Nancy Haydt, J.D.
Executive Director
Death Penalty Focus
415-243-0143 (office)
805-637-1061 (cell)



680 Majority Latinx Workers in Mississippi Taken off their Jobs by ICE: An Injury to One is an Injury to All!

On August 7, the US Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted raids on workers in 7 food processing plants in six Mississippi cities.

These workers came to the US to try to earn an honest living, because conditions in their home countries prevented them from living in peace, supporting their families and endangering them by military and social violence and climate changes.  US foreign policies in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa contribute to the conditions faced by the majority of these immigrant workers.

The families, communities and cities that depend on the incomes of these workers are being disrupted representing a form of ethnic cleansing consistent with the demands of white nationalism.

Although the ICE representatives claimed that this mass raid was not ordered by the Trump administration, it fits the racist and xenophobic lies that immigrants are taking U.S. jobs. These mass raids are part of Trump's white nationalist claim of bringing back U.S. jobs.

This raid is not only a violation of human rights that needs stronger language in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is also an attack on the working-class, aimed a fostering greater divisions and fears. It is part of the corporate strategy to create a climate of insecurity within the working-class to super-exploit immigrant and all Southern workers.

The US South has attracted large numbers of Latinx workers.  Along with African descendants and Indigenous people the combined amount of people of color in the South is about 40 percent of the population of 108 million. What capitalism does to its most oppressed and exploited sectors sets a direction for capitalism's plans for the entire working-class.

Organized labor and working-class communities in the South, nationally and internationally must show solidarity with these workers.  They must know that they are not isolated and are part of the workers struggle.

The Southern Workers Assembly calls on all member organizations, all workers in the labor movement and communities dependent on the working-class to take some solidarity action to express solidarity with these workers and our outrage at the actions of the federal government.

Please send feedback on what action you organizations can take based on your capacity. If taken in your organizations name, add member of Southern Workers Assembly to show the mobilization of our network.

There are no walls in the workers struggle!
An injury to one is an injury to all!

- Southern Workers Assembly, August 2019

Read more about this ICE raid attack on migrant workers at:

Pay Day: ICE Raids Miss. Plant After $3.75 Million Sexual Harassment Settlement

Reuters: U.S. immigration agents arrest 680 workers at Mississippi plants

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Political Prisoners and Assange: Carole Seligman At S.F. Assange Rally
As part of an international action to free Julian Assange, a rally was held on June 12, 2019 at the US Federal Building in San Francisco and Carole Seligman was one of the speakers. She also speaks about imperialist wars and  the cases of Mumia Abu-Jamal and Fumiaki Hoshino.
For more info:
Production of Labor Video Project



Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to 

Demand His Release!

Tell them to approve Mumia's cataract surgery immediately!

Tell them to release Mumia Abu-Jamal NOW because he can receive better healthcare outside of prison and also because he is an innocent man!


Prison officials turn away thousands of petitions for Mumia

Dozens of community activists traveled hundreds of miles from four states to Mechanicsburg, Penn., on July 24 to deliver petitions signed by 3,000 people from around the world, simply requesting the right to proper vision care for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal. They expected at the very least that someone with authority in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections would step out to accept the petitions.

The PA DOC instead placed several burly Capitol District cops and a couple of DOC staff members outside the front doors to "greet" the community representatives.

The activists fighting for Abu-Jamal's freedom — representing a global movement for the freedom of all political prisoners — insisted on their right to speak to John Wetzel, head of the state prison authority or one of his near-equals, before handing over the signatures from thousands of Mumia supporters.

Agreement to meet

Outside the main doors of the state facility, the first of two non-uniformed men to speak to the activists was a Mr. Barnacle. When Pam Africa, representing the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal, asked who he was, he pulled out a badge marked "staff," dated 2018. When told someone with real authority and current identification was needed, Barnacle eventually agreed to allow three participants to enter the building to deliver the petitions to a DOC official.

While the assembled activists waited to be joined by people in two additional vehicles from New York City, Megan Malachi, from REAL Justice, read the petition to the press titled "Act Now to Save Mumia's Eyesight and to Demand His Release." (tinyurl.com/y4s3ekpr)

Aminata Sandra Calhoun, from Mobilization4Mumia, followed with a statement from Mumia's medical proxy, Rev. Mark Taylor, a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, serving presently as Mumia's "spiritual advisor." The statement read in part:

"So far, the prison officials are discouraging and making complicated the eye-doctor's ability to share with me the medical information that Mumia wants me to have. They have not scheduled his surgery. Every cooperative effort on these matters is being made by Mumia's family and friends; still there is too much stalling by prison officials.

"We insist that SCI-Mahanoy and the PA DOC honor every legal step that Mumia needs to be taken, so that he receives quality eye-care immediately. He must no longer be subject to medical neglect or to any withholding of full information about his medical condition.

"The abuse Mumia suffered in the past nearly killed him, and even when finally addressed left him with cirrhosis of the liver. There is time for PA officials to turn a new corner." (tinyurl.com/yxvmabkr)

Abu Jamal has a lot of trouble reading and doing other tasks that require good eyesight. His eyesight is seriously threatened by glaucoma, a vitreous detachment and cataracts in both eyes. These jeopardize his quality of life and wellbeing, as well as his journalistic profession.

The ophthalmologist whom Abu-Jamal was taken to see outside Mahanoy Prison recommends surgical procedures to remove the cataracts on both eyes.
But months of delays echo the years of delays Abu-Jamal experienced before the DOC was finally forced by a federal court to treat him with the cure for hepatitis C in 2018.

DOC reneges on agreement

When three designated activists — Dr. Suzanne Ross, Rev. Keith Collins and a videographer — later tried to enter the DOC state headquarters, they were met by another DOC staff member, Ken Smith, who claimed he was a Major in "Special Operations," but would not show any valid identification to that effect.

Smith then reneged on the earlier agreement and said he would take the petitions, but would not allow the representatives to enter the building and meet with a DOC official.

The activists were unbending in their demand that a valid DOC person of authority formally accept, "on the record," the inch-think bundle at a location inside the building.

Dr. Ross, designated as one of the petition delivery trio, told Smith: "The DOC has already failed from 2015 to 2017 to make available to Mumia the cure that was available for hep C at that time. The two-year delay left Mumia with cirrhosis of the liver [and other hep C-related damage]. Mumia supporters are determined to prevent the damage that could be caused by a comparable delay in treating his visual problems … . We've been here before and met with people. One time it was with the head of the press office. Send us the press officer."

Rev. Keith Collins, who visited Mumia on July 4 and was also appointed to deliver the petitions, said: "I'm a pastor, a decorated veteran, a paratrooper, also an ex-cop … . We just want to deliver these petitions … . Mumia told me he can see to get around but not to read and that's very important — for a journalist to read and to study … . So we're here … to get him access to the doctor … and to let him come home. He's served forty years for a crime he did not commit."

Despite arguing for over an hour, the activists could not get the DOC to relent. Because of the commotion and locked doors, when a FedEx worker tried to deliver a package, no one on the outside would sign for it, and he was told to come back another time.

Yet the DOC wanted petitions from 3,000 people to be handed over to undesignated staff, off the record, with no way of tracking the petitions, which could immediately be trashed.

Finally, Abu-Jamal's supporters marched away, but not before Pam Africa said: "We're leaving now, but it's not over. Wetzel, we're going to find out wherever you be at, cause there ain't no power like the power of the people." The group left chanting, with the petitions in Rev. Collins' hands, undelivered.

Legal struggle continues

The DOC's refusal to meet with community representatives comes less than a week after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower-court decision that Corrections Department employees could be sued for their decisions regarding the 65-year-old Mumia. Abu-Jamal asserts his initial denial of treatment with two antiviral drugs for hepatitis C violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. In an unprecedented January 2017 decision, Federal District Court Judge Robert Mariani used that argument to order the DOC to treat Abu-Jamal with direct-acting antiviral medications for his hep C infection.
Abu-Jamal's supporters argue that because deliberate delay resulted in Mumia's cirrhosis of the liver and because the current delay in cataract surgery may cause further deterioration in his overall health, he should immediately be released to seek treatment that the DOC refuses to make readily available to him.

Abu-Jamal is not alone in enduring these cruel and unusual assaults on his health. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of state prisoners age 55 or older increased 400 percent between 1993 and 2013. Across the nation elderly prisoners experience a torturous journey toward the end of their lives, suffering from life-threatening illnesses without adequate treatment or any "compassionate release." Abu-Jamal's appeals for his right to treatment and for his release could result in increased rights for the freedom of all prisoners experiencing cruel and unusual conditions.

Abu-Jamal is serving a life sentence in the Pennsylvania prison system. The sentence, for the alleged 1981 murder of a Philadelphia policeman, came down in the context of a corruption-ridden and racist police department. That sentence has been declared unfair by human rights organizations and prison activists the world over.

Although Abu-Jamal has suffered a travesty of justice in the denial of his many appeals over the years, now both the Philadelphia District Attorney and the courts have recognized his right to have his appeals re-argued. This was determined by a momentous decision by Common Pleas Court Judge Leon Tucker in December 2018. Abu-Jamal is currently waiting for his Post Conviction Relief Act appeals to be reheard before a new panel of Pennsylvania Superior Court judges.

While the PA DOC remains resistant to giving Abu-Jamal his full rights to timely health care, and while the political powers in Pennsylvania continue to vilify him, Abu-Jamal and his supporters remain strong and energized by his recent court victories.
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
Questions and comments may be sent to info@freedomarchives.org

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Take Action:

1.    Sign the petition
2.    Call: Dr. Courtney P Rodgers – (570) 773-7851 and SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa A. Delbalso - (570) 773-2158
3.    Call: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf – (717) 787-2500; PA DOC Secretary John Wetzel – (717) 728-2573; Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner – (215) 686-8000

Write to Mumia at:
Smart Communications/PA DOC
Mumia Abu-Jamal #AM-8335
SCI Mahanoy
P.O. Box 33028
St. Petersburg, FL 33733



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The Campaign To Bring Mumia Home

Brother Delbert Africa Needs Our Help


The MOVE Organization would like to bring to people's attention a very dangerous situation that is currently occurring with our Brother Delbert Africa. For the past two weeks Delbert has been suffering from severe swelling from the bottom of his waist all the way down to his toes. For the past two weeks prison officials at SCI Dallas have ignored Delbert's request for medical until this past week when several calls were made to his counselor. A medical visit was finally scheduled for this past Wednesday 7/31/2019 where it was explained to Delbert that he has a fluid build up which required to be drained. Delbert was immediately taken to an outside hospital; as of today 8/3/2019 we still do not know where Delbert is.
For several days now Delbert has been kept incommunicado from calling his MOVE Family, His Blood Daughter, and even his lawyer. Prison officials and also hospital officials will not give any one information pertaining to where Delbert is at.

Something very suspicious is happening here and it appears the same pattern that occurred with Phil Africa in 2015 where a simple stomach virus turned to a weeklong trip to the outside hospital held incommunicado from family and friends to return back to the prison and be placed in hospice care and to only die a day later. In 1998 Merle Africa who had a stomach virus was forced in her cell and told she was dying only to die a couple of hours later.
This system has no issue with murdering MOVE people and that's what they are trying to do with Delbert now. They have already given ground by letting innocent MOVE people out on parole and they do not want to do this with Delbert. As we said before, this system has always seen Delbert as the leader and isolated him and this latest tactic is no different. Delbert is set to go before the board this September after winning his appeal; now this happens.

As of now, we have heard that it has been stated based on the medical report given from Outside medical they are stating that Delbert has Anemia, High Potassium, High Psa's, Acute malignancy of lower intestines, Kidney Trouble, and Suspicion of prostate cancer. The only thing that Delbert has agreed to with any treatment or exams is the submission of a catheter to be used.

Delbert has requested a phone call to his MOVE Family, which neither the prison nor the hospital will allow. We are highly suspicious that this prison has done something to Delbert to bring on these symptoms so quickly. They could not kill Delbert August 8th after the brutal beating they gave him and now they want to finish the job before he can come home on parole.

These officials are so arrogant; this is the same way they murdered Phil Africa and Merle Africa .
As we have stated before, they have isolated our Brother so they can kill him. They won't let anyone speak to him. This is very dangerous!!!

We need people now to call
SCI Dallas Superintendent Kevin Ransom 570 675-1101
Geisenger Hospital 570 808-7300
We want people to demand that Delbert Orr Africa Am4895 be allowed to call his MOVE Family and let them know what's going on.

Even Though it's the weekend we are still asking people to call and Monday we are going full blast .
The MOVE Organization
People can reach
Sue Africa 215 387-4107
Carlos Africa 215 385-2772
Janine Africa 610 704 4524


"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is just, yet refuse to defend it--at the moment you begin to die. And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about justice" 

-Mumia Abu-Jamal
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50 years in prison: 

FREE Chip Fitzgerald 
Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend
former Black Panther 
Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him.

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman. During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:
·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;
·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;
·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage.

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald
Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,
P.O. Box 4490
Lancaster, CA 93539

Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/



Lost In the System 

By Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin
The system in which I attempt to discuss today is a familiar place in the world. The name of this system varies from mouth to mouth in casual conversation, or heated debates. Some call it Gulags, others call it the Prison Industrial Complex, others the human warehouse.
I agree with all these names and more, including the numerous books that have surfaced in the last two decades about mass incarceration. This system as we know it holds 2.5 million people and some of them they refuse to let go regardless of rehabilitation, programming certifications, college, and ignorant youthful mistakes. I am one of those 2.5 million and counting.
On June 4, 2019 after having served 31 years of my life in which I've turned 18 in Union County Jail in Elizabeth, New Jersey, I was transferred to Rikers Island where I turned 19 and was sentenced to 25 years to life in 1991. I was finally granted parole after being denied four times. I convinced the Commissioners by the grace of Allah that I was no longer that easily influenced teenager.
I was no longer a threat to society. I was a college graduate twice. I was in school working on a degree at Ulster Community College through Hudson Link Prison Education Program funded by Mr. Warren Buffett and his sister Doris, and many other famous people—to name a few: Harry Belafonte, Ice-T and Coco his wife. (See HudsonLink.org website). I was a teacher's aide helping men whose reading level was below fifth-grade, as well as math. I was the Imam's clerk and taught Arabic. I had numerous letters from staff requesting my release. Some staff were retaliated against for such belief and reprimanded although New York DOCCS rules state that staff should write these reports. I am the author of an urban novel entitled Can't Stop the Grindand a book of poetry entitled From the Mind of the Incarcerated Slavethat has yet to be published. I gave speeches in the prison grassroots events regularly.
I had become a father and a husband. I had written articles about "the system," the comrade brother Rashid who was the codefendant of Assata Shakur and Abdul Majid (Anthony Laborde) who was placed in solitary confinement with me on two separate occasions. Once was in Wende Correctional Facility, and the last before his death and Elmira, for organizing and other false charges.  I had also written articles in the Bay View on the death of Hugo Pinell and how it was our obligation to adopt his daughter as our sister, daughter, and niece.
However, on June 4, 2019, the day when billions of Muslims are celebrating the end of Ramadan, I was waiting in the cell to go home. My family and I had been told there were no warrants or detainers, no reason for my further incarceration. My brothers had catered a beautiful meal for the evening for me, daughters and sons-in-law to partake, after the evening prayer. I was dressed in full Islamic attire—full-length prayer robe and Kufi. Instead of my release, I was told that my backpack that I was to pick up from Hudson with a laptop computer and suits of clothing as part of the coming home package, and pages of trial transcripts and books would have to stay. I was taken into custody by Union County sheriffs and my family was told to leave the parking lot. I was not coming out. My daughter Aminati and my wife who is a strong prison advocate on Prison Radio's "Voices Beyond the Wall" on WKBR 91.3 Radiowas crushed. My wife has not gotten back on the radio because she can't speak without breaking down.
I was placed in a filthy bullpen with walls smeared with all types of disgusting looking substances while foot-shackled and waist-cuffed. I was told I would not be allowed to wear a black Kufi and my attire was confiscated as I was given a tan uniform. I was given one phone call to let everyone know what happened. I had not seen any judge and within 48 hours I was zoomed off at 5:00 A.M. to Trenton State Prison, which sent me to Central Reception Assignment Facility (CRAF) butt naked in a jumpsuit and flip-flops. I was issued #550844, and old number and simply told I would see Classification. This is 31 years later. My family was not allowed to speak to me for a week. Upon seeing Classification I was told owed time—16 years with a five-year stipulation. The Classification Committee removed six years from the back of the sentence and gave me an early parole date of November 2023 plus 202 to jail credit days. This was my punishment for getting a reversal in 1994 and being re-sentenced, which in the original judgment of conviction showed there was a 256 Gap time days plus 202 jail credit and another eight months missing.
The judge has since died and on a motion has been filed to amend the judgment of conviction to reflect 1014 days are owed to me on the front of the sentence and 1059 on the back which under State v. HernandezState v. Beatty and State v. Rippy, I am entitled to every day. This time would put me at an immediate Parole Board to be released, or at least a halfway house, which, under New Jersey law, for which anyone who is 36 months short of the earliest release is eligible. I am in need in legal representation. I have been given a Public Defender and assigned Judge Deitch in Union County who is reviewing the pro se motion.
Today I need people to contact Judge Deitch at 908-787-1650 extension #21250 or in a written letter of support that such a motion be granted for an Amended Judgment under indictment # 88-12-2105. The address to write to the Judge Deitch is: County Courthouse, 2 Broad St., Elizabeth, NJ 07201. Otherwise I will continue to be lost in the system. Your help in my liberation as a changed, conscious man is imperative. No prison do I wish to be lost in, although I remain strong under such tormenting conditions. Please feel free to write.
Write to:
Mahmud Khabir Al-Matin
#550844 (3 Wing IT 152 Top)
East Jersey State Prison
Lock Bag 'R'
Rahway, NJ 07065



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18. He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.
Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole. Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.
Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 



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
Sent from my iPhone



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa
Take action now to support Jalil A. Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
Executive Chamber State Capital Building
Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow
Ed Asner - Actor and Activist
Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District
Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council
Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate
Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist
Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild
"Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio
Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist
Mike Farrell - Actor and activist
Danny Glover – Actor and activist
Linda Gordon - New York University
Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University
Jamal Joseph - Columbia University
Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles
Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine
Imani Perry - Princeton University
Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago
Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker
Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney
Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association
Maggie Siff, Actor
Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan
Cornel West - Harvard University
Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only
Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo
Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:
Sullivan Correctional Facility,
P.O. Box 116,
Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



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.*** 



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.
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
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
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


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.]



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.

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

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



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.

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.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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.

    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) The New Spiritual Consumerism
    On shows like "Queer Eye," makeovers, shopping and redecorating are presented as deeply meaningful — even political.
    By Amanda Hess, August 19, 2019

    CreditCreditCari Vander Yacht

    How did you spend your summer vacation? I spent mine in a dissociative fugue of materialist excess, lying prone on my couch and watching all four seasons of "Queer Eye," the Netflix makeover show reboot. Once an hour, I briefly regained consciousness to feverishly click the "next episode" button so that I wouldn't have to wait five seconds for it to play automatically. Even when I closed my laptop, the theme song played on endless loop as Jonathan Van Ness vogued through my subconscious. The show is a triumph of consumer spectacle, and now it has consumed me, too.
    Every episode is the same. Five queer experts in various aesthetic practices conspire to make over some helpless individual. Tan France (fashion) teaches him to tuck the front of his shirt into his pants; Bobby Berk (design) paints his walls black and plants a fiddle-leaf fig; Antoni Porowski (food) shows him how to cut an avocado; Jonathan Van Ness (grooming) shouts personal affirmations while shaping his beard; and Karamo Brown ("culture") stages some kind of trust-building exercise that doubles as an amateur therapy session. Then, they retreat to a chic loft, pass around celebratory cocktails and watch a video of their subject attempting to maintain his new and superior lifestyle. The makeover squad cries, and if you are human, you cry too.

    Because "Queer Eye" is not just a makeover. As its gurus lead the men (and occasionally, women) in dabbing on eye cream, selecting West Elm furniture, preparing squid-ink risotto and acquiring gym memberships, they are building the metaphorical framework for an internal transformation. Their salves penetrate the skin barrier to soothe loneliness, anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, absentee parenting and hoarding tendencies. The makeover is styled as an almost spiritual conversion. It's the meaning of life as divined through upgraded consumer choices.

    Just a few years ago, American culture was embracing its surface delights with a nihilistic zeal. Its reality queens were the Kardashians, a family that became rich and famous through branding its own wealth and fame. "Generation Wealth," Lauren Greenfield's 2018 documentary on American excess, captured portraits of people who crave luxury, beauty and cash as ends in and of themselves. Donald Trump, the king of 1980s extravagance, was elected president.

    But lately American materialism is debuting a new look. Shopping, decorating, grooming and sculpting are now jumping with meaning. And a purchase need not have any explicit social byproduct — the materials eco-friendly, or the proceeds donated to charity — to be weighted with significance. Pampering itself has taken on a spiritual urgency.
    Practitioners of this new style often locate its intellectual underpinnings in the work of Audre Lorde. But when Lorde wrote, in her 1988 essay "A Burst of Light," that "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare," she was speaking in the context of managing her liver cancer — and doing it as a black lesbian whose health and well-being were not prioritized in America. 
    Now the ethos of "self-care" has infiltrated every consumer category. The logic of GOOP, Gwyneth Paltrow's luxury brand that sells skin serums infused with the branding of intuition, karma and healing, is being reproduced on an enormous scale.
    Women's shoes, bras, razors, tampons and exclusive private clubs are stamped with the language of empowerment. SoulCycle and Equinox conceive of exercise as not just a lifestyle but a closely held identity, which backfired when some members were aggrieved by the news that the chairman of the brands' parent company is a financial supporter of President Trump. Therapy memes imagine mental health professionals prescribing consumerist fixes, which are then repurposed by beauty brands. Even Kim Kardashian West is pivoting to the soul: Her latest project is launching a celebrity church with her husband, Kanye West.

    And through the cleaning guru Marie Kondo, who also became a Netflix personality this year, even tidying objects can be considered a spiritual calling. Her work suggests that objects don't just make us feel good — objects feel things, too. She writes of old books that must be woken up with a brush of the fingertips and socks that sigh with relief at being properly folded. 
    "Queer Eye" has further elevated material comforts into an almost political stance. When the reboot of the original — which ran on Bravo from 2003 to 2007, as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" — debuted last year, Netflix announced that it intended to "make America fabulous again" by sending its crew deep into the red states to "turn them pink." By preaching self-care to the men of Middle America — it has so far plucked its makeover subjects from Georgia, Missouri and Kansas — the show would heal the nation itself through the power of stuff. 
    Is "Queer Eye" a political show? In a sense, yes. Van Ness, the show's profoundly magnetic grooming expert, rocks a signature look of a Jesus beard, mermaid hair, painted nails and high-heeled booties. His fashion and grooming choices have an obvious political valence; he recently came out as non-binary. When he makes over some straight dude, it is as if he is imbuing the process with his own transgressive identity, even if he's grooming the guy into a standard-issue cool dad.
    Anyway, it's wonderful to watch. In contrast, the original "Queer Eye" no longer goes down so easy. The show's exclusive focus on providing men with physical upgrades now plays as cynical. The Fab Five ridicule their marks as much as they help them. More than a decade before same-sex marriage would be legalized across the United States, these five out gay men were quite obviously punching up. 
    But in the new version, the power dynamic has flipped. The difference between the Fab Five and their charges is no longer chiefly one of sexual orientation or gender identity. (This "Queer Eye" also provides makeovers to gay men and to women.) The clear but unspoken distinction is a class one.

    The "Queer Eye" cast may come from humble beginnings, but they now reside in coastal cultural centers and hold fulfilling and lucrative jobs. Their makeover subjects are lower- and middle-class people who are, though it is rarely put this way, struggling financially. This "Queer Eye" handles them gently. As Van Ness puts it in one episode: "We're nonjudgmental queens."
    It's a little bit curious that as our political discourse is concerned with economic inequality — and the soaring costs of health care, education and homes — the cultural conversation is fixated on the healing powers of luxury items. What does it mean, that materialism is now so meaningful? "Generation Wealth" posits that extreme spending is a symptom of a civilization in decline. Americans may not have what they need, but at least they can get what they want, even if it's on credit. 
    The writer and performer Amanda-Faye Jimenez recently posted a meme to Instagram of a child swinging blithely on the playground as a fire rages in the forest behind him. The forest is tagged: "My personal life and career." The child: "The skincare routine."

    Material comforts are comforting: cooking a nice and interesting meal; living in a tidy and beautiful space; soothing tired eyes with a cool mask. And money helps you get money: The subjects of "Queer Eye" are typically made over in a standard professional style, as if they are being retrofitted for the work force. Surreptitiously, "Queer Eye" provides vacation time, too: Its subjects somehow receive a week off from work to focus on themselves.

    The trouble is that when "Queer Eye" offers these comforts, the show implies that its subjects have previously lacked them because of some personal failure. They have been insufficiently confident, skilled, self-aware, dedicated or emotionally vulnerable. The spiritual conversion of the show occurs when the subject pledges a personal commitment to maintaining a new lifestyle going forward. But what these people need is not a new perspective. They need money, and they need time, which is money. 
    "Queer Eye" offers a kind of simulation of wealth redistribution. But every time the Fab Five retreats from the scene, I imagine the freshly-painted homes slowly falling into disrepair, the beards growing shaggy again, the refrigerators emptying.
    In the fourth season, which dropped last month, the team makes over a single dad from Kansas City who is known as "the cat suit guy" because he wears feline print onesies to local sporting events. By the end, he gets a new corporate casual wardrobe, and a pop-up support network for his depression — he struggled to discuss it with anyone until the cast of "Queer Eye" broke through his shell. 
    As they prepare to leave, he tells them that he really needs them to stay in touch. "You've got to check on me," he says. Absolutely, one of them says: "On Instagram."


    2) Unpaid Miners Blocked a Coal Train in Protest. Weeks Later, They're Still There.
    By Campbell Robertson, August 19, 2019

    Truckers blocked a highway in Kentucky last week in solidarity with coal miners who were protesting over wages that were left unpaid when a mining company abruptly shut down.CreditCreditKristian Thacker for The New York Times

    CUMBERLAND, Ky. — A little after 4 p.m. on Friday, four hulking big-rig cabs, facing each other in pairs and taking up both lanes, brought the Kingdom Come Parkway to a standstill. On the highway between the trucks, eight out-of-work coal miners raised a banner: "No Pay We Stay."
    That is the miners' plan in its entirety, and for close to three weeks, that is what they have done.
    A protest that began with five men blocking a train full of coal has grown into a small 24-hour tent city along some railroad tracks next to the highway. It has become a pilgrimage site for labor activists, a rallying point for the community — "a tailgate party on steroids," as one local official approvingly put it. And it is the first organized miners' protest that anyone can remember for decades in Harlan County, Ky., a place once virtually synonymous with bloody labor wars.

    The railroad blockade began in late July, about a month after Blackjewel, the two-year-old company where the miners worked, suddenly declared bankruptcy. Blackjewel owned mines in four states, and employed over a thousand miners in central Appalachia.

    Miners learned in the middle of an afternoon shift that Blackjewel was shutting down immediately and putting everyone out of work. It did so without filing a mandatory 60-day advance warning and without posting a bond, required by Kentucky law, to cover payroll.
    Workers received no pay for their last week on the job. Then they learned that their paychecks for the previous two weeks had bounced. Bankruptcies and layoffs have become routine in the coal fields during a grueling industrywide decline, but no one seemed to recall anything quite like this.
    "It's no different from robbing a bank," said Jeffrey Willig, a wiry 40-year-old father of six.
    In Harlan County, hundreds of miners found themselves with negative bank balances, staring down mortgages, car payments and medication costs. Some were alerted to the news by ex-spouses who had not gotten automatic child-support payments. Lawyers representing the miners in the bankruptcy proceeding estimated that Blackjewel's employees in central Appalachia were each owed $4,202.91 on average, for wages and benefits earned.

    But the employees are just one party, fighting alongside Blackjewel's other creditors over pieces of the company in federal bankruptcy court.

    One of the company's assets was a trainload of coal, over a million dollars' worth, at the Cloverlick No. 3 mine in Harlan County. The coal, dug up by the unpaid workers, had been sold, but had not yet been transported to the buyer. On the afternoon of July 29, the train rolled slowly out of the mine. It did not go unnoticed.
    "They was doing it as quiet as could be," said Dalton Lewis, 20.
    A fellow miner called him with the plan: "Come on down here, we're going to stop this train."
    This instinct runs deep in Harlan County. In the 1930s, efforts to organize miners led to "Bloody Harlan" — currently a hashtag printed on protest signs — a deadly conflict pitting thousands of union miners against coal companies, law enforcement officials and strikebreakers. Blood was spilled again in the early 1970s during a bitter 13-month strike by workers at the Brookside mine, the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary "Harlan County, U.S.A."
    But there had been little in the way of organized labor protest in Harlan for years before that July afternoon, when Mr. Lewis joined Mr. Willig and three other miners on the railroad tracks.
    Nearly three weeks later, the coal train sits idle, back at the mine. Alerted by news of the Harlan standoff, the Department of Labor intervened to block the shipment of the coal, deeming it "hot goods." Blackjewel soon agreed that proceeds from sale of the coal would go to its former employees.
    Some have found work, often away from Harlan; Mr. Lewis has left for Alabama. Blackjewel's mining operations in Harlan have been bought, and the new owners have pledged to pay the miners some of the money they are owed. But the mines have not reopened yet, and no money has arrived — not from the new owners, and certainly not from Blackjewel.

    So day in and day out, a small band of families sit in camp chairs alongside the tracks, trapping a million dollars' worth of coal up and around a bend. A string band occasionally gathers on the tracks to play old mountain songs and labor ballads.

    The tents have proliferated, some bearing the logos of the local funeral homes that provided them. There are portable toilets, delivered by the city and county, as well as a generator and a children's tent with books, toys and portable cribs. A philanthropic foundation gave $2,000 to each miner, and the owner of a local Chinese restaurant has raised thousands of dollars for them on her own. Barbershops have offered free back-to-school haircuts, and the county probation and parole office has fielded donated toiletries.
    The camp runs on Red Bull and soda — with ice courtesy of a local nursing home. Meals are cooked in an improvised kitchen that takes up two tents. Donated food has come in by the carload since the beginning of the protest.
    "I've got some pizzas here from Bernie Sanders," said a perplexed Pizza Hut delivery woman who pulled up on Friday afternoon. Someone involved with the protest had apparently gotten word about it to someone with the Sanders presidential campaign.
    Politicians have flocked to the scene, including Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, and Amy McGrath, a Democratic candidate for Senate. But camp leaders, to maintain their eclectic coalition, have tried to curb explicit talk about partisan politics. This is particularly difficult when outsiders show up, like the solidarity-pledging truckers who drove in from all over the country last week as part of a group called Black Smoke Matters, one of them wearing a T-shirt celebrating President Trump's building of a wall.
    Much of the daily life at the tent city has been organized by a group of activists who are camping there, many of whom identify as transgender and anarchist. The activists came from around the region in the first few days of the blockade, some with experience operating these sorts of camps at environmental protests, and they quickly got to work running the kitchen and tapping networks of liberal interest groups for contributions.
    In an echo of some unexpected protest alliances of the past, the activists have quietly blended in to the tent city's daily traffic. Meanwhile, evangelical preachers stop by to hold impromptu prayer services, and union officials deliver stemwinders from the bed of a pickup truck.

    There haven't been union mines in Eastern Kentucky for decades, but the speeches allude to the old labor wars in Harlan County. It is not too far a reach: Out-of-work Blackjewel miners recall their fathers talking of dynamite and gunshots.
    "History's repeating itself," said Mr. Willig, who stood on the pavement with the miners on Friday holding up the protest banner.
    The highway blockade, arranged by the truckers, lasted about ten minutes. There was no specific plan for what would come next, Mr. Willig said as he walked back to the tent city. No plan, that is, other than staying put.


    3) Planned Parenthood May Withdraw From Title X Funding
    Facing a federal rule that restricts referrals for abortion, the organization will decide whether to reject government funding for family planning for low-income women.
    By Pam Belluck, August 19, 2019

    A Coalition for Life staff member, near the entrance of a Planned Parenthood clinic in May, Missouri.CreditCreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

    Planned Parenthood will announce on Monday afternoon whether it will withdraw from Title X, the federal family planning program, rather than comply with a new Trump administration rule that restricts what health providers can say about abortion. 
    Such a move could affect more than 1.5 million low-income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for services like birth control, pregnancy tests and screening for sexually transmitted diseases. Planned Parenthood operates about 40 percent of the more than 4,000 clinics that receive money under Title X. In some rural communities, Planned Parenthood is the only provider of such services.
    The Trump administration said that while clinics accepting Title X funds could continue to talk to patients about abortion, they could not refer women to an abortion provider or suggest where to obtain an abortion.

    That distinction may seem like a subtle one, but Planned Parenthood and many other organizations, including the American Medical Association, say the restriction would force them to withhold medical information from patients, interferes with the doctor-patient relationship, and could deny pregnant women the range of options available to them.

    "Trump's administration is trying to force us to keep information from our patients," Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president of Planned Parenthood, said in a statement on Friday. "The gag rule is unethical, dangerous, and we will not subject our patients to it."
    The decision by Planned Parenthood is the latest step in the face-off between those who oppose restricting women's reproductive health choices and the Trump administration, which has been steadily shifting federal health programs in the direction of conservative preferences like promoting abstinence and allowing exemptions to insurance coverage of birth control.
    Planned Parenthood receives about $60 million of the $286 million given annually by Title X to health centers providing reproductive health care, as well as screenings for breast cancer and cervical cancer, to about four million patients.
    The Trump administration rule, announced in February, is being challenged in court by Planned Parenthood, several states and other organizations, but a federal court in July said the policy change could take effect while the legal cases were pending.
    Planned Parenthood and some other organizations that receive Title X funds had decided to stop using the money until the legal challenges were resolved, although they have not officially withdrawn from the program.

    The Department of Health and Human Services said that a type of intermediate status would not be acceptable. It said that organizations had until Aug. 19 to submit an "assurance and action plan" showing they intend to make "good faith efforts" to comply with the new rule.
    Last week, Planned Parenthood sent a letter to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asking a panel of judges to stay the deadline until the legal cases could be decided. On Friday, the court declined to do so.
    The immediate effect of a Planned Parenthood withdrawal is unclear and likely to vary by state. Planned Parenthood has said many clinics would feel pressure from the cuts. 
    The organization said that at least one program — a mobile health center in Cleveland that provides H.I.V. testing, pregnancy tests and other services — would have to close. In states like Utah, where Planned Parenthood is the only Title X grantee, and Minnesota, where Planned Parenthood serves 90 percent of the Title X patients, those seeking care may face long waits for appointments. Some patients may delay care or go without. 
    Some state governments have promised to make up the lost federal funding. Governors in Hawaii, Illinois, New York, Oregon and Washington have said their states would not participate in Title X under the new rule. Legislatures in Massachusetts and Maryland have passed laws that essentially have the same effect. 
    Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services posted an explanation of the timeline and details of the new policy, saying that it is "not a gag rule."

    Pam Belluck is a health and science writer. She was one of seven Times staffers awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting for coverage of the Ebola epidemic. She is the author of "Island Practice," about a colorful and contrarian doctor on Nantucket. @PamBelluck


    4) A New Weight Watchers App for Kids Raises Concerns
    Kurbo by WW promises to fight childhood obesity by teaching kids aged 8 to 17 healthy eating strategies — but is it ever a good idea to teach kids how to diet?
    By Virginia Sole-Smith, August 16, 2019

    The Kurbo by WW app prompted a backlash on social media this week, as thousands of users voiced their concerns.CreditIllustration by The New York Times; Screenshots via Kurbo by WW; Getty

    In her before photo, Vanessa, 8, is a smiling and slightly round-bellied little girl. In her after photo, she stands taller and slimmer, hand on hip. According to the website for Kurbo by WW, a new health app for children, Vanessa's body mass index dropped by 11 points under the program's guidance. 
    "I'm amazed at how strong-willed and motivated she is," the site quoted Vanessa's mom as saying of her daughter. "When she sets a goal, she doesn't break it. I see that she feels better about herself."
    Weight Watchers, a veteran diet industry company that's been around since 1963 and which recently rebranded as WW, acquired Kurbo Health, a technology start-up in Palo Alto, Calif., in August 2018. Last week, they released Kurbo by WW, a free mobile app for kids between ages 8 and 17, who can enter their height, weight, age and health goals, and then track what they eat and how much they exercise. The program also offers a virtual health coaching service for a fee.
    Though WW is billing the app as focusing on healthy eating rather than on weight loss, its launch prompted a backlash on social media last week, as thousands of users — including eating disorder researchers, therapists, dietitians, pediatricians and former dieters — voiced their concerns.
    Anna Sweeney, R.D., a dietitian and director of nutrition services for Monte Nido, a residential eating disorder treatment facility in Boston, Mass., tweeted Wednesday: "The majority of eating disorder clients that I work with have had a history of dieting. For most, it started with Weight Watchers." 
    As of Saturday morning, more than 30,000 people had signed a Change.org petition, urging the company to remove the app.
    The launch comes at a time when many are squaring their own feelings with the ways that focusing on what they eat has negatively impacted their relationships with food and their bodies. At the same time, parents are wondering whether their children need to slim down. One in five children and adolescents living in the United States are classified as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while experts agree that the increasing body weights of young Americans is a serious public health concern, they worry that telling children that they need special diet and exercise interventions might perpetuate stigma about larger bodies, and that an app that encourages kids to track their food intake might lead some to develop disordered eating and unhealthy relationships with food.
    Which brings up an overarching question: Should kids want or need to lose weight? And how young is too young to be watching what you eat?
    Jennifer Harriger, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Pepperdine University who studies the development of weight stigma and disordered eating in children and adolescents, said that there's strong evidence that dieting at any age, but especially in early childhood, can increase the risk of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating later on. 
    In a study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2003, for instance, researchers from Boston Children's Hospital and Harvard University periodically surveyed the eating habits of 8,203 girls and 6,769 boys between ages 9 and 14 between 1996 and 1999. While both boys and girls reported dieting in some capacity during the study period, about twice as many girls — nearly 30 percent — did so, and were five to 12 times more likely to have reported binge eating than those who didn't diet. The girls who dieted were also more likely to have gained weight by the end of the study. In another study published in 2012, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Columbia University analyzed surveys that 1,902 adolescents took between 1998 and 2009, starting when they were in middle or high school. The adolescents who reported skipping meals or using other unhealthy weight control behaviors such as using food substitutes or taking diet pills in the early years of the study were nearly twice as likely to gain weight than the non-dieters.
    In recent years, Weight Watchers has worked to overhaul its image, presenting itself less as a scale-obsessed giant of modern diet culture and more as a lifestyle program that approaches "wellness" more holistically. Weight loss meetings are now called "wellness workshops," and their "WW Freestyle" program promises weight loss by eating from a preapproved list of foods rather than by counting points. "Our brand has evolved," said Gary Foster, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and obesity researcher who serves as WW's chief science officer. "For 50-plus years, we were known as Weight Watchers, and while we're proud of our legacy, that had some unintended consequences." 
    While Foster said that the company as a whole will certainly help those "who want and need" to lose weight, he was quick to emphasize that Kurbo is "not prescribing weight loss to kids."
    But some experts disagree. "Diets don't call themselves diets anymore — they're all wellness systems or lifestyle plans," noted Anna Lutz, M.P.H., R.D., a pediatric dietitian in Raleigh, N.C., who specializes in eating disorders and family feeding. "But when a child is asked to use an app like this, they get the message that their body is flawed and they need to use external rules to restrict and change their body in order to be accepted. This pressure can be spoken or unspoken and have the same impact."
    In 2016, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that advised parents and doctors to avoid discussing weight or prescribing weight loss to children and adolescents over concerns that it could increase their risk of developing disordered eating habits or weight gain. As NYT Parenting has previously reported, young children are especially susceptible to such conversations, which can later manifest as low self-esteem and unhealthy body image. 
    "Focusing on weight loss in young people is misplacing our priorities," said Traci Mann, Ph.D., a professor of social and health psychology at the University of Minnesota who studies health behaviors like dieting. She noted that "everyone, regardless of weight" can benefit from adopting healthful habits like eating more fruits and vegetables and getting more sleep and physical activity. Whether these activities lead to weight loss is irrelevant, Dr. Mann said, as long as they're healthy.
    When using the Kurbo app, children are not asked to count calories or cut certain foods as they would with a traditional diet. But it does ask them to enter their weights and the foods they eat each day, which are then categorized according to a Stanford University-developed "traffic light system," which aims to help kids discriminate between healthy and unhealthy foods. Over time, the idea is that they'll eat fewer of the foods from the app's unhealthy (or "red light") list and more from the healthy (or "green light") list. When they hit their weekly exercise and eating goals, they're rewarded within the app. 
    Fruits, vegetables and low-calorie items like vinegar, skim milk and seltzer water are classified as "green light" foods, according to Kurbo, and kids can eat as much of them as they want. "Yellow" foods, such as chicken, pasta or lowfat milk are to be consumed moderately. A "red light" food — which includes cake, candy and chips, but also foods that many parents would consider healthful like whole milk, sourdough bread and peanut butter — means kids should "stop and think how to budget them in."
    There are, however, potentially confusing distinctions; "cheese" is defined as red, for example, but "cheese sticks" are yellow. The app also asks kids to estimate portion sizes, so eating just one-fifth of an avocado is considered yellow, but if you eat three-fifths or more, it moves to red.
    To Joanna Strober, a technology investor and entrepreneur who co-founded Kurbo Health in 2014, simply being more aware of "red" foods can help children become more discerning and nutrition-savvy eaters. "Kids hear that junk food is bad, but they don't understand what junk food is. They think bagels and cream cheese are a healthy breakfast or that juice and protein bars are healthy, and they're really surprised to learn these are red," she explained. "Or they'll tell us, 'everything on my school lunch tray is red!'"
    But Lutz said that grouping foods into "good" and "bad" categories might confuse kids further, since many of the red light foods are ones they've been taught by caregivers to trust and enjoy, which could make them anxious.
    It also may lead some children to track their intake obsessively, or cut out certain food groups altogether. When restricting certain foods becomes difficult to sustain, they may rebel and resort to hoarding food, a problem that Strober acknowledged her health coaches have encountered in some families who used Kurbo before WW's acquisition.
    Lutz teaches parents to model healthful eating by serving family meals and by encouraging kids to listen to their hunger and fullness cues rather than following strict food rules. "Young children are concrete thinkers. Adults can understand this abstract idea of red, yellow and green foods, but children interpret it rigidly," she explained. "They'll think if eating less red foods is good, then eating no red foods is even better."
    Kurbo's health coaches are trained to contact a child's parents if they notice signs of disordered eating, or if a child reports losing more than two pounds per week in a two-week period. 

    But Lutz and others said they hope Kurbo would look more closely at how even subtle pressures around food and body weight may fuel a child's body anxieties, especially as they approach puberty. "I recognize that the creators of this app state that it's not a diet," Harriger said. "But they ask children to input their height and weight into the app. They track food intake and exercise behaviors and weight loss is a goal. How is this not a diet?"
    Virginia Sole-Smith is a journalist, author of "The Eating Instinct: Food Culture, Body Image and Guilt in America," and co-host of the Comfort Food Podcast.


    5) White Officers Who Led Black Man on Rope Won't Face Criminal Charges
    A photograph of the man's arrest in Galveston, Tex., on Aug. 3 evoked images of slavery. The authorities are also investigating whether the officers violated any police department policies.
    By Mihir Zaveri August 19, 2019

    A picture of Donald Neely's arrest on Aug. 3 in Galveston, Tex., was circulated widely on social media. Many said it evoked images of slavery.

    Two white police officers who led a black man by a rope down a street in Galveston, Tex., this month will not face criminal charges, the authorities said on Sunday, resolving one of two outside inquiries into the officers' conduct.
    The Galveston Police Department had asked the Texas Ranger Division of the state's Department of Public Safety to review whether the officers committed any crimes. 
    "The Texas Rangers conducted an inquiry into this matter, which has since been completed," the public safety agency said in astatement. "The Rangers subsequently conferred with the Galveston County District Attorney's Office, which determined that there was nothing that warranted a criminal investigation."
    Donald Neely, 43, who relatives say is mentally ill and has often slept on the streets, was arrested Aug. 3 on a criminal trespassing charge. When a police vehicle was not immediately available, mounted officers escorted him by rope to a nearby staging area, the police said.

    The scene was captured in a photograph by an onlooker and shared widely on social media, drawing national outrage as it evoked images of slavery and the long history of racism and violence by whites against black people. 
    In addition to the state investigation, the Galveston County Sheriff's Office was also asked to review whether the officers had violated any police department policies. Sheriff Henry Trochesset said on Monday that the administrative investigation was continuing. He declined to say when it might be completed, but said his office was also reviewing body-camera footage.
    Two days after Mr. Neely's arrest, Vernon L. Hale III, Galveston's police chief, apologized for what he called the officers' "poor judgment," saying they could have waited for a vehicle to become available. But he also defended the officers, saying they were simply using a technique they had been trained to use.
    Geoff Gainer, the president of the Galveston Municipal Police Association, said in a statement that officers "are expected to choose the least bad option and follow best practice and department guidelines, and these officers did exactly that."
    "Our officers were faced with a difficult choice, as they are every day they do their jobs," he added. "Their job is to promote public safety and enforce our laws. They did this to the best of their ability, followed all training and protocols they had been provided and maintained their professionalism throughout.

    Chief Hale has said the department will stop using rope escorts. The method had been "considered a best practice in certain scenarios, such as during crowd control," the department said in a statement after Mr. Neely's arrest.
    "Regardless of the Texas Rangers' findings, the community behind Mr. Donald Neely are demanding transparency and accountability," Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Mr. Neely's family, said in a statement on Friday. "The only way to rebuild trust after this instance of bad policing is to be transparent and send a clear message that Mr. Neely was deserving of respect, just as any other American citizen."
    Kevin Petroff, Galveston County's first assistant criminal district attorney, said his office was trying to work out an agreement so that Mr. Neely would receive mental health treatment instead of a criminal conviction.
    Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.


    6) Officer in 'I Can't Breathe' Chokehold Was 'Untruthful,' Judge Says
    The account Officer Daniel Pantaleo gave after Eric Garner died was "implausible and self-serving," according to the opinion obtained by The New York Times.
    By Ashley Southall, August 18, 2019

    Mr. Garner, in an undated family photo, with his children.Creditvia Associated Press

    When internal affairs investigators asked Officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014 to define a chokehold, he described a scenario where "you use your forearm, grasped with the other hand, and you pull back with your forearm onto the windpipe preventing him from breathing."
    The investigators with the New York Police Department then had him watch video that showed him standing behind Eric Garner during a botched arrest five months earlier on Staten Island. In the video, Officer Pantaleo had his left forearm wrapped around Mr. Garner's neck, hands clasped. Still, he denied having used the prohibited maneuver.
    "No, I did not," Officer Pantaleo said.
    An administrative judge, in a 46-page opinion obtained by The New York Times, found this explanation "implausible and self-serving."

    The judge, Rosemarie Maldonado, who has recommended that Officer Pantaleo be fired, concluded that he had been "untruthful" during the interview, according to the opinion that grew out of a departmental trial that ended in June.

    Judge Maldonado, a deputy commissioner with the Police Department, also found that officers who testified in Officer Pantaleo's defense were "unhelpful or unreliable."
    A final decision about Officer Pantaleo's fate rests with the police commissioner, and will come five years after the death of Mr. Garner — who uttered "I can't breathe" 11 times — first galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement. 
    Judge Maldonado said the video of the July 17, 2014, encounter and an autopsy that found fresh hemorrhaging in Mr. Garner's neck muscles provided "overwhelming" evidence that Officer Pantaleo had used a chokehold in spite of being trained not to. 
    However troubling, she said she was not persuaded that it was his intent to choke Mr. Garner, and she acquitted the officer of strangulation.

    Officer Pantaleo's "use of a chokehold," she wrote, "fell so far short of objective reasonableness that this tribunal found it to be reckless — a gross deviation from the standard of conduct established for a New York City police officer."

    Officer Pantaleo did not testify in his own defense during the departmental trial. 
    The judge's finding that Officer Pantaleo was "untruthful" underscores a broader problem with the credibility of police accounts about interactions with civilians, particularly in high-profile cases.
    The police commissioner, James P. O'Neill, is expected to decide by the end of the month whether to dismiss Officer Pantaleo, as Judge Maldonado recommended, or to take less drastic measures. The controversy has become central to Bill de Blasio's tenure as mayor, and his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.
    Commissioner O'Neill is also expected to consider responses to the ruling from Officer Pantaleo's defense lawyer, Stuart London, and the Civilian Complaint Review Board, the city agency that prosecuted the case under an agreement with the Police Department.
    Officer Pantaleo, 34, has been suspended since Aug. 2. He has spent the last five years on desk duty on Staten Island while the criminal and disciplinary processes played out.
    Mr. London did not answer phone calls and text messages seeking comment on Sunday. Albert W. O'Leary, a spokesman for the Police Benevolent Association, declined to comment.
    Five days before Officer Pantaleo's 2014 interview with internal affairs, a grand jury on Staten Island declined to bring criminal charges against him. And on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Mr. Garner's death, the United States attorney general, William P. Barr, ordered the federal civil rights investigation to be closed without charges.

    Officer Pantaleo was not the only officer whose testimony during the departmental trial Judge Maldonado deemed questionable. 
    Officers Mark Ramos and Craig Furlani responded to the scene in the Tompkinsville neighborhood of Staten Island, but testified that they did not note the positioning of Officer Pantaleo's arms, Ms. Maldonado said. Officer William Meems, who arrived after Mr. Garner was on the ground, said at the trial that he did not "'focus on any one spot.'" And Officer Pantaleo's partner, Justin Damico, who can be seen in the video stretching his hands between Mr. Garner's head and Officer Pantaleo's face, claimed he had "no focus" on what his partner was doing.

    "The more central the factual inquiry was, the more vague recollections became," Judge Maldonado said. She did not say whether she believed the officers were truthful, or if they should be disciplined.
    Instead, she focused on a nine-second portion of a video filmed by Ramsey Orta, Mr. Garner's friend, that she said was pivotal to proving not only that Officer Pantaleo had violated police rules, but that his conduct was a crime. 
    Two and a half minutes into the video, Officer Pantaleo and Mr. Garner fell away from a plate-glass window to the ground. Officer Pantaleo's left arm was around Mr. Garner's neck while they were both on the Bay Street sidewalk.
    Officers Ramos and Furlani had arrived, giving Officer Pantaleo other options to gain compliance and adjust his grip, Judge Maldonado said. But instead of letting go, he clasped his hands.

    Two seconds later, she said, Mr. Garner gave what appeared to be the first signal of distress: He opened his right hand with his palm out and made a guttural sound. His suffering was confirmed, she said, when Mr. Garner, on his side with his left arm behind his back and his right hand still open and out, coughed and grimaced as Officer Pantaleo maintained his grip.
    At that moment, she said the officer's conduct "escalated from a Patrol Guide violation to criminal recklessness," she said.
    Police chokehold deaths are rare, but Judge Maldonado invoked a "strikingly similar" precedent in calling for Officer Pantaleo's dismissal: the case of Francis X. Livoti 22 years ago.
    In 1994, Officer Livoti got upset that a football being tossed between a man and his brothers hit his patrol car. During a subsequent dispute, he put the man, Anthony Baez, in a chokehold.
    Like Mr. Garner, Mr. Baez suffered an asthma attack and died. He was 29.
    Officer Livoti was acquitted of state charges of criminally negligent homicide in 1996, but he was fired by the police commissioner, Howard Safir, on Feb. 21, 1997. Later, he was sentenced to seven and a half years in federal prison for violating Mr. Baez's civil rights.
    Judge Maldonado — referring to Officer Livoti and Mr. Baez by the case number and date, not their names — noted that while the 1994 chokehold was never proven to have been the sole cause of Mr. Baez's death, it led to his "'downward spiral.'"
    Similarly, "There is only one appropriate penalty for the grave misconduct that yielded an equally grave result," she wrote of Officer Pantaleo.
    Thus, Judge Maldonado said, he "can no longer remain a New York City police officer."


    7) Paging Big Brother: In Amazon's Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite
    As fake and illegitimate texts proliferate online, books are becoming a form of misinformation. The author of "1984" would not be surprised.
    By David Streitfeld, August 19, 2019

    Damien Maloney for The New York Times

    SAN FRANCISCO — In George Orwell's "1984," the classics of literature are rewritten into Newspeak, a revision and reduction of the language meant to make bad thoughts literally unthinkable. "It's a beautiful thing, the destruction of words," one true believer exults. 
    Now some of the writer's own words are getting reworked in Amazon's vast virtual bookstore, a place where copyright laws hold remarkably little sway. Orwell's reputation may be secure, but his sentences are not.
    Over the last few weeks I got a close-up view of this process when I bought a dozen fake and illegitimate Orwell books from Amazon. Some of them were printed in India, where the writer is in the public domain, and sold to me in the United States, where he is under copyright. 
    Others were straightforward counterfeits, like the edition of his memoir "Down and Out in Paris and London" that was edited for high school students. The author's estate said it did not give permission for the book, printed by Amazon's self-publishing subsidiary. Some counterfeiters are going as far as to claim Orwell's classics as their own property, copyrighting them with their own names.

    What unites all these books is that none of them paid the author anything, which means they could compete with legal Orwell titles as a lower-cost alternative. After all, if you need a copy of "Animal Farm" or "1984" for school, you're not going to think too much about who published it. Because all editions of "1984" are the same, right?
    Not always, not on Amazon. 
    One reader discovered, to his surprise, that his new copy of "1984" had passages that were "worded slightly different." Another offered photographic proof that her edition was near gibberish. A third said the word "faces" was replaced in his copy with "feces."Getting Orwell books that skip a chunk of pages seemed to be a routine experience.
    Even the titles changed. One edition of "Animal Farm: A Fairy Story" referred to itself on the back cover as "Animals Farm: A Fair Story." The preface referred to another great Orwell work, "Homage to Catalonia," as "Homepage to Catalonia."

    I started browsing Orwell on Amazon after writing about the explosion in counterfeit books offered by the retailer. The fake books appeared to help Amazon by, for example, encouraging publishers to advertise their genuine books on the site. The company responded in a blog post that it prohibits counterfeit products and has invested in personnel and technology tools including machine learning to protect customers from fraud and abuse.

    On Sunday, Amazon said in a statement that "there is no single source of truth" for the copyright status of every book in every country, and so it relied on authors and publishers to police its site. "This is a complex issue for all retailers," it said. The company added that machine learning and artificial intelligence were ineffective when there is no single source of truth from which the model can learn.
    Bookselling is an ancient and complicated profession, and fake editions of all sorts can turn up anywhere. But Amazon is the world's biggest bookstore and the standards it sets have ripples everywhere. 
    How it treats Orwell is especially revelatory because their relationship has been fraught. In 2009, Amazon wiped counterfeit copies of "1984" and "Animal Farm" from customers' Kindles, creeping out some readers who realized their libraries were no longer under their control.
    Orwell resurfaced in 2014 during Amazon's bare-knuckles fight with the publisher Hachette over e-book sales. Amazon tried to use a quotation by the author — renowned for his moral rectitude — to suggest he was a sleaze in favor of illegal collusion. It turned out the quote was very much out of context.
    My newly acquired Orwell shelf was frankly dismal — typos galore, flap copy lifted directly from Wikipedia, covers that screamed "amateur." Eleven of the books were sold directly by Amazon as new books and were shipped from an Amazon warehouse; one was sold as a new book by a third party. Prices ranged from $3 to $23.
    The counterfeits and imports are generally the least expensive editions, and who can blame people for buying those? So they do. A $7.99 legitimate edition of "1984" was recently ranked at No. 72 among all Amazon books. A $5 Indian import was at No. 970, which suggested copies were selling at a steady clip.

    Most of the distorted texts are likely due to ignorance and sloppiness but at their most radical the books try to improve Orwell, as with the unauthorized "high school edition" of his 1933 memoir. The editing was credited to a Moira Propreat. She could not be reached for comment; in fact, her existence could not be verified.
    "Down and Out" is an unflinching look at brutal behavior among starving people, which makes Ms. Propreat's self-appointed task of rendering the book "more palatable" rather quixotic. An example of her handiwork came when Charlie, a boastful rapist, described how he lured a young woman into his clutches:
    "'Come here, my chicken,' I called to her."
    Ms. Propreat's version:
    "'Come here,' I called to her."
    It's unlikely that Orwell, a finicky master of English prose, would have appreciated this editing — nor the fact that all the French in the book is rendered in capital letters, which makes it seem like the writer is shouting at the reader.
    Until recently, improving Orwell was not a practical business proposition. Then Amazon blew the doors off the heavily curated literary world. No longer was access to the marketplace determined by publishers, booksellers or reviewers. Even the most marginal books were suddenly available to everyone everywhere.
    Breaking down the doors, however, also let in people who did not appear to care about the quality of what they sell.
    "Once a week a counterfeit pops up," said Bill Hamilton, the agent for the Orwell estate. "When will a company like Amazon take responsibility for the curation of the products passing through their hands?"

    If Amazon vetted each title the way physical bookstores do, it would need lots more employees. That would cost more, dragging profits down. I searched my Amazon account for a way to tell the retailer it was selling me counterfeits and came up with nothing. (Amazon suggested I use the blue "report incorrect product information" button on every page, or give them a call. If I returned the book, I could select a reason from some drop-down options provided.)

    The Authors Guild said that in the last two years, the number of piracy and counterfeiting issues referred to its legal department has increased tenfold. Counterfeit editions are a blow against the authority of the book and accelerate a dangerous trend toward misinformation.
    "During most of human existence, facts have been hard to pin down and most of knowledge was oral history, rumor and received wisdom," said Scott Brown, a prominent California bookseller. "We have spent our whole lives in a fact-based world and while that seems how things ought to be, it may prove to have been a temporary aberration."
    Mr. Brown noted that the news was now mostly digital. "Who can really say what an article really said when it was published? There's rarely a printed — and therefore hard-to-change — version to refer back to," he said. "The past is becoming unmoored and unreliable."
    One of the Orwell books I bought was a copy of "Animal Farm" issued by Grapevine India. On the copyright page it declared, "The author respects all individuals, organizations & communities, and there is no intention in this novel to hurt any individual, organization [or] community."
    Orwell said no such thing, his estate confirmed. This was a 2019 sentiment tacked onto a 1945 story. But then, in this edition of "Animal Farm," the author and the past barely exist. There was no copyright acknowledgment, no mention of the year 1945.

    In "Politics and the English Language," Orwell wrote that "the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." He would have found his point confirmed by another Indian edition of "Animal Farm" sold by Amazon, this one from Adarsh Books. One sentence in the introductory blurb goes like this: "When the animals, the so-called characters in the novel, are making their attempts to learn the alphabet in different ways, is definitely the scene that would be bringing some unexpected laughter to the reader."
    The Adarsh edition was seemingly created using an optical scanner, which often results in misspelled words. One well-known passage in "Animal Farm" tells how the seven commandments of the farm are written on the wall. No. 2 goes like this: "Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend."
    Adarsh's version goes on to note that the spelling of the commandments is correct "except that 'friend' was written 'friend.'" If you're confused, it's because that second "friend" is supposed to be "freind." One of Orwell's signature passages was thus rendered incomprehensible.
    Grapevine and Adarsh are free to publish these books in India. But after I asked Amazon about the Indian editions last week, it removed them from sale in the United States, including a digital "1984." It also removed the counterfeits I asked about. An email to Adarsh's address as printed on its edition of "Animal Farm" bounced back. Grapevine did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Even assuming Amazon customers care, it is difficult for them to know they are getting a legitimate edition. Amazon sometimes bundles all the reviews of a title together, regardless of which edition they were written for. That means an unauthorized edition of "Animal Farm" can have thousands of positive reviews, signaling to a customer it is a valid edition.
    At the other extreme, reviews that expose a counterfeit edition will remain even if the edition itself disappears. A reader complained — and provided photos as proof — that his copy of "Animal Farm" had the words "Chapter IV" inserted into the text anytime there was a word with the letters "iv." For example: "He was unChapterIVersally respected."
    "A literary nightmare," the reader concluded.

    The large publishers, which have remained mostly mute since they were on the losing side of an antitrust clash with Amazon over e-reading, are now finding their voice again. Their trade group, the Association of American Publishers, just filed a heavily researched analysis with the Federal Trade Commission that is remarkably blunt.
    "The marketplace of ideas is now at risk for serious if not irreparable damage because of the unprecedented dominance of a very small number of technology platforms," the report concluded.
    Meanwhile, the books are mutating. A reader recently tried to sound the alarm about a different dystopian classic he bought on Amazon.
    "This is not the real Fahrenheit 451," he wrote. "The wording is different, the first chapter is not properly titled, they used the first sentence of the chapter as the title in this book. There are typo's and spacing issues. They need to advertise that this is not an authentic book."

    David Streitfeld has written about technology and its effects for twenty years. In 2013, he was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting.  


    8) Harvesting Irony in Alaska
    Global warming, budget cuts and musical instruments carved from ancient trees: A summer in Sitka is an exercise in extremes.
    By Any Butcher, August 20, 2019

    CreditCreditKenneth Schulze/iStock, via Getty Images Pluss

    Sometimes the world hands us metaphors too startling to ignore. A week ago, awaiting takeoff to Alaska on the tarmac of Seattle-Tacoma Airport, a man turned to me and announced he was a seasonal Alaskan logger. Big and bulky and built, his arms golden and glistening and indicating the particular attributes of a man in youth — a tattoo for the Chicago Cubs, and another of a bulldog — he told me this summer would mark his third in Ketchikan, cutting and hauling timber for one of the nation’s largest logging companies.
    “You have to picture it,” he said. He stretched his hands out in the air between us. A giant crane, he explained, with knee-thick cables heaved logs larger than most houses high above the forest, high above his head, practically in the clouds, swinging them up and over the forest before lowering them into a boat.
    “The biggest boat,” he says, “you’ve ever seen.”

    The trees are Sitka spruce, primarily, and they come from the Tongass Forest, nearly 17 million acres that comprise the world’s largest contiguous temperate rain forest and that span the entire Alaskan panhandle. Some of these trees — the trees whose job it is for this man to fell — are more than 1,000 years old, but they are also, it turns out, the finest source timber for musical instruments: guitars, primarily, but also pianos and violins and musical instrument soundboards. That is because of their clean resonance.

    “This boat,” he said, “this enormous boat — we fill it up with all these trees, and then it floats on down Ketchikan Creek and out to sea and to Japan.”

    In Japan — and elsewhere — the trees are whittled, sanded, polished. Acoustic guitar manufacturers, in particular, require Sitka spruce at least 250 years old, as only antiquity ensures that the trees are large enough to provide the dense diameter of clearwood — wood without blemishes, knots or other disfigurements — necessary for the refined aesthetic of Yamaha, of Steinway, of Martin.
    This at the height of a summer of grave concern for Alaskans everywhere. For just as Anchorage reported record-breaking heat — reaching 90 degrees on July 4 for the first time in recorded history, surpassing by a staggering five degrees the previously held record — dead whales began to wash up on the beaches of southern Alaska, possible casualties of climate change, including nine in a single weekend.
    And, in an act less visible but equally consequential, the state’s governor, Mike Dunleavy — a right-wing ideologue and rabid Trump enthusiast — vetoed much of the state’s 2020 fiscal year operating budget, resulting in deeper, apocalyptic cuts to organizations and services statewide. Dunleavy aggressively and disproportionately reduced social services and ripped safety nets that protected some the most isolated and vulnerable Americans in the country. The cuts largely affected health care, education and climate change efforts — including $130 million from the budget of the University of Alaska system, home to one of the largest climate change research institutions in the world and a vital hub for scientists worldwide. They eliminated entirely the Senior Benefits program, reduced money for kindergarten through 12th-grade classes by $30 million and reduced Medicaid spending by $50 million, which will affect more than 184,000 Alaskans.

    But in a move unparalleled in irony, Dunleavy’s cuts also completely eliminated the Alaska State Council on the Arts, which makes Alaska the only state in the country without an arts agency. Beyond its unparalleled work in promoting arts education throughout Alaskan communities, the council has been the leading champion of bringing Alaska Native arts and artists into Alaska schools, which helps to advocate, preserve and build pride around the extraordinary artistic and cultural achievements of the Alaska Native people, who are often able only through these programs to reconnect with their rich cultural heritage — truly a lifesaver for thousands of vulnerable young Alaskans whose burden it is to live in a state with some of the highest rates of domestic violencealcoholism and drug abuse in the country.
    As a result of his egregious, aggressive cuts, Dunleavy himself is now facing growing threats for a recall; in order to produce a recall petition on the ballot, Alaskans must collect signatures from at least ten percent of the state’s voting population who participated in the last general election, or approximately 28,500 signatures. They reached that number within two weeks.

    The man sitting next to me — his would-be a summer of outlandish, wild adventure — glowed, enigmatic, as the plane gained speed and took off. I, too, was heading for a summer in Alaska, not to cut and heave heavy timber, but to serve as faculty at a fine-arts camp that provides some of the most highly intensive arts education in the country. In 2018 alone, the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska, served 1,006 students from 37 Alaskan communities and 29 states. ​During the coming rigorous two-week session, my students would take classes in ballet and partner acrobatics, mime and wheel-thrown pottery, creative writing and photography and raku and the cello. Evenings, they would sample gorgeous, plump salmonberries picked along dusty roads, jump from rope swings into Alaskan water, and hike through extensions of the very forest the man beside me had been hired to clear-cut. Ironically, they would play the very instruments my seatmate’s work — just hours south — made possible, his work of harvesting dense wood from the nation’s oldest forests for some of the world’s finest artistic instruments. And my students, in turn, would play them in a state that no longer deemed their sound of value.
    Upon my arrival in Sitka hours later, a Tlingit friend would tell me the fishing this year — like last year — was abysmal.
    “The water’s too warm,” he explained, “and it’s stressing and affecting the salmon migration.”

    He told me about a Tlingit friend, who — because of that low volume of fish — had to shoot his dogs, rather than watch them starve to death. He explained the way Native elders were telling younger generations: We have nothing to teach you; the world — and sustenance living — has changed.

    A week later, news media would announce the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) sudden reversal on the Pebble Mine project in Bristol Bay — long been opposed by environmentalists, Native American tribes, and those in the fishing industry, with scientists reporting the project will result in a “complete loss” of the bay’s fish habitat — thanks in no small part to Dunleavy’s private meeting with President Trump aboard Air Force One as it was refueling in Alaska on its way to the G20 summit in Japan.
    The man next to me — he thumbed the glossy surface of his cellphone, showing me his photos: of the fruits of Alaska, of exploitation, of industry.

    Amy Butcher (@amyebutcher) is the author of the forthcoming “Mothertrucker” (Little A Books, 2022) and an assistant professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University.


    9) It Just Got Harder to Get Birth Control in America
    Title X made sure poor women could have access to health care. The Trump administration has compromised that.
    By The Editorial Board, August 19, 2019

    CreditCreditBob Miller for The New York Times

    This has been an ominous year for reproductive rights in America, with states including GeorgiaAlabama and now Tennessee in a race to the bottom to pass the most extreme anti-abortion law in the nation.
    But while those high-profile abortion bans make their way through the courts — they were designed to provoke legal challenges that could threaten Roe v. Wade — a more immediate threat to women’s health care has been brewing. The Trump administration has quietly been working to gut the Title X family planning program, which helps poor women afford birth control, cancer screenings and testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted infections. On Monday, the administration’s efforts paid off: Planned Parenthood, which serves about 40 percent of Title X patients around the country, felt forced to withdraw from the program.
    The nearly 50-year-old Title X program is an unsung hero of American public health. In 2017, Title X clinics served more than four million women, 42 percent of them uninsured, according to the federal Office of Population Affairs, which administers the program. The Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports reproductive rights, found that Title X clinics helped prevent more than 822,000 unintended pregnancies in 2015. The institute estimates that for every dollar the federal government spends on family planning, it saves more than $7. 

    The Trump administration’s new Title X rule, announced in February, will lay waste to that progress. The rule bars facilities that receive Title X money from providing abortions, even with a separate source of money, as has been required by law for decades. It also prohibits clinics from referring patients for an abortion at a different facility — in other words, staff members would effectively have to pretend that abortion is not a legal medical option.

    And that’s exactly the point for this administration: to treat abortion as though it were illegal, until perhaps that wishful thinking becomes reality. A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services said last week that by leaving Title X, Planned Parenthood is “choosing to place a higher priority on the ability to refer for abortion instead of continuing to receive federal funds to provide a broad range of acceptable and effective family planning methods and services.” According to the Trump administration, there’s abortion, and then there’s “acceptable” care.
    At the same time, making it harder for women to get birth controlisn’t an accidental side effect of this rule change. Current and former members of the administration have expressed opposition to birth control, and one of only three new recipients of Title X grants this year is a Catholic-affiliated group that does not provide contraception beyond guidance on the so-called rhythm method.
    In response to the administration’s actions, the House in June passed a bill that would block the domestic gag rule, as the Title X rule change is sometimes called. Title X supporters could urge their senators to follow suit. Other ways to help: Ask your state leaders to fill any gaps in funding caused by this new rule, and look into directly supporting a local family planning program or a clinic that’s lost its Title X funding.
    This whole sorry affair is a reminder that while many Americans are rightly afraid of a future without reproductive rights, in some ways that future is already here. Some of the most dangerous threats to reproductive rights have been creeping up on us for years.


    10) Eric Garner and Our Justified Fear of Police
    Daniel Pantaleo has been fired. Black and brown people are still afraid for our lives.
    By Steven W. Thrasher, August 20, 2019

    Michael Mccoy/Reuters

    Last week, while the officer who had held Eric Garner in a banned chokehold as he said “I can’t breathe” about a dozen times was still employed by the New York Police Department, I was thousands of miles away, in Arizona, where I found myself terrified by a different set of law enforcement officials.
    Returning from visiting a friend near the Mexico border, I was driving up State Route 90 when all northbound traffic was diverted into a giant tent, where officers from Customs and Border Protection were performing cursory inspections of all vehicles. A menacing German shepherd was being led around each and every car, presumably sniffing for narcotics.
    I was experiencing one of the legal checkpoints that the agency uses to search and potentially seize any vehicle within 100 miles of a border, without what would normally be called probable cause. And while I didn’t have any contraband, I felt a rising sense of panic as the officers and dog got closer to my car.
    As a kid, I often saw my father pulled over and harassed by the police. And as an adult black man, I’ve been threatened by the police myself. As a journalist, I’ve reported on and read research about how — though most murdered Americans are killed by someone they know — about one-third who are killed by strangers are killed by the police. And while I’m a United States citizen, the Supreme Court’s ruling that allows for indefinite detention of noncitizen migrants has made me fearfully wonder, Just how could I prove I am a citizen and entitled to a lawyer and other rights if I was arrested by Customs and Border Protection or Immigration and Customs Enforcement?

    To mitigate some of my fears, I’ve taken to having my passport with me most places in the country. In Arizona I kept it in my backpack as I drove. And as I waited for the authorities and dog to search my car, I took it out of my bag and placed it on the seat next to me, beside the rental car agreement I already had in plain sight, just in case I got pulled over, as I almost always do when I rent a car.
    Not that a passport would have saved me from a long detention necessarily — ICE recently held a citizen for a month — and it wouldn’t have saved me from an officer’s bullet. But as I’ve written before, whenever I am near the police or even think I might be, I do anything I can so that I won’t have to put my hands in my pockets or into a bag or give them an excuse to say I might have been reaching for something dangerous.
    The dog was walked around my car and an officer smiled at me inconclusively. Cautiously, I asked if everything was O.K., and he told me I was free to go. I drove off. I realized my heart was pounding and my breathing had unconsciously become very shallow.
    I have a passport and citizenship yet still have this reaction, so I can only imagine how certain migrant communities — particularly Latinx communities subject to racist targeting — cope with the threat of detention or deportation by an immigration system that can stop anyone, anytime, and make judgments without due process.
    But as a black journalist who has reported as police officers lobbed tear gas and used sound cannons in Baltimore, Ferguson and New York, and simply as a black person living in America, my experience in Arizona reminded me of how very real the stress of living under occupation is for black and brown people. Such stress, of course, takes a mental health toll and likely contributes to rates of hypertension and heart disease that create “John Henryism,” a term Dr. Sherman James, an epidemiologist, coined while trying to understand why black men die younger than white men.

    Five years after Mr. Garner was killed, it is still painfully, mortally obvious that we’re justified in our daily anxiety.

    CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

    After leaving Arizona last week, I was quickly reminded how such fears of the police do not exist merely in our heads. A study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that police use of force is a leading cause of death for young men of color overall and the sixth leading cause for young black men. One in 1,000 black men and boys can expect to be killed by the police, making them about 2.5 times more likely to experience this fate than white men and boys. 
    The same study found that black, American Indian and Alaska Native women face a higher risk than white women, with American Indian and Alaska Native being up to twice as likely to be killed by the police as white women.
    “This study shows us that police killings are deeply systematic, with race, gender and age patterning this excess cause of death,” Michael Esposito, one of the study’s authors, said.
    On Monday, news broke that the New York City police commissioner had finally fired Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who had used the banned chokehold that led to Mr. Garner’s death, a death that the medical examiner deemed a homicide. It took five years — a half decade during which Eric Garner’s daughter Erica died at just 27 years old from a heart attack after vigorously pursuing justice for her father. During which Mr. Pantaleo continued to draw paycheck after paycheck.
    I don’t know if white readers can comprehend how stressful police stops are for black and brown folks in the United States. I don’t know if any amount of writing, or epidemiological research, or news accounts can convince white readers that a police encounter is a dangerous, potentially family-separating or life-ending event for black and brown folks.
    But to brown and black readers: Know that the fears you have are not merely in your imagination. As white supremacists grow bolder under President Trump, and as technology allows for ever-more-expansive surveillance of intimate areas of life, policing still haunts and threatens us as much as it did the day Mr. Garner stopped breathing.
    Steven W. Thrasher holds the Daniel H. Renberg Chair, for social justice in reporting, and is an assistant professor of journalism and core faculty member of the Institute of Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing at Northwestern University.
    My NYT Comment:
    I'm white, and so are my two sons. My youngest son has overcome a horrendous drug addiction that lasted for many years. He's been clean for over a year now. But the last time he used, he stole my car. He had just totaled his car that I was still paying for, so he took mine. I called the police. My oldest son was with me. The officers told us that I should know that if I report the car stolen, and if the police see it, it will be stopped with guns drawn and any move by my son could be fatal. I was thankful that the officer told me. I did not follow through with my stolen car report. And my son did bring it back that same day. But that incident capsulated this system for me. My own car was worth more than my own son's life in the eyes of "the law" and I had to choose between them. I can't imagine what it's like being a Black or Brown mother of healthy, non-drug addicted kids just driving home from school or work or visiting for the holidays. I just can't imagine feeling that anguish every ordinary day. —Bonnie Weinstein









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