Bay Area United Against War Newsletter, December 23, 2022




Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal march down JFK Blvd. past the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice and City Hall, in Philadelphia, Friday, December 16, 2022.Jessica Griffin / Staff Photographer

Results of Mumia Abu-Jamal's Court Hearing 

December 16, 2022


In October, Common Pleas Court Judge Lucretia Clemons strongly signaled in a 30-page opinion that she is leaning toward dismissing the defense appeal.

However, she gave the two sides one last chance Friday, Dec. 16, 2022 to argue their positions. The lawyers did so in a courtroom filled with about 50 Abu-Jamal allies, as well as Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, and a smaller number of her supporters. Mumia Abu-Jamal was not present.

Clemons said she would rule within three months. Before ending the hearing, the judge asked the prosecutors and defense lawyers to make sure that Abu-Jamal’s lawyers had reviewed every scrap of evidence that the District Attorney’s Office could share.

“I do not want to do this again,” she said.




Watch the live-stream of the Dec. 16 Court Rally at youtu.be/zT4AFJY1QCo.

The pivotal hearing follows a hearing Oct. 26 at which the Judge said she intended to dismiss Abu-Jamal’s appeal based on six boxes of evidence found in the District Attorney’s office in Dec. 2018. Clemons repeatedly used procedural rules – rather than allowing for an examination of the new evidence – in her 31-page decision dismissing Mumia Abu-Jamal’s petition for a new trial. (https://tinyurl.com/mtvcrfs4 ) She left the door open on Abu-Jamal’s appeal regarding the prosecution’s selection of jurors based on race.

Abu-Jamal’s attorneys Judith Ritter, Sam Spital  and Bret Grote filed a “ Petitioner’s Response to the Court’s Notice of Intent to Dismiss PCRA Petition” (https://tinyurl.com/mvfstd3w ) challenging her refusal to hold a hearing on the new evidence.

Just this week, the UN Working Group on People of African Descent filed an Amicus brief, a friend of the court document that reinforced the facts and arguments in Mumia's attorney's PRCRA filing. (https://tinyurl.com/587r633p ) They argued that no judicial time bar should be applied when the defendant is a victim of historic racial bias that may have tainted the possibility of a fair trial and due process.

At a press conference Dec. 13 announcing the Amicus brief, the Hon. Wendell Griffen, Division 5 judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit Court for Pulaski County, Arkansas said, “Clemons is only the second Black judge to hear any aspect of Abu-Jamal’s case. Will she have the courage to say that there are too many factors here that compel for Mumia to justify dismissing the motion? This evidentiary hearing is required, because exculpatory evidence was concealed.” (https://youtu.be/Xh38IKVc_oc )

Griffen clarified his statement on Dec 14 during a Democracy Now interview (https://youtu.be/odA_jjMtXQA): “Under a 1963 decision that every law student knows about, and every lawyer that does criminal law practice, in Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court of the U.S. held that due process of law is violated when the prosecution conceals evidence relevant to guilt or punishment from the bench. In this country, that kind of precedent should have required Mumia to be released and the Commonwealth decide whether or not to prosecute him based upon having revealed the right evidence. That hasn’t been done.”

More details on Abu-Jamal’s case can be found at 
https://tinyurl.com/ymhvjp8e and https://tinyurl.com/34j645jc.





Urgent support needed for cancer-stricken, imprisoned writer/artist, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson’s Legal Fund!

Fundraiser for an attorney to represent Rashid’s struggle for medical care
A campaign is underway to hire an attorney to represent Kevin Rashid Johnson’s struggle for medical care. The prison has denied this care to him, despite a cancer diagnosis discovered over one year ago for which no treatment has yet been provided.

Here is the donation link for Rashid’s legal fund: 
Please be as generous as you can.


Prostate cancer can be cured if discovered and treated before it spreads (metastasizes) beyond the prostate. But once it spreads it becomes incurable and fatal.

Rashid's prostate cancer was discovered over a year ago and diagnosed by biopsy months ago, before it had spread or any symptoms had developed. However, he has now developed symptoms that indicate it likely has metastasized, which would not have happened if he had begun receiving treatment earlier. Denied care and delayed hospital appointments continue, which can only be intended to cause spreading and worsening symptoms.

I just received word from Rashid through another prisoner where he is, that he was transported on October 25, 2022 to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) hospital, which is a state hospital where Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) officials also work. MCV appears to have a nefarious relationship with the VDOC in denying prisoners needed treatment. Upon arrival to the hospital he was told the appointment had been rescheduled, which has now become a pattern.

The appointment was for a full body PET scan to determine if and to what degree his cancer has metastasized. When he met with a radiologist on October 4, 2022, after 3 prior re-schedulings, there was concern that his cancer may have spread because of symptoms he's begun developing. This is his fourth rescheduled hospital appointment which has delayed appointments for weeks to months, preventing him from receiving care.

Because of delayed testing and denied care Rashid has developed symptoms that continue to worsen, which include internal bleeding and pain. The passage of time without care is worsening his condition and making the likelihood of death from the spread of his cancer more certain.





Sign the petition:


If extradited to the United States, Julian Assange, father of two young British children, would face a sentence of 175 years in prison merely for receiving and publishing truthful information that revealed US war crimes.

UK District Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled that "it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America".

Amnesty International states, “Were Julian Assange to be extradited or subjected to any other transfer to the USA, Britain would be in breach of its obligations under international law.”

Human Rights Watch says, “The only thing standing between an Assange prosecution and a major threat to global media freedom is Britain. It is urgent that it defend the principles at risk.”

The NUJ has stated that the “US charges against Assange pose a huge threat, one that could criminalise the critical work of investigative journalists & their ability to protect their sources”.

Julian will not survive extradition to the United States.

The UK is required under its international obligations to stop the extradition. Article 4 of the US-UK extradition treaty says: "Extradition shall not be granted if the offense for which extradition is requested is a political offense." 

The decision to either Free Assange or send him to his death is now squarely in the political domain. The UK must not send Julian to the country that conspired to murder him in London.

The United Kingdom can stop the extradition at any time. It must comply with Article 4 of the US-UK Extradition Treaty and Free Julian Assange.



Dear friends, 

Recently I’ve started working with the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee. On March 17, Ruchell turned 83. He’s been imprisoned for 59 years, and now walks with a walker. He is no threat to society if released. Ruchell was in the Marin County Courthouse on August 7, 1970, the morning Jonathan Jackson took it over in an effort to free his older brother, the internationally known revolutionary prison writer, George Jackson. Ruchell joined Jonathan and was the only survivor of the shooting that ensued. He has been locked up ever since and denied parole 13 times. On March 19, the Coalition to Free Ruchell Magee held a webinar for Ruchell for his 83rd birthday, which was a terrific event full of information and plans for building the campaign to Free Ruchell. (For information about his case, please visit: www.freeruchellmagee.org.)

Below are two ways to stream this historic webinar, plus 

• a petition you can sign

• a portal to send a letter to Governor Newsom

• a Donate button to support his campaign

• a link to our campaign website. 

Please take a moment and help. 

Note: We will soon have t-shirts to sell to raise money for legal expenses.

Here is the YouTube link to view the March 19 Webinar: 


Here is the Facebook link:


Sign the petition to Free Ruchell:


Write to Governor Newsom’s office:




Ruchell’s Website: 



Charlie Hinton


No one ever hurt their eyes by looking on the bright side



Tell Congress to Help #FreeDanielHale


I’m pleased to announce that last week our client, Daniel Hale, was awarded the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. The “Corner-Brightener Candlestick” was presented to Daniel’s friend Noor Mir. You can watch the online ceremony here.

As it happens, this week is also the 20th anniversary of the first drone assassination in Yemen. From the beginning, the drone assassination program has been deeply shrouded in secrecy, allowing U.S. officials to hide significant violations of international law, and the American Constitution. In addition to the lives directly impacted by these strikes, the program has significantly eroded respect for international law and thereby puts civilians around the world in danger.

Daniel Hale’s revelations threw a beam of light into a very dark corner, allowing journalists to definitively show that the government's official narrative was a lie. It is thanks to the great personal sacrifice of drone whistleblowers like Hale that public understanding has finally begun to catch up to reality.

As the Sam Adams Associates note:

 “Mr. Hale was well aware of the cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment to which other courageous officials have been subjected — and that he would likely suffer the same. And yet — in the manner of his famous ancestor Nathan Hale — he put his country first, knowing what awaited him at the hands of those who serve what has become a repressive Perpetual War State wreaking havoc upon much of the world.”

We hope you’ll join the growing call to pardon or commute Hale’s sentence. U.S. citizens can contact your representatives here.

Happy new year, and thank you for your support!


Jesselyn Radack
Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Twitter: @JesselynRadack



Laws are created to be followed

by the poor.

Laws are made by the rich

to bring some order to exploitation.

The poor are the only law abiders in history.

When the poor make laws

the rich will be no more.


—Roque Dalton Presente!

(May 14, 1935 – Assassinated May 10, 1975)[1]

[1] Roque Dalton was a Salvadoran poet, essayist, journalist, political activist, and intellectual. He is considered one of Latin America's most compelling poets.







Screenshot of Kevin Cooper's artwork from the teaser.


 “In His Defense” The People vs. Kevin Cooper

A film by Kenneth A. Carlson 

Teaser is now streaming at:



Posted by: Death Penalty Focus Blog, January 10, 2022



“In his Defense,” a documentary on the Kevin Cooper case, is in the works right now, and California filmmaker Kenneth Carlson has released a teaser for it on CarlsonFilms.com


Just over seven months ago, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered an independent investigation of Cooper’s death penalty case. At the time, he explained that, “In cases where the government seeks to impose the ultimate punishment of death, I need to be satisfied that all relevant evidence is carefully and fairly examined.”


That investigation is ongoing, with no word from any of the parties involved on its progress.


Cooper has been on death row since 1985 for the murder of four people in San Bernardino County in June 1983. Prosecutors said Cooper, who had escaped from a minimum-security prison and had been hiding out near the scene of the murder, killed Douglas and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and 10-year-old Chris Hughes, a friend who was spending the night at the Ryen’s. The lone survivor of the attack, eight-year-old Josh Ryen, was severely injured but survived.


For over 36 years, Cooper has insisted he is innocent, and there are serious questions about evidence that was missing, tampered with, destroyed, possibly planted, or hidden from the defense. There were multiple murder weapons, raising questions about how one man could use all of them, killing four people and seriously wounding one, in the amount of time the coroner estimated the murders took place.


The teaser alone gives a good overview of the case, and helps explain why so many believe Cooper was wrongfully convicted.



A Plea for the Compassionate Release of 

Leonard Peltier

Video at:


Screen shot from video.

Sign our petition urging President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier.




Email: contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

Address: 116 W. Osborne Ave. Tampa, Florida 33603



The Moment

By Margaret Atwood*


The moment when, after many years 

of hard work and a long voyage 

you stand in the centre of your room, 

house, half-acre, square mile, island, country, 

knowing at last how you got there, 

and say, I own this, 


is the same moment when the trees unloose 

their soft arms from around you, 

the birds take back their language, 

the cliffs fissure and collapse, 

the air moves back from you like a wave 

and you can't breathe. 


No, they whisper. You own nothing. 

You were a visitor, time after time 

climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. 

We never belonged to you. 

You never found us. 

It was always the other way round.


*Witten by the woman who wrote a novel about Christian fascists taking over the U.S. and enslaving women. Prescient!



Resources for Resisting Federal Repression

Since June of 2020, activists have been subjected to an increasingly aggressive crackdown on protests by federal law enforcement. The federal response to the movement for Black Lives has included federal criminal charges for activists, door knocks by federal law enforcement agents, and increased use of federal troops to violently police protests. 

The NLG National Office is releasing this resource page for activists who are resisting federal repression. It includes a link to our emergency hotline numbers, as well as our library of Know-Your-Rights materials, our recent federal repression webinar, and a list of some of our recommended resources for activists. We will continue to update this page. 

Please visit the NLG Mass Defense Program page for general protest-related legal support hotlines run by NLG chapters.

Emergency Hotlines

If you are contacted by federal law enforcement you should exercise all of your rights. It is always advisable to speak to an attorney before responding to federal authorities. 

State and Local Hotlines

If you have been contacted by the FBI or other federal law enforcement, in one of the following areas, you may be able to get help or information from one of these local NLG hotlines for: 

National Hotline

If you are located in an area with no hotline, you can call the following number:

Know Your Rights Materials

The NLG maintains a library of basic Know-Your-Rights guides. 

WEBINAR: Federal Repression of Activists & Their Lawyers: Legal & Ethical Strategies to Defend Our Movements: presented by NLG-NYC and NLG National Office

We also recommend the following resources: 

Center for Constitutional Rights

Civil Liberties Defense Center

Grand Jury Resistance Project

Katya Komisaruk

Movement for Black Lives Legal Resources

Tilted Scales Collective






1) What We Know About Ronald Greene’s Death

The Louisiana State Police said Mr. Greene died in 2019 after crashing during a police chase, but video later showed troopers shocking, choking and beating him. Five officers have now been charged.

By The New York Times, Dec. 16, 2022

A sign reading “justice for Ronald Greene” at a protest.
Demonstrators marched to the governor’s mansion from the Capitol in Baton Rouge, La., in May 2021. Credit...Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

More than three years after Ronald Greene, a Black man, died in police custody in Louisiana, five law enforcement officers were charged on Dec. 15 in connection with the deadly encounter.


The authorities initially said Mr. Greene had been pursued by troopers because of a traffic violation and that he had refused to stop and resisted arrest. His death, in May 2019, was ruled accidental and was attributed to cardiac arrest.


Two years later, The Associated Press published body-camera footage that showed Mr. Greene being beaten and left handcuffed and face down for more than nine minutes. His family commissioned its own autopsy, which found that he had sustained severe injuries to his skull and had wounds on his face.


The footage brought Mr. Greene’s case, which initially drew little notice, to national attention amid a series of cases in which Black men died during encounters with the police.


Here’s what we know about the case.


Who was Ronald Greene?


Mr. Greene, 49, lived in Monroe, La. He was married, worked as a barber, and had reportedly gone into remission after battling cancer for two years. He was on his way to meet his wife in Florida when he was pulled over just after midnight on May 10, 2019, by state troopers in Union Parish, east of Shreveport in northern Louisiana.


What was his family told about his death?


The authorities told Mr. Greene’s relatives that he died from injuries he sustained in a crash outside Monroe after he failed to stop immediately for a traffic violation, a lawyer for his family said.


The A.P. initially reported, citing the Union Parish coroner, that Mr. Greene’s death was ruled accidental and was attributed to cardiac arrest, and that the coroner’s file made no mention of any struggle with the police.


What does the body-camera footage show?


In May 2021, two years after Mr. Greene’s death, The A.P. obtained body-camera footage of the episode and published three excerpts. The footage shows Mr. Greene’s S.U.V. stopped on the side of the road. Troopers are seen opening his vehicle and jolting Mr. Greene with a stun gun, and Mr. Greene is heard to scream “I’m sorry” and “I’m scared.”


According to The A.P., which said it had obtained 46 minutes of video footage from the encounter, one trooper wrestled Mr. Greene to the ground, put him in a chokehold and punched him in the face. Another trooper is seen briefly dragging Mr. Greene by shackles on his ankles as he lay on the ground.


In the clips published by the A.P., covering more than two minutes, Mr. Greene is seen being jolted again with a stun gun while lying handcuffed on the ground.


The A.P. reported that the troopers, who were white, left Mr. Greene lying facedown and moaning for more than nine minutes, as they wiped blood from their hands and faces. “I hope this guy ain’t got AIDS,” one of the troopers is heard to say, adding an expletive.


Video from several minutes later shows Mr. Greene limp, unresponsive and bleeding from his head and face, and he is then seen being loaded onto an ambulance gurney with his arm cuffed to a bedrail, according to The A.P.


Did the entire footage become public?


Yes, eventually.


The Louisiana State Police had described the release of the footage obtained by The A.P. as “premature” and unauthorized, and a state police spokesman said the agency could not yet release it because the encounter was the subject of an administrative and criminal investigation.


But two days after The A.P. published excerpts, the state police released what they said was all of the video of the encounter, including a 46-minute clip and additional footage from body and dashboard cameras. Col. Lamar A. Davis, the state police superintendent, said the parts that had been released without official authorization had not been “provided to the public in its full capacity, or context.”


What do the police say happened?


Mr. Greene’s family said state troopers initially told them that Mr. Greene died on impact after crashing his vehicle into a tree during the chase, according to The A.P.


A single-page crash report, released later by the state police and reviewed by The A.P., said that troopers tried to stop Mr. Greene for an unspecified traffic violation, but that he refused to pull over and troopers pursued him.


The report says that the chase ended when Mr. Greene’s vehicle crashed; that he was taken into custody after struggling with troopers; and that he became unresponsive and died on the way to a hospital, The A.P. reported. The news agency said the crash report did not mention any use of force by troopers.


The state police later released a statement acknowledging that the troopers did use force in the encounter, and saying the use of force was justified. It did not open an internal investigation until 474 days after Mr. Greene’s death, according to The A.P.


What does the Greene family say happened?


Mr. Greene’s family sued the police for wrongful death in May 2020, arguing that he had died as a result of a struggle with troopers that “left him beaten, bloodied and in cardiac arrest.”


In their lawsuit, Mr. Greene’s relatives said that there was no sign that the front of Mr. Greene’s vehicle had struck anything, and that his airbag had not deployed.


The suit alleges that two troopers pinned Mr. Greene down and shocked him three times with a Taser while he begged them to stop. Emergency medical technicians who were called to the scene found Mr. Greene unresponsive, with several stun-gun barbs stuck in his body, according to the lawsuit. Included in the court papers are photos that circulated online, appearing to show Mr. Greene’s bruised and bloodied face.


The family commissioned an independent autopsy that found severe injuries to Mr. Greene’s head and skull and several wounds to his face, the family’s lawyer said. After examining the damage to Mr. Greene’s vehicle, which was mostly on the rear driver’s side, an accident reconstruction expert concluded that it was inconsistent with a fatal collision, the lawyer said.


In 2020, federal authorities opened a civil rights investigation into Mr. Greene’s death. In June of this year, the Justice Department announced that it had initiated a broader investigation into the Louisiana State Police over accusations of officers engaging in abusive and discriminatory behavior.


What has happened to the officers involved?


The charges announced on Dec. 15 — which include a single count of negligent homicide for one of the five officers — came from an indictment handed up by a state grand jury in Louisiana, officials and lawyers for Mr. Greene’s family said.


The state police said two troopers had been placed on administrative leave because of the indictment. One of them, Master Trooper Kory York, was charged with the most serious offenses, including negligent homicide and 10 counts of malfeasance in office. (Trooper York had previously received a 50-hour suspension and returned to active duty.) The other, Lt. John Clary, who was charged with malfeasance in office and obstruction of justice, was the highest-ranking trooper at the scene.


Two others with the state police, Trooper Dakota DeMoss and Capt. John Peters, were both charged with obstruction of justice. Christopher Harpin, a Union Parish sheriff’s deputy, was also named in the indictment, charged with three counts of malfeasance in office.


Trooper DeMoss was placed on leave last year after he was arrested in an unrelated case, in which he and three other troopers were charged with using excessive force and deactivating body cameras during arrests.


Another trooper involved in the arrest, Chris Hollingsworth, was killed in a single-vehicle highway crash in 2020. The A.P. reported at the time that he had been notified hours earlier that he would be fired for his part in Mr. Greene’s fatal arrest.


Reporting was contributed by Dan Levin, Michael Levenson, McKenna Oxenden and Rick Rojas.



2) Starbucks Union Strikes at Dozens of Stores as Talks Stall

Workers are pressing for a contract and accuse the company of anti-labor tactics. Management blames the union for the lack of bargaining progress.

By Noam Scheiber, Dec. 16, 2022

Reporting from Chicago


Starbucks workers held signs and chanted during a strike on Friday in St. Paul, Minn.

Starbucks workers held signs and chanted during a strike on Friday in St. Paul, Minn. Credit...Kerem Yücel/Minnesota Public Radio, via Associated Press

The union organizing Starbucks workers declared a strike at dozens of stores on Friday, the latest escalation in its campaign to secure a labor contract.


The strike is intended to last for three days at many of the stores, according to Workers United, the union representing the workers. It follows a one-day strike at roughly 100 stores last month.


Workers involved in the strike say they are protesting the company’s slow pace of bargaining and its recent closing of unionized stores, including one near Broadway and Denny Way in Seattle. They also complain about understaffing and cuts to their hours.


“Starbucks sent a clear message when they closed the Broadway and Denny store,” Michelle Eisen, a Buffalo-based barista who has been a leader of the union campaign, said in a statement. “They’re doubling down on their union-busting, so we’re doubling down, too. We’re demanding fair staffing, an end to store closures, and that Starbucks bargain with us in good faith.”


Several Starbucks workers at a store in Chicago stood outside in snowy conditions holding picket signs, but the store remained open, and a manager said he was preparing orders for pickup.


The union, which represents workers at more than 250 of the roughly 9,000 company-owned stores in the United States, said Starbucks representatives had walked out of dozens of bargaining sessions this fall after shortly after they began, preventing progress on a contract.


The company said it closed the Seattle store along with more than 35 others nationwide since July, typically because of security concerns, including about 10 unionized stores.


It said that its negotiators had walked out of bargaining sessions because union representatives sought to broadcast the sessions to co-workers outside the room using video-chat software, potentially inhibiting the discussions, but that negotiators had “come to the table time after time prepared to bargain in good faith.”


The union won its first vote at a store in Buffalo last December, and the campaign spread quickly across the country during the first half of this year.


But organizing has slowed in recent months, with filings for union elections dropping from about 70 in March to fewer than 10 in August.


Workers United has argued that Starbucks impeded the organizing campaign by firing dozens of union supporters and excluding unionized stores from recent wage increases and new benefits.


The federal labor board has issued numerous complaints over these accusations, and judges at the agency have ruled against the company in some cases. The company has appealed at least one of the rulings.


Starbucks has said that the firings reflect violations of company policies and that it is legally prohibited from granting new benefits and wage increases at unionized stores without bargaining over them first.



3) The Rich Get College Subsidies While the Student Debt Debate Goes On

As debt relief for student loan borrowers faces scrutiny, wealthy families can amass millions of dollars in tax-favored 529 college savings plans.

By Ron Lieber, Dec. 13, 2022

Ron has been writing about 529 plans for at least 18 years and will start paying for college in about 18 months.


An illustration of two grandparents, a woman and a man, throwing money into an oversize graduation cap.
Robert Neubecker

For months now, we’ve been in a nationwide debate over whether we should cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for tens of millions of people. Next year, the U.S. Supreme Court will weigh in on the hundreds of billions of dollars at stake — and talking heads will debate, yet again, who is deserving of help in America.


The student debt cancellation program excludes people with especially high incomes. But hiding in plain sight is another federal program — 529 college savings plans — that offers the biggest benefits to wealthy families.


With the right accounting and legal moves — ones that have never been subject to the kind of scrutiny that debt cancellation has faced — people with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spare can create 529 accounts that will end up holding millions of dollars. With some careful planning, no taxes will come due for most people as long as future generations use the money to pay for college (say, $84,000 a year at a private university like Duke), graduate school (hello, half-a-million-dollar New York University dental school) and any other related educational costs, including high-rise dorms and Apple laptops.


These maneuvers result in something that finance types have started referring to as “Dynasty” 529 plans. The accounts provide a marked contrast to the legacy of indebtedness that is emerging in families with fewer means. After all, it’s hard to save much in a 529 plan when you’re still paying off your own student loans as your children start college themselves. Then, those children borrow, too — and the parents may borrow even more to help pay the kids’ tuition.


To take a cleareyed view of who is getting what from the federal government in the realm of higher education, it helps to take a snapshot of how things work at this moment.


Slowly over time, we’ve decided that it is perfectly fine for two-thirds of college graduates to have borrowed tens of thousands of dollars along the way. “The choice we’re making is to shift the burden onto children,” said Victoria J. Haneman, a Creighton University law professor who has written about Dynasty 529 plans and the tax advantages they provide for the wealthy.


An elaborate governmental infrastructure has emerged to do the lending. In fact, most parents and graduate students can borrow whatever they want from the federal government, up to the full cost of attendance minus aid, no matter how little they earn. Schools like this, a lot.


Student loan repayment plans are numerous and confounding enough that the quasi-governmental bill collectors frequently give young adults bad advice about which plan to choose. Then, lawyers working at the behest of the federal government stick it to the destitute when they try to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy court.


As a kind of apology for all of this, President Biden wants to lop up to $20,000 off the federal student loan balances of people who earn no more than $125,000 a year ($250,000 if you’re married). Eyebrows up at the break for this six-figure crew, certainly.


To beat back skepticism, the White House proposed to limit the $20,000 offer to people who started college with very little — those who, back when they were students, qualified for federal Pell Grants for people from low-income families. Everyone else would get up to $10,000 of relief.


The White House also noted that nearly one-third of the debtors now eligible for relief did not finish school and are burdened with the debt but not the degree that would probably have made loan payments more affordable. Overall, close to 90 percent of the deleted debt dollars were supposed to go to people earning less than $75,000 a year.


Most people with five-figure incomes have trouble saving a lot of money for college in 529 plans, which allow users to invest money in stock funds that can outrun tuition inflation over time. Tax breaks that come with the accounts — whether they are state income tax deductions for deposits or the avoidance of federal taxes upon withdrawal — are often more valuable to people with the highest incomes.


Now, enter those Dynasty 529 plans. Two years ago, an accountant and financial planner named Jeffrey Levine — beloved on tax Twitter for his lengthy, in-the-moment dissections of complicated legislation — wrote a kind of treatise on the topic on the website kitces.com.


In a somewhat bemused, can-you-believe-this-is-real tone that ran over 6,000 words, he outlined the possibilities. In short, wealthy individuals can front-load large 529 deposits in such a way that the accounts can pay for several college educations decades from now and still have money left over for other family members pursuing higher education in future generations. It’s all legal, and if you jump through a few modest hoops, it’s generally tax-free.


In fact, Mr. Levine spreadsheeted a jaw-dropping situation where two aspiring grandparents each invest $15,000 a year and let the money grow for 35 years. In that time, they could pay full tuition for four potential grandchildren, assuming a $30,000 annual bill today that would grow at a 5 percent annual rate.


Even after the generous grandparents did all of that, there would be over $3 million left over to let ride for future generations.


“My personal feeling is that it is absolutely insane,” said Mr. Levine, who is the chief planning officer at Buckingham Strategic Wealth. Nevertheless, he is a fiduciary sworn to act in every client’s best interest. That means telling the ones with the most money how to create wealth of the fantastic dynastic variety.


There ought to be a law, right? Funny you should ask. In 2015, President Obama proposed taxing future earnings in 529 accounts. The blowback from the upper middle class was so severe — and from Democrats and Republicans alike — that he rescinded the plan in the same month that he introduced it.


“I still think it’s the most ridiculous public policy episode I’ve been involved with, in my life,” said Jason Furman, who was chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers at the time and is now a Harvard professor.


In reviewing this episode, we should be clear that we did not, as a nation, feel the need to call on The Supremes to weigh in on the legality of maintaining tax-favored savings for millions of people who could afford many college educations anyway. We just canceled the cancellation of their sweet, juicy subsidy without a vote in Congress or a trial. Trying again to limit 529 plans would be politically complicated, and courage is both lacking and impractical in Washington these days.


President Biden has done what he can — even if nine justices declare debt cancellation to be an overreach. He has made progress with improving various student loan programs and adjusting many rules.


But on a per-saver, per-student basis, it is the wealthy who have the best opportunity to extract the largest breaks from the federal government when it comes to saving and paying for college. We should ask, repeatedly, why this is so and live in the discomfort that comes from the realization that there are no good answers.



4) U.S. Health Officials Seek New Curbs on Private Medicare Advantage Plans

Proposed regulations would crack down on misleading ads for the private plans and would enhance scrutiny of denials for coverage of medical care.

By Reed Abelson and Margot Sanger-Katz, Dec. 17, 2022


A white minibus with red-and-blue markings and stars spells out MedicareBus on the side.
A Senate report last month outlined deceptive advertising practices, including the use of a bus by a company in Ohio to advertise with the name “Medicare,” while the website went to an independent insurance agency. Credit...U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

Federal health officials are proposing an extensive set of tougher rules governing private Medicare Advantage health plans, in response to wide-scale complaints that too many patients’ medical claims have been wrongly denied and that marketing of the plans is deceptive.


Medicare Advantage is the private-sector alternative to the federal program covering those 65 and over and the disabled. By next year, more than half of Medicare recipients are expected to be enrolled in private plans. These policies are often less expensive than traditional Medicare and sometimes offer attractive, additional benefits like dental care.


Despite their popularity, the plans have been the subject of considerable scrutiny and criticism lately. A recent report by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that several plans might be inappropriately denying care to patients. And nearly every large insurance company in the program, including UnitedHealth Group, Elevance Health, Kaiser Permanente and Cigna, has been sued by the Justice Department for fraudulently overcharging the government.


The period leading up to this year’s enrollment deadline, Dec. 7, amplified widespread criticism about the deceptive tactics some brokers and insurers had used to entice people to switch plans. In November, Senate Democrats issued a scathing report detailing some of the worst practices, including ads that appeared to represent federal agencies and ubiquitous television commercials featuring celebrities.


Federal Medicare officials had said they would review television advertising before it aired, and the new rule targets some of the practices identified in the Senate report that caused some consumers to confuse the companies with the government Medicare program. A proposed regulation would ban the plans from using the Medicare logo and require that the company behind the ad be identified.


“It is certainly a shot across the bow for brokers and insurers in response to the rising number of complaints about misleading marketing activities,” said Tricia Neuman, the executive director of the center for Medicare policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. Ms. Neuman and her team routinely review television ads from the plans.


The proposal would also allow beneficiaries to opt out of marketing calls for plans and would limit how many companies can contact a beneficiary after he or she fills out a form asking for information. The Senate report described patients who had received dozens of aggressive marketing calls they did not request.


David Lipschutz, an associate director at the Center for Medicare Advocacy, said that while the federally proposed rules did not include everything on his wish list, the goals were wide-reaching and significant.


“This is really a meaningful response,” he said. “And where we sit, we don’t get to say that that often.”


Mr. Lipschutz said that the changes would ultimately be judged by how effectively and aggressively Medicare enforced the standards. Much of the deceptive marketing is now conducted by brokers, agents and other third-party marketing firms who are paid commissions when they enroll people, not by the insurers themselves. The proposed rule would hold insurers accountable for the actions of the firms they hire.


“These proposals are an important step toward protecting seniors in Medicare from scammers and unscrupulous insurance companies and brokers,” Senator Ron Wyden, the Oregon Democrat who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.


The rules would also address the health plans’ use of techniques that require the company to approve certain care before it would be covered. Patients and their doctors complained to Medicare that the private plans were misusing prior authorization processes to deny needed care. The inspector general’s report estimated that tens of thousands of individuals had been denied necessary medical care that should be covered under the program.


The new proposal would require plans to disclose the medical basis for denials and rely more heavily on specialists familiar with a patient’s care to be involved in the decision-making. Medicare has also established tighter time limits for answers on authorizations; patients now often wait up to 14 days. The new rules would also require authorization to cover the full length of a treatment so patients don’t have to continually request identical approvals.


Dr. Meena Seshamani, the director of the Center for Medicare and a deputy administrator at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the changes had been influenced by thousands of public comments solicited by the agency and by lawmakers.


“The proposals in this rule we feel would really meaningfully improve people in Medicare’s timely access to the care they need,” she said.


The insurance industry has said it is generally supportive of regulators’ efforts to protect Medicare enrollees from deceptive marketing, and the Better Medicare Alliance, a group that advocates for Medicare Advantage, said it agreed with officials “that there must be no room in the system for those who would deceive seniors,” according to a statement from the group’s chief executive, Mary Beth Donahue.


Ms. Donahue added that her group was continuing to review the agency’s proposals on how patients have to seek prior authorization for treatment. She said the organization hoped to work with Medicare officials to improve the process.


Hospitals, which have been pushing for changes that would address their concerns that insurers were abusing prior authorization, applauded the proposals. But they emphasized that the Biden administration’s health officials would have to commit to enforcing the stricter oversight.


“The agency really needs to keep their eye on the ball,” said Molly Smith, the group vice president for public policy at the American Hospital Association, a trade organization.


The proposed regulations are not yet final. Health officials are soliciting comments from the public and may make changes.



5) Military Spending Surges, Creating New Boom for Arms Makers

The combination of the war in Ukraine and concern about longer-term threats from Russia and China are driving a bipartisan push to increase U.S. capacity to produce weapons.

By Eric Lipton, Michael Crowley and John Ismay, Dec. 18, 2022


President Biden shakes the hand of a worker with a weapon in the foreground.

President Biden greeted employees in May at a Lockheed Martin facility that manufactures weapon systems, including Javelin antitank missiles. Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The prospect of growing military threats from both China and Russia is driving bipartisan support for a surge in Pentagon spending, setting up another potential boom for weapons makers that is likely to extend beyond the war in Ukraine.


Congress is on track in the coming week to give final approval to a national military budget for the current fiscal year that is expected to reach approximately $858 billion — or $45 billion above what President Biden had requested.


If approved at this level, the Pentagon budget will have grown at 4.3 percent per year over the last two years — even after inflation — compared with an average of less than 1 percent a year in real dollars between 2015 and 2021, according to an analysis by Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments for The New York Times.


Spending on procurement would rise sharply next year, including a 55 percent jump in Army funding to buy new missiles and a 47 percent jump for the Navy’s weapons purchases.


On Friday, Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, put the buildup in strategic terms, saying the war in Ukraine had exposed shortfalls in the nation’s military industrial base that needed to be addressed to ensure the United States is “able to support Ukraine and to be able to deal with contingencies elsewhere in the world.”


Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest military contractor, had booked more than $950 million worth of its own missile military orders from the Pentagon in part to refill stockpiles being used in Ukraine. The Army has awarded Raytheon Technologies more than $2 billion in contracts to deliver missile systems to expand or replenish weapons used to help Ukraine.


“We went through six years of Stingers in 10 months,” Gregory J. Hayes, Raytheon’s chief executive, said in an interview earlier this month, referring to 1,600 of the company’s shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles sent by the U.S. government to Ukraine. “So it will take us multiple years to restock and replenish.”


But those contracts are just the leading edge of what is shaping up to be a big new defense buildup. Military spending next year is on track to reach its highest level in inflation-adjusted terms since the peaks in the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars between 2008 and 2011, and the second highest in inflation-adjusted terms since World War II — a level that is more than the budgets for the next 10 largest cabinet agencies combined.


On Friday, Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, put the buildup in strategic terms, saying the war in Ukraine had exposed shortfalls in the nation’s military industrial base that needed to be addressed to ensure the United States is “able to support Ukraine and to be able to deal with contingencies elsewhere in the world.”


Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest military contractor, had booked more than $950 million worth of its own missile military orders from the Pentagon in part to refill stockpiles being used in Ukraine. The Army has awarded Raytheon Technologies more than $2 billion in contracts to deliver missile systems to expand or replenish weapons used to help Ukraine.


“We went through six years of Stingers in 10 months,” Gregory J. Hayes, Raytheon’s chief executive, said in an interview earlier this month, referring to 1,600 of the company’s shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles sent by the U.S. government to Ukraine. “So it will take us multiple years to restock and replenish.”


But those contracts are just the leading edge of what is shaping up to be a big new defense buildup. Military spending next year is on track to reach its highest level in inflation-adjusted terms since the peaks in the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars between 2008 and 2011, and the second highest in inflation-adjusted terms since World War II — a level that is more than the budgets for the next 10 largest cabinet agencies combined.


And none of this counts an estimated $18 billion of planned but now delayed weapons deliveries by the United States to arm Taiwan against a possible future attack by China.


The combination of the Ukraine war and the growing consensus about the emergence of a new era of superpower confrontation is prompting efforts to ensure the military industrial base can respond to surges in demand. The issue has become urgent in some cases as the U.S. and its NATO allies seek to keep weapons flowing to Ukraine without diminishing their own stocks to worrisome levels.


The Ukrainian military has run through years’ worth of the missile production capacity of Western suppliers in a matter of months. At the same time, contractors remain concerned about investing to meet growing demand for weapons that could dry up again when the war ends or politics shifts course.


“The difficulty of starting a production line back up, that doesn’t come for free,” Tom Arseneault, president of BAE Systems, which is now considering restarting its M777 howitzer manufacturing line, which the company had been in the process of shutting down. The M777 is a highly accurate, towed gun that fires 155-millimeter artillery shells, which are also in diminishing supply.


The annual military authorization bill that passed the Senate on Thursday prevents the Air Force and Navy from retiring aging weapons systems that the military would like to take out of service, including certain C-130 transport planes or F-22 fighter jets. At the same time, it includes billions of dollars in extra money to build even more new ships and planes than the Pentagon itself asked for, including $2.2 billion alone for an extra Navy-guided missile destroyer, according to the Senate Armed Services Committee.


And there is $678 million to expand ammunition plants in spots such as Scranton, Pa.; Middletown, Iowa; and Kingsport, Tenn., where contractors work with the Army to manufacture the ammunition that Ukrainian artillery crews have burned through at an alarming rate. (The money for these programs is expected to be included in a massive appropriations bill that appears to be on track to pass Congress and signed into law by Mr. Biden by the end of the week.)


Spending could be even higher, as Congress is also considering a request for an extra $21.7 billion for the Pentagon, above the already expanded 2023 annual budget, to allocate more money to resupply materials used in Ukraine.


In an indication of how government policy is shifting to rebuild industrial capacity for the military, Congress this year has moved to allow the Defense Department to more broadly make multiyear spending commitments for certain weapons systems and shipbuilding operations. That is a provision that industry lobbyists have long pushed for, arguing it gives companies certainty that investments they make to start production will see continued returns in future years.


“We have to make a commitment with the industry,” said Senator Deb Fischer, Republican of Nebraska and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who supported the change. “Then the industry will step forward to restart or grow their production lines.”


That move alone suggests $73 billion in additional munitions orders could be on the way in the next three years, contracts that will largely benefit the big players like Lockheed and Raytheon, according to an analysis by Myles Walton, a military industry analyst at Wolfe Research, a Wall Street research firm.


These trends help explain stock market performance of the major military contractors — a small group of which control the bulk of sales to the Pentagon. Lockheed and Northrop Grumman both have seen their stock prices jump more than 35 percent so far this year in a market whose main indexes are down overall for the year.


Opponents of higher military budgets say they are frustrated.


Military contractors are “riding high again, and Ukraine just gives them another argument as to why things need to continue onward and upward,” said William D. Hartung, a fellow at the non-interventionist Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft.


“The trillion-dollar defense budget — that is where we are headed,” said Lawrence J. Korb, who served as an assistant defense secretary during the Reagan administration and was once a vice president at Raytheon. “Nobody seems to want to make the tough choices. Even the Democrats now seem to be afraid to be seen as being soft on defense.”


The biggest barrier for growth for major military contractors — the list includes Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing, General Dynamics, BAE, Northrop Grumman and Huntington Ingalls Industries — is finding sufficient supplies of key components, such as microelectronics and missile warheads, as well as a steady supply of new employees to assemble all these items.


“You cannot throw much more money at the seven shipbuilders that build U.S. warships in the United States of America right now,” Adm. Michael M. Gilday, the chief of naval operations, said this month during the Reagan National Defense Forum in California, referring to a $32.6 billion shipbuilding budget in the military authorization bill that is $4.7 billion more than the Pentagon requested. “Their capacity is about at max. And Congress is helping us max them out.”


Raytheon, which has 180,000 workers, has hired 27,000 new employees so far this year, its chief executive said in October. But even with that, it is still running into bottlenecks in terms of available parts and labor shortages that are slowing sales, its executives said.


The sheer scale of the munitions and missiles sent to Ukraine illustrates just how much matériel a war can consume.


That includes more than 104 million rounds of small-arms ammunition, at least one million rounds of 155-millimeter artillery shells, 46,000 anti-tank weapons, more than 1,600 Stinger antiaircraft missiles and 8,500 Javelin anti-armor missiles, according to a Pentagon tally.


The resupply challenge is not just a matter of money. Military contractors have nearly stopped manufacturing Stingers — Raytheon’s last contract from the U.S. government was in 2002, Mr. Haynes said. And while Javelins are still being made jointly by Raytheon and Lockheed — in September they were awarded a $311 million contract to deliver more of them — historically they have only been able to make about 2,100 a year, or about a quarter of what Ukraine has burned through since the outbreak of the war in February.


In total, the Pentagon as of early December had awarded at least $6 billion to military contractors to resupply these and other items sent to Ukraine.


“We’re going to ramp up,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said this month. “We’ve really been working closely with industry to both increase their capacity and also the speed at which they’re able to produce.”


The overall spending on national defense still remains relatively low as a percentage of the nation’s economy: about 3.2 percent of the gross domestic product this year, compared to 37 percent during World War II and 13 percent during the Korean War, according to Pentagon records.


Still, companies are scrambling to avoid or resolve bottlenecks caused by the increase in demand.


Lockheed, for example, spent more than $60 million of its own money in advance of getting Pentagon contract commitment to build more of its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System vehicles, or HIMARS, which fire guided rockets carrying 200 pounds of explosives that can hit targets nearly 50 miles away. The vehicles have been much sought after by Ukraine, which has used them to devastating effect against the Russians.


Traditionally, Lockheed has been able to build 60 of these trucks per year, but it is now shifting production to 24 hours a day and seven days a week in an effort to bring that annual total to 96 units. It also now has a new $430 million contract to deliver more HIMARS, along with a new $521 million contract to build more of the rockets, called GMLRS, that these vehicles can fire.


These resupply orders, while large in terms of many other contracts the federal government issues, are still relatively small for the biggest contractors. At Lockheed, for example, about 70 percent of sales come from the U.S. government, and most of the rest from other governments worldwide. Supply chain and labor shortage problems are cutting into sales and profits, including at Lockheed, which expects to see annual sales decline this year to $62.3 billion from $67 billion.


“The clutch is engaging but into some lower gears initially,” James Taiclet, Lockheed’s chief executive, said in October, adding that higher sales might not show up for another year.


But there are more of the big-ticket orders coming. In the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Switzerland and Germany have both moved in recent months to finalize orders for the F-35 fighter jets, collectively worth $16 billion. Overall foreign military sales notifications to Congress so far in 2022 have totaled $81 billion, the third highest figure in the last 25 years, with an increasing share of these sales going to European and Asian nations.


Next year’s military budget also includes major investments in new hypersonic weapons that are also being aggressively pursued by China. Raytheon and Northrop Grumman in September won a $1 billion contract just to build prototypes for the Air Force.


Other companies want to replace older equipment sent to Ukraine with newer models. BAE, for example, intends to sell the Army more armored vehicles called AMPVs, in place of the more than 200 of BAE’s Vietnam-era M113 armored personnel carriers sent to Ukraine, which it no longer makes.


“Nothing’s cheap, right?” said Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro earlier this month at the conference in California, as he ran through many new investments the Navy is making. “Nothing’s free.”


Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.



6) U.K. Court Upholds Policy to Deport Asylum Seekers to Rwanda

The highly criticized effort is meant to deter those crossing the English Channel in small boats, but experts say that it would violate international law.

By Megan Specia and Stephen Castle, Dec. 19, 2022


Transporting refugees and asylum seekers who were found in the English Channel to Dover, England, last year. More than 40,000 people have made such crossings this year, according to government figures.

Transporting refugees and asylum seekers who were found in the English Channel to Dover, England, last year. More than 40,000 people have made such crossings this year, according to government figures. Credit...Andrew Testa for The New York Times

LONDON — The High Court in London on Monday ruled in favor of the government’s highly contentious policy to deport asylum seekers who arrive in Britain by boat to Rwanda, but it also said that eight specific deportation cases should be reconsidered.


The policy, which is intended to help deter those crossing the English Channel in small boats from making the journey, was put forward at a time when some Western nations are taking tougher stands against accepting refugees.


Human rights defenders say that the processing of asylum claims in Rwanda, whose human rights record has been criticized by advocacy groups, would violate international law and would not deter those risking the dangerous journey. An appeal of the ruling is likely.


In Monday’s ruling, the court decided that the idea of having asylum claims processed in Rwanda does not break the law. The policy, the court said, was consistent with the government’s legal obligations, including those imposed by Parliament with the Human Rights Act 1998.


The court, however, also ruled that the cases of eight people who were initially scheduled for deportation to Rwanda had not been properly considered, and it ordered a new review of them by the home secretary.


Although that was a victory in principle for government, the ruling from the court also suggested that there were limits on the way the policy could be deployed. Though not the top judicial authority in the country, the court deals with the most important noncriminal cases.


“The home secretary must decide if there is anything about each person’s particular circumstances which means that his asylum claim should be determined in the United Kingdom or whether there are other reasons why he should not be relocated to Rwanda,” read an official summary of the ruling.


Architects of the policy described the ruling as an important moment, and the government said that it welcomed the judgment and was committed to defending the policy against any future legal challenges.


“We have always maintained that this policy is lawful and today the court has upheld this,” Suella Braverman, the home secretary, said in a statement. “I am committed to making this partnership work — my focus remains on moving ahead with the policy as soon as possible.”


In a statement, Yvette Cooper, who speaks for the opposition Labour Party on home affairs issues, described the policy as “a damaging distraction from the urgent action the government should be taking to go after the criminal gangs and sort out the asylum system.” The plan “is unworkable, unethical, extortionately expensive,” she added.


Under a deal with Rwanda, Britain is paying more than 120 million pounds, or about $147 million, to finance opportunities for those sent to the small African nation, including education and training in job skills and languages. Those who were granted asylum in Rwanda would not be able to return to Britain.


The policy has already faced a number of complications and setbacks since it was introduced in April by Priti Patel, then the home secretary.


The initial announcement raised anxiety among asylum seekers, was denounced by many opposition lawmakers and prompted major concerns among international rights groups.


In June, a small number of people who had arrived in Britain by boat were told that they would be sent to Rwanda. But the orders were challenged, and the flight was ultimately grounded. The plan was left in further disarray when a charter airline pulled out, but the government vowed to press on.


It is still unclear exactly how the government would carry out its plan. Asylum seekers, many of whom fled war zones and then underwent dangerous journeys to reach Britain, say the ambiguity is an additional burden that weighs heavily on them.


The court’s decision comes after Britain and France signed a new agreement to stem the growing number of small boats carrying migrants over the busy waterway between them.


The total number of people arriving by small boat across the English Channel this year has surpassed 40,000, according to preliminary figures from the Ministry of Defense.


The topic of the crossings has remained a focal point of the governing Conservative Party’s messaging around immigration, even as it has endured a tumultuous year that has seen three prime ministers in quick succession.


Ms. Braverman, the home secretary, said in October that it would be her “dream” to have a flight with asylum seekers leave for Rwanda before Christmas.


The Home Office has maintained in multiple statements that Rwanda is a “safe and secure country with a strong track record of supporting asylum seekers,” and that it would “continue to robustly defend the partnership in the courts.”


Rights groups have repeatedly raised concerns about Rwanda’s human rights record, even as it positions itself as a partner for Western nations. “We welcome this decision and stand ready to offer asylum seekers and migrants safety and the opportunity to build a new life in Rwanda,” Yolande Makolo, a spokeswoman for the Rwandan government, said in a text message. “This is a positive step in our quest to contribute to innovative, long-term solutions to the global migration crisis.”


Lewis Mudge, the Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said that the judicial process had made it “abundantly clear” that Britain’s Home Office and Foreign Office were both fully aware of Rwanda’s “abysmal rights record.”


By turning a blind eye to evidence of extrajudicial killings, torture, political repression and more, Britain is “emboldening the Rwandan authorities to continue to commit abuse unabated,” he said.


“The choice to enter into an asylum partnership with a government that takes pride in the assassinations and renditions of political opponents abroad, some of whom had refugee status at the time, shows just how far the U.K. is willing to go to shirk its own responsibilities to asylum seekers,” Mr. Mudge added.


And many rights groups have been highly critical of the British government’s use of vitriolic messaging around the crossings, which make up a fraction of the number of people arriving in the country.


The case against the government was brought by the charity group Asylum Aid, and is one of several that have challenged the legality of the policy.


In a September hearing in another case brought by aid groups, individuals and a union representing border-force officers, the High Court heard evidence that the government’s own advisers had warned against introducing the plan over fears it was most likely in contravention of international law.


Emma Stevenson, the deputy chief executive officer of Choose Love, a charity based in Britain that provides aid for refugees, said that the organization had helped fund the Asylum Aid case because it saw the government policy as affecting human rights.


“For somebody to arrive in the U.K. and then be threatened with being sent to Rwanda without any kind of proper follow-up or support just feels really inhumane,” Ms. Stevenson said in an interview before the court decision was announced.


She said that the messaging coming from the British government had been particularly dangerous, and that she feared it was worsening a climate of intolerance.


“It’s a really concerning problem that I think exacerbates the polarization,” Ms. Stevenson said. “We need to come together and find solutions together, because it’s not impossible to solve.”


Abdi Latif Dahir contributed reporting from Nairobi, Kenya.



7) One Day With an Ambulance in Britain: Long Waits, Rising Frustration

Britain is experiencing a crisis in ambulance response times, part of a broader breakdown in the country’s revered National Health Service. We rode with one crew to witness the problems in real time.

By Megan Specia, Dec. 20, 2022

Megan Specia and Andrew Testa traveled to North Wales to join a team of paramedics on a 12-hour shift to see how severe ambulance delays nationally are affecting those on the frontline of the crisis.


Ambulance crews waiting outside the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. Once the beds in the hospital are filled, ambulances have to wait with their patients outside until more beds become available.

Ambulance crews waiting outside the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. Once the beds in the hospital are filled, ambulances have to wait with their patients outside until more beds become available. Credit...Andrew Testa for The New York Times

WREXHAM, Wales — Rachel Parry and Wayne Jones, two paramedics with the Wrexham Ambulance Service, pulled up to a hospital in northern Wales with a patient just after 10 a.m. one early December morning.


That’s when their wait began.


It would be 4:30 p.m. before their patient, a 47-year-old woman with agonizing back pain and numbness in both of her legs, would be handed over to the emergency department of Wrexham Maelor Hospital. It was more than 12 hours since she had first called 999, the British equivalent of 911.


The delays have grown so bad — and so common — the two paramedics said, that their first interaction with patients is no longer an introduction.


“We start with an apology now,” Ms. Parry said. “Every job is, like, they open the front door, ‘Hi, we are so sorry we are late.’ That has become the norm.”


The sight of ambulances lined up for hours outside hospitals has become distressingly familiar in Wales, which last month recorded its worst wait times ever for life-threatening emergency calls. But the problem is far from isolated. Ambulances services in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also experiencing record-high waits.


It’s a near-crisis situation that experts say signals a breakdown of the compact between Britons and their revered National Health Service: That the government will provide responsible, efficient health care services, mostly free, across all income levels.


The issue will be cast into sharp relief on Wednesday when ambulance service staff in England and Wales stage the first of two strikes over low wages and deteriorating work conditions. They are scheduled to walk out again next week.


It will be the latest walkout in a period of intense labor strife in Britain, with a series of strikes planned across the country during the holidays. Nurses are staging their second one-day strike on Tuesday, and rail workers and border control workers at airports will begin several days of strikes later in the week.


Countless harrowing incidents have called attention to the ambulance problem in Britain, including that of an elderly man whose family covered him with a tarp as he waited seven hours after falling outdoors, and a 17-year-old soccer player who waited for four hours lying on a rainy field after suffering a neck injury.


A New York Times photographer and I spent a day with the Wrexham service earlier this month, witnessing the paramedics gently carrying patients down staircases, navigating narrow streets and trying to comfort people during excruciatingly long waits in the hospital parking lot. Frustration built as the hours ticked away.


One challenge cited by health care experts was evidently clear on this day: There is an acute lack of beds in the accident and emergency department, or A&E as emergency rooms are called in Britain, which are overcrowded because of an inability to find room for patients elsewhere in hospitals. That is because patients ready to be discharged from the hospital often have nowhere to go as a result of dwindling social care services — which have been hobbled by a lack of government funding and severe staffing shortages.


That leaves ambulances lined up outside waiting for beds to open up.


Frontline staff are reaching a breaking point.


While Ms. Parry and Mr. Jones waited at the hospital with their second patient, there were at least 21 calls in their response area that they and other paramedics also stuck at the hospital could not be deployed to. During their 12-hour shift, they only picked up three patients.


“It’s frustrating,” Mr. Jones said. “These people are out in the community and they are desperate.”


Good Samaritans sometimes step in and drive people in distress to the hospitals themselves. While Ms. Parry and Mr. Jones were waiting with their patients, two cars pulled into the ambulance drop-off point with patients. In both cases — one in which an elderly woman fell and broke her wrists and another in which a woman collapsed in a supermarket — the driver had called the emergency services only to be told it would be hours before an ambulance could come.


“Bystanders are doing more jobs than me today,” Ms. Parry said in frustration, after helping both arrivals into the hospital.


Analysis of the latest data by the Association of Ambulance Chief executives found that response times had increased across the country, with patient handover delays reaching unprecedented levels by November.


Ms. Parry and Mr. Jones say their biggest fear is arriving to pick up a patient after a long delay only to find they have arrived too late.


“I know people have died,” Ms. Parry said. “I know of a crew that has said, ‘We’ve just been to someone who was waiting four hours for us and they are dead on the sofa.’”


Ambulance services across the country, almost all of which are part of the National Health Service and managed by an area’s local health trust, have described a rising number of deaths linked to long waits. One English ambulance service noted that the number for its crews had risen from just one in 2020 to at least 37 in 2022.


A spokesperson for the government’s Department of Health and Social Care, which oversees the National Health Service, said in a statement that it recognized the pressure the emergency crews are under “and are taking urgent action to support the ambulance service and staff.”


“No one should have to wait longer than necessary for emergency care,” the statement said, adding that the government is investing an additional 6.6 billion pounds, or about $8 billion, in the service over the next two years “to ensure it can take rapid action to improve waiting times.”


For now, ambulance staff members like Doug Green, 48, a paramedic and operations manager with Wrexham Ambulance, are doing the best they can to manage.


As the ambulance bay at the Wrexham Maelor Hospital became a parking lot of stalled florescent yellow emergency vehicles in the afternoon, Mr. Green went inside and began helping to clean rooms to expedite the process of admitting ambulance patients. The most serious cases, known as “red” calls, are always prioritized, and nurses find ways to make space for those patients.


“As soon as you free up a bed, its already full,” Mr. Green said. “It’s like a game of chess where people keep stealing the pieces from you.”


Emergency room staff members often visit patients waiting in the back of the ambulances to assess their conditions and make sure they are not deteriorating further.


For the patients who encounter these long delays, that wait can be a torment.


Just after 7 a.m., Mr. Jones and Ms. Parry responded to their first call of the day, which had come in at 3:42 a.m.


The dispatcher gave them details about the patient, and Ms. Parry switched on the blue light and siren and quickly drove to a terraced house on the outskirts of Wrexham. A woman, Gill Foulkes, was in excruciating back pain and her husband had called 999.


The paramedics found her upstairs in bed, writhing in pain, and hooked her up to a machine to monitor her vital signs. They gave her morphine, stabilized her and offered reassuring words as they carefully loaded her stretcher into the back of the ambulance.


“I was at the point where I thought I would die from the pain, and then these angels came,” she said of the paramedics.


Ms. Foulkes was grateful to the paramedics but said she was distressed and frustrated. She added that she felt sorry for the emergency call handlers as well.


“I was at the point of just begging for an ambulance, and they were distressed listening to me be distressed,” Ms. Foulkes said. “Our government is letting us down, I am afraid.”


Families also find the long waits excruciating as they watch their loved ones suffer. Frank Taylor waited three hours with his wife Ann Taylor, 79, for an ambulance, saying it was hard for him to see her in so much pain.


When the paramedics arrived, he was relieved to see them swiftly hook her up to oxygen before gently carrying her, wrapped in a blue knit blanket, down the stairs to the ambulance.


But when they reached the hospital, it was another two hour wait before Ms. Taylor was finally taken inside.


Around 8:30 p.m., Ms. Taylor was transferred from the emergency room to the intensive care unit, the final stop after a long day of uncertainty.


Last year, Ms. Taylor was moved to a care home after her health declined — she has end-stage lung disease — and Mr. Taylor visits her daily. It was there that the ambulance picked her up.


In the living room of their home the next morning, Mr. Taylor, also 79, pointed out the dozens of spoons his wife had collected over their five decades-long marriage, displayed in a cabinet he built. “There are lots of good memories here,” he said of the home where they had raised their five children.


While he praised the care of the paramedics, Mr. Taylor said the wait time was frustrating. He worried about his wife’s dignity during this final stage of her life.


He said he supports the upcoming ambulance strike. Calls for emergency care have become too tense a waiting game.


“It’s not like it was years ago,” Mr. Taylor said. “Years ago, they would come straight away.”



8) In Public Schools, the N.R.A. Gets a Boost From Junior R.O.T.C.

Instructors in military-sponsored J.R.O.T.C. classes have offered to promote the N.R.A. in high schools in exchange for money for their marksmanship programs.

“The school board in Broward County, Fla., where the Parkland shooting occurred, decided after the 2018 massacre that it would no longer accept money from the N.R.A.”

By Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Mike Baker, Dec. 20, 2022


Several students in a gym aim rifles toward targets. Some are wearing hoodies that say, “Don’t laugh. Don’t smile. Don’t breathe.” Air rifles are typically used during J.R.O.T.C. competitions.

In order to win N.R.A. sponsorships, military instructors who lead J.R.O.T.C. marksmanship teams at public high schools, have repeatedly promised to promote the organization at competitions and in newsletters. Credit...Zack Wittman for The New York Times

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Beneath the fluorescent lights of a high school gym, dozens of teenagers took turns firing air rifles at a series of bull's-eye targets, part of a marksmanship competition that drew students from schools all along the Florida Gulf Coast.


The event was better outfitted than many high school competitions, with lights that illuminated the targets, scopes for spotting downrange and a heavy curtain to keep pellets from going astray, thanks to the help of a key sponsor: the charitable arm of the National Rifle Association.


“A lot of the equipment that you see behind me comes from N.R.A. grants,” Bryan Williams, a retired Army major who teaches in the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program at Mariner High School in Cape Coral, told the contestants.


That tip of the hat was no casual remark. In order to win N.R.A. sponsorships, records show, military instructors who lead J.R.O.T.C. marksmanship teams at public high schools have repeatedly promised to promote the organization at competitions and in newsletters, post N.R.A. banners at their schools or add the N.R.A. logo to apparel worn by students.


In his pitch, Mr. Williams also offered to provide student testimonials to the organization “to include supporting photographs and storyboards showcasing the equipment and the happy cadets.”


At a time when many districts are going to great lengths to keep guns out of schools, J.R.O.T.C. has become one of the few programs on campuses that promote weapons training.


The N.R.A. has donated more than $5 million in money and equipment since 2015 to support competitive shooting programs at schools, as one of several outside organizations that have provided funding to J.R.O.T.C. programs, according to tax records and other documents. Some of the districts that have received N.R.A. funding, such as the one in Lee County, Fla., include schools that automatically enroll students in J.R.O.T.C. classes in some grades, or otherwise push students to take them, though participation on the marksmanship teams is most often voluntary.


The organization has supported J.R.O.T.C. programs by hosting shooting competitions, highlighting teams in its trade magazine and providing special badges to J.R.O.T.C. shooting competitors.


The programs, which utilize air rifles rather than live-fire weapons, are prevalent in many communities where marksmanship and hunting are popular sporting activities, and parents have credited the instruction with teaching young people to handle guns safely. But schools largely prohibit guns on campus, and the marksmanship teams have at times alarmed teachers and students concerned about school shootings and a rise in gun violence. Some districts have dismantled their J.R.O.T.C. marksmanship programs or had heated debates about how to incorporate them into school life.


For the National Rifle Association, which has faced rising legal and financial troubles along with declining revenues and membership, the promotional promises offered through J.R.O.T.C. programs provide an entree to a new generation of potential members in a uniquely trusted venue — the public school.


In a statement, a spokesman for the N.R.A. said that the group was proud to fund the shooting teams and that the J.R.O.T.C. instructors’ promotion of the N.R.A. was their choice, not a requirement for funding.


“The N.R.A. Foundation proudly supports firearms education and training for a variety of deserving organizations,” said the spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam. “Grant recipients sometimes voluntarily promote our efforts to bring awareness to the importance of firearms training, gun safety and shooting sports. We are proud of these activities and the way they positively impact students, schools and communities across the country.”


In their bids to obtain N.R.A. grants to fund marksmanship training and competition on campus, J.R.O.T.C. instructors have said the funding will expand the number of teenagers trained in the safe use of firearms and advance the Second Amendment, according to school district documents obtained by The New York Times in response to more than 100 records requests. Some instructors have promised to encourage cadets to join the N.R.A. and have volunteered students to participate in N.R.A. fund-raising events.


“Through this grant, we have the opportunity to engage a set of at-risk students to shooting sports,” an instructor in Kentucky wrote in one application. “The N.R.A. is a widely known and recognized entity in our community, and we look forward to furthering that reputation with our display of commitment and excellence,” another one wrote in California.


A J.R.O.T.C. instructor in Texas wrote that gaining exposure to firearms at school “fosters positive attitudes toward Second Amendment rights for these future voters and their families.”


The promotional payback offered by J.R.O.T.C. instructors in exchange for funding has often been transactional. One instructor said N.R.A. banners at competitions and other J.R.O.T.C. facilities would constitute “ad space” that would be smaller or larger depending on the amount of the N.R.A. contribution. Others promised to recognize the organization online, on the radio or in local newspapers.


At the competition in Florida in April, students and their parents spoke highly of the marksmanship program and J.R.O.T.C. in general, describing how they improved the teenagers’ confidence and focus in school.


Elizabeth Vazquez, who was watching her daughter Eryka from the bleachers, said she loved seeing her daughter blossom in the program.


“She’s enjoying it, she’s happy, so, as a parent, I’m going to support her,” Ms. Vazquez said. “You know, I thought I was going to have a cheerleader or a dancer, but my baby shoots — that’s what she likes — so, OK, I’ll support her.”


The N.R.A. has donated more than $150,000 in money and equipment since 2015 to support competitive shooting programs at Mariner High and other schools in Lee County, on Florida’s west coast, part of $144 million it said it had spent to promote youth shooting sports — in J.R.O.T.C. and other programs — over the last two decades.


Several of the spectators who showed up at the J.R.O.T.C. event in Cape Coral wore shirts with pro-gun logos, including a variation on the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag that read, “Don’t Tread, N.R.A.”


Military recruiters stood by throughout the day and pitched students on the benefits of joining the armed forces, a key point of contention for parents and students who have objected when schools make J.R.O.T.C. enrollment mandatory or automatic for some students.


Michael Sloan, a senior vice commander for a local Veterans of Foreign Wars post, said he was proud to see the teenagers learning how to effectively and safely handle weapons.


“A lot of people say a lot of things about American youth, but seeing you all out here today exercising your Second Amendment rights is something that we’re very, very proud of,” he said, addressing the students as the second day of the competition kicked off. “We love your patriotism. And you hang in there. America’s great, and you’re part of what makes it great.”


But the presence of weapons on campus via J.R.O.T.C. programs has sometimes caused problems.


A high school in Durham, N.C., went into lockdown after someone reported a person on campus with a gun, only for school officials to identify the person as a J.R.O.T.C. cadet doing drills.


In Dover, Del., a J.R.O.T.C. program that wanted to add a marksmanship team ran into a problem: The team’s shooting would violate the city’s strict gun-control code. The program managed to win changes to city code that allowed the cadets to train. The next year, the team won a grant of more than $10,000 from the N.R.A. Foundation.


Some students in Nashua, N.H., objected when a J.R.O.T.C. program applied to add a marksmanship program on campus in 2019. Paula Durant, who was then a senior, said she and some of her classmates had argued that the school was supposed to be a gun-free zone and that the air rifles used by the J.R.O.T.C. program looked genuine. She said students had been on edge after the massacre the year before in Parkland, Fla., where a former student and J.R.O.T.C. cadet wore the J.R.O.T.C. program’s shirt while killing 17 people in a shooting spree.


“There was a lot of anxiety about school shootings,” Ms. Durant said.


She asked school officials at a public meeting to move the marksmanship training off campus, an idea the district ultimately embraced. Afterward, she said, she faced an intense backlash online from people who accused her of being a coward; some made such threatening remarks, she said, that local police officers came to the campus and assured her they were there to support her.


The school board in Broward County, Fla., where the Parkland shooting occurred, decided after the 2018 massacre that it would no longer accept money from the N.R.A.


Some teachers have also expressed reservations over the shooting competitions and weapons training.


Deborah Teal, a longtime instructor at Santa Ana High School in Orange County, Calif., said that she had seen the program provide valuable help to students who were not otherwise involved in school activities, but that she was alarmed by the emphasis on guns at a time when students were dealing with so much gun violence.


“The militarization of the kids, especially vulnerable kids, is what bothered me,” said Ms. Teal, who added that some students at her former school had started an unsuccessful petition to end the marksmanship program.


The program remains at nearby Santiago High School, in Garden Grove, where it has enjoyed support.


Michael H. Manney, a J.R.O.T.C. instructor at Santiago, wrote to the N.R.A. Foundation this year to say that the marksmanship program had helped draw more students into J.R.O.T.C. and made weapons training available to disadvantaged students who might otherwise have had no one to show them how to handle weapons safely.


“Ultimately, we wish to foster esprit de corps among cadets and the community by providing foundational training of firearms handling and use, which prepares young men and women for careers in law enforcement, department of corrections and military,” he wrote in an N.R.A funding application.


The issue of public schools’ receiving direct funding from the N.R.A. Foundation has at times left districts struggling to navigate the optics.


Emails show the J.R.O.T.C. program at East River High School in Orlando, Fla., dealing with headaches in 2020 over how to receive and process N.R.A. money through the school district without attracting controversy. The school’s J.R.O.T.C. instructor, Steven Celeste, proposed a solution to his colleagues that is often used in other districts: sending money through an entity that is not formally part of the school.


“We just have to ensure their grant money goes to the Booster Club Fund and not the School Fund … too much political backlash involved for us and the school,” he wrote.


Mr. Williams, the J.R.O.T.C. instructor in Cape Coral, said the school was more than willing to openly promote the N.R.A. at its competitions in exchange for the funding it received.


“The N.R.A. Foundation, specifically, is probably the most important resource we have in J.R.O.T.C. for our equipment,” he said.


The lack of objection from parents, students and educators over the program is a reflection of how many lessons students take away from marksmanship training that go far beyond shooting, Mr. Williams said.


“What we tell these kids all the time is, ‘Hey, it’s really great if you improved your score, but what we really want you to do is take away some values. We want you to take away some traits that you can apply to real life,’” he said. “Focus, concentration, self-discipline and self-control. That’s what a shooter takes away from marksmanship.”



9) Texas Officer Gets Nearly 12 Years for Fatally Shooting Woman Through Her Window

Aaron Dean was convicted of manslaughter in the 2019 shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in her home.

By April Rubin, Dec. 20, 2022


Aaron Dean testifying last week during his trial in the fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth.
Aaron Dean testifying last week during his trial in the fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth. Credit...Pool photo by Amanda McCoy

A former Fort Worth police officer who was found guilty of manslaughter last week for killing a woman by firing a shot through a window of her home was sentenced on Tuesday to almost 12 years in prison.


The former officer, Aaron Dean, 38, was sentenced to 11 years, 10 months and 12 days in prison by a jury in Tarrant County District Court in the October 2019 killing of Atatiana Jefferson, 28. He could have received a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison.


The officer, who is white, was responding to a call from a concerned neighbor who reported that doors to Ms. Jefferson’s house were open late at night. Ms. Jefferson, who was Black, was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew and had left the doors open to ventilate smoke after burning hamburgers.


Ms. Jefferson, hearing a strange noise outside the house, grabbed the gun she kept in her purse and went to look out her bedroom window. Mr. Dean yelled at her to put her arms up and immediately fired a single shot through her window, body camera footage released two days after the shooting showed.


“She was in her home, which should have been the safest place for her to be,” her sister, Ashley Carr, said in court, reading a victim impact statement. “And yet turned out to be the most dangerous.”


Mr. Dean resigned from the police force days after the shooting, hours before being charged with murder. Miles Brissette, a lawyer who represented Mr. Dean, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.


“The verdict and sentencing won’t bring Atatiana Jefferson back,” Sharen Wilson, the Tarrant County criminal district attorney, said in a written statement. “This trial was difficult for all involved, including our community. My sympathies remain with Atatiana’s family and friends and I pray they find peace.”


Resolution of the case had been delayed for years by the coronavirus pandemic, personal tragedies and legal maneuvers by the defense.


Before starting with the Fort Worth Police Department, Mr. Dean was screened by a psychologist who deemed him unfit to be an officer, Ashlea Deener, a Tarrant County assistant criminal district attorney, said in closing arguments. The psychologist said Mr. Dean minimized his own behavior, denied flaws and had an unrealistic view of himself.


Mr. Dean appealed the assessment and was able to join the force after further evaluations.


Ms. Jefferson’s nephew, Zion Carr, testified that he thought it was a dream when he saw his aunt collapse. “She was crying and just shaking,” said Zion, who had recently moved in with Ms. Jefferson, whom he called Aunt Tay, and his grandmother.


Ms. Jefferson sold medical pharmaceutical equipment and had a goal of becoming a doctor. One of her sisters said that she flatlined at the hospital four times because of panic attacks after Ms. Jefferson’s death. Ms. Jefferson’s father died at 58 after having heart complications and cardiac arrest, and a hospital spokesman attributed it to the stress of the loss.


“Atatiana’s family, they received their life sentence on Oct. 12, 2019,” Ms. Deener said. “They received their life sentence without her. They’ll never get her back.”


Ms. Deener and Dale Smith, an assistant Tarrant County criminal district attorney, spoke to the jury on Monday, urging them to choose a prison sentence over probation.


“Atatiana, she’ll never be married, she’ll never have a family,” Mr. Smith said. “She’ll never get to be a doctor. She’ll never grow old.”



10) $32,000 Raises: What Brings N.Y. Lawmakers Back to Albany in December

Lawmakers will return for a one-day special session to approve raises for themselves that will make them the highest-paid state legislators in the nation.

By Jesse McKinley, Dec. 22, 2022

A view from the balcony of the ornate State Senate Chamber in Albany, N.Y., as lawmakers held a special session in July.

Lawmakers, at a rare special session in July, will convene for another on Thursday. Credit...Hans Pennink/Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — With inflation raging and the midterm election in the rearview mirror, New York’s lawmakers are making a special return to the State Capitol on Thursday on important business: to give themselves a $32,000 raise.


The wage increase to $142,000, which comes four years after the lawmakers got their most recent holiday-time bump in pay, will make the state’s 213 elected legislators the best compensated in the nation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But that organization also counts New York’s legislators as among the hardest-working lawmakers in the country, despite a seemingly ever-shortening legislative calendar.


That calendar only counts days in Albany in the official legislative session, a January-to-June ritual that can range from quick, gavel-in, gavel-out days to epic all-nighters. But lawmakers also note their work extends far beyond their time in the capital, addressing constituent concerns and drafting legislation in their home districts, just like legislators in other states.


That time away from Albany also affords many lawmakers the opportunity to earn additional income. Such outside earning has long been a source of concern for good-government groups, who worry about the potential corruption and conflicts of interest.


As part of Thursday’s deal to raise their pay, lawmakers agreed to sharply limit such additional income, a move hailed by Legislative leaders as a major step in stamping out Albany’s well-deserved reputation for money-driven malfeasance.


The new base pay for New York lawmakers will rise to $142,000 from $110,000, a salary that is roughly twice the median household income in the United States, albeit in a state where a hamburger can cost you $50.


The limits on outside income will not be absolute: Lawmakers can still earn up to $35,000 a year for outside jobs, and legislative leaders, committee chairs and ranking members of finance and codes committees will continue to earn an additional stipend — commonly known as a “lulu” — for their work. The $35,000 limit also doesn’t take effect until 2025, unlike the raise, which will take effect on Jan. 1, when a new Legislature is seated.


Indeed, the looming calendar-flip is why lawmakers flocked back to the capital on Thursday for a so-called special session, a mechanism used in the past to address issues like gun control.


Carl E. Heastie, a Bronx Democrat who serves as Assembly speaker, expressed support for the raise earlier this month, suggesting that just coming to Albany is enough to justify a boost in pay.


“People don’t realize the sacrifice that they make being away from their families,” Mr. Heastie said. “I don’t think there’s enough money in the world that could compensate you for being away from your families.”


Considering the makeup of the Legislature — where Democrats hold a supermajority in both the Assembly and the State Senate — it was not surprising that Republicans could safely attack the raise and still be assured of receiving it.


Rob Ortt, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, said in a statement on Wednesday that the pay hike was “patently offensive to the people we represent.”


“It’s no secret that the high cost of living and violent crime are the top two issues for New Yorkers,” Mr. Ortt said. “Yet, Albany’s one-party ruling class continues to put their own misplaced priorities first.”


“This would make the Grinch blush,” he added. “Taxpayers shouldn’t forget.”


The criticism was not limited to political opponents of Democrats. Blair Horner, the executive director of New York Public Interest Research Group, seemed bewildered by the big raise, saying “this number came out of nowhere,” as lawmakers negotiated in secret.


“It’s the public’s money,” Mr. Horner said. “The public deserves to know what is the rationale.”


Mr. Horner’s organization was one of a coalition of good-government groups that decried the wage increase, citing loopholes in the law that still allowed “income from entities where the legislator would have a fiduciary responsibility to a client.” The groups also opposed allowing lawmakers to continue to draw earnings from family-owned businesses; lawmakers can also receive royalties from intellectual property or capital gains or investments.


New York is one of only a few states where making laws can make you a six-figure salary: California, with more than twice the population of New York yet many fewer state lawmakers, had held the mark for highest base pay.


Mr. Horner noted that the sizable raise might be a reflection of the pay of another Democrat-dominated body — the New York City Council — where members make $148,500 a year in base salary, though those members are subject to term limits, unlike Albany’s elected representatives.


While the bill is expected to pass both houses easily, the final decision on the pay raise will lie with Gov. Kathy Hochul, a recently re-elected Democrat. As of Thursday, Ms. Hochul has not officially said she will sign off, though recent remarks suggested that she would do so.


With lawmakers already making the trip back to Albany, some editorial boards were calling for Ms. Hochul to use the raises to extract concessions from lawmakers, as others dreamed of a more robust special session.


Michael Kink, the executive director of the Strong Economy for All Coalition, said that he didn’t begrudge lawmakers for wanting a raise — “They have a very important responsibility,” he said — but thought that they should spread the wealth by raising the minimum wage, something proposed in a separate bill currently pending in Albany.


“It’s good economic policy. It’s good politics,” he said. “And it would demonstrate that the Legislature is considering all New Yorkers that are facing cost of living pressures.”


That said, Mr. Kink wasn’t optimistic that lawmakers would spent much more time in Albany than necessary, with a looming winter storm expected to inundate large swathes of upstate, and the generally bad press that such self-imposed raises tend to create.


“Rightly or wrongly,” he said, “legislative pay increases are probably not so popular.”


Jay Root contributed reporting.



11) Lost in Candyland

By Megan K. Stack, Dec. 22, 2022

Ms. Stack is a contributing Opinion writer. 


Zak Arctander for The New York Times

Christmas is upon us. Candy season is about to reach its peak. It won’t end, though; it never ends.


Valentine hearts already nudge against the dwindling supply of Santas in the candy aisle, and Easter isn’t far behind. Here in the suburbs, the ancient agrarian moons of plant, harvest, store, survive have been supplanted by Target’s merchandise and marketing flows. My family is awash in this dubious bounty. Since returning from overseas assignments to America, with two elementary-school-age children, we’ve been wading year-round in sweets and treats, almost none of which we bought or even wanted.


Because I have happy memories of being a chocolate-smeared U.S. kid and because I started raising my kids in Asia before bringing them back to the United States, I can testify that American childhood has become hopelessly, almost unrecognizably glutted with candy. The pandemic, it seems, supercharged a national confectionery addiction, handing an unmitigated triumph to corn syrup peddlers who brag that American candy sales have reached an all-time high.


The 2022 report of the National Confectioners Association says the quiet part out loud, boastfully chalking up record-breaking sales to the “incredible permissibility” fostered by “the strong connection between emotional well-being and confectionery.”


Indeed. My kids are surrounded by so many sweets, it presents a parenting conundrum: how to let them enjoy treats (because I’m not a monster) but prevent them from eating even half the candy they are given (because that would be insane) without shaming them or fetishizing candy as a forbidden fruit.


Somewhere along the way, between the Sisyphean pantry purges and tiresome negotiations, I’ve started to see a quieter and more sorrowful story in our national predilection for sweets.


It’s no surprise that children love candy. They are watchers and apprentices, drawn to bright and flimsy trifles, bits of the world they can touch and taste. They are also growing, often ravenous, hankering for a tingle of sweet.


The adult role, though, is more ambiguous. I often hear grumbling and lamentations from other parents, always tinged with resignation. As if candy simply existed in circulation, like air or water or money, and there were nothing we can do about its omnipresence, which, of course, we ourselves are creating.


Which bitterness are we trying to sweeten? What groundswell of despair are we seeking to contain?


All over the world, all through history, there has been the dichotomy of sweet and sour and folklore in which a child’s want for sweet stands as a metaphor for adult desire. A Russian friend told me about midwives who placed sugar between laboring women’s legs to tempt the babies out. This perhaps apocryphal anecdote sent me nearly to the ground laughing, hysterical with the image of an infant prowling from the womb like a fox from its den. But this is what we do — sugar to cut pain, sugar to shorten hardship, sugar to coax our children forth into a difficult world. But always mixed with danger: The gingerbread house in the woods is a trap.


If America’s candy culture is a symptom, then we adults must be the disease — frightened for the future, harried by daily cares, snatching up a cheap simulacrum of happiness that’s already melting once it hits the tongue.


Maybe this looks bad to me because, coming home after many years gone, I’m frequently taken aback by the indifference our culture shows to children. Americans lash out with stinging judgment against parents who fail to “control their kids,” as if a spirit-crushing harshness were the main criteria for raising a child.


My family lives in an American suburb of relative wealth and red-hot ambition. Long before our eldest son reached an age of double digits, I’d gotten many earfuls of unsolicited strategy about sports, college and scholarships. After moving here, the boys started coming home with anxious questions about whether we’ve saved for their education and what they should do to get into college.


I spent my own childhood reading novels in the grass or rambling in the woods, worries shushed by bygone parental mantras: “Don’t worry.” Or “Just do your best.” And especially “It’ll all work out,” often accompanied by a dismissive wave or a sigh of cigarette smoke. That was the general philosophy of my upbringing. Some things would go well, and others wouldn’t, and I should be strong and keep faith that, one way or the other, something good would emerge from the process. It’s just life.


These blandishments, today, sound close to negligence. There is, instead, a lot of talk about therapy and anxiety and pharmaceuticals. We load kids down with dire climate warnings and apocalyptic visions. We push them to compete fiercely and express shock and confusion as childhood rates of depression and suicide keep climbing. Then we cheer things up by giving them enough candy to ruin their health forever.


My kids and their classmates are the lucky ones. (Knock wood.) American children regularly die by gunshot, although there is no war going on. American children — especially if they are not white — regularly get prosecuted as adults in violation of international human rights convention. Hundreds of American children sleep in adult jails or prisons every night.


Some American men are so eager to exploit children sexually that federal law enforcement acknowledges that it simply does not have the resources to investigate child pornography at scale.


Meanwhile, Halloween has bloated from a single, thrilling evening of spooky-sweet revelry into a monthlong worship of sugar. It was still a warmish September when we first hung plastic skeletons from our car trunk and drove to a packed church parking lot for the season’s first Trunk or Treat. That kicked off weeks of tailgates, school parties, neighborhood parties and the town parade, each of which sent the kids home with enough candy to fill a pillowcase. In between there were birthday parties, class rewards and countless spare lollipops and chocolate bars from bowls that materialized everywhere from the doctor’s office to the Sunday school classroom.


By this time of the year, candy has overtaken our house like some particularly vigorous mildew. We have tried to control the invasion — donating bulging sacks to the local firehouse and shrugging off cries of protest as we tossed load after load into the trash — but goody bags and forgotten sweets stashes are still, somehow, tucked away all over the house.


And more every day! Christmas candy is already arriving by mail. Homemade cookies and my cousin’s trademark fruitcake arrive in ribbons. These homemade goodies would be gladly received in an environment of moderation, but under the circumstances, I greet each package with the woozy bewilderment of a drowning person offered a glass of water.


For example, our 9-year-old just came home from a night of sports and crafts at the community center with a jumbo box of sugar-encrusted sour watermelon candy, most of which he’d eaten. “I won bingo,” he crowed. I wasn’t surprised, because our other son won the raffle at the same event a few weeks earlier, netting a massive platter of thickly iced sugar cookies.


The following morning, my husband took both kids off to lay wreaths on veterans’ graves with the Scouts. They came tripping back rosy-cheeked and exhilarated. “There was a bar!” the youngest announced.




“Not an alcohol bar,” the eldest jumped in. “There was hot chocolate and, like, 10 different kinds of cookies.”


“Oh,” I said.


“And marshmallows and candy canes.”




But the weekend debauchery still wasn’t done. Hours later, I picked up one of the kids from a friend’s house, where he’d watched the World Cup final. “Wasn’t that game amazing?” I enthused, backing out of the driveway.


“We didn’t watch all of it,” he admitted. “We were eating candy.”




“Do you know who Bob Ross is?”


“Uh, yeah?”


“He makes this candy that’s, like, the paint is like sugar, and you dip the paintbrush in and then eat it.”


These moments spin me out in various unhappy directions. I haven’t mentioned this yet, because it’s somewhat controversial, but the childhood obesity rate in the United States sits at just under 20 percent. Given the risks of diabetes and heart problems and asthma, I’d prefer my children not become obese.


But that’s not my only — or even my main — health concern. What really bothers me is adopting overindulgence as a lifestyle.


I know how this works. I, too, crave little rushes. When I was a child, it was candy. I especially loved a sneaky piece — pilfered from an elderly relative’s porcelain dish or bought with scraped-together change on a surreptitious bike ride to the store. Something I wasn’t supposed to have. The ritual of it. The secret.


Later I smoked cigarettes with the same vaguely illicit thrill.


I don’t smoke anymore, but I still savor a glass of wine and go to bed every night already looking forward to the rush of that first cup of coffee in the morning. But if I multiply our children’s candy consumption into an analogous quantity of some adult vice, it doesn’t look good.


And what do I tell them — I, who stumbles along in a state of temptation, wanting a cigarette for 20 years, buying them candy and throwing it away in illogical spasms of indulgence and restraint?


And maybe, in the end, this is the silent, instinctive wisdom behind the madness of candy. Our children will always be forced to walk a line between their appetites and their higher mind.


From the very start, this exhausting dynamic: We will surround you with the thing you crave. Leave it alone.



12) A Rush of Far-Right Initiatives by Israel’s New Government Raises Concerns

Benjamin Netanyahu needed the support of far-right factions to return to the prime minister’s office. Now they want to curb the powers of the judiciary, giving rise to fears about an erosion of democracy.

By Isabel Kershner, Dec. 22, 2022


Clash between Palestinians and the Israeli army in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

Clash between Palestinians and the Israeli army in Nablus, in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday. Credit...Zain Jaafar/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

JERUSALEM — As Israel’s prime minister designate, Benjamin Netanyahu, prepares to swear in his new hard-line government and return to office, his deals to cement the support of far-right coalition partners are raising widespread concerns about the country’s future as a liberal democracy.


The emerging coalition will be the most hard-right and religious administration in Israel’s history, made up of Mr. Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party and another five far-right and ultra-Orthodox factions. Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest serving prime minister, who was ousted 18 months ago, is on trial for corruption and has grown ever more dependent on these hard-line allies because the more liberal parties refuse to sit in a government led by a premier under criminal indictment.


That dependency, critics say, has weakened him in the coalition negotiations, forcing him to go along with at least some of the demands for far-reaching changes that would limit the powers of the judiciary and curb the independence of the police.


Mr. Netanyahu’s hard-line allies need him just as much as he needs them; they, too, have no alternative path to power. But their fundamental lack of trust in Mr. Netanyahu, who has a record of breaking promises to coalition partners, led them to insist on a rush of legislation to anchor their new roles and authorities in law, with potentially damaging consequences for the democratic system.


“What we see in the legislation preceding the formation of the government is a change in the rules of the game of Israeli democracy,” said Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


The outgoing prime minister, Yair Lapid, a centrist, described the incoming government on Thursday as “dangerous, extremist, irresponsible.”


“It will end badly,” he said, calling it “a clearance sale of Israel’s future.”


The legislative rush and drafts of coalition agreements include proposals that would allow Parliament to override Supreme Court decisions and would give more weight to politicians in the selection of judges.


Legal amendments would greatly expand the powers of the incoming minister of national security, Itamar Ben-Gvir, who oversees the police. Mr. Ben-Gvir is the leader of the ultranationalist Jewish Power party and the main advocate of the bill, which would give him the authority to set policy for the police, something critics say will allow him to politicize the force’s operations.


He was convicted in the past on charges of inciting racism and of support for a terrorist group, and ran in the election on a bullish ticket of fighting organized crime and increasing governance, particularly in areas heavily populated by members of Israel’s Arab minority.


Another amendment will allow Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionism party, to serve as a second minister in the hallowed Ministry of Defense. Mr. Smotrich, whose party ultimately seeks to annex the occupied West Bank, has been promised authority over the agencies dealing with Jewish settlements and Palestinian and Israeli civilian life in the occupied West Bank, in consultation with the prime minister.


A third change will allow Aryeh Deri, the leader of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, to serve as a minister despite a recent conviction and a suspended prison sentence for tax fraud. That amendment, analysts say, could end up applying to Mr. Netanyahu should he ultimately be convicted or reach a plea deal including a suspended sentence.


Mr. Netanyahu denies all wrongdoing and says the cases against him will collapse in court.


Still, experts say, the proposed changes outlined in the coalition agreements are still in flux.


“Constitutional political changes are being carried out in record speed, even before the government has been established,” said Yohanan Plesner, president of the Israel Democracy Institute, a nonpartisan research center. “This demonstrates the fragility of our democracy.”


But Mr. Plesner emphasized that such practices were not unprecedented in Israel and that there were still many possible outcomes.


“There is a discrepancy,” he said, “between the ideas and initiatives and declarations of politicians before elections, and what is actually happening in the negotiating room and being manifested in coalition agreements and government policy.”


Mr. Netanyahu, who has already pushed Israel further to the right during his 15 years in power, will now be the main force of moderation in his government compared with his more hard-line partners. Though he is known for his aggressive campaign tactics, Mr. Netanyahu has generally protected the democratic system during his long tenure.


He has rejected the warnings about damage to Israeli democracy as fear-mongering by those who lost the election and has pledged to act in the interest of all Israel’s citizens.


“We were elected to lead in our way, the way of the national right and the way of the liberal right,” he said in a recent speech to Parliament, “and that’s what we will do.”


The most immediate concerns revolve around the law expanding the powers of Mr. Ben-Gvir, the national security minister. It has passed its first reading in Parliament but is still pending final approval.


In the past, the minister overseeing the police would set policy priorities in consultation with the commissioner of police, but would not interfere in operational matters or have any influence over investigations.


The proposed legislation subordinates the police to the minister’s authority, leading legal officials and experts to fear a politicization of the force. And it grants the minister the right to set priorities and time frames for investigations in a departure from past practices.


“The Israel Police will be run under a threatening and belligerent man who lacks responsibility and experience, who wishes to turn it into a political agency,” and to turn the police commissioner into a “puppet,” the outgoing minister of public security, Omer Bar-Lev, told Parliament this week.


Mr. Ben-Gvir argues that the police should be subordinate to a minister’s policy in the same way that the military carries out the government’s policy. But critics say that unlike the military, which fights Israel’s enemies, the mission of the police is to deal with Israeli citizens — including corrupt politicians.


Aida Touma-Sliman, a Palestinian-Israeli lawmaker, told the committee discussing the bill that the incoming minister’s goals were “ideological” and “racist” and would end up creating a “political police.”


Human rights activists say they are worried that the legislation giving Mr. Ben-Gvir broader control over the police could be used to suppress protests.


Noa Sattath, the executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said her organization petitioned the parliamentary committee discussing the bill to exclude protests from Mr. Ben-Gvir’s areas of authority, as did the committee’s own legal adviser. But Mr. Ben-Gvir rejected that recommendation.


“Clearly the minister wants to have authority over the way the police deal with protests,” said Ms. Sattath, who described the bill as endangering one of the foundations of the Israeli democratic system.


In the face of mounting criticism, Mr. Ben-Gvir told the parliamentary committee on Thursday that he would postpone the discussions and voting on the most contentious parts of the bill until after the inauguration of the government.


Also of concern are the proposals to change the way the judiciary operates.


If implemented, they will dramatically curb the powers of the Supreme Court, which has long been seen by liberal Israelis and analysts as one of the country’s most important institutions safeguarding against the erosion of liberal democratic values. Because Israel has only one house of Parliament and no formal constitution, the judiciary plays a critical role in protecting minority rights and offsetting rule by the parliamentary majority.


The coalition partners are keen to see these judicial changes, not least to ensure that the Supreme Court cannot overturn the hasty legislation now making its way through Parliament.


“In the coming weeks we will have to face the most significant threats Israeli democracy has seen in recent decades,” Mr. Plesner said at a recent conference at his institute on the implications of the judicial changes proposed by members of the incoming coalition.


“The issues on the agenda concern the nature of the state and the basic rights of each and every one of us.”


Myra Noveck contributed reporting from Jerusalem.



13) The F.D.A. Now Says It Plainly: Morning-After Pills Are Not Abortion Pills

Labels of Plan B One-Step had previously said, without scientific evidence, that the pill might block fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb.

By Pam Belluck, Dec. 23, 2022


A close up view of a pharmacy shelf with three slots for packages of Plan B One-Step for sale. The two slots on the left and right side are lined with the purple-and-pink packages, with a middle slot empty.

A common morning-after pill, approved in 1999 and now sold as Plan B One-Step, does not block a fertilized egg’s ability to implant in the uterus — a claim that abortion opponents have used to erroneously call it an abortion pill. Credit...Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday significantly changed the information that will be in every box of the most widely used emergency contraceptive pills to make clear that they do not prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. The agency explained in an accompanying document that the products cannot be described as abortion pills.


Up to now, packages of the brand-name pill, Plan B One-Step, as well as generic versions of it have said that the pill might work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb — language that scientific evidence did not support. That wording led some abortion opponents and politicians who equate a fertilized egg with a person to say that taking the morning-after pill could be the equivalent of having an abortion or even committing murder.


The F.D.A. revised the leaflets inserted in packages of pills to say that the medication “works before release of an egg from the ovary,” meaning that it acts before fertilization, not after. The package insert also says the pill “will not work if you’re already pregnant, and will not affect an existing pregnancy.”


In a question-and-answer document posted on the F.D.A.’s website, the agency explicitly addressed the abortion issue. In answer to the question, “Is Plan B One-Step able to cause an abortion?” the agency writes: “No.” It added: “Plan B One-Step prevents pregnancy by acting on ovulation, which occurs well before implantation. Evidence does not support that the drug affects implantation or maintenance of pregnancy after implantation, therefore, it does not terminate a pregnancy.”


Since the Supreme Court overturned the ruling that ensured the national right to abortion, advocates of abortion rights have warned that some conservative states may outlaw or restrict morning-after pills on the erroneous grounds that they might cause abortions. Advocates and reproductive health providers have also worried that people who are misinformed about how the pills work may decline to use an effective tool to prevent unwanted pregnancies.


For at least a decade, the pills have figured in political debates about abortion. During the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney called emergency contraceptives “abortive pills,” and two other Republican presidential candidates, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, made similar statements.


Some conservative states allow pharmacists or pharmacies to refuse to carry Plan B, which was approved in 1999 and is available without a prescription. And a recent study found that more than 60 percent of about 1,400 people surveyed believed that morning-after pills work by preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg.


But scientific evidence has never shown that Plan B affects a fertilized egg’s ability to attach to the uterus. The F.D.A. acknowledged as much 10 years ago, after a 2012 investigation by The New York Times, when a spokeswoman for the agency said that “the emerging data on Plan B suggest that it does not inhibit implantation.”


As a result of The Times’s reporting, MedlinePlus, a website run by the National Institutes of Health, deleted passages suggesting emergency contraceptives could disrupt implantation. Other health and medical websites made similar changes. In 2013, European health authorities revised the label of Norlevo, a pill that is identical to Plan B, to say that it “cannot stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb.”


The F.D.A. said it made the change now because it had completed a review of a 2018 application to alter the label that was submitted by Foundation Consumer Healthcare, a company that in 2017 bought the Plan B brand from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Agency officials said the pandemic delayed the review process and that the timing was not motivated by political considerations.


The company did not conduct any new studies for its application, submitting already existing research, a spokeswoman said.


“As the label was written previously, it was causing more confusion, and was incorrect according to the scientific research,” the company’s marketing director, Tara Evans, said. “Our goal was to clarify misinformation,” she said, adding that “the events of 2022 reignited the urgency.”


Students for Life of America, which earlier this year posted an Instagram video with a caption saying “Plan B can cause an abortion. It’s right there on the box,” said in an email on Friday that it rejected the F.D.A.’s new language on the science of the pills.


“For years we’ve been saying that the packaging indicated abortions could take place,” the organization said. “Their answer is to just change the box.”


Plan B One-Step and its generic versions — including brands like Take Action, My Way and Option 2 — contain levonorgestrel, one of a class of hormones called progestins that are also found at lower doses in birth control pills and intrauterine devices. The pills are most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse, although they can sometimes work if taken within five days.


Another type of morning-after pill, marketed as Ella and containing a compound called ulipristal acetate, is only available by prescription and is not affected by the F.D.A.’s label change. There has been less research on this type of pill, but studies suggest that it is highly unlikely to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. In 2009, after months of scrutiny, Ella was approved for sale in overwhelmingly Catholic Italy, where laws would have barred it if it had been considered to induce abortions.


According to data published in 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-quarter of women of reproductive age who have sex with men answered yes to the question: “Have you ever used emergency contraception, also known as ‘Plan B,’ ‘Preven,’ ‘Ella,’ ‘Next Choice,’ or ‘Morning after’ pills?” The agency did not break down the data by the type of pills taken.


Dr. Giovannina Anthony, an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Women’s Health and Family Care Clinic in Jackson, Wyo., said that because of claims by anti-abortion groups some patients have been confused about whether the pills can cause an abortion, and her staff will now be able to use the F.D.A.’s new interpretation of the scientific evidence to reassure them.


Dr. Anthony, whose state is among those trying to restrict access to abortion, said the F.D.A.’s new guidance “is critical for women who have had unprotected sex and live in geographic areas where abortion is either inaccessible, banned or impossible to obtain. It should encourage more women to use Plan B as an effort to decrease the unplanned pregnancy rate.”


As far back as the 1999 approval process, the maker of Plan B — Barr Pharmaceuticals, later acquired by Teva — asked the F.D.A. not to list an implantation effect on the label, The Times reported in 2012.


Experts said implantation was likely placed on the label partly because daily birth control pills, some of which contain Plan B’s active ingredient, appear to alter the endometrium, the lining of the uterus into which fertilized eggs implant. Altering the endometrium has not been proven to interfere with implantation. But in any case, scientists said that unlike the accumulating doses of daily birth control pills, morning-after pills do not have time to affect the uterine lining.


By 2007, evidence was accumulating that morning-after pills did not block implantation. In 2009 to 2010, during discussions about making Plan B available over the counter for all ages, Teva also asked that implantation be deleted from the label.