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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    GoDaddy Email Marketing ®

    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) 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."


    2) 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.


    3) 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."


    4)) 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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    5) In El Salvador, Left Joins Right in Asking for War-Crimes Amnesty
    The proposed law would protect perpetrators of crimes against humanity and extrajudicial killings from both camps. "The proposed amnesty would also protect the perpetrators of a crime that lives in infamy as 'the massacre at El Mozote.' In December 1981, a Salvadoran Army battalion, whose officers had just returned from counterinsurgency training in the United States, slaughtered nearly 1,000 children, women and men in El Mozote and surrounding villages. ...The United Nations Commission on Truth for El Salvador, established by the parties as part of the said peace agreement, found that the military and its allied death squads were responsible for an overwhelming majority of the killings during the war." 
    By Raymond Bonner, May 28, 2019

    The memorial at El Mozote, where a Salvadoran Army battalion slaughtered nearly 1,000 children, women and men in 1981.CreditCreditSusan Meiselas/Magnum Photos

    During El Salvador's brutal, bloody civil war, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front, or F.M.L.N., a coalition of leftist guerrilla groups, and Arena, a far-right political party that had its own death squads, were deadly enemies, killers and killed.
    From the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Óscar Romero, which was organized by Arena's founder, to a peace agreement in 1992, thousands of peasants were massacred. Union leaders and students had their thumbs tied behind their backs with wire, then were shot in the head, their bodies left behind shopping malls as a warning to others. All together some 75,000 civilians were killed during the war.
    The military acted with impunity, and had immunity.
    Now the F.M.L.N., which has 23 seats in the 84-member Legislative Assembly, is supporting legislation by Arena, which has 37 seats, that is tantamount to a de facto amnesty for crimes committed during the war. Politics may make strange bedfellows, but this?

    A vote is expected on Wednesday as the parties rush to pass the legislation before a new president, Nayib Bukele, is sworn in on Saturday. He has expressed opposition to the measure. The current president, Sánchez Cerén, was an F.M.L.N. commander during the war and has been linked to at least one crime that could be prosecuted if there is no amnesty — the kidnapping of a wealthy businessman.

    The proposed amnesty would also protect the perpetrators of a crime that lives in infamy as "the massacre at El Mozote." In December 1981, a Salvadoran Army battalion, whose officers had just returned from counterinsurgency training in the United States, slaughtered nearly 1,000 children, women and men in El Mozote and surrounding villages. After separating the village men, whom they took away and executed, the soldiers ordered the women and children into the convent behind the Roman Catholic church. They opened fire with their automatic weapons, then set fire to the building, falling beams crushing the skulls of victims, dead or alive. Many of the children were toddlers; the average age was 6.
    After years of legal setbacks, survivors and relatives of family members began to see the light of justice in 2016 when a judge reopened an investigation into the Mozote massacre. He has summoned 20 former senior military officers, including the former minister of defense, José Guillermo García, into his simple courtroom in San Francisco Gotera, a gritty agricultural town in eastern El Salvador, and read the charges, among them rape, kidnapping and murder as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity.
    Peasants from local villages have come before the judge to relive the horror. Amadeo Sánchez told the judge that he had escaped into the nearby hills with his father. From his hiding place in the sisal bushes, he saw two young girls pulled out of their mud-and-wattle hut by soldiers and taken to the river. He heard them screaming "Mama, they're raping me." He then heard gunshots, and silence.
    When he returned to his village, Mr. Sánchez found the bodies of his mother and two siblings. He also saw a young mother lying in her bed, shot in the head. Next to her lay her 1-day-old daughter. Her throat had been cut.
    On the wall, he told me, as he had the judge, the soldiers had scrawled in blood, "Un niño muerto, un guerrillero menos" — "One dead child is one fewer guerrilla."

    "This is mocking the victims," Mr. Sánchez said last week of the amnesty proposal, which he had come to protest in front of the Assembly building.
    If the measure is passed, the Mozote trial will be terminated, said David Morales, who has been representing victims and survivors for nearly 20 years, since his days as a recent law school graduate working for the archbishop's legal aid office. "It will be impossible to continue," he said.
    For good measure, and ensuring the end of the trial, the legislation says all trials must be held in the capital, San Salvador.
    What's more, under the new legislation only direct perpetrators of such crimes as murder, rape, kidnapping and torture could be prosecuted,not the captain, colonel or general who ordered it. In the event there was a trial of any lower-level soldier, he would not be at risk of a jail sentence under the proposal, not even for war crimes or crimes against humanity.
    The F.M.L.N. defends its support for the measure. "It's not true that it's an amnesty law," Nidia Díaz, an F.M.L.N. leader, said in a statement last week. She described it as a "Special Transitional Law for National Reconciliation, Truth, Justice, Reparations and a Guarantee of No Repetition."
    Another party leader, Jorge Schafik Hándal, whose father was the leader of the Communist Party and a guerrilla commander during the war, borrows a page from President Trump, denying reality. Asked by a reporter for El Faro, an online news organization, about the lack of jail sentences in the proposed law, Mr. Hándal, a member of parliament, responded angrily, "You haven't read the law."
    The journalist had. Article XII states that any "penalty of imprisonment" imposed before or after the new law takes effect "will be suspended by the judge." Imprisonment "shall be replaced" by community service, from three to 10 years.

    The United Nations Commission on Truth for El Salvador, established by the parties as part of the said peace agreement, found that the military and its allied death squads were responsible for an overwhelming majority of the killings during the war. 
    But the commission's report also details evidence of "extrajudicial killings" and violence by the F.M.L.N., including the assassinations of American Marines in the Zona Rosa, an upscale district in the capital, and of many small-town mayors.
    The families of four American churchwomen raped and murdered by soldiers in December 1980 have called on the legislators to "reject wholeheartedly" the proposed amnesty. In an open letter, the families continue that an amnesty, "especially in the Mozote case, would be another denial of the humanity of those who were killed so wantonly."
    The American Embassy in El Salvador has also endorsed the trial. "The trial of 20 defendants, many from the military's former high command, may provide a barometer for the ability of the Salvadoran justice system to tackle its complex history and stubbornly entrenched impunity," Ambassador Jean Manes wrote in a cable to Washington when the judge in Gotera reopened the investigation and began taking testimony.
    The political barometer readings, as a measure of justice, will fall if the forces of left and right succeed in enacting an amnesty.
    Raymond Bonner is the author of "Weakness and Deceit: America and El Salvador's Dirty War."

    6) I Want a Baby. I Don't Want to Force Someone to Have It for Me.
    Infertility doesn't make me resent women who have abortions. It helps me understand them.
    By Elizabeth Keenan, May 28,2019

    A clinic escort walks outside of the Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, D.C during a protest vigil sponsored by the Christian Defense Coalition.CreditCreditZach Gibson/Getty Images

    When my husband and I first learned we had fertility issues in 2012, I'd been a patient escort at an abortion clinic in New York City for about six months. I would stand outside the clinic and help patients enter, while watching for any aggressive anti-abortion protesters.
    Back then, clinic escorting was a fairly simple job. Sure, we had a few regular protesters, who trailed patients from the subway to the front door, all while shoving pamphlets in their faces and begging them not to kill their babies. But mostly, both sides kept to ourselves, and the police rarely got involved.
    A lot has changed since then: a gradual ramping-up of the so-called TRAP laws that restrict abortion providers; President Trump's appointment of a historic number of conservative appeals court judgesBrett Kavanaugh replacing the more moderate Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court; and, most recently, a spate of stringent anti-abortion laws in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio and Utah.

    At my local clinic, the protesters have swelled. The church group that appears every first Saturday of the month to pray now numbers over a hundred people. The "street counselors" who hand out misleading anti-abortion pamphlets have become more aggressive. I've been called a "deathscort" and told that I'm supporting genocide. I do my best to keep calm and make sure patients can get inside the clinic, and see a friendly face along the way.

    The recent attacks on abortion rights make me spitting angry, but they aren't the primary reason I'm still volunteering. What brings me there each month — the biggest confirmation of my pro-choice beliefs — is my own struggle to have a child.
    You might expect the opposite. After three intrauterine insemination procedures, three rounds of I.V.F., and two years on an adoption agency's waiting list, I still long to become a mother. I've been heartbroken again and again, when this treatment didn't work, or that birth mom didn't choose us. In shallow moments, I've resented people, including close friends and family members, who got pregnant easily.
    But the process has driven home for me that reproductive rights are human rights. Just because don't have the choice about whether or not to have a baby "naturally," I shouldn't try to take that choice away from someone else.
    Like a lot of women, I started I.V.F. feeling hopeful. Medically, there wasn't much wrong with either my husband or myself. We were young enough, in good health and fortunate to live in a state with a sliding-scale program that made I.V.F. affordable.
    My optimism soon faded. Every fertility treatment felt more dehumanizing. I saw doctors I barely knew, who maybe glanced at my chart for half a second and talked around me to the nurse, making notes about the progress of my follicle growth or my estrogen levels. I wasn't a person, but a set of ovaries requiring jump-starting and a uterus that needed to be primed for a fetus.

    And when things went wrong, I was to blame. When I gained weight — about 30 pounds — from the hormones and from being told not to exercise so much, a doctor told me I shouldn't expect to become pregnant "at my weight." It didn't matter that I'd started treatment in a normal weight range; I should have known what gaining weight would do to my chances.
    Being treated like my only purpose was to bear a child, and one that I was failing at it, was devastating. I tried to find some solace in the fact that I had a choice. No one was forcing me to do I.V.F., and when it became clear that it wasn't going to work, my husband and I made the decision to stop.
    Having those choices — to start treatments, and to stop — didn't solve everything, though, because each choice came with a round of new judgments from people about what I did with my body. A former friend called me selfish, first for doing I.V.F. instead of adoption, and then for working with an adoption agency instead of a foster care group. Another friend told me that she was relieved I had "quit the patriarchal bullshit of I.V.F.," which was somehow both reassuring and upsetting at the same time. And I'm sure, right now, that someone is reading this and saying, "Well, she should have tried to have children earlier if she didn't want it to be so difficult."
    Every one of my choices about my body is wrong to someone.
    Women's reproductive choices are always up for judgment, especially when it comes to abortion. To the anti-abortion protesters who stand outside the clinic, or the state legislators who passed those recent bills, the patients seeking abortions aren't people with their own needs, but vessels for future generations. The potential life they carry is worth more than their own. It is fine for them to suffer mentally, economically, physically, as long as that pregnancy comes to term.
    Now that my husband and I are hoping to adopt a child, the importance of reproductive choice has taken on more nuance for me. Anti-choice groups like to present adoption as an easy out for pregnant people, as though it guarantees a happy outcome for all involved. But adoption isn't a choice about whether to give birth; it's a choice about whether to parent. Neither choice should involve coercion.
    When I meet a woman at the clinic who's decided that an abortion is the right choice for her, I don't second-guess her. I smile warmly, and open the clinic door.
    I want a baby, but I don't want to force someone to have one for me, or force someone to give one to me. I am pro-choice — and it's because of what I've been through.
    Elizabeth Keenan is the author of the forthcoming novel "Rebel Girls."

    7) Which Box Do You Check? Some States Are Offering a Nonbinary Option
    As nonbinary teenagers push for driver's licenses that reflect their identity, a fraught debate over the nature of gender has arrived in the nation's statehouses.
    By Amy Harmon, May 29, 2019

    El Martinez, 17, at their home in Massachusetts. They wrote to their state representatives requesting a gender-neutral option for identity documents.CreditCreditTony Luong for The New York Times

    BOSTON — Ever since El Martinez started asking to be called by the gender-neutral pronouns "they/them" in the ninth grade, they have fielded skepticism in a variety of forms and from a multitude of sources about what it means to identify as nonbinary.
    There are faculty advisers on El's theater crew who balk at using "they" for one person; classmates at El's public school on the outskirts of Boston who insist El can't be "multiple people"; and commenters on El's social media feeds who dismiss nonbinary gender identities like androgyne (a combination of masculine and feminine), agender (the absence of gender) and gender-fluid (moving between genders) as lacking a basis in biology.
    Even for El's supportive parents, conceiving of gender as a multidimensional sprawl has not been so easy to grasp. Nor has El's suggestion that everyone state their pronouns gained much traction.

    So last summer, when the Massachusetts State Legislature became one of the first in the nation to consider a bill to add an "X" option for nonbinary genders to the "M" and "F" on the state driver's license, El, 17, was less surprised than some at the maneuver that effectively killed it.

    Beyond the catchall "X," Representative James J. Lyons Jr. (he/him), a Republican, had proposed that the bill should be amended to offer drivers 29 other gender options, including "pangender," "two-spirit" and "genderqueer." Rather than open the requisite debate on each term, leaders of the Democratic-controlled House shelved the measure. 
    "He articulated an anxiety that many people, even folks from the left, have: that there's this slippery slope of identity, and 'Where will it stop?'" said Ev Evnen (they/them), director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, which is championing a new version of the bill.
    As the first sizable group of Americans to openly identify as neither only male nor only female has emerged in recent years, their requests for recognition have been met with reservations that often cross partisan lines. For their part, some nonbinary people suggest that concerns about authenticity and grammar sidestep thornier questions about the culture's longstanding limits on how gender is supposed to be felt and expressed.
    "Nonbinary gender identity can be complicated," said Mx. Evnen, 31, who uses a gender-neutral courtesy title. "It's also threatening to an order a lot of people have learned how to navigate."
    And with bills to add a nonbinary marker to driver's licenses moving through at least six legislatures this session, the expansive conception of gender that many teenagers can trace to middle-school lunch tables is being scrutinized on a new scale.

    The wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation has prompted debate over whether extending legal recognition to a category of people still unknown to many Americans could undermine support for other groups vulnerable to discrimination. It has also highlighted how disorienting it can be to lose the gendered cues, like pronouns, names, appearance and mannerisms, that shape so much of social interaction.

    Over the last few months, lawmakers have sought — not always successfully — to use the singular "they" when introducing nonbinary constituents who have appeared to testify. The elected officials have listened to tutorials on the difference between sexual orientation and gender identity (the former is who you go to bed with, the latter is who you go to bed as); to pleas for compassion from parents who have learned to refer to their children as "my kid" rather than "son" or "daughter"; and to why being called by binary pronouns feels, as Kayden Reff (they/them), 15, of Bethesda, Md., put it in testimony read by their mother, "as though ice is being poured down my back."
    "I've always been a liberal Democrat; it's not like these issues are foreign to me," said State Representative Michael Winkler (he/him), 68, of Vernon, Conn., who attended a hearing on gender-neutral identification state documents this spring. "But I'm still capable of being educated."
    Some of the antipathy toward nonbinary identities may reflect a generational divide. Over a third of Americans now in their teens and early 20s know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, according to a recent survey by Pew Research — more than people in their later 20s and 30s, double the number of those in their 40s, and triple the number of those in their 50s and 60s. Sixty percent of the teenagers surveyed told Pew that forms asking about a person's gender should include options other than "man" and "woman."
    "Possibly it's an age issue," said Jocelyn Doan (she/her), 39, a longtime advocate for progressive causes in Hawaii who struggled with whether to support the gender-neutral license bill in her state. "I want to respect their challenges, but the use of 'their' for a single person is making me crazy."
    Objections to the bills have also been raised by social conservatives, like State Senator J.B. Jennings (he/him) of Maryland, who made a distinction in public comments between transgender people who transition from male to female or vice versa, and those who identify as nonbinary. "They're either going one way or the other, they're not stuck in the middle," he said. Mr. Jennings suggested that the license would be inaccurate if it listed a gender other than male or female. His argument was echoed by the California Family Council when that state became the first to adopt gender-neutral documents as law in 2017: "It advances a falsehood that being male or female or no gender at all is a choice each person must make, not a fact to celebrate and accept," said Jonathan Keller, the group's president.

    But other opponents, like the Women's Liberation Front, an advocacy group that has submitted testimony on so-called "Gender X" bills in several states, argue that bolstering the nonbinary category will harm people who face discrimination and violence precisely because they are born with female anatomy. "To deny the reality of sex means we're not able to name, address, and fix systemic sex-based oppression and exploitation," said Kara Dansky (she/her) of the group's Maryland chapter.
    And a state agency in Hawaii that tracks the status of women took the opposite tack, backing an alternative proposal for a limited-use ID bearing no gender marker that was introduced in addition to a bill to add the "X." 
    "The state does not have a legitimate interest" in identifying residents based on their gender, the agency's testimony asserted. That bill did not advance, said its sponsor, State Senator Karl Rhoads (he/him), probably because federal law requires air travelers to carry identification that includes a gender marker, and in the island state, "the only way to get anywhere is flying."
    Proponents of adding a gender-neutral option to state identification documents say it would remove a form of discrimination against nonbinary people by providing them with the means to carry identification that matches their identity. Many also hope it will lend legitimacy to a paradigm that stands to liberate people of all genders from deep-rooted social norms that penalize women for being assertive and men for showing emotion.
    "The gender binary is a system of control that a lot of nonbinary people are invested in destroying, and this is a step toward that," said Jamie Grace Alexander (they/them or she/her), a 21-year-old college student who helped to craft testimony on the Maryland bill for the Baltimore Transgender Alliance.
    Some parents of nonbinary youths who testified at hearings acknowledged that understanding their child's identity was a challenge at first. "Sweetie, there's no right way to be a girl," Sara Collina (she/her), a gender studies professor in Takoma Park, Md., recalled saying when her child first confided that they had renounced the gender they were given at birth.

    But several nonbinary teenagers emphasized that they were not looking for a way to be a girl or boy that stretched conventional definitions. Their gender identity was a visceral feeling, they said, not a political choice — and one that could bring with it social ostracism.

    "I wouldn't wish to not be nonbinary," Ms. Collina's teenager (they/them), who did not want to be named, said. "But it is harder."
    Scholars say that nonbinary genders have existed across history and cultures. Young Americans may now be embracing them in larger numbers, they say, because the increased visibility of people who have transitioned from one binary gender to the other suggests that there are more than two positions to occupy.
    "Such fluidity necessarily raises the question for all of us," wrote Barbara Risman (she/her), a sociologist at the University of Illinois who has studied nonbinary youths, "why must our lives be organized by the legal and bureaucratic binary system that relegates everyone to one of two categories based originally on genitalia observed at birth?"
    Perhaps also because some critical mass has been reached, nine state motor vehicles bureaus have recently added the "X" option to driver's licenses without involving the legislature. 
    Several other jurisdictions, including New York City, Oregon, New Jersey and New Mexico, have also begun to allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate to "X." The nation's major airlines have announced that they will allow passengers to identify as an "undisclosed" or "unspecified" gender when booking tickets.
    And in a decision that has been appealed by the United States government, a federal judge in Colorado ruled that the State Department's requirement that applicants choose either "M" or "F" on a passport application is not an acceptable basis on which to withhold a passport from Dana Zzyym (they/them), a military veteran who sued the department in 2014 after their request for a gender-neutral passport was denied. "This is not a matter of self-expression," the government has argued. "This is a government form."

    But the current crop of gender-neutral license bills, if signed into law, would amount to the first wave of legal recognition for nonbinary identities, legal experts said. "We didn't want this to be just an administrative change," said Jen Jenkins (they/them), a law student at the University of Hawaii who provided research for the bill passed by Hawaii's Legislature last month. "We want it to last."
    In some states, the bills have been introduced at the urging of parents who know that social affirmation can reduce the elevated risk of suicide and depression for gender-nonconforming children.
    "The gist was, their kids didn't feel the IDs available to them reflected who they were," said Gerri Cannon (she/her), a state representative who sponsored ID bills in New Hampshire after receiving calls from concerned parents.
    Nonbinary teens themselves have also petitioned for a third gender on state identity documents.
    Ed Luiggi (they/them), 17, president of an after-school club for gender nonconforming students, skipped school to testify before the Maryland Senate's Judicial Proceedings Committee in Annapolis earlier this year. "My heart was racing and I was sweating a bit," they said. It was at the same hearing that Lisa Reff (she/her), a lawyer, read the statement that her 15-year-old, Kayden, had labored to make relatable: "I wanted it to be down-to-earth but I also wanted it to sound proper," Kayden said in a text.
    And the Massachusetts bill originated with a letter written by El Martinez to their state representatives: "I am planning to take driving lessons in the fall and I would be ecstatic to have a more neutral option," it read. And this time around, El has sought to assure lawmakers that the "X" would encompass all nonconforming genders. "The 'X,'" El told members of the Legislature's transportation committee in late March, "is a symbol."
    In Hawaii and Colorado, gender-neutral license bills have recently reached the desks of their respective governors. Maryland's will become law, the state's Republican governor, Larry Hogan, said last week, without his signature, effective Oct. 1. 
    Similar measures are still under consideration in New HampshireNew York and Connecticut. The Massachusetts bill has passed the Senate. It is now under review in the House.

    Amy Harmon is a national correspondent, covering the intersection of science and society. She has won two Pulitzer Prizes, for her series "The DNA Age", and as part of a team for the series "How Race Is Lived in America."


    8) Family of Abused Milwaukee Inmate Will Receive $6.75 Million
    By Daniel Victor, May 29, 2019

    Terrill Thomas, at left, with Terrill Barnes, his son, in an undated photo. Mr. Thomas died of dehydration in a Milwaukee jail in 2016.CreditCreditKimberly Perry/Kimberly Perry, via Associated Press

    The children of Terrill Thomas, who died of dehydration in a Milwaukee jail in 2016 after correctional officers turned off his cell's water supply for a week, will receive $6.75 million in a settlement with Milwaukee County and Armor Correctional Health Services, a private company that provided health care at the jail.
    The settlement, reached in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, ends a federal civil rights lawsuit by Mr. Thomas's estate, which includes four minor children, and a separate federal suit filed by one of his children. Erik Heipt, a lawyer for the estate, said it was the largest settlement of its kind in Wisconsin history, and among the largest in the country.
    "The amount of the settlement reflects the callous disregard for Terrill Thomas's life and the magnitude of his pain and suffering," he said.

    Mr. Heipt said he hoped it would send a message to jail operators that "if you ignore the Constitution and act with deliberate indifference to the lives of inmates, there will be a price to pay."

    Mr. Thomas, 38, was arrested on April 15, 2016, on charges that he had shot a man and later fired two gunshots inside a casino. Mr. Thomas had bipolar disorder and was unable to be an advocate for himself in the jail or take his prescribed medication, Mr. Heipt said.
    Mr. Thomas was moved to an isolation cell after flooding his first cell by stuffing a mattress cover into the toilet, according to prosecutors.
    In what prosecutors described as punishment for flooding the first cell, a jail lieutenant, Kashka Meadors, told a correctional officer, James Ramsey-Guy, to turn off the water supply to Mr. Thomas's new one.
    The water was never turned back on, and Mr. Thomas was not given any drinks with his food. He was found dead in his cell on April 24.
    Ms. Meadors pleaded no contest last year to a felony charge of prisoner abuse and was sentenced to 60 days in prison, according to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Mr. Ramsey-Guy was sentenced in March to 30 days in prison on a charge of abusing a resident of a penal facility, a felony.

    Prosecutors said Nancy Evans, a jail commander, had repeatedly lied to investigators. Ms. Evans pleaded no contest in February to misconduct in office, a felony, and was sentenced to nine months of what was expected to be house arrest, according to the newspaper.
    In May 2017, a jury recommended that prosecutors charge seven jail employees with felony abuse. Four of the employees have not been charged.
    Mr. Heipt said the case had led to several changes at the jail. Most of the people involved in the events are no longer there, including Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who ran the jail and is a nationally known ally of President Trump. The jail has changed several policies and terminated its relationship with Armor Correctional Health Services.
    The settlement, Mr. Heipt said, "gives me hope some positive change will come about from this."


    9) I gave water to migrants crossing the Arizona desert. They charged me with a felony.

    As the government cracks down on humanitarian aid, my case may set a dangerous precedent

    By Scott Warren, May 28, 2019
    Scott Warren is a geographer living in Ajo, Arizona.
    Volunteers with the humanitarian aid organization No More Deaths walk with buckets of food and jugs of water on May 10 near Ajo, Ariz. (John Moore/Getty Images)

    AJO, Ariz. — After a dangerous journey across Mexico and a difficult crossing through the Arizona desert, someone told Jose and Kristian that they might find water and food at a place in Ajo called the Barn. The Barn is a gathering place for humanitarian volunteers like me, and there the two young men were able to eat, rest and get medical attention. As the two were preparing to leave, the Border Patrol arrested them. Agents also handcuffed and arrested me, for — in the agency’s words — having provided the two migrants with “food, water, clean clothes and beds.”
    Jose and Kristian were detained for several weeks, deposed by the government as material witnesses in its case against me and then deported back to the countries from which they had fled for their lives. This week, the government will try me for human smuggling. If convicted, I may be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
    In the Sonoran Desert, the temperature can reach 120 degrees during the day and plummet at night. Water is scarce. Tighter border policies have forced migrants into harsher and more remote territory, and many who attempt to traverse this landscape don’t survive. Along what’s become known as the Ajo corridor, dozens of bodies are found each year; many more are assumed to be undiscovered.
    Local residents and volunteers organize hikes into this desert to offer humanitarian aid. We haul jugs of water and buckets filled with canned food, socks, electrolytes and basic first-aid supplies to a few sites along the mountain and canyon paths. Other times, we get a report that someone has gone missing, and our mission becomes search and rescue — or, more often, to recover the bodies and bones of those who have died.
    Over the years, humanitarian groups and local residents navigated a coexistence with the Border Patrol. We would meet with agents and inform them of how and where we worked. At times, the Border Patrol sought to cultivate a closer relationship. “Glad you’re out here today,” I remember an agent telling me once. “People really need water.” In a town as small as Ajo, we’re all neighbors, and everybody’s kids go to the same school. Whether it was in the grocery store or out in the field, it was commonplace for residents and volunteers to run into Border Patrol agents and talk.
    Those kinds of encounters are rare these days. Government authorities have cracked down on humanitarian aid: denying permits to enter the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, and kicking over and slashing water jugs. They are also aggressively prosecuting volunteers. Several No More Deaths volunteers have faced possible imprisonment and fines of up to $10,000 on federal misdemeanor charges from 2017 including entering a wildlife refuge without a permit and “abandonment of property” — leaving water and cans of beans for migrants. (I face similar misdemeanor charges of “abandonment of property.”)
    My case in particular may set a dangerous precedent, as the government expands its definitions of “transportation” and “harboring.” The smuggling and harboring laws have always been applied selectively: with aggressive prosecutions of “criminal” networks but leniency for big agriculture and other politically powerful industries that employ scores of undocumented laborers. Now, the law may be applied to not only humanitarian aid workers but also to the millions of mixed-status families in the United States. Take, for instance, a family in which one member is undocumented and another member, who is a citizen, is buying the groceries and paying the rent. Would the government call that harboring? If this family were driving to a picnic in the park, would the government call that illegal transportation? Though this possibility would have seemed far-fetched a few years ago, it has become frighteningly real.
    The Trump administration’s policies — warehousing asylees, separating families, caging children — seek to impose hardship and cruelty. For this strategy to work, it must also stamp out kindness.
    To me, the question that emerges from all of this is not whether the prosecution will have a chilling effect on my community and its sense of compassion. The question is whether the government will take seriously its humanitarian obligations to the migrants and refugees who arrive at the border.
    In Ajo, my community has provided food and water to those traveling through the desert for decades — for generations. Whatever happens with my trial, the next day, someone will walk in from the desert and knock on someone’s door, and the person who answers will respond to the needs of that traveler. If they are thirsty, we will offer them water; we will not ask for documents beforehand. The government should not make that a crime.
    As told to Post editor Sophia Nguyen.

    10) I Was an Anti-Abortion Crusader. Now I Support Roe v. Wade.
    Overturning the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision would not be “pro-life.” It would be destructive of life.
    By Rob Schenck, May 30, 2019
    Mr. Schenck is an evangelical minister.

    An abortion rights event at the Supreme Court.CreditCreditPete Marovich/Getty Images

    For more than 30 years I worked to overturn Roe v. Wade. As an evangelical minister, I was deeply engaged in the world of the religious right, beginning with my vote for Ronald Reagan for president in 1980. I believed he would appoint Supreme Court justices committed to protecting unborn children, and Antonin Scalia, appointed in 1986, fulfilled my expectations. Later, when President George Bush nominated to the court another strong pro-lifer, Clarence Thomas, I led a vigil at our church to pray for his successful confirmation.
    During those years I also recruited, trained and directed thousands of protesters who blocked the doors to abortion clinics, marched in the streets to decry “baby killing” and staged sit-ins at the offices of legislators. I was a leader of Operation Rescue, the activist pro-life group; I helped stage the epic 1992 anti-abortion demonstrations in Buffalo. I went to jail and paid exorbitant fines for my advocacy, and was even arrested by the Secret Service for my role in thrusting an aborted fetus at Gov. Bill Clinton during his 1992 presidential campaign. Eventually, I founded a national organization to advance the anti-abortion agenda.
    Given my history, you might think I would be thrilled at the perilous threshold at which Roe now stands, following the passage of sweeping new abortion restrictions in such states as Alabama, Georgia and Missouri. I’m not.
    Over the last decade, I have changed my view on Roe. I’ve come to believe that overturning Roe would not be “pro-life”; rather, it would be destructive of life. I have witnessed firsthand and now appreciate the full significance of the terrible poverty, social marginalization and baldfaced racism that persists in many of the states whose legislators are now essentially banning abortion. If Roe is overturned, middle- and upper-class white women will still secure access to abortions by traveling to states where abortion is not banned, but members of minorities and poor whites will too often find themselves forced to bear children for which they cannot adequately care.

    What is “pro-life” about putting a woman in a situation where she must risk pregnancy without proper medical, social and emotional support? What is “pro-life” about forcing the birth of a child, if that child will enter a world of rejection, deprivation and insecurity, to say nothing of the fear, anxiety and danger that comes with poverty, crime and a lack of educational and employment opportunities?
    Consider the situation in Alabama. The Alabama Senate approved a measure this month that would outlaw almost all abortions in the state. I know Alabama well. I was arrested and served jail time there for my activism in the early 2000s. While being processed and incarcerated, I met men and women — primarily members of minorities and poor whites — whose daily lives consisted of one crisis after the next. Many of them lacked even the most rudimentary life skills, including what it takes to parent a child. They were in a state of perpetual panic about money, about the bewildering circumstances they found themselves in, feeling victimized by their very existence. Some spoke to me of their children, agonizing over how helpless they felt in providing anything for them.
    The experience left me feeling hollow inside. Alabama does have a network of “crisis pregnancy centers,” which offer support for women and their babies. But that support is limited, and should Roe be overturned, those centers will be woefully insufficient to help these women and their families raise and care for their children. 
    I’d like to think that the churches and pro-life organizations I worked with for those 30 years would provide the necessary tens of millions of dollars, thousands of volunteer hours, extensive social services, medical and dental care, educational support, food, clothing and spiritual assistance. But I suspect — frankly, I know — that they cannot or will not.
    No doubt, many of my former allies will call me a turncoat. I don’t see it that way. I still believe that every abortion is a tragedy and that when a woman is pregnant, bringing the child into the world is always ideal. Reality, though, is different from fantasy. I wish every child could be fully nurtured and cared for, and could experience all the wonderful possibilities that life can offer.

    But that is not how things turn out for every mother and child. As I’ve preached countless times, loving our neighbors means meeting them where they are, not where we want them to be.
    I can no longer pretend that telling poor pregnant women they have just one option — give birth and try your luck successfully raising a child, even though the odds are stacked against you — is “pro-life” in any meaningful sense. And when this message is delivered to poor women by overwhelmingly middle- or upper-class white men (as most of the legislators passing these laws are), it adds insult to injury.
    To my former allies who are cheering on the challenges to Roe, I say: Put your money where your mouth is. Devote yourself and your considerable resources to taking care of poor women and their children before you champion laws that hem them into impossible situations.
    Otherwise, you are violating the Bible you purport to obey. In the New Testament’s Book of James we read, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
    The admonition doesn’t end there. The Book of James goes on to call such a perpetrator of fake religion a “fool.”
    Passing extreme anti-abortion laws and overturning Roe will leave poor women desperate and the children they bear bereft of what they need to flourish. This should not be anyone’s idea of victory. Anyone who thinks otherwise is indeed a fool.
    Rob Schenck (@RevRobSchenck1) is the president of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington and the author of “Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope and Love.”


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