Message to Readers Update:

Making some progress.

In solidarity,

Bonnie Weinstein





The New Afrikan Black Panther Party developed first from within the prisons of Amerika and is now building programs and organizations in communities across the country. Their concept of a United Panther Movement embraces all peoples and seeks to build a movement that can thoroughly transform society. We seek to open a discussion about the ongoing possibilities and challenges of the continuing quest for liberation and justice.
Shaka Zulu, chair of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party, was recently released from prison and is on a national tour from his base in Newark, New Jersey. Since Shaka Zulu’s release, the NABPP has been organizing “No Prison Fridays” protests in Newark. These mass rallies, which quickly grew from a few dozen to several hundred protesters from local communities, began in opposition to official plans to build a youth prison in Newark on South Orange Avenue, a couple of blocks from Westside High School. The NABPP is building Serve the People programs to assist communities in developing their own resources and labor power toward restoring them as base areas of cultural, political and economic revolution.
George Katsiaficas graduated from MIT in 1970 while in solitary confinement after being convicted of “disturbing a school” for organizing anti-war protests. He moved to California, where he was part of a deep network of counter-cultural counter-institutions during the 1970s. He was long active against the CIA and for Palestinian self-determination. Together with Kathleen Cleaver, he edited Liberation, Imagination and the Black Panther Party.
Sponsored by Critical Resistance Oakland Chapter and the Freedom Archives – for more information 415 863-9977 – croakland@criticalresistance.org
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



SUNDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2019 - 3 PM

5,150 Palestinian political prisoners are waging multiple hunger strikes to protest torture, administrative detention and abusive conditions of confinement in Israeli prisons.  Imprisonment and globalized weaponry trade between the U.S. and Israel are closely linked, fueling repression against Black, brown and immigrant communities in this country.

Join us for an afternoon of discussion: an in-depth look at imprisonment from Palestine to the U.S., and how we can build solidarity between our freedom struggles.

Sponsored by Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM), Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC), Freedom Archives, FireStorm/CCWP, Middle East Children's Alliance (MECA), Law Students for Justice in Palestine UCB, Students for Justice in Palestine UCB, 

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



Tell Greyhound:
ICE Off Our Buses! 
No Cooperation with ICE!

Buses are for transportation not deportation!

Protest to End Greyhound's Collaboration with ICE. Greyhound allows ICE, DHS, and border patrol to board buses and detain migrants everyday. People continue to resist! Join us in sending a strong message to the Greyhound bus company.

Friday, October 25, 4:30 - 5:30 p.m.
Greyhound Bus Terminal
2103 San Pablo Avenue, Oakland

Bring picket signs and join us on this national day of protest organized by FIRE (Fight for Immigrants and Refugees Everywhere).

Partial list of sponsors: Workers World Party - Bay Area, FIRE, QUIT (Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism), End the Wars At Home and Abroad, Communist Workers League - Bay Area, LAGAI - Queer Insurrection, People’s Alliance - Bay Area, International Action Center - Bay Area

For more information or to endorse, please call (510) 813-4687. 



Vote Socialist 2020!
Gloria La Riva and Leonard Peltier announce presidential run





Courage to Resist
In March of 1970, Al Glatkowski and his friend, Clyde McKay, did something unique in modern U.S. History. As an act of protest, the sailors seized the Columbia Eagle, a merchant ship under contract to the US government to take napalm to US Air Force bases in Thailand for Vietnam bombing missions. This is the first time Al has publicly spoken about what happened 50 years ago.
al glatkowski podcast
"We were weighing out the destruction that these bombs would do on humans. We knew that we were causing more suffering, and we had a chance to actually stand up against it. We honestly believed that our lives were worth less than the lives of all the people that would be affected, as well as the environmental destruction that would be affected. Being sailors and transporting these weapons, it just made it all more real for us. You can't have a war without us," shares Al Glatkowski for the first time.
al glatkowski podcast
This historic Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured. If you believe this history is important, please ...
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



New Evidence of Innocence Spurs two Court Filings for Mumia Abu Jamal

Press Release


September 9, 2019 Philadelphia—The struggle to free unfairly convicted Mumia Abu-Jamal took a significant step forward on September 3, 2019, when his attorneys submitted two documents to Pennsylvania Superior Court.
Judith L Ritter, Widener University-Delaware Law School, and Samuel Spital, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. released this statement: 
"This week, Mumia Abu-Jamal filed a brief in Pennsylvania Superior Court to support his claim that his 1982 trial was fundamentally unfair in violation of the Constitution. For example, he argues that the prosecution failed to disclose evidence as required and discriminated against African Americans when selecting the jury. And, his lawyer did not adequately challenge the State's witnesses. 
"Mr. Abu-Jamal also filed a motion containing new evidence of constitutional violations such as promises by the prosecutor to pay or give leniency to two witnesses. There is also new evidence of racial discrimination in jury selection."
Abu-Jamal has always said he is innocent and the new documents go a long way in supporting his case, undermining police and prosecution claims of how Philadelphia police officer Danny Faulkner was killed.
The filings are in response to the December 27, 2018 decision by Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker reinstating Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) petitions for the defendant. Tucker ruled Justice Ronald Castille unconstitutionally participated in deciding the appeals in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after denying Mr. Abu-Jamal's motions asking for his recusal, creating an appearance of judicial bias.
The "Brief For Appellant" in support of his struggle to gain his freedom after 37 years in Pennsylvania prisons re-opens the PCRA petitions as ordered by Tucker.
The "Appellant's motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence" ask the Superior Court that the case be sent back to the Court of Common Pleas "so that he may present newly discovered evidence."
Among the arguments resubmitted in the "Brief For Appellant:"
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to make right argument because counsel did not know the law.
Brady Violation—District Attorney Withheld Evidence:Namely that Prosecutor said that he would look into reinstating the driver's license of key witness, Robert Chobert;
Rights Violation of fifth, sixth, and 14th Amendments:District Attorney manipulated key witness to falsely identify Abu-Jamal as the shooter.
Ineffective Assistance of Counsel:Failure to retain ballistics expert when the trial counsel knew Officer Faulkner was killed by a .44 caliber bullet even though it was known Abu-Jamal's firearm was not a .44 weapon.
Batson:Discrimination in jury selection that kept Black jurors from being sworn in.
Juror Misconduct:Several jurors violated court rules by conducting premature discussions, creating potential for prejudgment of evidence.
Basym Hassan, Philadelphia political activist, said: "The district attorney clearly violated Mumia's constitutional rights by withholding clear evidence that should have been exposed from the beginning. Throughout the entire process of Mumia's approaching the scene up until today's current developments, the law has not been applied as it was created—to get to the truth of a matter. Hopefully, Mumia will get a re-trial and the truth will finally get told. We await his release from hell."
Cindy Miller, Food Not Bombs, Solidarity and Mobilization for Mumia reminds us: "Does everybody remember on December 28, when current Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and his staff happened to find six boxes of evidence that had not beforehand been shown? That evidence is partly the reason for this new motion."
The "Appellant's motion for remand to the court of common pleas to consider newly discovered evidence" Miller refers to, includes the suppression of evidence of improper prosecutorial interactions with the state's main two witnesses that were instrumental in ensuring Abu-Jamal's conviction. The motion charges that "Abu-Jamal's capital trial was fundamentally unfair and tainted by serious constitutional violations. Mr. Abu-Jamal respectfully requests that this Court remand the case to the Court of Common Pleas so that Mr. Abu-Jamal may litigate the claims arising from this new evidence."
Pam Africa: "Here's another example of why Mumia shoulda been home—an example of police and prosecutorial misconduct. That evidence has been there for years. It shoulda been in trial records but it was hidden. What else is hidden besides the few things that we have right here."
MOVE 9 member, Eddie Africa said: "If they deal with this issue honestly, they'll have to release him because they know what they did was wrong."
Mumia, 65-years-old, remains in SCI Mahanoy in poor health, suffering from severe itching and cirrhosis of the liver. He recently had cataract surgery in his left eye and is awaiting surgery in his right eye. He also has glaucoma. 
Janine Africa, from the MOVE 9, said: "I just got released from prison after 41 years in May. I want to say, everyone work hard to bring Mumia home so he can be taken care of and get proper medical care, and he don't deserve to be in jail from the beginning."
Mike Africa Jr. added: "The pressure of the people, and of the power of the people is squeezing the evidence of Mumia's innocence out. We shall win."



Board Game


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today
An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.
Spread the word!!
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon



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/



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



One Democratic State of Palestine

Why One Democratic State of Palestine

The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture.  We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation.  We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system.  This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who were forced out of the country and its current citizens.  This is the key to a 'fair and permanent resolution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause.  Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.

Call for a Palestine Liberation Movement

Call initiated by the One State Assembly, February 9, 2019
We are calling for signatures on the statement to create national and global public opinion specially among Palestinians, Arabs and international supporters about the genuine, just and long lasting solution to the seven decades of the ethnic cleansing war and catastrophe of 1948. The One Democratic State  of Palestine (ODSP) initiative stands in opposition and objection to the dead solution of the two states, the Oslo Accords and exposing the latest racist Nation-State Law that was issued by the apartheid state of Israel which emphasizes the real nature of this manufactured colonial state.
This is a crucial time in the history of our struggle, which needs all activists, individuals and organizations, to consolidate and coordinate their efforts in an organized manner to make an impact, make a difference towards the only solution that guarantees the right of return and deals with our people as one united nation on one united homeland: the One Democratic State of Palestine.
Signatories include: Richard Falk, Alison Weir, Ann Wright, Cindy Sheehan, Tariq Ali, Paul Larudee, Kevin Zeese, Joe Lombardo, Tim Anderson, Amal Wahdan, Judith Bello, Ken Stone, Issa Chaer,  Ali Mallah, Alicia Jrapko …..
Endorsers: Free Palestine Movement, Palestine Solidarity Forum (India), Syria Solidarity Movement, International Committee for Peace Justice and Dignity, Hands Off Syria Coalition, Hamilton Coalition to Stop the War, United Front Against Facism and War (Canada), Communist Reconstruction (Canada), Palestine Solidarity Association/University of Western Cape (South Africa), India Palestine Solidarity Forum, Venezuela Solidarity Network, Free Palestine Movement, Akashma News, Media Review Network,  Solidarity Net, Kenya, Human Rights in the Middle East, Cleveland Peace Action, Interfaith Council For Peace In The Middle East Northeast Ohio, Pax Christi Hilton Head, Portsmouth South Downs Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Call for A Palestine Liberation Movement and One Democratic State of Palestine

We say YES to the just national struggle for our rights, which unifies the living energies of our people. We are inspired by our glorious history, our great leaders and their decisive battles, our martyrs, our prisoners, our restless youth and those in refugee camps, waiting on the realization of their inalienable right of return. We say NO to begging at the doors of the occupiers in pursuit of crumbs. This has led Palestinians and will lead them to more division and bloody infighting
Palestine was colonized for strategic, imperial reasons: it is at the junction of three continents, with key transport links and easy access for the hegemonic powers on their way to the oil wealth of the Arab nations. But the colonists could not evacuate the Palestinian people, who have lived here for more than 6,000 years.
After a century of dealing with the European colonial states and American imperialism, our Arab nation has been betrayed, and is still being betrayed, by the terror of these countries.
The illusion that Zionists want peace must be confronted. When will we wake up? We cannot speak of a national state for the Palestinians if we do not liberate ourselves from our petty differences while under siege and occupation. We have to recognize reality: that we continue in a period of national liberation, not in a period of state building.
For this reason we believe in the need to withdraw completely from farcical negotiations with the colonial entity. These only cover up and legalize the occupation. They suggest fair solutions which don't exist, deepening Palestinian conflicts and leading to bloody infighting.
The national liberation stage must precede the construction of the national state. Recognizing this provides a compass to guide us in our national priorities and relations with others. This means no more agreements with the occupiers. They will not commit to agreements, and experience shows they are part of a great deception, falsely called a 'peace process'.
This 'Peace Process' became a façade for the colonial entity to proceed with a so-called 'political solution'. Really, they needed Palestinian participation to pave the way for the oppressive Arab regimes to end the boycott and 'normalize' relationships with the entity.
As Arab markets were closed to the Zionist entity by a blockade, it was necessary to find ways to open them through 'normalization'. But Palestinian resistance had generated popular sympathy in the Arab and Islamic world, and formed a major obstacle to this 'normalization'. Zionist leader Shimon Perez admitted: "The main goal of the Oslo conventions was not Palestinians, but rather normalization with the Arab world and opening its markets."
Yet national liberation requires confronting, not submitting to, foreign hegemony. We say that the leadership of our national movement has ignored this, and has instead engaged in binding relations with the occupying entity and its patrons.
The history of the colonial entity in Palestine is nothing more than a history of the destruction of the Palestinian people and their civilization. Two thirds of our people have been displaced and more than 90% of our land has been stolen. Our land, water and houses are stolen and demolished every day, while apartheid walls are built and the racist nation-state law is being enforced by Israeli legislators. There is also a permanent aggression against the peoples of the region, to subjugate them through Salafist terrorism and economic siege.
The USA supports the Zionist entity with money, weapons, missiles and aircraft, while protecting it from punishment at the UN, recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, abolishing its financial support for the United Nations Refugees and Work Agency (UNRWA) and halting its financial aid to the Palestinian Authority. How can the USA or its regional puppets ever be 'honest brokers' for the people of Palestine?
The invaders falsely used divine religion in attempts to destroy the indigenous people and their cultures. They said this was an 'empty land', available for another people with no land, but with the 'divine promise' of a religious homeland. Yet hiding settler colonization behind the banner of Judaism wrongly places responsibility on religion for the crimes of the colonizers.
We have no problem with 'Jewish' people in Palestine. That problem emerged in capitalist Europe, not in our countries. We are not the ones to create a solution to Europe's 'Jewish problem'. Rather, we have to deal with colonization and foreign hegemony in our region.
The colonial entity and its imperial patrons have brought the people of Palestine to a historic juncture. We, the residents of historic Palestine, must dismantle the terms of our collective extermination so as to set up relations which reject racial segregation and mutual negation. We must dismantle the closed structure and replace it with an open, non-imperial and humane system. This can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State of Palestine for its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens. This is the key to a 'fair and permanent solution of conflict' in the region, and to a 'just solution' for the Palestinian cause. Failing this, war and mutual destruction will continue.
Yet the old Palestinian leadership has presided over regression. They make agreements for the benefit of the colonial entity and its patrons. They abandon 1948 Palestine and the refugees. They collaborate with our enemies while delivering no tangible benefit for our people.
For these reasons we say that this leadership has become a real obstacle to any future development or advancement for our people. This leadership has lost its qualifications to lead national action. It looks to its own benefit and is too weak to learn the lessons of the anti-colonial movements of the peoples of Asia, Africa and the Americas. It does not see the advances elsewhere in challenging US hegemony. It does not even see the resistance in the Arab and Muslim World, when they manage to foil US and Zionist projects.
Our movement must be an organic part of the Arab Liberation Movement, putting an end to foreign hegemony, achieving national unity and liberating Palestine from the current apartheid system. Yet this great humanitarian goal directly clashes with the interests of the dominant triad - the forces of global hegemony, settler apartheid and the comprador Arab regimes.
We warn all against chasing the myth of 'two contiguous states' in Palestine. This is a major deception, to portray ethnic enclaves within Palestine as an expression of the right to popular self-determination. The goal must be to replace apartheid with equal citizenship and this can only be achieved by establishing One Democratic State in historic Palestine for all, including its indigenous people, the refugees who we were forced out of the country and its current citizens, including those who were drawn into the country as settlers through the Zionist project.
Palestinian parties negotiating for unity and reform should focus on restoring liberation to the core of the Palestinian National Charter. The Arab homeland will never be liberated and unified by subordination to the USA! It will only be liberated by confronting and ending colonial and imperial dominance.
We say YES to national unity in the framework of our Palestinian Liberation Movement, freed from deceptive agreements which only serve the hegemonic powers and comprador regimes.
LONG LIVE PALESTINE, liberated from racial colonization and built on the foundations of equality for all its citizens, rejecting segregation and discrimination by religion, culture or ethnicity; friends with its regional neighbours and with all progressive forces of the world!
**Your Signature**




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



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!






    1) G.M. Strike's Economic Toll: Idle Trucks, Packed Warehouses
    By Nelson D. Schwartz and 
    Stacks of inventory at Pridgeon and Clay, an auto parts maker based in Grand Rapids, Mich. Parts destined for General Motors have been piling up at the company's distribution center.CreditCreditBrittany Greeson for The New York Times

    The truck drivers at Phoenix Transit and Logistics in Dearborn, Mich., are long gone. Around three dozen of the trailers they once ferried between auto plants — packed with dashboards, engine components, lights and other parts for General Motors — are sitting in a lot with nowhere to go.

    It's an increasingly familiar scene as the strike against G.M. by the United Auto Workers enters its fourth week. From suppliers to shippers to restaurants, the impact of the work stoppage is spreading through the web of businesses whose fates are tied to the biggest American automaker.
    Wael Tlaib, the owner of Phoenix Transit & Logistics, said he had laid off nearly his entire staff, including 80 drivers, and had dipped into his personal savings to keep his company afloat. "I might lose the business next week," Mr. Tlaib said.
    The most intense economic pain is being felt in the industrial Midwest, where G.M.'s network of plants and suppliers is thickest. It is a difficult time for the region's manufacturing industry, which even before the strike was contending with slowing auto sales, a weakening global economy and the trade war.

    An economic blow to the Midwest would have broad consequences in part because the region is an important political battleground that will help determine who wins the 2020 presidential election. In 2016, President Trump's narrow victories in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin put him over the top in the Electoral College tally.
    The state of the auto industry "usually has political ramifications that are beyond its direct economic influence," said Matt Grossmann, a political-science professor at Michigan State University. "A lot of Democrats here are running on the promise to help the factory workers and the working class, and saying Trump hasn't done it."
    Nearly 50,000 U.A.W. members walked off the job on Sept. 16, the largest stoppage since G.M. workers went on strike in 2007. The union is pressing for more job security as well as the reopening of plants in the United States that the company has recently idled. For its part, G.M. wants workers to pick up more of their health care costs and agree to give managers greater flexibility in factory operations.

    After signs of progress over the last week, the two sides hit a roadblock this weekend on how production might be moved to the United States from Mexico. Terry Dittes, the U.A.W.'s lead negotiator, said on Sunday that the talks had taken a "turn for the worse."

    The impact of the strike stretches from Mexico to Canada, where G.M. plants that depend on American factories have been shuttered, putting thousands out of work. Analysts estimate that G.M. has lost $600 million as a result of the strike.
    In the United States, 34 G.M. plants have gone dark. And striking workers are making do with a $250-a-week subsidy from the union.
    In the first three weeks of the strike, $412 million in wages were lost, according to Patrick Anderson, chief executive of Anderson Economic Group. "Each week the damage grows geometrically," Mr. Anderson said. "First you lose your U.A.W. workers, then the immediate suppliers, then the next tiers."
    Michigan has the most exposure to the auto sector, with roughly 8 percent of the state's economy linked to the industry. Even after factory closures decimated employment in the car industry in recent decades, the state remains dotted with auto plants and suppliers.
    Gabriel Ehrlich, director of the University of Michigan's Research Seminar in Qualitative Economics, estimates that the Michigan economy is growing at an annual rate of 1.4 percent. Without the strike, he said, that number could be 0.1 to 0.2 points higher.
    Even before the strike, manufacturing employment in Michigan fell by 1,300 jobs in the first eight months of the year. By comparison, manufacturers added 43,000 jobs nationally in the same period.

    "There's been real damage to the economy," said Charles Ballard, an economics professor at Michigan State. "It hasn't been huge yet but the ripple effects will get bigger the longer this goes on."
    In Flint, at least 1,200 truckers and production workers from suppliers have lost their jobs because of the strike. That includes hundreds from a supplier of seats to G.M., Lear Corporation, according to Duane Ballard, the financial secretary for U.A.W. Local 659, which represents employees at that factory.
    A Lear spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
    Many of those workers are new hires who have not worked at the Lear plant long enough to qualify for state unemployment insurance, Mr. Ballard said.
    On a rainy night last week, more than two dozen people affected by the strike showed up at the Martus Luna Food Pantry in Flint, said Art Luna, who runs the pantry.
    They "are the ones that are really hurting," he said. "They're anxious to go back to work."
    The fallout has extended beyond the auto industry, disrupting local businesses that serve autoworkers.
    On a typical Saturday night, Luigi's Restaurant, an Italian eatery a short drive from the Lear factory, sees around 350 customers. But in recent weeks, that number has fallen by as many as 60 people, according to Tom Beaubien, who runs the restaurant.

    "After one week without pay, everybody starts to suffer, from McDonald's all the way to Luigi's Restaurant," Mr. Beaubien said.
    It's unclear just how many workers have been laid off by G.M.'s suppliers. Magna International, one of the world's largest auto suppliers, has idled "a few" plants, according to a spokeswoman, Tracy Fuerst. "We attempted to keep our employees at these impacted plants working as long as possible through training, maintenance and inventory," she said.
    Some G.M. suppliers are finding creative ways to keep workers occupied, whether repairing machines or building an inventory of auto components to ship later.
    "Your smarter suppliers are being very careful about how they lay people off," said Michael Robinet, an expert on the auto industry at IHS Markit. "They don't want to lose their better employees to a competitor or to another occupation."
    Of course, Michigan's economy is not as dependent on the auto sector as it was even two decades ago. Lansing has two G.M. plants but their economic weight is counterbalanced by the state government and the city's hospital system, said Andy Schor, the city's mayor. Another large employer, Michigan State University, is nearby.
    "The sooner they resolve this the better but I wouldn't say everything has shut down in Lansing," Mr. Schor said. Over all, G.M. and its suppliers account for 6,600 jobs with $250 million in annual wages in the city, which has roughly 118,000 residents.
    Mr. Schor said autoworkers had been asking the city-owned utility for more time to pay their electric and water bills.

    Yet even at companies that are not highly dependent on G.M., the effect of the strike was immediate. Pridgeon & Clay, a component maker that sells to G.M.'s suppliers, froze hiring right away.
    "We heard from our customers within hours," said R. Kevin Clay, the company's president. Business had already been a little soft at Pridgeon and Clay, which is based in Grand Rapids, Mich., when the strike began.
    G.M. suppliers account for about $13 million of the company's $300 million in annual revenue. Now parts destined for the automaker are piled up in corners of the company's distribution center.
    Mr. Clay said he was determined to avoid layoffs. "It's certainly eating into profitability but rather than cut people, you pinch every penny," he said.

    Other manufacturers, like Stripmatic in Cleveland, say manpower has been tight recently, and the strike has freed workers for other tasks.
    But Bill Adler, the company's president, said business could suffer if G.M.'s plants don't resume production soon. "If the strike goes on much longer, what started out as a very good year could turn into a mediocre year," he said.

    Around the country, G.M. dealers said inventories had grown somewhat tighter.
    "We had a pretty deep shelf when the strike started and are at about average inventory right now," said Mark Scarpelli, president of Raymond Chevrolet in Antioch, Ill.
    G.M. said last week that its American dealers had 760,000 vehicles at the end of September, down 5 percent from a year ago. That's enough to last several weeks, but dealers are nearing the time when they place orders for the brisk sales they usually see around the end of the year.
    Back in Dearborn, Mr. Tlaib of Phoenix Transit & Logistics is doing what he can to get trucks back on the road. He emptied five of his trailers into a warehouse, freeing them to carry parts for other companies. But that has made barely a dent in the G.M. inventory in his yard.
    "We don't know what's going to happen next," he said. "We just sit down and smoke and watch the news."

    Neal E. Boudette contributed reporting.


    2) Slain Witness in Amber Guyger Trial Testified Reluctantly. He'd Already Been Shot Once.
    Joshua Brown, who testified for prosecutors at Amber Guyger's murder trial in Dallas, was himself shot to death two days after the trial ended.
    By Marina Trahan MartinezSarah Mervosh and 
    DALLAS — Joshua Brown and Botham Shem Jean knew each other not by sight, but by sound — as muffled voices through their apartment walls.
    From the hallway outside his fourth-floor apartment, Mr. Brown could hear Mr. Jean, his neighbor across the way, sing gospel music and Drake lyrics. The two men, both in their mid-20s, had met but once. But just as their lives had fleetingly intertwined, so, too, have their sudden and violent deaths.
    Mr. Jean, 26, was murdered in his apartment at the South Side Flats complex last year by an off-duty Dallas police officer who claimed she had mistakenly entered the wrong unit and believed he was an intruder. Mr. Brown, 28, was gunned down last week, 10 days after he testified against the former officer. And the city of Dallas, still reeling with racial tensions in a case that stoked longstanding mistrust of the police, is once again full of questions.
    Mr. Brown was shot twice late Friday night outside a new apartment he had moved to in another part of the city. Witnesses saw a silver sedan speeding away from the scene, but the authorities have not identified a suspect or a motive, and they have declined to talk about whether Mr. Brown's death was in any way connected to the trial. Many African-American community members and activists are renewing their call for someone outside the Dallas Police Department to conduct an independent investigation.

    The former officer, Amber R. Guyger, who is white, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing Mr. Jean, who was black and unarmed. Mr. Brown, who was also black, was killed two days after the jury trial came to a close.

    The timing of Mr. Brown's death immediately led to public speculation about whether he was killed in retaliation for his testimony, or whether the trial, streamed live on the internet, had drawn potentially dangerous attention to him. 
    "The testimony of Joshua Brown showed us a very good man — and one willing to testify in a controversial trial against the police," said John Fullinwider, a founder of the Dallas activist group Mothers Against Police Brutality. "So the timing of his death and the multiple shots shook the city." 
    The latest shooting drew the attention of several Democratic presidential candidates, including Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, who called for transparency in the investigation. A Houston businessman and high-stakes poker player, Bill Perkins, is offering a $100,000 reward in the case. Mayor Eric Johnson of Dallas said he believed that the city's Police Department would conduct a thorough investigation and asked for people to "refrain from speculation."

    The N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund called for an independent state or federal investigation into Mr. Brown's killing, calling it a "deeply alarming and highly suspicious murder."
    "It is critical to public confidence in the administration of justice that witnesses who speak out against police violence are fully protected," Sherrilyn Ifill, the organization's president, said in a statement. "The suspicious circumstances of Mr. Brown's killing should cause great alarm and demand an immediate and piercing inquiry."

    Mr. Brown was a witness in not one but two murders last year in Dallas. 
    In November 2018, more than two months after the shooting of Mr. Jean, Mr. Brown was shot in the foot during a shooting outside a strip club that left another man dead. 
    In that encounter, Mr. Brown and his friends were leaving the club when he ran into another man who had a "personal issue" with him and wanted to fight, according to court documents. Gunshots erupted, killing Nicholas Diggs. 
    Mr. Brown viewed a police photo lineup and identified the gunman and an accomplice. A suspect, Kendall Morris, was charged with murder and aggravated assault; he posted bond and was released pending trial. 
    Mr. Brown believed he had been the intended target in that shooting, so he kept a low profile in the months that followed. He only reluctantly agreed to testify for the prosecution at Ms. Guyger's trial, according to a civil rights lawyer who represented Mr. Jean's family and who is now working with Mr. Brown's relatives.
    "He didn't want any part of this trial," said the lawyer, Lee Merritt. "He was intimidated by the idea of being out there in the public. And unfortunately, in the black community, cooperating with the state — even in the prosecution of a white police officer — is frowned upon."

    When Mr. Brown took the witness stand on Sept. 24, the second day of the trial, he was worried about being in the public eye, Mr. Merritt said. Perhaps in a sign of his reluctance to testify, Mr. Brown was not exactly dressed for court: He wore blue athletic shorts and a mint-green graphic T-shirt, which he used to wipe his eyes occasionally as he spoke about his former neighbor.

    Mr. Brown and Mr. Jean were in some ways living parallel but separate lives across the hall from each other at the South Side Flats. 
    Mr. Brown was from Florida and managed Airbnb locations; Mr. Jean was from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia and worked for a major accounting firm. The night Mr. Jean was killed, they had separately made plans to spend the evening the same way — watching the first N.F.L. game of the season, when the Philadelphia Eagles played the Atlanta Falcons. 
    Mr. Brown told the jury he had met Mr. Jean for the first time earlier on the day of the shooting, when officials from the leasing office came by to knock on their doors about a noise complaint. 
    Later that night, after going to a bar to watch the first half of the football game, Mr. Brown said, he came home to a commotion in the hallway. He heard something "like two voices mixing together at the same time," he told the jury during the trial, followed by gunshots.
    Crucially, he said he did not hear loud verbal commands before the gunshots, which was contrary to Ms. Guyger's testimony that she had ordered Mr. Jean to show his hands before she pulled the trigger.

    Later, from his balcony, Mr. Brown said, he could see Ms. Guyger pacing while crying on the phone. 
    "She was crying, explaining what happened, what she thought happened, saying she went into the wrong apartment," he said.
    Mr. Brown was raised in a military family who moved from city to city, including stints in Jacksonville, Fla., and Lancaster, Texas, outside of Dallas, according to Mr. Merritt. He played football at the University of South Florida, where former colleagues remembered him as a competitive and outspoken player with a love of video games, according to The Tampa Bay Times
    After college, he worked as a roofing contractor for a few years before starting a business renting out residences for Airbnb. He acknowledged during his testimony that he had previously had run-ins with the police, including a 2011 misdemeanor theft conviction and a 2016 drug conviction.
    Members of the public had already expressed concern about the Police Department's handling of the case after it was revealed that Ms. Guyger's police partner, Martin Rivera, with whom she was having a relationship, had deleted text messages following the shooting. It also emerged that Mike Mata, the president of the Dallas Police Association, instructed an officer to turn off a squad car camera on the night of Mr. Jean's death so he could talk to Ms. Guyger privately, which officers said was standard procedure in officer-involved shootings. 
    After the trial, Chief U. Reneé Hall of the Dallas Police Department announced that she planned to open an internal affairs investigation.
    Mr. Merritt said evidence revealed during the trial had "eroded the trust of the community." 
    "This investigation into the murder of Joshua Brown is going to be a critical point," he said. "The city of Dallas can begin to either regain that trust, or create further division in the community."
    Marina Trahan Martinez reported from Dallas, Sarah Mervosh from New York and Manny Fernandez from Houston.


    3) Scientist Who Discredited Meat Guidelines Didn't Report Past Food Industry Ties
    The lead researcher, Bradley C. Johnston, said he was not required to report his past relationship with a powerful industry trade group.
    By Tara Parker-Pope and October 4, 2019
    surprising new study challenged decades of nutrition advice and gave consumers the green light to eat more red and processed meat. But what the study didn't say is that its lead author has past research ties to the meat and food industry.
    The new report, published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine, stunned scientists and public health officials because it contradicted longstanding nutrition guidelines about limiting consumption of red and processed meats. The analysis, led by Bradley C. Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada, and more than a dozen researchers concluded that warnings linking meat consumption to heart disease and cancer are not backed by strong scientific evidence.
    Several prominent nutrition scientists and health organizations criticized the study's methods and findings. But Dr. Johnston and his colleagues defended the work, saying it relied on the highest standards of scientific evidence, and noted that the large team of investigators reported no conflicts of interest and conducted the review without outside funding.
    Dr. Johnston also indicated on a disclosure form that he did not have any conflicts of interest to report during the past three years. But as recently as December 2016 he was the senior author on a similar study that tried to discredit international health guidelines advising people to eat less sugar. That study, which also appeared in the Annals of Internal Medicine, was paid for by the International Life Sciences Institute, or ILSI, an industry trade group largely supported by agribusiness, food and pharmaceutical companies and whose members have included McDonald's, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Cargill, one of the largest beef processors in North America. The industry group, founded by a top Coca-Cola executive four decades ago, has long been accused by the World Health Organization and others of trying to undermine public health recommendations to advance the interests of its corporate members.

    In an interview, Dr. Johnston said his past relationship with ILSI had no influence on the current research on meat recommendations. He said he did not report his past relationship with ILSI because the disclosure form asked only about potential conflicts within the past three years. Although the ILSI-funded study publication falls within the three-year window, he said the money from ILSI arrived in 2015, and he was not required to report it for the meat study disclosure.
    "That money was from 2015 so it was outside of the three year period for disclosing competing interests," said Dr. Johnston. "I have no relationship with them whatsoever."

    Critics of the meat study say that while Dr. Johnston may have technically complied with the letter of the disclosure rules, he did not comply with the spirit of financial disclosure.
    "Journals require disclosure, and it is always better to disclose fully, if for no other reason than to stay out of trouble when the undisclosed conflicts are exposed," said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University who studies conflicts of interest in nutrition research. "Behind the scenes, ILSI works diligently on behalf of the food industry; it is a classic front group. Even if ILSI had nothing to do with the meat papers — and there is no evidence of which I am aware that it did — the previous paper suggests that Johnston is making a career of tearing down conventional nutrition wisdom."

    Notably, Dr. Johnston and colleagues thought it was important to fully disclose their personal eating habits. The meat paper includes an appendix titled "Summary of Panelists' Potential Conflicts of Interest," that discloses whether each author eats red or processed meat and how often. Johnston reported no financial conflicts of interest but disclosed that he eats one to two servings of red or processed meat per week.
    "We think that's a potential bias that is worth disclosing," said Dr. Johnston about the researchers' personal eating habits.
    Dr. Johnston's ties to the 2016 ILSI-funded sugar study show how ILSI has methodically cultivated allies in academia around the world, and how it recruits influential scientists to help shape global nutrition advice and counter what it perceives to be anti-food industry guidelines by health organizations.
    When Dr. Johnston and his colleagues first published the sugar study, they said that ILSI had no direct role in conducting the research other than providing funding, but later amended their disclosure statement in the Annals after The Associated Press obtained emails showing that ILSI had "reviewed" and "approved" the study's protocol.
    Dr. Johnston said that when he published the sugar study in 2016, he put his connection with the food industry group "front and center." He said in hindsight he was "naïve" when he agreed to work on the ILSI-funded study about sugar guidelines. It was during a conference call on the sugar study that he realized the extent that industry figures were involved with that organization. He declined to say who was on the conference call.
    "It wasn't until I was on a conference call with them and people were introducing themselves where I realized this is not what I expected," he said. "Then I saw the reaction from the paper we did publish, which I think was a very good paper. People didn't get that message. They got stuck on the funding part. That was a big lesson to separate oneself. It's not worth working with industry at all."
    Dr. Christine Laine, editor in chief of the Annals of Internal Medicine, said the medical journal asks people to disclose their financial interests but relies on the integrity of the researcher and does not attempt to verify the forms. "We are really leaving it to the authors to disclose," said Dr. Laine. "We advise authors if they wonder 'Should I disclose this or not,' they should err on the side of disclosure."

    Dr. Laine noted that people on both sides of the meat issue have conflicts of interest. "Many of the people who are criticizing these articles have lots of conflicts of interest they aren't talking about," she said. "They do workshops on plant-based diets, do retreats on wellness and write books on plant-based diets. There are conflicts on both sides."
    Dr. Laine said if Dr. Johnston had chosen to disclose a financial relationship with the food industry group, it would not have changed the journal's decision to publish the research. What matters to the journal editors and peer-review team, she said, is the fact that the group had clear protocols for examining the data and was transparent about its methods.
    "I don't think we would have made a different decision about publishing the manuscript if he had that on his conflicts disclosure," said Dr. Laine. "We certainly know that in the past he did nutrition research that was funded by industry. It's a judgment call if that should be disclosed. I think at some level that's a little bit of noise around this. The methods of what these researchers did and their conclusions are out there, and people can disagree with that."
    Dr. Gordon Guyatt, chair of the 14-member panel that reviewed the analysis, said he is confident that the work was not in any way influenced by industry.

    "Perhaps Brad was a little naïve, and both I and perhaps Christine Laine were a little negligent in it not occurring to us that he should probably declare the previous money he got from the previous project," said Dr. Guyatt, an internal medicine physician and a distinguished professor at McMaster University. "All of that being said, I feel personally extremely comfortable that it had no effect on what we did."
    Dr. Guyatt noted that for 20 years he has been a pescatarian who eats only fish and no other meat. "Before I was involved in these systematic reviews and looking carefully at evidence, I had three reasons for not eating meat — animal welfare, the environment and health. Now I only have two reasons for not eating meat."
    Critics of the meat study say that it has similarities to the industry-funded sugar study and uses the same standard to evaluate evidence. Dr. Frank Hu, the chair of the nutrition department at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said he was stunned when he realized that Dr. Johnston was both the leader of the meat study and the same researcher who led the industry-funded review that attacked guidelines advising people to eat less sugar. He said that in both cases Dr. Johnston undercut sugar and meat recommendations by using a tool called GRADE that was mainly designed to rate clinical drug trials, not dietary studies.
    "You can't do a double-blinded placebo-controlled trial of red meat and other foods on heart attacks or cancer," Dr. Hu said. "For dietary and lifestyle factors, it's impossible to use the same standards for drug trials."

    Drug trials are primarily designed to look at efficacy and safety, Dr. Hu said, while the main goal of diet studies is to identify risk factors that influence obesity and chronic diseases. That is why scientists use data from large observational studies and randomized trials to look at the health effects of different eating patterns and other behaviors that cannot be studied like pharmaceutical therapies.
    Dr. Johnston said the real problem is that people don't want to accept findings that contradict long-held views. "People have very strong opinions," he said. "Scientists should have intellectual curiosity and be open to challenges to their data. Science is about debate, not about digging your heels in."
    But Dr. Hu said Dr. Johnston's methods were not very objective or rigorous and the tool he employed in his meat and sugar studies could be misused to discredit all sorts of well-established public health warnings, like the link between secondhand smoke and heart disease, air pollution and health problems, physical inactivity and chronic disease, and trans fats and heart disease.
    "Some people may be wondering what his next target will be," Dr. Hu said. "But I'm concerned about the damage that has already been done to public health recommendations."


    4) A Supreme Court Abortion Case That Tests the Court Itself
    What will access to abortion look like under the new conservative majority?
    By Linda Greenhouse, October 10, 2019

    This year Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch, left, and Brett Kavanaugh will hear their first major abortion rights case since joining the court.CreditCreditJabin Botsford/picture-alliance, via Associated Press

    Under the rules that normally govern the American judicial system, the Louisiana abortion law at the center of a case the Supreme Court added to its docket last week is flagrantly unconstitutional. My goal in this column is to make visible not only the stakes in the case but also Louisiana's strategy for saving its law, the first of a wave of anti-abortion measures to reach a Supreme Court transformed by the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the addition of two justices appointed by President Donald Trump.
    The case, June Medical Services v. Gee, asks the court to decide whether states can prohibit doctors from performing abortions unless they have admitting privileges at local hospitals. It presents each side with an obvious challenge. The challenge for Louisiana is that the court answered precisely that question three years ago in Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, declaring that an identical law in Texas imposed an unconstitutional burden on access to abortion. The court's holding was so definitive that the attorneys general of Alabama and Tennessee almost immediately stopped defending their states' admitting-privileges laws.

    But Louisiana persisted, and the conservative United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit went rogue. It upheld the Louisiana law by disregarding the findings of the federal district judge who had struck it down after a six-day trial, by mischaracterizing what the justices did in Whole Woman's Health and by drawing phony distinctions between Texas, where the regulatory onslaught has left the state with 20 abortion clinics, and Louisiana, which now has three clinics and will be left with one if the law goes into effect.
    So the state, and any justices inclined to take its side, faces a glaring rule-of-law problem, as a bipartisan group of former federal judges and senior Justice Department officials observed in a friend-of-the-court brief they filed in support of the clinic that is appealing the Fifth Circuit ruling. "Lower courts are bound by the decisions of this court," they told the justices, adding, "That fundamental principle is essential to establishing and maintaining the rule of law." The signers of this brief include Charles Fried, a former solicitor general of the United States, who in 1989 on behalf of the George H.W. Bush administration urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
    The clinic bringing the appeal, Hope Medical Group for Women, in Shreveport, also faces a major challenge: a remade Supreme Court. The vote in Whole Woman's Health, argued shortly after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia and before his successor, Neil Gorsuch, joined the court, was 5 to 3. One of the five was Justice Kennedy, who retired last year and whose seat is now filled by Justice Brett Kavanaugh. In February, with the Louisiana law about to take effect, the Supreme Court voted 5 to 4 to grant a temporary stay of the Fifth Circuit's decision to permit the Hope clinic and its doctors to file an appeal. Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, along with Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, voted to deny the stay. Justice Kavanaugh filed an opinionto explain his vote. The doctors should try harder to get admitting privileges, he said. 
    Federal District Judge John deGravelles had pointed out in declaring the law known as Act 620 unconstitutional that some of the Louisiana doctors had been trying to get admitting privileges for as long as five years. I have to assume that Justice Kavanaugh read the District Court opinion and that he also refreshed his recollection of Whole Woman's Health, in which Justice Stephen Breyer marshaled abundant evidence to show that admitting privileges serve no medical purpose in the abortion context. To put it a bit more bluntly than the polite Justice Breyer, the requirement is nothing more than a ploy to enable a state to destroy the abortion infrastructure while pretending to be protecting the very women whose constitutional right the requirement is eviscerating. 
    This is not just my opinion as an abortion-rights advocate; it's a fact available to all. The District Court opinion in this case includes among its evidentiary findings an email sent from an anti-abortion group to the Louisiana law's main sponsor when the bill was pending in 2014. The email asserted that the identical Texas law was having "tremendous success in closing abortion clinics and restricting abortion access in Texas."
    In considering the clinic's appeal, the Supreme Court appeared to have three choices. One was to not accept the case, which would have put the law into effect immediately. Given the stay the court granted in February, that step was unlikely; the court's main criterion for granting a stay is the likelihood that the justices would ultimately decide to hear the appeal. Another possible course was to overturn the Fifth Circuit's decision summarily, without further briefing or oral argument. While the court takes that step with some regularity when a lower court's error is obvious, that seemed an unlikely outcome in an abortion case. So the choice the justices made to accept the case for full briefing and argument was unremarkable — predictable, in fact.
    But the order granting the case included a curve ball. The justices also granted a "conditional cross-petition" filed over the summer, with little attention, by Louisiana. Such an appeal may, at the court's discretion, be granted as a companion to the original petition to address an additional issue. In this instance, Louisiana is arguing that the clinic and its doctors should never have been permitted to challenge the law in the first place.

    While ordinarily, plaintiffs in court cases lack standing to argue for the rights of those who are not parties to the case, the Supreme Court has permitted doctors to argue on behalf of women's right to abortion ever since the immediate aftermath of Roe v. Wade. Doctors were involved in the early contraception and abortion cases as well, but back then they were in part arguing for their own freedom from prosecution. Once abortion became legal, the theory supporting what is known as third-party standing for doctors and clinics in post-Roe abortion cases is that there are too many obstacles of timing, resources and privacy for women to get to court to assert their own right to an abortion free of the regulatory obstacles that stand in their way. Take away doctors' right to advocate in court on their patients' behalf and most legal attacks on state-created obstacles to abortion conveniently disappear.
    Doctors' standing is so much an accepted part of abortion litigation that Louisiana didn't even question it in defending its law in the lower courts, and the lower courts naturally didn't address it. Ordinarily, the Supreme Court refuses to address issues that were not raised at an earlier stage. On its face, then, the state's cross-petition is frivolous. I sensed potential trouble when I stumbled upon it by chance over the summer, but the idea that the justices would actually grant it seemed so far-fetched that I put it out of my mind.
    It turns out that the idea of eliminating doctors' third-party standing has been in the anti-abortion movement's water supply ever since Justice Thomas raised it in his dissenting opinion in Whole Woman's Health three years ago. I suppose Louisiana's cross-petition is an example of "when all else fails, change the subject," but I have to give the state credit for coming up with a superficially clever argument. The state is arguing that the realities of clinic-based abortion practice belie the assumption behind the third-party standing doctrine, which is that the interests of both parties are aligned. Instead, the state notes that there was no evidence in this case "that any particular Louisiana woman who has obtained or is considering an abortion would personally (1) prefer to obtain an abortion from a doctor without admitting privileges, (2) prefer to forgo the protections Act 620 was intended to provide, or (3) consider her decision to obtain an abortion to be burdened by Act 620."
    Of course, there's so much wrong with that argument that the question is where to begin. It assumes the counterfactual: that the law was intended to protect women and that it actually protects them, or that women have any reason to prefer a doctor who has admitting privileges. The clinic points out in its own brief that only four out of thousands of abortion patients it has treated over the past 23 years required hospital treatment and that the District Court found that all had received appropriate hospital care "regardless," in the words of the district judge, "of whether the physician had admitting privileges."
    In its initial response to the clinic's petition, the state argues that if Whole Woman's Health is so confusing as to have pointed a well-meaning appeals court in the wrong direction, then that shows the best course is for the Supreme Court to overturn it. I don't think the court is going to take that step. It would be too bold, too obvious, too soon, too close to the 2020 election. And, most significantly, the court doesn't have to expose itself in that way to achieve its anti-abortion aims. Rather, it's much more likely that the court will do what the Fifth Circuit did: reinterpret the precedent to its liking; credit the Fifth Circuit's charges that abortion practice in Louisiana was sloppy and dangerous rather than the District Court's precise findings that the safety record of abortion in the state was "excellent"; or pretend, as the appeals court did, that insignificant differences between Texas and Louisiana justify a completely different outcome when it comes to the constitutional rights of women.
    Or perhaps the court will do all three. If it does even one — if the Louisiana law survives this test, which is really a test of the Supreme Court itself — then those of us who have set aside talk of impeachment and the day's multiple distractions long enough to understand the game that's afoot will have an obligation somehow to break through the din when the decision is announced in late spring or early summer and let the public in on the secret.
    Linda Greenhouse, the winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize, writes on alternate Thursdays about the Supreme Court and the law. She reported on the Supreme Court for The Times from 1978 to 2008, and is the author of several books.


    5) Why Amazon Fires Keep Raging 10 Years After a Deal to End Them
    Many of the thousands of fires burning in Brazil's Amazon are set by ranchers. A deal inked 10 years ago was meant to stop the problem, but the ecological arson goes on as the Earth warms.
    By Clifford KraussDavid Yaffe-Bellany and 

    Smoke from fires drift over a cattle farm in the state of Mato Grosso.CreditVictor Moriyama for The New York Times

    When things go wrong, those in power often promise to make it right. But do they? In this series, The Times investigates to see if those promises were kept.
    SERRA DO CACHIMBO BIOLOGICAL RESERVE, Brazil — A smoky, choking haze drifted over a lush rainforest reserve in the Brazilian Amazon last month, as fires lit by cattlemen illegally ranching on protected land spread through the jungle.
    From an elevated vantage point, a dozen blazes could be spotted across an 845,000-acre nature preserve.

    As damaging as these fires would be to the Serra Do Cachimbo Biological Reserve, they represented just a tiny fraction of the total number burning vast swaths of the Amazon, with 26,000 recorded in August, the highest number in a decade.

    The immense scale of the fires in Brazil this summer raised a global alarm about the risks they posed to the world's largest rainforest, which soaks up carbon dioxide and helps keep global temperatures from rising.
    It wasn't supposed to be like this.
    Ten years ago, an agreement was reached that was intended to help end these devastating acts of ecological arson.
    In 2009, the three biggest Brazilian meatpacking companies signed an agreement with the environmental group Greenpeace not to buy cattle from ranchers who raised their beef in newly deforested areas.
    The deal was meant to be a model for the world, a partnership between private industry and environmental activists that would benefit both.

    For Greenpeace, the agreement offered a solution to one of the biggest causes of rainforest destruction: The cattle industry is responsible for up to 80 percent of the clearings in recent years, according to the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

    For the meatpackers, the agreement relieved pressure from a growing international environmental campaign against them and threats of boycotts against retailers selling their beef.
    But the vows made by those three companies — JBS, Minerva and Marfrig, which handle about 50 percent of the beef raised in the Amazon — have been only partially kept, according to prosecutors, environmentalists and academics who study the cattle industry.
    The failure to fulfill crucial elements of the ambitious promise — which were always going to be a challenge to achieve — is one of the main reasons the Amazon is on fire.
    Cattle ranching has been responsible for 18,000 square miles of additional deforestation — equivalent to New Hampshire and Vermont combined — since the 2009 agreement between Greenpeace and the meatpackers, according to University of Wisconsin researchers.
    Convinced that the meatpackers were not living up to their commitments, Greenpeace pulled out of the agreement in 2017. 
    "We saw that they failed to comply with what they had promised," said Adriana Charoux, the lead Greenpeace Amazon activist. "They could have done much more. The slaughterhouses are making a minimal effort."

    During a September visit, the fires were abundant in the Serra Do Cachimbo Biological Reserve, set aside by the Brazilian government 15 years ago as a pristine wilderness area off-limits to all commercial activity.
    But driving over the creaky river bridges built by the ranchers in this reserve, illegal cattle operations were easy to find, as they are throughout Brazil's Amazon. Where giant otters and jaguars once roamed, there were fields where cattle grazed.
    Fazenda Canaã, a 2,700-acre farm carved out of the reserve's rainforest around 2013, made no effort to hide. The jungle that had stood on this land was replaced by open savanna — grazing land for its 400 cattle.

    For a ranch hand working there, the exchange of rainforest for productive farmland seemed like a fair deal.
    "The right thing to do is let people work," said Isaías Hermogem, as he watched over cattle grazing in a clearing edged with papaya and coconut trees. "Let's open up more space."
    Many ranchers have taken that advice.
    Fazenda Canaã is just one of at least 71 ranches in the Serra do Cachimbo, and both the number of ranches and the size of each appears to be growing. In August, just as the rampant fires in the Amazon gripped the attention of a warming world, Fazenda Canaã extended its turf with additional burning.

    About 200 million heads of cattle are raised in the Brazilian Amazon region in total, with an estimated 173,746 square miles of forest — the size of California, plus Massachusetts and New Jersey — converted to cattle pasture over recent decades, according to the Yale School of Forestry.
    Livestock farming generates more than $6 billion in annual export revenues and about 360,000 jobs. 
    Despite the promise of the major meatpackers not to buy cattle from ranches like Fazenda Canaã, cattle that spent time on this farm were purchased by JBS over the last three years, according to government data.
    In fact, JBS, the biggest meatpacker worldwide, bought cattle that passed through 11 ranches in the preserve over the last two years, according to the government data.
    Marfrig and Minerva each made indirect purchases from one ranch here, according to government data that traces a complex supply chain.
    An audit in 2016 by federal prosecutors in Pará State, where the Serra do Cachimbo reserve is and where about a third of the cattle slaughtered in the Amazon come from, showed that 6 percent of the cattle JBS had bought between October 2009 and 2016, totaling 36,739 heads of cattle, came from ranches that had been illegally cleared.
    In 2016, 118,459 cattle, or 19 percent of the total bought by JBS in Pará, were acquired "with evidence of irregularities," according to the audit by the Brazilian Federal Prosecution Service using satellite information, on-the-ground inspections and traced purchasing data.

    "There is no reason why after 10 years there could not be better results," said Nathalie Walker, a director at the National Wildlife Federation, who has studied the Brazilian cattle industry. "There were firm negotiated agreements."

    Brazil has many thousands of cattle farms in the Amazon, spread out across one of the world's most remote areas, which hinders efforts at law enforcement, inspections and, especially, tracking cattle over their life spans.
    It's rare for a cow to spend its entire life on the farm where it was born; it may be bought and sold multiple times, until it reaches the ranch that sells it directly to a slaughterhouse.
    This complex supply chain has made the phenomenon of "cattle laundering" common and is the crux of the problem in fulfilling the deal's promise.
    A calf may be born on illegally deforested land and then ultimately sold to a fattening ranch whose land was cleared long ago and is within the terms of the accord.
    When the slaughterhouses buy from these ranches, they can say they have acquired a cow from a compliant source.
    JBS asserts that 100 percent of its cattle purchases from its direct suppliers "were in compliance with our responsible sourcing policies," according to a statement from Marcus Pilão, a company spokesman.

    The company said it uses satellite technology, geo-referenced farm data and official government records to monitor more than 280,000 square miles, an area larger than Texas, and that it assesses more than 50,000 potential cattle suppliers every day.

    "JBS has an unwavering commitment to combat, discourage and eliminate deforestation in the Amazon region," said the company statement.
    Despite those efforts, an audit commissioned by JBS acknowledged that the company does not fully monitor indirect suppliers because of a lack of accessible public data tracking the transport of animals.
    "JBS can track 100 percent of its direct suppliers," according to its third-party auditor, DNV GL, a Norwegian quality-assurance and certification company. But JBS "has not yet been successful in implementing traceability processes" for indirect suppliers.
    And this gap, critics say, has rendered the agreement largely ineffectual.
    Most of the Amazon ranches that sell cattle directly to JBS, Marfrig and Minerva are essentially middlemen, aggregators of cattle from multiple, inadequately monitored farms, according to data provided by University of Wisconsin researchers.
    Based on an analysis of publicly available property records as well as on-the-ground interviews with hundreds of farmers in the Amazon, the University of Wisconsin researchers found that at least 15 percent of the indirect suppliers to the three major meatpackers have continued to deforest land since the 2009 agreement was signed.

    "The agreement has so many holes, the deforestation is still just going on," said Holly Gibbs, a University of Wisconsin geographer who has studied the agreement.
    In a separate study of the cattle export market in the Amazon and the nearby Cerrado, a region which is not covered by the agreement, Trase, a research group that studies commodity supply chains, said that beef exports by JBS contributed to an estimated 100 square miles of deforestation a year from 2015 to 2017.
    And the deforestation totals in the report reflect only a small part of the problem, because 80 percent of the meat produced in the region goes into the domestic market, whose effect on deforestation Trase did not measure.
    "The lack of monitoring of indirect suppliers is a big blind spot," said Erasmus zu Ermgassen, a Trase researcher. "Slaughterhouses, like JBS, have no way of guaranteeing that cattle from deforesting properties don't ultimately end up in their supply chain."

    The landmark agreement signed by JBS, Minerva and Marfrig was considered very promising.
    The deal obligated the three companies to ensure that farmers who sold them cattle were not actively engaged in deforestation.
    Soon after the Greenpeace deal, federal prosecutors reached an accord with 13 additional national meatpackers allowing federal law enforcement officers to monitor the source of their cattle so slaughterhouses would cut ties with cattlemen who cleared a significant amount of forest. Eventually, about 100 signed on, including the Big 3.
    At first, the agreements did lead to improvements, as the meatpacking companies established the necessary protocols to monitor their direct suppliers.

    In Pará State, for example, the University of Wisconsin research team found that while 36 percent of supplying ranches had recent deforestation in 2009, only 4 percent did in 2013.
    But at the same time that the agreements limited the amount of new land for grazing, demand for beef was growing both domestically and internationally.
    The incentive to clear more rainforest for pasture became hard to resist, and the result was a surge in the cattle laundering practice that has undermined the deals and ravaged Brazil's rain forests.
    Compounding the problem, farmers and ranchers have treated the inauguration of the right-wing populist Jair Bolsonaro as president in January as a green light to burn deeper into the rainforest.
    "If there was one thing Bolsonaro was crystal clear about," said Jeremy M. Martin, vice president for energy and sustainability at the Institute of the Americas, a California-based research organization, "it was that he was 100 percent willing to compromise the Amazon for economic upside."

    The agreement with Greenpeace recognized that animals that end up in slaughterhouses are not always raised by the direct suppliers, and the three companies agreed they would monitor the complex path taken by cattle as they moved through the Amazon.

    The tracking system was supposed to be in operation by 2011.
    But on the 10th anniversary of the agreement, the companies still have not found a way to fully monitor the indirect suppliers.
    While critical of the performance of JBS and other meatpackers, government prosecutors and academics say the three companies are only part of the problem, and so can only be part of the solution.
    The companies have been handicapped by the inconsistent quality of government inspections that monitor cattle traffic from farm to farm. And cattle data is scattered and incomplete, government officials say.

    Daniel Azeredo, a senior federal environmental prosecutor who has investigated the cattle industry, said that JBS and the other meatpackers have acknowledged the problem. "In meetings they say, 'We are victims of fraud,'" he said. "But I think they could do more."
    The independent auditor used by JBS said that tracing the full supply chain would only be possible if JBS had complete access to animal transportation documents that are closely guarded by the Ministry of Agriculture.
    Another of the signatories to the deal, Minerva, also pointed to the intractable problems in the supply chain. "Today there are no reliable and accessible statistics on the cattle traceability chain," Minerva said in a statement. "Any indirect supplier control initiative at this time is not monitorable, reportable and attestable."

    Marfrig said it was in full compliance with the agreement, and is working to develop "new solutions to foment a deforestation-free supply chain."
    Brazil's agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina da Costa Dias, agreed in an interview that the government's animal transport information was disorganized, dispersed and difficult to access.
    Asked if the cattle industry was doing enough to protect the Amazon, she said, "That's a very difficult question."

    No one disagrees with the minister about the difficulty of the task.
    Following the life cycle of a cow takes sophisticated surveillance, regulatory supervision, standardized records and systematic auditing — a complex process that, critics acknowledge, is especially hard in the Amazon.
    But thousands of miles from the Brazilian rain forests, in Madison, Wis., a team of University of Wisconsin researchers has spent nearly a decade attempting to show it can be done.
    Working with the National Wildlife Federation, the team has developed a computerized tracking tool, called Visipec, that documents the movement of cattle from the calving farms to the slaughterhouses by linking the data sets on government websites.
    Using that data, the researchers say, the tool can help slaughterhouses track almost all their direct and indirect suppliers.

    It's unclear, however, how much private support or political will there is for such a solution, since it would close what some experts suggest has been a convenient loophole for all parties in the Brazilian cattle industry.
    The National Wildlife Federation has offered Visipec for free to the major meatpackers, including JBS. So far, none of them are using it.
    And just as the tool is ready to be fully deployed, much of the data underpinning it may soon become more difficult to access.
    One of the key data sets had come from the website of the Brazilian agriculture ministry, which had posted online records of cattle transactions in the Amazon.
    In April, the agriculture ministry released a memo saying that parts of the database would not be made publicly available because they contain "personal information" that "does not interest the general public." Already, some of the data has become harder to download, said Ms. Gibbs, the lead university researcher.
    While tracking the supply chain had always been difficult, she said, now "it is essentially impossible."
    Clifford Krauss and Mariana Simðes reported from the states of Mato Grosso and Pará in Brazil. David Yaffe-Bellany reported from New York.

    Clifford Krauss is a national energy business correspondent based in Houston. He joined The Times in 1990 and has been the bureau chief in Buenos Aires and Toronto. He is the author of "Inside Central America: Its People, Politics, and History." @ckrausss

    David Yaffe-Bellany reports on the food industry and general business news for The New York Times. He graduated from Yale University and previously reported in Texas, Ohio and Connecticut. @yaffebellany


    6) How to Tax Our Way Back to Justice
    It is absurd that the working class is now paying higher tax rates than the richest people in America.
    "During his presidency, Barack Obama argued in favor of reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, with a lower rate of 25 percent for manufacturers. In 2017, under President Trump, the United States cut its corporate tax rate to 21 percent. In France, President Emmanuel Macron is in motion to reduce the corporate tax in 2022 to 25 percent from 33 percent. Britain is ahead of the curve: It started slashing its rate under Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008 and is aiming for 17 percent by 2020."
    By Emmanuel Saez and 

    CreditCreditIllustration by Alex Merto; Photographs from Getty Images

    America's soaring inequality has a new engine: its regressive tax system. Over the past half century, even as their wealth rose to previously unseen heights, the richest Americans watched their tax rates collapse. For the working classes over the same period, as wages stagnated, work conditions deteriorated and debts ballooned, tax rates increased.
    Stop to think this over for a minute: For the first time in the past hundred years, the working class — the 50 percent of Americans with the lowest incomes — today pays higher tax rates than billionaires.

    The full extent of this situation is not visible in official statistics, which is perhaps why it has not received more attention. Government agencies like the Congressional Budget Office publish information about the distribution of federal taxes, but they disregard state and local taxes, which account for a third of all taxes paid by Americans and are in general highly regressive. The official statistics keepers do not provide specific information on the ultra-wealthy, who although few in number earn a large fraction of national income and therefore account for a large share of potential tax revenue. And until now there were no estimates of the total tax burden that factored in the effect of President Trump's tax reform enacted at the end of 2017, which was particularly generous for the ultra-wealthy.

    To fill this gap, we have estimated how much each social group, from the poorest to billionaires, paid in taxes for the year 2018. Our starting point is the total amount of tax revenue collected in the United States, 28 percent of national income. We allocate this total across the population, divided into 15 income groups: the bottom 10 percent (the 24 million adults with the lowest pretax income), the next 10 percent and so on, with finer-grained groups within the top 10 percent, up to the 400 wealthiest Americans.

    Our data series include all taxes paid to the federal, state and local governments: the federal income tax, of course, but also state income taxes, myriad sales and excise taxes, the corporate income tax, business and residential property taxes and payroll taxes. In the end, all taxes are paid by people. The corporate tax, for example, is paid by shareholders, because it reduces the amount of profit they can receive in dividends or reinvest in their companies.
    You will often hear that we have a progressive tax system in the United States — you owe more, as a fraction of your income, as you earn more. When he was a presidential candidate in 2012, Senator Mitt Romney famously lambasted the 47 percent of "takers" who, according to him, do not contribute to the public coffers. In reality, the bottom half of the income distribution may not pay much in income taxes, but it pays a lot in sales and payroll taxes. Taking into account all taxes paid, each group contributes between 25 percent and 30 percent of its income to the community's needs. The only exception is the billionaires, who pay a tax rate of 23 percent, less than every other group.
    The tax system in the United States has become a giant flat tax — except at the top, where it's regressive. The notion that America, even if it may not collect as much in taxes as European countries, at least does so in a progressive way, is a myth. As a group, and although their individual situations are not all the same, the Trumps, the Bezoses and the Buffetts of this world pay lower tax rates than teachers and secretaries do.
    This is the tax system of a plutocracy. With tax rates of barely 23 percent at the top of the pyramid, wealth will keep accumulating with hardly any barrier. So, too, will the power of the wealthy, including their ability to shape policymaking and government for their own benefit.

    The good news is that we can fix tax injustice, right now. There is nothing inherent in modern technology or globalization that destroys our ability to institute a highly progressive tax system. The choice is ours. We can countenance a sprawling industry that helps the affluent dodge taxation, or we can choose to regulate it. We can let multinationals pick the country where they declare their profits, or we can pick for them. We can tolerate financial opacity and the countless possibilities for tax evasion that come with it, or we can choose to measure, record and tax wealth.
    If we believe most commentators, tax avoidance is a law of nature. Because politics is messy and democracy imperfect, this argument goes, the tax code is always full of "loopholes" that the rich will exploit. Tax justice has never prevailed, and it will never prevail.
    For example, in response to Elizabeth Warren's wealth taxproposal — which we helped develop — pundits have argued that the tax would raise much less revenue than expected. In a similar vein, world leaders have become convinced that taxing multinational companies is now close to impossible, because of international tax competition. During his presidency, Barack Obama argued in favor of reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent, with a lower rate of 25 percent for manufacturers. In 2017, under President Trump, the United States cut its corporate tax rate to 21 percent. In France, President Emmanuel Macron is in motion to reduce the corporate tax in 2022 to 25 percent from 33 percent. Britain is ahead of the curve: It started slashing its rate under Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2008 and is aiming for 17 percent by 2020. On that issue, the Browns, Macrons and Trumps of the world agree: The winners of global markets are mobile; we can't tax them too much.
    But they are mistaken. Tax avoidance, international tax competition and the race to the bottom that rage today are not laws of nature. They are policy choices, decisions we've collectively made — perhaps not consciously or explicitly, certainly not choices that were debated transparently and democratically — but choices nonetheless. And other, better choices are possible.
    Take big corporations. Some countries may have an interest in applying low tax rates, but that's not an obstacle to making multinationals (and their shareholders) pay a lot. How? By collecting the taxes that tax havens choose not to levy. For example, imagine that the corporate tax rate in the United States was increased to 35 percent and that Apple found a way to book billions in profits in Ireland, taxed at 1 percent. The United States could simply decide to collect the missing 34 percent. Apple, like most Fortune 500 companies, does in fact have a big tax deficit: It pays much less in taxes globally than what it would pay if its profits were taxed at 35 percent in each country where it operates. For companies headquartered in the United States, the Internal Revenue Service should collect 100 percent of this tax deficit immediately, taking up the role of tax collector of last resort. The permission of tax havens is not required. All it would take is adding a paragraph in the United States tax code.
    The same logic can be applied to companies headquartered abroad that sell products in America. The only difference is that the United States would collect not all but only a fraction of their tax deficit. For example, if the Swiss food giant Nestlé has a tax deficit of $1 billion and makes 20 percent of its global sales in the United States, the I.R.S. could collect 20 percent of its tax deficit, in addition to any tax owed in the United States. The information necessary to collect this remedial tax already exists: Thanks to recent advances in international cooperation, the I.R.S. knows where Nestlé books its profits, how much tax it pays in each country and where it makes its sales.

    Collecting part of the tax deficit of foreign companies would not violate any international treaty. This mechanism can be applied tomorrow by any country, unilaterally. It would put an end to international tax competition, because there would be no point any more for businesses to move production or paper profits to low-tax places. Although companies might choose to stop selling products in certain nations to avoid paying taxes, this would be unlikely to be a risk in the United States. No company can afford to snub the large American market.
    These examples are powerful because they show, contrary to received wisdom, that the taxation of capital and globalization are perfectly compatible. The notion that external or technical constraints make tax justice idle fantasy does not withstand scrutiny. When it comes to the future of taxation, there is an infinity of possible futures ahead of us.

    Are these ideas for greater economic justice realistic politically? It is easy to lose hope — money in politics and self-serving ideologies are powerful foes. But although these problems are real, we should not despair. Before injustice triumphed, the United States was a beacon of tax justice. It was the democracy with the most steeply progressive system of taxation on the planet. In the 1930s, American policymakers invented — and then for almost half a century applied — top marginal income tax rates of close to 90 percent on the highest earners. Corporate profits were taxed at 50 percent, large estates at close to 80 percent.
    The history of taxation is full of U-turns. Instead of elevating some supposedly invincible and natural constraints — that are often invincible and natural only in terms of their own models — economists should act more like plumbers, making the tax machinery work, fixing leaks. With good plumbing — and if the growing political will to address the rise of inequality takes hold — there is a bright future for tax justice.

    Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman (@gabriel_zucman) are economists at the University of California, Berkeley, and the authors of "The Triumph of Injustice: How the Rich Dodge Taxes and How to Make Them Pay," from which this essay is adapted.


    7) Apple Removes App That Helps Hong Kong Protesters Track the Police
    By Jack Nicas, October 9, 2019

    An Apple store in a shopping mall in Hong Kong.CreditCreditLam Yik Fei for The New York Times

    SAN FRANCISCO — Apple removed an app late Wednesday that enabled protesters in Hong Kong to track the police, a day after facing intense criticism from Chinese state media for it, plunging the technology giant deeper into the complicated politics of a country that is fundamental to its business.
    Apple said it was withdrawing the app, HKmap.live, from its App Store just days after approving it because the authorities in Hong Kong said protesters were using it to attack the police in the semiautonomous city.
    A day earlier, People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, published an editorial accusing Apple of aiding "rioters" in Hong Kong. "Letting poisonous software have its way is a betrayal of the Chinese people's feelings," said the article, which was written under a pseudonym that translates into "Calming the Waves."

    Timothy D. Cook, Apple's chief executive, said in an email to employees on Thursday that the company had removed the app after receiving "credible information" from the authorities and people in Hong Kong "that the app was being used maliciously to target individual officers for violence and to victimize individuals and property where no police are present." As a result, he said, the app violated Apple rules and local laws.

    "National and international debates will outlive us all, and, while important, they do not govern the facts," he said in the letter, which was viewed by The New York Times. "In this case, we thoroughly reviewed them, and we believe this decision best protects our users."
    With its reversal, Apple joined a growing list of corporations that are trying to navigate the fraught political situation between China and Hong Kong, where antigovernment protests have unfolded for months.
    That minefield was evident this week when an executive of the N.B.A.'s Houston Rockets tweeted his support of the Hong Kong protests. The tweet prompted a backlash from the Chinese authorities, leading to apologies by the Rockets and ultimately the cancellation of broadcasts of N.B.A. exhibition games in China, one of the N.B.A.'s largest markets.
    Companies ranging from Marriott to United Airlines to Versacehave also backtracked on perceived slights to the Chinese government in the past, such as customer surveys that suggested Taiwan was an independent nation. All the firms are balancing the enormous economic opportunity in China, with its 1.4 billion consumers, with the negative public image of capitulating to an authoritarian government.
    No multinational company arguably has as much at stake in China as Apple, which assembles nearly all its products there and counts the country as its No. 3 market after the United States and Europe. It tallied nearly $44 billion in sales in the greater China region, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, in the year that ended June 30. Apple's stock price often rises or falls depending on how it is performing in China.
    Mr. Cook has become a deft diplomat in China. He has traveled there frequently and attended numerous Chinese government events. In recent months, he has argued for moderation in the trade war between the United States and China. While Mr. Cook regularly speaks out on political issues in the United States like gun control and immigration, he has largely remained silent on Chinese politics, including the clashes in Hong Kong.
    In late 2017, Mr. Cook said at a conference that while he disagreed with some Chinese policies, Apple must comply with local laws.
    "Each country in the world decides their laws and their regulations, and so your choice is: Do you participate? Or do you stand on the sideline and yell at how things should be?" he said. "You get in the arena, because nothing ever changes from the sideline."

    Maya Wang, a senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch in Hong Kong, said Apple's decision to remove the Hong Kong app would embolden the Chinese Communist Party.
    "I think the party concludes from this that intimidation, harassment and pressure work for most people, in most places," she said.

    A Twitter account that claimed to be run by the developer of HKmap.live said in a message on Wednesday that Apple's reasoning for the app's removal — that protesters were using it to attack the police — was false.

    A display of the app "HKmap.live" designed by an outside supplier and available on Apple Inc.'s  App Store. CreditVincent Yu/Associated Press

    "That is ridiculous," said the person running the account, who declined to provide a name. The person shared a message that Apple sent explaining the removal. In the notice, the company cited App Store policies that apps must comply with local laws and must not "solicit, promote or encourage criminal activity or clearly reckless behavior." The note was signed: "App Store Review."
    Supporters of the app have argued that it helps Hong Kong residents avoid clashes between the police and protesters. The app "is used by passer-by, protesters, journalist, tourist and even pro-government supporters," the HKmap.live Twitter account later tweeted, calling the removal "clearly a political decision to suppress freedom and human right."

    The Twitter account said Google had not removed the app from the marketplace for Android devices. The account said the iPhone app had been downloaded more than 100,000 times and the Android app more than 50,000 times.
    The app shows a map of Hong Kong with updates from users on the location of the police, their water cannons and safe zones, among other things. Apple initially rejected the app for enabling people to evade the police, the app's Twitter account said last week. Several days later, the account tweeted that Apple had reversed course. It soon became the top free app in Hong Kong, according to the app-data firm Sensor Tower, and criticism from mainland China began.
    After the People's Daily editorial, a spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that "anyone with a conscience and a sense of justice" should boycott the app.

    Charles Mok, a pro-democracy lawmaker in Hong Kong, said on Thursday that he had sent a letter to Mr. Cook saying HKmap.live helped people avoid the protests.
    "We Hong Kongers will definitely look closely at whether Apple chooses to uphold its commitment to free expression and other basic human rights, or become an accomplice for Chinese censorship and oppression," he wrote.
    In the United States, Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican from Missouri, tweeted that Apple had told him that its initial rejection of the app was a mistake. "Looks like the Chinese censors have had a word with them since," he said. "Who is really running Apple? Tim Cook or Beijing?"
    Apple has made other moves that appeared to appease the Chinese government. It recently removed the Taiwanese flag emoji from iPhone keyboards in certain areas, including Hong Kong.
    On Sept. 30, Apple pulled the app of the news organization Quartz from the App Store in China, Quartz said. The news organization, which has covered the Hong Kong protests, said Apple had sent it a vague notice about removing its app "because it includes content that is illegal in China."
    Zach Seward, Quartz's chief executive, said in a statement, "We abhor this kind of government censorship of the internet, and have great coverage of how to get around such bans around the world," and included a link to its articles about software designed to dodge censorship.
    Apple declined to comment on the Quartz app on Wednesday and did not respond to a request regarding the Taiwanese flag emoji.

    Apple has removed other apps in China that it allows elsewhere, including The New York Times app and some services that enabled Chinese users to circumvent the government's internet restrictions.
    Apple has long prided itself on how every app in its App Store is approved by one of its employees, unlike Google's largely automated approach for Android apps. Apps that pose tricky policy questions are deliberated during weekly meetings of senior executives, led by Phil Schiller, an executive who heads the App Store. That group decided to remove the HKmap.live app, said a person familiar with the decision who declined to be named because the process was confidential.
    Separately, Google this week removed a mobile game, The Revolution of Our Times I, which allowed users to play as Hong Kong protesters. Google said it had pulled the app from the Android app store worldwide because it violated its policy that bars "developers from capitalizing on sensitive events."
    The developer, who declined to be named, said in an email that he or she donated 80 percent of the app's revenues to a group supporting the Hong Kong protests.
    A Google spokesman said the company had decided to remove it during regular reviews of Android apps. He said Google hadn't heard from the Chinese government or the Hong Kong police about it.

    Javier Hernandez contributed reporting from Beijing and Brian X. Chen contributed reporting from San Francisco.



    8) Should We Soak the Rich? You Bet! 
    And they'll still be loaded.
    "America's richest men now live almost 15 years longer than the poorest men — roughly the same gap in life expectancy as exists between the U.S. and Nigeria. ...each household at the top has averaged an annual bonus of more than $700,000 a year. ...Even if Trump disappeared tomorrow, we would still live in a country where the top 1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent — and where on any given night more than 100,000 children are homeless."
    By Nicholas Kristof, October 12. 2019

    Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in America, understands who's winning class warfare. CreditCreditJohannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    Donald Trump promised struggling working-class voters that he heard their frustrations and would act.
    He did: He pushed through a tax cut that made income inequality worse. In 2018, for the first time, the 400 richest American households paid a lower average tax rate than any other income group, according to new research by two economists.
    Those billionaires paid an average total rate of 23 percent in 2018, down from the 70 percent their 1950 counterparts paid. Meanwhile, the bottom 10th of households paid an average of 26 percent, up from 16 percent in 1950.

    That's the rot in our system: Great wealth has translated into immense political power, which is then leveraged to multiply that wealth and power all over again — and also multiply the suffering of those at the bottom. This is a legal corruption that President Trump magnified but that predated him and will outlast him; this is America's cancer.

    We hear protests about "class warfare" and warnings not to try to "soak the rich." But as Warren Buffett has observed: "There's class warfare, all right. But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning."
    The infuriating data on tax rates, reported a few days ago by my colleague David Leonhardt, come from a new book, "The Triumph of Injustice," by Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman. The class warfare against struggling Americans has unfolded in many dimensions aside from tax policy — factory closings and lack of job retraining, corporate greed and irresponsibility, assaults on labor unions, stingy social welfare, mass incarceration and so on — and we've seen the results in rising "deaths of despair" from drugs, alcohol and suicide. America's richest men now live almost 15 years longer than the poorest men — roughly the same gap in life expectancy as exists between the U.S. and Nigeria.
    As a society, instead of playing Robin Hood to smooth out the inequities, we've played the Sheriff of Nottingham. Lawrence Summers, the economist and former Treasury secretary, has calculated that if we had the same income distribution today as we had in 1979, the bottom 80 percent would have about an extra $1 trillion each year and the top 1 percent would have about $1 trillion less.
    Instead, each household at the top has averaged an annual bonus of more than $700,000 a year.
    One of the most consequential political debates in the coming years will be whether to raise taxes on the wealthy. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suggested returning to a 70 percent marginal income tax rate, and both Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have proposed taxes on wealth in addition to income.
    Two M.I.T. economists, Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo, demolish the traditional arguments against higher taxes on the wealthy in an incisive book coming out next month, "Good Economics for Hard Times." While major league sports teams have salary caps that limit athletes' pay, Banerjee and Duflo note that no one argues "that players would play harder if only they were paid a little (or a lot) more. Everybody agrees that the drive to be best is sufficient."

    Considerable evidence suggests that the same is true of C.E.O.s, and that higher tax rates don't depress effort. In Switzerland, a shift in tax timing meant that the Swiss were not taxed for one year. This tax holiday, which they knew of in advance, turned out to have no impact on how hard people worked, Banerjee and Duflo write.
    "High marginal income tax rates, applied only to very high incomes, are a perfectly sensible way to limit the explosion of top wealth inequality," Banerjee and Duflo write.
    There are legitimate concerns about tax evasion, but it would help if the I.R.S. focused its audits less on impoverished Americansclaiming the earned-income tax credit and more on wealthy people with murky assets. It's ridiculous that the county in all America with the highest audit rate is Humphreys County, Miss., which is poor, rural and three-quarters black.
    As for the wealth tax, which in Warren's version would begin at $50 million, there are legitimate concerns about how to value assets, avoid marriage penalties and enable zillionaires to pay when their wealth is illiquid. But we already have a wealth tax — the property tax — that hits widows on Social Security with an illiquid asset (the family home). If these widows can figure it out, tycoons can as well.
    Even if Trump disappeared tomorrow, we would still live in a country where the top 1 percent own more than the bottom 90 percent — and where on any given night more than 100,000 children are homeless.
    By raising taxes on the wealthy, we could end the lead poisoning that afflicts half a million American kids, we could provide high-quality preschool for all, we could offer treatment for all people with addictions and we could ensure that virtually all kids graduate from a decent high school and at least get a crack at college.
    The wealthy would still have more money than they could ever spend: Jeff Bezos would have had $87 billion in 2018 if Warren's wealth tax had been in place all along, rather than $160 billion, according to calculations of Saez and Zucman. But we would be, I think, a fairer and better nation.
    So should we soak the rich? You bet we should.



    9) Fort Worth Woman Was Playing Video Game With Her Nephew When Shot by Police
    A police officer fired the shot that killed Atatiana Jefferson from outside her bedroom window. A neighbor had reported two doors ajar.
    By Marina Trahan MartinezNicholas Bogel-Burroughs and 

    A vigil was held on Sunday for Atatiana Jefferson, who was killed by a police officer in Fort Worth. Some protesters split off from the vigil and confronted nearby police.CreditCreditLaura Buckman for The New York Times


    FORT WORTH — Minutes before she was shot and killed by a Fort Worth police officer, Atatiana K. Jefferson was playing video games in her bedroom with her 8-year-old nephew, a lawyer for her family said Sunday.

    Ms. Jefferson, 28, was proud of being the "cool auntie" to her siblings' children, and had stayed up into the wee hours of Saturday morning with her nephew, Xbox controllers in their hands, according to S. Lee Merritt, the family's lawyer. But the pair grew concerned around 2:30 a.m., he said, when they heard rustling outside the house and saw flashlights.
    Atatiana K. Jefferson
    A neighbor had called the police after seeing Ms. Jefferson's front and side doors ajar, a call he later said he regretted making. The two responding officers quietly crept around outside the dark house, where Ms. Jefferson lived with her mother.
    After unlatching a fence door and walking into the back yard, a white male officer saw Ms. Jefferson, who is black, through her bedroom window. He shouted for her to put her hands up and immediately fired a single shot through the glass, according to body camera footage released by the department. The officers do not identify themselves as police in the video. 
    Ms. Jefferson's nephew was still in the bedroom when she was killed, the police said.
    The killing of a young woman in her own home devastated Fort Worth leaders and residents, who on Sunday said they were still struggling to make sense of the chain of events. About 500 people gathered peacefully in front of Ms. Jefferson's home on Sunday evening, chanting, holding signs and registering people to vote. Many called for the officer to be fired and prosecuted.
    Several attendees openly carried weapons, including one man with a rifle who was calmly directing traffic. No uniformed police were at the gathering.

    Many drew parallels between Ms. Jefferson's death and the killing of Botham Jean, a black accountant who was shot to death by a white off-duty police officer in his Dallas apartment last year. The officer in that case, Amber Guyger, was fired, and on Oct. 1 was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

    Ms. Jefferson's mother had followed Ms. Guyger's trial closely and had seen Mr. Merritt on television representing the families of Mr. Jean and a witness, the lawyer said.
    The Police Department has not named the officer, but said in a statement that he had perceived "a threat," although a spokesman declined to elaborate. The officer had been with the department since April 2018 and has now been placed on administrative leave.
    Lt. Brandon O'Neil, a department spokesman, said at a news conference that the department was continuing to investigate the shooting, and would look at why the officer did not identify himself as a police officer. The officer is scheduled to be interviewed by the department's major case unit on Monday.
    Officers tried to provide medical care, but Ms. Jefferson was pronounced dead by 3:05 a.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner. Police said they had found a gun in the room — not the one the officer used — but have declined to answer further questions.
    "Law enforcement has not said that she wielded a weapon," Mr. Merritt said, adding that she owned a gun legally. "Also, it wouldn't matter, because that's her home."
    Kelly Allen Gray, a city councilwoman who represents the neighborhood where Ms. Jefferson was killed, said it did not make sense that a neighbor's concern could lead to a woman's death.

    "I'm still struggling with the fact that a neighbor called, concerned about a neighbor, and this is the result that came from that care and concern," said Ms. Allen Gray, who has lived in Fort Worth her entire life. "That cannot be the end of stories of people who care about each other. This cannot be the ending."

    James Smith, the neighbor who made the call to the police, told local news media that he had first checked on Ms. Jefferson's house himself after his niece told him that the house's doors were open. Seeing the lights on and hearing nothing inside, he called a nonemergency police number to have officers make sure everyone was safe.
    In his call to the police, which the department released on Sunday, Mr. Smith said in a measured tone that it was unusual for the doors to be open and that he wasn't sure anyone was home. "I'm calling about my neighbor," he told the operator at the beginning of the call.

    Dana Williams, Mr. Smith's niece, said her uncle was shaken and too distraught to talk to reporters. He was particularly upset, she said, that the police had parked on an adjacent street, rather than pulling up in front of Ms. Jefferson's house or into her driveway.
    Ms. Williams said her uncle told his family that he had never told the police that he suspected a burglary was taking place. "Why did they have to go in like that?" he keeps asking, Ms. Williams said.
    Ms. Williams said Ms. Jefferson's family had come over and told her uncle that he had done nothing wrong. She said her uncle has lived in the same house for more than 50 years, and that the family would often see Ms. Jefferson outside washing her car or taking care of her mother. Children from the two families would often play together.

    The killing comes amid existing tensions between citizens and the Fort Worth Police Department, whose officers have shot seven men since June, all but one of whom died. The current police chief, Ed Kraus, took over in May after the city manager fired the previous police chief after months of friction with city administrators over his management of the department.

    Roger Foggle, a barber and activist in Fort Worth, said the shooting on Saturday was a serious setback for efforts to bridge the gap between police and citizens. "Wellness checks should not result in death certificates," he said.
    Manny Ramirez, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, said the officer who had killed Ms. Jefferson had never been the subject of an investigation and was "very shaken up" by what had happened, as were other officers in Fort Worth's 1,700-person Police Department. 
    Officer Ramirez described the shooting as a "tragic mistake" and said officers were mourning the loss of Ms. Jefferson, who he noted had "every right to have a firearm in that house."
    Ms. Jefferson, who went by Tay, graduated in 2014 from Xavier University of Louisiana, the country's only black Catholic college, with a degree in biology. She was working from home, selling pharmaceutical equipment, as she studied to apply to medical school.
    Friends said she was playful and loved animals; when she and her nephew were playing Halo Saturday night, Ms. Jefferson at one point took a sticker from a piece of fruit and stuck it to her forehead to make her nephew laugh.

    Mr. Merritt said Ms. Jefferson's family wanted the officer who shot her to be fired and for another agency, perhaps the sheriff's department, to launch a criminal investigation into the killing and make a referral to local prosecutors.
    "This is a family that is grappling with extreme tragedy," Mr. Merritt said. Ms. Jefferson's father lives in Nigeria, he said. 
    He added that he had spoken with Ms. Jefferson's nephew, who described the night up until the point when his aunt had approached the window.
    "I stopped him there," Mr. Merritt said.
    Several Democratic presidential candidates harshly criticized the shooting on Sunday, saying Ms. Jefferson should still be alive.
    "Being Black in your own home shouldn't be a death sentence," Senator Kamala Harris wrote. Senator Bernie Sanders demandedthat the Department of Justice investigate the killing, and Senator Elizabeth Warren said the shooting showed the need for more stringent use-of-force standards.
    The street now at the center of the latest policing controversy is a quiet road in a working-class neighborhood made up mostly of black and Latino residents.
    On Sunday, flowers and a teddy bear had been placed on the walkway leading up to Ms. Jefferson's light-blue home, which is one of the newer houses on the block.

    The house sits next to a mosque, where on Sunday morning, James D. Muhammed was trimming the lawn. When he was finished, he crossed over onto Ms. Jefferson's lawn and trimmed hers, too.

    Marina Trahan Martinez reported from Fort Worth, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs from New York, and Dave Montgomery from Austin, Texas. Vanessa Swales contributed reporting from New York.



    10) You're in a Police Lineup, Right Now
    Face-recognition technology is the new norm. You may think, "I've got nothing to hide," but we all should be concerned.
    By Clare Garvie, October 15, 2019

    Face recognition technology is being used to unlock phones, clear customs, identify immigrants and solve crimes. In the Video Op-Ed above, Clare Garvie demands the United States government hit pause on face recognition. She argues that while this convenient technology may seem benign to those who feel they have nothing to hide, face recognition is something we should all fear. Police databases now feature the faces of nearly half of Americans — most of whom have no idea their image is there. The invasive technology violates citizens' constitutional rights and is subject to an alarming level of manipulation and bias.

    Our privacy, our right to anonymity in public and our right to free speech are in danger. Congress must declare a national moratorium on the use of face-recognition technology until legal restrictions limiting its use and scope can be developed. Without restrictions on face recognition, America's future is closer to a Chinese-style surveillance state than we'd like to think.

    [If you're online — and, well, you are — chances are someone is using your information. We'll tell you what you can do about it. Sign up for our limited-run newsletter.]

    Clare Garvie (@ClareAngelyn) is a senior associate studying face-recognition technology at the Georgetown Center on Privacy and Technology.



    11) Why Some Young Voters Are Choosing Democratic Socialism Over the Democratic Party
    As the presidential debate comes to Ohio, the students in a local chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America are defining their political identity.

    Daija Kidd, a junior, is co-chair of Ohio State University's chapter of the Young Democratic Socialists of America.CreditCreditAndrew Spear for The New York Times

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — As Tuesday night's Democratic debate approached, members of the Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter at Ohio State University tried to figure out where to focus their energy.
    At a meeting on campus last week designed to set their goals for the year, they talked about labor organizing, volunteering for Morgan Harper's congressional campaign and hosting a town hall-style event focused on climate change.

    "It's all related, even though they look like separate issues, " said Daija Kidd, an African-American studies and sociology double major and co-chair of the Y.D.S.A. chapter, as she tried to get the other members to think about new campaigns for the year.

    "We have these very specific events that we go to, like the climate strike," she said. "But I want to do something that is ongoing, because that is the purpose of democratic socialists. I don't want us to finish doing one big thing and have that be it — I want to keep it chugging along."

    The group's effort to take on an aggressive and expansive agenda reflects the enormous energy on the far left heading into the 2020 election, and part of the appeal of democratic socialism in this cycle: setting an array of big goals to help deepen a movement that goes beyond one-off protest events and marches. 
    For many young, liberal Americans, democratic socialism is a far better representation of their ambitions of far-reaching structural change across the economy and society than the agenda of the Democratic Party, which they see as overly influenced by corporate interests, big-money donors and moderate traditionalists.
    The attempt at Ohio State to define objectives also comes as the Democratic presidential contenders are locked in a battle over what direction the party should take in order to win in 2020. Thatdynamic will be on display Tuesday night less than 15 miles from O.S.U., when the candidates gather for the fourth primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville.
    Two top candidates, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, have successfully pushed the primary conversation to the left. The D.S.A. saw drastic growth in its membership when Mr. Sanders, himself a democratic socialist, ran for president in 2016, and there are now nearly 60,000 members across the country. (Ms. Warren, who has pulled ahead of Mr. Sanders in polling and is a leading candidate for the nomination, backs many of the same progressive priorities as Mr. Sanders, but has also said she is "a capitalist to my bones.")

    The national leaders of the Young Democratic Socialists of America have seized on Mr. Sanders's momentum with younger voters to expand their group's membership, too, growing from 25 registered chapters in 2016 to 84 in 2019, according to a Y.D.S.A organizer. Chapters have begun to spring up at high schools, as well. 
    The chapter at O.S.U. was small for the past two years, with only 10 or 11 active members. Still, the group managed to create a campus campaign around Fight for $15, an effort to raise the minimum wage of university staff members to $15 an hour. They won that battle in August.
    Now, each meeting draws 40 to 50 members, each one with a different reason for joining and something unique to fight for.
    For many of them, Mr. Sanders was their introduction to the left. They see the D.S.A. as more than just a vehicle to advance the rights of workers — it is also a home for progressive policies and issues that they don't see being addressed by the major political parties in a way they agree with.
    "I don't think they're totally abandoning capitalism per se, but certainly they're more likely to embrace policies tied to what we characterize as socialism," said Melissa Deckman, chair of the political science department at Washington College in Chestertown, Md., who is working on a book about the political engagement of Generation Z. "They're interested in free college tuition or in expanding health care."

    As they grew up in the wake of a recession and watched the effects of climate change unfold, the Black Lives Matter movement form and gay marriage be legalized, the students were often just a click away from finding the next progressive policy to support.

    Nathan Webster, a second-year electrical engineering major at Ohio State, learned about the Democratic Socialists of America through protests in his hometown, Painesville, Ohio, aimed at abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 
    "I come from a largely Latino town — some of my friends lost their parents to Border Patrol," Mr. Webster said.
    "Near the end of high school, I realized what politics were and where I fall on the political spectrum," he added. "Originally I told myself, 'O.K., I'm a Democrat,' because I didn't know any better. I didn't know that there was something that could be more left."
    For Ricky Vehar, an environmental engineering major, coming out as gay and then coming out as trans moved her closer to the Young Democratic Socialists of America.
    "From my background, you wouldn't really expect me to become super left. I grew up in a middle-class family, in a good suburb," she said, adding that watching "the discrimination that those communities face not just because they're gay or trans, but because the system incentivizes discrimination against them, moved me toward the left."
    James Fisher, a second-year student and a co-chair of the O.S.U. chapter, joined the group for similar reasons: He supports giving trans teenagers and adults better access to health care through Medicare for All.
    "Medicare for All can benefit the trans community in their ability to get good health care, and that's something that a lot of trans people struggle with," Mx. Fisher said. "It's embedded in the language of Medicare for All, that there's no exclusionary measures to it."

    Others joined the Y.D.S.A. because they saw the benefits of nationalized health care firsthand. During a yearlong program in England, Johnny Amundson got very sick and was hospitalized for a month. His program enrolled him in the National Health Service, and he ended up paying just $200 in medical fees, he said.
    "I saw that there's a difference between being able to have insurance, which my family has, and being able to have health care," Mr. Amundson said. He is now a fourth-year journalism and Russian double major at Ohio State, and he was one of the first members of the university's Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter.
    Nikki Velamakanni, a political science major, joined Y.D.S.A. when she realized that she didn't want to join the College Democrats chapter on campus because of the stigma around it. 
    "It's known to be more centrist, it's known to be more compromise-y," Ms. Velamakanni said. "Whereas the left is more, 'We stand for this and we're going to fight for it.'"
    Dr. Deckman attributes the rise of the Y.D.S.A. to the changing perceptions that younger voters and soon-to-be voters have about government and democratic socialism, and the idea that younger people tend to be more liberal with each passing generation.
    "They're more willing to have a bigger role for government to play in our lives," she said. "This younger generation is growing up seeing what deregulation is doing to the Earth, is doing to their ability to afford college, among other things. I think that's why they're finding democratic socialist ideas appealing."

    Some of their parents were introduced to socialism during the Cold War, giving the word an entirely different meaning.
    "Older Americans who lived during the Cold War, they link socialism strongly to communism. So there's this idea that if we raise socialism, our freedoms, especially religion, are going to be compromised," Dr. Deckman said. "And I don't think that sort of baggage matters to younger Americans."

    For Evan Schmidt, a second-year economics major, "socialism is a word only. It doesn't necessarily have a direct correlation to any sort of regime or empire, which allows for that reconstruction around it."
    He grew up in Manchester, Vt., where the idea of democratic socialism was less taboo thanks to Mr. Sanders. When he moved away, out of what he describes as a "sheltered neighborhood," he had his first experiences with people who grew up with less than he did. 
    It ignited his passion for democratizing the workplace and helping others to achieve the same class mobility his family enjoyed. He joined the Young Democratic Socialists of America, he said, because he thinks "it's what the Democratic Party should be."



    12) For 'Erin Brockovich' Fans, a David vs. Goliath Tale With a Twist
    By Gary Rivlin, October 14, 2019

    Robert Bilott represented a West Virginia cattle farmer in his long battle against corporate pollution. He writes about the case in "Exposure."CreditCreditTaft Stettinius & Hollister LP

    Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont
    By Robert Bilott with Tom Shroder

    Robert Bilott never set out to be anyone's hero. He made his living defending chemical companies at an old-line corporate law firm based in Cincinnati when, just a few months shy of making partner, he received a call from a West Virginia farmer who was convinced that the runoff from a nearby DuPont plant was killing his cows. The man had heard Bilott was an environmental lawyer, apparently not understanding that he wasn't the kind of attorney who brought cases on behalf of aggrieved individuals; instead, Bilott defended companies against such complaints. The caller, however, dropped a magic name: that of Bilott's grandmother, a beloved figure in his life. The farmer's case, filed in 1999, and a second, larger class action suit that grew out of it, would dominate the next 20 years of Bilott's life.
    Bilott skillfully tells the story of his epic battle with DuPont and its lawyers in "Exposure," which lands in bookstores just ahead of a new movie, "Dark Waters," starring Mark Ruffalo as Bilott and Anne Hathaway as his put-upon wife. The screenplay is based on a 2016 article in The New York Times Magazine ("The Lawyer Who Became DuPont's Worst Nightmare"), not Bilott's manuscript. But as you read "Exposure," it's easy to imagine scenes in the film version of Bilott's life. You see the time he was unable to reach his office phone because of the small skyscrapers of boxes and documents that blocked his way, and the time he was rushed to the hospital because of the physical toll the case was taking on his life. In a made-for-Hollywood twist, DuPont bests Bilott by exploiting his pre-existing relationship with a DuPont lawyer and then he bests DuPont's attorneys through clever legal maneuvers of his own.
    If Bilott makes for an unlikely warrior in the battle for safe drinking water, DuPont plays to type as the faceless behemoth that seems to care more about its bottom line than the health of its employees or the tens of thousands of people who lived near the giant plant it operates outside of Parkersburg, W.Va. Because, of course, it wasn't just the cows that were suffering. Scientists inside the company were concerned enough about a particularly noxious chemical called PFOA — used to manufacture Teflon, among other products — that they began testing DuPont's workers for exposure. But when the results suggested potential health problems, corporate's answer was to stop the testing. The ever-thorough Bilott discovers old laboratory animal studies that DuPont and 3M, which manufactured PFOA, had conducted decades earlier. The results showed dogs and monkeys dying from exposure to PFOA, cancer in rats along with birth defects in its unborn. Yet Bilott found no follow-up investigations. At least within the pages of "Exposure," plausible denial seems to be DuPont's corporate motto. Ultimately, Bilott discovers dangerously high concentrations of PFOA leaching into the surrounding community's drinking water.

    Bilott is an engaging narrator who breaks our hearts with tales of clients suffering excruciating ailments and amazes us with endless 14-hour days scouring technical reports in search of that one clue that might help him make his case. The naïve corporate defense attorney we meet at the book's start is gone by the end, and he seems no longer surprised when he realizes that regulators, including the Environmental Protection Agency, are in DuPont's pocket. By the time he learns PFOA and its chemical cousins are in the blood of virtually all of us, he knows it's fallen to him to do the E.P.A.'s job. The book ends with him filing a federal class action suit against eight chemical companies on behalf of every American. His education is complete.

    Gary Rivlin is the author of "Katrina: After the Flood."

    Poisoned Water, Corporate Greed, and One Lawyer's Twenty-Year Battle Against DuPont
    By Robert Bilott with Tom Shroder
    400 pp. Atria Books. $28.











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


    Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

    Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (1)