Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Sign the Petition:


Dear President Obama, Senators, and Members of Congress:
Americans now owe $1.3 trillion in student debt. Eighty-six percent of that money is owed to the United States government. This is a crushing burden for more than 40 million Americans and their families. 

I urge you to take immediate action to forgive all student debt, public and private. 

American Federation of Teachers
Campaign for America's Future
Courage Campaign
Daily Kos
Democracy for America
Project Springboard
RH Reality Check
Student Debt Crisis
The Nation
Working Families 



Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:








The Local 10 Executive Board voted to pass the motion below with the amendment that we shutdown the port on May Day and march on City Hall to demand an end to police killings. We need to march and speak out for Mumia and his critical situation also. We'll try to organize a rally at City Hall. There's a possibility of predominantly Black longshore unions in the South joining us.

Union Action to Stop Police Killings of Black and Brown People

Whereas, police are continuing to kill unarmed Black and Brown people across this country, and

Whereas, ILWU shuts down all West Coast ports on Bloody Thursday to remember the killing of two strikers shot in the back by police in the Big Strike of 1934, and

Whereas, ILWU has a proud history of standing up against racial injustice like the 1984 anti-apartheid action and the 2010 shut down for justice for Oscar Grant, and

Whereas, our brothers and sisters in ILA Local 1422 of Charleston, South Carolina have been organizing protests against the recent killing of unarmed Walter Scott shot in the back by police,

Therefore Be It Resolved that if our brothers and sisters of ILA 1422, home of the Charleston 5 struggle of which Local 10 was in the forefront, call on us to join with them now in a protest against police brutality we will stand with them in solidarity.


May Day
International Workers Day
Workers and Migrants Rising for Dignity, Against State Violence, and Standing for International Solidarity
Friday May 1st
2pm Rally at Story and King, (Corner of Target Plaza)
3pm Gather Up
4pm March
5:45pm Closing Rally at San José City Hall

May 1st Coalition Endorsements: Santa Clara County Wage Theft Coalition, SEIU USWW, MAIZ,CWA 9423, SJSU S.A.H.E., PAWIS, Anakbayan Silicon Valley, NAFCON, Migrante Northern California, BAYAN USA, South Bay Labor Council, Legal Aid Society of Santa Clara County, United States Social Forum San Jose Bay Area LOC, Human Agenda, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, U.A. Plumbers and Fitters Local 393, San Jose R.A.D., CHAM, Pangea Legal Services, UFCW Local 5, LIUNA Laborers Local 270, Working Partnerships USA, Voluntarios de la Comunidad, South Bay International Womyn’s Day Network, SOMOS Mayfair, American Muslim Voice Foundation, Silicon Valley Latino Democratic Forum, SJSU Gente Unida,  SJSU M.E.Ch.A., Amigos of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Asian Law Alliance and the Coalition for Justice and Accountability, SIREN, San Jose Silicon Valley NAACP, All African People's Revolutionary Party (AAPRP), SV Debug,  Low-Income Self-Help Center,IMA South Bay, Santa Clara County El Comité, El Grito de la Cultura.



Save the Date - UNAC National Conference, May 8 - 10, 2015

UNAC is the major national antiwar coalition in the U.S. today.  The existence of a United National Antiwar Coalition is vital and we need your financial support to continue our work and to expand.

With U.S. wars today accelerating and expanding globally in various forms – from drone attacks on Yemen and Pakistan, never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, support to neo-fascists in Ukraine, and proliferating Africom forces to threats of war for regime change in Syria – we have an obligation to do whatever is possible to educate the public and to take action to stop the carnage.

The wars abroad are connected to global warming with most wars fought over energy resources with the U.S. war machine as the largest polluter.

At home, we see hugely growing income inequality, a militarized and racist police force, mass incarceration of Blacks and Latinos, and a massive police state apparatus that includes global surveillance and laws to quell dissent.

In spite of the trillions spent by the U.S. corporate war government and its controlled media propaganda machine to keep us in check, the people are fighting back.  We’ve been inspired and strengthened by the hundreds of thousands of new activists taking to the streets of this country to stop police brutality, to build Occupy encampments, to fight for decent wages, to demand full rights for immigrants, to win marriage equality, to end global warming, to demonstrate solidarity with the besieged people of Gaza, and to protest unending U.S. wars.

UNAC has played an active, often leadership role, in all of the antiwar and social justice movements of our time.  While most activists are focused on their particular issues, the most vital role we can play is to connect the issues to their source.  All of the injustices and crimes we protest, stem from the imperialist insatiable drive for expanding profit and control – and the U.S. is the largest imperialist power militarily and economically.  When there should be plenty for all, only the obscenely wealthy benefit while the rest of the 99% struggle just to survive.

Some of our recent major accomplishments:
·       Initiated protest against NATO and 15,000 marched in Chicago in 2012.
·        Called for immediate actions against threats of war and coups directed at Libya, Iran, No. Korea, Africa, Latin America,    Ukraine, and maintaining the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
·        Organized a national tour for Afghan leader Malalai Joya.
·        Sent representatives to international NATO protests and conferences.
·        Serve on the Board of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms to act against Islamophobia , racist attacks on Muslims, and attacks on our civil liberties.
·        Participated in national efforts to organize anti-drone actions.
·        Campaigned to defend victims of government repression who speak out and expose Washington’s crimes, including Rasmea Odeh, Mumia abu Jamal, Lynne Stewart, Chelsea Manning, and the Midwest activists targeted by the FBI.
·        Produced national educational conference calls featuring experts on topics such as U.S. intervention in Africa, the destruction of Libya, the developing wars in Syria, and others.
·        Built an antiwar contingent in the massive New York City Climate Change march and built Climate Change action in other cities around the country.
·        Helped organize protests against Israel’s attack on Gaza
·        Helped organize protests against the murder of Blacks by white police and the militarization of the police forces in the U.S.

UNAC has a history of bringing hundreds of activists together at large national conferences to learn about the issues of the day, to discuss the way forward and to vote on an Action Program for the coming period.

The UNAC conference next May will bring activists from all the movements in motion to cross-fertilize these struggles.  We are particularly dedicated to bringing young activists together to support and learn from each other.  For this, we need your help to offer subsidies to leaders from Ferguson, from the border wars in the southwest, from the Native Americans who are fighting against the pipelines ruining their lands, from the Students for Justice in Palestine, and many others.

Please give generously so that we can continue our work to bring harmony and justice to the peoples of this earth.

You can send a check to UNAC at PO Box 123, Delmar, NY 12054 or click the button below to contribute on-line with your credit or debit card.






Political prisoner and revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal has been the victim of criminal neglect by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for months, and his life is in grave danger.

The problem began in January with a severe skin rash which spread to Mumia’s entire body. When he asked for treatment he was given antibiotics and steroids, but these led to allergic reactions, including extreme swelling from his feet to his head, and severe blisters.  His skin was tight and crusted. Mumia told his wife Wadiya Jamal and other visitors that a prison doctor said he looked like he was “in a suit of armor,” with “his chest raised up to his chin to create space to breathe.” 

Obviously he should have been taken to the hospital immediately, but he was not. On February 17th he was admitted to the prison infirmary for a week, then sent back to his cell, where his condition continued to deteriorate.

On March 30, 2015 Mumia walked into the infirmary at SCI Mahanoy and fell unconscious, suffering from what was then an undiagnosed and untreated diabetes (this despite three blood samples that had been taken). FINALLY, he was taken to a hospital and treated in the ICU at the Schuylkill Medical Center for 3 days.  He was in a state of diabetic shock, with a blood sugar level of 779. If this level had been just a bit higher, he would have gone into a coma and likely died.  He was dehydrated and his sodium level was 168. These conditions show that the wretched treatment and lack of proper medical care of the state prison had almost succeeded in killing Mumia!
_  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

Please donate to help fund Mumia’s health care, at:


Sign the petition to help save—and free—Mumia at:


_  _  _  _  _  _  _  see more info below _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _ 

After allowing Mumia’s wife and brother a brief visit on March 31, the prison authorities changed the rules and prevented his family from visiting. An international uproar and hundreds of calls to Pennsylvania state and prison authorities resulted in family visits being allowed again, but a new rule specified only one visit by a close family member per week. Calls are still needed to demand more frequent family visits. (See phone numbers, below.)

Mumia was transferred back to prison on April 1, to the same prison infirmary that failed to properly diagnose or treat him before the hospitalization. Although his condition is somewhat improved from just before his hospitalization, he is weakened by a drastic weight loss of over 80 pounds in about 5 weeks, and his situation remains grave. On April 2nd, Mumia collapsed in the prison infirmary bathroom and lay on the floor for 45 minutes before being found by a doctor and prisoner.
Mumia’s Life Is Still In Danger

Now in a manually operated wheelchair, Mumia is very weak, his skin is still raw and blistered, and he has some difficulty breathing. While his mind is still sharp, he suffers from some loss in the ability to retrieve words. As described by Suzanne Ross of the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC), following her visit with Mumia on April 13th:

“Mumia was very alert and deep, as usual filled with extensive historical knowledge, as we discussed some of the same kinds of political issues we generally discuss when I visit.  He was occasionally even humorous.  His spirit and intellect remain unquestionably Mumia.  But he is concerned about some loss in his ability to retrieve words, aphasia like symptoms, and he sometimes experiences fugue states.  He apparently did not experience any of these symptoms while I was there.   Very notable to me was the trauma all this has imposed on Mumia, major, major, major physical and emotional trauma.  He feels the steroids given him for his initial skin problem brought on the diabetes, and now the life threatening diabetic picture, not to mention the pain, the itching, the shaking, and the memory issues he described.  ALL DONE TO HIM, IMPOSED ON HIM.”

(See Ross’ full report at: http://www.freemumia.com/2015/04/mumia-hospitalized/#apr1.)

Mumia’s Plight Is Typical For Long-term Prisoners

The mass incarceration policies in the US, increasingly administered by private corporations interested only in their bottom line, create hellish conditions for their captive victims, particularly those on “slow death row” (life without the possibility of parole), as is Mumia. Mumia is the first one to point this out, and, despite the stress of his present situation, to advocate for other prisoners and the oppressed and exploited in general. As Heidi Bogosian and Johanna Fernandez point out in a piece on Black Agenda Report,

“Mumia’s condition highlights the systemic neglect and abuse of prisoners in our nation’s vast and ever growing system of mass incarceration. A daily diet high in carbohydrates, salt and sugar has left an estimated 80 thousand suffering from diabetes. Compounding the inadequate nutrition is the sub-par medical care provided by a vast for-profit provider that reaps some $1.5 billion a year in profits from prison healthcare contracts. Using an HMO model that puts cost-cutting above all, Corizon Correctional Healthcare has paid millions in legal settlements over inadequate or bungled treatment. Not surprisingly, the Bureau of Justice reported some 40% of prisoners and jail inmates in 2011-2012 reporting chronic medical condition such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure—and diabetes.”

(Heidi Boghosian is a lawyer in New York City, and Johanna Fernandez is Assistant Professor of History at Baruch College  Both are long-time advocates for Mumia Abu-Jamal. See their full piece, titled “A Slow Death for Mumia Abu-Jamal and Thousands of Prisoners in America” at: http://www.blackagendareport.com/mumia-death-by-medical-neglect.)

Mumia Needs All of Us to Help Now!

Targeted by police, prosecutors and the FBI from a young age, Mumia was framed in a blatantly unfair trial for a crime he didn’t commit in 1982. Since then, state and federal courts have continued to cover-up this atrocity by refusing to hear or act on overwhelming evidence that explodes the frame-up and should set him free.  Also since then, Mumia has dedicated his 33 years of life in prison to exposing the racism, imperialism and other crimes of this capitalist system within which we all live, as shown in his hundreds of recorded commentaries and numerous books.

Now we must step up!

Mumia needs his own physician specialists!  Please donate now to help make this possible.  Please got to the web site below and give as generously as you can.

Donate at:

Sign the petition
to help save—and free—Mumia.
Go to:


We need to keep up the pressure
with phone calls:

Let SCI Mahanoy Superintendent John Kerestes and Secretary of Corrections John Wetzel know we insist that Mumia have medical specialists of his own choosing, and that they have daily access rights to examine and treat him. Also let them know that Mumia’s family needs regular and frequent visitation rights.

SCI Mahanoy
Superintendent John Kerestes
(570) 773-2158

SCI Mahanoy
Chief Health Care Administrator Steinhardt
(570) 773-2158

Christopher Oppman
Director, PA Department of Corrections Health Care Services
(717) 728-5309

John Wetzel
Secretary, PA Department of Corrections
(717) 728-4109


Mumia is Innocent! Free Mumia Now!

This message by:
Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
20 April 2015



For Immediate Release: March 30, 2015

Attn: News Desk

Prisoners and Advocacy Groups Win Right to a Trial On Constitutionality of the Silencing Act (PA SB508)

This morning, Chief Judge for the federal court in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Christopher Conner, will hear the cases Abu-Jamal v. Kane and Prison Legal News v. Kane in a trial that willl determine the constitutionality of PA SB508 "the Silencing Act".  Defendant PA Attorney General Kane will be hard pressed to argue the constitutionality of the Silencing Act, a censorship law targeted at Mumia Abu-Jamal and other currently and formerly incarcerated people.

Defendant Seth Williams was dismissed from the case based on his explicit disavowal of enforcing the act until a court of competent jurisdiction rules on the constitutionality of the statute. His dismissal does not hinder Plaintiffs ability to obtain the relief of invalidating this law, as a favorable ruling on the First Amendment issue against Defendant Kane will achieve the same result. Williams' disavowal of enforcement is a far cry from his political grandstanding in support of this bill's passage in the fall.

The judge has ordered that this trial will include Plaintiffs' motion for preliminary injunction merged with a trial on the merits, meaning that if we win we will be granted a permanent injunction against the statute, and the statue will be invalidated.

“Silencing prisoners is one more way of dehumanizing them,” said Amistad Law Project Policy Director Nikki Grant. “We need the voices of the marginalized to shed light on injustice.”

The trial is set for this morning March 30 in Harrisburg, PA approximately 5 months since former Governor Corbett signed this ill-fated bill into law.

 The Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center at Northwestern University School of Law filed the lawsuit on Nov. 10th to stop enforcement of the law. The law firms represent Mumia Abu-Jamal, Prison Radio, Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, Robert L. Holbrook, Donnell Palmer, Anthony Chance, and Human Rights Coalition.

The Silencing Act, also known as 18 P.S. § 11.1304, allows the Attorney General, county District Attorneys, and victims of personal injury crimes to bring a lawsuit in civil court against the person convicted of the personal injury crime to enjoin conduct that “perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim”. The actions that could prompt a lawsuit include “conduct which causes a temporary or permanent state of mental anguish.”

“This law is unconstitutional,” said David Shapiro of MacArthur Justice Center. “The facts are on our side and the law is on our side. The Silencing Act targets a huge amount of constitutionally protected speech based on who is speaking.”

After a prerecorded commencement speech by journalist and prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal was played for graduates at Goddard College in Vermont, the Pennsylvania legislature passed and outgoing Governor Corbett signed into law the Silencing Act on October 21st, 16 days after the commencement speech.

Abu-Jamal has spent 33 years in prison, 29 of which were in solitary confinement on death row after being convicted at a 1982 trial that Amnesty International said “failed to meet minimum international standards safeguarding the fairness of legal proceedings.”

Robert L. Holbrook, who is serving a death by incarceration, life without parole, sentence he received as a child, had this to say about the law: “there are people in prison who will stop writing, stop publishing, stop speaking out because of this law.”

Bret Grote       bretgrote@abolitionistlawcenter.org    412-654-9070
Ashley Henderson ashley@amistadlaw.org          215-310-0424
Noelle Hanrahan info@prisonradio.org         415-706-5222
David Shapiro david.shapiro@law.northwestern.edu        312-503-0711

Amistad Law Project is a West Philadelphia-based public interest law center.
Our mission is to fight for the human rights of all people by providing
legal services to people incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s prisons.
www.amistadlaw.org | @amistadlaw | 267-225-5884

The Abolitionist Law Center is a public interest law firm inspired by the struggle of political and politicized prisoners, and organized for the purpose of abolishing class and race based mass incarceration in the United States.   412-654-9070

Prison Radio has recorded Mumia and other political prisoners for over 25 years, and we are pulling out all the stops to keep these voices on the air.   415-706-5222

Please donate today to amplify prisoners' voices far and wide beyond the bars:
     Support Prison Radio: prisonradio.org/donate
     Defeat SB 508: bit.ly/defendfreespeech

Copyright © Prison Radio
www,prisonradio.org 415-706-5222
Our mailing address is:
Prison Radio PO Box 411074, SF CA 94141


Donate Now
to fight the “gag” law!
go to:


Support Prison Radio

$35 is the yearly membership.

$50 will get you a beautiful tote bag (you can special order a yoga mat bag, just call us).

$100 will get the DVD "Mumia: Long Distance Revolutionary"

$300 will bring one essay to the airwaves.

$1000 (or $88.83 per month) will make you a member of our Prison Radio Freedom Circle. Take a moment and Support Prison Radio

Luchando por la justicia y la libertad,

Noelle Hanrahan, Director, Prison Radio


P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141

info@prisonradio.org 415-706-5222



Campaign to Free Lorenzo Johnson

Lorenzo Speaks Concerning Prosecution's Brief:
JANUARY 1, 2015—The prosecutor has run away from (almost) every issue raised in my PCRA by begging the Court to dismiss everything as “untimely”. When they don’t do this, they suggest that me and my lawyers were “defamatory” towards either my former prosecutor Christopher Abruzzo or Detective Kevin Duffin, in our claims they withheld, misused or hid evidence of my Innocence, in order to secure an unjust conviction in this case. If I charged, a year ago, that about a dozen AGs (attorneys general) were involved in circulating porno via their office computers, people would’ve laughed at me, and seen me as crazy.

But, guess what? During 2014, we learned that this was the truth. How can it be defamatory to speak the truth? Notice the OAG (Office of Attorney General), never said the obvious: That AG Abruzzo didn’t inform the Defense about the relationship between his Motive Witness and his head detective (Victoria Doubs and Det. Duffin); that Det. Duffin doesn’t deny Doubs was his god-sister, and that she lived in his family home, or that he assisted her whenever she got into trouble.

Why not? Because it is true. How can you defame someone who defames himself? Mr. Christopher Abruzzo, Esq., when a member of the higher ranks of the OAG, sent and/or received copious amounts of porno to other attorneys general and beyond. What does this say about his sense of judgment? He thought enough about his behavior to resign from his post in the Governor’s Cabinet. If he thought that his behavior was okay, he’d still be sitting in the Governor’s cabinet, right? The OAG cannot honestly oppose anything we’ve argued, but they try by seeking to get the Court to do their dirty work, how? By denying an Evidentiary Hearing to prove every point we’ve claimed.

The prosecution is trying desperately to avoid dealing with the substance of my claims in Com. v. Lorenzo Johnson. So, they slander my Legal Team and blame them for defaming the good AG’s and Cops involved with this case. They try to do what is undeniable, to deny that they hid evidence from the Defense for years. They blamed me for daring to protest the hidden evidence of their malfeasance and other acts to sabotage the defense. They claim that they had an “Open File” policy with my trial counsel. But “Open File” is more than letting an attorney read something in their office. If it’s a search for the truth it must include what is turned over to the attorney, for how do we really know what was shown to her?

They say it is inconceivable that an attorney would read a file, beginning on page nine (9), and not ask for the preceding eight (8) pages. Yet, it is conceivable if trial counsel was ineffective for not demanding the record of the first eight pages. Pages that identify the State’s only witness as a “SUSPECT” in the murder for which her client was charged! How could such an attorney fail to recognize the relevance of such an issue, barring their sheer Ineffectiveness and frankly, Incompetence.

By seeking to avoid an evidentiary hearing, the prosecution seeks to avoid evidence of their wrongdoing being made plain, for all to see. If they believe I’m wrong, why not prove it? They can’t. So they shout I filed my appeal untimely, as if there can ever justly be a rule that precludes an innocent from proving his innocence! Not to mention the fact that the prosecution has failed to even mention the positive finger prints that ay my trial they said none existed. Don’t try to hide it with a lame argument about time. When isn’t there a time for truth? The prosecution should be ashamed of itself for taking this road. It is unworthy of an office that claims to seek justice.

After the trial verdict The Patriot-News (March 18, 1997) reported, “Deputy Attorney General Christopher Abruzzo admitted there were some serious concerns about the strength of the evidence against Johnson and praised the jury for doing a thorough job.” I guess he forgot to mention all of the evidence he left out to show Innocence.

Now, more than ever, Lorenzo Johnson needs your support.
Publicize his case; bring it to your friends, clubs, religious
and social organizations. 




Write: Lorenzo Johnson
            DF 1036
            SCI Mahanoy
            301 Morea Rd.
            Frackville, PA 17932

 Email: Lorenzo Johnson through JPAY.com code:
              Lorenzo Johnson DF 1036 PA DOC



Click HERE to view in browser
Join the Fight to Free Rev. Pinkney!

On December 15, 2014 the Rev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan was thrown into prison for 2.5 to 10 years. This 66-year-old leading African American activist was tried and convicted in front of an all-white jury and racist white judge and prosecutor for supposedly altering 5 dates on a recall petition against the mayor of Benton Harbor.

The prosecutor, with the judge’s approval, repeatedly told the jury “you don’t need evidence to convict Mr. Pinkney.” And ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE WAS EVER PRESENTED THAT TIED REV. PINKNEY TO THE ‘ALTERED’ PETITIONS. Rev. Pinkney was immediately led away in handcuffs and thrown into Jackson Prison.

This is an outrageous charge. It is an outrageous conviction. It is an even more outrageous sentence! It must be appealed.

With your help supporters need to raise $20,000 for Rev. Pinkney’s appeal.

Checks can be made out to BANCO (Black Autonomy Network Community Organization). This is the organization founded by Rev. Pinkney.  Mail them to: Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022.

Donations can be accepted on-line at bhbanco.org – press the donate button.

For information on the decade long campaign to destroy Rev. Pinkney go to bhbanco.org and workers.org(search “Pinkney”).

We urge your support to the efforts to Free Rev. Pinkney!Ramsey Clark – Former U.S. attorney general,
Cynthia McKinney – Former member of U.S. Congress,
Lynne Stewart – Former political prisoner and human rights attorney
Ralph Poynter – New Abolitionist Movement,
Abayomi Azikiwe – Editor, Pan-African News Wire<
Larry Holmes – Peoples Power Assembly,
David Sole – Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice
Sara Flounders – International Action Center


I am now in Marquette prison over 15 hours from wife and family, sitting in prison for a crime that was never committed. Judge Schrock and Mike Sepic both admitted there was no evidence against me but now I sit in prison facing 30 months. Schrock actually stated that he wanted to make an example out of me. (to scare Benton Harbor residents even more...) ONLY IN AMERICA. I now have an army to help fight Berrien County. When I arrived at Jackson state prison on Dec. 15, I met several hundred people from Detroit, Flint, Kalamazoo, and Grand Rapids. Some people recognized me. There was an outstanding amount of support given by the prison inmates. When I was transported to Marquette Prison it took 2 days. The prisoners knew who I was. One of the guards looked me up on the internet and said, "who would believe Berrien County is this racist."  

New Court Date on 4 Motions for Rev. Pinkney 

TUES, FEB. 24 1pm Berrien County Court 

Background to Campaign to free Rev. Pinkney

Michigan political prisoner the Rev. Edward Pinkney is a victim of racist injustice. He was sentenced to 30 months to 10 years for supposedly changing the dates on 5 signatures on a petition to recall Benton Harbor Mayor James Hightower.

No material or circumstantial evidence was presented at the trial that would implicate Pinkney in the purported5 felonies. Many believe that Pinkney, a Berrien County activist and leader of the Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO), is being punished by local authorities for opposing the corporate plans of Whirlpool Corp, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

In 2012, Pinkney and BANCO led an “Occupy the PGA [Professional Golfers’ Association of America]” demonstration against a world-renowned golf tournament held at the newly created Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. The course was carved out of Jean Klock Park, which had been donated to the city of Benton Harbor decades ago.

Berrien County officials were determined to defeat the recall campaign against Mayor Hightower, who opposed a program that would have taxed local corporations in order to create jobs and improve conditions in Benton Harbor, a majority African-American municipality. Like other Michigan cities, it has been devastated by widespread poverty and unemployment. 

The Benton Harbor corporate power structure has used similar fraudulent charges to stop past efforts to recall or vote out of office the racist white officials, from mayor, judges, prosecutors in a majority Black city. Rev Pinkney who always quotes scripture, as many Christian ministers do, was even convicted for quoting scripture in a newspaper column. This outrageous conviction was overturned on appeal. We must do this again!

To sign the petition in support of the Rev. Edward Pinkney, log on to: tinyurl.com/ps4lwyn.

Contributions for Rev. Pinkney’s defense can be sent to BANCO at Mrs Dorothy Pinkney, 1940 Union St., Benton Harbor, MI 49022

Or you can donate on-line at bhbanco.org.




New Action- write letters to DoD officials requesting clemency for Chelsea!

November 24, 2014 by the Chelsea Manning Support Network

Secretary of the Army John McHugh
President Obama has delegated review of Chelsea Manning’s clemency appeal to individuals within the Department of Defense.
Please write them to express your support for heroic WikiLeaks’ whistle-blower former US Army intelligence analyst PFC Chelsea Manning’s release from military prison.
It is important that each of these authorities realize the wide support that Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning enjoys worldwide. They need to be reminded that millions understand that Manning is a political prisoner, imprisoned for following her conscience. While it is highly unlikely that any of these individuals would independently move to release Manning, a reduction in Manning’s outrageous 35-year prison sentence is a possibility at this stage.
Take action TODAY – Write letters supporting Chelsea’s clemency petition to the following DoD authorities:
Secretary of the Army John McHugh
101 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-0101
The Judge Advocate General
2200 Army Pentagon
Washington, DC 20310-2200
Army Clemency and Parole Board
251 18th St, Suite 385
Arlington, VA 22202-3532
Directorate of Inmate Administration
Attn: Boards Branch
U.S. Disciplinary Barracks
1301 N. Warehouse Road
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2304
Suggestions for letters send to DoD officials:
  • The letter should focus on your support for Chelsea Manning, and especially why you believe justice will be served if Chelsea Manning’s sentence is reduced.  The letter should NOT be anti-military as this will be unlikely to help
  • A suggested message: “Chelsea Manning has been punished enough for violating military regulations in the course of being true to her conscience.  I urge you to use your authorityto reduce Pvt. Manning’s sentence to time served.”  Beyond that general message, feel free to personalize the details as to why you believe Chelsea deserves clemency.
  • Consider composing your letter on personalized letterhead -you can create this yourself (here are templates and some tips for doing that).
  • A comment on this post will NOT be seen by DoD authorities–please send your letters to the addresses above
This clemency petition is separate from Chelsea Manning’s upcoming appeal before the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals next year, where Manning’s new attorney Nancy Hollander will have an opportunity to highlight the prosecution’s—and the trial judge’s—misconduct during last year’s trial at Ft. Meade, Maryland.
Help us continue to cover 100% of Chelsea’s legal fees at this critical stage!

Courage to Resist
484 Lake Park Ave. #41
 Oakland, CA 94610











1) Working, but Needing Public Assistance Anyway



2) Atlanta School Workers Sentenced in Test Score Cheating Case



3) With Driver’s License Suspensions, a Cycle of Debt



4) Volunteer for Sheriff Is Charged in Killing After Mistaking Handgun for Taser



5) In Test for Unions and Politicians, a Nationwide Protest on Pay



6) Outside Judge Is Named for Police Shooting Case



7) Use of E-Cigarettes Rises Sharply Among Teenagers, Report Says


Kenny, a high school senior in Weston, Fla., likes to puff e-cigarettes during study sessions with friends after school. James, a senior in Fauquier County, Va., uses them outside at lunch with friends who do smoke tricks. Joe, a senior in Jackson, Miss., uses them in the morning before class as a coffee-flavored way to pass the time.

E-cigarettes have arrived in the life of the American teenager.

Use of the devices among middle- and high school students tripled from 2013 to 2014, according to federal data released on Thursday, bringing the share of high school students who use them to 13 percent — more than smoke traditional cigarettes.About a quarter of all high school students and 8 percent of middle school students — 4.6 million young people altogether — used tobacco in some form last year. The sharp rise of e-cigarettes, together with a substantial increase in the use of hookah pipes, led to 400,000 additional young people using a tobacco product in 2014, the first increase in years, though researchers pointed out the percentage of the rise fell within the report’s margin of error.

But the report also told another story. From 2011 to 2014, the share of high school students who smoked traditional cigarettes declined substantially, to 9 percent from 16 percent, and use of cigars and pipes ebbed too. The shift suggested that some teenage smokers may be using e-cigarettes to quit.

Smoking is still the single-biggest cause of preventable death in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans a year, and most scientists agree that e-cigarettes, which deliver the nicotine but not the dangerous tar and other chemicals, are likely to be far less harmful than traditional cigarettes.

The numbers came as a surprise and seemed to put policy makers into uncharted territory. The Food and Drug Administration took its first tentative step toward regulating e-cigarettes last year, but the process is slow, and many experts worry that habits are forming far faster than rules are being written. Because e-cigarettes are so new, scientists are still gathering evidence on their long-term health effects, leaving regulators scrambling to gather data.

In interviews, teenagers said that e-cigarettes had become almost as common at school as laptops, a change from several years ago, when few had seen them.

“It’s the healthy alternative taking over my school,” said Tom, a 15-year-old sophomore at a school in Westchester County, N.Y., who started vaping — the term for puffing on an e-cigarette — to kick a smoking habit. He said about 70 percent of his friends now vaped. But opinions were mixed on why the devices had caught on. A significant share said they were using the devices to quit smoking cigarettes or marijuana, while others said they had never smoked but liked being part of the trend and enjoyed the taste. Two favorite flavors of teenagers interviewed were Sweet Tart and Unicorn Puke, which one student described as “every flavor Skittle compressed into one.”

Joe Stevonson, 18, a senior at a high school in Jackson, Miss., said he used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, after the habit started affecting his ability to play sports. He prefers a flavor called Courtroom, endorsed by the rapper Lil Ugly Mane, which is described on websites where it is sold as “a medley of things you might want while waiting for the jury to convict.”

As for whether he still craved cigarettes, “the only thing that’s really missing is feeling like your entire mouth is coated in dirt,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of people who don’t smoke pick them up because it looks cool. But for every person I’ve met like that, I’ve met another using it like it’s a medicine against cigarettes.”

James, 17, the senior in Virginia, said he and his friends started using e-cigarettes when he was 13, after his father abandoned the devices in a failed effort to quit smoking.

“It was something for us to do that was edgy and exciting,” said James, who asked that his last name not be used because he did not want his smoking habits to be on public display. He liked the smoke tricks that his friends had become good at, like blowing out the vapor so that it spun like a tornado. His favorite flavor is called Hawk Sauce, which he described as “a berry menthol kind of thing.”

He has never smoked cigarettes and said he could not imagine ever starting. “There’s a harshness to cigarettes,” he said. “Girls think they’re gross.”

E-cigarette use had grown exponentially in previous years, but from such a low base that the numbers had been relatively small. But last year’s rise, which was captured in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual youth tobacco survey of about 20,000 schoolchildren, lifted e-cigarette use above that of traditional cigarettes, prompting an outcry from anti-tobacco advocates. They warned that e-cigarettes were undoing years of progress among the country’s most vulnerable citizens by making the act of puffing on a tobacco product normal again, and by introducing nicotine, an addictive substance, to a broad population of teenagers.

“This is a really bad thing,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the director of the C.D.C., who noted that research had found that nicotine harms the developing brain. “This is another generation being hooked by the tobacco industry. It makes me angry.”

But the numbers had a bright side. The decline in cigarette use among teenagers accelerated substantially from 2013 to 2014, dropping by 25 percent, the fastest pace in years.

The pattern seemed to go against the dire predictions of anti-tobacco advocates that e-cigarettes would become a gateway to cigarettes among youths, and suggested they might actually be helping, not hurting. The pattern resembled those in Sweden and Norway, where a rise in the use of snus, a smokeless tobacco product, was followed by a sharp decline in cigarette use.

“They’re not a gateway in, and they might be accelerating the gateway out,” said David B. Abrams, executive director of the Schroeder Institute for Tobacco Research and Policy Studies, an anti-tobacco group.

Some teenagers described vaping as an entirely different culture from cigarette smoking, and scoffed at the idea that it could be a way into cigarettes. Kenny, the senior from Florida, said students liked the mix-and-match accessories that a user could “personalize and call your own.”

“E-cigarettes appeal less towards the stereotypical longhaired stoners, and more towards sweatshirt-blue-jeans Silicon Valley programmer,” said Kenny, who asked that his last name not be published to keep his vaping habits private. “You can compare them to Apple computers.”

Selling e-cigarettes to minors is banned in many states, and the rule the F.D.A. proposed last year would ban it nationally.

But the proliferation of vape shops and equipment for sale online has made access easy, and some teenagers said they simply clicked a button to indicate they were over 18 to be able to order a starter kit. (E-cigarette equipment includes batteries that can be shaped like cigarettes or a cellphone; liquid reservoirs, known as tanks; cartridges; and battery chargers.)

Ethan deLehman, 17, a junior at a private school in Pennsylvania, said he used to ask seniors who were 18 to buy him e-cigarettes at convenience stores, but now he has equipment and buys his liquids on the Internet.

“You can just go online and click yes,” he said. He has used e-cigarettes to quit smoking, a habit he picked up to relieve the pressure over getting into college. His favorite flavors are Caramel Tobacco and Creamsicle.

A starter e-cigarette kit can begin around $40 and go up to $200 or more, with the fluid costing from $7 to $20 a bottle. That can be less expensive than smoking over the long run, particularly in states like New York where the cost of a pack of cigarettes is high, young people said. Alexander Wilson started smoking cigarettes when he was 15. He said that e-cigarettes helped him cut down and save money. “It’s cheaper over all for how much I smoke,” said Mr. Wilson, who lives in Frederick, Md.

He recalled seeing one of the e-cigarette devices for the first time. “I was like, ‘Dude, why do you have a light saber?’ ” he said. “And he was like, ‘No, that’s my e-cigarette.’ ”



8) Chicago Pays $5 Million to Family of Black Teenager Killed by Officer



9) A Police Shot to a Boy’s Back in Queens, Echoing Since 1973



10) N.Y.U. Labor Guidelines Failed to Protect 10,000 Workers in Abu Dhabi, Report Says



11) John Legend's Crusade to End Mass Incarceration
By Asawin Suebsaeng, The Daily Beast
18 April 15
The musician is joining hands with the ACLU to end mass incarceration in America

inger/songwriter John Legend has a new hobby: campaigning to end mass incarceration in America. And he’s teaming up with the American Civil Liberties Union to do it.

On Monday, Legend unveiled his Free America initiative, which will focus on advancing criminal-justice reform. Part of the launch this week will include a performance at a correctional facility in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. He will then hold a press conference with state lawmakers on the issue.

“We have a serious problem with incarceration in this country,” Legend told the Associated Press. “It’s destroying families, it’s destroying communities and we’re the most incarcerated country in the world, and when you look deeper and look at the reasons we got to this place, we as a society made some choices politically and legislatively, culturally to deal with poverty, deal with mental illness in a certain way and that way usually involves using incarceration.”

One of the organizations already on board with Legend’s project is the ACLU, which has been in touch with Legend’s management for roughly the past year on the issue of criminal-justice reform. (Actor Michael K. Williams, of Boardwalk Empire and The Wire fame, has been an ACLU celebrity ambassador on mass incarceration.)

“We have been invited [by Legend’s people] to some of the different events,” Alison Holcomb, the director of the ACLU’s nationwide campaign to end mass incarceration, told The Daily Beast. “Our executive director of the ACLU of Texas, Terri Burke, will be participating in one of the press conferences that John is holding.”

Legend is also set to co-host an event with Politico in Washington, D.C., later in April. Either Holcomb or Jill Harris, who serves as her deputy director, will represent the ACLU at this event.

So far, there is no formal agreement on longer-term cooperation between Legend and the ACLU, but Holcomb says they are very much looking forward to being as supportive as they can.

“He is definitely out in front on this issue,” Holcomb said. “We certainly hope there are other celebrities who will join him… What is exciting about it is that celebrities are helping to humanize this issue, and to really share their personal experiences, [and] their personal observations of this problem.”

In February, Legend and rapper Common won an Oscar for their song “Glory,” which was featured in the film Selma. During his acceptance speech, Legend touched on mass incarceration and voting rights (the ACLU congratulated him on Twitter for doing so).

Other celebrities who have spoken out recently on mass incarceration and criminal-justice reform include Jay Z, 2 Chainz, and Russell Simmons. In 2013, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson starred in Snitch, a family drama that is all about why mandatory minimum sentencing laws are a terrible idea.
Other organizations working in favor of reform are the libertarian Generation Opportunity, the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, and the umbrella group the Coalition for Public Safety. Last year, Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker introduced a bill addressing the issue.
It is unclear which of these groups or individuals, if any, will be collaborating with Free America and Legend.



12) Civil Rights Groups in South Carolina Ask U.S. to Investigate Killings by Police



13) After Walter Scott Shooting, Scrutiny Turns to 2nd Officer



14) Oklahoma: Gas Executions Approved



15) Workers Seeking Productivity in a Pill Are Abusing A.D.H.D. Drugs


Fading fast at 11 p.m., Elizabeth texted her dealer and waited just 30 minutes for him to reach her third-floor New York apartment. She handed him a wad of twenties and fifties, received a tattered envelope of pills, and returned to her computer.

Her PowerPoint needed another four hours. Investors in her health-technology start-up wanted re-crunched numbers, a presentation begged for bullet points and emails from global developers would keep arriving well past midnight.

She gulped down one pill — pale orange, like baby aspirin — and then, reconsidering, took one of the pinks, too.

“O.K., now I can work,” Elizabeth exhaled. Several minutes later, she felt her brain snap to attention. She pushed her glasses up her nose and churned until 7 a.m. Only then did she sleep for 90 minutes, before arriving at her office at 9.

The pills were versions of the drug Adderall, an amphetamine-based stimulant prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that many college students have long used illicitly while studying. Now, experts say, stimulant abuse is graduating into the work force.

Reliable data to quantify how many American workers misuse stimulants does not exist, several experts said.

But in interviews, dozens of people in a wide spectrum of professions said they and co-workers misused stimulants like Adderall, Vyvanse and Concerta to improve work performance. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs or access to the medication.

Doctors and medical ethicists expressed concern for misusers’ health, as stimulants can cause anxiety, addiction and hallucinations when taken in high doses. But they also worried about added pressure in the workplace — where the use by some pressures more to join the trend.

“You’d see addiction in students, but it was pretty rare to see it in an adult,” said Dr. Kimberly Dennis, the medical director of Timberline Knolls, a substance-abuse treatment facility for women outside Chicago.

“We are definitely seeing more than one year ago, more than two years ago, especially in the age range of 25 to 45,” she said.

Elizabeth, a Long Island native in her late 20s, said that to not take Adderall while competitors did would be like playing tennis with a wood racket.

“It is necessary — necessary for survival of the best and the smartest and highest-achieving people,” Elizabeth said. She spoke on the condition that she be identified only by her middle name.

Most users who were interviewed said they got pills by feigning symptoms of A.D.H.D., a disorder marked by severe impulsivity and inattention, to physicians who casually write prescriptions without proper evaluations. Others got them from friends or dealers.

Obtaining or distributing stimulants without a prescription is a federal crime, but the starkest risks of abuse appear to be overdose and addiction.

A 2013 report by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that emergency room visits related to nonmedical use of prescription stimulants among adults 18 to 34 tripled from 2005 to 2011, to almost 23,000.

The agency also reported that from 2010 to 2012, people entering substance rehabilitation centers cited stimulants as their primary substance of abuse 15 percent more often than in the previous three-year period.

Just how stimulants like Adderall might improve work performance, and to what extent, remains a matter of scientific debate.

But many young workers insist that using the drugs to increase productivity is on the rise — and that these are drugs used not to get high, but hired.

“Given the increase in rates of abuse in college students over the last decade, it is essential that we understand the outcomes as they leave college and assume adult roles,” Dr. Wilson Compton, the deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said in an interview.

Immediate Impacts

Elizabeth’s sleep tracker was confused. Her nightly rests were so brief, the iPhone software thought they were just naps. It recorded her average sleep over nine months: from 4:17 a.m. until 7:42.

After founding her own health technology company, Elizabeth soon decided that working hard was not enough; she had to work harder, longer. Sleep went from an indulgence to an obstacle.

So she went to a psychiatrist and complained that she could not concentrate on work. She received a diagnosis of A.D.H.D. and a prescription for Adderall in about 10 minutes, she said.

“Friends of mine in finance, on Wall Street, were traders and had to start at 5 in the morning on top of their games — most of them were taking Adderall,” Elizabeth said. “You can’t be the one who is the sluggish one.”

Researchers in the field are quick to caution that, despite stimulants’ reputation as “smart pills,” few studies suggest that they improve a person’s ability to learn or understand. But they often improve attention and motivation, particularly for tedious tasks, which can increase productivity — or at least the appearance of it.

Some industries have banned the use of stimulants for reasons of safety or fairness. The Federal Aviation Administration forbids pilots to use the medications under any circumstances. Major League Baseball players and other athletes had long abused amphetamines to increase focus and endure exhausting travel schedules, but the drugs are now considered performance-enhancers allowed only with a confirmed A.D.H.D. diagnosis.

Interviews with people who have misused the pills showed them to be a diverse group. A dentist in eastern Pennsylvania prescribed herself Adderall and other stimulants for years because, she said in a telephone interview, she could see 15 patients a day rather than 12.

Lisa Deese of Fishers, Ind., said she had abused Adderall as a stay-at-home mother of three for years. The pills, she said, “were like mommy crack.”

“I got so much more done during the day,” she added. “I was hooked by my first pill.”While many studies have assessed the prevalence of misuse among college students, no doctor or researcher contacted for this article could cite a formal assessment of misuse among adults to improve job performance.

But Dr. Anjan K. Chatterjee, the chairman of neurology at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia and an expert in the field of cognitive enhancement, said that even without conclusive data, misuse was undoubtedly rising. “Kids who have been using it in high school and college, this is normalized for them,” Dr. Chatterjee said. “It’s not a big deal as they enter the work force.”

A Slow Realization

Sitting in a conference room at Timberline Knolls, the treatment facility, and hearing the details of Elizabeth’s professed harmless misuse of Adderall, a New York native in her mid-20s said pointedly, “That was me 17 days ago.”

The woman said her road to addiction had begun at her East Coast college, where Adderall was readily available from classmates for $5 or $10 a pill, she said. When her postgraduate job involved extensive early-morning driving and detailed paperwork, she began taking more. She said friends in accounting and teaching were doing the same thing.

“Everything was just —” she said, snapping her fingers loudly. “I did my job faster than anybody. I was on a mission, and I was not going to stop until I succeeded and got what I wanted.”

When she became too wired to relax or sleep, she added the tranquilizer Xanax to calm herself. She tried to stop taking Adderall, she said, but “became terrified that I couldn’t perform without it.” She turned to alcohol, then cigarettes and other prescription drugs to modulate her intensifying mood swings, before entering Timberline for five weeks.

The number of stimulant misusers who become addicted is unclear. But supply has risen sharply: About 2.6 million American adults received A.D.H.D. medication in 2012, a rise of 53 percent in only four years, according to Express Scripts, the nation’s largest prescription-drug manager. Use among adults 26 to 34 almost doubled.

Most experts say a proper evaluation for the disorder typically requires an extensive inquiry into a patient’s history of impulsivity and inattention. Yet misusers routinely described brief chats with doctors to get a prescription. Two lawyers in Houston said wearing a suit to their appointments guaranteed no scrutiny.

Those lawyers said they and dozens of young colleagues at their firms had casually traded pills to work into the night and billed hundreds of extra hours a year in the race for partnerships.

One said he had originally taken 20 milligrams of Adderall a day, moving up to 100 milligrams — almost double the highest dose recommended by the Food and Drug Administration — by getting prescriptions from multiple doctors, a felony in Texas. His productivity, he said, thrilled his unquestioning bosses and clients.

Then came the downside: rapid heartbeat, profuse sweating and acute anxiety due to sleep loss. These overwhelmed any positive effects on his work performance, he said, and transformed his personality to the point that his wife divorced him. After he lost his job, he spent six weeks at a drug treatment center.

“It’s a crutch, and it becomes a crutch immediately,” said the lawyer, who recently joined a smaller firm in Texas.

In her New York apartment, where floor-to-ceiling white boards were scribbled with nascent projects, Elizabeth considered what her generation appears willing to swallow for success.

“It’s like this at most of the companies I know with driven young people — there’s a certain expectation of performance,” she said, banging away on that PowerPoint presentation as her own pills kicked in. “And if you don’t meet it, and I’m not really worried how, someone else will.”

























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