Wednesday, April 22, 2015

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, THURSDAY, APRIL 23, 2015



CANCEL ALL STUDENT DEBT!
Sign the Petition:

http://cancelallstudentdebt.com/?code=kos

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
LeftAction
Project Springboard
RH Reality Check
RootsAction
Student Debt Crisis
The Nation
Working Families 



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Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:

A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS

B. ARTICLES IN FULL




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A. EVENTS AND ACTIONS



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Friday, April 24th, 6pm

Justicia para Amilcar/ Justice For Amilcar

Vigil and March

Folsom St., between 24th and 25th St.

Link to FB event here, please RSVP and distribute widely:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1599010597012084/

The ANSWER Coalition supports the following action and asks its supporters to join.

Amilcar

On Friday, April 24th, on behalf of Amilcar's family, Attorney Arnoldo Casillas will file a civil lawsuit against the City of San Francisco and officers Craig Tiffe and Eric Reboli who killed Amilcar Perez-Lopez mere feet from his home. At 11:00am Casillas will hold a press conference and reveal additional evidence. that dramatically contradicts the police narrative of the events of the night Amilcar was shot and killed.

That evening, Neighbors for Justice for Amilcar are holding a vigil and march in honor of Amilcar Perez-Lopez, killed by SFPD on April 24, 2015.

We believe SFPD is involved in a cover-up of facts to avoid criminal and civil accountability for the unlawful killing of Amilcar Perez-Lopez. Join us that evening to mourn this tragic loss in our community, resist the forces of gentrification, and DEMAND JUSTICE for Amilcar.

6:00pm - Vigil begins on the East side of Folsom between 24th and 25th, at the site of the shooting
6:30pm - March begins
7:00pm - Stop at Mission Police Station (630 Valencia)
March will end at St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church (15th St between Mission and Valencia)

**Please bring votive candles. We will lay these down at the Mission Police Station to symbolize the loss of Amilcar and other victims of police violence in San Francisco.**

Learn more:
Justice4Amilcar.org
stay involved:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/353672264838421/



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#LaborAgainstPoliceTerror
May Day 2015
Friday, May 1, 9:00 A.M.
Oakland Port 

March & Rally to Stop Police Brutality,  Port of Oakland to City Hall

WHERE: Port of Oakland, take Adeline St. to portside of overpass


 9:00 A.M., May 1st,, March to City Hall at 10:00 A.M.  for 11:30 A.M. Rally

https://www.facebook.com/events/1393727560951699/

The labor force has played an integral part in social justice movements throughout United States history and beyond. ILWU, Local 10 in particular, has been at the forefront of many monumental events including, but not limited to the Big Strike of 1934, the 1984 Anti-Apartheid action against South Africa, and the 2010 Oscar Grant rally and port shut down.

Police terrorism in the United States is out of control. We have witnessed an endless onslaught of police brutality and police killings of innocent and unarmed people. These assaults have been mainly directed towards Black men and Black communities. We as union and non-union workers alike cannot standby and become desensitized to these great injustices.

ILWU, Local 10 is leading a Day of Action on May 1st, 2015 to call national attention in order to STOP POLICE TERROR. There will be no longshoremen working on that day in the Port of Oakland. The port will be SHUT DOWN. Disrupting commerce in this country is one means to find viable solutions to STOP POLICE TERROR. Please join us in this action and stand up against police terror.

We will gather at the ALREADY SHUTDOWN port at 9am for an hour long rally which will be at the APL gate near berth 62 close to the overpass (parking is available along Adeline close to 6th & 7th).

After the rally, WE MARCH! We will march from the port to Oscar Grant Plaza as we demonstrate that AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!

There will be another rally at noon when we reach OGP.

PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES.....

Sponsoring community organizations include:

ONYX Organizing Committee
Alan Blueford Center for Justice
Anti Police-Terror Project
Community Ready Corps
Black Power Network
Workers World
Stop Mass Incarceration Network

 
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.

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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.



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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.

 https://www.unacpeace.org/

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Prison refuses Mumia Medical Care
Dear friend,

Mumia is still in medical danger. He is weak, in the infirmary, and still needs a wheelchair to come out to visits. In a phone call on Monday his voice was hesitant and lacked its usual vibrancy.  
 
Yesterday, the PA Department of Corrections notified Mumia’s Attorney Bret Grote (of the Abolitionist Law Center) that it would:
Not allow Mumia to be examined by his own doctor;
Not allow Mumia to be examined by a endocrinologist (diabetes specialist); And they denied access for the doctor to communicate with prison medical staff to assist or direct Mumia’s care; and the Prison has refused to provide for regular phone calls between Mumia and his doctor. Currently, Mumia can only use the phone every other day for only 15 minutes, as the infirmary does not have phone access.


Mumia is being held in the very infirmary that caused his chronic conditions of eczema and late-onset diabetes to become life-threatening. The medical personnel on site were prevented from ordering tests when he was ill in mid-March, and are under the same prison/corporate restrictions today. One postive note, at this time Mumia is being allowed to monitor his own blood sugar multiple times a day, and he is receiving insulin. Since Mumia was hospitalized in ICU on March 30th with life threatening complications from chronic conditions we have been advocating for his treatment. We have to step up our efforts.


Take Action Now!
Demand that the Department of Corrections permit Mumia to have an examination by his doctor! Click here to call and fax the Prison and State officials and state our demands. 


http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/letters/pdf/Eyes%20on%20Mumia_1.pdf

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:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mumia-abu-jamal-needs-medical-care-now

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

https://www.change.org/p/john-e-wetzel-pa-secretary-of-corrections-tom-wolf-pa-governor-stop-the-medical-execution-of-mumia-abu-jamal-by-neglect-and-malpractice-3

Also,
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

NO EXECUTION BY MEDICAL NEGLECT!
SAVE MUMIA'S LIFE!

Mumia is Innocent! Free Mumia Now!

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


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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

http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=247585f092e945ff55b9a1bb2&id=e113d0b6d0&e=0107d76ccd

Donate Now
to fight the “gag” law!
go to:
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/protect-freedom-of-speech-keep-mumia-on-the-air

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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

PRISON RADIO

P.O. Box 411074 San Francisco, CA 94141

www.prisonradio.org
info@prisonradio.org 415-706-5222


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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. 


SIGN LORENZO JOHNSON'S FREEDOM PETITION

http://www.freelorenzojohnson.org/sign-the-petition.html

CONTRIBUTE TO LORENZO'S CAMPAIGN FOR FREEDOM!
http://www.freelorenzojohnson.org/how-can-i-help.html


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



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Click HERE to view in browser
http://www.iacenter.org/prisoners/freepinkney-1-28-15/
       
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


MESSAGE FROM REV. PINKNEY

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.

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COURAGE TO RESIST
http://couragetoresist.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
510-488-3559
couragetoresist.org

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B. ARTICLES IN FULL




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1) John Legend's Crusade to End Mass Incarceration
By Asawin Suebsaeng, The Daily Beast
18 April 15
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/29696-john-legends-crusade-to-end-mass-incarceration
 
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.



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


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


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4) Oklahoma: Gas Executions Approved


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

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/us/workers-seeking-productivity-in-a-pill-are-abusing-adhd-drugs.html?ref=business

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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6) The Gulf, Still at Risk
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7) Freddie Gray in Baltimore: Another City, Another Death in the Public Eye

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/us/another-mans-death-another-round-of-questions-for-the-police-in-baltimore.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

BALTIMORE — In life, friends say, Freddie Gray was an easygoing, slender young man who liked girls and partying here in Sandtown, a section of west Baltimore pocked by boarded-up rowhouses and known to the police for drug dealing and crime.

In death, Mr. Gray, 25, has become the latest symbol in the running national debate over police treatment of black men — all the more searing, people here say, in a city where the mayor and police commissioner are black.

Questions are swirling around just what happened to Mr. Gray, who died here Sunday — a week after he was chased and restrained by police officers, and suffered a spine injury, which later killed him, in their custody. The police say they have no evidence that their officers used force. A lawyer for Mr. Gray’s family accuses the department of a cover-up, and on Tuesday the Justice Department opened a civil rights inquiry into his death.

But as protests continued Tuesday night — with hundreds of angry residents, led by a prominent pastor and Mr. Gray’s grieving family, chanting and marching in the streets — the death has also fueled debate on whether African-American leadership here can better handle accusations of police brutality than cities like Ferguson, Mo., and North Charleston, S.C., with their white-dominated governments.

“Unlike other places where incidents like this have happened, they understand what it means to be black in America,” said City Councilman Brandon Scott, an ally of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and a frequent critic of Police Commissioner Anthony Batts.

“They understand how something like this can get out of hand very quickly,” Mr. Scott said. “They understand the community’s frustration more than anyone else. But at the same time they also understand the opposite — they understand the need to have law enforcement in neighborhoods. So it puts them in a bind.”

This week the mayor and police commissioner have appeared repeatedly in public promising a full and transparent review of Mr. Gray’s death. On Tuesday, the police released the names of six officers who had been suspended with pay, including a lieutenant, a woman and three officers in their 20s who joined the force less than three years ago. Officers canvassed west Baltimore, looking for witnesses.

Mr. Batts turned up in Mr. Gray’s neighborhood, chatting with residents and shaking hands. And Ms. Rawlings-Blake said in an interview that she had asked Gov. Larry Hogan for help in getting an autopsy on Mr. Gray performed by the state medical examiner made public, even piecemeal, as quickly as possible. The mayor said she supported the Justice Department inquiry.

Chanting “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice for Freddie,” protesters marched Tuesday evening on the block where Mr. Gray was arrested. The Rev. Jamal Bryant asked for a moment of silence. Mr. Gray’s relatives — including his mother, her head shrouded in the hood of a sweatshirt — paused quietly.

Mr. Gray’s arrest, which was captured on a cellphone video that shows him being dragged, seemingly limp, into a police van, has revived a debate in this city over police practices.

“We have a very challenging history in Baltimore,” Ms. Rawlings-Blake said, adding that she had worked hard “to repair a broken relationship” between black residents and the police. She called Mr. Gray’s death “a very sad and frustrating setback.”

Ms. Rawlings-Blake and Mr. Batts had been talking about the problem long before the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August spawned national protests and the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter. But the officials’ actions are doing little to assuage angry residents here. Rosa Mobley says she witnessed Mr. Gray’s arrest from her bedroom window, and heard him screaming as the police dragged him into a transport van. “We got this so-called black mayor, but she don’t care nothing about us,” Ms. Mobley said as Mr. Batts pulled up in the neighborhood in a black SUV just before noon on Tuesday. “They don’t come around here. Just because we’re poor, we don’t need to be treated like this.”

Because there are no national statistics on police-involved killings, it is impossible to say whether their numbers are increasing. But the growing prevalence of cellphone and police video, coupled with heightened scrutiny by the news media and the public after Ferguson, has focused intense attention on such cases, especially when officers are white and victims are black.

The police here did not release the racial breakdown of the six suspended officers. Now the Justice Department will look into whether they violated Mr. Gray’s civil rights. Such inquiries are not unusual; in Ferguson, the department did not find Mr. Brown’s rights were violated. However, a second broader Justice Department review of the Ferguson Police Department resulted in a scathing report detailing abusive and discriminatory practices by the city’s law enforcement system.

In Baltimore, police-community tensions date at least to 2005, when the Police Department, following a practice known as “zero-tolerance policing” made more than 100,000 arrests in a heavily African-American city of then roughly 640,000 people.

In 2006, the N.A.A.C.P. and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city, alleging a broad pattern of abuse in which people were routinely arrested without probable cause. The city settled in 2010 for $870,000, agreed to retrain officers and publicly rejected “zero-tolerance policing.” Ms. Rawlings-Blake became mayor that year.

In 2012 she brought in Mr. Batts, who had run the police department in Oakland, Calif. In 2013, he proposed that police officers wear body cameras to capture encounters like the one that injured Mr. Gray; plans are now in the works for a pilot project.

Ms. Rawlings-Blake has also eliminated a police unit that had a reputation for treating suspects harshly. Last year, she and Mr. Batts asked the Justice Department to investigate after The Baltimore Sun reported that taxpayers had paid nearly $6 million since 2011 in judgments or settlements in 102 lawsuits alleging police misconduct. That investigation is ongoing.

William Murphy Jr., the lawyer for the Gray family, said Tuesday in an interview that “the commissioner’s heart is in the right place,” and that the mayor — whose father, Pete Rawlings, was a civil rights advocate and powerful Maryland politician — “understands police brutality and the extent to which it has a cancerous effect on our society.”

But Mr. Murphy said they had inherited “a dysfunctional department” whose officers “had no probable cause” to arrest Mr. Gray, who was stopped early on the morning of April 12 after a police lieutenant made eye contact with him and he ran away. That lieutenant was one of the six officers who were suspended.

“He was running while black,” Mr. Murphy said of Mr. Gray, “and that’s not a crime.”

At a news conference Monday, Deputy Police Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said Mr. Gray “gave up without the use of force.” Mr. Gray, who was apparently asthmatic, then asked for his inhaler, but he did not have one; he was conscious and speaking when he was loaded into the van to be taken to the police station, Mr. Rodriguez said.

In interviews on Tuesday, witnesses gave various accounts. Michelle Gross, who took cellphone video of the arrest, said she saw two officers standing over Mr. Gray as people said: “He’s just lying there? Why don’t you call an ambulance? Why don’t you get him some help?”

Another witness, Kiona Mack, who said she took the cellphone video that showed Mr. Gray being dragged into the van, said she saw officers “sitting on his back, and having his leg twisted.”

Members of Mr. Gray’s family have said he suffered three fractured vertebrae in his neck and that his larynx was crushed, according to The Baltimore Sun; Mr. Murphy, the lawyer, said Mr. Gray’s spinal cord was 80 percent severed. Those details have not been confirmed by doctors or authorities, but experts on spinal cord injury said even less obvious neck trauma could be life-threatening.

“It doesn’t necessarily take huge force to fracture or dislocate a vertebra, and have a traumatic compression of the spinal cord,” said Ben A. Barres, professor of neurobiology at the Stanford School of Medicine. “It gets worse very rapidly if it’s not treated.” And, he said, “moving the person, like lifting him into a van, or even the ride in the van, could make the injury much worse.”

The police have said they will complete their inquiry by May 1 and turn it over to the state’s attorney in Baltimore — Maryland’s name for local prosecutors — who will determine whether to bring criminal charges. Ms. Rawlings-Blake has said she will also convene an independent commission.

In Mr. Gray’s neighborhood, which is adjacent to a public housing development called the Gilmor Homes, people remembered him Tuesday as a likable young man who sometimes got into trouble with the law — Maryland court records show he had at least two arrests for drug-related charges since December.

Mr. Gray had a twin sister, and a brother who died, friends say, and he also suffered lead poisoning as a child. They are furious about his death, and particularly about police conduct.

“He wasn’t out causing any trouble,” said Roosevelt McNeil, 26, who had known Mr. Gray since Mr. Gray was a child. “He had some arrests, but he wasn’t a big drug dealer or something like that. He was a great guy over all — he didn’t deserve to be handled like that. Why won’t the cops say how they ended up going after him, from that to him having his neck broken?”


Jason Grant contributed reporting from Baltimore, and Richard Pérez-Peña from New York. Susan Beachy and Kitty Bennett contributed research.
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8) Unpaid Russian Workers Unite in Protest Against Putin

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/22/world/europe/russian-workers-take-aim-at-putin-as-economy-exacts-its-toll.html?ref=world

MOSCOW — In the far east, the teachers went on strike. In central Russia, it was the employees of a metallurgical plant. In St. Petersburg, autoworkers laid down their tools. And at a remote construction site in Siberia, laborers painted their complaints in gigantic white letters on the roofs of their dormitories.

“Dear Putin, V.V.,” the message said. “Four months without pay.”

After months of frustration with an economy sagging under the weight of international sanctions and falling energy prices, workers across Russia are starting to protest unpaid wages and go on strike, in the first nationwide backlash against President Vladimir V. Putin’s economic policies.

The protests have been wildcat actions for the most part, as organized labor never emerged as a strong political or economic force in modern Russia. Under the Soviets, labor unions had been essentially incorporated into management.

Russian companies tend to avoid laying off workers in a downturn to limit severance payments — or to evade the wrath of officials trying to minimize unemployment in their districts. So with the Russian economy expected to contract this year and next, many workers are going unpaid or being sent away from their factories for a few days at a time of unwanted “vacations.”

Unpaid wages, or wage arrears, an old scourge in Russia, rose on April 1 to 2.9 billion rubles, or about $56 million, according to the Russian statistical service. That is a 15 percent increase over a year earlier, but experts say that still does not capture the scope of the diminished pay of workers involuntarily idled during the slowdown.

Discontent over unpaid wages was tamped down for a while by a surge in national pride after the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine a year ago, and by repeated messages on state television that the hardship was an unavoidable price to pay for standing up for Russia’s interests. The strikes, in any case, have not been widely publicized in the state news media.

Yet the strikes and protests in the hinterlands, like the huge graffiti addressed to the president, are posing a new challenge to Mr. Putin’s government, which presided over an energy-driven economic expansion for most of the past 15 years.


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During that time, most high-profile antigovernment protests, including the so-called White Ribbon movement in Moscow in 2011, promulgated political causes rather than economic ones. Those were met with corresponding political measures by the Kremlin, such as arrests and stricter laws on staging rallies. A further chill fell over the liberal political opposition this winter after the assassination of a prominent leader, Boris Y. Nemtsov.

But the labor actions are putting forward financial demands, and are being staged in Russian rust belt towns where the government is unlikely to find easy economic solutions to resolve the grievances so long as the recession lasts and oil prices remain low.

Regional newspapers described the teachers’ strike this month — in Zabaikal Province, bordering China — as the first such labor action by teachers in Russia in years. The strike went ahead even though a regional governor had implored the teachers to work unpaid for patriotic reasons, which suggested some waning of the nationalistic pride over the Crimean annexation.


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“Yes, it is serious when salaries are not paid, but not serious enough not to come to work,” the governor, Konstantin Ilkovsky, had insisted. Mr. Ilkovksy said the federal government had delayed transferring tax revenue to the region, causing the delay in payments.

In the Ural Mountains, workers at the Kachkanarsk metallurgical plant that enriches vanadium, a metal used in steel alloys, went on a work-to-rule strike in March over layoffs.

In the nearby city of Chelyabinsk, managers at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Factory, which has a rich and storied history as a showcase of industry in the Communist era, sent workers home on mandatory vacations for one day a week, presumably to spend in their apartments in the wintertime.

And not far from the Estonian border, automobile workers at a Ford assembly plant went on strike to protest cutbacks brought on by the dismal automotive market in Russia.

The actions are in line with economists’ predictions that the recession caused by the Ukraine crisis and falling oil prices will bite Russia hardest in rural areas and single-industry towns.

In those places, public-sector employees like teachers and postal workers, whose salaries are capped under austerity measures this year, make up a larger percentage of the population than they do in cities, according to Vladimir Tikhomirov, the chief economist at BCS Financial Group.

Russia’s one-factory towns, called monotowns, barely tread water economically in the best of times. After the collapse of the ruble in December, the rising cost of imported parts hurt manufacturers such as automotive assembly plants.

“If they are not laid off, workers could be sent on unpaid vacation because of falling demand,” Mr. Tikhomirov said.

The construction worker protest in Siberia was all the more remarkable for coming at a highly prestigious site, the new national space center, the Vostochny Cosmodrome. There, deep in a coniferous forest off a spur of the Trans-Siberian Railway, laborers laid concrete and built gigantic hangars for rockets long after salaries stopped being paid in December.

“We haven’t seen a kopeck since December,” Anton I. Tyurishev, an engineer, said in a telephone interview. Some people walked away, but he stayed on his job burrowing tunnels through the frozen soil for communications wires near the launchpad, hoping to be paid. “The company should have laid people off if they didn’t have enough money.”

In all, 1,123 employees of a main subcontractor, the Pacific Bridge-Building Company, have not been paid since December. Most work stopped on March 1, though dozens of employees stayed at the site to guard equipment. Their labor protest took the form of writing the giant message to Mr. Putin on the roofs of their dormitories.

In a rare twist for Russia’s unpaid workers, somebody finally noticed this time.

After the message appeared, a Russian state television crew showed up to ask the workers to appear on a televised call-in show with Mr. Putin on Thursday. Hours before the show, the general contractor paid about 80 percent of the salaries to the 70 or so employees who remained at the space center, Mr. Tyurishev said. The contractor, Spetsstroy, had earlier paid a portion of back wages for all employees for December.

“Because of the indifference toward us, we just despaired and decided on this original means to appeal directly to you,” Mr. Tyurishev told Mr. Putin on the call-in show, referring to the sign the workers had painted. “So you saw us and helped in our situation, to resolve our problem.”

Mr. Putin said he would ensure the whole group was paid in full.

“It is one of the most important construction projects in the country,” he said of the new space center. “Not because I initiated the project, but because the country needs a new launchpad.”

Before the show, a boss had asked the remaining workers to paint over their message, to show that this dispute, at least, was resolved.

Mr. Tyurishev said no, not until all the employees had been paid in full. But in a compromise, he agreed to update it to read, “Three months without pay.”
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9) The Hole Left by Tamir Rice’s Killing by Police


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10) Areas With Large Black Populations Have the Smallest Shares of Black Men
"In the parts of the country with large African-American populations, thousands upon thousands of men are missing, with many of them deceased or in prison."
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11) Why American Workers Without Much Education Are Being Hammered
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12) Pennsylvania: Officer Free on Bond on Murder Charge


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1 comment:

YOHANES SIREGAR said...

Assalamualaikum wr.wb,saya BPK.YOHANES seorang buruh tani di madium jawa timur ingin mengucapka banyak terimah kasih kepada MBAH WIJAN atas bantuannya. kini impian saya selama ini sudah jadi kenyataan dan berkat bantuan MBAH WIJAN pula yang telah memberikan angka gaib hasil ritual beliau kepada saya yaitu 4D dan alhamdulillah berhasil tembus.sekali lagi makasih yaa MBAH karna waktu itu saya cuma bermodalkan uang cuma 30rb dan akhirnya saya menang.Berkat angka gaib hasil ritual MBAH WIJAN saya sudah buka usaha peternakan ayam dan istri saya juga buka warung makan dirumah. Kini kehidupan keluarga saya jauh lebih baik dari sebelumnya,bagi anda yg ingin seperti saya silahkan HUB/SMS MBAH WIJAN di nomor hpnya di: 0823--1184---3445 atau,siapa tahu anda akan menjadi pemenang berikutnya, SAYA CUMA SARANKAN SAJA,