Monday, January 20, 2014

BAUAW NEWSLETTER: MONDAY, JANUARY 20, 2014


To all Bay Area Supporters of Lynne Stewart:

Join a joyous CELEBRATION of Lynne's liberation and a BENEFIT for her ongoing medical care.
When: Wednesday, January 29, 6:00 to 9:00 pm

Where: 1015 Folsom St. (between 6th and 7th St., San Francisco) - venue requires participants to be at least 21 years of age.

Special Feature: A live report from Lynne Stewart via Skype;  Convey to Lynne your own greetings!
Refreshments (food and beverages)

Suggested Donation: $20 (no one turned away)

RSVP: mya.shone@gmail.com
 
If you cannot attend, please send donations (by check or money order) to Lynne Stewart Organization, 1070 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY 11216.

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For every signature, we mail a letter to top
decision-makers!
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The internet is a tool with the capability to revolutionize our democracy. PVT Chelsea Manning recognized its power when she released Iraq and Afghanistan war databases so the public could see and analyze the truth for themselves.

Now, we need your help harnessing the internet as a force to ensure decision-makers in Washington D.C. know that people worldwide still support Chelsea and believe she deserves clemency.

For each person who signs our petition, we will mail letters on their behalf to the two individuals with the power to give Chelsea clemency. One letter will be sent to President Obama in the White House, and another letter will be postmarked to court martial Convening Authority Major General Buchanan.

Our goal is to generate so many letters that we can’t be ignored. If each person reading this e-mail signs our petition, then soon President Obama’s and Maj. Gen. Buchanan’s mailrooms will fill with thousands of individual letters. If each of you share this petition with your friends, encouraging them to sign, then our impact will grow exponentially.

Outraged by Manning’s 35-year prison sentence for promoting government transparency?
http://www.privatemanning.org/pardonpetition


Snowden and Manning deserve clemency
based on NYT criteria
http://ymlp.com/z9ltdc
Last week, the New York Times editorial board thrilled government transparency advocates worldwide when they released an article calling on President Obama to grant clemency to Edward Snowden. They declare him a whistleblower loud and clear in the article’s title, and detail the NSA’s legal and ethical violations which Mr. Snowden uncovered.

Firedoglake’s Kevin Gosztola, who reported on PVT Manning’s trial last summer, praised the NYT for its support of Snowden while challenging them on another point “If Snowden is a whistleblower, what is Chelsea Manning?” This summer the NYT’s editorial board called Manning’s 35 year-sentence “excessive”, but they stopped short of calling her a whistleblower.

There are close parallels in the stories of Snowden and Manning as detailed on Gosztola’s blog:
Just as the Times makes clear that Snowden could not have gone through ‘proper channels,’ it would have been impossible for Manning as well… Had she sent specific documents in the sets to get the attention of members of Congress or had she gone to superiors within the military and said this should not be secret, she most certainly would have lost her security clearance...
Six bullet points on violations Snowden revealed and legal actions he provoked are offered by the Times editors to further advance the argument that he is a whistleblower. Certainly, the same could be done for Manning:
·       Manning revealed a video of a 2007 Apache helicopter attack, which shows two Reuters journalists being gunned down in Baghdad. The video, which featured soldiers begging superior officers for orders to fire on individuals, was withheld from Reuters, even though the media organization filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. 
·       Frago 242, which the US and the UK appeared to have adopted as a way of excusing them from having to take responsibility for torture or ill-treatment of Iraqis by Iraqi military or security forces, was revealed in the Iraq War Logs. 
·       Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to secretly allow US cruise missile or drone attacks that he would say were launched by his government 
·       Both the administrations of President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama pressured Spain and Germany not to investigate torture authorized by Bush administration officials 
·       US government was well aware of rampant corruption in the Tunisian ruling family of President Ben Ali and the FBI trained torturers in Egypt’s state security service. The information released by Manning was one of the “small things“ that helped to inspire the Arab Spring 
·       Al Jazeera journalist Sami al-Hajj was sent to Guantanamo Bay prison “to provide information” on the “al Jazeera news network’s training program, telecommunications equipment and newsgathering operations in Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan, including the network’s acquisition of a video of [Osama bin Laden] and a subsequent interview” of bin Laden, a clear attack on press freedom 
·       Partly basing its ruling on diplomatic cables Manning released, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the court condemned the CIA for its extraordinary rendition program and found Macedonia had been responsible for the torture and violation of German car salesman Khaled el-Masri’s rights when he was abducted. Macedonia was ordered to pay $78,500 in damages to Masri.
If you’re wondering why government transparency advocates should present a unified front in fighting for whistleblower protections, you have only to look to the words and experiences of these whistleblowers themselves. While Snowden flees persecution by the same administration and same set of laws that were used to imprison Chelsea, he has clearly stated that ”Manning was a classic whistleblower.” She “was inspired by the public good.”

Do you support both Manning and Snowden? Tell us why on our facebook page. Leave a comment, a graphic, or a picture of you holding a sign with your message. We will share some of our favorite messages and images with our 105,000+ facebook followers in the coming weeks.

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“When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.”-Pvt. Manning


Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees!
Donate today.
https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38591


COURAGE TO RESIST
http://couragetoresist.org
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
510-488-3559
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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:
A. ARTICLES IN FULL
B. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND ONGOING CAMPAIGNS
D. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.

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A. ARTICLES IN FULL
(Unless otherwise noted)

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1) Walmart Is Facing Claims That It Fired Protesters
JAN. 15, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/business/walmart-is-facing-claims-that-it-fired-protesters.html?ref=us




2) Christie and Springsteen: A Tale of Devotion, and a Very Public Snub
JAN. 15, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/nyregion/christie-and-springsteen-a-tale-of-devotion-and-a-very-public-snub.html?ref=nyregion 




3) U.N. Says Lag in Confronting Climate Woes Will Be Costly
JAN. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/science/earth/un-says-lag-in-confronting-climate-woes-will-be-costly.html?ref=world 




4) Ohio Execution Using Untested Drug Cocktail Renews the Debate Over Lethal Injections
JAN. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/us/ohio-execution-using-untested-drug-cocktail-renews-the-debate-over-lethal-injections.html?ref=us 




5) Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business
JAN. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/business/as-worker-advocacy-groups-gain-momentum-businesses-fight-back.html?ref=business




6) Sometimes ‘Nazi’ Is the Right Word
By ETGAR KERET 
JAN. 17, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/opinion/sometimes-nazi-is-the-right-word.html?hp&rref=opinion 




7) Patients’ Costs Skyrocket; Specialists’ Incomes Soar
JAN. 18, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/health/patients-costs-skyrocket-specialists-incomes-soar.html?hp




8) When Children Become Criminals
JAN. 19, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/opinion/when-children-become-criminals.html?hp&rref=opinion




9) Juveniles Facing Lifelong Terms Despite Rulings
JAN. 19, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/us/juveniles-facing-lifelong-terms-despite-rulings.html?hp







 
 
 

 
 
 

 

 


 





 

 
 

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1) Walmart Is Facing Claims That It Fired Protesters
JAN. 15, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/business/walmart-is-facing-claims-that-it-fired-protesters.html?ref=us

The National Labor Relations Board, in a sweeping complaint filed on Wednesday, said that Walmart illegally disciplined and fired employees after strikes and protests for better pay.

The complaint listed violations of federal law in 14 states involving more than 60 workers and 34 stores. It said Walmart fired 19 employees for taking part in strikes and demonstrations against the company. Other employees were given verbal warnings or faced other disciplinary action. In some cases, according to the complaint, the company spied on employees.

The complaint said that twice on national television, as well as in statements in stores in California and Texas, the company unlawfully threatened employees with reprisals if they took part in strikes or protests. Some of those protests took place around Black Friday, the big shopping day that follows Thanksgiving, in 2012 and others the next year.

A union-backed group called Our Walmart had organized protests at about 1,000 Walmart stores in 46 states. Despite the threats, the protests drew thousands of employees seeking higher wages.

More than 60 supervisors and one corporate officer were named in the complaint.

Walmart said the employees were not fired for participating in an outside group. It said most of the firings were for breaking attendance policies.

Walmart also said it had acted respectfully and lawfully.

“This is an opportunity to shed some lights on the facts, and state our side of the case with a judge,” said Brooke Buchanan, a Walmart spokeswoman. “We continue to take our obligations very seriously in these matters.”

Walmart does not face fines. But if found liable it would be required to award back pay to employees, reinstate them, or reverse any disciplinary action taken. It would also be required to inform workers of their rights.

The government board’s general counsel office informed Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer, of its findings in November and gave the company and workers a chance to reach a deal. But the talks were unsuccessful.

Walmart must respond to the complaint by Jan. 28. No hearing date has been set.

The general counsel’s office has authorized or issued complaints in other Walmart cases, and said additional charges remain under investigation.

Under the National Labor Relations Act, certain activities are protected by federal law, whether workers are unionized or not, like protesting or organizing for better wages or work conditions.

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2) Christie and Springsteen: A Tale of Devotion, and a Very Public Snub
JAN. 15, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/nyregion/christie-and-springsteen-a-tale-of-devotion-and-a-very-public-snub.html?ref=nyregion 
This is a love story.

And in many great love stories, some will be punished and some will be pardoned. In this tale of woe, though, the punishment was meted out on national television: Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey was scorned, in his hour of need, by the man whose embrace he had so fervently sought and only recently secured.

In the day we sweated out on the streets,

Stuck in traffic on the G.W.B.

For years, it had been a love unrequited — the kind of one-way affection fueling rock songs from the days of poodle skirts and bobby socks.

Mr. Christie, a man of outsize emotions, has loved Bruce Springsteen, the boss and icon of New Jersey, since he was a boy.

But even after attending 129 concerts and attaining the highest political office in the state, Mr. Christie, a Republican, had met Mr. Springsteen only twice — once on an airplane in 1999, and again in 2010, when they exchanged pleasantries at a ceremony at the New Jersey Hall of Fame.

At venues large and small, the populist rocker seemed to go out of his way to snub the governor. Still, Mr. Christie never wavered in his devotion.

They shut down the tollbooths of glory

‘cause we didn’t endorse Christie.

As Jeffrey Goldberg chronicled in The Atlantic magazine after attending a 2012 Springsteen show with Mr. Christie, the governor accepted that he may never become an object of affection.

It would not break his spirit. Even when Mr. Springsteen wrote an editorial in The Asbury Park Press denouncing the governor’s budget as cruel to the poor, Mr. Christie said he was simply misguided.

“Just because we disagree doesn’t mean I don’t get him,” Mr. Christie said.

Love runs deeper than disagreements.

“No one is beyond the reach of Bruce!” he said.

It would take a hurricane to bring the two men together.

They embraced at a benefit for Hurricane Sandy victims at Radio City Music Hall. For Mr. Christie, it was more than just a hug. He later relayed the experience to President Obama, who had himself played matchmaker, arranging a call between the two men.

“I told the president today actually that the hug was great and that when we got home there was a lot of weeping because of the hug,” Mr. Christie recalled after the trip. “And the president said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘Well, to be honest, I was the one weeping; everyone else was fine.’ ”

At a town-hall-style meeting not long after the embrace, Mr. Christie told voters, “We hugged and he told me it’s official: We’re friends.”

But it would not last.

Lately, Mr. Christie — troubled by scandal, accused of being a bully, compelled to apologize for the behavior of aides who shut down traffic lanes on the George Washington Bridge to punish a political opponent — could really use another hug.

Yet it seems he may not find comfort in Mr. Springsteen’s arms.

Sprung from cages on Highway 9,

We got three lanes closed,

So Jersey get your ass in line.

The relationship’s rupture occurred this week in the most public way, on national television, with a potent weapon, one of Mr. Springsteen’s own songs, treasured by Mr. Christie since he was 13 years old.

Mr. Springsteen joined Jimmy Fallon on his late-night talk show on NBC to perform a revised version of “Born to Run.”

“Governor let me in,” Mr. Springsteen sang. “I want to be your friend. There’ll be no partisan divisions. Let me wrap my legs round your mighty rims, relieve your stressful condition.”

But it was not to be, as Mr. Springsteen and Mr. Fallon concluded in their lyrics:

Someday, Governor, I don’t know when, this will all end,

But till then you’re killing the working man

Who’s stuck in Gov. Chris Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey, traffic jam.

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3) U.N. Says Lag in Confronting Climate Woes Will Be Costly
JAN. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/science/earth/un-says-lag-in-confronting-climate-woes-will-be-costly.html?ref=world 



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Launch media viewer
A coal yard worker's stained hand in Hefei, China, in 2007. Gains in renewable energy are being swamped by rising emissions from fossil fuels in fast-growing countries like China, according to a new report on climate change. Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising, according to a draft United Nations report. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, experts found.

A delay would most likely force future generations to develop the ability to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and store them underground to preserve the livability of the planet, the report found. But it is not clear whether such technologies will ever exist at the necessary scale, and even if they do, the approach would probably be wildly expensive compared with taking steps now to slow emissions.

The report said that governments of the world were still spending far more money to subsidize fossil fuels than to accelerate the shift to cleaner energy, thus encouraging continued investment in projects like coal-burning power plants that pose a long-term climate risk.

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Launch media viewer Coal in Vietnam that is bound for China. A United Nations draft report says more is spent globally on subsidizing fossil fuels than on shifting to cleaner energy. Kham/Reuters

While the spread of technologies like solar power and wind farms might give the impression of progress, the report said, such developments are being overtaken by rising emissions from fossil fuels over the past decade, especially in fast-growing countries like China. And one of the most important sources of low-carbon energy, nuclear power, is actually declining over time as a percentage of the global energy mix, the report said.

Unless far greater efforts are made to reduce emissions, “the fundamental drivers of emissions growth are expected to persist despite major improvements in energy supply” and in the efficiency with which energy is used, the report said.

The new warnings come in a draft report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations panel of climate experts that won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for its efforts to analyze and communicate the risks of climate change. The report is not final, but a draft dated Dec. 17 was leaked this week and was first reported by Reuters. The New York Times obtained a copy independently.

Business leaders will tackle many of the problems raised in the draft next week, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where a day will be devoted to addressing the rising economic costs of climate change — and the costs to businesses and governments of solving the problem.

Within the business community, “there is an awakening of increasing economic risk — a recognition that operating conditions are changing and we need to respond,” said Dominic Waughray, head of environmental initiatives for the forum. “There has been a failure of government to address these solutions. If there is an alliance of companies that can bite off pieces of the puzzle, it might help.”

In the dry language of a technical committee, the draft outlines an increasingly dire situation.

Even as the early effects of climate change are starting to be felt around the world, the panel concluded that efforts are lagging not only in reducing emissions, but also in adapting to the climatic changes that have become inevitable.

It is true, the report found, that the political willingness to tackle climate change is growing in many countries and new policies are spreading, but the report said these were essentially being outrun by the rapid growth of fossil fuels.

While emissions appear to have fallen in recent years in some of the wealthiest countries, that is somewhat of an illusion, the report found. The growth of international trade means many of the goods consumed in wealthy countries are now made abroad — so that those countries have, in effect, outsourced their greenhouse gas emissions to countries like China.

Emissions in the United States rose slightly in 2013, but are still about 10 percent below their 2005 levels, largely because of the newfound abundance of natural gas, which produces less greenhouse gases than burning coal.

The Kyoto Protocol, an international treaty meant to limit emissions, has “not been as successful as intended,” the report found. That is partly because some important countries like the United States refused to ratify it or later withdrew, but also because of flaws within the treaty itself, the report found. The treaty exempted developing countries from taking strong action, for instance, a decision that many experts now say was a mistake.

Efforts are underway to negotiate a new international treaty to replace Kyoto, but it is not even supposed to take effect until 2020, and it is unclear whether countries will agree on ambitious goals to limit emissions. It is equally unclear how much political support a new treaty will gain in China and the United States, the world’s largest emitters.

The Obama administration is pushing for a deal, but any treaty would have to be ratified by the Senate; many Republicans and some coal-state Democrats are wary, fearing economic damage to the country.

The new report suggests, however, that the real question is whether to take some economic pain now, or more later.

Nations have agreed to try to limit the warming of the planet to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels. Even though it will be exceedingly difficult to meet, this target would still mean vast ecological and economic damage, experts have found. But the hope is that these would come on slowly enough to be somewhat manageable; having no target would be to risk catastrophic disruption, the thinking goes.

As scientists can best figure, the target requires that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, stay below 500 parts per million. The level recently surpassed 400, and at present growth rates will surpass 500 within a few decades.

If countries permit continued high emissions growth until 2030, the draft report found, the target will most likely be impossible to meet, at least without a hugely expensive crash program to rebuild the energy system, and even that might not work.

If emissions do overshoot the target, the report found, future generations would probably have to develop ways to pull greenhouse gases out of the air. It is fairly clear this will be technically possible. It could be achieved, for instance, by growing bioenergy crops that take up carbon dioxide, burning the resulting fuel and then injecting the emissions into underground formations. But such efforts would compete with food production, already under strain.

The leaked draft is the third and final segment of a major report that the climate change panel is completing in stages. The first segment, published in September, found a 95 percent or greater likelihood that humans are the main cause of climate change. The second, due out in March, is expected to warn about the likely consequences of climate change, including risks to the food supply.

The third, focusing on policies to limit the damage, is due for publication in Berlin in April.


Coral Davenport contributed reporting.
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We call on you to help the folks that you Scrooged out of their homes and end the homelessness crisis you created. Donate your $91.44 Billion in holiday bonuses to undo the damage you’ve done.
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4) Ohio Execution Using Untested Drug Cocktail Renews the Debate Over Lethal Injections
JAN. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/us/ohio-execution-using-untested-drug-cocktail-renews-the-debate-over-lethal-injections.html?ref=us 

Dennis McGuire took 15 minutes to die by lethal injection Thursday morning at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville for the 1989 rape and murder of a 22-year-old pregnant woman named Joy Stewart.

Eyewitness accounts differ slightly on how much Mr. McGuire, 53, struggled and gasped in those final minutes. But because the execution took unusually long and because Ohio was using a new, untested cocktail of drugs in the procedure, the episode has reignited debate over lethal injection.

States have been scrambling in recent years to come up with a new formula for executions after their stockpiles were depleted or expired when European manufacturers of such previously used drugs as pentobarbital and sodium thiopental stopped selling them for use in executions. No consensus has formed on what available drugs should be used.

Mr. McGuire was given midazolam, a sedative, and hydromorphone, a powerful analgesic derived from morphine, just before 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, the first time that any state has used that combination. The drugs were selected by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction after the state’s supply of pentobarbital expired in 2009, said JoEllen Smith, the department’s spokeswoman. A federal court had approved their use, she said.

A reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, one of the witnesses at the execution, described Mr. McGuire as struggling, gasping loudly, snorting and making choking noises for nearly 10 minutes before falling silent and being declared dead a few minutes later. An Associated Press report described him as snorting loudly and making snoring noises, but did not say he struggled or made choking sounds.

“Whether there were choking sounds or it was just snorting, the execution didn’t go the way it was supposed to go,” said Deborah Denno, a professor at Fordham Law School and an expert in lethal injection cases. “Usually, lethal injection takes about four or five minutes, if done properly.”

Death penalty opponents had been watching the case closely, both because of the new drug cocktail and because some anesthesiologists said there was a danger they would produce a condition called air hunger, in which the gasping victim is unable to absorb oxygen.

“A different procedure was used in the last four executions, depending on which state they were in,” Ms. Denno said. “It certainly increases the likelihood or the risk that there will be some sort of problem.”

But death penalty proponents said the episode was being sensationalized.

“Some of the witnesses say he was heard to make snoring noises,” said Kent Scheidegger, legal director for the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation. “O.K., I’ve made snoring noises. What’s not disputed is he got a large dose of sedative. We’ve gotten namby-pamby to the point that we give murderers sedatives before we kill them.”

Death penalty opponents say other troubling executions argue against experimenting with new drug combinations.

Last week, they say, Michael Lee Wilson, who took part in the murder of a co-worker, was executed in Oklahoma using a cocktail of pentobarbital from a compounding pharmacy; vecuronium bromide, a paralytic; and potassium chloride, which stops the heart. His last words, coming about 12 seconds after the injections were administered, were, “I feel my whole body burning.”

Ms. Denno said: “I certainly believe there has been an increase in problems. “I think this is the worst situation that lethal injection has been in since it was first administered 32 years ago.”

Death penalty supporters believe this is the wrong lesson to draw.

“The main point to be emphasized,” Mr. Scheidegger said, “is the inmate does get a sedative as the very first thing. However distasteful it may be to observe, he is not in any kind of extreme pain that ought to concern us.”

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5) Advocates for Workers Raise the Ire of Business
JAN. 16, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/business/as-worker-advocacy-groups-gain-momentum-businesses-fight-back.html?ref=business


As America’s labor unions have lost members and clout, new types of worker advocacy groups have sprouted nationwide, and they have started to get on businesses’ nerves — protesting low wages at Capital Grille restaurants, for instance, and demonstrating outside Austin City Hall in Texas against giving Apple tax breaks.

After ignoring these groups for years, business groups and powerful lobbyists, heavily backed by the restaurant industry, are mounting an aggressive campaign against them, maintaining that they are fronts for organized labor.

Business officials say these groups often demonize companies unfairly and inaccurately, while the groups question why corporations have attacked such fledgling organizations.

The United States Chamber of Commerce issued a detailed report in November criticizing what it calls “progressive activist foundations” that donate millions of dollars to these groups, which are often called worker centers. The business-backed Worker Center Watch has asked Florida’s attorney general to investigate the finances of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. That group sponsored a protest last March in which more than 100 workers marched 200 miles to the headquarters of Publix supermarkets to urge it to pay more for tomatoes so farmworkers could be paid more.

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Launch media viewer Richard Berman has run ads attacking the Restaurant Opportunities Center, one of the nation’s largest worker centers. Daniel Rosenbaum for The New York Times

A prominent Washington lobbyist, Richard Berman, has run full-page ads attacking the Restaurant Opportunities Center, accusing it of intimidating opponents. He has even set up a separate website, ROCexposed.com, to attack the group.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center is one of the nation’s largest worker centers, sponsoring repeated protests inside Capital Grille restaurants and winning sizable settlements from famous chefs. The group even infiltrated the National Restaurant Association’s lobbying day on Capitol Hill, learning about the association’s goals and strategies.

Business groups argue that worker centers should face the same strictures as labor unions under federal law, including detailed financial disclosure, regular election of leaders and bans on certain types of picketing. Business groups say worker centers act like unions by targeting specific employers and pushing them to improve wages.

Regarding the Restaurant Opportunities Center, Scott DeFife, an executive vice president at the National Restaurant Association, said: “They’re trying to have it both ways. They’re a union and not a union. They’re organizing workers but not organizing workers. They have a history of tactics unions couldn’t get away with.”

Business groups say they have grown far more concerned about these new organizations since Richard L. Trumka, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s president, announced last March that organized labor would work closely with these groups, many of which were formed to help immigrant workers whom unions had long overlooked. “For the employer community, it’s a question of what does this grow into,” said Glenn Spencer, executive director of the Chamber’s Workforce Freedom Initiative, which commissioned the study on foundation funding. “Judging from Trumka’s remarks, organized labor sees a lot of potential in this model.”

According to that study, millions of dollars have flowed to worker centers from 21 foundations. From 2009 to 2012, it found, the Marguerite Casey Foundation gave $300,000 to the Southwest Workers Union and $300,000 to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The Ford Foundation gave $717,000 to the National Domestic Workers Alliance, $1.15 million to the New Orleans Workers Center for Racial Justice and $2.4 million to the Restaurant Opportunities Center.

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Launch media viewer An ad attacking the Restaurant Opportunities Center accused it of intimidating opponents.

Mr. Berman, who receives millions of dollars from business to fight unions and oppose a higher minimum wage, acknowledges that he is using a hammer to prevent these groups from growing far more powerful and troublesome.

“There’s quite a range of activity among worker centers,” said Mr. Berman, whose lobbying firm has spawned numerous spinoff nonprofits, including the Center for Union Facts. “They have yet to reach the point of being a long-term problem. We’re trying to stay ahead of the curve.”

Saru Jayaraman, a co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, has repeatedly strategized to get under the industry’s skin. Her group does an annual dining guide, giving a thumbs down to restaurants it says treats employees poorly by, for instance, avoiding paid sick days.

The group enraged one of New York’s top chefs, Daniel Boulud, by demonstrating outside his Daniel restaurant with a 12-foot-tall inflatable cockroach, asserting that the restaurant’s Hispanic and Bangladeshi employees faced discrimination when they applied to become waiters. Her group reached a confidential settlement with Mr. Boulud. After a similar protest against Mario Batali’s Del Posto restaurant in Manhattan, he reached a settlement that called for paying $1.15 million over misappropriated tips and unpaid overtime and included new policies on promotions and paid sick days.

Because of its in-your-face tactics and numerous successes, the restaurant group has faced many attacks from business.

“It’s flattering,” Ms. Jayaraman said. “The fact that they’re attacking us is a sign that they feel threatened. That’s what happens when you challenge the industry to do the right thing.”

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Launch media viewer Saru Jayaraman, a co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center, has repeatedly strategized to get under the industry’s skin. Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Greg Asbed, co-founder of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, noted that numerous companies had signed onto his group’s far-reaching “Fair Food Program” to improve pay and working conditions. The group announced on Thursday that Walmart had joined the program, which calls for paying a penny more per pound for Florida tomatoes. But Mr. Asbed criticized some attacks leveled by business as “McCarthy-era tactics.” “Attacking workers who are fighting poverty wages, sexual harassment and other problems in the food industry is doing a disservice to those companies that are working to prepare the industry for the challenges of the 21st century,” he said.

The chamber questions not just the millions that foundations are giving worker centers but also the image that they run on a shoestring budget.

But worker center leaders say they need foundation funding to get off the ground and keep operating. Some foundations viewed the chamber’s report as a brushback pitch intended to discourage them from giving.

In a statement, the Ford Foundation said: “Growing numbers of workers are finding themselves in low-wage jobs with limited resources to support a family and move up the economic ladder. The foundation’s support for worker centers is one part of our effort to help more hard-working people climb out of poverty and achieve economic security.”

Industry officials say that when the Restaurant Opportunities Center negotiated with Mr. Batali about promotions and other policies after suing him, those negotiations resembled collective bargaining. But in 2006, the general counsel’s office of the National Labor Relations Board concluded that ROC was not a labor organization under federal law, finding that it was not engaged in a pattern of dealing with specific employers.

Ms. Jayaraman said her group was not bargaining, but instead seeking injunctive relief to settle a lawsuit. Mr. Berman, the lobbyist whom the CBS program “60 Minutes” once called “Dr. Evil,” has mounted a multipronged offensive against worker centers. He is hitting not just ROC and the Immokalee coalition, but also the recent fast-food strikes and Black Friday protests at Walmart, which have strong union backing. “They put on a costume and call themselves something other than a union,” Mr. Berman said. “They’re doing Potemkin-village unionization.” He declined to disclose his sources of funding.

Janice R. Fine, a labor relations professor at Rutgers, said one should distinguish between efforts like the Walmart protests, which were largely organized by a labor union, and worker centers, which are generally independent of unions.

“Business groups have this notion that unions have created worker centers as front groups, that they are creatures of these big institutions,” Professor Fine said. “The idea that they are sort of offspring of organized labor is just wrong. They were often set up because of a vacuum left by the labor movement. There was often downright hostility between them.”



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6) Sometimes ‘Nazi’ Is the Right Word
By ETGAR KERET 
JAN. 17, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/18/opinion/sometimes-nazi-is-the-right-word.html?hp&rref=opinion 

TEL AVIV — “NAZI” is a short word. It has only two syllables, like “rac-ist” or “kill-er.” “Democracy,” on the other hand, is a long word with lots of syllables that is very tiring to say. It may not be as tiring as saying “freedom of expression” or “social justice,” but still, there is something really exhausting about it.

People in Israel use “Nazi” when they want the most vicious curse possible, and it’s usually directed at someone they perceive as belligerent. It could be a cop, a soldier or an elected official who, in their opinion, is acting like a bully.

Such usage is offensive and infuriating. As the son of Holocaust survivors, I find it particularly rankling. This week the Knesset gave preliminary approval to a bill that would criminalize saying “Nazi” under inappropriate circumstances. The government views the word as a weapon of mass destruction no less lethal than an Iranian nuclear bomb, and so it insists on Israel’s basic right to protect itself from the threat.

Many Israelis think that passing a law against a word is stupid and juvenile; others see it as fascist and anti-democratic. Incidentally, saying “fascist” or “anti-democratic” is also seen as insulting and offensive. And I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to outlaw those words in the future, too.

Imagine a different state of Israel, one very much like our own: This other Israel would also be sunny, with golden beaches, roadblocks in the territories, targeted killings, and rockets hitting the southern towns. The only difference between this new Israel and the current one would be that in the new Hebrew language that would be spoken there, you could say anything except “Nazi,” “fascist” and “anti-democratic.” Wouldn’t that be a better place to live than our current Israel?

And now that we’re exercising our imaginations, let’s picture yet another new Israel — one where the word “Nazi” is permitted but the government genuinely wants a peace accord and its members do not treat the Palestinians like “shrapnel in your butt” — as our economy minister, Naftali Bennett, recently put it — but rather as neighbors seeking freedom and self-determination.

Let’s go one step further: Imagine that in this second new Israel, the government gives serious consideration to African refugees’ appeals rather than locking them up in camps while Knesset members like Danny Danon and Miri Regev call them “a cancer,” or “infiltrators,” and use racial epithets not unlike those my parents were subjected to in that miserable war in which my grandparents were murdered by you-know-who.

Now, hand to heart, which of these alternative Israels would you prefer to live in?

Aha! I knew you’d choose the one that strives for peace and defends human rights regardless of religion, race or gender. How unfortunate, then, that our elected government wants the other one. Its ministers know, of course, that criminalizing the word “Nazi” will require painful sacrifices, such as banning reruns of the Soup Nazi episodes of “Seinfeld.” But they are willing to pay this heavy price.

Many years ago, my father, who had to hide in a damp pit for roughly 600 days during World War II, told me that there were only two lessons to be learned from that war. The first was that the Jewish people, who have suffered so much, must do whatever it takes to be strong so that they never again find themselves at the mercy of others.

The second was that the Jews, who have suffered from racial discrimination and inhumane conduct, must be more careful than any other people to avoid the slightest hint of racism and persecution in their own conduct.

My father, may he rest in peace, tried to live by these sometimes contradictory values throughout his 83-year life.

More than three decades ago, he once found himself at a train station in Norway, where a group of local drunks were harassing two Chinese tourists. The drunks called the tourists “slant eyes” and “yellow dogs.” My father stood between the drunks and the Chinese and demanded that the hooligans leave. In response, he was also showered with curses and threats.

When the Norwegians called him a “kike,” he called them “Nazis.”

What my father did, according to the Knesset members who support the “Nazi” ban, was a criminal act that justifies a prison sentence. And in their Brave New Israel, it’s worth noting, the racist Norwegians would have been well within their rights.


Etgar Keret, a short story writer, is the author of “Suddenly, a Knock on the Door.”

This essay was translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen.

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7) Patients’ Costs Skyrocket; Specialists’ Incomes Soar
JAN. 18, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/health/patients-costs-skyrocket-specialists-incomes-soar.html?hp

CONWAY, Ark. — Kim Little had not thought much about the tiny white spot on the side of her cheek until a physician’s assistant at her dermatologist’s office warned that it might be cancerous. He took a biopsy, returning 15 minutes later to confirm the diagnosis and schedule her for an outpatient procedure at the Arkansas Skin Cancer Center in Little Rock, 30 miles away.

That was the prelude to a daylong medical odyssey several weeks later, through different private offices on the manicured campus at the Baptist Health Medical Center that involved a dermatologist, an anesthesiologist and an ophthalmologist who practices plastic surgery. It generated bills of more than $25,000.

“I felt like I was a hostage,” said Ms. Little, a professor of history at the University of Central Arkansas, who had been told beforehand that she would need just a couple of stitches. “I didn’t have any clue how much they were going to bill. I had no idea it would be so much.”

Ms. Little’s seemingly minor medical problem — she had the least dangerous form of skin cancer — racked up big bills because it involved three doctors from specialties that are among the highest compensated in medicine, and it was done on the grounds of a hospital. Many specialists have become particularly adept at the business of medicine by becoming more entrepreneurial, protecting their turf through aggressive lobbying by their medical societies, and most of all, increasing revenues by offering new procedures — or doing more of lucrative ones.

It does not matter if the procedure is big or small, learned in a decade of training or a weeklong course. In fact, minor procedures typically offer the best return on investment: A cardiac surgeon can perform only a couple of bypass operations a day, but other specialists can perform a dozen procedures in that time span.

That math explains why the incomes of dermatologists, gastroenterologists and oncologists rose 50 percent or more between 1995 and 2012, even when adjusted for inflation, while those for primary care physicians rose only 10 percent and lag far behind, since insurers pay far less for traditional doctoring tasks like listening for a heart murmur or prescribing the right antibiotic.

By 2012, dermatologists — whose incomes were more or less on par with internists in 1985 — had become the fourth-highest earners in American medicine in some surveys, bringing in an average of $471,555, according to the Medical Group Management Association, which tracks doctors’ income, though their workload is one of the lightest.

In addition, salary figures often understate physician earning power since they often do not include revenue from business activities: fees for blood or pathology tests at a lab that the doctor owns or “facility” charges at an ambulatory surgery center where the physician is an investor, for example.

“The high earning in many fields relates mostly to how well they’ve managed to monetize treatment — if you freeze off 18 lesions and bill separately for surgery for each, it can be very lucrative,” said Dr. Steven Schroeder, a professor at the University of California and the chairman of the National Commission on Physician Payment Reform, an initiative funded in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Doctors’ charges — and the incentives they reflect — are a major factor in the nation’s $2.7 trillion medical bill. Payments to doctors in the United States, who make far more than their counterparts in other developed countries, account for 20 percent of American health care expenses, second only to hospital costs.

Specialists earn an average of two and often four times as much as primary care physicians in the United States, a differential that far surpasses that in all other developed countries, according to Miriam Laugesen, a professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. That earnings gap has deleterious effects: Only an estimated 25 percent of new physicians end up in primary care, at the very time that health policy experts say front-line doctors are badly needed, according to Dr. Christine Sinsky, an Iowa internist who studies physician satisfaction. In fact, many pediatricians and general doctors in private practice say they are struggling to survive.

Studies show that more specialists mean more tests and more expensive care. “It may be better to wait and see, but waiting doesn’t make you money,” said Jean Mitchell, a professor of health economics at Georgetown University. “It’s ‘Let me do a little snip of tissue’ and then they get professional, lab and facility fees. Each patient is like an ATM machine.”

For example, the procedure performed on Ms. Little, called Mohs surgery, involves slicing off a skin cancer in layers under local anesthesia, with microscopic pathology performed between each “stage” until the growth has been removed. While it offers clear advantages in certain cases, it is more expensive than simply cutting or freezing off a lesion. (Hospitals seeking to hire a staff dermatologist for Mohs surgery had to offer an average of $586,083 in 2010, even more than for a cardiac surgeon, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.)

Use of the surgery has skyrocketed in the United States — over 400 percent in a little over a decade — to the point that last summer Medicare put it at the top of its “potentially misvalued” list of overused or overpriced procedures. Even the American Academy of Dermatology agrees that the surgery is sometimes used inappropriately. Dr. Brett Coldiron, president-elect of the academy, defended skin doctors as “very cost-efficient” specialists who deal in thousands of diagnoses and called Mohs “a wonderful tool.” He said that his specialty was being unfairly targeted by insurers because of general frustration with medical prices. “Health care reform is a subsidized buffet and if it’s too expensive, you go to the kitchen and shoot one of the cooks,” he said. “Now they’re shooting dermatologists.”

The specialists point to an epidemic, noting there are two million to four million skin cancers diagnosed in the United States each year, with a huge increase in basal cell carcinomas, the type Ms. Little had, which usually do not metastasize. (A small fraction of the cancers are melanomas, a far more serious condition.) But, said Dr. Cary Gross, a cancer epidemiologist at Yale University Medical School, “The real question is: Is there a true epidemic or is there an epidemic of biopsies and treatments that are not needed? I think the answer is both.”

Patient Given No Choice

A fair-skinned redhead who teaches history at the University of Central Arkansas, Ms. Little had gone to a private dermatology practice in Heber Springs, Ark., to check some moles on her arms when the physician’s assistant on duty noticed a whitish bump — like a “tiny fragment of thread” — on her face, she said. Her family practitioner had told her it was just a clogged pore.

A diligent medical consumer, Ms. Little had read up on the Mohs technique (invented by Dr. Frederic Mohs in 1938) before she and her husband arrived for her surgery in November 2012 in a doctors’ office building at Baptist Health Medical Center here. Pressed for time as the end of the semester approached, she asked Dr. Randall Breau, the dermatologist, why the tiny growth needed the specialized surgery, as she had asked the physician’s assistant earlier. They both answered that it was because it was on her eyelid, a delicate area where Mohs surgery is always required; she repeatedly insisted that it was on her cheekbone below her eye.

After the 30-minute removal, the dermatologist told her that she would have to go across the street to the Arkansas Center for Oculoplastic Surgery, another private doctors’ office on the hospital’s campus, to have the wound closed by a plastic surgeon with “a couple of stitches.”

When Ms. Little protested that she did not want a plastic surgeon and did not care about having a tiny scar, the doctor told her she had no choice, she said. The vast majority of Mohs procedures are sewed up by the dermatologist or just bandaged and left to heal. Yet when Ms. Little arrived at the second practice, nurses took her clothes, put in an IV, and introduced her to an anesthesiologist who would sedate her in an operating room.

Sitting in her cozy office recently, Ms. Little, who has a faint scar under her eye on her right cheek, still fumes at the thought. “It was no bigger than many cuts that heal on their own, and it definitely could have been repaired by one doctor, but at that point what was I going to do?” she recalled. “I have an IV in my arm and a hole in my face that Dr. Breau refused to stitch. And the anesthesiologist is standing there with his mask on.”

Her bills included $1,833 for the Mohs surgery, $14,407 for the plastic surgeon, $1,000 for the anesthesiologist, and $8,774 for the hospital charges.

Mohs surgery is preferable when the removal of a skin cancer is complicated or in a sensitive area, because it typically excises less tissue and leaves less of a scar than other treatments and allows dermatologists to see the borders of a growth and be confident that it is removed entirely. The surgery is generally not used for melanomas, which require more extensive cutting.

In an email, Dr. Breau declined to discuss Ms. Little’s case, but noted, “When I make decisions concerning patient care, I have only the patient’s best interests in mind.” He said that he and one partner own the Arkansas Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center and receive no payments from the hospital or the doctors to whom they refer patients. In most cases, he said, he takes care of the wound left by Mohs surgery himself. The plastic surgeon did not respond to requests for comment.

It is often impossible in any one case to determine whether a course of treatment was necessary or cost-effective. Even among doctors there are differences of opinion about optimal treatments. That is partly because the guidelines for when to perform many procedures are often ill-defined or based on the specialists’ experience rather than carefully controlled research.

“Though Mohs surgery is disseminating rapidly, there are very few comparative studies and the evidence is still evolving about when it’s beneficial,” said Dr. Gross, the Yale epidemiologist. “When people are trained to perform a procedure, and believe in it, and equip their offices to do it, they will do it. That’s just human nature.”

The same specialties tend to appear at the top of physician earners: orthopedics, cardiology, anesthesiology, radiology, dermatology, plastic surgery, urology, gastroenterology and ophthalmology. Physicians in those fields typically earn more than $350,000 annually, according to American Medical Group Association, a trade organization. In many specialties, income has risen more than 10 percent since 2011, according to Medscape, a Web company that follows the industry.

Physicians often complain that government and commercial insurance reimbursements for seeing patients are decreasing while their office expenses are going up to deal with mountains of paperwork and demands from insurers. Congress currently is considering a bill that would freeze doctors’ Medicare fees for the next decade. Still, many doctors have found alternative income streams that do not show up on surveys.

Dr. Mitchell of Georgetown University estimates, for example, that many urologists make 50 percent of their income from dealing with patients and the rest from investing in the machines that deliver radiation for prostate cancer or to treat kidney stones. In 2012, urologists had an average income of $416,322, according to Medical Group Management Association data, which often does not include the investment income.

Oncologists benefit from the ability to mark up (and profit from) each dose of chemotherapy they administer in private offices, a practice increased dramatically in the late 1990s. The median compensation for oncologists nearly doubled from 1995 to 2004, to $350,000, according to the M.G.M.A. One study last year attributed 65 percent of the revenue in a typical oncology practice to such payments.

When policy makers reduce one type of payment, some specialists find another. Though orthopedists’ reimbursement from Medicare for performing joint replacements has gone down in the last two decades, the Medscape survey on physician income showed that orthopedists’ average compensation has risen 27 percent since 2011. They are still paid handsomely by many private payers for many minor procedures, and — more important — often own the surgery centers, scanners and physical therapy offices they use.

In a country where top hospital executives typically make more than a million dollars a year, American physicians may feel entitled to high fees, especially because they face costs that their European counterparts do not: Medical school is expensive and new doctors graduate with an average of about $150,000 in debt. Likewise, some specialists face malpractice premiums of over $100,000 a year.

Though medical societies tend to point to the long haul of medical training and the unpredictable hours to justify generous salaries, health economists point out there is often little correlation between compensation and that investment of time. Obstetricians, for example, arguably have the most rigorous schedules but are relatively modest earners. A number of high-income specialties — radiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology and dermatology — are often called the “lifestyle specialties,” because training is more compatible with a home life than some other disciplines and there are fewer emergencies in these fields. Eighty percent of dermatologists see patients 40 hours or fewer each week, according to a 2013 Medscape report, less than the average doctor.

Profitable Dermatology

In America’s for-profit, fee-for-service medical system, dermatology has proved especially profitable because it offers doctors diverse revenue streams — from cosmetic treatments that are fully paid by the patient to medical treatments that are covered by insurance.

Cosmetic dermatology is a big moneymaker in high-income markets like New York and Miami. Botox injections take 15 minutes and cost a minimum of $500; doctors pay about $100 for the amount of medicine needed for a typical session, according to dermatologists. Still, cosmetic work makes up less than 10 percent of all skin procedures, studies show, and their volume tends to fluctuate with the economy.

For medical treatment, many dermatologists have been able to compensate for cutbacks in insurance payments by offering new services and by increasing their patient volume through hiring “physician extenders” — nurse practitioners and physicians’ assistants — to do basic tasks like biopsies and chemical peels. Whether the physician or the nurse wields the scalpel, the charge is generally the same.

The dermatology office where Ms. Little’s initial biopsy was performed is one of six satellite offices operated by the Arkansas Skin Cancer and Dermatology Center. They are often staffed by physician assistants, who refer patients to the dermatologists in Little Rock for Mohs surgery. The dermatologists also do their own pathology, meaning that they can sometimes bill extra for that service. (That also means there is no independent confirmation of a cancer diagnosis.)

With such practices, even minor dermatology procedures can lead to big bills. When Ashley Lanning, 28, of Oregon was seen by a nurse practitioner for a mole removal, the tab came to $915.46 — “way more than I’d anticipated,” she said. The growth was scraped off with a scalpel and no stitches were required. In New York last year, Kyle Snow Schwartz, 26, went to a dermatologist at New York University Medical Center to have a wart removed from his foot. The visit took five minutes, including a chat about his plans to teach English in Vietnam and a squirt of liquid nitrogen on the growth. The invoice from the billing office: $500.

Both patients have insurance with high deductibles, so they faced large out-of-pocket payments.

In contrast, in Germany where private doctors’ allowable charges are set by the government, dermatologists are paid $30 for a whole body skin check, $40 for a standard biopsy and $20 for a pathology exam, said Dr. Matthias Augustin, who studies the practice of dermatology at the University Medical Center of Hamburg-Eppendorf. There is far less use of Mohs surgery in Germany than in the United States, he said. Most patients with a possible skin cancer get a biopsy and come back a few days later for full removal if it is positive.

Harris Williams and Company, a consulting firm, estimates the $10.1 billion dermatology market in the United States will grow to over $13 billion by 2017, in part because of an aging population. The Affordable Care Act requires 100 percent coverage for preventive dermatology screening sessions for seniors, which will inevitably lead to more biopsies and treatment. With more doctors being trained in Mohs surgery — generally an extra year of training, though it is not required — it has become a go-to treatment. Dr. Coldiron, who is a past president of the American College of Mohs’ Surgery, said it was “not generally overvalued,” adding that the cure rate after a single treatment was somewhat higher than with other techniques, avoiding the need for a second procedure. He said that Mohs typically cost only 30 percent more than the standard procedure. But Healthcare Blue Book, which tracks pricing in the private market, found that payments by insurers for Mohs surgery were typically twice as high.

Dr. Coldiron acknowledged that Mohs was not appropriate for “every little bitty thing.” Indeed, to stem the use of Mohs surgery where cheaper procedures would suffice, the American Academy of Dermatology in 2012 issued “appropriateness” guidelines about what kinds of cancers should be treated with the technique — such as those on the eyelids or nose, or those that were large or deep.

At the annual meeting of the Pacific Dermatology Association this fall, Dr. Sumaira Aasi, a Stanford dermatologist, told her colleagues that Medicare would come after dermatologists if those guidelines were not heeded, noting: “We might be killing the goose that laid the golden egg ourselves.”

The Medical Lobby

More than 750 lobbyists represent groups of health professionals in Washington, pushing back on any effort to limit their incomes. The biggest spenders on lobbying — $80 million annually by health professionals — closely align with the highest-paid specialties.

Medicare’s valuation of physicians’ services is based on a complex algorithm that is intended to take into account the time and skill required to perform a medical task, with an adjustment made for a specialty’s malpractice rates. Many insurers follow Medicare’s lead, often paying anywhere from 80 percent to 200 percent of the Medicare fee. But “time and skill” are easier to quantify for procedures than continuing patient management. And, experts say, Medicare has not reduced payments for many procedures that now take far less time than when they were invented, because of improvements in efficiency or technology.

But renegotiating payments involves a highly contentious process that plays out behind closed doors at the American Medical Association’s Relative Value Scale Update Committee, which consists of doctors representing 26 medical disciplines who advise Medicare. In dermatology trade journals, Dr. Coldiron, who has served on the committee, describes it like this: “Everybody sits around a table and tries to strip money away from another specialty.” It’s like “26 sharks in a tank with nothing to eat but each other.”

Primary care doctors — who make up only 12 percent of physicians in practice — say they have little clout, with at most five representatives on the panel. “That committee keeps the perverse incentives in place,” said Brian Crownover, a family physician from Boise, Idaho.

Indeed, less than two years ago, Dr. Coldiron predicted that reimbursement for Mohs surgery could drop 20 percent. But that did not happen. When Medicare placed Mohs on its list of potentially misvalued procedures last summer, it was deluged with protests from dermatologists, and the A.M.A. Update Committee declared Mohs surgery worthwhile.This year, Medicare reimbursement will drop only about 2 percent to about $1,000 for a typical procedure. (In recent years, the American Academy of Dermatology Association — the dermatology academy’s political action committee — has also fought proposed Medicare requirements that dermatologists provide preoperative pictures of lesions they had treated with Mohs surgery, and it has pushed states to classify Botox injections as well as skin procedures using lasers as “the practice of medicine,” to prevent spas from offering such services.)

Critics say the robust revenues from doing procedures has led to overuse — colonoscopies by gastroenterologists, steroid injections by pain specialists and M.R.I. scans by orthopedists, to name a few. Dr. Thomas Balestreri, a recently retired anesthesiologist from Washington State, said in an interview that to increase revenue, some fellow specialists used an ultrasound to guide placement of a nerve block when it was not really needed.

But in some cases dollars from procedures keep practices afloat, because insurers pay so little for time with patients. Dr. Stephen Asher, a neurologist in Boise, Idaho, said his 50 to 60 hours a week seeing patients accounts for only about 10 percent of his income. To cover office expenses he relies on revenue from performing a few procedures — Botox injections for eye movement disorders and muscle conduction studies — as well as from an M.R.I. scanner that he co-owns with a group of orthopedists and neurologists.

Outrage at Charges

Ms. Little left Baptist Health Medical Center with a tiny skin flap and more than two dozen stitches. For five days she said she was “hung over” from the IV sedation that she had not wanted — a problem because she drives 60 miles on rural Arkansas roads to her university each day.

She spent months arguing down her bills, which were finally reduced: About $1,400 for the Mohs surgeon, $765 for the anesthesiologist, $1,375 for the ophthalmological plastic surgeon, plus $1,050 in operating-room charges from the hospital.

For her follow-up, she refused to return to Baptist Health and went instead to the University of Arkansas Medical Center, where a dermatologist told her she likely had not needed such an extensive procedure. But that was hard to judge, since the records forwarded from Baptist did not include the photo that was taken of the initial lesion.

And she was outraged as she wrote checks for the nearly $3,000 she owed to the doctors under the terms of her insurance. “It was like, ‘Take out your purse, we’re robbing you,’ ” she said.

Paying Till It Hurts

Articles in this series are examining the high costs of common medical encounters and how they contribute to health care spending in the United States.

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8) When Children Become Criminals
JAN. 19, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/opinion/when-children-become-criminals.html?hp&rref=opinion

New York is one of two states, the other being North Carolina, in which 16-year-olds are automatically tried as adults. This is the case despite overwhelming evidence that sending children into adult courts, rather than the juvenile justice system, needlessly destroys lives and further endangers the public by turning nonviolent youngsters into hardened criminals.

It is past time for New York to bring itself in line with the rest of the country. Gov. Andrew Cuomo took the first step in that direction this month when he announced that he would name a commission and order it to develop a plan by the end of the year for raising the age for adult criminal prosecution. The commission does not need to reinvent the wheel. But it will need to recommend changes in laws and procedures, and in this it can profit from studying
Connecticut, which recently carried out raise-the-age legislation of its own.

The New York law came about in 1962, when the state created the juvenile justice system under the Family Court Act. At the time, lawmakers were unable to agree on the age at which offenders should be declared adults; they set it temporarily at 16, pending further hearings. But as often happens with public policy, inertia set in and “temporary” became permanent.

The result is that New York channels nearly 40,000 adolescents a year into the criminal courts — most of them charged with nonviolent crimes like fare-beating in the subways, marijuana possession and shoplifting. The consequences have been especially disastrous for black and Latino young people, who are overrepresented among those arrested and disproportionately at risk of having their lives ruined by encounters with the criminal justice system.

Much has been learned since the 1960s. Federally financed studies, for instance, have shown that minors prosecuted as adults commit more violent crimes later on and are more likely to become career criminals than those sent through juvenile courts, where they receive counseling and family support. Beyond that, neurological science has shown that adolescents are less able to assess risks and make the kinds of mature decisions that would keep them out of trouble.

Connecticut wisely adopted a strategy based on rehabilitation, not lockups, reducing arrests and saving the state money. It raised the age of adult criminal prosecution from 16 to 18 in 2007; the change was phased in, taking full effect in 2012. As preparation, the Legislature created a council of experts from law enforcement, mental health and other fields to coordinate policy changes. The courts stopped taking cases involving nonthreatening adolescent misbehavior, like possession of tobacco. The state invested in counseling and intervention programs that allow young people to make amends for minor misdeeds without going to court.

Some good ideas are already in circulation in New York, the result of an earlier commission study. Some of them have been incorporated into a bill submitted to the Legislature by New York State’s chief judge, Jonathan Lippman, calling for a special court for 16- and 17-year-olds charged with nonviolent crimes. The new commission may end up supporting a more comprehensive approach in which all but the most serious offenses by anyone under the age of 18 would be handled in juvenile court. In any case, New York is way overdue for change.

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9) Juveniles Facing Lifelong Terms Despite Rulings
JAN. 19, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/us/juveniles-facing-lifelong-terms-despite-rulings.html?hp
 
Description: http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/01/20/us/jp-JUVENILE-1/jp-JUVENILE-1-master675.jpg
Launch media viewer
Shimeek Gridine’s grandmother Wonona Graham, left, and mother, Charlett Gridine. Shimeek was sentenced to 70 years in prison without parole for a crime he committed when he was 14. Sarah Beth Glicksteen for The New York Times


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In decisions widely hailed as milestones, the United States Supreme Court in 2010 and 2012 acted to curtail the use of mandatory life sentences for juveniles, accepting the argument that children, even those who are convicted of murder, are less culpable than adults and usually deserve a chance at redemption.

But most states have taken half measures, at best, to carry out the rulings, which could affect more than 2,000 current inmates and countless more in years to come, according to many youth advocates and legal experts.

“States are going through the motions of compliance,” said Cara H. Drinan, an associate professor of law at the Catholic University of America, “but in an anemic or hyper-technical way that flouts the spirit of the decisions.”

Lawsuits now before Florida’s highest court are among many across the country that demand more robust changes in juvenile justice. One of the Florida suits accuses the state of skirting the ban on life without parole in nonhomicide cases by meting out sentences so staggering that they amount to the same thing.

Description: http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/01/20/us/jp-JUVENILE-3/jp-JUVENILE-3-master180.jpg
Launch media viewer Shimeek shot at a man he was trying to rob, and was sentenced to 70 years without parole.

Other suits, such as one argued last week before the Illinois Supreme Court, ask for new sentencing hearings, at least, for inmates who received automatic life terms for murder before 2012 — a retroactive application that several states have resisted.

The plaintiff in one of the Florida lawsuits, Shimeek Gridine, was 14 when he and a 12-year-old partner made a clumsy attempt to rob a man in 2009 here in Jacksonville. As the disbelieving victim turned away, Shimeek fired a shotgun, pelting the side of the man’s head and shoulder.

The man was not seriously wounded, but Shimeek was prosecuted as an adult. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder and robbery, hoping for leniency as a young offender with no record of violence. The judge called his conduct “heinous” and sentenced him to 70 years without parole.

Under Florida law, he cannot be released until he turns 77, at least, several years beyond the life expectancy for a black man his age, noted his public defender, who called the sentence “de facto life without parole”
in an appeal to Florida’s high court.

“They sentenced him to death, that’s how I see it,” Shimeek’s grandmother Wonona Graham said.

The Supreme Court decisions built on a 2005 ruling that banned the death penalty for juvenile offenders as cruel and unusual punishment, stating that offenders younger than 18 must be treated differently from adults.

The 2010 decision,
Graham v. Florida, forbade sentences of life without parole for juveniles not convicted of murder and said offenders must be offered a “meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.” The ruling applied to those who had been previously sentenced.

Cases like Shimeek’s aim to show that sentences of 70 years, 90 years or more violate that decision. Florida’s defense was that Shimeek’s sentence was not literally “life without parole” and that the life span of a young inmate could not be predicted.

Probably no more than 200 prisoners were affected nationally by the 2010 decision, and they were concentrated in Florida. So far, of 115 inmates in the state who had been sentenced to life for nonhomicide convictions, 75 have had new hearings, according to the Youth Defense Institute at the Barry University School of Law in Orlando. In 30 cases, the new sentences have been for 50 years or more. One inmate who had been convicted of gun robbery and rape has received consecutive sentences totaling 170 years.

In its 2012 decision,
Miller v. Alabama, the Supreme Court declared that juveniles convicted of murder may not automatically be given life sentences. Life terms remain a possibility, but judges and juries must tailor the punishment to individual circumstances and consider mitigating factors.

The Supreme Court did not make it clear whether the 2012 ruling applied retroactively, and state courts have been divided, suggesting that this issue, as well as the question of de facto life sentences, may eventually return to the Supreme Court.

Advocates for victims have argued strongly against revisiting pre-2012 murder sentences or holding parole hearings for the convicts, saying it would inflict new suffering on the victims’ families.

Pennsylvania has the most inmates serving automatic life sentences for murders committed when they were juveniles: more than 450, according to the
Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia. In October, the State Supreme Court found that the Miller ruling did not apply to these prior murder convictions, creating what the law center, a private advocacy group, called an “appallingly unjust situation” with radically different punishments depending on the timing of the trial.

Description: http://static01.nyt.com/images/2014/01/20/us/jp-JUVENILE-2/jp-JUVENILE-2-master180.jpg
Launch media viewer The man shot by Shimeek.

Likewise, courts in Louisiana, with about 230 inmates serving mandatory life sentences for juvenile murders, refused to make the law retroactive. In Florida, with 198 such inmates, the issue is under consideration by the State Supreme Court, and on Wednesday it was argued before the top court of Illinois, where 100 inmates could be affected.

Misgivings about the federal Supreme Court decisions and efforts to restrict their application have come from some victim groups and legal scholars around the country.

“The Supreme Court has seriously overgeneralized about under-18 offenders,” said Kent S. Scheidegger, the legal director of the
Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, a conservative group in Sacramento, Calif. “There are some under 18 who are thoroughly incorrigible criminals.”

Some legal experts who are otherwise sympathetic have suggested that the Supreme Court overreached, with decisions that “represent a dramatic judicial challenge to legislative authority,” according to
a new article in the Missouri Law Review by Frank O. Bowman III of the University of Missouri School of Law.

Among the handful of states with large numbers of juvenile offenders serving life terms, California is singled out by advocates for acting in the spirit of the Supreme Court rules.

“California has led the way in scaling back some of the extreme sentencing policies it imposed on children,” said Jody Kent Lavy, the director of the
Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, which has campaigned against juvenile life sentences and called on states to reconsider mandatory terms dispensed before the Miller ruling. Too many states, she said, are “reacting with knee-jerk, narrow efforts at compliance.”

California is allowing juvenile offenders who were condemned to life without parole to seek a resentencing hearing. The State Supreme Court also addressed the issue of de facto life sentences, voiding a 110-year sentence that had been imposed for attempted murder.

Whether they alter past sentences or not, some states have adapted by imposing minimum mandatory terms for juvenile murderers of 25 or 35 years before parole can even be considered — far more flexible than mandatory life, but an approach that some experts say still fails to consider individual circumstances.

As Ms. Drinan of Catholic University wrote in
a coming article in the Washington University Law Review, largely ignored is the mandate to offer young inmates a chance to “demonstrate growth and maturity,” raising their chances of eventual release.

To give young offenders a real chance to mature and prepare for life outside prison, Ms. Drinan said, “states must overhaul juvenile incarceration altogether,” rather than letting them languish for decades in adult prisons.

Shimeek Gridine, meanwhile, is pursuing a high school equivalency diploma in prison while awaiting a decision by the Florida Supreme Court that could alter his bleak prospects.

He has a supportive family: A dozen relatives, including his mother and grandparents and several aunts and uncles, testified at his sentencing in 2010, urging clemency for a child who played Pop Warner football and talked of becoming a merchant seaman, like his grandfather.

But the judge said the fact that Shimeek had a good family, and decent grades, only underscored that the boy knew right from wrong, and he issued a sentence 30 years longer than even the prosecution had asked for.

Now Florida’s top court is pondering whether his sentence violates the federal Constitution.

“A 70-year sentence imposed upon a 14-year-old is just as cruel and unusual as a sentence of life without parole,” Shimeek’s public defender, Gail Anderson, argued before the Florida court in September. “Mr. Gridine will most likely die in prison.”

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B. EVENTS AND ACTIONS
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THIS BOY IS JUST SO STRANGE
a free concert of original songs

featuring Tommi Avicolli Mecca, Joel Mark and Diana Hartman

Saturday Feb. 1 at 8pm and Sunday Feb. 2 at 3pm
Eric Quezada Center, 518 Valencia/16th

Says Tommi, who wrote the songs and monologues in the show:

"This boy is just so strange" is something a nun said (in a heavy South Philly accent of course) to my Mama because I draped my sweater over my shoulder "like a girl" (gender non-conformity was not something the brides of jesus understood), it's also the name of my latest musical excursion, which could be called "how I survived the gender binary system" or Tommi, the sissy rock opera.

And to paraphrase Liza, it's Tommi with an "i" not Tommi with a "y."

From a working-class Italian neighborhood in South Philly and the wild and wonderful gay liberation movement of the early 70s to the very gay Castro in San Francisco in the 90s, this musical winds around a lifetime and comes out somewhere in the social construct called the present.

They say that southern Italians (both sides of the family are from il mezzogiorno) are born with an opera libretto not a silver spoon. I've been singing since I can remember, sometimes to the horror of neighbors and family, especially after I got a guitar for graduation and struggled to learn chords.

Featuring Joel Mark on acoustic bass and Diana Hartman on vocals, she also plays various characters. Funded by a grant from Faetopia. FREE, but donations gladly accepted and shared among the performers. ALSO RUNS SUNDAY FEB. 2 at 3pm.

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New Trial Date for Beale AFB Anti-Drone Protestors Arrested April 2013

"Wheatland 4", Anti-Drone Protestors to Put Drone Warfare on Trial
    (Defendants:  Martha Hubert, Robin Ryan, Bill Doub and Toby Blome)

When:   February 3,    (Original date was Jan. 13)
Where:   Sacramento, U.S. Courthouse, 50l  I St.
8:00-9:00 am:   Pre-trial Anti-Drone Rally, and press conference outside the courthouse
9:00am:  Trial begins. 

In April, 2013, 5 activists were arrested on April 30, 2013, while attempting to deliver a letter to the Commander at Beale AFB during a nonviolent protest of drone warfare.  4 of the defendants face trespassing charges and a maximum of 6 months in jail.  Barry Binks, the 5th arrestee had his charges dropped due to his veteran status.  Please attend the pre-trial rally and join the trial to stand in unity with us against the brutality and illegality of drone warfare.

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C. SPECIAL APPEALS AND
ONGOING CAMPAIGNS


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Sireen Khudairy Appeal Update.

Sireen Khudairy was arrested again at 4am on Tuesday 7th January 2014. According to reports she has been taken to Huwwara military point. When the Israeli army took her from her home they didn't show any papers to her or the person she was with.

This follows eight months of harassment of this 24-year-old Palestinian woman who is a teacher, activist and supporter of the non-violent action against the Israeli occupation. She was previously imprisoned from May to July 2013, and has been subjected to frequent harassment ever since. See further details at:

http://freesireen.wordpress.com

Please help by contacting your Embassies urgently to demand her release and spread her appeal widely. Follow updates on:

https://www.facebook.com/FreeSireenKhudiri?ref=hl

Please contact us to let us know any action you take. We will pass this information on to her family. Thanks for your solidarity and support.  

Steven Katsineris, January 2014
 
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U.S. Court of Appeals Rules Against Lorenzo Johnson’s
New Legal Challenge to His Frame-up Conviction!
Demand the PA Attorney General Dismiss the Charges!
Free Lorenzo Johnson, Now!

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit denied Lorenzo Johnson’s motion to file a Second Habeas Corpus Petition. The order contained the outrageous declaration that Johnson hadn’t made a “prima facie case” that he had new evidence of his innocence. This not only puts a legal obstacle in Johnson’s path as his fight for freedom makes its way (again) through the state and federal courts—but it undermines the newly filed Pennsylvania state appeal that is pending in the Court of Common Pleas.

Stripped of  “legalese,” the court’s October 15, 2013 order says Johnson’s new evidence was not brought into court soon enough—although it was the prosecution and police who withheld evidence and coerced witnesses into lying or not coming forward with the truth! This, despite over fifteen years and rounds of legal battles to uncover the evidence of government misconduct. This is a set-back for Lorenzo Johnson’s renewed fight for his freedom, but Johnson is even more determined as his PA state court appeal continues.

Increased public support and protest is needed. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson’s freedom is not only a fight for this courageous man and family. The fight for Lorenzo Johnson is also a fight for all the innocent others who have been framed and are sitting in the slow death of prison. The PA Attorney General is directly pursuing the charges against Lorenzo, despite the evidence of his innocence and the corruption of the police. Free Lorenzo Johnson, Now!

—Rachel Wolkenstein, Esq.
   October 25, 2013

For more on the federal court and PA state court legal filings.
Hear Mumia’s latest commentary, “Cat Cries”
Go to: www.FreeLorenzoJohnson.org for more information, to sign the petition, and how to help.
 
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PUSH CHELSEA'S JAILERS TO RESPECT HER IDENTITY
Call and write Ft Leavenworth today and tell them to honor Manning's wishes around her name and gender:
Description: F PRIDEChelsea's supporters were awarded the title “absolutely fabulous overall contingent” at the San Francisco Pride Parade
Call: (913) 758-3600


Write to:
Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027

Private Manning has been an icon both for the government transparency movement and LGBTQ activists because of her fearlessness and acts of conscience. Now, as she begins serving her sentence, Chelsea has asked for help with legal appeals, family visits, education, and support for undergoing gender transition. The latter is a decision she’s made following years of experiencing gender dysphoria and examining her options. At a difficult time in her life, she joined the military out of hope–the hope that she could use her service to save lives, and also the hope that it would help to suppress her feelings of gender dysphoria. But after serving time in Iraq, Private Manning realized what mattered to her most was the truth, personal as well as political, even when it proved challenging.

Now she wants the Fort Leavenworth military prison to allow her access to hormone replacement therapy which she has offered to pay for herself, as she pursues the process to have her name legally changed to ‘Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.’

To encourage the prison to honor her transgender identity, we’re calling on progressive supporters and allies to contact Fort Leavenworth officials demanding they acknowledge her requested name change immediately. Currently, prison officials are not required to respect Chelsea’s identity, and can even refuse to deliver mail addressed to the name ‘Chelsea Manning.’ However, it’s within prison administrators’ power to begin using the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ now, in advance of the legal name change which will most likely be approved sometime next year. It’s also up to these officials to approve Private Manning’s request for hormone therapy.
Call: (913) 758-3600


Write to:
Col. Sioban Ledwith, Commander
U.S. Detention Barracks
1301 N Warehouse Rd
Ft. Leavenworth KS 66027

Tell them: “Transgender rights are human rights! Respect Private Manning’s identity by acknowledging the name ‘Chelsea Manning’ whenever possible, including in mail addressed to her, and by allowing her access to appropriate medical treatment for gender dysphoria, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT).”

While openly transgender individuals are allowed to serve in many other militaries around the world, the US military continues to deny their existence. Now, by speaking up for Chelsea’s right to treatment, you can support one brave whistleblower in her personal struggle, and help set an important benchmark for the rights of transgender individuals everywhere. (Remember that letters written with focus and a respectful tone are more likely to be effective.) Feel free to copy this sample letter.

Earlier this year, the Private Manning Support Network won the title of most “absolutely fabulous overall contingent” at the San Francisco Pride Parade, the largest celebration of its kind for LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning) people nationwide. Over one thousand people marched for Private Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning in that parade, to show LGBTQ community pride for the Iraq War’s most well-known whistleblower.

Help us continue to cover 100%
of Pvt. Manning's legal fees!
Donate today.
https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38591

COURAGE TO RESIST
http://couragetoresist.org
484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610
510-488-3559
 

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Kimberly Rivera
  • Description: rint
Description: https://images-blogger-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.couragetoresist.org%2Fimages%2Fstories%2Fresisters%2Fkimandmario-250.jpg&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*495 supporters from around the world write letters in support of clemency application
By James Branum and Courage to Resist. November 4, 2013
Fort Carson, Colorado – Imprisoned war resister PFC Kimberly Rivera has submitted a clemency application seeking a reduction by 45 days in the 10 month prison sentence she received for seeking asylum in Canada rather return to her unit in Iraq.

The request for clemency was based on humanitarian reasons due to pregnancy. Unless clemency is granted, Private First Class Kimberly Rivera will be forced to give birth in prison and then immediately relinquish custody of her son while she continues to serve the remainder of her sentence.

Unfortunately military regulations provide no provisions for her to be able to breastfeed her infant son while she is in prison.
Fort Carson Senior Commander Brigadier General Michael A. Bills will be making a decision on PFC Rivera’s clemency request in the coming weeks.
PFC Rivera’s case made international news when she was the first female US soldier in the current era to flee to Canada for reasons of conscience. After a protracted struggle through the Canadian legal system, she was deported back to the United States in September 2012. She was then immediately arrested and sent back to the Army to stand trial.
Description: https://images-blogger-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.couragetoresist.org%2Fimages%2Fstories%2Fcanada%2Frivera-lg.jpg&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*In an interview with Courage to Resist  on the eve of her court-martial, Rivera said, “When I saw the little girl [in Iraq] shaking in fear, in fear of me, because of my uniform, I couldn’t fathom what she had been through and all I saw was my little girl and I just wanted to hold her and comfort her. But I knew I couldn’t. It broke my heart. I am against hurting anyone… I would harm myself first. I felt this also made me a liability to my unit and I could not let me be a reason for anyone to be harmed—so I left... Even though I did not fill out the official application to obtain conscientious objector status, I consider myself a conscientious objector to all war.”
On April 29, 2013, PFC Rivera pled to charges of desertion. She was sentenced by the military judge to fourteen months in prison, loss of rank and pay, and a dishonorable discharge; thanks to a pre-trial agreement her sentence was reduced to an actual sentence to ten months of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge.
Kimberly Rivera’s request for clemency was accompanied by 495 letters of support, written by family members, friends, as well as members of Amnesty International from 19 countries.
“We have many organizations to thank for the outpouring of support for Kimberly Rivera, including Amnesty International, Courage to Resist, the War Resisters Support Campaign of Canada, Veterans for Peace and Coffee Strong,” said James M. Branum, civilian defense attorney for PFC Rivera. “We also want to recognize the tireless efforts of local supporters in Colorado Springs and San Diego who have taken the time to visit Kim in prison as well as to provide important support to Kim’s family in her absence.”
While the official clemency request is now complete, supporters of PFC Rivera are still encouraged to continue to speak out on her behalf. Letters in support of PFC Rivera’s clemency request can be sent directly to:
Brigadier General Michael A. Bills
c/o Fort Carson Public Affairs Office
1626 Ellis Street
Suite 200, Building 1118
Fort Carson, CO 80913
(fax: 1-719-526-1021)
Supporters are also encouraged to sign an online petition posted at:
Description: https://images-blogger-opensocial.googleusercontent.com/gadgets/proxy?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.couragetoresist.org%2Fimages%2Fstories%2Fcanada%2Fcanada-rivera550.jpg&container=blogger&gadget=a&rewriteMime=image%2F*Photos: Top-Kimberly with husband Mario during her court martial. Middle-Kimberly in Canada prior to being deported. Bottom-Courage to Resist rallies outside Canadian Consulate, San Francisco CA, prior to Kimberly's forced return.
Initial press release by The Center for Conscience in Action, an Oklahoma City-based organization dedicated to the intersection of peace, conscience and direct action. CCA’s Legal Support Project provides low and no cost legal representation to military service members seeking discharge on the grounds of conscience.
For more information or to schedule an interview about this subject, please contact James M. Branum, lead defense counsel for PFC Rivera, at 405-494-0562 or girightslawyer(at)gmail(dot)com. Consolidated Brig Miramar generally forbids inmates from doing interviews with the press, but you are welcome to see if an exception can be made by contacting the Brig Public Affairs office at 858-577-7071.
Additional case updates will be posted at couragetoresist.org and freekimberlyrivera.org.


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 SAVE CCSF!














Posted on August 25, 2013
Description: nthontyMataforCCSFGuardsman
Cartoon by Anthonty Mata for CCSF Guardsman

DOE CAMPAIGN
We are working to ensure that the ACCJC’s authority is not renewed by the Department of Education this December when they are up for their 5-year renewal. Our campaign made it possible for over 50 Third Party Comments to be sent to the DOE re: the ACCJC. Our next step in this campaign is to send a delegation from CCSF to Washington, D.C. to give oral comments at the hearing on December 12th. We expect to have an array of forces aligned on the other side who have much more money and resources than we do.
So please support this effort to get ACCJC authority revoked!

LEGAL CAMPAIGN
Save CCSF members have been meeting with Attorney Dan Siegel since last May to explore legal avenues to fight the ACCJC. After much consideration, and consultation with AFT 2121’s attorney as well as the SF City Attorney’s office, Dan has come up with a legal strategy that is complimentary to what is already being pursued. In fact, AFT 2121’s attorney is encouraging us to go forward.
The total costs of pursuing this (depositions, etc.) will be substantially more than $15,000. However, Dan is willing to do it for a fixed fee of $15,000. He will not expect a retainer, i.e. payment in advance, but we should start payments ASAP. If we win the ACCJC will have to pay our costs.

PLEASE HELP BOTH OF THESE IMPORTANT EFFORTS!
Checks can be made out to Save CCSF Coalition with “legal” in the memo line and sent to:
Save CCSF Coalition
2132 Prince St.
Berkeley, CA 94705
Or you may donate online:  http://www.gofundme.com/4841ns

http://www.saveccsf.org/
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16 Years in Solitary Confinement Is Like a "Living Tomb"
American Civil Liberties Union petition to end long-term solitary confinement:
California Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard: We stand with the prisoners on hunger strike. We urge you to comply with the US Commission on Safety and Abuse in America’s Prisons 2006 recommendations regarding an end to long-term solitary confinement.
Sign the petition:
https://www.aclu.org/secure/ca-hunger-strike?emsrc=Nat_Appeal_AutologinEnabled&emissue=criminal_justice&emtype=petition&ms=eml_130719_acluaction_cahungerstrike&af=k%2FxKX1cIRdoonPVmvnAfAit8jzOCulLOnCX4AAFljff%2B%2BVOdOHNe6CKwl7glWQSjSakzXt53zF%2FodPf00T3rRHlglO3tjEA6DcMSLJRlTbfVBHAizX6uOxoSy5%2FbP93EBFj5xi6Lwm3RWHjmDOZDARHLBSl1rqTr07kLhONZrnU1UIIgPs0P%2FXQ%2BJL3reyE8%2BoiI1nlfPZPBVhbfYxUzMQ%3D%3D&etname=130719+CA+prisoners+hunger+strike&etjid=946739
In California, hundreds of prisoners have been held in solitary for more than a decade – some for infractions as trivial as reading Machiavelli's "The Prince."

Gabriel Reyes describes the pain of being isolated for at least 22 hours a day for the last 16 years:

“Unless you have lived it, you cannot imagine what it feels like to be by yourself, between four cold walls, with little concept of time…. It is a living tomb …’ I have not been allowed physical contact with any of my loved ones since 1995…I feel helpless and hopeless. In short, I am being psychologically tortured.”

That’s why over 30,000 prisoners in California began a hunger strike – the biggest the state has ever seen. They’re refusing food to protest prisoners being held for decades in solitary and to push for other changes to improve their basic conditions.

California Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard has tried to dismiss the strikers and refuses to negotiate, but the media pressure is building through the strike. If tens of thousands of us take action, we can help keep this issue in the spotlight so that Secretary Beard can’t ignore the inhumane treatment of prisoners.

Sign the petition urging Corrections Secretary Beard to end the use of long-term solitary confinement.

Solitary is such an extreme form of punishment that a United Nations torture rapporteur called for an international ban on the practice except in rare occasions. Here’s why:

The majority of the 80,000 people held in solitary in this country are severely mentally ill or because of a minor infraction (it’s a myth that it’s only for violent prisoners)
Even for people with stable mental health, solitary causes severe psychological reactions, often leading people to attempt suicide
It jeopardizes public safety because prisoners held in solitary have a harder time reintegrating into society.

And to add insult to injury, the hunger strikers are now facing retaliation – their lawyers are being restricted from visiting and the strikers are being punished. But the media continues to write about the hunger strike and we can help keep the pressure on Secretary Beard by signing this petition.

Sign the petition urging Corrections Secretary Beard to end the use of long-term solitary confinement.

Our criminal justice system should keep communities safe and treat people fairly. The use of solitary confinement undermines both of these goals – but little by little, we can help put a stop to such cruelty.

Thank you,
Anthony for the ACLU Action team
P.S. The hunger strikers have developed five core demands to address their basic conditions, the main one being an end to long-term solitary confinement. They are:

-End group punishment – prisoners say that officials often punish groups to address individual rule violations

-Abolish the debriefing policy, which is often demanded in return for better food or release from solitary

-End long-term solitary confinement

-Provide adequate and nutritious food

-Expand or provide constructive programming and privileges for indefinite SHU inmates

Sources
“Solitary - and anger - in California's prisons.” Los Angeles Times July 13, 2013
“Pelican Bay Prison Hunger-Strikers' Stories: Gabriel Reyes.” TruthOut July 9, 2013
“Solitary confinement should be banned in most cases, UN expert says.” UN News October 18, 2011
"Stop Solitary - Two Pager" ACLU.org




What you Didn't know about NYPD's Stop and Frisk program !
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rfJHx0Gj6ys#at=990

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Egypt: The Next President -- a little Egyptian boy speaks his remarkable mind!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeDm2PrNV1I

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Wealth Inequality in America

[This is a must see to believe video...bw]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=QPKKQnijnsM

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Read the transcription of hero Bradley Manning's 35-page statement explaining why he leaked "state secrets" to WikiLeaks.

March 1, 2013

Alternet

The statement was read by Pfc. Bradley Manning at a providence inquiry for his formal plea of guilty to one specification as charged and nine specifications for lesser included offenses. He pled not guilty to 12 other specifications. This rush transcript was taken by journalist Alexa O'Brien at Thursday's pretrial hearing and first appeared on Salon.com.

http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/bradley-mannings-surprising-statement-court-details-why-he-made-his-historic?akid=10129.229473.UZvQfK&rd=1&src=newsletter802922&t=7

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You Have the Right to Remain Silent: NLG Guide to Law Enforcement Encounters

Posted 1 day ago on July 27, 2012, 10:28 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Occupy Wall Street is a nonviolent movement for social and economic justice, but in recent days disturbing reports have emerged of Occupy-affiliated activists being targeted by US law enforcement, including agents from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security. To help ensure Occupiers and allied activists know their rights when encountering law enforcement, we are publishing in full the National Lawyers Guild's booklet: You Have the Right to Remain Silent. The NLG provides invaluable support to the Occupy movement and other activists – please click here to support the NLG.

We strongly encourage all Occupiers to read and share the information provided below. We also recommend you enter the NLG's national hotline number (888-654-3265) into your cellphone (if you have one) and keep a copy handy. This information is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact the NLG or a criminal defense attorney immediately if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent: A Know Your Rights Guide for Law Enforcement Encounters

What Rights Do I Have?

Whether or not you're a citizen, you have rights under the United States Constitution. The Fifth Amendment gives every person the right to remain silent: not to answer questions asked by a police officer or government agent. The Fourth Amendment restricts the government's power to enter and search your home or workplace, although there are many exceptions and new laws have expanded the government's power to conduct surveillance. The First Amendment protects your right to speak freely and to advocate for social change. However, if you are a non-citizen, the Department of Homeland Security may target you based on your political activities.

Standing Up For Free Speech

The government's crusade against politically-active individuals is intended to disrupt and suppress the exercise of time-honored free speech activities, such as boycotts, protests, grassroots organizing and solidarity work. Remember that you have the right to stand up to the intimidation tactics of FBI agents and other law enforcement officials who, with political motives, are targeting organizing and free speech activities. Informed resistance to these tactics and steadfast defense of your and others' rights can bring positive results. Each person who takes a courageous stand makes future resistance to government oppression easier for all. The National Lawyers Guild has a long tradition of standing up to government repression. The organization itself was labeled a "subversive" group during the McCarthy Era and was subject to FBI surveillance and infiltration for many years. Guild attorneys have defended FBI-targeted members of the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and the Puerto Rican independence movement. The NLG exposed FBI surveillance, infiltration and disruption tactics that were detailed during the 1975-76 COINTELPRO hearings. In 1989 the NLG prevailed in a lawsuit on behalf of several activist organizations, including the Guild, that forced the FBI to expose the extent to which it had been spying on activist movements. Under the settlement, the FBI turned over roughly 400,000 pages of its files on the Guild, which are now available at the Tamiment Library at New York University.

What if FBI Agents or Police Contact Me?

What if an agent or police officer comes to the door?

Do not invite the agents or police into your home. Do not answer any questions. Tell the agent that you do not wish to talk with him or her. You can state that your lawyer will contact them on your behalf. You can do this by stepping outside and pulling the door behind you so that the interior of your home or office is not visible, getting their contact information or business cards and then returning inside. They should cease questioning after this. If the agent or officer gives a reason for contacting you, take notes and give the information to your attorney. Anything you say, no matter how seemingly harmless or insignificant, may be used against you or others in the future. Lying to or misleading a federal agent is a crime. The more you speak, the more opportunity for federal law enforcement to find something you said (even if not intentionally) false and assert that you lied to a federal officer.

Do I have to answer questions?

You have the constitutional right to remain silent. It is not a crime to refuse to answer questions. You do not have to talk to anyone, even if you have been arrested or are in jail. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to consult an attorney. Once you make the request to speak to a lawyer, do not say anything else. The Supreme Court recently ruled that answering law enforcement questions may be taken as a waiver of your right to remain silent, so it is important that you assert your rights and maintain them. Only a judge can order you to answer questions. There is one exception: some states have "stop and identify" statutes which require you to provide identity information or your name if you have been detained on reasonable suspicion that you may have committed a crime. A lawyer in your state can advise you of the status of these requirements where you reside.

Do I have to give my name?

As above, in some states you can be detained or arrested for merely refusing to give your name. And in any state, police do not always follow the law, and refusing to give your name may make them suspicious or more hostile and lead to your arrest, even without just cause, so use your judgment. Giving a false name could in some circumstances be a crime.

Do I need a lawyer?

You have the right to talk to a lawyer before you decide whether to answer questions from law enforcement. It is a good idea to talk to a lawyer if you are considering answering any questions. You have the right to have a lawyer present during any interview. The lawyer's job is to protect your rights. Once you tell the agent that you want to talk to a lawyer, he or she should stop trying to question you and should make any further contact through your lawyer. If you do not have a lawyer, you can still tell the officer you want to speak to one before answering questions. Remember to get the name, agency and telephone number of any investigator who visits you, and give that information to your lawyer. The government does not have to provide you with a free lawyer unless you are charged with a crime, but the NLG or another organization may be able to help you find a lawyer for free or at a reduced rate.

If I refuse to answer questions or say I want a lawyer, won't it seem like I have something to hide?

Anything you say to law enforcement can be used against you and others. You can never tell how a seemingly harmless bit of information might be used or manipulated to hurt you or someone else. That is why the right not to talk is a fundamental right under the Constitution. Keep in mind that although law enforcement agents are allowed to lie to you, lying to a government agent is a crime. Remaining silent is not. The safest things to say are "I am going to remain silent," "I want to speak to my lawyer," and "I do not consent to a search." It is a common practice for law enforcement agents to try to get you to waive your rights by telling you that if you have nothing to hide you would talk or that talking would "just clear things up." The fact is, if they are questioning you, they are looking to incriminate you or someone you may know, or they are engaged in political intelligence gathering. You should feel comfortable standing firm in protection and defense of your rights and refusing to answer questions.

Can agents search my home or office?

You do not have to let police or agents into your home or office unless they have and produce a valid search warrant. A search warrant is a written court order that allows the police to conduct a specified search. Interfering with a warrantless search probably will not stop it and you might get arrested. But you should say "I do not consent to a search," and call a criminal defense lawyer or the NLG. You should be aware that a roommate or guest can legally consent to a search of your house if the police believe that person has the authority to give consent, and your employer can consent to a search of your workspace without your permission.

What if agents have a search warrant?

If you are present when agents come for the search, you can ask to see the warrant. The warrant must specify in detail the places to be searched and the people or things to be taken away. Tell the agents you do not consent to the search so that they cannot go beyond what the warrant authorizes. Ask if you are allowed to watch the search; if you are allowed to, you should. Take notes, including names, badge numbers, what agency each officer is from, where they searched and what they took. If others are present, have them act as witnesses to watch carefully what is happening. If the agents ask you to give them documents, your computer, or anything else, look to see if the item is listed in the warrant. If it is not, do not consent to them taking it without talking to a lawyer. You do not have to answer questions. Talk to a lawyer first. (Note: If agents present an arrest warrant, they may only perform a cursory visual search of the premises to see if the person named in the arrest warrant is present.)

Do I have to answer questions if I have been arrested?

No. If you are arrested, you do not have to answer any questions. You should affirmatively and unambiguously state that you wish to assert your right to remain silent. Ask for a lawyer right away. Do not say anything else. Repeat to every officer who tries to talk to or question you that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer. You should always talk to a lawyer before you decide to answer any questions.

What if I speak to government agents anyway?

Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer. If you find yourself talking, stop. Assert that you wish to remain silent and that you wish to speak to a lawyer.

What if the police stop me on the street?

Ask if you are free to go. If the answer is yes, consider just walking away. If the police say you are not under arrest, but are not free to go, then you are being detained. The police can pat down the outside of your clothing if they have reason to suspect you might be armed and dangerous. If they search any more than this, say clearly, "I do not consent to a search." They may keep searching anyway. If this happens, do not resist because you can be charged with assault or resisting arrest. You do not have to answer any questions. You do not have to open bags or any closed container. Tell the officers you do not consent to a search of your bags or other property.

What if police or agents stop me in my car?

Keep your hands where the police can see them. If you are driving a vehicle, you must show your license, registration and, in some states, proof of insurance. You do not have to consent to a search. But the police may have legal grounds to search your car anyway. Clearly state that you do not consent. Officers may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions.

What if I am treated badly by the police or the FBI?

Write down the officer's badge number, name or other identifying information. You have a right to ask the officer for this information. Try to find witnesses and their names and phone numbers. If you are injured, seek medical attention and take pictures of the injuries as soon as you can. Call a lawyer as soon as possible.

What if the police or FBI threaten me with a grand jury subpoena if I don't answer their questions?

A grand jury subpoena is a written order for you to go to court and testify about information you may have. It is common for the FBI to threaten you with a subpoena to get you to talk to them. If they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. You should not volunteer to speak just because you are threatened with a subpoena. You should consult a lawyer.

What if I receive a grand jury subpoena?

Grand jury proceedings are not the same as testifying at an open court trial. You are not allowed to have a lawyer present (although one may wait in the hallway and you may ask to consult with him or her after each question) and you may be asked to answer questions about your activities and associations. Because of the witness's limited rights in this situation, the government has frequently used grand jury subpoenas to gather information about activists and political organizations. It is common for the FBI to threaten activists with a subpoena in order to elicit information about their political views and activities and those of their associates. There are legal grounds for stopping ("quashing") subpoenas, and receiving one does not necessarily mean that you are suspected of a crime. If you do receive a subpoena, call the NLG National Hotline at 888-NLG-ECOL (888-654-3265) or call a criminal defense attorney immediately.

The government regularly uses grand jury subpoena power to investigate and seek evidence related to politically-active individuals and social movements. This practice is aimed at prosecuting activists and, through intimidation and disruption, discouraging continued activism.

Federal grand jury subpoenas are served in person. If you receive one, it is critically important that you retain the services of an attorney, preferably one who understands your goals and, if applicable, understands the nature of your political work, and has experience with these issues. Most lawyers are trained to provide the best legal defense for their client, often at the expense of others. Beware lawyers who summarily advise you to cooperate with grand juries, testify against friends, or cut off contact with your friends and political activists. Cooperation usually leads to others being subpoenaed and investigated. You also run the risk of being charged with perjury, a felony, should you omit any pertinent information or should there be inconsistencies in your testimony.

Frequently prosecutors will offer "use immunity," meaning that the prosecutor is prohibited from using your testimony or any leads from it to bring charges against you. If a subsequent prosecution is brought, the prosecutor bears the burden of proving that all of its evidence was obtained independent of the immunized testimony. You should be aware, however, that they will use anything you say to manipulate associates into sharing more information about you by suggesting that you have betrayed confidences.

In front of a grand jury you can "take the Fifth" (exercise your right to remain silent). However, the prosecutor may impose immunity on you, which strips you of Fifth Amendment protection and subjects you to the possibility of being cited for contempt and jailed if you refuse to answer further. In front of a grand jury you have no Sixth Amendment right to counsel, although you can consult with a lawyer outside the grand jury room after each question.

What if I don't cooperate with the grand jury?

If you receive a grand jury subpoena and elect to not cooperate, you may be held in civil contempt. There is a chance that you may be jailed or imprisoned for the length of the grand jury in an effort to coerce you to cooperate. Regular grand juries sit for a basic term of 18 months, which can be extended up to a total of 24 months. It is lawful to hold you in order to coerce your cooperation, but unlawful to hold you as a means of punishment. In rare instances you may face criminal contempt charges.

What If I Am Not a Citizen and the DHS Contacts Me?

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is now part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and has been renamed and reorganized into: 1. The Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS); 2. The Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP); and 3. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). All three bureaus will be referred to as DHS for the purposes of this pamphlet.

? Assert your rights. If you do not demand your rights or if you sign papers waiving your rights, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may deport you before you see a lawyer or an immigration judge. Never sign anything without reading, understanding and knowing the consequences of signing it.

? Talk to a lawyer. If possible, carry with you the name and telephone number of an immigration lawyer who will take your calls. The immigration laws are hard to understand and there have been many recent changes. DHS will not explain your options to you. As soon as you encounter a DHS agent, call your attorney. If you can't do it right away, keep trying. Always talk to an immigration lawyer before leaving the U.S. Even some legal permanent residents can be barred from returning.

Based on today's laws, regulations and DHS guidelines, non-citizens usually have the following rights, no matter what their immigration status. This information may change, so it is important to contact a lawyer. The following rights apply to non-citizens who are inside the U.S. Non-citizens at the border who are trying to enter the U.S. do not have all the same rights.

Do I have the right to talk to a lawyer before answering any DHS questions or signing any DHS papers?

Yes. You have the right to call a lawyer or your family if you are detained, and you have the right to be visited by a lawyer in detention. You have the right to have your attorney with you at any hearing before an immigration judge. You do not have the right to a government-appointed attorney for immigration proceedings, but if you have been arrested, immigration officials must show you a list of free or low cost legal service providers.

Should I carry my green card or other immigration papers with me?

If you have documents authorizing you to stay in the U.S., you must carry them with you. Presenting false or expired papers to DHS may lead to deportation or criminal prosecution. An unexpired green card, I-94, Employment Authorization Card, Border Crossing Card or other papers that prove you are in legal status will satisfy this requirement. If you do not carry these papers with you, you could be charged with a crime. Always keep a copy of your immigration papers with a trusted family member or friend who can fax them to you, if need be. Check with your immigration lawyer about your specific case.

Am I required to talk to government officers about my immigration history?

If you are undocumented, out of status, a legal permanent resident (green card holder), or a citizen, you do not have to answer any questions about your immigration history. (You may want to consider giving your name; see above for more information about this.) If you are not in any of these categories, and you are being questioned by a DHS or FBI agent, then you may create problems with your immigration status if you refuse to provide information requested by the agent. If you have a lawyer, you can tell the agent that your lawyer will answer questions on your behalf. If answering questions could lead the agent to information that connects you with criminal activity, you should consider refusing to talk to the agent at all.

If I am arrested for immigration violations, do I have the right to a hearing before an immigration judge to defend myself against deportation charges?

Yes. In most cases only an immigration judge can order you deported. But if you waive your rights or take "voluntary departure," agreeing to leave the country, you could be deported without a hearing. If you have criminal convictions, were arrested at the border, came to the U.S. through the visa waiver program or have been ordered deported in the past, you could be deported without a hearing. Contact a lawyer immediately to see if there is any relief for you.

Can I call my consulate if I am arrested?

Yes. Non-citizens arrested in the U.S. have the right to call their consulate or to have the police tell the consulate of your arrest. The police must let your consulate visit or speak with you if consular officials decide to do so. Your consulate might help you find a lawyer or offer other help. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.

What happens if I give up my right to a hearing or leave the U.S. before the hearing is over?

You could lose your eligibility for certain immigration benefits, and you could be barred from returning to the U.S. for a number of years. You should always talk to an immigration lawyer before you decide to give up your right to a hearing.

What should I do if I want to contact DHS?

Always talk to a lawyer before contacting DHS, even on the phone. Many DHS officers view "enforcement" as their primary job and will not explain all of your options to you.

What Are My Rights at Airports?

IMPORTANT NOTE: It is illegal for law enforcement to perform any stops, searches, detentions or removals based solely on your race, national origin, religion, sex or ethnicity.

If I am entering the U.S. with valid travel papers can a U.S. customs agent stop and search me?

Yes. Customs agents have the right to stop, detain and search every person and item.

Can my bags or I be searched after going through metal detectors with no problem or after security sees that my bags do not contain a weapon?

Yes. Even if the initial screen of your bags reveals nothing suspicious, the screeners have the authority to conduct a further search of you or your bags.

If I am on an airplane, can an airline employee interrogate me or ask me to get off the plane?

The pilot of an airplane has the right to refuse to fly a passenger if he or she believes the passenger is a threat to the safety of the flight. The pilot's decision must be reasonable and based on observations of you, not stereotypes.

What If I Am Under 18?

Do I have to answer questions?

No. Minors too have the right to remain silent. You cannot be arrested for refusing to talk to the police, probation officers, or school officials, except in some states you may have to give your name if you have been detained.

What if I am detained?

If you are detained at a community detention facility or Juvenile Hall, you normally must be released to a parent or guardian. If charges are filed against you, in most states you are entitled to counsel (just like an adult) at no cost.

Do I have the right to express political views at school?

Public school students generally have a First Amendment right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings, etc., as long as those activities are not disruptive and do not violate legitimate school rules. You may not be singled out based on your politics, ethnicity or religion.

Can my backpack or locker be searched?

School officials can search students' backpacks and lockers without a warrant if they reasonably suspect that you are involved in criminal activity or carrying drugs or weapons. Do not consent to the police or school officials searching your property, but do not physically resist or you may face criminal charges.

Disclaimer

This booklet is not a substitute for legal advice. You should contact an attorney if you have been visited by the FBI or other law enforcement officials. You should also alert your relatives, friends, co-workers and others so that they will be prepared if they are contacted as well.

NLG National Hotline for Activists Contacted by the FBI

888-NLG-ECOL

(888-654-3265)

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Free Mumia NOW!

Prisonradio.org

Write to Mumia:

Mumia Abu-Jamal AM 8335

SCI Mahanoy

301 Morea Road

Frackville, PA 17932

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Rachel Wolkenstein

August 21, 2011 (917) 689-4009

MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ILLEGALLY SENTENCED TO

LIFE IMPRISONMENT WITHOUT PAROLE!

FREE MUMIA NOW!

www.FreeMumia.com

http://blacktalkradionetwork.com/profiles/blogs/mumia-is-formally-sentenced-to-life-in-prison-w-out-hearing-he-s



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"A Child's View from Gaza: Palestinian Children's Art and the Fight Against

Censorship" book

https://www.mecaforpeace.org/civicrm/contribute/transact?reset=1&id=25

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Justice for Albert Woodfox and Herman Wallace: Decades of isolation in Louisiana

state prisons must end

Take Action -- Sign Petition Here:

http://www.amnesty.org/en/appeals-for-action/justice-for-albert-woodfox-and-herm\

an-wallace

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WITNESS GAZA

http://www.witnessgaza.com/

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Write to Bradley

http://bradleymanning.org/donate

View the new 90 second "I am Bradley Manning" video:

I am Bradley Manning

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-P3OXML00s

Courage to Resist

484 Lake Park Ave. #41

Oakland, CA 94610

510-488-3559

couragetoresist.org

"A Fort Leavenworth mailing address has been released for Bradley Manning:

Bradley Manning 89289

830 Sabalu Road

Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

The receptionist at the military barracks confirmed that if someone sends

Bradley Manning a letter to that address, it will be delivered to him."

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/update-42811

This is also a Facebook event

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=207100509321891#!/event.php?eid=2071005093\

21891

Courage to Resist needs your support

Please donate today:

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

"Soldiers sworn oath is to defend and support the Constitution. Bradley Manning

has been defending and supporting our Constitution." --Dan Ellsberg, Pentagon

Papers whistle-blower

Jeff Paterson

Project Director, Courage to Resist

First US military service member to refuse to fight in Iraq

Please donate today.

https://co.clickandpledge.com/sp/d1/default.aspx?wid=38590

P.S. I'm asking that you consider a contribution of $50 or more, or possibly

becoming a sustainer at $15 a month. Of course, now is also a perfect time to

make a end of year tax-deductible donation. Thanks again for your support!

Please click here to forward this to a friend who might also be interested in

supporting GI resisters.

http://ymlp.com/forward.php?id=lS3tR&e=bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

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The Battle Is Still On To

FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL!

The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

PO Box 16222 • Oakland CA 94610

www.laboractionmumia.org

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KEVIN COOPER IS INNOCENT! FREE KEVIN COOPER!

Reasonable doubts about executing Kevin Cooper

Chronicle Editorial

Monday, December 13, 2010

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/13/EDG81GP0I7.DTL

Death penalty -- Kevin Cooper is Innocent! Help save his life from San Quentin's

death row!

http://www.savekevincooper.org/

http://www.savekevincooper.org/pages/essays_content.html?ID=255

URGENT ACTION APPEAL

- From Amnesty International USA

17 December 2010

Click here to take action online:

http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&\

b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=15084

To learn about recent Urgent Action successes and updates, go to

http://www.amnestyusa.org/iar/success

For a print-friendly version of this Urgent Action (PDF):

http://www.amnestyusa.org/actioncenter/actions/uaa25910.pdf

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Short Video About Al-Awda's Work

The following link is to a short video which provides an overview of Al-Awda's

work since the founding of our organization in 2000. This video was first shown

on Saturday May 23, 2009 at the fundraising banquet of the 7th Annual Int'l

Al-Awda Convention in Anaheim California. It was produced from footage collected

over the past nine years.

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTiAkbB5uC0&eurl

Support Al-Awda, a Great Organization and Cause!

Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, depends on your financial

support to carry out its work.

To submit your tax-deductible donation to support our work, go to

http://www.al-awda.org/donate.html

and follow the simple instructions.

Thank you for your generosity!

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D. VIDEO, FILM, AUDIO. ART, POETRY, ETC.:

[Some of these videos are embeded on the BAUAW website:

http://bauaw.blogspot.com/ or bauaw.org ...bw]

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Exceptional art from the streets of Oakland:

Oakland Street Dancing



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NYC RESTAURANT WORKERS DANCE & SING FOR A WAGE HIKE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_s8e1R6rG8&feature=player_embedded

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On Gun Control, Martin Luther King, the Deacons of Defense and the history of Black Liberation

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzYKisvBN1o&feature=player_embedded

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Fukushima Never Again

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LU-Z4VLDGxU

"Fukushima, Never Again" tells the story of the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdowns in north east Japan in March of 2011 and exposes the cover-up by Tepco and the Japanese government.

This is the first film that interviews the Mothers Of Fukushima, nuclear power experts and trade unionists who are fighting for justice and the protection of the children and the people of Japan and the world. The residents and citizens were forced to buy their own geiger counters and radiation dosimeters in order to test their communities to find out if they were in danger.

The government said contaminated soil in children's school grounds was safe and then

when the people found out it was contaminated and removed the top soil, the government and TEPCO refused to remove it from the school grounds.

It also relays how the nuclear energy program for "peaceful atoms" was brought to Japan under the auspices of the US military occupation and also the criminal cover-up of the safety dangers of the plant by TEPCO and GE management which built the plant in Fukushima. It also interviews Kei Sugaoka, the GE nulcear plant inspector from the bay area who exposed cover-ups in the safety at the Fukushima plant and was retaliated against by GE. This documentary allows the voices of the people and workers to speak out about the reality of the disaster and what this means not only for the people of Japan but the people of the world as the US government and nuclear industry continue to push for more new plants and government subsidies. This film breaks

the information blockade story line of the corporate media in Japan, the US and around the world that Fukushima is over.

Production Of Labor Video Project

P.O. Box 720027

San Francisco, CA 94172

www.laborvideo.org

lvpsf@laborvideo.org

For information on obtaining the video go to:

www.fukushimaneveragain.com

(415)282-1908


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1000 year of war through the world

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NiG8neU4_bs&feature=share

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Anatomy of a Massacre - Afganistan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6BnRc11aug&feature=player_embedded

Afghans accuse multiple soldiers of pre-meditated murder

To see more go to http://www.youtube.com/user/journeymanpictures

Follow us on Facebook (http://goo.gl/YRw42) or Twitter

(http://www.twitter.com/journeymanvod)

The recent massacre of 17 civilians by a rogue US soldier has been shrouded in

mystery. But through unprecedented access to those involved, this report

confronts the accusations that Bales didn't act alone.

"They came into my room and they killed my family". Stories like this are common

amongst the survivors in Aklozai and Najiban. As are the shocking accusations

that Sergeant Bales was not acting alone. Even President Karzai has announced

"one man can not do that". Chief investigator, General Karimi, is suspicious

that despite being fully armed, Bales freely left his base without raising

alarm. "How come he leaves at night and nobody is aware? Every time we have

weapon accountability and personal accountability." These are just a few of the

questions the American army and government are yet to answer. One thing however

is very clear, the massacre has unleashed a wave of grief and outrage which

means relations in Kandahar will be tense for years to come: "If I could lay my

hands on those infidels, I would rip them apart with my bare hands."

A Film By SBS

Distributed By Journeyman Pictures

April 2012

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Photo of George Zimmerman, in 2005 photo, left, and in a more recent photo.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/02/us/the-events-leading-to-the-sooti\

ng-of-trayvon-martin.html?hp

SPD Security Cams.wmv

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WWDNbQUgm4&feature=player_embedded

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Kids being put on buses and transported from school to "alternate locations" in

Terror Drills

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFia_w8adWQ

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Private prisons,

a recession resistant investment opportunity

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIGLDOxx9Vg

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Attack Dogs used on a High School Walkout in MD, Four Students Charged With

"Thought Crimes"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wafMaML17w

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Common forms of misconduct by Law Enforcement Officials and Prosecutors

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ViSpM4K276w&feature=related

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Organizing and Instigating: OCCUPY - Ronnie Goodman

http://arthazelwood.com/instigator/occupy/occupy-birth-video.html

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Rep News 12: Yes We Kony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68GbzIkYdc8

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The New Black by The Mavrix - Official Music Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4rLfja8488

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Japan One Year Later

http://www.onlineschools.org/japan-one-year-later/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The CIA's Heart Attack Gun

http://www.brasschecktv.com/videos/assassination-studies/the-cias-heart-attack-g\

un-.html

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

The Invisible American Workforce

http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/5/new_expos_tracks_alec_private_prison

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Labor Beat: NATO vs The 1st Amendment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQxnb4so3U

For more detailed information, send us a request at mail@laborbeat.org.


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The Battle of Oakland

by brandon jourdan plus

http://vimeo.com/36256273

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Officers Pulled Off Street After Tape of Beating Surfaces

By ANDY NEWMAN

February 1, 2012, 10:56 am

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/officers-pulled-off-street-after-ta\

pe-of-beating-surfaces/?ref=nyregion

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This is excellent! Michelle Alexander pulls no punches!

Michelle Alexander, Author of The New Jim Crow, speaks about the political

strategy

behind the War on Drugs and its connection to the mass incarceration of Black

and Brown people in the United States.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P75cbEdNo2U&feature=player_embedded

If you think Bill Clinton was "the first black President" you need to watch this

video and see how much damage his administration caused for the black community

as a result of his get tough attitude on crime that appealed to white swing

voters.

This speech took place at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem on January 12,

2012.

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FREE BRADLEY MANNING

http://www.bradleymanning.org/news/national-call-in-for-bradley

I received the following reply from the White House November 18, 2011 regarding

the Bradley Manning petition I signed:

"Why We Can't Comment on Bradley Manning

"Thank you for signing the petition 'Free PFC Bradley Manning, the accused

WikiLeaks whistleblower.' We appreciate your participation in the We the People

platform on WhiteHouse.gov.

The We the People Terms of Participation explain that 'the White House may

decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or

similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or

agencies, federal courts, or state and local government.' The military justice

system is charged with enforcing the Uniform Code of

Military Justice. Accordingly, the White House declines to comment on the

specific case raised in this petition...

That's funny! I guess Obama didn't get this memo. Here's what Obama said about

Bradley:

BRADLEY MANNING "BROKE THE LAW" SAYS OBAMA!

"He broke the law!" says Obama about Bradley Manning who has yet to even be

charged, let alone, gone to trial and found guilty. How horrendous is it for the

President to declare someone guilty before going to trial or being charged with

a crime! Justice in the U.S.A.!

Obama on FREE BRADLEY MANNING protest... San Francisco, CA. April 21, 2011-

Presidential remarks on interrupt/interaction/performance art happening at

fundraiser. Logan Price queries Barack after org. FRESH JUICE PARTY political

action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IfmtUpd4id0&feature=youtu.be

Release Bradley Manning

Almost Gone (The Ballad Of Bradley Manning)

Written by Graham Nash and James Raymond (son of David Crosby)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAYG7yJpBbQ&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Julian Assange: Why the world needs WikiLeaks

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVGqE726OAo&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


School police increasingly arresting American students?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zl-efNBvjUU&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

FYI:

Nuclear Detonation Timeline "1945-1998"

The 2053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945 and 1998 are

plotted visually and audibly on a world map.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9lquok4Pdk&feature=share&mid=5408

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

We Are the 99 Percent

We are the 99 percent. We are getting kicked out of our homes. We are forced to

choose between groceries and rent. We are denied quality medical care. We are

suffering from environmental pollution. We are working long hours for little pay

and no rights, if we're working at all. We are getting nothing while the other 1

percent is getting everything. We are the 99 percent.

Brought to you by the people who occupy wall street. Why will YOU occupy?

OccupyWallSt.org

Occupytogether.org

wearethe99percentuk.tumblr.com

http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com/

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*


We Are The People Who Will Save Our Schools

YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lFAOJsBxAxY

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

In honor of the 75th Anniversary of the 44-Day Flint Michigan sit-down strike at

GM that began December 30, 1936:

According to Michael Moore, (Although he has done some good things, this clip

isn't one of them) in this clip from his film, "Capitalism a Love Story," it was

Roosevelt who saved the day!):

"After a bloody battle one evening, the Governor of Michigan, with the support

of the President of the United States, Franklin Roosevelt, sent in the National

Guard. But the guns and the soldiers weren't used on the workers; they were

pointed at the police and the hired goons warning them to leave these workers

alone. For Mr. Roosevelt believed that the men inside had a right to a redress

of their grievances." -Michael Moore's 'Capitalism: A Love Story'

- Flint Sit-Down Strike http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h8x1_q9wg58

But those cannons were not aimed at the goons and cops! They were aimed straight

at the factory filled with strikers! Watch what REALLY happened and how the

strike was really won!

'With babies & banners' -- 75 years since the 44-day Flint sit-down strike

http://links.org.au/node/2681

--Inspiring

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HALLELUJAH CORPORATIONS (revised edition).mov

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ws0WSNRpy3g

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

ONE OF THE GREATEST POSTS ON YOUTUBE SO FAR!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8C-qIgbP9o&feature=share&mid=552

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

ILWU Local 10 Longshore Workers Speak-Out At Oakland Port Shutdown

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JUpBpZYwms

Uploaded by laborvideo on Dec 13, 2011

ILWU Local 10 longshore workers speak out during a blockade of the Port of

Oakland called for by Occupy Oakland. Anthony Levieges and Clarence Thomas rank

and file members of the union. The action took place on December 12, 2011 and

the interview took place at Pier 30 on the Oakland docks.

For more information on the ILWU Local 21 Longview EGT struggle go to

http://www.facebook.com/groups/256313837734192/

For further info on the action and the press conferernce go to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz3fE-Vhrw8&feature=youtu.be

Production of Labor Video Project www.laborvideo.org

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

UC Davis Police Violence Adds Fuel to Fire

By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News

19 November 11

http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/275-42/8485-uc-davis-police-violence-add\

s-fuel-to-fire

UC Davis Protestors Pepper Sprayed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AdDLhPwpp4&feature=player_embedded

Police PEPPER SPRAY UC Davis STUDENT PROTESTERS!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wuWEx6Cfn-I&feature=player_embedded

Police pepper spraying and arresting students at UC Davis

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmJmmnMkuEM&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

UC Davis Chancellor Katehi walks to her car

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CZ0t9ez_EGI#!

Occupy Seattle - 84 Year Old Woman Dorli Rainey Pepper Sprayed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTIyE_JlJzw&feature=related

*---------*

THE BEST VIDEO ON "OCCUPY THE WORLD"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S880UldxB1o

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Shot by police with rubber bullet at Occupy Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0pX9LeE-g8&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

Copwatch@Occupy Oakland: Beware of Police Infiltrators and Provocateurs

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrvMzqopHH0

*---------*

Occupy Oakland 11-2 Strike: Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tu_D8SFYck&feature=player_embedded

*----*

Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest

were actually undercover Quebec police officers:

POLICE STATE Criminal Cops EXPOSED As Agent Provocateurs @ SPP Protest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoiisMMCFT0&feature=player_embedded

*----*

Quebec police admit going undercover at montebello protests

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gAfzUOx53Rg&feature=player_embedded

G20: Epic Undercover Police Fail

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJ7aU-n1L8&feature=player_embedded

*----*

WHAT HAPPENED IN OAKLAND TUESDAY NIGHT, OCTOBER 25:

Occupy Oakland Protest

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlPs-REyl-0&feature=player_embedded

Cops make mass arrests at occupy Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R27kD2_7PwU&feature=player_embedded

Raw Video: Protesters Clash With Oakland Police

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpO-lJr2BQY&feature=player_embedded

Occupy Oakland - Flashbangs USED on protesters OPD LIES

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqNOPZLw03Q&feature=player_embedded

KTVU TV Video of Police violence

http://www.ktvu.com/video/29587714/index.html

Marine Vet wounded, tear gas & flash-bang grenades thrown in downtown

Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMUgPTCgwcQ&feature=player_embedded

Tear Gas billowing through 14th & Broadway in Downtown Oakland

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU4Y0pwJtWE&feature=player_embedded

Arrests at Occupy Atlanta -- This is what a police state looks like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YStWz6jbeZA&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

Labor Beat: Hey You Billionaire, Pay Your Fair Share

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY8isD33f-I

*---------*

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part I

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA48gmfGB6U&feature=youtu.be

Voices of Occupy Boston 2011 - Kwame Somburu (Paul Boutelle) Part II

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjKZpOk7TyM&feature=related

*---------*

#Occupy Wall Street In Washington Square: Mohammed Ezzeldin, former occupier of

Egypt's Tahrir Square Speaks at Washington Square!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziodsFWEb5Y&feature=player_embedded

*---------*

#OccupyTheHood, Occupy Wall Street

By adele pham

http://vimeo.com/30146870

*---------*

Live arrest at brooklyn bridge #occupywallstreet by We are Change

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yULSI-31Pto&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

FREE THE CUBAN FIVE!

http://www.thecuban5.org/wordpress/index.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmS4kHC_OlY&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

One World One Revolution -- MUST SEE VIDEO -- Powerful and beautiful...bw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE3R1BQrYCw&feature=player_embedded

"When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." Thomas Jefferson

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Japan: angry Fukushima citizens confront government (video)

Posted by Xeni Jardin on Monday, Jul 25th at 11:36am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVuGwc9dlhQ&feature=player_embedded


*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Labor Beat: Labor Stands with Subpoenaed Activists Against FBI Raids and Grand

Jury Investigation of antiwar and social justice activists.

"If trouble is not at your door. It's on it's way, or it just left."

"Investigate the Billionaires...Full investigation into Wall Street..." Jesse

Sharkey, Vice

President, Chicago Teachers Union

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSNUSIGZCMQ

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

Coal Ash: One Valley's Tale

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6E7h-DNvwx4&feature=player_embedded

*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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