Monday, July 09, 2018

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, MONDAY, JULY 9, 2018


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Newly Unearthed FBI File Exposes Targeting of Folk Singer Dave Van Ronk

Folk singer Dave Van Ronk performs onstage at the Gaslight on June 22, 1964 in New York, New York.


https://truthout.org/articles/newly-unearthed-fbi-file-exposes-targeting-of-folk-singer-dave-van-ronk/


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"Give me your tired, your poor 
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. 
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. 
Send these, the homeless. Tempest-tost to me, 
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


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For Immediate Release                                        For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Herb Mintz
(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer
(415) 867-0628

25th Annual LaborFest 2018


Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in

 the 21st Century

San Francisco:  LaborFest opens its 25th annual festival on July 1, 2018 with a month of timely events inspired by local and international labor activists and labor history.  The program schedule includes eleven international and local films, labor history walks, a labor history bike ride, a maritime history boat ride, lectures, forums, readings and theater and music performances. Most events are free of charge and are presented in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose.

This year LaborFest continues to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 with a series of lectures and walks.  LaborFest will also focus on the role of technology on workers from Silicon Valley to UBER, Lyft and taxi drivers, workers in the so-called 'gig economy' as well the role of Airbnb on hotel workers and communities and neighborhoods in San Francisco.  The FilmWorks United International Working Class Film and Video Festival will feature films not only from the United States but China, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.  Directors will be present to introduce some of the films.

Particular events in this year's LaborFest include a forum on the 50th Anniversary of the student strike at San Francisco State University, a concert by labor musician extraordinaire Charlie King, a screening of the LGBT historical comedy-drama film Pride, a book reading from Matilda Rabinowitz's memoir, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, a night of labor and immigration history inspired song by the Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus and a panel entitled Workplace Racism: Hanging Nooses and Fightback sponsored by United Public Workers.

 

LaborFest is the premier labor cultural arts and film festival in the United States.  LaborFest recognizes the role of working people in the building of America and making it work with over 50 events.  Most of these events are free or ask for a voluntary donation.  The festival is self-funded with contributions from unions and other organizations that support and celebrate the contributions of working people.

For Immediate Release                                                                 

Press Contact: Herb Mintz
(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer
(415) 867-0628


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All Hands on Deck:  Get Malik Washington out of Ad-Seg!


Several weeks ago, friends and supporters of incarcerated freedom fighter Comrade Malik Washington were overjoyed to hear that he was getting released, finally, from Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at Eastham Unit in Texas--until TDCJ pulled a fast one, falsely claiming that he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition Program to get him released back to general population.  
This is a complete lie:  Malik has been fighting to get out of Ad-Seg from the moment he was thrown in there two years ago on a bogus riot charge (which was, itself, retaliation for prison strike organizing and agitating against inhumane, discriminatory conditions).  
Here's what actually happened:  when Malik arrived at Ramsey Unit on June 21, he was assigned to a top bunk, which is prohibited by his medical restrictions as a seizure patient.  TDCJ had failed to transfer his medical restrictions records, or had erased them, and are now claiming no record of these restrictions, which have been on file and in place for the past ten years.  Malik wrote a detailed statement requesting to be placed on a lower bunk in order to avoid injury; later that night, he was abruptly transferred back to Ad-Seg at a new Unit (McConnell).  
Malik was told that Ramsey staff claimed he refused to participate in the Ad-Seg Transition program--this is NOT true, and he needs to be re-instated to the program immediately!  He also urgently needs his medical restrictions put back into his records!
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We are extremely concerned for Malik's safety, and urgently need the help of everyone reading this. Please take one or more of the following actions, and get a couple friends to do the same!
1. Call Senior Warden Phillip Sifuentes at Malik's current facility (McConnell) and tell them Keith Washington (#1487958) must be transferred out of McConnell and re-admitted to the Ad-Seg Transition Program!
Phone #: (361) 362-2300 (**048) 00 --  ask to be connected to the senior warden's office/receptionist--try to talk to someone, but also can leave a message. 
Sample Script: "Hello, I'm calling because I'm concerned about Keith H. Washington (#1487958) who was recently transferred to your facility.  I understand he was transferred there from Ramsey Unit, because he supposedly refused to participate in the Ad-Seg transition program there, but this is not true; Malik never refused to participate, and he needs to be re-admitted to the transition program immediately!  I am also concerned that his heat restrictions seem to have been removed from his records.  He is a seizure patient and has been on heat and work restriction for years, and these restrictions must be reinstated immediately."
Please let us know how your call goes at blueridgeABC@riseup.net
2. Flood TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier with calls/emails!  You can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.  
(936) 437-2101 / (936) 437-2123

3. Flood TDCJ with emails demanding that Malik's health restrictions and work restrictions be restored: Health.services@tdcj.texas.gov

You can use the call script above as a guide; you don't need to mention the Ad-Seg situation, but just focus on the need to restore his heat and work restrictions!

4. File a complaint with the Ombudsman's Office (the office in charge of investigating departmental misconduct); you can use the above phone script as a guide for emails.

5. Write to Malik!  Every letter he receives lifts his spirit and PROTECTS him, because prison officials know he has people around him, watching for what happens to him.

Keith H. Washington
#1487958
McConnell Unit
3100 South Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78103







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Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/podcasts/the-daily/kevin-cooper-death-row.html?emc=edit_ca_20180530&nl=california-today&nlid=2181592020180530&te=1




Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



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Last week I met with fellow organizers and members of Mijente to take joint action at the Tornillo Port of Entry, where detention camps have been built and where children and adults are currently being imprisoned. 

I oppose the hyper-criminalization of migrants and asylum seekers. Migration is a human right and every person is worthy of dignity and respect irrespective of whether they have "papers" or not. You shouldn't have to prove "extreme and unusual hardship" to avoid being separated from your family. We, as a country, have a moral responsibility to support and uplift those adversely affected by the US's decades-long role in the economic and military destabilization of the home countries these migrants and asylum seekers have been forced to leave.

While we expected to face resistance and potential trouble from the multiple law enforcement agencies represented at the border, we didn't expect to have a local farm hand pull a pistol on us to demand we deflate our giant balloon banner. Its message to those in detention:

NO ESTÁN SOLOS (You are not alone).

Despite the slight disruption to our plan we were able to support Mijente and United We Dream in blocking the main entrance to the detention camp and letting those locked inside know that there are people here who care for them and want to see them free and reunited with their families. 


We are continuing to stand in solidarity with Mijente as they fight back against unjust immigration practices.Yesterday they took action in San Diego, continuing to lead and escalate resistance to unjust detention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and to ICE. 

While we were honored to offer on-the-ground support we see the potential to focus the energy of our Drop the MIC campaign into fighting against this injustice, to have an even greater impact. Here's how:
  1. Call out General Dynamics for profiteering of War, Militarization of the Border and Child and Family Detention (look for our social media toolkit this week);
  2. Create speaking forums and produce media that challenges the narrative of ICE and Jeff Sessions, encouraging troops who have served in the borderlands to speak out about that experience;
  3. Continue to show up and demand we demilitarize the border and abolish ICE.

Thank you for your vision and understanding of how militarism, racism, and capitalism are coming together in the most destructive ways. Help keep us in this fight by continuing to support our work.


In Solidarity,
Ramon Mejia
Field Organizer, About Face: Veterans Against the War


P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe
To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.


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Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September. 

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.
As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.
The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."
Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • July 19/20, 2018: Waco, TX
  • August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA
For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

Courage to Resist Podcast: The Future of Draft Registration in the United States

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains:
When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."
What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.
The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."
The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 
about the draft in decades . . .
Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610
510-488-3559

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Incarceration Nation
Emergency Action Alert:
RELEASE DRAFTERS OF THE AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES FROM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.
Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:
• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary
• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 
• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities
Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov
Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.
Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 
CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.
Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:
Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
Read statements from the reps: 
Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)




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"There Was a Crooked Prez"
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,
They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,
And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.


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It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.
Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.
The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 
Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.
The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.
Onward in divestment,
Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe
P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!

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October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb
WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.
However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.
Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."
War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.
Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."
Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.
For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.
Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.
Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.
The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.
Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression"that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."
Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.
Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"
Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.
In response, Sheehan stated that: 
"Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."
She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.
"We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.
Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 
In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.
Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.
Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.
For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march'sTwitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.
Whitney Webb is a staff writer forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.
MPN News, February 20, 2018
https://www.mintpressnews.com/cindy-sheehan-and-the-womens-march-on-the-pentagon-a-movement-not-just-a-protest/237835/

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Major George Tillery
MAJOR TILLERY FILES NEW LEGAL PETITION
SEX FOR LIES AND
MANUFACTURED TESTIMONY
April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.
These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony
For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.
In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.
Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.
The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.
This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.
Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.
Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years
The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.
During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.
Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.
Major Tillery Needs Your Help:
Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.
Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.
Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family

HOW YOU CAN HELP
    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.
    Go to JPay.com;
    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:
    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.
    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:
    Major Tillery AM 9786
    SCI Frackville
    1111 Altamont Blvd.
    Frackville, PA 17931
    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org
    Call/Write:
    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com
    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com


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    Free Leonard Peltier!

    On my 43rd year in prison I yearn to hug my grandchildren.

    By Leonard Peltier


    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:
    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 
    USP Coleman I 
    P.O. Box 1033 
    Coleman, FL 33521
    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603

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    Whistleblower Reality Winner Accepts Responsibility for Helping Expose Attacks on Election Systems
    After more than a year jailed without bail, NSA whistleblower Reality Winner has changed her plea to guilty. In a hearing this past Tuesday, June 26th, she stated - "all of these actions I did willfully." If this new plea deal is approved by the judge, she will have a maximum prison sentence of five years as opposed to the ten years she faced under the Espionage Act.
    Speaking to the family's relief due to this plea deal, Reality's mother Billie sharedthat "At least she knows it's coming to an end." "Her plea agreement reflects the conclusion of Winner and her lawyers," stated Betsy Reed, "that the terms of this deal represent the best outcome possible for her in the current environment."
    In a recent campaign status update Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, reiterated the importance of continuing to support Reality and her truth-telling motives. "We cannot forget this Trump Administration political prisoner. Reality needs us each to do what we can to resist." Although Courage to Resist is no longer hosting Reality's defense fund, online monetary support can be contributed to the Winner family directly at standwithreality.org. Reality's inspiring artwork also available for purchase at realitywinnerart.com.
    "It's so important to me as her mom to know just all the people that are writing her, who are touching her, who are reaching out to her giving her that strength and that support . . . Please don't stop that" said Billie Winner-Davis. "And we'll always make sure that everybody knows where she's at, where you can write to her, how you can help her. You know, we'll continue to do that. Just follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter. We will continue to do that for her."
    Reality will remain at the Lincoln County jail near Augusta, Georgia, for the next few months pending the sentencing hearing and hopefully will then be transferred to a facility closer to her family.

    COURAGE TO RESIST ~ SUPPORT THE TROOPS WHO REFUSE TO FIGHT!
    484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559
    www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist


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

    GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017

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    1) In France, Police Killing Unleashes Familiar Riots and Recrimination
    By Adam Nossiter, July 4, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/04/world/europe/france-police-killing-riots.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=sectionfront

    Firefighters working to put out a fire in the Malakoff neighborhood of Nantes, France, on Wednesday after a police killing set off riots.CreditSebastien Salom Gomis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


    PARIS — A night of rioting touched off by a police killing set off a familiar replay of grim media images on Wednesday morning in France, where law enforcement tactics in immigrant neighborhoods are a regular source of friction.
    French television replayed a seemingly endless loop of images from the western city of Nantes of burned-out cars, smashed bus shelters and shattered store fronts: recurrent symbols of the country's struggles with policing in minority neighborhoods.
    Nantes, located on the Atlantic Coast, is known for its vibrant start-up scene and tech-oriented economy, but not much of that has rubbed off on neighborhoods like Le Breil.
    It was there that the riot police pulled over a 22-year-old man acquaintances identified as Aboubakar, the son of immigrants from Guinea, during a traffic stop Tuesday night. (The authorities did not name him.)
    The accounts of residents and the officers differ, but one thing was certain: The young man was shot in the neck and died before he made it to the hospital.

    Police shootings are rare in France compared with the United States, and when they occur the investigative machinery of the French state is mobilized. On Tuesday evening, the mayor of Nantes, Johanna Rolland, a Socialist, called for "total transparency over what has happened tonight," and extended her sympathies to the family of the slain man.

    Officials said that Aboubakar had had at least eight previous encounters with the police and that he had had an outstanding arrest warrant on a robbery charge.
    On Tuesday night, after he was pulled over, they said, he backed his car up at high speed toward children and a police officer. But residents say that he had not been acting aggressively.
    What followed was a night in which angry youths in three Nantes neighborhoods threw firebombs and burned eight buildings and some 30 cars, the authorities said.
    Tensions between the police and the communities they patrol have erupted in violence repeatedly over the years.
    In May 2017, there were riots in a Paris suburb after a young man was killed while fleeing the police; there were riots in July 2016 after an arrest; and days of rioting erupted in 2005 all over France after two young men were electrocuted while fleeing from the police.
    Each time, the government vowed to bring in more help to the neighborhoods. President Emmanuel Macron is only the latest to announce such help, mostly through an enhanced police presence. Tensions with the police persist.

    "It's always the same scenario," said Gérard Mauger, an emeritus scholar at the CNRS research institute in Paris who has studied urban riots in France for decades. "But it's hardened. The score settling is more violent. Now there are guns."
    He added: "For 40 years we've had 10 percent unemployment, much higher in these neighborhoods. The first victims of it are the immigrants."
    In the Le Breil neighborhood of Nantes, the police had increased their presence in recent weeks because of confrontations between local youths. "There's been a lot of score settling recently," Saïd En-Némèr, who runs a local youth group, said.
    Mr. En-Némèr, in a phone interview from Nantes, said, "They had beefed up the police presence to 'protect' the neighborhood."
    Thierry Spitz, a representative of the local police union, said: "These neighborhoods are very on edge. There are gunshots at least once a month."
    On the night Aboubakar was shot, officials said, the police were on the lookout for the car he was driving because it was tied to drug trafficking in Rennes. Mr. Spitz said the officers noticed that the young man was not wearing a seatbelt and pulled him over.

    Aboubakar gave the officers a phony ID, the union official said, and was ordered to the police station. The young man then "backed up his car at high speed; there were two kids behind the car," Mr. Spitz said. "One of the officers pushed them out of the way and was touched by the car," he said.
    "The risk was great," Mr. Spitz said. "The officer had to use his weapon. To me, it was a case of legitimate defense."
    Mr. En-Némèr, who knew Aboubakar from soccer matches organized by his group, vigorously disputed the police account. He said 10 witnesses interviewed by him and his group all agreed: There had been no aggression from the young man.
    "This is clearly a police blunder," he said. "The young man was complying with the officers. He wasn't aggressive. The police check was going just fine."
    He contested the idea that the car had struck an officer.
    "They fired at him without warning," Mr. En-Némèr said. "There was lots of blood coming from his neck, but it was too late; the ambulance came too late."
    Aboubakar was known as "cheerful" and "respectful," Mr. En-Némèr said. "Now," he said, "they are trying to pass him off as a thug."
    Judicial officials in Nantes said the shooting would be investigated, and a march was being organized for Thursday.
    For Mr. En-Némèr, though, the shooting demonstrated that "you might as well re-establish the death penalty."

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    2) Americans Are Having Fewer Babies. They Told Us Why.
    By Claire Cain Miller, July 5, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/upshot/americans-are-having-fewer-babies-they-told-us-why.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

    Jessica Boer, 26, kissing her cat Kip at her home in Portage, Mich. Like an increasing number of people in her generation, she does not plan to have children. "Now we know we have a choice," she said.


    Americans are having fewer babies. At first, researchers thought the declining fertility rate was because of the recession, but it kept falling even as the economy recovered. Now it has reached a record low for the second consecutive year.
    Because the fertility rate subtly shapes many major issues of the day — including immigration, education, housing, the labor supply, the social safety net and support for working families — there's a lot of concern about why today's young adults aren't having as many children. So we asked them. 
    Wanting more leisure time and personal freedom; not having a partner yet; not being able to afford child-care costs — these were the top reasons young adults gave for not wanting or not being sure they wanted children, according to a new survey conducted by Morning Consult for The New York Times.

    About a quarter of the respondents who had children or planned to said they had fewer or expected to have fewer than they wanted. The largest shares said they delayed or stopped having children because of concerns about having enough time or money.

    The survey, one of the most comprehensive explorations of the reasons that adults are having fewer children, tells a story that is partly about greater gender equality. Women have more agency over their lives, and many feel that motherhood has become more of a choice. 
    But it's also a story of economic insecurity. Young people have record student debt, many graduated in a recession and many can't afford homes — all as parenthood has become more expensive. Women in particular pay an earnings penalty for having children. 
    "We want to invest more in each child to give them the best opportunities to compete in an increasingly unequal environment," said Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who studies families and has written about fertility
    At the same time, he said, "There is no getting around the fact that the relationship between gender equality and fertility is very strong: There are no high-fertility countries that are gender equal."

    The vast majority of women in the United States still have children. But the most commonly used measure of fertility, the number of births for every 1,000 women of childbearing age, was 60.2 last year, a record low. The total fertility rate — which estimates how many children women will have based on current patterns — is down to 1.8, below the replacement level in developed countries of 2.1. 
    The United States seems to have almost caught up with most of the rest of the industrialized world's low fertility rates. It used to have higher fertility for reasons like more teenage pregnancies, more unintended pregnancies and high fertility among Hispanic immigrants. But those trends have recently reversed, in part because of increased use of long-acting birth control methods like IUDs. 
    In the Morning Consult and Times survey, more than half of the 1,858 respondents — a nationally representative sample of men and women ages 20 to 45 — said they planned to have fewer children than their parents. About half were already parents. Of those who weren't, 42 percent said they wanted children, 24 percent said they did not and 34 percent said they weren't sure.

    One of the biggest factors was personal: having no desire for children and wanting more leisure time, a pattern that has also shown up in social science research A quarter of poll respondents who didn't plan to have children said one reason was they didn't think they'd be good parents. 
    Jessica Boer, 26, has a long list of things she'd rather spend time doing than raising children: being with her family and her fiancé; traveling; focusing on her job as a nurse; getting a master's degree; playing with her cats. 
    "My parents got married right out of high school and had me and they were miserable," said Ms. Boer, who lives in Portage, Mich. "But now we know we have a choice."

    She said she had such high expectations for parents that she wasn't sure she could meet them: "I would have the responsibility to raise this person into a functional and productive citizen, and some days I'm not even responsible."
    This generation, unlike the ones that came before it, is as likely as not to earn less than their parents. Among people who did not plan to have children, 23 percent said it was because they were worried about the economy. A third said they couldn't afford child care, 24 percent said they couldn't afford a house and 13 percent cited student debt
    Financial concerns also led people to have fewer children than what they considered to be ideal: 64 percent said it was because child care was too expensive, 43 percent said they waited too long because of financial instability and about 40 percent said it was because of a lack of paid family leave. 
    Women face another economic obstacle: Their careers can stall when they become mothers.
    This spring, Brittany Butler, 22, became the first person in her family to graduate from college, and she will start graduate school in social work in the fall. She said it would probably be at least 10 years before she considered having children, until she could raise them in very different circumstances than in her poor hometown neighborhood in Baton Rouge, La. 
    She admits being "a little nervous" that it may become harder to get pregnant, but she wants to pay off her student loans and, most of all, be able to live in a safe neighborhood. 
    "A lot of people, especially communities of color, can't really afford that now," she said. "I'm just apprehensive about going back to poverty. I know how it goes, I know the effects of it, and I'm thinking, 'Can I ever break this curse?' I would just like to change the narrative around." 
    Starting a family used to be what people did to embark on adulthood; now many say they want to wait. Last year, the only age group in which the fertility rate increased was women ages 40 to 44. Delaying marriage and birth is a big reason people say they had fewer children than their ideal number: Female fertility begins significantly decreasing at age 32.

    David Carlson, 29, graduated from college in 2010, when the job market was still rough. He and his wife had $100,000 in undergraduate debt between them. They both work full time — he in corporate finance and she in counseling — but they don't yet feel they can take time away from their careers. 
    "Wages are not growing in proportion to the cost of living, and with student loans on top of that, it's just really hard to get your financial footing — even if you've gone to college, work in a corporate job and have dual incomes," said Mr. Carlson, who lives in Minneapolis and writes a personal finance blog for millennials. 
    He said they'd consider adoption if they decided to have children but had waited too long. Another option for having children later in life is egg freezing. Only 1 percent of female survey respondents said they had frozen their eggs — but almost half said they would if not for the cost. 
    Researchers say the United States could adopt policies that make it easier for people to both raise children and build careers. Government spending on child care for young children has the strongest effect. Policies that encourage parents to share child care help, too. Germany and Japan have used such ideas to reverse declining fertility
    High employment among women and high fertility don't have to be in conflict, but they will be without such policies, said Olivier Thevenon, an economist studying child and family policies at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 
    "Whether the young generation will catch up later is not certain," he said, "but will depend on their capacity to combine work and family."

    Claire Cain Miller writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot. She joined The Times in 2008 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for public service for reporting on workplace sexual harassment issues.

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    3) How Smart TVs in Millions of U.S. Homes Track More Than What's On Tonight
    By Sapna Maheshwari, July 5, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/business/media/tv-viewer-tracking.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

    A detail from a slide from a marketing presentation by Samba TV looking at how it can analyze what viewers are watching, determine how many connected devices they have in the house and then target them with ads.


    The growing concern over online data and user privacy has been focused on tech giants like Facebook and devices like smartphones. But people's data is also increasingly being vacuumed right out of their living rooms via their televisions, sometimes without their knowledge.
    In recent years, data companies have harnessed new technology to immediately identify what people are watching on internet-connected TVs, then using that information to send targeted advertisements to other devices in their homes. Marketers, forever hungry to get their products in front of the people most likely to buy them, have eagerly embraced such practices. But the companies watching what people watch have also faced scrutiny from regulators and privacy advocates over how transparent they are being with users.
    Samba TV is one of the bigger companies that track viewer information to make personalized show recommendations. The company said it collected viewing data from 13.5 million smart TVs in the United States, and it has raised $40 million in venture funding from investors including Time Warner , the cable operator Liberty Global and the billionaire Mark Cuban.
    Samba TV has struck deals with roughly a dozen TV brands — including Sony, Sharp, TCL and Philips — to place its software on certain sets. When people set up their TVs, a screen urges them to enable a service called Samba Interactive TV, saying it recommends shows and provides special offers "by cleverly recognizing onscreen content." But the screen, which contains the enable button, does not detail how much information Samba TV collects to make those recommendations.

    Samba TV declined to provide recent statistics, but one of its executives said at the end of 2016 that more than 90 percent of people opted in.
    Once enabled, Samba TV can track nearly everything that appears on the TV on a second-by-second basis, essentially reading pixels to identify network shows and ads, as well as programs on Netflix and HBO and even video games played on the TV. Samba TV has even offered advertisers the ability to base their targeting on whether people watch conservative or liberal media outlets and which party's presidential debate they watched.
    The big draw for advertisers — which have included Citi and JetBlue in the past, and now Expedia — is that Samba TV can also identify other devices in the home that share the TV's internet connection.
    Samba TV, which says it has adhered to privacy guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission, does not directly sell its data. Instead, advertisers can pay the company to direct ads to other gadgets in a home after their TV commercials play, or one from a rival airs. Advertisers can also add to their websites a tag from Samba TV that allows them to determine if people visit after watching one of their commercials.
    If it sounds a lot like the internet — a company with little name recognition tracking your behavior, then slicing and dicing it to sell ads — that's the point. But consumers do not typically expect the so-called idiot box to be a savant.

    "It's still not intuitive that the box maker or the software embedded by the box maker is going to be doing this," said Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology policy at the advocacy group Consumers Union and a former policy director at the Federal Trade Commission. "I'd like to see companies do a better job of making that clear and explaining the value proposition to consumers."

    About 45 percent of TV households in the United States had at least one smart TV at the end of 2017, IHS Markit data showed. Samba TV, which is based in San Francisco and has about 250 employees, competes against several companies, including Inscape, the data arm of the consumer electronics maker Vizio, and a start-up called Alphonso.
    It can be a cutthroat business. Samba has sued Alphonso for patent infringement. Last year, Vizio paid $2.2 million to settle claims by the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey that it was collecting and selling viewing data from millions of smart TVs without the knowledge or consent of set owners. In December, The New York Times reported that Alphonso was using gaming apps to gain access to smartphone microphones and listen for audio signals in TV ads and shows.
    Samba TV's language is clear, said Bill Daddi, a spokesman. "Each version has clearly identified that we use technology to recognize what's onscreen, to create benefit for the consumer as well as Samba, its partners and advertisers," he added.
    Still, David Kitchen, a software engineer in London, said he was startled to learn how Samba TV worked after encountering its opt-in screen during a software update on his Sony Bravia set.
    The opt-in read: "Interact with your favorite shows. Get recommendations based on the content you love. Connect your devices for exclusive content and special offers. By cleverly recognizing onscreen content, Samba Interactive TV lets you engage with your TV in a whole new way."

    The language prompted Mr. Kitchen to research Samba TV's data collection and raise concerns online about its practices.
    Enabling the service meant that consumers agreed to Samba TV's terms of service and privacy policy, the opt-in screen said. But consumers couldn't read those unless they went online or clicked through to another screen on the TV. The privacy policy, which provided more details about the information collected through the software, was more than 4,000 words, and the terms exceeded 6,500 words.

    "The thing that really struck me was this seems like quite an enormous ask for what seems like a silly, trivial feature," Mr. Kitchen said. "You appear to opt into a discovery-recommendation service, but what you're really opting into is pervasive monitoring on your TV."
    Ashwin Navin, Samba TV's chief executive, said that the company's use of data for advertising is made clear through the reference to "special offers," and that the opt-in language "is meant to be as simple as it possibly can be."
    "It's pretty upfront about the fact that this is what the software does — it reads what's on the screen to drive recommendations and special offers," Mr. Navin said. "We've taken an abundance of caution to put consumers in control of the data and give them disclosure on what we use the data for."
    Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said few people review the fine print in their zeal to set up new televisions. He said the notice should also describe Samba TV's "device map," which matches TV content to mobile gadgets, according to a document on its website, and can help the company track users "in their office, in line at the food truck and on the road as they travel."

    Mr. Brookman of the Consumers Union, who reviewed the opt-in screen, said the trade-off was not clear for consumers. "Maybe the interactive features are so fantastic that they don't mind that the company's logging all the stuff that they're watching, but I don't think that's evident from this," he said.
    Citi and JetBlue, which appear in some Samba TV marketing materials, said they stopped working with the company in 2016 but not before publicly endorsing its effectiveness. JetBlue hailed in a news release the increase in site visits driven by syncing its online ads with TV ads, while Christine DiLandro, a marketing director at Citi, joined Mr. Navin at an industry event at the end of 2015. In a video of the event, Ms. DiLandro described the ability to target people with digital ads after the company's TV commercials aired as "a little magical."
    The Times is among the websites that allow advertisers to use data from Samba to track if people who see their ads visit their websites, but a Times spokeswoman, Eileen Murphy, said that the company did that "simply as a matter of convenience for our clients" and that it was not an endorsement of Samba TV's technology.
    Companies like Samba TV are also a boon for TV makers, whose profit margins from selling sets can be slim. Samba TV essentially pays companies like Sony to include its software. Samba TV said "our business model does subsidize a small piece of the television hardware," though it declined to provide further details.
    Smart TV companies aren't subject to the stricter rules and regulations regarding viewing data that have traditionally applied to cable companies, helping fuel "this rise of weird ways to figure out what someone's watching," said Jonathan Mayer, an assistant professor of computer science and public affairs at Princeton University and a former technology adviser at the Federal Communications Commission.
    The smart TV companies are overseen by the Federal Trade Commission, Mr. Mayer said, meaning that "as long as you're truthful to consumers, even if you make it really hard to exercise choices or don't offer choices at all, you probably don't have much of a legal issue."
    Mr. Daddi said the trade commission had held up Samba TV as "an exemplary model of data privacy and opt-in policies," pointing to its participation in a smart TV workshop the agency held in late 2016. A commission spokeswoman said that it invited a diverse array of panelists to events and that "an invitation to participate in an F.T.C. event does not convey an endorsement of that company or organization." She added that the agency does not "endorse or bless companies' practices."

    Mr. Daddi added: "We have millions of viewers who have explicitly opted into our service and have continued to use it for years. So it is a fair argument to make that far more consumers are satisfied with Samba than surprised by it."
    Some worry, more broadly, about the TV industry's increasing ability to use and share information about what people are watching with the internet ad ecosystem.
    "I think people have rebelled to the online targeted ad experience," Mr. Brookman said, "and I think they wouldn't necessarily expect that from their TV."

    Kevin Roose contributed reporting.

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    4) Impact of 'zero tolerance' on display in Texas immigration court. One after another, asylum seekers are ordered deported

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    5) Prosecutors Dropping Remaining Charges Against Trump Inauguration Protesters
    By Alexandra Soon-Hendricks, July 6, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/us/politics/inauguration-protests-charges-dropped.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=10&pgtype=sectionfront

    More than 200 people were arrested on Inauguration Day last year in Washington.CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times


    WASHINGTON — The United States attorney's office for the District of Columbia is dismissing the remaining cases against protesters arrested on the day of Donald J. Trump's inauguration, ending a legal battle that began more than a year and a half ago.
    Federal prosecutors requested Friday in a motion that the charges against the remaining 38 defendants — including one journalist — be dropped. More than 200 people were arrested on Jan. 20, 2017, during demonstrations where some protesters threw rocks and bricks at police officers, set a car on fire and shattered storefront windows.
    "After further review, the United States, in the exercise of its discretion, has determined that these matters should be dismissed without prejudice," read the motion submitted by Jessie K. Liu, the United States attorney for the District of Columbia.

    Twenty-one of the people arrested that day have pleaded guilty to charges related to violent protest, including one to felony offenses. That protester, Dane Powell, pleaded guilty to one count of felony rioting and one count of assaulting a police officer. He was sentenced to four months in prison, and was released in October.

    According to a statement released by the district attorney's office, prosecutors believe "evidence shows that a riot occurred on Jan. 20, 2017, during which more than $100,000 in damage was caused."
    "The destruction that occurred during these criminal acts was in sharp contrast to the peaceful demonstrations and gatherings that took place over the inauguration weekend in the District of Columbia, and created a danger for all who were nearby," the statement continued.
    Friday's motion came after charges were dropped against more than half of the protesters arrested. In January, federal prosecutors dismissed the cases of more than 100 people, and in May, felony charges against 10 more people were dropped after the District of Columbia Superior Court found that prosecutors had withheld evidence.
    Aaron Cantú, whose case was dismissed Friday, was a freelance journalist covering Inauguration Day when he was arrested. He was one of nine journalists arrested and charged after the protests and was the last journalist to have his charges dropped.

    Mr. Cantú told The Santa Fe Reporter — where he now works — that had the cases not been dismissed, he would have faced a judge in October over eight charges, including conspiracy to riot, with potential sentences of up to 60 years in prison.
    "I'm stunned," Mr. Cantú said. "It's still sinking in. The trauma has been really severe. It's taken a lot to be able to just hold it together and come to work and do the work. And now that that thing is not there, I need to figure out how to live my life."

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    6) Statue of Liberty Protester Charged With Trespassing
    By Benjamin Weiser and Sean Piccoli, July 5, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/05/nyregion/protester-statue-of-liberty.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fnyregion&action=click&contentCollection=nyregion&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=7&pgtype=sectionfront

    After appearing in federal court in Manhattan, Therese Patricia Okoumou, center, hugs a fellow member of the activist group Rise and Resist. Ms. Okoumou was arrested after she climbed onto the base of the Statue of Liberty.CreditEmma Howells/The New York Times


    The woman who was arrested on the Fourth of July after she climbed onto the base of the Statue of Liberty to protest the Trump administration's immigration policies was charged with trespassing and two other misdemeanors and then released Thursday by a magistrate judge.
    Therese Patricia Okoumou, 44, of Staten Island, pleaded not guilty to the charges during a brief hearing in federal court in Manhattan. At the end of the proceeding, she raised her right fist, drawing applause from supporters in the courtroom.
    Outside the courthouse, Ms. Okoumou cited the words of former first lady Michelle Obama: "'When they go low, we go high,' and I went as high as I could," she told supporters. She called the decision to climb "spur of the moment."

    Ms. Okoumou said she emigrated from the Republic of Congo to the United States in 1994, and her lawyer said she is a naturalized citizen.

    She began scaling the base of the statue shortly after 3 p.m. on one of the monument's busiest days of the year. The Statue of Liberty typically draws more than 20,000 visitors for the Independence Day holiday, according to the National Park Service.
    Ms. Okoumou's standoff with the authorities was shown live on television. After she refused orders to come down, members of the New York Police Department's Emergency Service Unit climbed up and escorted her down at around 6:30 p.m.
    Because of security concerns, park officials evacuated about 4,500 people who were on Liberty Island at the time, said Jerry Willis, a spokesman for the National Park Service.
    Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan, said Ms. Okoumou had "staged a dangerous stunt that alarmed the public and endangered her own life and the lives of the N.Y.P.D. officers who responded to the scene."
    "While we must and do respect the rights of the people to peaceable protest," Mr. Berman said, "that right does not extend to breaking the law in ways that put others at risk."

    Earlier, the authorities detained seven other demonstrators, members of a group called Rise and Resist, who hung a banner that called for the abolition of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement. They were each given a summons and escorted off the island, according to Sgt. David Somma, a spokesman for the United States Park Police's New York field office.
    Ms. Okoumou, who is known as Patricia, had been an active participant in the group's events, but members of the group did not know she was going to climb the statue, organizers of the Rise and Resist protest said.
    Detective Brian Glacken, a member of the Police Department's Emergency Service Unit, said at a news conference late Wednesday that Ms. Okoumou initially was "a little combative" with the officers trying to rescue her.
    "Then we kind of got her to calm down," he said. "We told her, 'We're just looking to get you down safely.'" She then became cooperative, he said.
    In addressing her supporters after her court appearance, Ms. Okoumou called the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policy "draconian," and said, "No child belongs in a cage."

    Alain Delaquérière contributed research.

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    7) Do Poor People Have a Right to Health Care?
    By The Editorial Board, July 7, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/07/opinion/sunday/do-poor-people-have-a-right-to-health-care.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-left-region&region=opinion-c-col-left-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-left-region


    The 16 Kentuckians who recently won a lawsuit challenging the legality of Medicaid work requirements include a law student with a rare heart condition, a mortician with diabetes, a mother of four with congenital hip dysplasia and a housekeeper with rheumatoid arthritis. It's a mixed bunch, united by two grim facts: They live at or below the federal poverty level, and they're caught in the cross hairs of a debate over what society owes its neediest members.
    Their lawsuit argued that insisting that people work a certain number of hours a month in order to receive Medicaid benefits, like other requirements the state was planning to demand, is illegal because it runs counter to Medicaid's purpose — to ensure that low-income people have access to decent care. The lawsuit also contended that such requirements would imperil the plaintiffs' health by depriving them of the only medical insurance they could afford. The new rules, which would have stripped recipients of their benefits if they failed to meet monthly hours-worked quotas and strict reporting standards, were simply oblivious to the realities of low-wage living in Kentucky, and America in general.
    On June 29, two days before those requirements were to take effect, a District Court judge ruled decisively for the plaintiffs, calling the Department of Health and Human Services "capricious" for approving Kentucky's plan at the beginning of the year and lambasting Secretary Alex Azar for failing to consider the impact the measures would have on those in need. "The record shows that 95,000 people would lose Medicaid coverage," Judge James Boasberg wrote in his decision. "And yet the Secretary paid no attention to that deprivation."

    Those statements are but the latest salvo in a protracted national reckoning over Medicaid, a program that has been in place for more than half a century and now insures one in five Americans, or roughly 74 million people. In January, the federal government announced that it would reverse decades of precedent and allow states to tie Medicaid coverage to work requirements. The move is part of a wider conservative-led campaign to restrict the number of people who benefit from social safety-net programs. It also reflects persistent national ambivalence over the question of whether health care is a human right or an earned privilege — and, if the latter, how "earned" should be defined.

    Nearly a dozen other states are planning to put into effect programs like the one now blocked in Kentucky. The future of those initiatives is uncertain. As the Kentucky ruling makes plain, the arguments underpinning them are fatally flawed.
    For instance, proponents say that work requirements fulfill the edicts of Medicaid because gainful employment is key to healthy living — higher earnings have been tied to longer life spans, and unemployment to shorter ones. That correlation is valid, but backward: Health is a prerequisite to employment, not the other way around. Medical problems are a common cause of job loss among the poor, because low-wage jobs offer few accommodations or protections for workers who become suddenly or chronically ill.
    Likewise, the argument that work requirements will help contain costs and keep Medicaid afloat seems fair enough on its face. States across the country are facing real strain as they try to rein in health care costs in general, and cover their share of Medicaid expansion in particular. But work requirement programs will not be cheap. Kentucky officials say theirs would save the state $2.4 billion in the first five years, but nearly half of that savings would be spent ensuring that the state's million-plus Medicaid recipients comply with the new rules.
    Even the basic ideological argument for work requirements — that people should earn their government benefits — collapses under scrutiny. Numerous analyses have indicated that a clear majority of Medicaid recipients who can work already do work. Of the 9.8 million working-age Medicaid recipients who are not employed, the vast majority have physical limitations or provide full-time care to young or elderly family members; just 588,000 of them are able to hold jobs but are currently unemployed, according to a 2017 report. And most of those are actively looking for work.

    Surely H.H.S. officials have seen this data.
    They must also be familiar with the evidence indicating that punitive work requirements are ineffective. During welfare reform under Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, similar edicts disrupted people's benefits without improving their employment prospects. In the Trump era, it has been repeatedly estimated that more working people would be culled from Medicaid's rosters over paperwork violations than nonworking people for failing to find jobs.
    And both state and federal health officials may have heard that at least one state has found a way to help Medicaid recipients secure decent jobs without threatening their health insurance. In 2015, Montana implemented a bipartisan, state-funded employment initiative that offers Medicaid recipients a range of services, including career counseling, on-the-job training and tuition assistance. The program is voluntary — people can sign up when they enroll in Medicaid — and it's paired with targeted outreach so that those who stand to benefit most from the program are aware of their options. So far, more than 22,000 Montanans have participated, and employment among nondisabled Medicaid recipients is up 9 percent in the state.
    Given all this, it would seem that the Trump administration's push to enact work requirements is aimed not at improving health, or even at cutting costs — there are more effective ways to do both — but rather at stigmatizing Medicaid, a program that has become less maligned in recent years, as more Americans have become insured under it. In one 2017 poll, 74 percent of respondents said they had a favorable view of Medicaid.
    But while most Americans agree that poor people should have health insurance, they also believe that people of all income levels should earn their benefits — the same poll from last year found that 70 percent of respondents supported Medicaid work requirements. That paradox, of increasing support for Medicaid amid lingering suspicion toward Medicaid recipients, underscores persistent questions about how Americans view those in need.
    With advocacy groups vowing to file challenges similar to the one that prevailed in Kentucky, and with the state's governor, Matt Bevin, saying he will exhaust every appeal and potentially end his state's Medicaid expansion program altogether, those questions are almost certainly headed to the Supreme Court. Hopefully the justices, despite the high court's impending rightward lurch, see through the conservative myths about Medicaid and do right by the program's recipients.
    A country's deepest values are reflected in how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. So as officials consider the future of Medicaid, they must ask themselves: Is this how America is going to be?

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    8) He Called Older Employees 'Dead Wood.' Two Sued for Age Discrimination.
    By Paula Spam, July 6, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/06/health/age-discrimination-ohio-state.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=second-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news

    Julianne Taaffe, left, and Kathryn Moon filed an age discrimination complaint against Ohio State University, which has agreed to alter its policies.CreditTy Wright for The New York Times


    It's a stressful thing to sue your former employer for age discrimination.
    For nearly four years, as they pursued a federal lawsuit against administrators at Ohio State University and awaited action by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Julianne Taaffe and Kathryn Moon worried about their finances, their health and their futures. 
    The two women had worked in the English as a second language program at Ohio State since 1983, teaching students from 40 countries. 
    "We helped build the program from the ground up," said Ms. Taaffe.
    So in 2009, when a new program director began disparaging them and other veteran E.S.L. staffers while promoting younger and less experienced people, they wondered — despite their consistently first-rate performance reviews — if they'd screwed up somehow.

    Though age discrimination seemed a likely explanation — Ms. Taaffe is now 62 and Ms. Moon, 67 — "I couldn't bring myself to believe Ohio State would do anything like that," Ms. Moon said.

    Then came an email in 2010 from their new boss to an acquaintance at another university.
    He wrote that he was dealing with "an extraordinarily change-averse population of people, almost all of whom are over 50, contemplating retirement (or not) and it's like herding hippos." Then he inadvertently copied one of his own staff.
    For years thereafter, experienced E.S.L. teachers faced actions they believed were intended to force them from their jobs.
    Junior colleagues not only got promotions, but choice assignments. Older instructors lost their offices and, reassigned to a cramped open space, shared an insufficient number of computers even as younger colleagues kept their offices and desktops.
    The director's successor continued his policies, and staffers heard him deride veteran teachers as "millstones" and "dead wood."
    "It was part of a strategy to make us uncomfortable and make us retire," said Ms. Moon.
    Eventually, more than 20 E.S.L. staffers were squeezed out, their positions threatened with elimination or reclassification at lower salaries. When Ms. Taaffe lodged a formal complaint, a university investigation brought no action. 
    She lost 23 pounds and developed the beginnings of an ulcer. Ms. Moon, who said the conflict "felt like a giant knot in the pit of my stomach for months and months," suffered insomnia and back spasms.
    In 2014, both women retired years before they'd intended, because they expected to lose their positions and faced prohibitively expensive health insurance costs if they delayed. Neither could find a comparable position elsewhere.
    Recent events have brought some vindication, however. 
    In November, the E.E.O.C. found "reasonable cause to believe" that the women and their older colleagues had been discriminated against, a violation of the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which protects workers 40 and older.
    Then, very quietly, on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, Ohio State announced a settlement
    "The Ohio State University is committed to hiring and retaining a diverse and inclusive work force," the university said in a statement to The Times. The university denied that it had acted unlawfully and took no action against any employee. 
    But the university has rehired both women and agreed to back pay and retroactive benefits totaling about $203,000 for Ms. Taaffe and $237,000 for Ms. Moon. It also paid $325,000 in attorneys' fees to the Gittes Law Group, the firm representing the women, and the AARP Foundation lawyers who joined their suit.
    More important, the plaintiffs won "prospective injunctive relief," actions to avert illegal policies in the future. Ohio State has agreed to train human resources staff to recognize, investigate and prevent age discrimination.

    And it will establish a "second-look process," an independent review of age discrimination investigations.
    "That's one of the major victories in the case," said Dara Smith, an AARP Foundation attorney. The two plaintiffs "would not accept the settlement until we reassured them that the university would have to change its policies."
    The settlement could prove important for the more than 5 million Americans who work for state governments and entities. "State and local government employers are still learning that there's an age law and that it's applied to them since 1974," said Cathy Ventrell-Monsees, senior attorney adviser at the E.E.O.C. 
    But since a Supreme Court decision in 2000, plaintiffs who bring age discrimination suits against state employers cannot collect damages,making attorneys reluctant to take such cases. (Plaintiffs can seek damages from private employers or the federal government, however, and in some cases from local governments.)
    "It takes a long time to try these cases, and then there's no payoff even if you win," Ms. Smith said. The E.E.O.C. can sue for damages on behalf of complainants, though Ms. Smith said she thought it unlikely in this case.
    The Ohio State settlement, however, demonstrates that "it can be worthwhile to bring these claims" against states, she said. "It's a public reminder that they need to take age discrimination as seriously as they take other forms of discrimination."
    Although the federal age discrimination law took effect 50 years ago, a milestone the E.E.O.C. has marked with a new report, "age usually gets left out when companies think about diversity," Ms. Ventrell-Monsees said. "If the same supervisors made those comments about race or sex, they'd know trouble was coming."

    Ohio State, for instance, agreed in its settlement to include age as a prohibited form of discrimination on its website. As recently as last week, some of its jobs pages listed race, gender, sexual orientation and other categories as protected, but not age.
    Several administrators there seemed not to grasp the law. Looking through email chains unearthed through the lawsuit, attorneys found statements like this one from the new E.S.L. program director in 2013: Referring to a younger instructor who'd left the program, he lamented that older staffers "were squatting on spots that should have been available to young bucks!"
    Women appear particularly affected. Last year, the E.E.O.C. received 18,376 complaints of age discrimination — "a tiny fraction of what's likely out there," Ms. Ventrell-Monsees said. And most were filed by women.
    In a recent study, economists sent about 40,000 invented resumes to employers who'd advertised jobs, then analyzed which applicants got callbacks. The fictitious job hunters had equally attractive credentials, but different high school graduation dates.
    The results confirmed the impact of gender. "The callback rate uniformly declines with age," said co-author David Neumark, an economist at the University of California, Irvine.
    It dropped by about 18 percent for middle-aged workers and about 35 percent for older workers. But the age factor proved much stronger for women.
    Many countries, including the United States, hope to persuade older people to remain in the work force longer and claim their retirement benefits later. "We do all kinds of things to help people boost their retirement security," Dr. Neumark said. "If you can work a little longer, it's huge. Your savings go a lot further."

    When older workers get dismissed or pushed out, however, they contend with longer periods of unemployment before being rehired, assuming they are rehired. Their new jobs, Ms. Ventrell-Monsees pointed out, often pay less than those they lost. They may have to retire long before they'd expected.
    But Julie Taaffe and Kathryn Moon are back on campus, hoping their protracted effort will help other older state employees. 
    Ms. Taaffe met with E.S.L. students last month for the first time since 2014 and was relieved to find her teaching skills intact. "I'm planning to stick around for a while," she said.

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    9) U.S. Opposition to Breast-Feeding Resolution Stuns World Health Officials
    By Andrew Jacobs, July 8, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/health/world-health-breastfeeding-ecuador-trump.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

    A Brooklyn mother unable to nurse fed her child donated breast milk. The $70 billion infant formula industry, dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years.CreditJames Estrin/The New York Times


    A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by the hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly.
    Based on decades of research, the resolution says that mother's milk is healthiest for children and countries should strive to limit the inaccurate or misleading marketing of breast milk substitutes.
    Then the United States delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upended the deliberations.

    American officials sought to water down the resolution by removing language that called on governments to "protect, promote and support breast-feeding" and another passage that called on policymakers to restrict the promotion of food products that many experts say can have deleterious effects on young children.

    When that failed, they turned to threats, according to diplomats and government officials who took part in the discussions. Ecuador, which had planned to introduce the measure, was the first to find itself in the cross hairs.
    The Americans were blunt: If Ecuador refused to drop the resolution, Washington would unleash punishing trade measures and withdraw crucial military aid. The Ecuadorean government quickly acquiesced.
    The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States.
    Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.
    "We were astonished, appalled and also saddened," said Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who has attended meetings of the assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, since the late 1980s.

    "What happened was tantamount to blackmail, with the U.S. holding the world hostage and trying to overturn nearly 40 years of consensus on best way to protect infant and young child health," she said.
    In the end, the Americans' efforts were mostly unsuccessful. It was the Russians who ultimately stepped in to introduce the measure — and the Americans did not threaten them.

    The State Department declined to respond to questions, saying it could not discuss private diplomatic conversations. The Department of Health and Human Services, the lead agency in the effort to modify the resolution, explained the decision to contest the resolution's wording but said H.H.S. was not involved in threatening Ecuador.
    "The resolution as originally drafted placed unnecessary hurdles for mothers seeking to provide nutrition to their children," an H.H.S. spokesman said in an email. "We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons. These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so." The spokesman asked to remain anonymous in order to speak more freely.
    Although lobbyists from the baby food industry attended the meetings in Geneva, health advocates said they saw no direct evidence that they played a role in Washington's strong-arm tactics. The $70 billion industry, which is dominated by a handful of American and European companies, has seen sales flatten in wealthy countries in recent years, as more women embrace breast-feeding. Overall, global sales are expected to rise by 4 percent in 2018, according to Euromonitor, with most of that growth occurring in developing nations.
    The intensity of the administration's opposition to the breast-feeding resolution stunned public health officials and foreign diplomats, who described it as a marked contrast to the Obama administration, which largely supported W.H.O.'s longstanding policy of encouraging breast-feeding.

    During the deliberations, some American delegates even suggested the United States might cut its contribution the W.H.O., several negotiators said. Washington is the single largest contributor to the health organization, providing $845 million, or roughly 15 percent of its budget, last year.
    The confrontation was the latest example of the Trump administration siding with corporate interests on numerous public health and environmental issues.
    In talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Americans have been pushing for language that would limit the ability of Canada, Mexico and the United States to put warning labels on junk food and sugary beverages, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.
    During the same Geneva meeting where the breast-feeding resolution was debated, the United States succeeded in removing statements supporting soda taxes from a document that advises countries grappling with soaring rates of obesity.
    The Americans also sought, unsuccessfully, to thwart a W.H.O. effort aimed at helping poor countries obtain access to lifesaving medicines. Washington, supporting the pharmaceutical industry, has long resisted calls to modify patent laws as a way of increasing drug availability in the developing world, but health advocates say the Trump administration has ratcheted up its opposition to such efforts.
    The delegation's actions in Geneva are in keeping with the tactics of an administration that has been upending alliances and long-established practices across a range of multilateral organizations, from the Paris climate accord to the Iran nuclear deal to Nafta.
    Ilona Kickbusch, director of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, said there was a growing fear that the Trump administration could cause lasting damage to international health institutions like the W.H.O. that have been vital in containing epidemics like Ebola and the rising death toll from diabetes and cardiovascular disease in the developing world.

    "It's making everyone very nervous, because if you can't agree on health multilateralism, what kind of multilateralism can you agree on?" Ms. Kickbusch asked.

    A Russian delegate said the decision to introduce the breast-feeding resolution was a matter of principle.
    "We're not trying to be a hero here, but we feel that it is wrong when a big country tries to push around some very small countries, especially on an issue that is really important for the rest of the world," said the delegate, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
    He said the United States did not directly pressure Moscow to back away from the measure. Nevertheless, the American delegation sought to wear down the other participants through procedural maneuvers in a series of meetings that stretched on for two days, an unexpectedly long period.
    In the end, the United States was largely unsuccessful. The final resolution preserved most of the original wording, though American negotiators did get language removed that called on the W.H.O. to provide technical support to member states seeking to halt "inappropriate promotion of foods for infants and young children."
    The United States also insisted that the words "evidence-based" accompany references to long-established initiatives that promote breast-feeding, which critics described as a ploy that could be used to undermine programs that provide parents with feeding advice and support.

    Elisabeth Sterken, director of the Infant Feeding Action Coalition in Canada, said four decades of research have established the importance of breast milk, which provides essential nutrients as well as hormones and antibodies that protect newborns against infectious disease.
    2016 Lancet study found that universal breast-feeding would prevent 800,000 child deaths a year across the globe and yield $300 billion in savings from reduced health care costs and improved economic outcomes for those reared on breast milk.
    Scientists are loath to carry out double-blind studies that would provide one group with breast milk and another with breast milk substitutes. "This kind of 'evidence-based' research would be ethically and morally unacceptable," Ms. Sterken said.
    Abbott Laboratories, the Chicago-based company that is one of the biggest players in the $70 billion baby food market, declined to comment.
    Nestlé, the Switzerland-based food giant with significant operations in the United States, sought to distance itself from the threats against Ecuador and said the company would continue to support the international code on the marketing of breast milk substitutes, which calls on governments to regulate the inappropriate promotion of such products and to encourage breast-feeding.
    In addition to the trade threats, Todd C. Chapman, the United States ambassador to Ecuador, suggested in meetings with officials in Quito, the Ecuadorean capital, that the Trump administration might also retaliate by withdrawing the military assistance it has been providing in northern Ecuador, a region wracked by violence spilling across the border from Colombia, according to an Ecuadorean government official who took part in the meeting.
    The United States embassy in Quito declined to make Mr. Chapman available for an interview.
    "We were shocked because we didn't understand how such a small matter like breast-feeding could provoke such a dramatic response," said the Ecuadorean official, who asked not to be identified because she was afraid of losing her job.

    Wesley Tomaselli contributed reporting from Colombia.

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    10) Officer Who Fired Stun Gun at Unarmed Black Man Will Not Be Suspended
    By Christina Caron, July 7, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/07/us/lancaster-police-taser-black-man.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

    A video posted on Facebook shows a Lancaster, Pa., police offer firing a stun gun at Sean D. Williams's back. The police said Mr. Williams did not straighten his legs after the officer, Philip Bernot, had repeatedly asked him to.


    A Pennsylvania police officer who was recorded using a Taser on an unarmed black man in a widely shared video will not be fired or suspended, officials said.
    Danene Sorace, the mayor of Lancaster, Pa., acknowledged at a news conference on Friday that some members of the community would find the decision "extremely upsetting."
    "So who is accountable?" she asked. "I am. I am accountable, as mayor, for existing policies, procedures, training, hiring practices and more. It's on me."
    The episode, which took place on June 28, remains under investigation by the police and the prosecutor's office. Preliminary findings showed that the officer complied with use of force and Taser policies, which allow an officer to use force when a suspect fails to respond to multiple verbal commands, Ms. Sorace said.

    Video of the episode has been viewed more than 2.8 million times on Facebook and more than 6.2 million times on Twitter.
    The footage showed the officer, Philip Bernot, repeatedly asking Sean D. Williams to straighten his legs as Mr. Williams was sitting on a curb.
    "Legs straight out or you're getting Tased," Officer Bernot said.
    Mr. Williams started to straighten his legs. Another person can be heard yelling, "Put your legs straight out and cross them now."
    Mr. Williams started to bend his knees, bringing the soles of his feet together, and Officer Bernot, who was standing behind Mr. Williams, used the stun gun on him.

    Hundreds of people attended a rally the next day to protest the officer's actions.
    Officer Bernot could not be reached for comment on Saturday, but the Lancaster City Bureau of Police described in a statement what happened in the moments before.
    Officers stopped Mr. Williams after receiving a 911 call about a man with a baseball bat, the police said. When one of the officers arrived, there was no bat to be found, but the officer saw three people telling Mr. Williams to get away from them, the statement said.
    The officer told Mr. Williams "several times" to sit down and he refused to comply, the police said. Instead, he kept asking a woman in the group to give back his Social Security card.
    A couple of minutes later, Officer Bernot arrived and instructed Mr. Williams to sit on the curb, the police said. The group of people later told the police that Mr. Williams had exhibited "erratic behavior" and "wanted to fight."
    The police said Mr. Williams was found to have an outstanding criminal warrant for possession of a controlled substance and public drunkenness. He was arraigned and released on $5,000 bail.
    One of Mr. Williams's lawyers, Brian R. Mildenberg, said on Saturday that it was "outrageous" Officer Bernot would not be "removed from the streets" pending an investigation, and that the commands Mr. Williams received from the officers were inconsistent.
    "On behalf of my client, I reiterate our respectful demand that this police officer be suspended pending this investigation," Mr. Mildenberg said. "He was completely peaceful and compliant and there was absolutely no reason to use violence upon his person."

    The Lancaster branch of the N.A.A.C.P. also rejected Ms. Sorace's account of the officer's actions.
    In a statement on Facebook on Friday, it called on Lancaster officials to take "immediate action," including disciplinary measures against Officer Bernot and better training.
    Mr. Williams is suing Lancaster and Officer Bernot for violating his civil rights and using excessive force, according to a complaint filed in federal court on Monday. Mr. Williams's lawyers also hope to obtain a federal court order mandating police reforms and additional training, Mr. Mildenberg said.
    According to Ms. Sorace, the city's policies regarding use of force were already being revised before the episode involving Mr. Williams. Under the proposed new policy, "an officer will only be able to use a Taser when faced with direct physical confrontation," she said.
    She also vowed to introduce body cameras and recruit a police force "that looks more like the community that it serves," among other changes.
    "I am sorry for the hurt, pain and turmoil this incident has caused for all involved," she said.

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    11)  Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments
    By Robert Pear, July 7, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/07/us/politics/trump-risk-adjustment-payments-obamacare.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=sectionfront

    Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Trump administration officials had decided to suspend payments because of a February court ruling in New Mexico.CreditEvan Vucci/Associated Press


    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Saturday that it was suspending a program that pays billions of dollars to insurers to stabilize health insurance markets under the Affordable Care Act, a freeze that could increase uncertainty in the markets and drive up premiums this fall.
    Many insurers that enroll large numbers of unhealthy people depend on the "risk adjustment" payments, which are intended to reduce the incentives for insurers to seek out healthy consumers and shun those with chronic illnesses and other pre-existing conditions.
    "Any action to stop disbursements under the risk adjustment program will significantly increase 2019 premiums for millions of individuals and small-business owners, and could result in far fewer health plan choices," said Justine G. Handelman, a senior vice president of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. "It will undermine Americans' access to affordable care, particularly for those who need medical care the most."

    Trump administration officials said they decided to suspend payments under the program because of a ruling in February in Federal District Court in New Mexico. The judge tossed out the formula used to calculate payments, finding that it was flawed.

    "We were disappointed by the court's recent ruling," said Seema Verma, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "As a result of this litigation, billions of dollars in risk adjustment payments and collections are now on hold."
    Ms. Verma said her agency had asked the court to reconsider its ruling and was hoping for a prompt resolution of the issue, to "prevent more adverse impacts on Americans who receive their insurance in the individual and small group markets."
    But supporters of the Affordable Care Act said the move was the latest example of the Trump White House's efforts to undermine the health law.
    "The Trump administration just keeps pushing their destructive repeal-and-sabotage agenda, no matter the cost to the American people," said Brad Woodhouse, the director of Protect Our Care, an advocacy group that supports the health law. "Following through with this latest act of sabotage could raise rates for all consumers even more."
    Some insurers expressed alarm at the administration's decision, which comes just as insurance companies are developing premiums for 2019 and states are reviewing proposed rates.

    "We are very discouraged by the new market disruption brought about by the decision to freeze risk adjustment payments," said Matt Eyles, the president and chief executive of America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers.
    He predicted that costs to taxpayers would rise because the government provides subsidies that increase along with premiums. Those premium subsidies, for low- and moderate-income people, will continue.
    The decision in February, by Judge James O. Browning, voided the formula used by the federal government to calculate risk adjustment payments each year from 2014 to 2018. The amount at stake just for 2017 is $10.4 billion. The payments shuffle money among insurers, from those with healthier customers to those with less healthy members who have a higher risk of using costly medical care.
    Trump administration officials said they were caught between two conflicting court rulings. The New Mexico ruling prevents the government from making further collections or payments under the risk adjustment program using the current formula, they said. But, they added, in January a federal district judge in Massachusetts upheld the method used by the government to calculate risk adjustment payments.
    While insurers warned of market turmoil if the payments were withheld, Dr. Martin E. Hickey, the founder of New Mexico Health Connections, the company that filed the lawsuit in that state, said the court ruling there would benefit consumers.
    "The risk adjustment formula was extremely biased in favor of large, established insurers and discriminated against new and small insurers, including co-ops like ours," Dr. Hickey said in an interview on Saturday.
    "People spin the administration's decision as Trump trying to do harm, but it's exactly the opposite," Dr. Hickey said. "It will allow more companies to get into the insurance market. That will increase competition, and competition will help keep prices down."

    Risk adjustment payments are based, in part, on the health status of consumers. When the risk adjustment program began in 2014, some large insurers had a potential advantage: They knew the medical and claims history of many consumers because they had insured them in the past.
    Judge Browning said the payment formula was flawed because federal officials "assumed erroneously" that collections and payments under the risk adjustment program had to offset each other so there would be no new cost to the federal government.
    That might have been a rational policy choice, he said, but the government never articulated its reasons.
    The Trump administration blamed President Barack Obama on Saturday, saying, "This aspect of the risk adjustment methodology was promulgated as part of a regulation first issued by the Obama administration in 2013."

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    12) 'They framed me': On death row for decades, Kevin Cooper pushes for new DNA tests in Chino Hills murders
    This story was reported by Northwestern University students Michelle Galliani, Matt Zdun, Kelley Czajka, Juliette Johnson, Olivia Korhonen, Aysha Salter-Volz, Martin L. Oppegaard, Lila Reynolds, Bianca Sanchez and Hangda Zhang.
    This reporting project was supervised by professors Peter Slevin and Patti Wolter. It was supported by The Medill Justice Project. Amanda Westrich, Allisha Azlan and Rachel Fobar also contributed to this report.
    July 8, 2018
    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-kevin-cooper-20180708-htmlstory.html
    Kevin Cooper, center, was convicted in 1985 of murdering four people and sentenced to death. Years after the trial, experts and critics have raised doubts about whether authorities convicted the wrong man. (Associated Press)

    In a tiny visitors cell at San Quentin State Prison, Kevin Cooper makes a pitch for his innocence — an argument that, after three decades on death row and endless legal battles, suddenly has new life.
    In 1983, he was a convicted burglar and prison escapee accused of hacking two adults and two children to death in San Bernardino County. He was convicted and sentenced to death. His supporters claim in a clemency petition that he was framed by sheriff’s deputies, undone by poor defense lawyers and railroaded by racism.
    “They framed me because I was framable,” says Cooper, now 60, his graying hair falling from cornrows to the nape of his neck. With countless letters to reporters and media interviews over the years, he has skillfully attracted public attention to a case that prosecutors and the courts have long considered closed.
    Doubts about Cooper’s conviction have grown since the trial, even as state and federal courts have repeatedly upheld the verdict. At least three jurors have said they are no longer sure he is the killer. Lillian Shaffer, the sister of one victim
    , now says “it seems impossible that he could have done all of that destruction by himself.” A federal appellate judge, in a vigorous 2009 dissent, warned that the state might have the wrong man.
    Activists against the death penalty rally for Kevin Cooper in downtown San Francisco in 2004. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
    In May, Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) called for fresh DNA testing after a New York Times column called the case against Cooper “outrageous.” Earlier this year, four California law school deans called on Gov. Jerry Brown to open an independent investigation, declaring that Cooper’s claim of innocence “has never been fully and fairly evaluated.”
    With Cooper’s judicial appeals exhausted, his fate lies principally with the governor, whose legal staff has been digging deeply into Cooper’s 2016 clemency petition and the case record, as well as discussing the situation with the current prosecution and defense teams.
    In a July 3 letter to the defense, Brown’s legal affairs secretary, Peter A. Krause, left the door open to further DNA testing while pressing defense attorney Norman Hile, in nearly six single-spaced pages, to justify the arguments he is making.
    “Each time, additional forensic testing has been performed in this case…the test results only further established Mr. Cooper’s guilt,” Krause wrote, asking Hile to answer by Aug. 17. 
    Hile promised to reply to Krause’s queries.
    “It’s about time they acted,” Hile said in an interview. “We’re glad that they’re considering the DNA testing.”
    Michael Ramos, the San Bernardino County district attorney, strongly objects to further testing, arguing in a May statement addressing renewed interest in the case that the lone survivor and the relatives of the victims have suffered “repeated and false claims from Cooper and his propaganda machine designed to undermine public confidence in the just verdict.”
    Brown, who has issued far more pardons than any modern predecessor in California, must confront two central questions: How sure does the state have to be to put a man to death? How sure can it be that Kevin Cooper committed this crime?
    Figuring out what happened 35 years ago is complicated. Memories have faded. Witnesses and investigators have died. This story is the result of a 10-week investigation by 10 reporters with Northwestern University’s Medill Justice Project who interviewed more than three dozen people, reviewed thousands of pages of documents and spent hours with Cooper at San Quentin.
    Three members of the Ryen family were hacked to death in 1983. Joshua, then 8, survived wounds to his neck. Handout

    The crime

    On June 5, 1983, William Hughes peered through a sliding glass door into the master bedroom of the Ryen family’s house in Chino Hills. He spotted the bloodied body of his 11-year-old son Christopher, who had spent the night with the family. Nearby were Peggy and Doug Ryen, hacked and slashed to death. Eight-year-old Joshua Ryen lay on the floor, his throat slit, but alive. Out of sight in the hall was Jessica Ryen, 10, no longer breathing.
    Three days earlier, Kevin Cooper, then 25, had escaped from the California Institution for Men in Chino, about four miles away.
    He broke into an empty house on English Place, about 150 steps across a grassy field from the Ryen home. He spent two nights there, planning his next move. He called two friends asking for money. They declined. Phone records show that one of the calls was made from the hideout house shortly before the murders.
    Cooper would say later that he knew nothing about the killings and was by that time on the road to the Mexican border, about two hours’ drive away. Although police said they found prison-issued tobacco and DNA consistent with Cooper’s in the Ryens’ stolen station wagon, he told the jury he had never been in the car.
    San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department detectives soon named Cooper as the primary suspect. By the time Cooper was captured on July 30, rowing away from a dock near Santa Barbara, community sentiment ran strongly in favor of his guilt. Protesters shouted and raised signs. One poster read, “Hang the nigger.”

    The verdict

    During the trial a year later, prosecutors said a drop of blood taken from the wall of the Ryens’ home was consistent with Cooper’s genetic profile. They pointed to the hand-rolled cigarettes in the station wagon. They produced a blood-stained hatchet found in the weeds near the Ryens’ house and showed the jury a hatchet sheath found in a closet in the house where Cooper had stayed.
    Prosecutors said footprints found on a spa cover and a sheet in the Ryens’ house matched one in the hideaway house. The footprints were consistent with Pro Keds Dude tennis shoes issued to California prison inmates. Investigators also shared evidence of what may have been blood on shower walls in the hideout house, suggesting that the killer washed up there before fleeing.
    Joshua, the sole survivor, said on a videotape shown to the jury that he saw a single man or a single shadow during the attack. He said the person had a “puff” of hair. In an earlier photo that prosecutors sought to present in court, Cooper wore a dashiki and his hair in an Afro.
    The trial lasted four months, stretching into 1985. After deliberating for five days, the jury found Cooper guilty of all four murders and the attempted killing of Joshua. They returned to the jury room and, a few days later, concluded that Cooper should be executed.
    Over and over, state and federal courts rejected Cooper’s assertion that he was wrongly convicted. In 1991, the California Supreme Court ruled that it was “utterly unreasonable” to imagine that someone else in the neighborhood where Cooper was hiding committed the murders. The “sheer volume and consistency of the evidence is overwhelming,” the court wrote.
    In February 2004, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit stepped in and stopped the clock just three hours and 42 minutes before his scheduled execution. Previous DNA testing had connected Cooper to the crime scene and to a bloody T-shirt found not far away, but the court ordered more tests, on strands of hair found in Jessica Ryen’s left hand and on the shirt, which the prosecution had not introduced at the trial.
    The tests on the hair suggested that it came not from the scalp of an attacker, but from the Ryen family or from animals. Cooper’s blood on the shirt tested positive for a preservative used in blood samples, leading his defenders to accuse the government of tampering.
    After reviewing the tests and hearing testimony from 42 witnesses, Chief U.S. District Judge Marilyn Huff said in 2005 that the conviction should stand: “There is overwhelming evidence that Petitioner is the person guilty of these murders.”
    Cooper appealed again to the 9th Circuit, often considered the most liberal federal appellate court in the country. A three-judge panel affirmed Huff’s decision in 2007.
    A majority of the full court declined to reopen the matter in 2009. But one 9thCircuit Judge, William Fletcher, wrote a 100-page dissent, adopted in full by four of his colleagues. He wrote, “The State of California may be about to execute an innocent man.”

    Cooper's questions

    Cooper says he was convicted in a “bogus-ass trial.” Others share his doubts.
    “Too much continues to bother me about the case,” one juror wrote in 2004 in support of Cooper’s clemency petition. Referring to the verdict and death sentence, the juror said, “I now regret that decision.”
    Cooper’s current attorneys question the competence of his initial defense team. David Negus, who represented him at the trial, said in a 1996 declaration on Cooper’s behalf that his performance in the case was “negatively affected” by his stress and exhaustion. Negus added that he did not keep up with the daily trial transcript and rejected Cooper’s request to bring on a second lawyer, something he recognized only later was beneficial in complex death penalty cases.
    One motion, the lawyer said, was just “thrown together” for lack of time and he did not complete a comprehensive statement on the physical evidence in the case. Interviewed this year by The
    Medill Justice Project, he said that with more experience he could have done a better job.
    A key piece of evidence in the trial was a series of shoe prints at the scene.
    Clockwise from [in order here from top to bottom] top left: Images presented as evidence show the Ryens left cash and coins on their kitchen counter, which were not touched during the murders; Cooper’s defense team claims Cooper’s blood was planted on a tan T-shirt that was found on the side of the road near the crime scene; criminalist Daniel J. Gregonis tested Exhibit A-41, a blood splatter on a paint chip scraped from the Ryens’ bedroom wall; and a day after the slayings, one of the Ryens’ neighbors discovered a hatchet with what appeared to be dried blood on it in a grassy area not far from the crime scene. (2016 Clemency Petition)

    Prosecutors told the jury that they matched a model of Keds primarily worn by prison inmates, but former Warden Midge Carroll testified at an appellate hearing that such shoes were widely available. Indeed, the shoes appear in a 1981 Keds catalog.
    “I don’t think the investigation was honest,” Carroll says now, asserting that San Bernardino law enforcement officials “have tried to intimidate me throughout the years.”
    Then there is the testimony of Joshua Ryen. The jury heard him say that he saw just one man or maybe a shadow in his home. But when first interviewed by social worker Donald Gamundoy, he told a very different story.
    Then 8 years old and unable to speak because of a slit throat, he answered questions by pointing to letters, numbers and the words “yes” and “no” on a piece of paper. By pointing, he indicated that three or four men had attacked the family, Gamundoy said.
    When Gamundoy asked if the attackers were black, Joshua pointed to “no.” When asked if they were white, he pointed to “yes.” It was more than a year later, when interviewed on camera by the prosecution team, that Joshua said there had been only one attacker.
    Gamundoy no longer has his notes, but stands by his recollection. Reviewing the case in 2011, San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth K. So suggested Joshua may have been confused because three Hispanic visitors had come to the door earlier in the day looking for work. (Joshua has not spoken publicly about the apparent discrepancy.)
    Joshua was not the only person to suggest that three men might have been involved, though. At the Canyon Corral Bar, about two miles from the Ryen house, several witnesses later told investigators that they saw three unfamiliar men the night of the killings. Bar patron Christine Slonaker, a licensed phlebotomist, testified in 2004 that she remembered the night well, “because it isn’t too often you run into people that have blood all over their clothes.”
    And then there are the green button and the hatchet sheath that police said they found in the closet of the hideout house. Prosecutors said Cooper left the hatchet sheath and the button there. Yet an initial police report made no mention of the two items.
    Cooper’s supporters contend that the case doesn’t add up. If he needed a car to escape, he could have taken the Ryens’ cars without a struggle; they left the keys in both vehicles. Prosecutors said he committed the murders because he needed money, but investigators found dollar bills and coins in plain sight on the kitchen counter.
    The most strongly contested pieces of evidence are blood spatters and stains that the prosecutors and numerous judges have cited in upholding the guilty verdict. His defenders argue that tests on certain pieces of evidence have been unreliable and may reveal tampering.
    Prosecutors linked Cooper to the crime scene at the Ryen home by pointing to Exhibit A-41, a drop of blood from a wall in a hallway. It contained serological markers matching a person of African descent. The key witness was San Bernardino technician Daniel J. Gregonis, who testified that he made a mistake in his initial identification of A-41 but revised his assessment of the blood type after further testing.
    A defense expert, Edward Blake, also conducted tests on A-41 as Cooper’s team prepared for trial. Reviewing the case more than 25 years later, Judge So found it significant that Blake, too, connected the sample to a person of African heritage and ruled out a Caucasian or Hispanic person.
    But Fletcher, in his 9th Circuit court dissent, cited the testimony as evidence that the testing happened under “suspicious circumstances.”

    Old evidence, new demands

    Since 1985, the year of Cooper’s conviction, DNA tests have become more sophisticated. Cooper’s legal team has consistently pursued more advanced DNA tests, but they have not always worked in his favor.
    When the A-41 spatter was tested again in 2001, Judge So wrote, technicians found the likelihood of a match occurring randomly among African Americans to be 1 in 310 billion. A test on the tan T-shirt found near the Canyon Corral Bar matched Cooper, as well as at least one of the victims, he noted.
    Paul Ingels, a private investigator who started working with Cooper’s defense team in the 1990s, said those tests led him to conclude that the evidence against his client was “overwhelming.”
    Cooper’s team more recently argued, however, that the blood was planted. They point to tests that suggest the blood on the T-shirt contained the preservative EDTA, which is added to blood samples collected in vials. That could indicate the blood came from a vial of Cooper’s blood collected by investigators. In addition, they note, traces of other people’s DNA were detected in the vial of Cooper’s blood.
    “This finding,” his attorneys wrote in the 2016 clemency petition, “suggests that blood was added to the vial to replace blood used for planting and throws into question all of the evidence the jury heard at Mr. Cooper’s trial.”
    “The observed facts are consistent with a concerted effort to tamper with evidence in a manner that would incriminate Kevin Cooper,” Janine Arvizu, a chemist who worked on Cooper’s behalf, said in an interview.
    Dist. Atty. Dennis Kottmeier, who prosecuted Cooper, said people at the crime scene made "some minor mistakes,” including failing to compare blood found in the Ryens’ kitchen with Cooper’s blood. But he said the mistakes amounted to “nothing that would lead to” acquittal.
    David Stockwell, a deputy sheriff, acknowledged that it is possible, as Cooper’s attorneys contend, that as many as 70 people were allowed to enter the crime scene in the first 24 hours. But he disputes any suggestion that police tampered with the evidence in the Ryen home, the hideout home or the Ryen vehicle.
    Ingels, the defense investigator, contends that the sheer number of investigators at the scene makes it less likely that they engaged in an effort to frame Cooper.
    “The conspiracy to plant all of that evidence would’ve been very, very difficult,” he said. “I mean, you’d have to have a lot of corrupt people running around.”
    Cooper’s attorneys, however, argue that corruption in the San Bernardino sheriff’s department “went right to the top.” As they noted in their 2016 clemency petition, Sheriff Floyd Tidwell, who headed the crime scene investigation, pleaded guilty more than two decades later, in May 2004, to stealing more than 500 guns from county evidence rooms. They said William Baird, the head of the department’s crime lab who testified about shoe print evidence, was fired a year after Cooper’s conviction for stealing heroin from an evidence locker.
    Five days after the murders, a woman named Diana Roper had turned in a pair of coveralls to the Sheriff’s Department after hearing about the killings. The clothing belonged to her then-boyfriend Lee Furrow, a previously convicted murderer. She said the stains on the coveralls were blood and that he changed out of them the night of the murders.
    “I told the deputy the facts about how I found the coveralls and that Lee Furrow may be the murderer,” Roper wrote in a 1998 statement to the court. Deputy Frederick Eckley took her report and accepted the overalls. A few days later, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department discarded the coveralls without testing them.
    Kottmeier said in an interview that the coveralls were discarded because they had “no connection to the crime scene,” about 50 miles from Roper’s house. Furrow could not be reached for comment, but in an interview with CBS’ “48 Hours,” he said he had “nothing to do with any of this.” He repeated that denial to The New York Times earlier this year. Roper has since died
    .

    Who is Kevin Cooper?

    “Kevin wasn’t super nice, but he wasn’t a killer,” Midge Carroll, the warden during Cooper’s brief time at the California Institution for Men, said in a recent interview.
    The prison’s recreation supervisor, Skip Arjo, was more skeptical.
    Cooper was “like a chameleon,” he says. “He could turn the charm on, and he could turn it off.”
    Cooper and his legal team are asking Brown to pursue more advanced forensic testing, grant a new trial or even commute his death sentence, something that his predecessor, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, twice declined to do.
    “We need to make sure, where there is a case like Kevin Cooper’s, with serious questions, that we don’t execute and find out they are innocent after,” said Norman Hile, his attorney. “That’s all we are asking the governor to do.”
    In questions sent to Hile last week , Brown’s legal affairs secretary asked how any new DNA tests would be carried out and what Hile expects them to show. He also asked Hile to explain arguments about San Bernardino County authorities’ behavior that are “apparently inconsistent,” including why they would issue an all-points bulletin for three white or Hispanic suspects at the same time they were allegedly planting evidence against Cooper. He offered no timetable for Brown’s decision in the case.
    A central remaining question for Brown is Cooper’s credibility. Cooper readily admits to a series of burglaries that put him behind bars, to adopting false identities that confused law enforcement and to escaping several times from prison.
    Cooper’s past also includes another serious criminal charge, filed in Pennsylvania.
    A teenage girl testified during the penalty phase of Cooper’s trial that, less than a year before the Ryen killings, she dropped by a friend’s house in Pittsburgh and was attacked by a stranger who answered the door. The stranger, who appeared to be in the midst of burglarizing the home, hit her with a camera and dragged her into her car. She said he told her to put her head in his lap facing forward, where she was unable to see his face.
    He then drove her to a secluded area of a nearby park. She testified that he forced her to the ground, face-down, a screwdriver against her neck, raped her and drove away.
    Police found Cooper’s palm print on the gearshift in the girl’s car and a semen stain consistent with Cooper’s DNA on the girl’s pants. At Cooper’s trial in the San Bernardino murder case, defense attorney Negus stipulated to the court without any objection from Cooper that he kidnapped and raped the teenager and that the crime unfolded in the manner she testified.
    In an interview earlier this year, Cooper admitted that he had sex with the teenager, whom he had never met, but denied that it was rape. Following the San Bernardino conviction, Pennsylvania authorities did not pursue the case.
    At the time of his July 1983 capture, nearly two months after the Chino Hills killings, Cooper — under a new alias — was being pursued for an unrelated charge of rape, stemming from an alleged assault on a boat near Santa Cruz Island. Santa Barbara prosecutors filed rape charges, but once he had been sentenced to death for the murders, officials elected not to take him to trial.
    Joshua Ryen, the lone survivor of the 1983 attack, wrote to Brown in April, pleading with him to reject Cooper’s latest clemency petition.
    “Kevin Cooper is a liar,”
    Ryen wrote. “He lies about everything. When he is caught in his lies, he lies more and more. He gets other people to believe in and broadcast his lies…This is ridiculous. It is obscene. Please deny Kevin Cooper’s requests.”

    The man in the cage

    While the debate continues outside San Quentin, the man at the center of it all sits on death row, arguing his innocence.
    He writes for the media site TruthDig.com. He speaks with journalists and addresses gatherings from prison via phone. Nearly every day he contributes to his memoir. He calls it, “My Life on Your Death Row.”

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    13)  A Black Man Wore Socks in the Pool. After Calling the Police on Him, a Manager Got Fired.
    By Sarah Mervosh, July 9, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/09/us/memphis-pool-manager-fired-socks.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=click&contentCollection=us&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront

    A screen shot from a Facebook video about a confrontation at a pool at a Memphis apartment complex. The woman standing at right, identified as Erica Walker, was fired after calling the police on a black man wearing socks in the pool.CreditCamry Porter


    A white manager of a Memphis apartment complex was fired after she called the police on a black man wearing socks in the pool on the Fourth of July.
    The man, Kevin Yates, and his girlfriend, Camry Porter, said they had taken Ms. Porter’s two young godsons swimming at the pool at Riverset Apartments, where Ms. Porter lives. They said they were the only black people at the pool.
    Mr. Yates, 25, was watching the children play in the pool, sitting at the edge with his feet dipped in the water, when a woman who identified herself as a property manager asked him to remove his socks because they were not “proper pool attire,” the couple said. When he did not remove his socks or leave the property, they said, she called the police.

    Ms. Porter, 25, posted an account of the incident on Facebook, along with video of their conversation with a police officer.

    In an interview on Sunday, she said she felt racially targeted by the manager, whom she identified as Erica Walker. She said white people were wearing clothing other than swimsuits, such as hats or shirts, in the pool.
    “It’s not the issue with socks,” Ms. Porter said. “If socks were not to be worn, that was very well fine. The issue was we were the only one addressed.”
    Riverset Apartments and its Chicago-based property management company, Trilogy Residential Management, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday but have released statements condemning discrimination.
    “Ms. Walker was terminated immediately after we completed our investigation,” one statement said, adding that “she will never be employed by Trilogy Residential Management, LLC or any of its properties in the future.”
    A screen shot from a Facebook video showing the socks that the man was wearing.CreditCamry Porter

    Ms. Walker, reached by text message on Sunday, declined to comment.
    Several white people have faced consequences after calling the police on black people, or threatening to do so, at pools this summer.

    A white North Carolina man was fired after he demanded identification from a black woman at a private community pool and called the police when she refused. In South Carolina, a white woman was charged with assault after she accosted a black boy and his friends at a neighborhood pool by telling them they had to “get out” or she would call 911.
    On the Fourth of July, Mr. Yates said, he walked from the apartment to the pool wearing socks and flip-flops. He said he left his socks on as he tended to Ms. Porter’s godsons.
    “I’m going to be in and out of the pool with the little kids and I don’t want my feet scorching on this ground,” he recalled.
    A woman in a swimsuit asked him to take off his socks, and then returned while identifying herself as a property manager, he said.
    Ms. Porter said she asked for identification to show that Ms. Walker worked at the complex, but Ms. Walker would not provide it. She said Ms. Walker asked them to leave and called the police when they refused.
    Ms. Porter and Mr. Yates commended the police officer for handling the situation professionally; the video shows him trying to defuse the tension.

    During a conversation with the officer, the couple said, Ms. Walker offered to allow them to go to a different pool at the complex.
    “That’s when I finally understand: It’s not the socks, it’s me,” Mr. Yates said.
    The couple took the children back to the apartment, and Ms. Porter posted about the confrontation on Facebook. The next day, she said, the management company contacted her and offered her three months of free rent.
    She later learned that Ms. Walker had been fired.
    “We all have bills,” Ms. Porter said. “I’m not going to cheer and throw a party that Ms. Erica was fired.” But, she added, “there should have been some consequences.”

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    14) Amazon Is Used to Promote White Supremacist Merchandise and Views, Report Says
    By Mihir Zaveri, July 8, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/amazon-racist-white-supremacist-report.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront

    Amazon, which reported a net income of more than $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, is facing criticism that hate groups use it to sell merchandise and promote their ideas.


    Two nonprofits are criticizing Amazon for allowing its platforms to spread white supremacy and racism, identifying in a report how shoppers can buy onesies for babies stamped with alt-right images, Nazi-themed action figures and anti-Semitic books and music.
    The report, which was released on Friday by the Partnership for Working Families and the Action Center on Race and the Economy, said Amazon’s policies allow it to bar hateful or offensive merchandise and content, but the policies are “weak and inadequately enforced” and allow hate groups to “generate revenue, propagate their ideas and grow their movements.”
    The report outlines a number of items available as of June, including a costume that makes it look as though wearers have marks around their neck from being hanged from a noose, and onesies for babies that include images of a burning cross emblazoned across the front and Pepe the Frog.
    The report identified dozens of e-books being sold in Amazon Kindle formats that were published by groups labeled “hate organizations” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors extremist groups.

    It also criticized Amazon’s CloudFront content delivery network for “facilitating the publication and distribution of digital media” associated with Islamophobia.
    As of Sunday afternoon, Amazon appeared to have removed many of the items identified in the report but others, like a sword with Nazi symbols, remained.
    “Either Amazon does not find the materials outlined in this report offensive or otherwise contrary to its policies, or it does not consistently enforce its own policies,” the report said. “Amazon has been reactive, not proactive, in its response to use of its site by peddlers of hate.”
    In the report, the organizations asked Amazon to develop better policies for policing its platforms, destroy hateful merchandise in its warehouses and stop allowing such goods and content to be distributed through its services.

    An Amazon spokesman said in a statement on Sunday that third-party sellers that use its marketplace service “must follow our guidelines and those who don’t are subject to swift action including potential removal of their account.”

    The report identified examples of merchandise available on Amazon that depicted ideas of racist and neo-Nazi groups.CreditAction Center on Race & the Economy, and The Partnership for Working Families
    Amazon did not answer questions about what specific items it had removed or what measures it was taking to vet other merchandise. The Washington Post reported that the company was working to remove neo-Nazi bands from its music platform.
    “They’re making money, they are doing business with the people who are selling these things,” said Mariah Montgomery, campaign director for the Partnership for Working Families and one of the report’s authors. “The company has tremendous resources and some of them should be devoted to making sure they are not propping up racist organizations.”
    Amazon reported a net income of more than $1.6 billion in the first quarter of this year, more than double the amount for the same period last year.
    The debate over how emerging technologies are being harnessed by those looking to spread hateful or bigoted ideas has raged for decades. In 2000, Yahoo was sued because it allowed internet users in France to visit its auction sites, which sold Nazi memorabilia.
    But the debate has ramped up in recent years with an emboldening of white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups and pressure from countries in Europe to get American technology companies to crack down on hate speech, said Danielle Citron, a professor at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and author of the book “Hate Crimes in Cyberspace.”
    Nationally, the number of reported anti-Semitic incidents surged 57 percent in 2017, up to 1,986 from 1,267 in the previous year, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which linked the increase to the divisive state of American politics, a rise of extremists and the effects of social media.

    “This isn’t happening in a vacuum, this report,” Ms. Citron said on Sunday. “It’s happening when there’s a lot of pressure on companies to remove and filter and block hate speech.”
    Ms. Citron said companies are not legally liable for distributing goods or merchandise that reflect hate, though such practices might violate a company’s policy. She said Amazon has faced less scrutiny compared with companies like Twitter and Facebook, which are rethinking their policies.
    “This is a conversation about morals and ethics and their own terms of service,” she said.
    She warned, though, about the danger of overreaching. The report called on Amazon to get input from groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center to help it monitor and react to hate groups, but the center itself has faced criticism about how it classifies extremism and hate.
    “Unless we’re really disciplined in how we define it, with examples, and we err on the side of narrow, it can grow in ways that are unintended,” Ms. Citron said.

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