grass outside Walmart since the fire, said there is "a big difference" between the original homeless population and more recent additions.
    "You've got the parking lot, and then you've got the field," he said, referring to the division of space outside the shop. "Money is the difference. Their needs are met; these needs aren't. These guys take their needs, these guys buy their needs."
    Mr. Brown acknowledged that there were tensions, but he added that in the midst of it all, there was also some camaraderie and a shared sympathy for the desperation of the situation.
    "The homeless here are actually teaching the people who have never been homeless how to survive," he said, like how to stay safe in the tents, where to find food, and how to keep warm as flash floods bore down from the recent rains. "And that's a big positive," he said.


    3) Professors are selling their plasma to pay bills. Let's hold colleges' feet to the fire
    By Alissa Quart, November 27, 2018

     A 2015 survey by Pacific Standard found that 62% of adjuncts made less than $20,000 a year. Illustration: Rosie Roberts

    Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg recently gave $1.8bn to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, for financial aid. The donation, the biggest gift of its kind, will enable Johns Hopkins to ensure permanently need-blind admissions. Bloomberg's big-ticket donation has received plenty of headlines – and criticism – for simply adding to the coffers of an already elite institution. To me, however, his donation highlights another problem involving money on campus that no philanthropist seems to want to touch: the sheer amount of terribly paid adjuncts now toiling away at American universities.

    Over the last few years, I have talked to numerous adjunct professors in extreme situations: homeless, living in their cars, getting their meals from their university's food bank, taking extra jobs to support their families, even donating plasma.
    Top-tier American universities charge tens of thousands of dollars a year in tuition – yet they get away with exploiting legions of adjunct professors, underpaid and economically insecure, who work long hours and typically do not even receive health insurance. Many are living below the poverty line, while the colleges that employ them continue to operate with endowments in the many millions of dollars. A 2015 survey by Pacific Standard found that 62% of adjuncts made less than $20,000 a year.
    Knowing this, how can we, as students, parents and alumni, know if the institutions which happily accept our checks provide their staffs with even a bare minimum standard of living?
    Here's an idea: a "fair labor" seal or rating for colleges and universities. (Ditto for elementary, middle and high schools, especially when they are private, charter or otherwise not unionized.)
    A fair labor label would affect colleges where they live: their public image. Ratings would be based on factors like what percentage of a college's faculty is non-tenure-track. Currently, the ratio of full-time faculty on a given campus counts for only 1% of the criteria by which the US News & World Report ranks colleges. What if that percentage factor was more heavily weighted? After all, the Report's rankings are considered the gold standard. And what if other variables were considered, such as how much a college pays its adjunct professors per course, whether casual workers can unionize and whether they have access to healthcare plans?
    Some naming-and-shaming is overdue – and probably highly effective. Universities such as Yale and Boston College, which have vigorously fought efforts by graduate student workers and adjuncts to unionize, would sweat for a fair labor seal. So would Vermont Law School which, in a move that would once have been inconceivable, recently revoked the tenure of 75% of its tenured faculty.
    Tenured Queens College literature professor Talia Schaffer is a board member of the group Tenure for the Common Good, an organization that describes itself as "seeking to rally tenured faculty to use their tenured positions to fight for justice", working alongside non-tenured colleagues "to achieve the goal of equity in the academic workplace". She put it bluntly. "If you have a child in college, she is likely being taught by someone being paid starvation wages," says Schaffer. "Maybe they are homeless, with no medical care, no office, no supplies, no books, working around the clock just to make enough money to survive."
    This is unacceptable.
    Colleges are fond of boasting of their Leed certifications, which are granted for meeting certain environmental standards for buildings. A fair labor seal could be an equivalent certification guaranteeing the wellbeing of the humans who work in those buildings. If created, the seal would quickly become a default standard in transparency and consumer choice – a trustworthy measure of good business practices much like the Leed certificate. That would empower students and parents as well as adjuncts and other non-tenured workers: perhaps all workers at a university, in fact. After all, we worry about the labor conditions of the farmers who grow our coffee and the factory workers who make our clothes. Why not our professors?
    Indeed, it's hard to imagine how a fair labor seal wouldn't appeal to the idealistic students and their parents that these schools want to attract. These students want to know their money is spent on ethically produced goods and services – that their food is organic and pasture-fed; that their shampoos are cruelty-free; that their mascara hasn't been tested on rabbits. Consumers like this are the reason Starbucks and other purveyors of fine caffeine use fair trade logos to let us know that the people who picked our coffee beans are fairly compensated.
    A higher education fair labor seal would certainly appeal to the same demographic. It would also tear a label, so to speak, from previous labor movements. Think of the ILGWU tags that were for many years sewn into any piece of clothing made by the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, or the 1990s Clean Clothes Campaign against sweatshops.
    If we created a fair labor seal for colleges, it could worm its way into the US News & World Report's rankings that spellbind so many college-bound teens and their parents. In fact, Schaffer told me that Tenure for the Common Good has met with Robert Morse, the head of the ranking team at US News & World Report, in the hopes of persuading the popular guide to hold colleges more accountable for their labor practices.
    Schaffer was inspired by the dismal situation in her own academic department – now 63% adjuncts, she says, "shouldering triple or quadruple the work". As a former CUNY adjunct I shivered at these numbers. "Higher education in the US is getting destroyed by this system," she said.
    A fair labor seal might also appeal to the self-interest of students and parents. Such a seal, Schaffer noted, could "help parents choose viable universities for their kids – universities where faculty have conditions that enable them to teach well". What would happen, for instance, if we reminded parents that graduate student workers at ultra-rich schools had tried to form a union – and were told to take a hike by the university? (As of this week, Columbia University finally agreed, after much hectoring, to bargain with graduate workers, though generally graduate unions and adjunct unions are separate.) What would happen if more parents realized that the lavish cost of their children's education goes to country club amenities – while the professors who actually teach their children are underpaid, miserable and struggling to pay off their own college loans?
    Some of this is branding. For a fair labor campaign to work, it needs an easy-to-grasp rating system and a recognizable logo. Eileen Boris, a professor of feminist studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, reminded me of the popularity of the ILGWU's "Look for the union label" jingle in the 1970s. I remember the earnest union label adorning many of the clothes I wore growing up. American labor today needs to re-adopt some of that liveliness and simplicity of expression.
    Language is key. Although American culture is known for its individualistic, free-market ethos, Americans also believe very earnestly in "fairness" as a value – and college labor practices are badly lacking in fairness.
    Finally, when I asked fellow parents whether they would factor in whether a fair labor seal was affixed to their children's costly education, the answer was a resounding yes.
    The fair labor seal for higher education could easily gain momentum. If so, it might protect college freshmen from some pretty dark realizations. After all, discovering that your professor is dwelling in poverty is not the type of education any student wants.


    4) Rodrigo Duterte Jokes About Marijuana Use, While Thousands Die in His Drug War
    By Jason Gutierrez, December 3, 2018

    MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines joked on Monday about using marijuana to stay awake at official functions, but the punch line appeared lost on a nation where thousands of people have been killed in his antidrug campaign.
    At a ceremony meant to honor diplomats and employees of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Duterte said that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional group known as Asean that includes the Philippines, had a grueling meeting schedule. It was an apparent reference to local news reports that he had missed events at the Asean summit meeting in Singapore last month so he could take "power naps."
    Mr. Duterte, 73, said that attendance at some meetings should be delegated to the "lower echelons" or ministerial staff, and that leaders should tackle only the "most important ones."
    He said that on a recent trip to India, he had stayed up all night because he wanted to catch up on documents, "and the more that the crescendo becomes faster, the more you can't sleep because you're catching up on reading."

    "You do not want your president to look ignorant or sound ignorant, so I have to catch up with the reading. There really is no time," Mr. Duterte said.
    The meetings, he said, start early in the morning and can take up the whole day.
    "It's a killing activity. But at my age, I am not really bothered because I take marijuana to stay awake," he said to bursts of laughter.
    But not everyone was amused by Mr. Duterte's remarks, which came four days after a Philippine court sentenced three police officers to up to 40 years in prison each for the murder of a 17-year-old boy, the first convictions in Mr. Duterte's overarching war on drugs. Rights groups say that more than 12,000 people accused of being drug dealers or users have been killed by the police or unofficial militias since Mr. Duterte took office in June 2016.
    Gary Alejano, an opposition member of the House of Representatives, called the joke "insensitive."
    "If you are making a joke on an issue that has cost the lives of thousands of people in your drug war, then what does that say? You also treat peoples' lives as a joke," he said.
    Mr. Duterte's allies quickly came to his defense on social media. Vicente Sotto, the president of the Senate, said it was a "very odd" statement for Mr. Duterte to make because marijuana is generally considered to have a calming rather than stimulative effect.

    Another political ally, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, said Mr. Duterte had told him that "he has never taken marijuana his entire life."
    Mr. Duterte, who has a history of making provocative comments, clarified later Monday that his admission was in jest.
    "I use plastic marijuana," he said.


    5) News Networks Fall Short on Climate Story as Dolphins Die on the Beach
    By Jim Rutenberg, December 2, 2018

    Ms. Gill found the first dead bottlenose dolphin of that day, wrote "This is not normal" in the sand below it and shared the image on Facebook Live.

    NAPLES, Fla. — Most people from the Northeast move to Florida to get out of the cold. Colleen Gill came to Naples because she heard the call of the wild.
    She had vacationed on this slice of coastal paradise for 20 years. She made regular jaunts to the Big Cypress National Preserve, home to cypress swamps and wild panthers. She kayaked in the Gulf. With each visit, she fell more in love.
    Ms. Gill and her husband own a hemp footwear company that they can manage from anywhere. So they sold their house in New Hampshire three years ago and headed down for good.
    Ms. Gill, 38, coveted her regular long walks on the white-sand beaches. By last summer, the walks had turned gruesome. Increasingly, there would be eels, tarpon and sea turtles dead or dying along the tide line.

    Federal officials pointed to a red tide algae bloom as the culprit. Its toxins deplete seawater of oxygen and kill the sea creatures that ingest it.
    Red tide has killed wildlife along the Gulf Coast for centuries. But the latest bloom has been unusually persistent. It arrived over a year ago, and its effects have been extreme.
    Ms. Gill and others here argued that human activity had contributed to the stubborn bloom. She joined the debate on Facebook, making the case that the combined effects of sugar plantations, fertilizer runoff and warming seas were sustaining the microscopic Karenia brevis algae species and making it more lethal.
    Many scientists agree with that assessment, arguing that human-based nutrients and climate change are at least exacerbating the red tide and other algae blooms.

    But Florida is run by a governor, Rick Scott, whose environmental officials had discouraged the use of the phrase "climate change." And this part of the state is Trump country, not to mention a vacation enclave for conservative media stars like Sean Hannity and Neal Boortz, who doubt the scientific consensus on the human contributions to climate change.

    On community Facebook pages, neighbors accused Ms. Gill and others of getting worked up over nothing. The algae bloom was nature running its course, they said.
    Irked by the debate and concerned that the news media wasn't doing enough to cover what she was seeing on the beach, Ms. Gill, whose father was a producer for CBS News, started shooting videos with her iPhone during her morning walks.
    "I started going around and filming more and more and more and more," she told me as we stood on the Naples pier.
    On Nov. 26, one of her videos went so viral that it drew the notice of The Naples Daily News and local news stations.
    In the video, Ms. Gill zoomed in on a six-foot-long, stiff, glistening dolphin carcass, its mouth frozen into a toothy smile. The creature was one of more than 20 dead bottlenose dolphins that had washed up on local beaches in recent days.
    "This is the seventh one in 24 hours," Ms. Gill said through tears in the video. "When is this going to stop?"

    At roughly the same time, in Washington, President Trump told reporters outside the White House that he had doubts about the climate change report his administration had released the day after Thanksgiving.
    The report warned that unmitigated global warming would take a huge economic toll on the country while causing crop failures, more extreme fires, stronger storms and, potentially, more severe algae blooms.
    "Yeah," Mr. Trump said, "I don't believe it."
    The administration had made the report public without any effort to soften its conclusions, as the administration of George W. Bush had done with similar reports. Under President Trump, it seemed no longer necessary to spin the particulars, Coral Davenport reported for The New York Times. The administration had hit upon a new tactic that drew from lessons that Mr. Trump had learned on the campaign trail: All you have to do these days to combat facts is to declare them false. Disdain is stronger than spin.

    As Steven J. Milloy, a skeptic of human-caused climate change and a member of the Trump transition team, said, there had been no need "to stop the deep state" from releasing the report when "this is made-up hysteria, anyway."
    Thankfully, cable news came to the rescue by making sure that those who commented on air about a report produced by scientists across 13 federal agencies were trained experts.
    No, wait. That's not what happened.
    On CNN, the former senator Rick Santorum disputed the findings with a canard: "A lot of these scientists are driven by the money that they receive," he said. The network later came under fire when "AC360" had Mr. Santorum on again but canceled a planned interview with an author of the government report, the atmospheric scientist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University.

    On NBC's "Meet the Press," Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute attacked the climate change report by falsely stating, "We need to also recognize that we just had two of the coldest years, the biggest drop in global temperatures, that we've had since the 1980s," although 2016 and 2017 were among the warmest years on record.
    My depressing Florida journey took me from the deadly beach in Naples to the other side of the state, where I met with Benjamin Kirtman, the director of the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami.
    He suggested that television news bookers change their approach if they want to accurately reflect the debate.
    Citing the NASA finding that 97 percent of actively published climate scientists agree that warming trends are "extremely likely due to human activities," Professor Kirtman said cable news shows should book three skeptics for every 97 nonskeptics.
    "You have 97 percent of climate scientists who understand the science and know what the reality is, and then you find a podiatrist from Yahupitz who's going to tell you not to worry," he said. "It's a false equivalence."
    We were in his office on Virginia Key, in Miami. If human causes of climate change go unmitigated, he said, the Biscayne Bay will overcome the road here at high tide half the days of the year by 2100. Last year Miamians voted to spend some $200 million on sea walls and pumps and drains to mitigate the effects of the rising sea.

    Yet despite that literal, concrete evidence, Professor Kirtman told me that a third of those he talks to about the data behind human-influenced climate change just don't buy it. So he has stopped trying to persuade that part of the population.
    "They're going to have to find out for themselves," he said, "when they can't sell their house."
    I hadn't heard that kind of pessimism from Mr. Kirtman when I met him four years ago while covering the governor's race. I wondered whether Facebook hadn't contributed to hardening positions, with increasing talk of the "deep state" providing denialists with a fresh line of attack.
    That sort of conspiracy-mongering was part of why Ms. Gill said she had decided to post videos of the red tide carnage in Naples.
    She knew that in the "fake news" era doubters could accuse her of doctoring evidence, so she came up with a solution: "I decided to do it on Facebook Live, so people couldn't be like, 'You made that up,'" she told me.
    Still, not everyone was convinced by her posts, which have at times been met by ridicule, vitriol and ugly name-calling.
    On the other hand, as the arrival of television news crews suggested, she seemed to be breaking through.
    By the end of my time with Ms. Gill, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared that 42 dolphins had died in the previous 10 days. And a new emergency was breaking out. Sea birds — including sandwich terns and common terns — were dropping out of the sky, dying by the hundreds.

    Veterinarians at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida were deluged. The director, Joanna Fitzgerald, told me they weren't ready to blame red tide. Working in the reality business, they were awaiting lab results. But she added that she had never seen anything like it in 25 years.
    "I don't understand the denial when there is proof of something like this affecting the animals," Ms. Fitzgerald said. "I mean, you can't keep denying it."
    After a pause, she added, "I mean, obviously, you can. Because people are."

    Doris Burke contributed research from New York.


    6)  Yes, Jury Selection Is as Racist as You Think. Now We Have Proof.
    By Ronald Wright, December 4, 2018

    An instructional video for potential jurors is shown in the jury assembly room at the Court for the Southern District of New York.

    Race, as a matter of constitutional principle, cannot factor into the selection of jurors for criminal trials. But in the American justice system, anyone with a bit of common sense and a view from the back of the courtroom knows the colorblind ideal isn't true in practice.

    Racial bias largely seeps in through what's called "peremptory" challenges: the ability of a prosecutor — and then a defense attorney — to block a certain number of potential jurors without needing to give the court any reason for the exclusion.

    The number of challenges allowed varies by state, but commonly 15 or more are permitted. Folk wisdom, among those familiar with the song and dance, is that prosecutors use these challenges to remove nonwhite jurors, who are statistically more likely to acquit, while defense attorneys — who can step in only after the pool has been narrowed by prosecutors — typically counteract by removing more white jurors.

    For a long time, the opacity of court records rendered the dynamic as only that — folk wisdom — which has made it difficult to articulate the urgent need to reform this understudied aspect of our system. But now, this informal knowledge has been empirically confirmed, and the case for change couldn't be more compelling.

    My recently published research on juror removal in North Carolina conducted with colleagues at the Wake Forest University School of Law proves — for the first time with statewide evidence — that peremptory challenges are indeed a vehicle for veiled racial bias that results in juries less sympathetic to defendants of color.

    Based on statewide jury selection records, our Jury Sunshine Projectdiscovered that prosecutors remove about 20 percent of African-Americans available in the jury pool, compared with about 10 percent of whites. Defense attorneys, seemingly in response, remove more of the white jurors (22 percent) than black jurors (10 percent) left in the post-judge-and-prosecutor pool.

    The data also show variety within the state: Prosecutors in urban areas, which tend to have larger minority populations, remove nonwhite jurors at a higher rate than prosecutors do in other parts of the state. Finally, we discovered, to our surprise, that judges also remove black jurors "for cause" about 20 percent more often than they remove available white jurors.

    When the dust settles at the close of jury selection, defense attorneys' actions in the last leg of the process do not cancel out the combined skewed actions from prosecutors and judges. The consistent result is African-Americans occupying a much smaller percentage of seats in the jury box than they did in the original jury pool.

    This winnowing of nonwhite jurors is not a quirk of just one state. Earlier this year, investigative journalists in Mississippi and Louisiana collected and published jury data from public records that confirmed similar practices in some areas within those states. And given the parallel results identified in county-level studies and in death penalty cases, the pattern probably holds true for jury selection in most states.

    It is not possible, even with this new data, to say exactly why a prosecutor, defense attorney or judge decides to remove any particular juror in a single case. But this racially skewed trend, played out across many cases, is persistent. And it has two especially pernicious effects on the quality of criminal justice.

    First, the defendant is not judged by a jury that reflects a cross-section of his or her community — a violation of the courts' interpretation of the Sixth Amendment. In a system that already disproportionately prosecutes people of color, hedging the constitutional rights of defendants can be particularly harmful.

    Second, excluded parts of the community become more cynical about the justice system when they repeatedly see barriers to jury service. If people from certain similar neighborhoods are constantly getting booted from juries, then it's tempting for residents there to view the police — and prosecutors — as hostile occupiers rather than partners in public safety.

    In theory, the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, as interpreted in Batson v. Kentucky, prevents attorneys from removing jurors on the basis of race. But "Batson claims" rarely succeed because they require the judge to declare the proposed stated reason for removal was only a pretext hiding discriminatory intent — a notoriously steep standard.

    To address the problem, state courts could adopt rules such as the one that the Washington Supreme Court approved last April. The new rule makes it easier to stop juror removals rooted in implicit racial bias by outlawing peremptory challenges defended with explanations highly correlated with race, like "prior contact with law enforcement" or "living in a high-crime neighborhood."

    There are now over half a dozen states completely controlled by Democrats, whose ascendant progressive wing would presumably support such nondiscrimination protections.

    Another answer — which could gain support in even the toughest of "tough on crime" red states — is simply to publish more information on jury selection. The details of judge and attorney removals of jurors is already public record, but those details usually remain buried in the hard-copy files of court clerks across the country.

    While this year's successful research shows how journalists and scholars can collect these far-flung records into a useful database, the process can take months or years of driving from courthouse to courthouse, digging out the files of cases that went to trial, recording the clerk's notations from those files and turning to online resources for background information on judges and lawyers.

    States could instead — without much work — just plainly make all jury selection information available online and keyword searchable, easing access for journalists and voters alike.

    In most states, voters choose their prosecutors and their judges; and with journalists on hand to swiftly analyze digitized public records of the jury selection habits of prosecutors and judges, citizens could evaluate incumbents' tendencies as a measure of success or failure.

    These two reforms alone would greatly aid efforts to hold prosecutors and judges accountable as well as shore up public trust in the criminal justice system.

    The status quo shows that a barely enforceable constitutional doctrine isn't enough. It's time to bring this vital process of justice from behind closed doors and into the sunlight. It's the only way to ensure that defendants are judged by a representative cross section of their community, not the filtered few that litigants want to see in the jury box.

    Ronald Wright (@wrightrf) is a professor of criminal law at Wake Forest University. A former trial attorney with the Department of Justice, he is now a board member of the Prosecution and Racial Justice Project.

    7) France Suspends Fuel Tax Increase That Spurred Violent Protests
    By Adam Nossiter, December 4, 2018
    "'We're not satisfied because the French have been struggling for years now,' Benjamin Cauchy, one of the spokesmen, said on BFM TV, a television news channel. 'This could have been done weeks ago, and we would have avoided all these problems. Our demands are much bigger than this moratorium. They've got to stop hitting the wallets of the small earners. We want a better distribution of wealth, salary increases. It's about the whole baguette, not just the crumbs.' ...The movement quickly latched onto much wider and deeper discontentwith Mr. Macron's fiscal policies, which were seen even by economists close to him as favoring the rich. The protesters quickly noted that the president had moved quickly to eliminate the tax on the wealthy, and then proceeded to raise taxes on pensions and gasoline.
    Protesters say that their purchasing power has dwindled so much that they have trouble making ends meet in rural areas and in the suburbs and exurbs of big cities, where people need cars not just to get to work but also to conduct their daily lives."

    Prime Minister Édouard Philippe, center, before announcing the suspension on rising fuel taxes in Paris on Tuesday.

    PARIS — In a major concession by President Emmanuel Macron, France will suspend for six months a tax increase on gasoline and diesel fuel that had been slated for January, in an attempt to quell weeks of protests and rioting by the so-called Yellow Vests movement.

    Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced the move on Tuesday after briefing lawmakers in a closed-door meeting in Parliament.

    "No tax warrants putting the unity of the nation in danger," Mr. Philippe said.

    For the past three weeks, the Yellow Vests protest movement has swept across France, clashing with the police and wreaking havoc in Paris and other major cities, defacing famed monuments such as the Arc de Triomphe.

    The projected gas tax increase was equivalent to only a few cents a gallon, but it proved to be a tipping point in a country that already has some of the highest taxes in Europe, sending tens of thousands of protesters into the streets. Many came from small villages and towns where living standards are declining in an era of stagnant salaries.

    It was not immediately clear whether the government's announcement, which also delayed new vehicle inspection measures and increases in gas and electricity rates, would be enough to calm the demonstrations. Initial reaction from spokesmen for Yellow Vest protesters was negative.

    "We're not satisfied because the French have been struggling for years now," Benjamin Cauchy, one of the spokesmen, said on BFM TV, a television news channel. "This could have been done weeks ago, and we would have avoided all these problems. Our demands are much bigger than this moratorium. They've got to stop hitting the wallets of the small earners. We want a better distribution of wealth, salary increases. It's about the whole baguette, not just the crumbs."

    Lionel Cucchi, a spokesman in Marseille, told BFM TV that protesters were prepared to continue.

    "There's no guarantee it won't be back in six months," he said of the gas tax. "There will be more demonstrations. We remain mobilized."

    Mr. Macron had made it a hallmark of his government not to give in to the kind of street protests that often forced his predecessors to back down. But this time he apparently had no choice.

    The prime minister spent most of Monday consulting representatives of the country's main political forces.

    "One would have to be deaf and blind not to see or hear the anger," Mr. Philippe said on Tuesday, saying it had come from the "France that works, and works hard, and that is having trouble making ends meet."

    He added, "This anger is rooted in a profound injustice, that of not being able to live decently from the fruits of one's work, of not being able to provide for the needs of one's children."

    The tax increase was one in a series of increments meant in part to help finance the transition to cleaner energy.

    But it set off the Yellow Vests movement — named after the high-visibility jackets that all drivers must have — that amounted to the biggest challenge to Mr. Macron's presidency since he was elected in 2017.

    The movement quickly latched onto much wider and deeper discontentwith Mr. Macron's fiscal policies, which were seen even by economists close to him as favoring the rich. The protesters quickly noted that the president had moved quickly to eliminate the tax on the wealthy, and then proceeded to raise taxes on pensions and gasoline.

    Protesters say that their purchasing power has dwindled so much that they have trouble making ends meet in rural areas and in the suburbs and exurbs of big cities, where people need cars not just to get to work but also to conduct their daily lives.

    To the protesters, Mr. Macron, a 40-year-old former banker with no political experience before he was elected, is concerned about "the end of the world," while they are worried about "the end of the month."

    The third weekend of demonstrations on Saturday turned violent around the country and especially in Paris, where protesters fought running battles with riot police officers, set cars on fire, shattered store windows and attacked banks.

    The protests, responsible for millions of dollars in property damage and lost tourism revenue, have highlighted a deep socio-economic split in the country: On one hand are a few prosperous cities, where many residents strongly supported Mr. Macron in the 2017 election, and on the other are the struggling rural areas and small towns of the postindustrial era that either voted for candidates on the extremes or did not vote at all.

    It is that second France that has come into the streets against Mr. Macron in recent weeks, furious over his perceived tilt toward the wealthy and demanding his resignation. The French president has until now tried to sail above the discontent, deploying lofty abstractions and determined to discourage the French from using cars.

    That response has gone down badly in the provinces, with protesters erecting mock presidential palaces at traffic circles and demanding his resignation.

    Throughout Paris, where the cost of damage has been estimated at 4 million euros, or $4.5 million, protesters sprayed graffiti that read "Macron resignation" and, on the Arc de Triomphe, "We've chopped off heads for less than this."

    Mr. Macron inspected the damaged monument on Sunday and had lunch with police forces on Monday, but so far he has not publicly addressed the unrest since his return from the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina. Many protesters see his silence as evidence that he is disconnected from the movement's demands.

    Although the protests have been modest in size, they have been unusual in their spontaneous and widespread nature, and they have received enormous support on social media and near-constant coverage by the French news media.

    The movement has so far failed to name representatives who could negotiate with the government. A meeting between Mr. Philippe and moderate members of the Yellow Vests was canceled on Tuesday after two of them said they had received death threats from within their own movement.

    The demonstrations spread on Monday to high school students, who blocked more than 100 schools to protest some of the government's education policies and to show support for the Yellow Vests movement.

    Members of Mr. Macron's party have warned against the rigid, solitary governing style of the president, while the far-right and far-left leaders, Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, have called for the dissolution of the National Assembly, the lower house of Parliament.

    "Emmanuel Macron must question himself," Daniel Cohn-Bendit, a former Green Party member of the European Parliament and a supporter of the president, said on France Inter radio.

    "The moratorium is not enough," he said about the suspension of the fuel tax. "It's not a shame to back away."

    Protesters have already argued that the government's concession would not be enough.

    "We have to stop stealing from the pockets of low-income taxpayers," said Mr. Cauchy, one of the Yellow Vests, on BFM TV. Mr. Cauchy also asked for increases in the minimum wage and pensions.

    "We are not going to drop our guard," he added, calling for another weekend of protests.

    Elian Peltier and Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.


    8) Black Man Killed by Police in Alabama Was Shot From Behind, Autopsy Shows
    By Daniel Victor, December 4, 2018

    Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr.

    A black man killed by the police in an Alabama mall in November was shot three times from behind, according to a forensic examination commissioned by the man's family.

    The finding, announced in a news conference on Monday, was seen by the man's family and lawyers as evidence he was running away and posed no threat to the officer who shot him.

    Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was fatally shot in the middle of a panicked crowd at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover, Ala., on Nov. 22, as officers responded to reports of gunshots on Thanksgiving night. Witnesses said Mr. Bradford, who was legally carrying a handgun, was directing shoppers to safety.

    But the authorities publicly identified him as the gunman, an initial misidentification they retracted a day later. The shooting and its aftermath have ignited protests in Hoover, a predominantly white suburb about 10 miles south of Birmingham.

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson opened the Monday news conference with a prayer. Mr. Bradford's father, Emantic Bradford Sr., said the officer should be charged with homicide.

    "You're a coward," the elder Mr. Bradford said, addressing the unnamed police officer. "What you have done is destroy my family."

    The forensic examination indicated Mr. Bradford was shot in his back, the back of his head and the back of his neck.

    "All of these shots were potentially kill shots," said Ben Crump, the Bradford family's lawyer.

    The police have not released video of the shooting. In a statement on Monday, Nick Derzis, the Hoover police chief, said the law enforcement authorities had advised them that releasing the video too early could compromise the investigation.

    "While we maintain our commitment to be fully transparent during this process, we must respect the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency's request for full cooperation and continue to have faith in the judicial process," he said. "We want the whole truth, unimpeded and not delayed."

    Patience may be wearing thin. A Hoover City Council meeting was adjourned Monday night after protesters repeatedly shouted "E.J.," the name Mr. Bradford was commonly known by, and "no justice, no peace," according to The Associated Press.

    Mr. Crump said the family found it difficult to trust the authorities about waiting to release the video "after they were lied to before." Mr. Jackson suggested that any delay in publicly airing the footage would not serve justice.

    "Until the tapes are released, it's a cover-up," Mr. Jackson said on Monday.

    Days after the shooting, the police arrested the man who they said fired the initial shots that caused the panic in the mall: Erron Martez Dequan Brown, 20. They charged him with attempted murder.

    "The Council wants to formally express their regret for the misinformation provided to the public that later implicated E.J. Bradford, Jr. as the shooter in the November 22nd incident of violence," the council said in a statement on Monday.


    9) The End of Privacy Began in the 1960s
    By Margaret O'Mara, December 5, 2018

    A view of the F.B.I. National Crime Information Center in Washington in 1967. In the 1960s, lawmakers began to question the government's gathering of Americans' data.

    In the fall of 1965, President Lyndon Johnson's administration announced a plan to consolidate hundreds of federal databases into one centralized National Data Bank. It was meant as an efficiency move to make the Great Society even greater.

    But there were many Americans who were worried about privacy — from civil rights leaders and student activists under surveillance by the F.B.I. to lawmakers who had begun to question J. Edgar Hoover's use of his electronic arsenal — and the National Data Bank confirmed their darkest fears. In the years that followed, Congress convened headline-making hearings, slamming the databank idea and warning of government information-gathering run amok.

    The privacy warriors of the 1960s would have been astounded by what the tech industry has become. They would be more amazed to realize that the policy choices they made back then — to demand data transparency rather than limit data collection, and to legislate the behavior of government but not private industry — enabled today'stech giants to become as large and powerful as they are.

    The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to question Sundar Pichai, the chief executive of Google, over allegations of bias in its algorithms, and energized Democrats are vowing to turn up the heat on tech companies over antitrust and privacy when they take over House leadership in January. There is a growing recognition in Silicon Valley and Washington that current data privacy regulations need to be changed. Understanding how American lawmakers approached these issues in the past is essential to getting it right this time.

    The mid-1960s were the heyday of punch-card-powered mainframe computers. In the two decades since their invention, digital machines had proved capable of processing a dizzying amount of information. Much of this data was personal, from medical information to military records to the type of cereal families bought at the supermarket, and there were no legal limits on what kind of data could be collected or by whom. The targeted marketing business until then had been largely left alone by regulators because it was so inexact. The computer age, however, transformed consumer targeting into a far more powerful science.

    Worries about data privacy erupted in the spring of 1964 with the publication of "The Naked Society," by Vance Packard, a journalist best known for his unsparing critique of modern advertising. "The Naked Society" made a comparable assessment of the marketing schemes of big corporations, noting their immense and profitable traffic in personal data about American consumers. But he trained most of his attention on the entity that was then the largest user of mainframe computing power: the United States government.

    Unnerving amounts of personal information now could be sucked into bureaucratic databases, Packard observed. "There are banks of giant memory machines that conceivably could recall in a few seconds every pertinent action — including failures, embarrassments or possibly incriminating acts — from the lifetime of each citizen," he wrote.

    Packard hit a nerve. Congress convened a Special Subcommittee on the Invasion of Privacy and started hearings into the government's databank proposal in July 1966. The leading privacy crusader in the House, New Jersey's Neil Gallagher, was a Johnson ally who believed that the databank had some merit but that the plan didn't do enough to protect personal information. On the Senate side, North Carolina's Sam Ervin was a critic of the president's expansive domestic agenda and saw the databank as yet another sign of executive overreach. "The computer never forgets," Ervin warned.

    Amid the growing distrust of the government's decisions in Vietnam, the threat of computer databases became irresistible media fodder. "Would It Threaten Your Privacy?" a headline in The New York Times asked. "The names of most Americans appear repeatedly in government files," The Times noted, "for a total of nearly 2.8 billion listings."

    The uproar killed the National Data Bank. Over 100 pieces of data privacy legislation were introduced over the following years. The few that passed were landmarks — the Freedom of Information Act in 1967, the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1970, and the Privacy Act in 1974 — but all of them focused on individuals' right to know about the information these databases held. None addressed the question of whether this information should have been gathered in the first place.

    The push for data transparency rather than data restriction was in keeping with American legal precedents and political traditions that long predated the computer age. As the legal scholar Alan Westin observed in 1967, the United States cherished both individual privacy and the free flow of information, and the latter value usually prevailed. This was a contrast to Western Europe, where privacy was something to be carefully protected, and therefore treated with a far more robust regulatory approach.

    In being so relentlessly focused on the government's use and abuse of data, Congress paid little attention to what private industry was doing. American companies remained free to gather data on the people who used their products. 

    Congress is again wrestling with the balance between freedom of information and the right to privacy. Proposals for greater transparency — such as labeling bots so people know when they are interacting with a machine, and providing access for consumers to the data that companies obtain about them — are important first steps. But industry and lawmakers need to take a hard look at the data that companies are allowed to collect in the first place.

    Congress should recognize what it did not half a century ago: protecting privacy is bigger than quashing one databank, condemning one company or curbing one industry. And the decisions made now will shape technological generations to come.

    The computer never forgets.

    Margaret O'Mara, a professor of history at the University of Washington, is the author of a forthcoming book, "The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America."


    Paris Burning
    The popular "yellow vests" movement has backed French President Emmanuel Macron into a corner.
    By The Editorial Board, December 4, 2018

    People protesting in Paris on Saturday.

    The violent protests of the "yellow vests" in France have inevitably prompted comparisons with insurrections past, most notably the unrest of 1968 that effectively shut down the French government, and the tribulations of presidents from Charles de Gaulle through François Hollande who have fallen victim to street uprisings.

    There are similarities, partly expressed in the stereotype that the French favor change in the abstract but abhor it in practice. But it is the differences with the past that pose the major challenge as President Emmanuel Macron tries to find a way to defuse the anger without abandoning his needed reforms.

    One difference is Mr. Macron himself, who was not yet 40 when he was elected 18 months ago to a five-year presidential term. His own victory and the host of deputies he brought into the National Assembly were the product of a popular discontent with all established parties of right and left. But the reforms he launched — and especially the replacement of a wealth tax with a less onerous tax on the real estate of the rich — and his attempts to project a grand image, especially on the world stage, only deepened that malaise and earned him the sobriquet of "president of the rich."

    A relatively mild hike in fuel taxes, intended to lower France's carbon emissions, proved to be the last straw for a broad swath of people in the provinces and suburbs who believe that government ministers, bureaucrats, trade unions and especially the political class in a wealthy, complacent Paris are deaf to their economic struggles. Cars are indispensable in their lives, and a fuel tax increase intended to reduce vehicle use was an insufferable insult. Mr. Macron, without much political experience or an established party behind him, failed to see the anger rising, and when it erupted, seemed to have few responses other than retreat.

    Another difference with past protests is the uprising itself. It began and swelled through social media, without organization or a definable agenda, a wave of anger that rapidly swept up grievances from low pay to frustration with politicians of all stripes and on to the disparate demands of groups like ambulance workers or students.

    Donning the fluorescent yellow safety vests of emergency workers, the protesters became visible first at highway tollgates, then in cities, and finally in Paris. The "casseurs," violent vandals who often attach themselves to strikes or protests in France, joined in, until Saturday's eruption, when a peaceful march degenerated into a riot of flaming cars, water cannons, tear gas and destruction at the Arc de Triomphe and the broad boulevards radiating from it.

    But when the government tried to open talks, there was no one to talk to. Some unofficial interlocutors appeared but were pulled back by threats from other yellow vests. So Mr. Macron and Prime MinisterÉdouard Philippe were left with no choice but to retreat, suspending the fuel tax hike and tougher vehicle inspections and freezing gas and electricity prices, while warning that violence would not be tolerated. "I hear this anger, and I have understood its basis, its force and its seriousness," Mr. Philippe declared. "It is the anger of the French who work and work hard but still have difficulty making ends meet, who find their backs against the wall."

    The retreat is a dangerous gamble. In the view of the demonstrators, Mr. Philippe and his boss heard their anger only when they started torching cars on Avenue Kléber, not when it smoldered in distant villages. Social media is already buzzing with calls for more. Demands now include Mr. Macron's resignation and dissolution of the Parliament.

    Such steps would be big mistakes. Certainly Mr. Macron and his government have to pay much closer heed to the France outside Paris and other big cities, and they need to make far greater efforts to explain their measures and to lower their burden on the many people struggling at the borderline of poverty.

    But the power of social media to quickly mobilize mass anger without any mechanism for dialogue or restraint is a danger to which a liberal democracy cannot succumb. Mr. Macron and the Parliament were democratically elected only 18 months ago, and the reforms they have been pursuing, both within France and in the European Union, and on the environmental front, were what they openly promised in those elections and what France needs.


    11)  France's 'Yellow Vests': A Populist Movement Following Its Own Playbook
    By Adam Nossiter, December 5, 2018

    The demands of the so-called Yellow Vests in France are similar to those of other populist movements, but the uprising is not tied to any political party, let alone to a right-wing one.

    PARIS — Too little, too late: That was the reaction of the so-called Yellow Vest protesters to the French government's sudden retreat this week on a gas tax increase. The Yellow Vests, who have thrown France into turmoil with violent protests in recent weeks, want more, much more, and they want it sooner rather than later — lower taxes, higher salaries, freedom from gnawing financial fear, and a better life.

    Those deeper demands, the government's inability to keep up, and fierce resentment of prosperous and successful cities run like an electrified wire connecting populist uprisings in the West, including in BritainItaly, the United States and, to a lesser extent, Central Europe.

    What ties these uprisings together, beyond the demands, is a rejection of existing parties, unions and government institutions that are seen as incapable of channeling the depth of their grievances or of offering a bulwark against economic insecurity.

    But what makes France's revolt different is that it has not followed the usual populist playbook. It is not tethered to a political party, let alone to a right-wing one. It is not focusing on race or migration, and those issues do not appear on the Yellow Vests' list of complaints. It is not led by a single fire-breathing leader. Nationalism is not on the agenda.

    The uprising is instead mostly organic, spontaneous and self-determined. It is mostly about economic class. It is about the inability to pay the bills.

    In that regard, it is more Occupy than Orban — more akin to the protests against Wall Street driven by the working poor in the United States than the race-based, flag-waving of Hungary's increasingly authoritarian leader, Viktor Orban.

    In Paris, it was the luxury shopping streets, the Avenue Kleber and the Rue de Rivoli — insolent symbols of urban privilege compared with the drab provinces from which the Yellow Vests emerged — where windows were smashed on Saturday.

    But it is also about a deep distrust of societal institutions that are perceived as working against the interests of the citizens, and that will make this crisis particularly hard for the government to resolve. The Yellow Vests push politicians away and reject Socialists, the far right, President Emmanuel Macron's political movement, and everybody else in between.

    The movement was "totally unanticipated by the parties,'' said the political scientist Dominique Reynié. ''The system is in crisis."

    In fact, so far at least, France's movement remains relatively unstructured. It has yet to be hijacked by either the far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen, or the far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, try as they might to claim ownership.

    And that is what makes France's movement unique, compared with, say, the Five Star Movement in Italy, which grew up out of a similar disgust with political parties and a distrust of elites, and which has held itself out as the authentic expression of the popular will.

    But Five Star was always less movement than new-age political party. While organized over the internet, it was led by prominent figures (Beppe Grillo, for one) as well as more obscure ones (the Casaleggios) who stoked, channeled and harnessed the popular discontent from the start.

    Much the same can be said of the now-floundering U.K. Independence Party in Britain, which gave voice to Brexit and the public's rejection of European Union structures, as well as its class divides with London. Or for that matter, of President Trump, who demonstrates contempt for institutions. His rural and exurban supporters agree with him.

    "It is the same fear, anger and anxiety in France, Italy and the United Kingdom," said Enrico Letta, a former prime minister of Italy who now teaches at Sciences Po university in Paris. "These three countries have the highest level of class slippage," he said.

    For the 30 years after World War II, "they were at the top of the world," Mr. Letta said, "at the very center." These countries "used to live with a very high level of average well-being," he said. "Now, there is a great fear of seeing it all slip away."

    That fear transcends all others. Thus, in Italy, Five-Star's proposal for a "citizens' income," or guaranteed income like an unemployment benefit, helped the movement conquer the impoverished south. In Britain, Brexit was sold partly as an escape from the perceived crippling of financial constraints from the European Union.

    "There's this social distress that exists more or less everywhere," said Marc Lazar, a specialist in Italian history at Sciences Po. "Of people who are very worried about the future, not only are they suffering, but they have profound distrust of institutions and political parties. This is what we are seeing everywhere in Europe."

    Comparing the four countries — Britain, France, Italy and the United States — Christophe Guilluy, a French geographer who has studied the demographics of the "left-behinds," said "the sociology of the people in revolt is the same."

    "These are the people who feel endangered by the current economic model," which doesn't "integrate the greatest number," he said.

    In France, fury at the perceived distance of the executive has not helped the government.

    "The president has not once spoken to the French,'' the Yellow Vest spokesman Éric Drouet said on French TV on Tuesday, referring to Mr. Macron's relative silence over the last week. ''There's a total denial by our president."

    There is a paradox in the current French standoff, as Mr. Macron's rise was itself predicated on sweeping away existing political parties, and on a rejection of traditional intermediaries like labor unions.

    His campaign book was called Revolution, and it expressed a kind of contempt for the parties that had handed off power to each other for 50 years. Mr. Macron, by personalizing power and rejecting what had come before, helped create the world of institutional weakness in which the Yellow Vests are now flourishing.

    But his base, then and now, was exceedingly small, presaging his current wide rejection by the French, not just by the Yellow Vests. He won only 24 percent of the vote in the first round of voting last year — while his opponents on the far right and far left together won over 40 percent of the vote. Those numbers have now come home to haunt Mr. Macron in a political landscape where nearly eight out of 10 French citizens no longer support him, according to a recent poll.

    Mr. Macron, it turns out, is also a change agent out of step with the times, just as France's long delay in biting off structural economic overhauls has left it out of sync with its Western cohort. He is now trying to push through reforms to make France more business-friendly and competitive, as Britain did in the 1980s and Germany in the 1990s. Meanwhile, the global backlash is already cresting, fueled by the income disparities those changes ushered in.

    The partial sacking of Paris's rich, tourism-dominated districts last weekend was merely the physical expression of what all these movements feel deeply, in the view of analysts: hatred of the "winners" in the global system, symbolized by urban elites.

    "It's the provinces against Paris, the proud and contemptuous capital," Mr. Reynié said. "And Paris has never been so dissimilar to the rest of France. The fracture is very, very sharp."

    The combination of discontent and distrust has made the Yellow Vests an expanding force that almost certainly has yet to reach its limits. The protest has already changed from a revolt over a small gas tax increase to demands for higher salaries, and more.

    "Right now, give us more purchasing power," Jean-François Barnaba, a Yellow Vest spokesman in the Indre administrative department, told BFM TV on Tuesday.

    "The gas tax was only the beginning," said Tony Roussel, a spokesman for the movement in Marseille. "Now there are all the other taxes. There are salaries. There is the minimum wage."

    The government's response is especially fraught. On the one hand, top officials express sympathy, not daring otherwise as polls show wide support for the movement; on the other, the same officials are angry and exasperated over the violent challenge to France's institutional structure.

    The result is a kind of paralysis, halting adjustments that are only likely to invite more challenges.

    "They still haven't understood our demands," Mr. Roussel said by telephone this week. "This was like a firecracker in the water," he said of the government's six-month suspension of the gas tax increase.

    The protests will go on, he vowed — until deeper concessions are made.


    12) Digital Divide Is Wider Than We Think, Study Says
    By Steve Lohr, December 4, 2018

    Jena Louise working on her company website at Sparky's Coffeehouse in Republic, Wash. With internet access spotty in the area, she relies on the Wi-Fi there to do work.

    Ferry County in northeastern Washington spans more than 2,200 square miles of mostly forestland, rivers and lakes. And according to the Federal Communications Commission, everyone in the sprawling county has access to broadband internet.

    But that is not the reality experienced by the roughly 7,500 residents of this county, which is rich in natural beauty but internet-poor.

    The county seat, Republic, has basic broadband service, supplied by a community cable TV company owned by residents. But go beyond the cluster of blocks in the small town, and the high-speed service drops off quickly. People routinely drive into town to use Wi-Fi in the public library and other spots for software updates, online shopping or schoolwork, said Elbert Koontz, Republic's mayor.

    "We don't really have broadband coverage across the county," Mr. Koontz said. "We're out in the woods."

    A new study by Microsoft researchers casts a light on the actual use of high-speed internet across the country, and the picture it presents is very different from the F.C.C. numbers. Their analysis, presented at a Microsoft event on Tuesday in Washington, D.C., suggests that the speedy access is much more limited than the F.C.C. data shows.

    Over all, Microsoft concluded that 162.8 million people do not use the internet at broadband speeds, while the F.C.C. says broadband is not available to 24.7 million Americans. The discrepancy is particularly stark in rural areas. In Ferry County, for example, Microsoft estimates that only 2 percent of people use broadband service, versus the 100 percent the federal government says have access to the service.

    Fast internet service is crucial to the modern economy, and closing the digital divide is seen as a step toward shrinking the persistent gaps in economic opportunity, educational achievement and health outcomes in America. In some areas with spotty or no service, children do their homework in Wi-Fi-equipped buses or fast-food restaurants, small businesses drive to internet hot spots to send sales pitches and medical records are transported by hand on thumb-drive memory sticks.

    Accurate measurements on the reach of broadband matter because the government's statistics are used to guide policy and channel federal funding for underserved areas.

    "It's a huge problem," said Phillip Berenbroick, a telecommunications expert at Public Knowledge, a nonprofit technology policy group. "The result is that we're not getting broadband coverage and funding to areas that really need it."

    Telecommunications experts and some politicians have pointed to the shortcomings of the official F.C.C. statistics for years. Last year, the agency began a formal review, still in progress, of how to improve its broadband measurements.

    "Maintaining updated and accurate data about broadband deployment is critical to bridging the digital divide," Ajit Pai, the commission chairman, said at the time. "So we're teeing up ideas for collecting more granular and standardized data."

    The Microsoft researchers shared their analysis with F.C.C. officials. The agency declined to comment on the findings.

    The issue with the current F.C.C. statistics, experts say, is that they rely on simplistic surveys of internet service providers that inherently overstate coverage. For example, if one business in an area has broadband service, then the entire area is typically considered to have broadband service available.

    The Microsoft researchers instead looked at the internet speeds of people using the company's software and services, like Office software, Windows updates, Bing searches and maps, and Xbox game play. The Microsoft data is much more detailed than the official government statistics, said John Kahan, Microsoft's chief data analytics officer for external affairs.

    Microsoft plans to put the national comparisons, as well as state and county data, on a website this month.

    The Microsoft analysis also includes county unemployment data, which points to the strong correlation between joblessness and low rates of broadband use. The unemployment rate in Ferry County, for example, is 11 percent, more than twice the statewide rate.

    "The worst place to be is in a place where there is no access to the technology everyone else is benefiting from," said Brad Smith, president of Microsoft.

    Expanding broadband also benefits Microsoft and other tech companies because it enlarges the market for their products and services. And like others, Microsoft is promoting a potential solution.

    Microsoft's plan is a mix of old and new technology that involves harnessing the unused channels between television broadcasts, known as white spaces. The technology is sometimes called "super Wi-Fi" because it behaves like regular Wi-Fi but uses low-powered television channels to cover greater distances than wireless hot spots. It is a less expensive alternative to wiring homes, particularly in less-populated and remote regions.

    The technology is promising, experts say, but one tool among a handful needed to bring broadband connectivity to rural America. Other tools include fiber networks, satellite coverage and high-speed mobile service.

    A key challenge is bringing down the cost of devices that use white-space technology. In mid-2017, they cost $800, but are now just $300, Microsoft says. The goal is to get the price to $100.

    Last year, Microsoft announced plans to work with internet providers and hardware firms to propel the adoption of white-space technology. To date, the company says, it has deals in 13 states to bring broadband to over a million people in rural areas.

    Microsoft on Tuesday said its Airband initiative planned to reach three million rural residents by July 2022, a million more than its target announced last year.

    Microsoft is urging the government to keep the white-space broadcast spectrum open for public use. It is also pushing to get a larger portion of the more than $4 billion a year that the F.C.C. and the Agriculture Department spend in grants and subsidies to bring broadband to rural areas.

    Microsoft competitors and critics say one of the wealthiest companies in the world is lobbying for an advantage and government money. Broadcasters also worry the white-space technology could interfere with local television service.

    "Broadcasters have always supported rural broadband deployment," said Dennis Wharton, executive vice president for communications at the National Association of Broadcasters. "But we're skeptical whether Microsoft can deliver that service without significant interference and disruption to local television signals in smaller markets."

    In Ferry County, a white-space broadband effort will begin next year. Declaration Networks, a company that focuses on bringing broadband to rural areas, has just received a commitment for money from the F.C.C. for the project.

    "Ferry County has a lot of needs, and we're going to try address that," said Bob Nichols, chief executive of Declaration Networks, which is based in Vienna, Va.


    13) These 5 Numbers Explain Why the French Are in the Streets
    By Liz Alderman, December 4, 2018

    Graffiti equating President Emmanuel Macron to the king during the French Revolution, on the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris this week.

    PARIS — President Emmanuel Macron of France is facing the toughest crisis of his leadership after three weeks of violent protests across the country. "Yellow Vest" demonstrators have demanded that the government give financial relief to large parts of the population that are struggling to make ends meet.

    Prime Minister Edouard Philippe sought to calm the furor on Tuesday by suspending a planned fuel tax increase for six months, reversing a policy that had set off the revolt.

    But it's not apparent that this single concession can clear the streets.

    The Yellow Vest movement — whose followers wear or display high-visibility vests used in emergencies — has morphed into a collective outcry over deeper problems that have plagued France for years: declining living standards and eroding purchasing power. Both of which have worsened in the aftermath of Europe's long-running financial crisis.

    Here are some numbers that explain why France has erupted.

    France, like other Western countries, has seen a deep gap grow between its richest and poorest citizens. The top 20 percent of the population earns nearly five times as much as the bottom 20 percent.

    France's richest 1 percent represent over 20 percent of the economy's wealth. Yet the median monthly disposable income is about 1,700 euros, or $1,930, meaning that half of French workers are paid less than that.

    Many of the Yellow Vest demonstrators are protesting how difficult it is to pay rent, feed their families and simply scrape by as living costs — most notably fuel prices — keep rising while their household incomes barely budge.

    It wasn't always this way.

    Living standards and wages rose in France after World War II during a 30-year growth stretch known as "Les Trente Glorieuses." Pay gains for low- and middle-income earners continued through the early 1980s, thanks to labor union collective bargaining agreements.

    But those dynamics unraveled as successive left-leaning French governments sought to improve competitiveness in part by compressing wage gains, according to the French economist Thomas Piketty. Average incomes for low- and middle-income earners stagnated, growing by around 1 percent a year or less.

    The rich got richer, as top earners saw income gains of around 3 percent a year. Increasingly generous executive pay for very high earners has helped tip the scale.

    French workers are still better off than those in Italy, where real wage growth has been negative since 2016. Real wages there fell 1.1 percent between the fourth quarters of 2016 and 2017, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

    But while real hourly wages are rising in France, that growth has come slowly, even more so since the end of the eurozone debt crisis in 2012.

    France is the third biggest economy in Europe after Britain and Germany, and the world's sixth largest before adjusting for inflation. Visitors to Paris can come away with the impression that the glitz of the French capital means the rest of the nation is just as well off.

    But French economic growth was stagnant for nearly a decade during Europe's long-running debt crisis and had only recently begun to improve.

    The quality of the recovery has been uneven. Large numbers of permanent jobs were wiped out, especially in rural and former industrial areas. And many of the new jobs being created are precarious temporary contracts.

    Growth is key to improving working conditions for those who have been protesting. But while a nascent economic recovery before Mr. Macron took office has helped generate jobs, growth has cooled to a 1.8 percent annual pace, in tandem with a slowdown in the rest of the eurozone.

    The growth slowdown makes it harder to resolve another French problem: the large numbers of people out of work.

    Unemployment in France has been stuck between 9 percent and 11 percent since 2009, when the debt crisis hit Europe. Joblessness has drifted back down to 9.1 percent today from 10.1 percent when Mr. Macron was elected. But it is still more than double the level in Germany.

    Mr. Macron promised to lower unemployment to 7 percent by the next presidential election in 2022, and has acknowledged that a failure to do so could fan the flames of populism.

    But to achieve that, the economy would have to grow by at least 1.7 percent in each of the next four years, which is by no means certain, according to the French Economic Observatory, an independent research group.

    Mr. Macron has tried to re-energize the French economy.

    This year, he demanded an aggressive overhaul of the nation's rigid labor code to help employers set the rules on hiring and firing, and bypass longstanding restraints that discourage employers from hiring new workers. The provisions also limit unions' ability to delay change, by allowing individual agreements to be negotiated at the company or industry level between bosses and workers.

    Those reforms have helped draw companies like Facebook and Google to France. But they could take years to show results for average workers. And the reforms have angered workers who see a plot to strip them of hard-won labor rights in favor of big business.

    As part of his plan to stimulate the economy, Mr. Macron cut taxes for France's wealthiest taxpayers during his first year in office, including by creating a flat tax for capital income.

    But the centerpiece of the tax package, and the one that has drawn the most ire from protesters, did away with a wealth tax that applied to many assets of France's richest households, replacing it with one that applied only to their real estate holdings.

    That lowered by €3.2 billion, or $3.6 billion, the amount of revenue the state received this year.

    There has been little evidence of a stimulus effect. Instead, Mr. Macron has earned a reputation for favoring the rich — one of the biggest sources of anger among the Yellow Vest protesters.

    While high earners have enjoyed tax breaks under Mr. Macron's fiscal plan, purchasing power fell last year for the bottom 5 percent of households. The majority in the middle, about 70 percent, saw no gain or pain either way, according to the French Economic Observatory.

    Even before the Yellow Vests took to the streets, Mr. Macron realized that support was withering, and his government tried to pivot toward those left behind in the previous round of tax cuts.

    His 2019 budget, unveiled in October, will grant breaks next year worth €6 billion for middle- and low-income earners. It also includes an €18.8 billion reduction in payroll and other business taxes to encourage hiring and investment.

    While polls show that the Yellow Vests have the backing of three-quarters of the population, questions have swirled about how much pain the protesters are really experiencing — or how much of the outpouring can be chalked up to a centuries-old culture of demonstrating against change.

    France protects citizens with one of the most generous social safety nets in the world, with over one-third of its economic output spent on welfare protection, more than any other country in Europe.

    In 2016, France spent around €715 billion on health care, family benefits and unemployment, among other support.

    To get that help, French workers pay some of the highest taxes in Europe.

    While taxes are greatest on upper-income earners, France also has a value added tax of 20 percent on most goods and services. Together with the fuel tax that Mr. Macron's government just vowed to suppress temporarily, such measures tend to hurt the poor, while the wealthy barely notice them.







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