On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied..., "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , ‘Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973). Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save., , That's the law., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily. By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong. That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means.”, , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y
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Painting by Kevin Cooper, an innocent man on San Quentin's death row. www.freekevincooper.org

Decarcerate Louisiana

Declaration of Undersigned Prisoners 
We, the undersigned persons, committed to the care and custody of the Louisiana Department of Corrections (LDOC), hereby submit the following declaration and petition bearing witness to inhumane conditions of solitary confinement in the N-1 building at the David Wade Corrections Center (DWCC). 
Our Complaint:
We, the Undersigned Persons, declare under penalty of perjury: 
1.    We, the undersigned, are currently housed in the N-1 building at DWCC, 670 Bell Hill Road, Homer, LA 71040. 
2.    We are aware that the Constitution, under the 8th Amendment, bans cruel and unusual punishments; the Amendment also imposes duties on prison officials who must provide humane conditions of confinement and ensure that inmates receive adequate food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the inmates. 
3.    We are aware that Louisiana prison officials have sworn by LSA-R.S.15:828 to provide humane treatment and rehabilitation to persons committed to its care and to direct efforts to return every person in its custody to the community as promptly as practicable. 
4.    We are confined in a double-bunked six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another human being 22-hours-a-day and are compelled to endure the degrading experience of being in close proximity of another human being while defecating. 
5.    There are no educational or rehabilitation programs for the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1 building except for a selected few inmates who are soon to be released. 
6.    We get one hour and 30 minutes on the yard and/or gym seven days a week. Each day we walk to the kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, which takes about one minute to get there. We are given ten minutes to eat. 
7.    The daily planner for inmates confined in the N-1 building is to provide inmates one hour and 30 minutes on yard or gym; escort inmates to kitchen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to sit and eat for approximately ten minutes each meal; provide a ten minute shower for each cell every day; provide one ten minute phone call per week; confine prisoners in cell 22-hours-a-day. 
8.    When we are taking a shower we are threatened by guards with disciplinary reports if we are not out on time. A typical order is: "if you are not out of shower in ten minutes pack your shit and I'm sending you back to N-2, N-3, or N-4"—a more punitive form of solitary confinement. 
9.    When walking outside to yard, gym or kitchen, guards order us to put our hands behind our back or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. 
10.  When we are sitting at the table eating, guards order us not to talk or they'll write us up and send us back to N-2, N-3, N-4. ) 
11.  Guards are harassing us every day and are threatening to write up disciplinary reports and send us back to a more punitive cellblock (N-2, N-3, N-4) if we question any arbitrary use of authority or even voice an opinion in opposition to the status quo. Also, guards take away good time credits, phone, TV, radio, canteen, and contact visits for talking too loud or not having hands behind back or for any reason they want. We are also threatened with slave labor discipline including isolation (removing mattress from cell from 5:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.,) strip cell (removing mattress and bedding and stationery from cell for ten to 30 days or longer), food loaf  (taking one's meal for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and mixing it all together into one big mass, bake it in oven and serve it to prisoners for punishment.)
12.  When prison guards write up disciplinary reports and transfer us to the more punitive restrictive solitary confinement in N-2, N-3, N-4 or N-5, guards then enforce an arbitrary rule that gives prisoners the ultimatum of sending all their books and personal property home or let the prison dispose of it. 
13.  Louisiana prison officials charge indigent prisoners (who earn less than four cents an hour) $3.00 for routine requests for healthcare services, $6.00 for emergency medical requests, and $2.00 for each new medical prescription. They wait until our family and friends send us money and take it to pay prisoners' medical bills. 
Our concerns:
14.  How much public monies are appropriated to the LDOC budget and specifically allotted to provide humane treatment and implement the rehabilitation program pursuant to LSA- R.S.15:828? 
15.  Why does Elayn Hunt Correctional Center located in the capitol of Louisiana have so many educational and rehabilitation programs teaching prisoners job and life skills for reentry whereas there are no such programs to engage the majority of prisoners confined in the N-1, N- 2, N-3, and N-4 solitary confinement buildings at DWCC. 
16.  It is customary for Louisiana prison officials and DWCC prison guards to tell inmates confined in the prison's cellblocks to wait until transfer to prison dormitory to participate in programs when in fact there are no such programs available and ready to engage the majority of the state's 34,000 prisoner population. The programs are especially needed for prisoners confined in a six-by-nine foot or 54 square feet cell with another person for 22-or-more-hours-per-day. 
17.  Why can't prisoners use phone and computers every day to communicate with family and peers as part of rehabilitation and staying connected to the community? 
18.  Why do prisoners have to be transferred miles and miles away from loved ones to remote correctional facilities when there are facilities closer to loved ones? 
19.  Why are prison guards allowed to treat prisoners as chattel slaves, confined in cages 22-or-more-hours-per-day, take away phone calls and visitation and canteen at will, and take away earned good time credits for any reason at all without input from family, one's peers and community? 
20.  Why do the outside communities allow prison guards to create hostile living environments and conditions of confinement that leaves prisoners in a state of chattel slavery, stress, anxiety, anger, rage, inner torment, despair, worry, and in a worse condition from when we first entered the prison? 
21.  Why do state governments and/or peers in the community allow racist or bigoted white families who reside in the rural and country parts of Louisiana to run the state's corrections system with impunity? For example, DWCC Warden Jerry Goodwin institutes racist and bigoted corrections policies and practices for the very purpose of oppression, repression, antagonizing and dehumanizing the inmates who will one day be released from prison. 
22.  David Wade Correctional Center Colonel Lonnie Nail, a bigot and a racist, takes his orders from Warden Jerry Goodwin, another racist and bigot. Both Goodwin and Nail influences subordinate corrections officers to act toward prisoners in a racist or bigoted manner and with an arrogant attitude. This creates a hostile living environment and debilitating conditions of confinement for both guards and prisoners and prevents rehabilitation of inmates.
23.  In other industrialized democracies like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, et al, it is reported that no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them. Punitive or harsh conditions of confinement are not supported because they see the loss of freedom inherent in a prison sentence as punishment enough. One Netherlands official reported that their motto is to start with the idea of "Reintegration back into society on day one" when people are locked up. "You can't make an honest argument that how someone is treated while incarcerated doesn't affect how they behave when they get out," the official added. 
24.  Additionally, some Scandinavian countries have adopted open prison programs without fences or armed guards. Prisoners who prove by their conduct that they can be trusted are placed in a prison resembling a college campus more than a prison. The result is a 20 percent recidivism rate, compared to a 67 percent rate in the United States. 
25.  The National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) in a position statement says: "Prolonged (greater than 15 consecutive days) solitary confinement is cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, and harmful to an individual's health."
 What We Believe: 
26.  We believe that when the greater portion of public monies goes to war and the military, this leaves little funds left for community reinvestment and human development.The people have less access to resources by which to get a better idea of human behavior and rely on higher education instead of prison to solve cultural, social, political, economic problems in the system that may put people at risk to domestic violence and crime as a way to survive and cope with shortcomings in the system. 
27.  We believe that investing public monies in the rehabilitation program LSA-R.S.15:828 to teach prisoners job and life skills will redeem inmates, instill morals, and make incarcerated people productive and fit for society. 
28.  We believe that confining inmates in cellblocks 15-or-more=hours-per-day is immoral, uncivilized, brutalizing, a waste of time and counter-productive to rehabilitation and society's goals of "promoting the general welfare" and "providing a more perfect union with justice for all." 
29.  We believe that corrections officers who prove by their actions that incarcerated people are nothing more than chattel slaves are bucking the laws and creating hardening criminals and these corrections officers are, therefore, a menace to society. 
Our Demands:
30.  We are demanding a public conversation from community activists and civil rights leaders about (1) the historic relationship between chattel slavery, the retaliatory assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and the resurrection of slavery written into the 13th Amendment; (2) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the backlash against Reconstruction, Peonage, Convict Leasing, and Slavery; (3) the historic relationship between the 13th Amendment, the War Against Poverty, the War on Drugs, Criminal Justice and Prison Slavery. 
31.  We demand that the Louisiana legislature pass the Decarcerate Louisiana Anti-Slavery and Freedom Liberation Act of 2020 into law and end prison slavery and the warehousing of incarcerated people for the very purpose of repression, oppression, and using prisoners and their families and supporters as a profit center for corporate exploitation and to generate revenue to balance the budget and stimulate the state economy. 
32.  We are demanding that Warden Jerry Goodwin and Colonel Lonnie Nail step down and be replaced by people are deemed excellent public servants in good standing with human rights watchdog groups and civil rights community. 
33.  We are demanding that the LDOC provide public monies to operate state prison dormitories and cellblocks as rehabilitation centers to teach incarcerated people job and life skills five-days-a-week from 7:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. 
34.  We are demanding that the LDOC release a public statement announcing that "from this day forward it will not support punitive or harsh conditions of confinement," and that "no prisoner should be declared beyond reform or redemption without first attempting to rehabilitate them."
35.  We are demanding that the prison cellblocks be operated as open dormitories (made in part a health clinic and part college campus) so that incarcerated people can have enough space to walk around and socialize, participate in class studies, exercise, use telephone as the need arise. Prisoners are already punished by incarceration so there is no need to punish or further isolate them. Racism and abuse of power will not be tolerated. 
36.  We are demanding an end to unjust policies and practices that impose punishments and deprive incarcerated people of phone calls, visitation, canteen, good time credits, books and other personal property that pose no threat to public safety. 
37.  We are demanding that LDOC provide incarcerated people cellphones and computers to communicate with the public and stay connected to the community. 
38.  We are demanding the right to communicate with reporters to aid and assist incarcerated persons in preparing a press release to communicate to the public Decarcerate Louisiana's vision and mission statements, aims, and plans for moving forward. 
39.  We are demanding the right to participate in the U.S.-European Criminal Justice Innovation Project and share our complaint, concerns, and demands for a humane corrections program. 
40.  We are only demanding the right to enough space to create, to innovate, to excel in learning, to use scientific knowledge to improve our person and place and standing in the free world. The rule of law must support the betterment and uplifting of all humanity. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." 
41.  We demand that the responsibility for prisoner medical care be removed from DOC wardens and place it under the management of the state's health office; increase state health officer staff to better monitor prisoner healthcare and oversee vendor contracts. 
42.  We have a God-given right and responsibility to resist abuse of power from the wrongdoers, to confront unjust authority and oppression, to battle for justice until we achieve our demands for liberation and freedom. 
We, the undersigned, declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. 
Executed on this 28th Day of January 2019. 
Ronald Brooks #385964 
David Johnson #84970 
Freddie Williams #598701 
Earl Hollins #729041 
James Harris #399514 
Tyrone Carter #550354 
Kerry Carter #392013 
Ivo Richardson #317371 
Rondrikus Fulton #354313 
Kentell Simmons #601717 
Jayvonte Pines #470985 
Deandre Miles #629008 
Kenneth P. #340729 
Brandon Ceaser #421453 
Tyronne Ward #330964 
Jermaine Atkins #448421 
Charles Rodgers #320513 
Steve Givens #557854 
Timothy Alfred #502378 
—wsimg.com, January 2019



New Prison and Jail Population Figures Released by U.S. Department of Justice

By yearend 2017, the United States prison population had declined by 7.3% since reaching its peak level in 2009, according to new data released by the Department of Justice. The prison population decreases are heavily influenced by a handful of states that have reduced their populations by 30% or more in recent years. However, as of yearend 2017 more than half the states were still experiencing increases in their populations or rates of decline only in the single digits. 
Analysis of the new data by The Sentencing Project reveals that: 
  • The United States remains as the world leader in its rate of incarceration, locking up its citizens at 5-10 times the rate of other industrialized nations. At the current rate of decline it will take 75 years to cut the prison population by 50%.
  • The population serving life sentences is now at a record high. One of every seven individuals in prison – 206,000 – is serving life.
  • Six states have reduced their prison populations by at least 30% over the past two decades – Alaska, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York, and Vermont.  
  • The rate of women's incarceration has been rising at a faster rate than men's since the 1980s, and declines in recent years have been slower than among men.
  • Racial disparities in women's incarceration have changed dramatically since the start of the century. Black women were incarcerated at 6 times the rate of white women in 2000, while the 2017 figure is now 1.8 times that rate. These changes have been a function of both a declining number of black women in prison and a rising number of white women. For Hispanic women, the ratio has changed from 1.6 times that of white women in 2000 to 1.4 times in 2017. 
The declines in prison and jail populations reported by the Department of Justice today are encouraging, but still fall far short of what is necessary for meaningful criminal justice reform. In order to take the next step in ending mass incarceration policymakers will need to scale back excessive sentencing for all offenses, a key factor which distinguishes the U.S. from other nations. 

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[Note: China's population is 1,419,147,756* as of April 26, 2019 with 1,649,804 in prison***; while the population of the USA is 328,792,291 as of April 27, 2019** with 2,121,600 in prison.*** 



Plea for Medical Release for Mumia Abu-Jamal

Mumia and Dr. Harris

Dr. Joseph Harris MD Speaks on Mumia Abu-Jamal's need for medical release. Conversation with the O.G.M.D Series

"This is a people's victory"  Pam Africa.

Who would ever think that we would see this headline, in our lifetime.  This is the press release up on the Philadelphia District Attorney's website posted minutes ago.

The path to freedom is going to be hard and long, but we are on it.  When We Fight, We Win,
Noelle Hanrahan, P.I. Prison Radio

Mumia Abu-Jamal

See below: 

Statement: Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdraws appeal in Mumia Abu-Jamal case 

Contact: Ben Waxman
PHILADELPHIA (April 17th, 2019) — Today the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office withdrew its recent appeal of an opinion granting a re-hearing of some previously decided issues in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. We withdrew the appeal because the opinion we appealed has been modified consistent with our primary concern — -that ruling's effect on many other cases.
By way of background, Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of the murder of a young police officer, Daniel Faulkner, that occurred on December 9, 1981. Even after Maureen Faulkner, the wife of the victim, chose not to continue seeking the death penalty several years ago in hopes of closure, the case has evoked polarizing rhetoric and continues to assume a symbolic importance for many that is distinct from the factual and often technical legal issues involved in the case.
The technical issue at stake here is simply whether or not some decided issues need to be re-heard by a Pennsylvania appellate court due to one former judge's having worn two hats — -the hat of an apparently impartial appellate judge deciding Abu-Jamal's case after he earlier wore the hat of a chief prosecutor in the same case. Although the issue is technical, it is also an important cautionary tale on the systemic problems that flow from a judge's failing to recuse where there is an appearance of bias.
Justice Castille did not recuse himself before deciding appeals in the Abu-Jamal case and several others, including the Williams case. In the Williams case, the United States Supreme Court decided that Castille should have recused himself because of the role he took as a chief prosecutor in Mr. Williams's matter. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered that Mr. Williams's appeal be re-heard by the Pennsylvania appeals judges, without the taint of Castille's participation.
A similar question of Castille's role exists in the Abu-Jamal case. In order to help resolve it, our Office exhaustively searched hundreds of file boxes in relation to the Mumia Abu-Jamal matter, including six previously undisclosed boxes (now turned over to the defense, as required by law). While we did not find any document establishing the same level of involvement by Castille in the Abu-Jamal case as in the Williams case, we did find (and turned over) a June, 1990 letter from then-District Attorney Castille to then-Governor Robert Casey, urging that the Governor issue death warrants, especially in cases involving people who have killed police, in order to "send a clear and dramatic message to all police killers that the death penalty actually means something." Although the letter does not mention Mr. Abu-Jamal or his case by name, at the time Justice Castille wrote to Governor Casey, there were only three cases involving people who had been convicted of killing police that were pending. One was Mr. Abu-Jamal's.
In the end, the trial-level judge considering this issue wrote an opinion that agreed with us that these indications of strong feelings on the part of Justice Castille did not rise to the level of the direct and active involvement Justice Castille took in the Williams case but went further, deciding there should be a re-hearing of Abu-Jamal's decided issues anyway, based on more general principles of judges needing to recuse to avoid the appearance of bias.
We appealed, making it extremely clear in our court papers that our primary concern was with the overly broad language of the opinion and its potentially devastating effect on hundreds of long settled cases, decades after their cases were resolved, including its hurtful effect on victims and survivors. We highlighted our concern with the overly broad language of that opinion in five specific respects and specifically noted that we would re-consider appealing if the trial-level court issued another decision addressing the concerns we raised.
Although the judge was not required to do so, on March 27 he issued another decision that addressed the concerns we raised. The judge made clear that his opinion should not be read to mean that several hundreds of cases were disturbed — -it should be applied only to people convicted of killing police officers whose cases were in the District Attorney's Office while Castille was District Attorney (the category of cases Castille highlighted in his June 1990 letter to Casey). Given that the trial-level court has now addressed the concerns that led us to appeal in the first place, we have withdrawn the appeal.
Our decision to withdraw the appeal does not mean Mr. Abu-Jamal will be freed or get a new trial. It means that he will have the appeals that Justice Castille participated in deciding reconsidered by a new group of appellate court judges, untainted by former Chief Justice Castille participating in their decision. The trial-level judge has ordered the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and the defense to re-submit the legal briefs done in the past (which were written under prior administrations), effectively setting the clock back to where it was in the past.
The result will be that long-settled convictions in other cases will not be disturbed and that decisions made by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on the legal issues raised decades ago in the Abu-Jamal matter will no longer be tainted by the appearance of bias.  ===========end press release====================
Cuando luchamos, ganamos. When We fight, we win. 

Noelle Hanrahan
Director, Prison Radio
To give by check: 
PO Box 411074
San Francisco, CA

Stock or legacy gifts:
Noelle Hanrahan



Courage to Resist
daniel hale drone activist
Drone vet turned activist facing 50 years for whistle-blowing
Daniel Hale, an Air Force veteran and former US intelligence analyst was arrested May 9th and charged with violating the Espionage Act. Daniel is a well-known anti-drone activist who has spoken out a number of anti-war events and conferences. He's a member of About Face: Veterans Against the War, and he's featured in the documentary "National Bird." For years, Daniel has expressed concern that he'd be targeted by the government.  Learn more.
Hal Muskat
Podcast: "There were US anti-war soldiers all over the world" - Hal Muskat
"I told my command officer that I wasn't going to, I was refusing my orders [to Vietnam] … In his rage, he thought if he court-martialed me, he'd have to stay in the Army past his discharge date." While stationed in Europe, Hal Muskat refused orders to Vietnam and joined the GI Movement, resulting in two court martials. This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace. Listen to Hal Muskat's story.

Chelsea Manning returned to jail after brief release; Faces half million dollar fine in addition to another 18 months prison
chelsea manning resists
Since our last newsletter less than two weeks ago, Chelsea Manning was freed from jail when the grand jury investigating Julian Assange and WikiLeaks expired. However, a few days later, she was sent back to jail for refusing to collaborate with a new grand jury on the same subject. District Court Judge Anthony Trenga ordered Chelsea fined $500 every day she is in custody after 30 days and $1,000 every day she is in custody after 60 days -- a possible total of $502,000. Statement from Chelsea's lawyers.
Stand with Reality Winner, rally in DC
chelsea manning resists
June 3, 2019 at 7pm (Monday)
Lafayette Square, Washington DC 

Please join friends and supporters as we raise awareness of the persecution of this young veteran and brave truth teller. This marks two years of imprisonment of Reality for helping to expose hacking attempts on US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election. For more info, visit the "Stand with Reality" pages on Twitter or FacebookOrder "Stand with Reality" shirts, banners, and buttons from Left Together protest shirts.
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here . 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov. Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings . Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls.

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK
Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state. Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 
Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West. 
The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible. They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger. The world is still watching.
[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks.html
[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/



Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77
Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill. All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No. We aren't going for this. Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened. It doesn't feel good."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019.]



How to buy a gun in the U.S. and New Zeland:

New Zealand to Ban Military-Style Semiautomatic Guns, Jacinda Ardern Says
By Damien Cave and Charlotte Graham-McLay, March 20, 2019













Statement: Academic Institutions Must Defend Free Speech

The International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity issued the following statement on 23 December, signed by 155 distinguished academics and human rights advocates.

Petition Text

Statement issued by the International Committee for Peace, Justice and Dignity:
We, the undersigned, oppose the coordinated campaign to deny academics their free speech rights due to their defense of Palestinian rights and criticism of the policies and practices of the state of Israel. Temple University in Philadelphia, USA and the University of Sydney, Australia have been under great pressure to fire, respectively, Marc Lamont Hill and Tim Anderson, both senior academics at their institutions, for these reasons. Steven Salaita and Norman Finkelstein have already had their careers destroyed by such attacks. Hatem Bazian, Ahlam Muhtaseb, William Robinson, Rabab Abdulhadi and others have also been threatened.
The ostensible justification for such action is commonly known as the "Palestinian exception" to the principle of free speech. One may freely criticize and disrespect governments – including one's own – religions, political beliefs, personal appearance and nearly everything else except the actions and policies of the state of Israel. Those who dare to do so will become the focus of well-financed and professionally run campaigns to silence and/or destroy them and their careers.
We recognize that much of the free speech that occurs in academic and other environments will offend some individuals and groups. However, as has been said many times before, the answer to free speech that some may find objectionable is more free speech, not less. We therefore call upon all academic institutions, their faculty and students, as well as the public at large, to resist such bullying tactics and defend the free speech principles upon which they and all free societies and their institutions are founded.



Updates from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Justice for Rasmea Odeh! Justice for Palestine!

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression strongly supports Rasmea Odeh's right to speak in Berlin about the Palestinian liberation struggle. We stand with the many other organizations who condemn the German, Israeli, and U.S. governments' attacks on Rasmea and their attempts to silence her by revoking her visa and prohibiting her from political activity (see article about the March 15 incident).

The actions of these governments blatantly reflect their racist anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim views. But we want to draw attention to the underlying reason for their targeting of Rasmea. The attack on her right to speak is deeply tied to U.S. and German support for the Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism in Palestine. Moreover, the attack on Rasmea reflects these countries' imperialist strategies for control of the Middle East. By the same token, these governments are clearly acting out of fear - fear that when Palestinian women and activists like Rasmea speak up, it chips away at such countries' grasp on Palestine and the surrounding region.

The attacks on Rasmea and Palestine also relate to political repression taking place across the globe. Germany, the U.S. and Israel are attempting to silence Rasmea for the same fundamental reasons that the Duterte government has murdered and attacked activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines; that the U.S. government is trying to forcibly install a new government in Venezuela; and that the NYPD's Strategic Response Group is surveilling and harassing leaders and activists in the Black Lives Matter movement. The imperialists who are in power are clearly afraid that people like Rasmea might inspire others to rise up and fight back against the racist and oppressive system in place.

We want to send a message to these imperialist powers, to say that fighting back is exactly what we plan to do. It is imperative that we fight back against this unjust system that tries to silence Palestinian women like Rasmea. We demand that Rasmea Odeh be permitted to speak in Germany, and we demand an end to state repression against all Muslim women, and all Palestinians who have boldly raised their voices against the imperialist and colonialist powers that are oppressing people across the world.

Activists are not terrorists! We stand in solidarity with Rasmea and all Palestinian people in their struggle for liberation.

-- NYC Committee to Stop FBI Repression

Copyright © 2019 Committee to Stop FBI Repression, All rights reserved.
Thanks for your ongoing interest in the fight against FBI repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!

Our mailing address is:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
MinneapolisMN  55414

Add us to your address book



















Courage to Resist
Courage to Resist is working closely with our new fiscal sponsor, the Objector Church, on a couple projects that we're excited to share with you.
objector registry
Objector Registry launches as draft registration of women nears
The first ever Objector Registry (objector.church/register) offers a declaration of conscience for anyone to assert their moral opposition to war, regardless of age, gender, or religious affiliation. This serves to create a protective record of beliefs and actions with which to oppose a later forced draft. Given last week's release of the report by the Congressionally mandated commission on military service, this free registry is coming online just in time. Please sign up yourself and share with friends!
weekly meetup
You're invited to join us online weekly
This is a great way to find out more about the Objector Church and why we might be the religious humanist interfaith peace and justice community you have been looking for! Our live meetups are lead by Minister James Branum from Oklahoma City. This Sunday at 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern, if your not excited by the NFL's "big game", pop online and check us out at objector.church/meetup
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







To: Indiana Department of Corrections

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson Should Have Access to His Personal Property

Petition Text

1. IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII must be respected! Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) must be allowed to select from his property the items that he most immediately needs. He has been left without any of the material he requires for contacting his loved ones, his writing (this includes books), his pending litigation, and for his artwork. 
2. Kevin Johnson (IDOC# 264847) should be released into General Population. Prolonged solitary confinement is internationally recognized as a form of torture. Moreover, he has not committed any infractions.

Why is this important?

Kevin "Rashid" Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights.
These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners' rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid.
Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends.
At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners' belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for.
Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners' property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with.
On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be "security threat group" or "gang" related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as "gang" related. None of Rashid's property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison's own regulations and policies!
Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners' property goes "missing" or is tampered with, and prisoners' rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected.
Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. 
After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison's own rules.
We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected.

Sign the petition here:

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



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
To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.



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




    On Monday March 4th, 2019 Leonard Peltier was advised that his request for a transfer had been unceremoniously denied by the United States Bureau of Prisons.

    The International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee appreciates and thanks the large number of his supporters who took the time to write, call, email, or fax the BOP in support of Leonard's request for a transfer.
    Those of us who have been supporting Leonard's freedom for a number of years are disappointed but resolute to continue pushing for his freedom and until that day, to continue to push for his transfer to be closer to his relatives and the Indigenous Nations who support him.
    44 years is too damn long for an innocent man to be locked up. How can his co-defendants be innocent on the grounds of self-defense but Leonard remains in prison? The time is now for all of us to dig deep and do what we can and what we must to secure freedom for Leonard Peltier before it's too late.
    We need the support of all of you now, more than ever. The ILPDC plans to appeal this denial of his transfer to be closer to his family. We plan to demand he receive appropriate medical care, and to continue to uncover and utilize every legal mechanism to secure his release. To do these things we need money to support the legal work.
    Land of the Brave postcard-page-0

    Please call the ILPDC National office or email us for a copy of the postcard you can send to the White House. We need your help to ask President Trump for Leonard's freedom.

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    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 Transgender Woman Who Was Attacked in Dallas Last Month Has Been Found Dead
    By Jacey Fortin, May 19, 2019

    Muhlaysia Booker spoke at a rally in Dallas last month after she was attacked in a parking lot. On Saturday, she was found dead.CreditCreditRyan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News

    When a transgender woman was attacked in a Dallas parking lot in April, cellphone camera footage of the episode made national headlines, and the police investigated it as a possible hate crime.
    A month later, on Sunday, the Dallas Police Department announced that the woman, Muhlaysia Booker, 23, had been shot and killed. The police said it had no evidence linking the killing to the earlier attack.
    At a news conference, Maj. Vincent Weddington said that officers found Ms. Booker shortly before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and that her identity was confirmed on Sunday. They had been responding to a report of a shooting and found Ms. Booker "lying facedown in the street, deceased from homicidal violence," he said.

    Major Weddington added that Edward Thomas, the man who was arrested after he was filmed repeatedly punching Ms. Booker last month, was no longer in police custody, but that there was no indication he was linked to the killing.

    Last month's attack took place on April 12, shortly after Ms. Booker was involved in an automobile accident in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
    video of the episode showed a man the authorities identified as Mr. Thomas repeatedly punching a woman on the ground as she struggled. Other men in the crowd kicked her before a group of women helped her get away. The police said that people in the crowd shouted anti-gay slurs during the beating, and that Ms. Booker was hospitalized with a concussion and a fractured wrist.
    Attacks on transgender people have been rising, according to advocacy groups. At least 26 transgender people were killed in the United States last year, most of them black transgender women, according to the Human Rights Campaign, an advocacy group. The group has listed three transgender people who were killed in 2019 — not including Ms. Booker — and all were black women who were fatally shot.
    Those numbers may understate the problem because local officials are not required to report such killings to any central database, and because the police sometimes release incorrect names or genders, making it difficult to know that a homicide victim was transgender.
    At a news conference after she was attacked last month, Ms. Booker stood on a podium and faced a group of supporters, several of whom carried signs in support of transgender people.

    "This has been a rough week for myself, the transgender community and also the city of Dallas," Ms. Booker said.
    "This time, I can stand before you," she added. "Whereas in other scenarios, we are at a memorial."


    2) Medical School Doesn't Teach the 'Woman's Life Is in Danger' Curriculum
    I'm a doctor and I know how misguided these new anti-abortion laws are.
    By Jen Gunter, May 20, 2019

    Melissa Golden for The New York Times

    Over the past few weeks, Georgia, Alabama and several other states have passed restrictive, medically illiterate abortion laws that allow the procedure if the mother's life is at risk.
    I am an obstetrician and gynecologist trained to do abortions. I do not know how to translate these laws into clinical practice because often the language is preposterously vague and they include terms with no medical meaning. 
    In Alabama, for example, a doctor can "deliver the unborn child prematurely to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child's mother." 
    The legislation does not define what constitutes a "serious" maternal medical condition nor how "serious" it must be to prompt intervention. The language about how to terminate the pregnancy is similarly problematic. Does the vague word "deliver" mean an induction of labor, or does it also apply to a surgical abortion?

    Consider this untenable scenario from 1998 that sadly may become more common if these laws stand.
    I was asked to perform an abortion for a very sick pregnant women in her first trimester. She had a medical condition that was deteriorating much more rapidly than expected because of her pregnancy. She was not seconds away from dying, but her medical specialists were concerned that, in the next day or two, she would be likely to develop kidney failure. 
    While kidney failure can be managed with dialysis, preventing that from happening is the best medical course. Not only in the short term, but saving my patient's kidneys also would prevent a cascade of medical events that could end her life prematurely in the long term. After all, life expectancy is shorter on dialysis. That's why we do renal transplants. 
    My patient's specialists believed that, if she were not pregnant, they might be able to avoid dialysis. Ending her pregnancy would not save her life that day, but it might next week or next month or in five years. We don't have crystal balls in medicine, so we often can't say with certainty who will deteriorate with a given medical condition or precisely when.
    But that year, the Kansas legislature had passed a law banning abortions on state property, which included the medical center where I worked. But under the law, an abortion would be allowed to save the life of the pregnant woman.
    So when I received a call asking whether I could help this patient, my next phone call was not to the operating room to make arrangements — instead I called the hospital's attorneys. They did not know how to interpret the law either. Unless my patient was actively dying — for example, we were running a code for a cardiac arrest — an abortion would most likely be illegal. If I did the procedure, I would be fired.

    To reconcile our disagreement, the hospital's attorneys felt the only course of action was to get the opinion of the legislator who wrote the law. An attorney set up a conference call with this man so that I could plead my patient's case.
    I began to explain the medical situation, how ill she was. He interrupted me after a few seconds: "Whatever you think is best, doctor."
    My patient got the abortion and her health improved as a result. But I was furious. How dare some legislator applaud this monstrous law in public all the while deferring to a doctor's expertise in private.
    And things could have gone very differently. If the hospital's attorney had agreed that the abortion fit the legal requirement, then I would have provided the abortion without calling the legislator. But someone could still have reported me to the police. And then who would have adjudicated whether I was in acting in line with the law? The police? The district attorney? Twelve jurors? The governor?
    How would I have defended myself if I had been arrested? Medical malpractice insurance does not cover criminal prosecution. 
    Or what if the hospital attorneys had simply said no? I could have risked being fired. Or I could have faced a malpractice lawsuit for not intervening as was medically indicated. I would have had to endure the emotional burden of knowing I had the training to help save a patient but did not act because I was afraid of the government.
    If abortion restrictions come to pass, doctors may have to start calling politicians at home to find out how a law applies to their patient or else deal with the various ways these situations can go wrong.

    And what of the answers they might get when they call? I know a woman who is 21 weeks pregnant with ruptured membranes who has an intrauterine infection and medically needs an abortion. Does Gov. Kay Ellen Ivey of Alabama know this? 
    Women will die if laws like those passed in Georgia and Alabama are allowed to stand.
    The people who write our abortion laws are living in a post-truth world.So let me share some medical truths: Abortion is sometimes medically necessary, and women will have abortions whether they are safe and legal or not. Creating legislation that suggests otherwise does not change that truth.

    Jen Gunter, an obstetrician and gynecologist, is a columnist for The Cycle, which covers women's reproductive health, and appears regularly in The Times's Styles section.


    3) The Economy Is Strong. So Why Do So Many Americans Still Feel at Risk?
    By Jacob S. Hacker, May 21, 2019
    A Ford worker on the assembly line at a plant in Dearborn, Mich., last year. CreditCreditBill Pugliano/Getty Images

    President Trump is running for re-election on the strength of the economy, and why not? The unemployment rate is lower than it's been in five decades. The stock market is booming. Overall economic growth has been steady.
    There's just one problem: Voters are not particularly enthused about it. Recent polls suggest a substantial majority of Americans feel the economy is working only for "those in power." 
    A big reason for this disconnect is that many Americans feel insecure. They may be doing well at the moment, but they fear that, however high they are on the economic ladder, a single bad step or bad event could cause them to slip. A booming economy hasn't quieted these concerns, because insecurity remains a huge and growing problem in ways that voters and candidates instinctively get but the sunny job numbers largely hide. 
    Insecurity is the broad challenge that all 2020 presidential candidatesmust address — and it helps explain why Democrats are tripping over one another to present bold plans for universal health care, public retirement supplements, guaranteed jobs and a much higher minimum wage.

    Even with unemployment at a 50-year low, the job market is failing to reach millions of potential workers. That's because those who aren't working or looking for work are left out of the unemployment statistics. And the number of such workers has been growing: When unemployment was last down near 3.5 percent, in 1969, virtually all men ages 25 to 54 were in the work force. Today, the proportion is below 90 percent, the result of a long-term decline in work force participation that has hit men most severely, but has recently affected women, too.
    Other rich countries haven't seen this troubling fall, in part because they have policies that help workers find jobs, keep their skills up-to-date and balance work and family. Unfortunately, the United States hasn't done much on any of these fronts. It once nearly led the world in levels of work force participation; now it's toward the back of the pack.
    This reversal has had many bad effects. It's reduced the incentive to bid up wages, which used to be seen as the inevitable consequence of tight labor markets. It's also made unemployment less and less useful as a measure of job security.

    The basic problem is that most of the jobs offered today don't provide the guarantees that workers once expected. This transformation is obvious in "gig economy" jobs like driving for Uber. But the gig economy is still pretty small; for most Americans, the problem is that their work has been gig-ified. Corporations used to pool major economic risks within their labor forces. They did so because they could — the pressures of financial markets and global competition were less constraining. And they did so because they thought they had to if labor unions were to remain satisfied. Now those risks are mostly on workers alone.

    These changes aren't unique to the United States. Yet they're uniquely consequential because of how we safeguard economic security. The United States spends more on social benefits than any affluent country besides France once you take into account tax breaks and employer-sponsored benefits. But there is a big difference: We have a system that is premised on employers providing many of the benefits that governments elsewhere provide directly.

    In the mid-20th century, American corporations came to be seen as mini-welfare states, providing workers not only with job security and continuous training but also with generous health benefits and a secure retirement income. That world is gone, and it's not coming back. 
    In short, the implicit social contract that once bound employers, families and government has unraveled, and nothing has taken its place.
    This unraveling has taken different forms in different areas. In metropolitan America, it's seen in rising income volatility and the disconnect between wages and the skyrocketing costs of housing, health care and education. In rural and small-town America, the loss of productive employment looms larger. But what I've called the "great risk shift" is more or less universal for all Americans. 
    Which helps explain why ideas for tackling rising insecurity have broad appeal. At a recent town hall with Bernie Sanders on Fox News, the host thought he was setting a trap by asking audience members if they'd be willing to give up their employer-sponsored insurance for Medicare — and the audience cheered.
    Universal health care would go a long way toward strengthening economic security (I've advocated achieving universality through a big expansion of Medicare). Moreover, Medicare's ability to contain costs is so superior to the private sector's that a broadened Medicare program would ultimately free up enormous amounts of state and federal spending to tackle insecurity in other domains. 
    Equally important are new measures to help people cope with an insecure labor market. Candidates running to unseat Mr. Trump have presented a range of ideas — from the familiar (ensuring unemployment insurance reaches all workers and limiting employers' ability to classify their workers as independent contractors) to the pathbreaking (a federal system of paid family leave and a retraining and jobs guarantee to draw discouraged workers back into the labor market).

    Similarly, young Americans need a system for financing college that does not leave them deeply in debt. In an age in which the returns to college are not only higher but also more variable, it makes no sense to have young adults borrowing heavily to make a risky investment. Fortunately, proposals for debt-free college and income-contingent repayment of student loans are at the top of candidates' agendas, too.
    Forty years of risk-shifting won't be reversed easily or quickly. The jury-rigged system that is crumbling still has powerful defenders, and it still works tolerably well for advantaged workers. Most daunting of all, it's still far too easy to scare Americans into thinking that extending security to those historically denied it will make them worse off, rather than better protected.
    In an era in which trust in the public sector has plummeted, restoring economic security will require rebuilding that trust — and increasing the capacity of our governing institutions to earn it. But if Americans' unease amid affluence tells us anything, it's that we won't fix what's ailing our economy until we rebuild our fraying social contract.


    4) Pregnancy Kills. Abortion Saves Lives.
    Every Pregnancy poses a "serious health risk" to the mother
    "In Alabama, the overall maternal mortality ratio in 2018 was 11.9 per 100,000. Among white women, the 2018 maternal mortality ratio was 5.6; among black women, it was 27.6..."
    By Warran M. Hern, May 21, 2019

    Dr. Whitney Goldsberry, center, who practices gynecologic oncology, protesting with a group of medical professional in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, during the the March For Reproductive Freedom there on Sunday.CreditCreditMelissa Golden for The New York Times

    Pregnancy is a life-threatening condition. Women die from being pregnant. We have known that for thousands of years.
    They die from hemorrhage, infection, pre-eclampsia (which can lead to fatal seizures), obstructed labor, amniotic fluid embolism, thromboembolism, a ruptured uterus, retained placenta, hydatidiform mole, choriocarcinoma and many other causes that fill the obstetrics textbooks. Modern medicine can prevent and treat many, but not all, of these conditions. Some potentially fatal problems cannot be foreseen or prevented. Pregnancy always comes with some irreducible risk of death.
    There are factors that put some women at higher-than-average risk of death from pregnancy: age (to be an early adolescent is more dangerous), high blood pressure, many previous pregnancies, diabetes, obesity, a history of cesarean delivery, uterine abnormalities, a scarred cervix, a placenta previa (in which the placenta covers the cervix). A placenta previa can result in sudden, catastrophic hemorrhage that is fatal, and it can require a cesarean delivery — which carries its own risks — since a normal vaginal delivery is impossible.

    The measure of risk to a woman's life from pregnancy itself is called the "maternal mortality ratio." That is the number of women who die of causes related to or aggravated by pregnancy per 100,000 live births.

    In Alabama, the overall maternal mortality ratio in 2018 was 11.9 per 100,000. Among white women, the 2018 maternal mortality ratio was 5.6; among black women, it was 27.6, making black women in Alabama almost five times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy than white women. For the United States overall, the maternal mortality ratio was 20.7.
    By comparison, a study in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology on abortion mortality from 1998 to 2010 found that for the 16.1 million abortions performed during that time, the overall death rate was 0.7 per 100,000 procedures. The death rate for early-abortion procedures — those that took place within the first eight weeks of the pregnancy — was less: 0.3 per 100,000.
    Pregnancy is dangerous; abortion can be lifesaving.
    Alabama's new law claims that it does not prohibit abortion if there is a "reasonable medical judgment" that the pregnancy poses a "serious health risk" to the woman. An abortion may be performed if a "reasonable medical judgment" "necessitates" that a pregnancy be terminated to "avert her death or to avert serious risk of substantial physical impairment of a major bodily function." The definition of a "major bodily function" is not given, nor is it distinguished from a minor bodily function.
    But pregnancy itself poses a "serious health risk" — including the risk of dying and losing all bodily functions. A woman's life and health are at risk from the moment that a pregnancy exists in her body, whether she wants to be pregnant or not.
    All of the above raises multiple important questions: Could a doctor who determines that a woman is pregnant also determine, as a consequence of that pregnancy, that a "serious health risk" exists? Could that doctor then end her pregnancy without fear of prosecution? Who decides what a "reasonable medical judgment" is or what a "major bodily function" is? What are the criteria for these judgments?

    Does the Alabama legislature recognize that the effects of its new law, depending on how it is enforced, are unequal, since black women are more likely to die from pregnancy in Alabama than white women and so are more likely to benefit from the availability of safe abortion?
    Surely the Alabama legislature has carefully considered all of the above in drafting this law, which affects more than 2.5 million women in that state, some of them more than others.
    Or perhaps not. Maybe all of this is moot. Perhaps the goal of the Alabama law, in addition to triggering a legal challenge to Roe v. Wade, may be to discourage doctors from even practicing medicine in that state, lest they be accused of performing an illegal abortion and sentenced to prison for the rest of their lives. Perhaps the vagueness of the law and the confusion is the point. Vagueness and confusion are tools of tyranny.
    The intent of the Alabama legislature and its new law is clearly to prohibit and prevent abortions from being performed. But does it?

    Warren M. Hern, a physician and epidemiologist, is director of the Boulder Abortion Clinic in Boulder, Colo., where he specializes in late-abortion services. He is the author of the medical textbook "Abortion Practice," a comprehensive guide to performing safe abortions.

    My NYT comment:
    "It was the summer of 1950. I was five years old and my sister was three. My mom had been gone most of the day before and when she came home, she came into our room and laid down on the bottom bunk bed in the only bedroom in our small, three-room apartment in Brooklyn, New York. It was my sister's bed, so she had to slept on the top bunk with me that night. It was early morning when my dad came in and saw the blood. Then the ambulance came and took my mother away. My sister and I were crying. Our mom came home a few days later. It wasn't until I was an adult that I found out what had happened to her. It was at a meeting in support of Roe v. Wade and my mother told of her abortion. It was with a doctor and a nurse. It took place in an empty apartment on a kitchen table. There were no vacuum aspirators at the time so the doctor performed a D and C. After it was over, the nurse took my mom to a movie and made her stay there till the movie was over so she had an alibi as to where she was that day. The abortion didn't go so well. When my mother was taken to the hospital the doctors threatened not to treat her unless she told them who did this to her. She said it just happened. She didn't want to get the doctor in trouble—or herself. This is what women are up against. This is why my mother fought so hard for Roe v. Wade—she defended clinics, marched, spoke at meetings and rallies in defense of Roe v. Wade until her death on August 14, 2001. Her name was Sylvia Weinstein."



    5) My Rapist Apologized
    I still needed an abortion.
    By Michelle Alexander, May 23, 2019
    In 1992, more than 300,000 demonstrators marched on the Capitol in support of abortion rights.CreditCreditMark Reinstein/Corbis, via Getty Images

    My 12-year-old daughter recently asked me what I think about abortion. She walked into the kitchen, poked around the refrigerator, then spun around and blurted it out: "I can't decide what I think about abortion. I want to know what you think."
    My daughter is an avid consumer of the news. Unlike myself at her age, she's genuinely interested in political news — news about climate change, racial and gender justice, and the next election. As her question hung in the air between us, I knew immediately that she had read the news that our home state, Ohio, had just banned nearly all abortions with no exceptions for rape or incest. Kentucky had already done so, in a law that's since been blocked by a federal judge. Alabama would soon follow. Several other states were lining up in the queue, eager to strip women of the right to choose.
    I took a deep breath. Her question took me by surprise, and yet I had been waiting for it since the day she was born. I always knew the time would come when I would have to tell my daughters the truth: I was raped. And I had an abortion. One day, you may face these challenges too.

    By age 45, nearly one in four women in the United States will have had an abortion, despite a steep decline in abortion rates since 2008 that experts say is due largely to increased availability of contraceptives. The likelihood of rape is also high. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be raped in their lifetime. This estimate strikes me as absurdly low, given what I know about my close female friends and family members.

    I did not call my mother after I was raped, but I called her immediately after I learned that I had gotten pregnant as a result. It was my first semester of law school and I was terrified that everything I had hoped for my future was suddenly unraveling before my eyes. At the time, my father was unemployed. My mother was working a minimum-wage job. Miraculously, I was at Stanford Law School with a chance to pursue my dream of being a civil rights lawyer. But now everything was falling apart. I was devastated, emotionally wrecked, not only because I had been raped but because I was pregnant with my rapist's child. I wondered aloud whether I should just quit law school and give birth to the baby that had been forced inside me.
    My mother listened quietly. She then told me that she, too, had been raped at about my age. She was raped by her boss when she was 20 years old. It was her first sexual experience. As she choked back tears, she said she never wanted her own daughter to experience the same fate. I begged her to tell me what to do — should I have this baby? — but she gently refused. "This is your choice, Michelle. Thank God you have a choice."

    I found it difficult to face what had occurred. Like countless women, I found a way to blame myself: Why did I drunk-dial him at midnight? Why did I say he could come to my dorm room at that hour? Why didn't I scream? He wasn't a big man; he was rather skinny — muscular, but lean. Couldn't I have fought him off? I did say no, over and over, and tried to stop him. But his hand slipped over my mouth to silence me and his forearm pressed down across my shoulders to pin me to the mattress.
    I didn't call the police — not after he left my dorm room and not after I discovered I was pregnant. I never once imagined that calling the police could help my situation. It could only make things worse. I envisioned prosecutors, courtrooms and interrogations. I was trying to survive my first year of law school, worried I might fail out, wondering how I would make it through my first round of exams. The last thing I wanted was to become a court case myself. Nor did I want a baby. I had no extended family to fall back on; no one who could loan me money to help raise a child; no place to go except to my parents' rented home — a place that felt temporary, at best, given their financial insecurity and recent eviction. I did not want to give a baby away and I did not want to raise my rapist's child.

    At the time, I felt terribly alone but my circumstances were far from unusual. Black women have the highest rates of abortion in the country, undoubtedly due to the severe wealth gap between black and white families — a gap that holds even among the poor. The white household living near the poverty line typically has about $18,000 in wealth — primarily due to intergenerational wealth transfers — while black households in similar economic straits typically have a median wealth near zero. Although women of all colors who are poor are far more likely than those who have greater resources to choose to end their pregnancies, the situation for black women is especially dire. Although our families often want to help, as mine certainly did, that frequently proves to be a practical impossibility. A 2014 report found that for every dollar of wealth owned by the typical white family, the median black family owns just 5 cents. Even if I wanted to give birth to my rapist's baby — which I did not — I, like so many others, could not turn to my family for help.
    During my second year in law school, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case, Rust v. Sullivan, that many worried might overturn the constitutional right to abortion established by Roe v. Wade. I recall some male law students arguing that abortion bans wouldn't be so bad, so long as there were exceptions made in cases of rape. I wondered how a "rape exception" to an abortion ban could possibly help women, like me, who did not want to report a rape to the police and who could not possibly prove that a rape occurred if the man denied it. Criminal cases take months, even years, to be resolved. Would abortions be allowed based on mere allegations of rape without any proof? If not, what would a woman have to prove in a matter of days or weeks to get an abortion in the first trimester? How could she overcome the inevitable denial? What man would admit to rape knowing that he'd face a likely prison sentence? 
    My own situation proved to be highly unusual in one respect. The man who raped me admitted what he had done and apologized. I doubt if he would've done the same if I'd been legally required to report the rape to obtain an abortion. I know many women who've been raped; not one has called the cops.
    My rapist called the day after he violated me and left an awkward message on my answering machine saying he was sorry about "what happened." He did not use the word "rape." He asked me to call him back. I did not. More messages were left in the days that followed; each time he sounded more distraught, more apologetic, more despondent.
    On the day I learned I was pregnant, I finally decided to call. I wanted to punish him with the news. Look what you've done to me. I wanted him to know that his actions had consequences and this was something we'd both have to live with for the rest of our lives, no matter what I decided. When he answered the phone, he sounded relieved that I had finally called. I interrupted his efforts to apologize yet again to deliver my news. After a long silence, he asked quietly, "Are you sure it's mine?" I nearly threw the phone against the wall but instead steadied myself and told him coldly that yes, you did this.
    "Oh, no," he sighed. A long pause. "Are you going to keep it? It's your choice, totally up to you."
    "I know it's my choice," I replied.

    An even longer pause followed. The silence stretched between us and I refused to be the one to break it. Then he said slowly: "I know you don't believe me, but I am sorry. I didn't give you a choice. I will never forgive myself for what I did."

    I know many women yearn for an apology like that. Eve Ensler, the renowned feminist playwright, just published a powerful book, "The Apology," that lays out in wrenching detail what she wished her father had said to her after years of brutal violence and sexual abuse. What I experienced in my dorm room was far less horrific but I still couldn't accept his apology. I didn't even think I wanted one. I told myself that I wanted nothing from him. I refused his offer to pay for the abortion. I refused to allow him to drive me to the clinic or to care for me upon my release. I refused to allow him to believe that there was anything he could do to make up for what he had done.
    And yet, years later, I realized that I was free. I no longer felt fear, anger or resentment toward the man who raped me. Without even realizing it, I had forgiven him. It's difficult to imagine that I would feel the same if he had shown me no care or concern, or if I had been forced to endure a fresh wave of trauma in our court system, or if I had been forced to give birth to a child that I did not choose.
    My daughter listened to my story with wide, frightened eyes. She did not want to hear that something like this had happened to me or that it could happen to her. Eventually she asked whether I thought my rapist's apology was truly sincere. Her skepticism was well founded. After all, many abusive partners apologize over and over again for the harm they've done even as they continue to do it. I would never tell my daughter or any woman to accept an apology or to forgive a man who abuses her. Nor would I tell any woman whether she should or should not terminate a pregnancy. Those are not my choices to make.
    What I did say to my daughter, as she sat perched on our kitchen stool, is that I am filled with gratitude for the women who came before us — women who fought for the right to choose, who dared to imagine that we had the right to control our bodies and who said loudly and proudly that we should not be forced to bear children against our will. Roe v. Wade is rooted in a basic understanding that women's lives matter and that we have rights, needs and interests that don't vanish when we become pregnant. Pregnancy and childbirth can be extremely difficult — emotionally and physically painful — and bringing a child into the world is an enormous responsibility. Deciding whether or not to give birth may be the most important decision a woman will ever make, potentially changing the course of her life forever — or ending it. Black women, in particular, have high mortality rates during pregnancy. In some areas of Mississippi, black and Latina women are more likelythan women in some of the poorest countries in the world to experience a pregnancy-related death. Forcing any woman to see a pregnancy to term may be risking her life as well as her physical and emotional health.
    I said to my daughter, as a young woman, you will be faced with many difficult choices in your life and I cannot protect you from all that may come your way. You will have to decide for yourself what you think about abortion and everything else. I will always respect the careful decisions you make. But since you asked me, I will tell you: If we want to continue to have the rights and freedoms that were won in the generations that came before us, if we want gender and racial equality, and if we want the right to control our own bodies and destinies, we are going to have to stand up, speak out and fight for our right to choose.


    6) America's Cities Are Unlivable. Blame Wealthy Liberals.
    The demise of a California housing measure shows how progressives abandon progressive values in their own backyards.
    By Farhad Manjoo, May 22, 2019

    Homeless people sleeping on the pews in a church in San Francisco.CreditCreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

    To live in California at this time is to experience every day the cryptic phrase that George W. Bush once used to describe the invasion of Iraq: "Catastrophic success." The economy here is booming, but no one feels especially good about it. When the cost of living is taken into account, billionaire-brimming California ranks as the most poverty-stricken state, with a fifth of the population struggling to get by. Since 2010, migration out of California has surged.
    The basic problem is the steady collapse of livability. Across my home state, traffic and transportation is a developing-world nightmare. Child care and education seem impossible for all but the wealthiest. The problems of affordable housing and homelessness have surpassed all superlatives — what was a crisis is now an emergency that feels like a dystopian showcase of American inequality.

    Just look at San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi's city. One of every 11,600 residents is a billionaire, and the annual household income necessary to buy a median-priced home now tops $320,000. Yet the streets there are a plague of garbage and needles and feces, and every morning brings fresh horror stories from a "Black Mirror" hellscape: Homeless veterans are surviving on an economy of trash from billionaires' mansions. Wealthy homeowners are crowdfunding a legal effortarguing that a proposed homeless shelter is an environmental hazard. A public-school teacher suffering from cancer is forced to pay for her own substitute.

    And there is no end in sight to such crushing success. At every level of government, our representatives, nearly all of them Democrats, prove inadequate and unresponsive to the challenges at hand. Witness last week's embarrassment, when California lawmakers used a sketchy parliamentary maneuver to knife Senate Bill 50, an ambitious effort to undo restrictive local zoning rules and increase the supply of housing.

    It was another chapter in a dismal saga of Nimbyist urban mismanagement that is crushing American cities. Not-in-my-backyardism is a bipartisan sentiment, but because the largest American cities are populated and run by Democrats — many in states under complete Democratic control — this sort of nakedly exclusionary urban restrictionism is a particular shame of the left. 
    There are many threads in the story of America's increasingly unlivable cities. One continuing tragedy is the decimation of local media and the rise of nationalized politics in its place. In America the "local" problems plaguing cities are systematically sidelined by the structure of the national media and government, in which the presidency, the Senate and the Supreme Court are all constitutionally tilted in favor of places where no one lives. (There are more than twice as many people in my midsize suburban county, Santa Clara, as there are in the entire state of North Dakota, with its two United States senators.) 
    That's why, aside from Elizabeth Warren — who has a plan for housing, as she has a plan for everything — Democrats on the 2020 presidential trail rarely mention their ideas for housing affordability, an issue eating American cities alive. I watched Joe Biden's campaign kick off the other day; the only house he mentioned was the White House.
    Then there is the refusal on the part of wealthy progressives to live by the values they profess to support at the national level. Creating dense, economically and socially diverse urban environments ought to be a paramount goal of progressivism. Cities are the standard geographical unit of the global economy. Dense urban areas are quite literally the "real America" — the cities are where two-thirds of Americans live, and they account for almost all national economic output. Urban areas are the most environmentally friendly way we know of housing lots of people. We can't solve the climate crisis without vastly improving public transportation and increasing urban density. More than that, metropolises are good for the psyche and the soul; density fosters tolerance, diversity, creativity and progress.

    Yet where progressives argue for openness and inclusion as a cudgel against President Trump, they abandon it on Nob Hill and in Beverly Hills. This explains the opposition to SB 50, which aimed to address the housing shortage in a very straightforward way: by building more housing. The bill would have erased single-family zoning in populous areas near transit locations. Areas zoned for homes housing a handful of people could have been redeveloped to include duplexes and apartment buildings that housed hundreds.

    The bill had garnered support from a diverse coalition of business and advocacy groups, and its sponsor, State Senator Scott Wiener, had negotiated a series of compromises with some of its fiercest opponents. Polls showed the measure to be widely popular. For the first time, something extraordinary looked possible: California's wealthy homeowners would abandon their restrictionist attitudes and let us build some new housing.

    Nope. Instead, Anthony Portantino, a Democratic state senator whose district includes the posh city of La Cañada Flintridge and who heads the appropriations committee, announced that he'd be shelving the bill until next year. In an interview with The Los Angeles Times, he worried that the law would spur lots of people to move near residential bus routes, which he suggested would alter the character of enclaves like his.
    And? Why is that so bad?
    Reading opposition to SB 50 and other efforts at increasing density, I'm struck by an unsettling thought: What Republicans want to do with I.C.E. and border walls, wealthy progressive Democrats are doing with zoning and Nimbyism. Preserving "local character," maintaining "local control," keeping housing scarce and inaccessible — the goals of both sides are really the same: to keep people out.
    "We're saying we welcome immigration, we welcome refugees, we welcome outsiders — but you've got to have a $2 million entrance fee to live here, otherwise you can use this part of a sidewalk for a tent," said Brian Hanlon, president of the pro-density group California Yimby. "That to me is not being very welcoming. It's not being very neighborly."


    7) 'Frightening': Charges Against Julian Assange Alarm Press Advocates
    By Michael M. Grynbaum and Marc Tracy, May 23, 2019
    Julian Assange: New federal charges against him are likely to be challenged on First Amendment grounds.

    Journalists and press freedom groups reacted with alarm on Thursday after the Trump administration announced new charges against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader, for publishing classified information, in a case that legal experts say takes direct aim at previously sacrosanct protections for the news media.
    In indicting Mr. Assange for obtaining, accepting and disseminating classified materials, the Department of Justice opened a new front in its campaign against illegal leaks. While past cases involved government employees who provided material to journalists, the Assange indictment could amount to the pursuit of a publisher for making that material available to the public.
    "It's not criminal to encourage someone to leak classified information to you as a journalist — that's called news gathering, and there are First Amendment protections for news gathering," said Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., a lawyer who frequently represents media organizations like CNN. "The ramifications of this are so potentially dangerous and serious for the ability of journalists to gather and disseminate information that the American people have a right to know."
    Federal prosecutors under President Trump have drawn criticism for extending a crackdown on leakers that had ramped up during President Barack Obama's administration. The indictment of Mr. Assange — which related to WikiLeaks' publication of secret documents leaked by Chelsea Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst — struck some experts as a grave escalation.
    "It is one thing to charge a government official who has sworn an oath not to disclose classified information," said Matthew Miller, who served as the Justice Department's chief spokesman under Mr. Obama's attorney general, Eric H. Holder Jr. "It's another thing to charge someone outside the government who published information or solicited information, which is something that reporters do all the time."
    The charges against Mr. Assange are likely to face a challenge on First Amendment grounds. And journalists' use of illegally obtained materials has been upheld in Supreme Court cases. But Mr. Miller said prosecutors had now skated to the edge of criminalizing journalistic practices.
    "The Espionage Act doesn't make any distinction between journalists and nonjournalists," Mr. Miller said, referring to the law that Mr. Assange is accused of violating. "If you can charge Julian Assange under the law with publishing classified information, there is nothing under the law that prevents the Justice Department from charging a journalist."
    A deeply divisive figure, Mr. Assange is in some ways an unlikely martyr for press freedoms. A crusader for radical transparency, he is faulted by many American liberals for releasing hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee at the height of the 2016 presidential race.
    "The calculation by the Department of Justice is that here's someone who people don't like," Mr. Boutrous said. "There's a real element of picking the weakest of the herd, or the most unpopular figure, to try to blunt the outcry."
    Justice Department officials on Thursday cited Mr. Assange's mixed reputation as they tried to reject the notion that they were interfering with the free press.
    "The department takes seriously the role of journalists in our democracy, and we thank you for it," John Demers, the head of the department's National Security Division, said at a briefing with reporters. "It is not, and has never been, the department's policy to target them for reporting."
    "Julian Assange is no journalist," Mr. Demers added.
    Still, press advocates were quick to condemn the Justice Department on Thursday. The American Civil Liberties Union called the indictment "a direct assault on the First Amendment." The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press described it as "a dire threat."
    Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard lawyer who has been a recent ally of Mr. Trump, said the case against Mr. Assange was "really the first time since the Pentagon Papers that the government has gone after publishers."
    "We all think there's a difference between The New York Times and Assange from a practical point of view, but from a constitutional point of view, it's hard to find that difference," Mr. Dershowitz said. "They're both publishing classified, stolen material."
    "This is analogous to if The New York Times and The Washington Post had been prosecuted after publishing the Pentagon Papers," Mr. Dershowitz added, referring to the top-secret report on Vietnam whose publication in 1971 was upheld by the Supreme Court. "It's a very, very frightening development."

    But Asha Rangappa, a lawyer and former F.B.I. counterintelligence agent, said she believed that the Justice Department had made a crucial distinction between Mr. Assange's activity and the work of traditional journalists.
    "He wasn't simply a passive recipient of classified information; he actively participated in the breaking of the law," Ms. Rangappa said. She added that Mr. Assange's efforts to help his source, Ms. Manning, illegally obtain documents amounted to "aiding and abetting the criminal act itself."
    "That is a meaningful distinction from a bona fide news organization that truly has a public interest goal," Ms. Rangappa said.
    Seymour Hersh, the investigative journalist who exposed the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War and misconduct by the C.I.A., among other revelations, wrote in an email that the move against Mr. Assange was troubling.
    "Today Assange," Mr. Hersh wrote. "Tomorrow, perhaps, The New York Times and other media that published so much of the important news and information Assange provided."

    Katie Benner contributed reporting.


    8) Lessons From a 'California Witch Hunt'
    By Jill Cowan, May 24, 2019

    Jack Tenney and Sam Yorty, a one-time ally who would orchestrate his ouster as head of the California Un-American Activities Committee.CreditCreditUCLA Library Special Collections


    In the 1950s, Senator Joseph McCarthy was the architect of a series of investigations into supposed Communist influence in the U.S. through his House Un-American Activities Committee, which cost many their livelihoods. The term "McCarthyism" has since become synonymous with unfounded fear-mongering.
    What may come as more of a surprise is that McCarthy's playbook was influenced by another un-American activities committee — in California.
    Recently, I spoke to Bill Mabie, who pulled together an expansive digital exhibit for the California secretary of state's office, detailing the rise of a legislator named Jack Tenney.

    In December, Mr. Mabie retired from the state government, where he had most recently served as chief deputy secretary of state.
    He told me he finally had more time to hunker down on one of his favorite activities: browsing the state's archives, where he'd spent the last four years stealing away on lunch breaks to research the committee.
    "This was a story that wasn't in a hurry to be told," Mr. Mabie said.
    What he found was, in some ways, a classic California narrative: Mr. Tenney started out as an attorney moonlighting as a musician. He wrote a hit song — "Mexicali Rose," made famous by Gene Autry — and became a leader of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47 in Hollywood. When he first ran for State Assembly, he ran as a Democrat.
    But in 1939, he was beaten out as union president. What followed was a true ideological about-face, Mr. Mabie said: Mr. Tenney blamed communists for organizing his defeat and got the legislative green light to start investigating "communist infiltration" at a state agency in Los Angeles.

    Katharine Hepburn was investigated as a subversive and spoke out against C.U.A.C.'s tactics. CreditCalifornia Un-American Activities Committee Records, California State Archives

    Mr. Tenney and his colleagues had broad investigative power because they were "fact-finders," and not law enforcement agents. This translated into extensive surveillance that would be almost comical if it hadn't been so unsettling.

    At one point, a file on Frank Sinatra included a list of questionable activities like putting on a "nationwide tour of talks against discrimination."
    Investigators peppered their reports with racist and anti-Semitic language.
    By 1949, public pushback against Mr. Tenney had risen and he was ousted as the committee's leader, in no small part due to the betrayal of a former ally. (You can read about the rest of Mr. Tenney's less-than-distinguished political career in Part 3 of the exhibition.)
    The California committee's work would continue for decades more, keeping close ties with the early F.B.I.
    Mr. Mabie said he was drawn to the story not just for the famous names — Katharine Hepburn, John Steinbeck, Ronald Reagan — but also because he viewed it as a cautionary tale.
    "It shows what happens when you allow power to go unchecked," he said. "Politicians are crafty people, man — they will find a way to survive."


    9) 'When They See Us' actors revisit the Central Park Five case
    By Mark Kennedy, May 23, 2019

    This May 20, 2019 photo shows Asante Blackk, from left, Jharrel Jerome, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, and Marquis Rodriguez posing at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York to promote their Netflix show "When They See Us." (Photo by Christopher Smith/Invision/AP)

    NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Jharrel Jerome, perhaps best known for his role in "Moonlight," recalls walking to school a few years ago in his native New York City, worried about an upcoming test, when he was stopped by two police officers.
    "Stop! Can I see your bag?" one asked him.
    He immediately froze in fear. What did he do wrong? Did he walk weird? Did he say something? Jerome let them look though his notebooks, papers and pens. Then they let him go. He was still shaking at his desk hours later.
    "You just wonder what was in their mind and what they see in me when I'm just trying to be as good as I could be," he recalled. "It's terrifying because they could have been the worst of cops. They could have done anything."
    Jerome, 21, drew heavily on that testy interaction to play Korey Wise, an innocent man who spent 12 years behind bars for a rape in Central Park he never committed. "Thinking about that experience and then thinking about it times ten is terrifying," he said.
    Wise was one of five black and Latino teenagers — the others were Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana — who were coerced into confessing to the crime and are collectively known as the "Central Park Five."
    In Ava DuVernay's new four-part Netflix series "When They See Us," the horrific odyssey the five endured is shown over 25 years, from the 1989 night they were arrested to the day a settlement was reached with the city in 2014.
    The case was drawn on racial lines from the outset, with the victim being a young white woman, and it drew worldwide attention. Tabloid headlines compared the teens to a wolf pack, and Donald Trump took out newspaper ads calling for the return of the death penalty in New York state. It took years for the five to be exonerated, and they spent most of their youth in prison. Another man was found guilty of the attack.
    The five young actors who play the accused in the first half of the series were horrified to learn details of the case and hope it can lead to changes in the judicial system.
    "It hurts me to think that it's 2019 and it's not that I don't still hear of stories exactly like this," said Marquis Rodriguez, 21, who plays Santana and grew up in Brooklyn.
    The two New Yorkers — Jerome and Rodriguez — were acquainted with the case before landing their roles, but the three others — Asante Blackk, 17, Caleel Harris, 15, and Ethan Herisse, 18 — hadn't heard of the plight of the Central Park Five. Now they think it's too important to forget.
    "It's something that needs to continue to be told, to remind everyone that miscarriages of justice can happen," said Herisse. Harris agreed, and said the case is about something else, too: "It is a story of survival."
    Questionable police tactics have led to a long list of troubling police encounters with young black men, including instances that have resulted in death: Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner and Michael Brown among them.
    "It kind of blurs together and that's just how it is living in America as a young man of color," said Blackk, who grew up in and around Washington, D.C. "Multiple experiences day after day and it kind of becomes normal to you and that's not OK."
    Jerome and Rodriguez said their mothers told them about this ugly chapter in city history, hoping their sons would learn to be respectful of police but also not be too pliant.
    "It was just something that she thought was really important for me to know, part of my history and almost a cautionary tale — just how quickly things can go terribly, terribly wrong especially for a young man of color in this city," Rodriguez said.
    Jerome's mother grew up near where the attack took place and as a girl of 12 or 13 wasn't allowed to go to Central Park for two years. "That kind of probably stayed with her as she raised her kids," he said. "She made sure that we were aware of stories like that because their case was one of millions of others that we've heard about."
    The case still echoes today in no small part to recent instances of exonerated, railroaded defendants and by who occupies the White House. "We've definitely made progress but there is so much more progress to be made," said Blackk.
    "We're still living in a time where our president has tried to ban an entire religion from entering this country," he added, referring to Trump's attempt early in his presidency to ban foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
    To get into character, all five actors met their counterparts, who charmed the young men with their cheer despite the hardships they faced. Richardson cracked jokes. McCray was warm. Santana nicely offered specific details of his ordeal. Wise was youthful, as if stuck in amber.
    "I mean, the man matches his hat to his shirts to his sneakers — still like the '90s. He's all about '90s culture, '90s hip-hop, as if he kind of was in a time machine and stayed there," said Jerome.
    Rodriguez still has a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that Santana was only 14 at the time of his arrest and maintained his innocence even as he faced police coercion.
    "I did not know if I would be able to hold the weight of what he held at that age," said Rodriguez. "I know for sure I would have broken under it. And he came out of it alive and functioning and happy now, which is absolutely unbelievable."
    The young actors seem changed by the experience of working on the project. All — from Blackk, who enjoyed his first professional acting role, to the experienced Jerome — said they wanted to find projects as meaningful down the road.
    "I want to be a part of important stories and I want to be a part of the right stories and I want them to be told correctly and to be told with an inclusive mindset," said Rodriguez, who is next off to work on the "Game of Thrones" prequel.
    Jerome agreed: "This is all I want to do. I want to do projects that speak to people who don't get to have a voice. I want to do projects that resonate with you after a long time."


    10) The Doctors Who Put Their Lives on the Line
    A decade after the murder of Dr. George Tiller, other abortion providers are concerned about a surge in clinic harassment and violence.
    By The Editorial Board, May 25, 2019

    Dr. George Tiller Cathryn Virginia

    On May 31, 2009, Scott Roeder drove to Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kan. He had attended services there before, but he was not a worshiper. He had visited Reformation Lutheran to track the movements of a particular church member, Dr. George Tiller, who provided abortions at a nearby clinic. 
    On that day in 2009, Mr. Roeder carried out the mission he'd been planning: He walked up to Dr. Tiller as he was handing out programs and greeting fellow parishioners in the church foyer. Knowing that Dr. Tiller customarily wore body armor, Mr. Roeder put a .22-caliber handgun to the doctor's head and pulled the trigger.
    In the decade since Dr. Tiller's assassination, the violence and harassment inflicted on those who work in abortion clinics have become only more routine. A Molotov cocktail thrown through the window of a Planned Parenthood building, a clinic escort hit by an anti-abortion activist's car — both episodes that happened in the past several months — barely garner headlines. While most people who protest abortion reject violence, among their ranks are zealots who believe that the perceived killing of embryos and fetuses justifies murder. And abortion providers worry about even one of those zealots being emboldened by a political environment that's spawned extreme anti-abortion legislation around the country this year.
    George Tiller did not set out to become an abortion provider, let aloneone of the most targeted figures in the American abortion debate. Alongtime Republican and former Navy flight surgeon, Dr. Tiller took over his late father's family medical practice in 1970, thinking it would be a sleepy job. He soon learned that his father had quietly provided safe abortions at the office in the decades before the procedure was legal in Kansas — a history detailed in Stephen Singular's 2012 book "A Death in Wichita."

    After initially resisting following in his father's footsteps, Dr. Tiller was swayed by the relentless demand for abortions from women in the community, and by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision in 1973 that made the procedure legal in every state. "I am a woman-educated physician," Dr. Tiller said years later. He went on to become an expert in diagnosing rare fetal anomalies — cancers, fluid in the skull, undeveloped organs — and performing abortions on women facing these devastating circumstances later in their pregnancies. He also helped find homes for babies women wished to put up for adoption. He came to see his work as a spiritual calling.
    As legally risky as his father's clandestine efforts had been, Dr. Tiller's career coincided with political and cultural shifts that made it physically dangerous for doctors and staff members at abortion clinics.
    In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president thanks largely to a new evangelical voting bloc that was rallied by his anti-abortion, pro-family values platform. Over the following decades, as abortion became further entrenched in the American culture wars, a handful of anti-abortion lawmakers, like former Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, called for abortion providers to receive the death penalty. 
    And abortion providers indeed started to die — not in the death chamber, but at the hands of anti-abortion extremists. Dr. David Gunnin 1993. Dr. John Britton in 1994. Dr. Barnett Slepian in 1998. Two receptionists, a clinic escort, an off-duty police officer and others were also killed during acts of anti-abortion violence during that time, and there were many hundreds of nonlethal violent incidents, including bombings and attempted assassinations. One such assassination attempt was carried out in 1985 at the home of Justice Harry Blackmun, who wrote the Supreme Court opinion in the Roe v. Wade decision. (Though the justice and his wife were at home at the time, they were unharmed.)

    By the late 1970s, word had spread of Dr. Tiller's work, and his clinic was attracting protesters who would chant, "Tiller, Tiller, the baby killer." Some of them followed Dr. Tiller and his staff members to their homes and put graphic images of fetal remains in their neighbors' mailboxes. Others phoned in death threats to the clinic. Someone set up a website listing the personal contact information for the staff.

    Dr. Tiller sought advice from security experts, who gave him tips, such as to drive in the right lane to limit the angles available to potential shooters, and he started giving his employees "combat pay" bonuses to keep them from quitting. He eventually bought an armored S.U.V. to drive to and from the clinic, and for two and a half years federal marshals were by his side for much of each day. He also varied his route between the clinic and his home, where he lived with his wife and four children.
    He took these precautions because the threats that his clinic received were not all idle. The facility was pipe-bombed in 1986, causing $100,000 in damage. And in 1993, Dr. Tiller was shot in both arms by an anti-abortion extremist named Rachelle Shannon. (Ms. Shannon, who also committed a series of clinic bombings and acid attacks, was released from prison last year.) Neither the bomb nor the shooting deterred him; he was back at work the day after the shooting. Nor was he cowed when thousands of protesters, some of them aggressive, descended on his clinic and tried to block access to it during the so-called Summer of Mercy in 1991. 
    Dr. Tiller also stayed strong while Bill O'Reilly, the erstwhile Fox News personality, went on a nationally broadcast campaign against him in the years before his murder. Mr. O'Reilly compared Dr. Tiller to Hitler, said he was "executing babies" and noted in 2006: "If I could get my hands on Tiller … Can't be vigilantes. Can't do that. It's just a figure of speech."
    A few years later, of course, someone did get his hands on the doctor.
    (After Dr. Tiller's death, Mr. O'Reilly said that "Americans should condemn" his murder and that "anarchy and vigilantism will destroy a society.")
    Today, abortion providers face an even more volatile political backdrop than Dr. Tiller did during his lifetime. In the years after Dr. Tiller's murder, state legislatures passed hundreds of anti-abortion regulations intended to shut down abortion clinics and make it harder for women to access the procedure. Then came Donald Trump, who became president thanks in large part to the support of evangelical voters counting on him to deliver anti-abortion Supreme Court justices and other judges — a promise that he has fulfilled, leading anti-abortion lawmakers in states around the country to pass a rash of near-total abortion bans this year.
    Since the 2016 election, abortion providers have reported a spike in incidents of vandalism, trespassing, harassment and picketing. According to the National Abortion Federation, which tracks such data, in 2018 abortion providers were subject to at least 1,135 trespassing incidents in the United States and Canada — up from 823 incidents in 2017 and 264 in 2013, when there were more abortion clinics in America than there are today. And last year they experienced nearly 122,600 disruptive events, including internet harassment, bomb threats and picketing. In 2017, that number was fewer than 97,000, and in 2013 it was fewer than 6,500.

    Many providers and experts are concerned about enforcement of the federal Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, which was passed during the Clinton administration to bar the use of "force or threat of force or … physical obstruction" to keep people from entering reproductive health clinics. Hesitant to wade into a heated political issue, local police officers allow violations of the law to slide, further emboldening the activists.
    Amy Hagstrom Miller, the founder and chief executive of the Whole Woman's Health network of abortion clinics, has had reason to call on law enforcement recently: In April, she said, someone set fire to the fence outside the Whole Woman's clinic in McAllen, Tex. The clinic, which is the only abortion facility for nearly 250 miles, has become a hotbed of anti-abortion activity, sometimes attracting hundreds of protesters at a time. It is less than 10 miles from the Mexican border and serves mostly women of color, and Ms. Hagstrom Miller said that it has started to attract protesters with white nationalist tattoos. 
    Ms. Hagstrom Miller also worries about President Trump saying at his rallies, wrongly, that women and doctors routinely "execute" babies. "This kind of language and rhetoric," she said, "doesn't just fall on the ears of well-balanced people."


    11) Supreme Court Sidesteps Abortion Question in Ruling on Indiana Law
    By Adam Liptak, May 28, 2019

    Protesters rallying in front of the Supreme Court earlier this month against state laws that aim to limit abortion.CreditCreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld an Indiana state law that required fetal remains to be buried or cremated. But it sidestepped a larger abortion question, turning down an effort to reinstate the law’s strict abortion limits.
    The court’s decision, issued without briefing on the merits or oral arguments, was unsigned and just three pages long. It stressed that its decision upholding the part of the law concerning the disposal of fetal remains “does not implicate our cases applying the undue burden test to abortion regulations.”
    Indiana, the court said, has a “legitimate interest in proper disposal of fetal remains,” quoting an earlier decision.

    In the second part of the case, an appellate court had struck down a provision of the law that banned abortions being sought solely because of a fetal characteristic like sex or disability.

    Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have denied review of both issues in the case.
    The case, Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, No. 18-483, had been closely watched because it could have given the Supreme Court its first chance to consider the constitutionality of a state law restricting abortion since Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh replaced Justice Anthony M. Kennedy last year.
    Justice Kennedy had been a cautious supporter of abortion rights, while Justice Kavanaugh’s limited record on the subject as an appeals court judge suggested some skepticism.
    The modest move on Tuesday left for another day the consideration of state laws limiting abortion that were enacted, at least partly, to test the court’s commitment to the constitutional right to abortion, as established in 1973 in Roe v. Wade.
    The Indiana law was enacted in 2016 and signed by Gov. Mike Pence, now the vice president. It prohibited all abortions, at any time during a pregnancy, solely sought based on the fetus’s sex, or because it had been diagnosed with Down syndrome or another disability, or because of characteristics like race or national origin.

    The state law also imposed restrictions on the disposal of fetal remains, saying that abortion providers had to bury or cremate them. The law allowed mass cremations and did not impose any restrictions on women who disposed of the remains themselves.
    A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, in Chicago, unanimously struck down the provision limiting permissible reasons for having an abortion, though one judge said he did so reluctantly and only because he was bound by Supreme Court precedent.
    In 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court ruled that states may not prohibit abortions or place substantial obstacles in the way of women seeking them before fetal viability. Judge William J. Bauer, writing for the majority on the Seventh Circuit, said that ruling doomed the law’s restrictions.
    “These provisions are far greater than a substantial obstacle; they are absolute prohibitions on abortions prior to viability, which the Supreme Court has clearly held cannot be imposed by the state,” he wrote in the decision issued by the appeals panel.
    Judge Daniel A. Manion voted with the majority in that case, but did not adopt its reasoning. “Indiana has a compelling interest in attempting to prevent this type of private eugenics,” he wrote. “But the fact remains that Casey has plainly established an absolute right to have an abortion before viability.”
    “That today’s outcome is compelled begs for the Supreme Court to reconsider Roe and Casey,” he wrote.
    The appeals panel divided 2 to 1 on the part of the law concerning fetal remains. Judge Bauer, writing for the majority in that decision, said the distinctions in the law were not rational, noting that it allowed women to dispose of remains as they saw fit but required abortion providers to treat them largely as they did other human remains.

    In dissent, Judge Manion wrote that Indiana was entitled to insist on “the dignified and humane disposal of the remains of unborn children.”
    The full Seventh Circuit initially agreed to rehear the panel’s ruling on the fetal remains provision but later announced that it had deadlocked after a judge recused himself.
    Dissenting from the full court’s decision not to rehear the case, Judge Frank H. Easterbrook, joined by three other judges, wrote that both parts of the panel’s decision were misguided.
    “Casey and other decisions hold that, until a fetus is viable, a woman is entitled to decide whether to bear a child,” he wrote of the provision on permissible reasons. “But there is a difference between ‘I don’t want a child’ and ‘I want a child, but only a male’ or ‘I want only children whose genes predict success in life.’”
    As for the fetal remains law, Judge Easterbrook wrote that “the panel has held invalid a statute that would be sustained had it concerned the remains of cats or gerbils.”
    In urging the Supreme Court to hear the case, lawyers for the state said fetal remains were worthy of respectful treatment.
    “The fetal disposition provision expands on long-established legal and cultural traditions of recognizing the dignity and humanity of the fetus,” the state’s brief said. It added that advances in genetic testing and concerns about sex-selective abortions justified the provision restricting permissible reasons for the procedure.

    Lawyers for Planned Parenthood said the provision governing fetal remains was not rational.
    “Indiana claimed that it sought to treat embryonic and fetal tissue like human remains,” the group’s brief said. “But the challenged statute permits a woman to dispose of the tissue in whatever way she chooses, so long as she takes it from the medical facility when she departs.”
    Planned Parenthood said the restrictions on permissible reasons also made no sense. “Indiana’s view would lead to perverse results,” the group’s brief said. “It would mean that even though states cannot compel a woman to continue a healthy pregnancy, it could compel her against her will to continue a pregnancy where it is virtually certain that the child will die in infancy.”


    12) Prison Fighting Leaves at Least 55 Dead in Northern Brazil
    By Ernesto Londoño, May 27, 2019

    Relatives of inmates in front of a prison complex in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, one of four jails in the state where 55 inmates died in fighting on Sunday and Monday.CreditCreditBruno Kelly/Reuters

    RIO DE JANEIRO — Violent clashes among rival drug factions in several prisons in the northern Brazilian state of Amazonas have killed at least 55 people, corrections officials said on Monday.
    The outbreak of violence, which began on Sunday, is the latest in a state where drug gangs have waged a vicious battle for supremacy as smuggling routes that run along northern Brazil have become increasingly profitable.

    The bloodshed comes as the Brazilian government is taking steps to assert greater control of the country’s chronically overcrowded and underfunded prisons, where drug kingpins have long managed to run their trade from behind bars with relative ease.

    The first killings occurred Sunday during visiting hours at the Anísio Jobim penitentiary center in Manaus, the state capital, where 15 inmates were slain, according to state prison officials. Some were reported to have been asphyxiated, the officials said, and others were stabbed with sharpened toothbrushes.

    Relatives of inmates blocked a police car in Manaus, a city in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, during a prison riot there on Sunday.CreditSandro Pereira/Reuters

    The prison has been notoriously violent: In January 2017, clashes there left 56 inmates dead and sparked a wave of violence that rippled across state lines, resulting eventually in more than 120 deaths.
    After the killings on Sunday, the outbreak of violence expanded on Monday to at least three other prisons in Amazonas, where at least 40 inmates were killed.
    Marcos Vinicius, the head of the state corrections system, told reporters that the violence had been sparked by “infighting among inmates.” He said no prison guards had been harmed or taken hostage. Officials did not disclose a motive for the attacks.
    Seeking to contain the outbreak, the federal Justice Ministry said Monday that it was dispatching a task force to Amazonas to back up local officials. The governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima, said in a statement that he hoped the federal reinforcements “will help us in this time of crisis to confront a problem that is a national one: the problems in our prisons.”

    Brazil’s prison population has ballooned over the past decade from roughly 451,000 in 2008 to an estimated 841,000 last year, according to data collected by Brazilian Senate staff. The nation’s prisons are equipped to hold only about 400,000 people.
    The prison population is likely to continue growing if Brazilian lawmakers pass crime bills currently before them and supported by Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, that would increase penalties for certain crimes.


    13) Half of H.I.V. Patients Are Women. Most Research Subjects Are Men.
    Trials of vaccines and treatments have not included enough female participants. Now that scientists are exploring possible cures, the need to enroll women is greater than ever.
    By Apoorva Mandevilli, May 28, 2019

    Ublanca Adams, 60, who has H.I.V., takes her morning medication around 8 a.m. and begins to the feel the side effects shortly afterward. The search for a cure must include more women, experts say.CreditCreditJason Henry for The New York Times

    Inspired by reports of a second patient apparently freed of infection with H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, scientists are pursuing dozensof ways to cure the disease. 
    But now, researchers must reckon with a longstanding obstacle: the lack of women in clinical trials of potential H.I.V. treatments, cures and vaccines.
    Women make up just over half of the 35 million people living with H.I.V. worldwide, and the virus is the leading cause of death among women of reproductive age. In Africa, parts of South America and even in the southern United States, new infections in young women are helping to sustain the epidemic. 

    Women and men respond differently to H.I.V. infection, but clinical trials continue to rely heavily on the participation of gay men. Trials of potential cures fare particularly poorly in this regard.

    A 2016 analysis by the charity AMFAR found that women represented a median of 11 percent in cure trials. Trials of antiretroviral drugs fared little better; 19 percent of the participants were women. 
    Vaccine studies were the closest to equitable participation, at 38 percent.
    “If we’re going to find a cure, it’s important that we find a cure that actually works for everybody,” said Rowena Johnston, AMFAR’s director of research.
    There are well-known differences in the immune systems of men and women. The flu shot produces a much stronger immune response in women, for example. 
    The response to H.I.V. infection seems also to differ. The immune system in women initially responds forcefully, maintaining tight control over the virus for five to seven years. 
    But over the long term, this state of high alert takes a toll. Women progress faster to AIDS than infected men, and are more likely to have heart attacks and strokes.

    “There are all sorts of differences between men and women, probably mediated partially by hormonal effects,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
    For example, the female hormone estrogen seems to lull H.I.V. into a dormant state. That may sound like a good thing, but the dormant virus is harder for the immune system, or drugs, to kill.
    Some differences may be evident even before puberty: In one study, all but one of the 11 children who were “elite controllers” — people who seem to suppress H.I.V. to undetectable levels without drugs — were girls.

    Women also respond differently to some drug treatments. 
    Dolutegravir may increase the risk of neural tube defects in children born to women taking the drug, researchers have found. Nevirapine is far more likely to cause a severe rash in women than in men — yet men accounted for 85 percent of the trial subjects in which the drug was tested. 
    These sex differences are likely to be germane to trials of potential cures, most of which are exploring ways to energize the immune system to kill H.I.V.
    The number of men — and gay men in particular — in H.I.V. trials has always surpassed the number of women. Early on, the epidemic was largely concentrated in gay men, who enrolled to gain access to new drugs as early as possible.

    Gay men “were literally dying to get into these trials,” said Jeff Taylor, 56, an H.I.V. advocate in Palm Springs, Calif., who enrolled in dozens of trials after his diagnosis in 1982. 
    Now, 30 years later, “it’s the same group of people, who understand the value of clinical trials.”
    Gay men have formed strong support networks that alert potential participants to clinical trials, and they often live in cities where the research is conducted. 
    By contrast, women with H.I.V. tend to be isolated, and may not advocate for themselves. They may need help with child care or transportation, or be more comfortable with female doctors — accommodations few trials offer.
    For women of color, there is an additional hurdle: mistrust resulting from a long history of exploitation by medical researchers. “It’s a lot of stigma still in our community around research,” said Ublanca Adams, 60, who is living with H.I.V. in Concord, Calif. 
    Scientists do not seem to know how to gain that trust, she said: “How information is given out to our community and our people is just not in a way to be inclusive, nor is it inviting.” 
    Ms. Adams said she has enrolled in a few observational studies, but does not trust scientists enough to participate in tests of a treatment or cure.
    In the rare cases where scientists go the extra mile to enroll women, they face additional scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration. (The agency has strict rules for including women of childbearing age.)

    Most researchers simply opt for the easy way out and enroll men, collecting data from women only after a drug is on the market. 
    Two recent trials of long-acting antiretroviral drugs — which can be injected monthly instead of taken by mouth daily — have managed to attract significant numbers of women: 33 percent of participants in one study, and 23 percent in the other. 
    But because of the promise of less frequent treatment, these trials were hugely popular and so had an easier time recruiting women than most. 
    “Patients lined up outside the clinic,” said Dr. Kimberly Smith, head of research and development at Viiv Healthcare, the company that led the research. 
    In general, though, Dr. Smith said, trials in the United States struggle to enroll women, because about 75 percent of the infected still are men.
    Anticipating the need to test cures in young women, Dr. Bruce Walker and his colleagues at the Ragon Institute of M.G.H., M.I.T. and Harvard have set up a group called Fresh in South Africa. Nearly 2,000 young women in the Umlazi Township check in twice weekly to be tested for H.I.V. 
    The researchers provide preventive therapy, but a small proportion of the women still become infected. Dr. Walker’s team is tracking their infections from the start and planning to test cures in the group.

    Generally, however, it’s difficult to get scientists to take the need to enroll women seriously, said Dr. Eileen Scully, assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University. 
    “Some of the hard scientists dismiss this type of discussion as being more socially determined, or some sort of women’s liberation thing,” she said.
    Dr. Scully led the only cure trial so far to focus solely on women, testing whether a drug that blocks estrogen makes it easier to kill H.I.V. From the start, the investigators had to make some concessions. 
    To skirt the restrictions limiting participation by women of childbearing age, Dr. Scully and her colleagues recruited menopausal women. But these participants have lower levels of circulating estrogen, which may skew the results.
    Still, the team has already made one key discovery. 
    “We were one of the fastest trials ever to enroll,” Dr. Scully said. “Women are ready to be engaged.”


    14)) Media Release: Janet and Janine Africa are paroled after forty years of incarceration!!
    By Abotlitionist Law Canter, May 25, 2019

    The Abolitionist Law Center and the People’s Law Office are proud to share that Janet Holloway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa of the MOVE 9 have been released from state custody after more than forty years of incarceration. Earlier this morning, the MOVE sisters were finally released on parole from SCI Cambridge Springs and are now with family and friends. The sisters have been battling for their freedom after being consistently denied parole for a decade despite an impeccable disciplinary record and extensive record of mentorship and community service during their time in prison.
    Following their 2018 parole denial, attorneys from Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office filed petitions for habeas corpus seeking their release from prison. The habeas petitions challenged their parole denials on the grounds that the decisions were arbitrary and lacking in any evidence that janet or Janine presented a risk to public safety. Under pressure from litigation and with a court date for May 28 looming, the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole (board) granted Janet and Janine parole on May 14, 2019, just one day after the anniversary of the notorious May 13, 1985 bombing of the MOVE home.
    “The release of Janet and Janine is a victory not only for them and their loved ones, but also for the MOVE Organization and the movement to free all political prisoners,” said attorney Brad Thomson of People’s Law Office. “Janet and Janine were excellent candidates for parole. They have been described by DOC staff as model prisoners and neither of them has had a single disciplinary incident in over twenty years. While in prison, they have participated in community fundraisers, and social programs, including training service dogs. They are remarkable women to deserve to be free.”
    Like Debbie and Mike Africa, who were released last year, Janet and Janine are now able to experience holding their loved ones outside of prison walls for the first time in decades. The release of Janet and Janine after forty years is the culmination of the MOVE organization, public support, legal action, and policy changes.
    Three other members of the MOVE 9 remain incarcerated (Chuck, Delbert and Eddie Africa), while two others (Merle Africa and Phil Africa) died in custody. Abolitionist Law Center and People’s Law Office represent Chuck, Delbert and Eddie in the struggle for their freedom. To support the fight, you may donate to the MOVE9 Legal Fund.
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    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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