Sunday, February 18, 2018

BAUAW NEWSLETTER, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 18, 2018


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

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







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

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



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

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






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

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



_______________________________
Please make 3 phone calls to demand
health care for Mumia
If you're sick, you can go to a doctor or an emergency room to be examined and treated, in a hospital if necessary. If you're being held behind bars, getting sick can be a death sentence. Profits come before prisoner care for the Dept. of Correction's medical contractors.
SCI Mahanoy political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal needs your help in getting treatment for a severe skin disease so bad he told his wife Wadiya he "can't take it any more." For more than 2 years, he 
has suffered from intense itching all over his body.
The treatment for hepatitis C which we fought for and won has not cleared up his skin conditions.He is also concerned about his cirrhosis of the liver and neuropathy. People suspect tainted water may be causing problems for many prisoners.
Mumia and recent visitors report he can't sleep because the itching is so overpowering and relentless. His condition is worsening: his back, chest and arms have become rough and leathery, alligator-like. There appear to be hairline cracks in his skin that show bleeding.
Instead of a hands-on exam by an expert dermatologist, the DOC's doctor had a teleconference with Mumia, after which Ultra Violet (UVB) treatment and Dupixent were recommended.
Mumia stopped unsupervised, self-administered UVB treatment last year because his skin got burned.  Mumia's UVB treatment should be safely administered at a hospital with a Narrow Band UVB, reducing the risk of burns and is more effective than Broad Band UVB.
Mumia needs a full diagnostic work-up before he receives a new medicine like Dupixent, which can have serious side effects if administered incorrectly outside of a hospital setting.
Mumia has been unjustly imprisoned for 36 years. The DOC's continuing failure to effectively diagnose and treat this severe skin disease is nothing less than torture and is one more reason Mumia should be released from prison, now.
1.  Please call:
  •  SCI Mahanoy Superintendent Theresa DelBalso: 570-773-2158
  •  PA Secretary of Corrections John E. Wetzel:
    717-728-4109
  • PA Dept of Health Acting Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine: 717-787-9857

Demand that Mumia be taken to an independent medical facility such as Geisinger Hospital, as in 2015, which has the expertise to provide thorough hands-on diagnostic evaluation and offer supervised patient care.

2. Pack the court on Jan 17 in Philadelphia to support his legal case eventually lead to Mumia's freedom. 

International Concerned Family & Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal  International Action Center,
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (NYC),
Campaign to Bring Mumia Home
Educators for Mumia
__________________________This message was sent to info@socialistviewpoint.org

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


International Letter in Support of Mumia Abu-Jamal

http://www.prisonradio.org/sites/default/files/ABBREVIATED%20INTL%20LETTER%20DEC%2031%2C%202017.pdf



December 9, 2017
To:
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner From:
Concerned Members of International Community

A CALL TO RELEASE THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY AND POLICE FILES RELEVANT TO MUMIA ABU-JAMAL'S CASEAND TO FREE ABU-JAMAL NOW
We, the undersigned individual and organizational members of the international community concerned with issues of human rights, call your attention to an egregious example of human rights violations in your respective jurisdictions: the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Specifically, we call on you both, key officials with the power to determine Abu-Jamal's fate, to:
  1. Assure that all the District Attorney and police files relevant to Abu-Jamal's case, be released publicly as the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas is reviewing the potential involvement of retired Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille in a conflict of interest when he reviewed Abu Jamal's case as a PA Supreme Court Justice.
  2. Release Abu-Jamal now from his incarceration. That given the mounds of evidence of Abu-Jamal's innocence and even more evidence of police, prosecutorial, and judicial misconduct, his unjust incarceration, including almost 30 years on death row, his twice near-executions, his prison-induced illness which brought him to the brink of death, and the lack of timely treatment for his hepatitis-C which has left him with a condition, cirrhosis of the liver, which poses a potential threat to his life ... we call for the freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal now.
Now, Abu-Jamal has a new legal challenge in the Pennsylvania courts on the grounds that PA Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille had a conflict of interest when he denied Abu-Jamal's appeals from 1998-2014. The new action is based on a precedent setting U.S. Supreme Court decision, Williams v. Pennsylvania, that a judge who had been personally involved in a critical prosecutorial decision violates the defendant's right to an impartial judicial review if he then gets to rule on the case as a State Supreme Court Justice. Castille was the Philadelphia elected District Attorney during Abu-Jamal's first appeal process, after his conviction and death sentence, from 1986-1991. He was a PA Supreme Court Justice from 1994 to 2014, during which time Abu-Jamal's case came before him multiple times.
We demand: Public disclosure of the police and DA files! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!!
To sign onto this letter please email infomumia@gmail.com with the subject line "International Letter for Mumia." Submit your full name as you want it listed and your organizational or professional identification.This identification is critical in a letter of this sort, as names alone carry little leverage.
page1image2213076912 page1image2213077200 page1image2213077488 page1image2213077840 page1image2213078128 page1image2213078416 page1image2213078704 page1image2213079056 page1image2213079344 page1image2213079632 page1image2213079920 page1image2213080208 page1image2213080496 page1image2213080848 page1image2213081136 page1image2213081680 page1image2213081904 page1image2213082128 page1image2213082416 page1image2213082704 page1image2213082992 page1image2213083280
frantzfanonfoundation@amail.com - 58. rue Daquerre, 75014 Paris. +336 86 78 39 20. frantzfanonfoundation-fondationfrantzfanon.com 


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

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

Major George Tillery
A Case of Gross Prosecutorial Misconduct and Police Corruption
Sexual Favors and Hotel Rooms Provided by Police to Prosecution Fact Witness for Fabricated Testimony During Trial
By Nancy Lockhart, M.J.
August 24, 2016

Corruption in The State of Pennsylvania is being exposed with a multitude of public officials indicted by the US Attorney's office in 2015 and 2016.  A lengthy list of extortion, theft, and corruption in public service includes a former Solicitor, Treasurer and Veteran Police Officer  U.S. Department of Justice Corruption Prosecutions.  On Monday August 15, 2016 Pennsylvania State Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane was found guilty of all nine counts in a perjury and obstruction case related to a grand jury leak.  Pennsylvania's Attorney General Convicted On All Counts - New York Times
Although this is a small sampling of decades long corruption throughout the state of Pennsylvania, Major George Tillery has languished in prison over 31 years because of prosecutorial misconduct and police corruption. Tillery was tried and convicted in 1985 in a trial where prosecutors and police created a textbook criminal story for bogus convictions. William Franklin was charged as a co-conspirator in the shootings, he was tried and convicted in December of 1980, because he refused to lie on Tillery.  Franklin is 69 years old according to the PADOC website and has been in prison 36 years. 

Major Tillery Is Not Represented by an Attorney and Needs Your Assistance to Retain One. Donate to Major Tillery's Legal Defense FundMajor Tillery, PA DOC# AM9786, will turn 66-years-old on September 9, 2016 and has spent over three decades in prison for crimes he did not commit. Twenty of those 31 plus years were spent in solitary confinement. Tillery has endured many very serious medical issues and medical neglect.  Currently, he is plagued with serious illnesses that include hepatitis C, stubborn skin rashes, dangerous intestinal disorders and a degenerative hip. His orthopedic shoes were taken by prison administrators and never returned.

Tillery, was convicted of homicide, assault, weapons and conspiracy charges in 1985, for the poolroom shootings which left one man dead and another wounded. William Franklin was the pool room operator at the time. The shooting occurred on October 22, 1976.  
Falsified testimony was the only evidence presented during trial. No other evidence linked Tillery to the 1976 shootings, except for the testimony of two jailhouse informants. Both men swore that they had received no promises, agreements, or deals in exchange for their testimony. Barbra Christie, the trial prosecutor, insisted to the Court and Jury that these witnesses were not given any plea agreements or sentencing promises. That was untrue.

Newly discovered evidence is the sole basis for Tillery's latest Pro Se filing. According to the  Post Conviction Relief Petition Filed June 15, 2016, evidence proves that the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania committed fraud on the Court and Jury which undermined the fundamentals of due process. The newly discovered evidence in sworn declarations is from two prosecution fact witnesses. Those two witnesses provided the entirety of trial evidence against Major Tillery. The declarations explain false testimonies manufactured by the prosecution with the assistance of police detectives/investigators. On August 19, 2016 Judge Leon Tucker filed a Notice of Intent to Dismiss Major's PCRA petition.  Notice to Dismiss

Emanuel Claitt Has Come Forth to Declare His Testimony as Manufactured and Fabricated by Police and Prosecutors. Claitt states that his testimony during trial was fabricated and coerced by Assistant District Attorney Barbara Christie, Detectives John Cimino and James McNeshy.  Claitt swore that he was promised a very favorable plea agreement and treatment in his pending criminal cases.  Claitt was granted sexual favors in exchange for his false testimony. Claitt states that he was allowed to have sex with four different women in the homicide interview rooms and in hotel rooms in exchange for his cooperation. 

Prosecution fact witness Emanuel Claitt states in his  Declaration of Emanuel Claitt, and Emanuel Claitt Supplemental Declaration that testimony against Major Tillery was fabricated, coerced and coached by Assistant District Attorney's Leonard Ross, Barbara Christie, and Roger King with the assistance of Detectives Larry Gerrad, Ernest Gilbert, and Lt. Bill Shelton.  Claitt was threatened with false murder charges as well as, given promises and agreements of favorable plea deals and sentencing. In exchange for his false testimony, many of Claitt's cases were not prosecuted. He received probation. Additionally, he was sentenced to a mere 18 months for fire bombing and was protected after his arrest between the time of Franklin's and Tillery's trials.  

Trial Lawyer Operated Under Actual Conflict of Interest. Tillery discovered that his trial lawyer, Joseph Santaguida, also represented the victim. In other words, the victim in this case was represented by trial lawyer Santaguida and Santaguida also represented Major Tillery.  The Commonwealth has concealed newly discovered evidence as well as, evidence which would have been favorable to Major Tillery in the criminal trial. That evidence would have exonerated him. In light of the new Declarations which prove manufactured testimony by prosecutors and police, Major Tillery needs legal representation. He is not currently represented by an attorney. 
Donate: Major Tillery's Legal Defense FundClick Here & Donate

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

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

Art by Leonard Peltier

Free Leonard Peltier!

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

By Leonard Peltier

I am overwhelmed that today, February 6, is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73.
I don't want to sound ungrateful to all my supporters who have stood by me through all these years. I dearly love and respect you and thank you for the love and respect you have given me.
But the truth is I am tired, and often my ailments cause me pain with little relief for days at a time. I just had heart surgery and I have other medical issues that need to be addressed: my aortic aneurysm that could burst at any time, my prostate, and arthritis in my hip and knees.
I do not think I have another ten years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family. Nothing would bring me more happiness than being able to hug my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
I did not come to prison to become a political prisoner. I've been part of Native resistance since I was nine years of age. My sister, cousin and I were kidnapped and taken to boarding school. This incident and how it affected my cousin Pauline, had an enormous effect on me.
This same feeling haunts me as I reflect upon my past 42 years of false imprisonment. This false imprisonment has the same feeling as when I heard the false affidavit the FBI manufactured about Myrtle Poor Bear being at Oglala on the day of the fire-fight—a fabricated document used to extradite me illegally from Canada in 1976.
I know you know that the FBI files are full of information that proves my innocence. Yet many of those files are still withheld from my legal team. During my appeal before the 8th Circuit, former Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Crooks said to Judge Heaney: "Your honor, we do not know who killed those agents. Further, we don't know what participation, if any, Mr. Peltier had in it."
That statement exonerates me, and I should have been released. But here I sit, 43 years later still struggling for my freedom. I have pleaded my innocence for so long now, in so many courts of law, in so many public statements issued through the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, that I will not argue it here. But I will say again, I DID NOT KILL THOSE AGENTS!
Right now, I need my supporters here in the U.S. and throughout the world helping me. We need donations large or small to help pay my legal team to do the research that will get me back into court or get me moved closer to home or a compassionate release based on my poor health and age. Please help me to go home, help me win my freedom!
There is a new petition my Canadian brothers and sisters are circulating internationally that will be attached to my letter. Please sign it and download it so you can take it to your work, school or place of worship. Get as many signatures as you can, a MILLION would be great!
I have been a warrior since age nine. At 73, I remain a warrior. I have been here too long. The beginning of my 43rd year plus over 20 years of good time credit, that makes 60-plus years behind bars.
I need your help. I need your help today! A day in prison for me is a lifetime for those outside because I am isolated from the world.
I remain strong only because of your support, prayers, activism and your donations that keep my legal hope alive.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse
Doksha,
Leonard Peltier
If you would like a paper petition, please email contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info.
—San Francisco Bay View, February 6, 2018
http://sfbayview.com/2018/02/free-innocent-leonard-peltier-on-his-43rd-year-in-prison-he-yearns-to-hug-his-grandchildren/?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email&iid=50e882c501eb45ed857b582d357f4385&uid=95102586&nid=244+272699400  
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 International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, PO Box 24, Hillsboro, OR 97123.




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

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


More Artwork by Kevin Cooper




http://savekevincooper.org/pages/gallery.html


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

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



Dog-Eat-Dog System
#PoorPeoplesCampaign kicks off 40 days of "Moral Action"
By Jessica Corbett
"We are witnessing an assault on the poor, on immigrants, on black and brown people, and on the Earth, and we can't let it happen any longer."
In Washington, D.C. and more than two dozen states across the country on Monday, February 5, 2018, supporters of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival gathered to kick off 40 days of "moral action" to highlight "the human impact of policies which promote systemic racism, poverty, the war economy, and environmental devastation."
Led by co-chairs Reverend Dr. William J. Barber and Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis—and inspired by Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s original Poor People's Campaign in the late 1960s—the campaign, which was announced last year, livestreamed a press conference from D.C. and delivered to lawmakers a letter outlining their demands for policy changes.
Barber, in a series of tweets, denounced rampant voter suppression, systemic poverty, a lack of living wages, ecological devastation, and "Christian nationalism," emphasizing an urgent need for sweeping changes in public policy on a national scale.
"We are tired of a dog-eat-dog system of life," declared Reverend Saeed Richardson, director of policy for the Chicago Renewal Society.
"We are witnessing an assault on the poor, on immigrants, on Black and Brown people, and on the Earth," said Reverend Joan Javier-Duval in Vermont, "and we can't let it happen any longer."
"This is about fighting injustice anywhere so that we don't let ourselves lose the vision of what America can be," noted Diana Martinez of the pro-immigrant Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance. "Because when racism and nativism become the rule of law it hurts all of us."
Participants from events across the U.S. shared on social media messages, photos, and videos depicting the goals of the #PoorPeoplesCampaign.
Common Dreams, February 5, 2018
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/05/decrying-dog-eat-dog-system-poorpeoplescampaign-kicks-40-days-moral-action

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

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

SOLIDARITY with SERVERS — PLEASE CIRCULATE!
From Clifford Conner

Dear friends and relatives

Every day the scoundrels who have latched onto Trump to push through their rightwing soak-the-poor agenda inflict a new indignity on the human race.  Today they are conspiring to steal the tips we give servers in restaurants.  The New York Times editorial appended below explains what they're trying to get away with now.

People like you and me cannot compete with the Koch brothers' donors network when it comes to money power.  But at least we can try to avoid putting our pittance directly into their hands.  Here is a modest proposal:  Whenever you are in a restaurant where servers depend on tips for their livelihoods, let's try to make sure they get what we give them.

Instead of doing the easy thing and adding the tip into your credit card payment, GIVE CASH TIPS and HAND THEM DIRECTLY TO YOUR SERVER. If you want to add a creative flourish such as including a preprinted note that explains why you are doing this, by all means do so.  You could reproduce the editorial below for their edification.

If you want to do this, be sure to check your wallet before entering a restaurant to make sure you have cash in appropriate denominations.

This is a small act of solidarity with some of the most exploited members of the workforce in America.  Perhaps its symbolic value could outweigh its material impact.  But to paraphrase the familiar song: What the world needs now is solidarity, sweet solidarity.

If this idea should catch on, be prepared for news stories about restaurant owners demanding that servers empty their pockets before leaving the premises at the end of their shifts.  The fight never ends!

Yours in struggle and solidarity,

Cliff

The Trump Administration to Restaurants: Take the Tips!
The New York Times editorial board, December 21, 2017
Most Americans assume that when they leave a tip for waiters and bartenders, those workers pocket the money. That could become wishful thinking under a Trump administration proposal that would give restaurants and other businesses complete control over the tips earned by their employees.
The Department of Labor recently proposed allowing employers to pool tips and use them as they see fit as long as all of their workers are paid at least the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour nationally and higher in some states and cities. Officials argue that this will free restaurants to use some of the tip money to reward lowly dishwashers, line cooks and other workers who toil in the less glamorous quarters and presumably make less than servers who get tips. Using tips to compensate all employees sounds like a worthy cause, but a simple reading of the government's proposal makes clear that business owners would have no obligation to use the money in this way. They would be free to pocket some or all of that cash, spend it to spiff up the dining room or use it to underwrite $2 margaritas at happy hour. And that's what makes this proposal so disturbing.
The 3.2 million Americans who work as waiters, waitresses and bartenders include some of the lowest-compensated working people in the country. The median hourly wage for waiters and waitresses was $9.61 an hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, there is a sordid history of restaurant owners who steal tips, and of settlements in which they have agreed to repay workers millions of dollars.
Not to worry, says the Labor Department, which argues, oddly and unconvincingly, that workers will be better off no matter how owners spend the money. Enlarging dining rooms, reducing menu prices or offering paid time off should be seen as "potential benefits to employees and the economy over all." The department also assures us that owners will funnel tip money to employees because workers would quit otherwise.
t is hard to know how much time President Trump's appointees have spent with single mothers raising two children on a salary from a workaday restaurant in suburban America, seeing how hard it is to make ends meet without tips. What we do know is that the administration has produced no empirical cost-benefit analysis to support its proposal, which is customary when the government seeks to make an important change to federal regulations.
The Trump administration appears to be rushing this rule through — it has offered the public just 30 days to comment on it — in part to pre-empt the Supreme Court from ruling on a 2011 Obama-era tipping rule. The department's new proposal would do away with the 2011 rule. The restaurant industry has filed several legal challenges to that regulation, which prohibits businesses from pooling tips and sharing them with dishwashers and other back-of-the-house workers. Different federal circuit appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on those cases, so the industry has asked the Supreme Court to resolve those differences; the top court has not decided whether to take that case.
Mr. Trump, of course, owns restaurants as part of his hospitality empire and stands to benefit from this rule change, as do many of his friends and campaign donors. But what the restaurant business might not fully appreciate is that their stealth attempt to gain control over tips could alienate and antagonize customers. Diners who are no longer certain that their tips will end up in the hands of the server they intended to reward might leave no tip whatsoever. Others might seek to covertly slip cash to their server. More high-minded restaurateurs would be tempted to follow the lead of the New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and get rid of tipping by raising prices and bumping up salaries.
By changing the fundamental underpinnings of tipping, the government might well end up destroying this practice. But in doing so it would hurt many working-class Americans, including people who believed that Mr. Trump would fight for them.

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

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





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

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

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
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/12/18/gop-tax-plan-would-give-15-americas-largest-corporations-236b-tax-cut-report



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

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








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

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






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

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






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

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






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

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





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

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






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

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





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

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




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

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





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

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





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

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





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

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




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

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

Addicted to War:


And this does not include "…spending $1.25 trillion dollars to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and $566 billion to build the Navy a 308-ship fleet…"
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/10/18/funding-for-war-vs-natural-disasters/




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

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





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

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



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

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





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

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

Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:



Love this guy!


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

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





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

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


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

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

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


Bay Area United Against War Newsletter

Table of Contents:


A) EVENTS, ACTIONS 
AND ONGOING STRUGGLES

B) ARTICLES IN FULL


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

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

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

A) EVENTS, ACTIONS AND ONGOING STRUGGLES


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

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

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

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

Save the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper

From: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>
Date: December 19, 2017 at 6:42:58 PM PST
To: SF Bay View <sfbayview@lists.riseup.net>
Subject: [sfbayview] Bay View faces loss and challenge
Reply-To: SF Bay View <editor@sfbayview.com>
Bay View faces loss and challenge

With profound sadness, we bid farewell to Troy Williams, who we'd hoped would lead the Bay View's regeneration and build it into the New York Times of the Prison Abolition Movement he envisioned. Our challenge today is survival; we must face the fact that the fate of the Bay View is in your hands. To grow the number of hands willing to help, please share this message far and wide.

Please keep reading. There may not be a January paper without your help.

The problem: Advertising revenue is down for all newspapers still in print including the Bay View. Each monthly Bay View paper used to carry its own weight, with ads sufficient to pay the basic expenses of printing, distribution and mailing – and then some. Not any more. In 2017, total income from all sources – ads, subscriptions and donations – averaged only $8,000 per month. Those three basic expenses total almost $7,000 a month, and the Ratcliffs' social security barely covers the rent and a bit of the utilities.

People always ask, "Why not go web-only, like Black Agenda Report," an excellent and very influential source of news and analysis. The Bay View's role is different. The Bay View is the only publication in the country widely distributed both inside prison and out. Of the 20,000 papers we print every month, 3,000 are mailed to subscribers in prisons around the country (who pass them around to thousands more) and the other 17,000 are distributed in hoods around the Bay. 

Therein lies the solution:  The millions of people in prison and the hoods are our FREEDOM FIGHTERS. From the most intense oppression, like diamonds from coal, comes an unquenchable thirst for liberation – and the Bay View gives that force a voice and an organizing network. As a result, the Prison Abolition Movement is burgeoning everywhere and, to its leaders, the Bay View is essential. Similar energy in the hoods is making the Bay View fly off the stands faster than ever. 

Subscription revenue is way up, but at just $24 for a year, that income is a big help but it's not sufficient to pay the big bills. For that, we need more advertising and donations. 

Advertising – Are you or your friends or colleagues organizing an event for Martin Luther King Day in January or Black History Month in February? Email your flier or postcard and we'll quote you an affordable price for running it in the Bay View. Same for agencies and nonprofits with goods or services our readers should know about. Special low prices apply to Religious Directory ads and Black Pockets Directory ads for professionals and entrepreneurs. Call 415-671-0789 today to discuss an advertising campaign to support your project and your newspaper.

Donations – Hit the DONATE button near the top left side of the Bay View homepage to make a big donation if you're able or a smaller recurring donation. More and more readers are doing that, keeping the Bay View alive. The Bay View also has a nonprofit arm, so your donation can be tax deductible; read all about it HERE. I repeat: There may not be a January paper without your help. At the moment, we are flat broke.

The Ratcliffs are "older than dirt" and need to pass the torch to new leadership and a real newspaper staff. For that, we need a major fund drive. We hear about successful social media drives. Are you an expert on that or want to learn? Email editor@sfbayview.com to volunteer for a fundraising or development committee, and let's make it happen!

Good news: new website coming soon – An expert website designer is volunteering to build the Bay View a new website that can easily be read on your mobile device. A beautiful new website should convince potential donors, advertisers and subscribers that the Bay View will outlive the Ratcliffs!

Indulge in some recent stories and discover new ones every day at sfbayview.com ... 

Find a friend among the Bay View Pen Pals, who write, "I would love to hear my name at mail call."

Looking for a job, a contract, affordable housing or a scholarship or other opportunity? Check theBayView Classifieds today.

Finally, follow the Bay View on Facebook and Twitter – and lead everyone you know to do the same. 

To reach the Bay View, email editor@sfbayview.com
To subscribe to this list, email sfbayview-subscribe@lists.riseup.net.

Mary Ratcliff
SF Bay View
(415) 671-0789
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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


We are extremely disappointed to share yesterday's ruling of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals which has upheld the indefinite imprisonment of Reality Leigh Winner. Ms. Winner has been jailed without bail since June 6, 2017 for helping expose Russian hacking that targeted US election systems.
"I am beyond heartbroken" shared Winner's mother, Billie Davis-Winner. "The trial, originally scheduled in October 2017 and then reset to March 2018, will once again be reset to a much later date, but as of now we do not have a new setting. There is so much going on with the evidence and discovery and there are a few active appeals not yet ruled on. It's gonna be a long journey."
Winner, a decorated Air Force veteran with no criminal record, who has already served eight months in jail despite being convicted of no crime, and displaying every intention to face the single charge against her in court, will now be jailed for another year, regardless of the jury's eventual verdict.

SUPPORTERS RESPOND

Government transparency advocate Rainey Reitman adds that "Reality Winner is facing an unjust and unconstitutional prosecution under the Espionage Act. This 100 year old law, created to prosecute spies during World War I, isn't designed to be used on whistleblowers. Under this law, the judge won't consider her motives or the public benefits of her actions as a whistleblower. It makes it impossible for her to receive a fair trial."

Jeff Paterson, who managed the successful campaign to free Chelsea Manning, notes that, "By the time Reality's trial starts, she'll have spent a full year and half behind bars. Meanwhile the actual Russiagate indicted criminals, including Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn, haven't spent a day in jail."
"Winner's case has precedent setting implications for whistleblowers trying to do the right thing, press freedom, election suppression, and the government's escalating war on dissent. Reality took a risk to share something that Americans had a right to know," Paterson added.

TIMELINE

January 2017 - After serving six years in the Air Force, Winner takes a job as an NSA intelligence contractor.

May 9, 2017 - President Trump fires FBI Director James Comey. Winner allegedly finds and prints a classified report entitled, "Russia/Cybersecurity: Main Intelligence Directorate Cyber Actors."

May 10, 2017 - Trump celebrates with Russian officials in the White House, bragging that he had fired "nut job" Comey in order to end any "Russiagate" investigation.

May 11, 2017 - Winner allegedly sends NSA report to the media outlet "The Intercept."

May 17, 2017 - Special counsel Robert Mueller appointed to investigate "Russiagate."

June 5, 2017 - Winner arrested. During interrogation, she allegedly states, "Why do I have this job if I'm just going to sit back and be helpless … I just thought that was the final straw … I felt really hopeless seeing that information contested … Why isn't this out there? Why can't this be public?"

US v. WINNER INSIGHT

Contrary to a focus on citizens' right to know of attacks against election infrastructure, Winner's Espionage Act charge actually requires the government to prove that the leak itself caused harm rather than exposed it. Joe Whitley, attorney for Reality Winner, recently explained.
     "This is not a simple case. 18 U.S.C. § 793(e) -- the charged offense here -- is a notoriously complicated statute that has numerous elements the Government must prove, including ... that the classified intelligence reporting referenced ... constitutes "national defense information" (meaning the Document could actually threaten the national security of the US if disclosed, and that the information in the classified intelligence reporting was "closely held") and that the Defendant knew the Document contained this type of information." (Case document #203)
Winner has a top notch defense team determined to prove her innocence in court, despite the prosecution's ongoing campaign to deny her the right to a fair and open trial.
And we are the primary source of fundraising for Winner's legal defense team as well as leading public education efforts regarding this precedent setting First Amendment vs. Espionage Act case.

SOLIDARITY STEP: Make a donation today in honor of Reality's courage to do the right thing and to support her legal defense.
And tell others. BOOST THE SIGNAL!

Can you donate a few hours this month to help? We have a small list of a few well-defined volunteer tasks which we can send you to consider if they match with your interest and skills. Please email us at connect@standwithreality.org
~~~
For complete campaign information and case documents:


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

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

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

B) ARTICLES IN FULL


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

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

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

1)  To Counter Russia, U.S. Signals Nuclear Arms Are Back in a Big Way
 FEB. 4, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/us/politics/trump-nuclear-russia.html?hp&action=
click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=
top-news&WT.nav=top-news


WASHINGTON — A treaty committing the United States and Russia to keep their long-range nuclear arsenals at the lowest levels since early in the Cold War goes into full effect on Monday. When it was signed eight years ago, President Barack Obama expressed hope that it would be a small first step toward deeper reductions, and ultimately a world without nuclear weapons.
Now, that optimism has been reversed. A new nuclear policy issued by the Trump administration on Friday, which vows to counter a rush by the Russians to modernize their forces even while staying within the treaty limits, is touching off a new kind of nuclear arms race. This one is based less on numbers of weapons and more on novel tactics and technologies, meant to outwit and outmaneuver the other side.
The Pentagon envisions a new age in which nuclear weapons are back in a big way — its strategy bristles with plans for new low-yield nuclear weapons that advocates say are needed to match Russian advances and critics warn will be too tempting for a president to use. The result is that the nuclear-arms limits that go into effect on Monday now look more like the final stop after three decades of reductions than a way station to further cuts.
Yet when President Trump called on Congress to "modernize and rebuild our nuclear arsenal" in his State of the Union address last week, he did not mention his administration's rationale: that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has accelerated a dangerous game that the United States must match, even if the price tag soars above $1.2 trillion. That is the latest estimate from the Congressional Budget Office, one that many experts think is low by a half-trillion dollars.
Mr. Trump barely mentioned Mr. Putin in the speech and said nothing about Russia's nuclear buildup. His reluctance to talk about Russia and its leader during his campaign and first year in office — and his refusal to impose sanctions on Russia mandated by Congress — has fueled suspicions about what lies behind his persistently friendly stance toward Mr. Putin.
In the State of the Union speech, the president focused far more on North Korea and on battling terrorism, even though his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, had announced just days ago that "great power competition — not terrorism — is now the primary focus of U.S. national security."
In contrast to the president's address, the report issued on Friday, known as the Nuclear Posture Review, focuses intensely on Russia. It describes Mr. Putin as forcing America's hand to rebuild the nuclear force, as has a series of other documents produced by Mr. Trump's National Security Council and his Pentagon.
The report contains a sharp warning about a new Russian-made autonomous nuclear torpedo that — while not in violation of the terms of the treaty, known as New Start — appears designed to cross the Pacific undetected and release a deadly cloud of radioactivity that would leave large parts of the West Coast uninhabitable.
It also explicitly rejects Mr. Obama's commitment to make nuclear weapons a diminishing part of American defenses. The limit on warheads — 1,500 deployable weapons — that goes into effect on Monday expires in 2021, and the nuclear review shows no enthusiasm about its chances for renewal.
The report describes future arms control agreements as "difficult to envision" in a world "that is characterized by nuclear-armed states seeking to change borders and overturn existing norms," and in particular by Russian violations of a series of other arms-limitation treaties.
"Past assumptions that our capability to produce nuclear weapons would not be necessary and that we could permit the required infrastructure to age into obsolescence have proven to be mistaken," it argues. "It is now clear that the United States must have sufficient research, design, development and production capacity to support the sustainment and replacement of its nuclear forces."
The new policy was applauded by establishment Republican defense experts, including some who have shuddered at Mr. Trump's threats to use nuclear weapons against North Korea, but have worried that he was insufficiently focused on Russia's nuclear modernization.
"Obama's theory was that we will lead the way in reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons and everyone else will do the same," said Franklin C. Miller, a nuclear expert who served in the George W. Bush administration and was an informal consultant to Pentagon officials who drafted the new policy. "It didn't work out that way. The Russians have been fielding systems while we haven't, and our first new system won't be ready until 2026 or 2027."
"This is a very mainstream nuclear policy," Mr. Miller said of the document, arguing that new low-yield atomic weapons would deter Mr. Putin and make nuclear war less likely, rather than offer new temptations to Mr. Trump. "Nothing in it deserves the criticism it has received."
A senior administration official, who would discuss the policy only on the condition of anonymity, said Mr. Trump had been briefed on the new nuclear approach, but was leaving the details to Mr. Mattis and to his national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster. The president, the official said, was primarily concerned about staying ahead in any nuclear race with Russia, and to a lesser degree with China.
Even Mr. Trump's harshest critics concede that the United States must take steps as Russia and China have invested heavily in modernizing their forces, making them more lethal. The administration's new strategy describes the Russian buildup in detail, documenting how Moscow is making "multiple upgrades" to its force of strategic bombers, as well as long-range missiles based at sea and on land. Russia is also developing, it adds, "at least two new intercontinental-range systems," as well as the autonomous torpedo.
Russia has violated another treaty, the United States argues, that covers intermediate-range missiles, and is "building a large, diverse and modern" set of shorter-range weapons with less powerful warheads that "are not accountable under the New Start treaty." Yet Mr. Trump has not publicly complained about the alleged treaty violation or the new weapons.
Though members of the Obama administration were highly critical of the Trump administration document, there is little question that Mr. Obama paved the way for the modernization policy. He agreed to a $70 billion makeover of American nuclear laboratories as the price for Senate approval of the 2010 New Start.
The new document calls for far more spending — a program that at a minimum will cost $1.2 trillion over 30 years, without inflation taken into account. Most of that money would go to new generations of bombers and new submarines, and a rebuilding of the land-based nuclear missile force that still dots giant fields across the West.
While those systems are the most vulnerable to attack, and the most decrepit part of the force, they are also among the most politically popular in Congress, because they provide jobs in rural areas.
In some cases, Mr. Trump's plan speeds ahead with nuclear arms that Mr. Obama had endorsed, such as a new generation of nuclear cruise missiles. The low-flying weapons, when dropped from a bomber, hug the ground to avoid enemy radars and air defenses.
Other weapons, though, are completely new. For example, the policy calls for "the rapid development" of a cruise missile that would be fired from submarines, then become airborne before reaching its target. Mr. Obama had eliminated an older version.
It also calls for the development of a low-yield warhead for some of the nation's submarine ballistic missiles — part of a broader effort to expand the credible options "for responding to nuclear or non-nuclear strategic attack." But critics of the low-yield weapons say they blur the line between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, making their use more likely.
Andrew C. Weber, an assistant defense secretary during the Obama administration who directed oversight of the nation's nuclear arsenal, called the new plan a dangerous folly that would make nuclear war more likely.
"We're simply mirroring the reckless Russian doctrine," he said. "We can already deter any strike. We have plenty of low-yield weapons. The new plan is a fiction created to justify the making of new nuclear arms. They'll just increase the potential for their use and for miscalculation. The administration's logic is Kafkaesque."
One of the most controversial elements of the new strategy is a section that declares that the United States might use nuclear weapons to respond to a devastating, but non-nuclear, attack on critical infrastructure — the power grid or cellphone networks, for example.
All of the new or repurposed warheads would come from the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Energy Department that officials say is already stretched thin.
"We're pretty much at capacity in terms of people," Frank G. Klotz was quoted as saying after retiring last month as the agency's head. "We're pretty much at capacity in terms of the materials that we need to do this work. And pretty much at capacity in terms of hours in the day at our facilities."

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

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

2) Even in Family-Friendly Scandinavia, Mothers Are Paid Less
Researchers say motherhood is one of the biggest causes of the gender pay gap. It might take fathers to change that.
Feb. 5, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/05/upshot/even-in-family-friendly-scandinavia-mothers-are-paid-less.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fbusiness&action=click&contentCollection=business&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront

Ludde Omholt with his son Love in a park in Sweden. Researchers say that if men took on more child care responsibilities, it could help shrink the gender pay gap.CreditCasper Hedberg for the International Herald Tribune

 
Scandinavia is supposed to be a family-friendly paradise. We imagine fathers and mothers spending their children's early months together at home. Then they enroll them in high-quality, government-subsidized child care, from which they pick them up at the end of the world's shortest workdays
But it is not as egalitarian as the fantasy suggests. Despite generous social policies, women who work full-time there are still paid 15 percent to 20 percent less than men, new research shows — a gender pay gap similar to that in the United States. 
The main reason for this pay gap seems to be the same in both places: Children hurt mothers' careers. This is, in large part, because women spend more time on child rearing than men do, whether by choice or not.
A series of recent studies shows that in both the United States and Europe, the gender pay gap is much smaller until the first child arrives. Then women's earnings plummet and their career trajectories slow. Women who do not have children, by and large, continue to grow their earnings at a similar rate to men. There are still differences because of discrimination and other factors, but researchers say that motherhood explains a large amount of the gap.
It's another sign that in modern economies, with their two-income families and with a priority on long hours spent in the office, even countries with the most family-friendly policies haven't made things equal. 
Policies like paid leave, subsidized child care and part-time work options are helpful to mothers. Scandinavia has one of the highest rates of women's labor force participation in the world, and the share of women working in the United States has fallen behind the share in Europe, which has much more generous policies
But policy alone would not be enough to overcome gender inequality. It would require changes in behavior — including by men. There is evidence that the gap would shrink if fathers acted more the way mothers do after having children, by spending more time on parenting and the related responsibilities. 
"At the very least, men have to take a larger role," said Francine Blau, an economist at Cornell who has studied the gender pay gap and family-friendly policies in the United States and Europe. "It does become a distinction in the eyes of employers between potential male and female workers, and it may reinforce traditional gender roles." 
One new study, which used a data set including everyone in Denmark from 1980 to 2013, along with details about their jobs and families, found that while there was a pay gap before people had children, it was relatively small and earnings were increasing at similar rates. But after the first child, women's gross earnings quickly dropped 30 percent, and never fully recovered. In the long term, mothers earned 20 percent less. Women who did not have children continued to increase their earnings at a rate similar to men. 
Most studies of the pay gap analyze equal pay for equal work. But in this paper, researchers examined how women changed their work in response to having children, and how that affected their lifelong pay. Mothers were paid less partly because they worked fewer hours, took longer breaks from employment and were more likely to move into lower-paying, family-friendly jobs, the paper found. Their probability of becoming a manager also declined. 
"Equal work is in practice not an option for most women, because they have to take care of the children and therefore have different kinds of jobs and different kinds of hours," said Henrik Kleven, an economist at Princeton, who wrote the paper with Jakob Egholt Sogaard, an economist at the University of Copenhagen, and Camille Landais, an economist at the London School of Economics. 
As in the United States, the pay gap in Denmark has shrunk over time as women have become better educated than men and more likely to be professionals or managers. Children, which accounted for 40 percent of the pay gap in 1980, now account for 80 percent of it. Discrimination and other factors play a role in the remaining gap, researchers say.
The same pattern is true elsewhere. In the United States, a study by Census Bureau researchers found that between two years before the birth of a couple's first child and a year after, the earnings gap between opposite-sex spouses doubles. The gap continues to grow for the next five years. 
Two studies of college-educated women in the United States found that they made almost as much as men until ages 26 to 33, when many women have children. By age 45, they made 55 percent as much as men. 
In Sweden, a recent study found, female executives are half as likely as men to be chief executives, and one-third less likely to be high earners — even when they were more qualified for these jobs than men. Most of the difference was explained by women who were working shorter hours and taking time off work in the five years after their first child was born. 
As any parent knows, children come with a host of time-consuming responsibilities. Someone has to do the work. In most opposite-sex couples, that someone is the mother. 
There are different explanations for this, researchers say. Women may have intrinsic preferences to do more of this work, or couples could decide it's most efficient to divide the labor this way. It could also be that social norms about traditional gender roles influence men and women to behave this way. 
In surveys of Americans and Europeans, people tend to say that women should work part-time or not at all when they have children at home, and that men should earn money to support their families. The Denmark study found evidence that women took on the roles they saw their mothers take — those whose mothers worked more had smaller pay gaps themselves. 
Policies have different effects on how people approach work and home responsibilities, researchers say. Very long paid maternity leave, which is common in Europe, increases the chances that women return to the labor force but decreases their pay and promotions, because they take such long breaks. 
Subsidized child care helps shrink the pay gap by enabling women to spend more time working. There is also evidence that mothers whose employers let them work flexibly or telecommute are less likely to reduce their work hours.
But as long as mothers, and not fathers, are the ones using policies like paid leave and taking on the additional work at home after having children, the lifetime pay inequity seems certain to remain. 
Research has shown that when men take care of their babies in the early weeks, they are more involved in child care years later. But while Denmark gives new parents a year off, and mothers and fathers can share most of it, men on average take only two weeks, Mr. Kleven said. Countries like Sweden have been able to increase the amount of paternity leave that fathers take with a policy incentive: Families in which each parent takes a certain amount of time off receive additional time off to add to their combined allowance. 
"If you know that both men and women will go off and take care of children, not just women, what that does is remove the motherhood penalty," said Heejung Chung, a sociologist at the University of Kent. 
Claire Cain Miller writes about gender, families and the future of work for The Upshot. She joined The Times in 2008, and previously covered the tech industry for Business Day.

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

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

3)  FEMA Contract Called for 30 Million Meals for Puerto Ricans. 50,000 Were Delivered.
 FEB. 6, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/us/fema-contract-puerto-rico.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fus&action=
click&contentCollection=us&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront

Residents of San Isidro, P.R., waited for food and water in October. CreditErika P. Rodriguez for The New York Times


The mission for the Federal Emergency Management Agency was clear: Hurricane Maria had torn through Puerto Rico, and hungry people needed food. Thirty million meals needed to be delivered as soon as possible.
For this huge task, FEMA tapped Tiffany Brown, an Atlanta entrepreneur with no experience in large-scale disaster relief and at least five canceled government contracts in her past. FEMA awarded her $156 million for the job, and Ms. Brown, who is the sole owner and employee of her company, Tribute Contracting LLC, set out to find some help.
Ms. Brown, who is adept at navigating the federal contracting system, hired a wedding caterer in Atlanta with a staff of 11 to freeze-dry wild mushrooms and rice, chicken and rice, and vegetable soup. She found a nonprofit in Texas that had shipped food aid overseas and domestically, including to a Houston food bank after Hurricane Harvey.
By the time 18.5 million meals were due, Tribute had delivered only 50,000. And FEMA inspectors discovered a problem: The food had been packaged separately from the pouches used to heat them. FEMA's solicitation required "self-heating meals."
"Do not ship another meal. Your contract is terminated," Carolyn Ward, the FEMA contracting officer who handled Tribute's agreement, wrote to Ms. Brown in an email dated Oct. 19 that Ms. Brown provided to The New York Times. "This is a logistical nightmare."
Continue reading the main story
Four months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, a picture is emerging of the contracts awarded in the earliest days of the crisis. And examples like the Tribute contract are causing lawmakers to raise questions about FEMA's handling of the disaster and whether the agency was adequately prepared to respond.
On Tuesday, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, which has been investigating the contract, asked Representative Trey Gowdy, the committee chairman, to subpoena FEMA for all documents relating to the agreement. Lawmakers fear the agency is not lining up potential contractors in advance of natural disasters, leading it to scramble to award multimillion-dollar agreements in the middle of a crisis.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a bipartisan congressional investigation found that a failure to secure advance contracts led to chaos and potential for waste and fraud. Democrats asserted that FEMA was similarly inept preparing for this storm.
"It appears that the Trump Administration's response to the hurricanes in Puerto Rico in 2017 suffered from the same flaws as the Bush Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005," wrote Representatives Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland and Stacey E. Plaskett, the nonvoting delegate from the United States Virgin Islands.
Amanda Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Mr. Gowdy, said FEMA has given the Oversight Committee regular briefings since lawmakers asked for them in October, and at no point had Democrats mentioned the Tribute contract. Sending a subpoena to an agency cooperating with Congress "is premature," Ms. Gonzalez said in a statement.
In November, The Associated Press found that after Hurricane Maria, FEMA awarded more than $30 million in contracts for emergency tarps and plastic sheeting to a company that never delivered the needed supplies.
FEMA insists no Puerto Ricans missed a meal as a result of the failed agreement with Tribute. FEMA relied on other suppliers that provided "ample" food and water for distribution, said William Booher, an agency spokesman.
But there is little doubt that in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans struggled with access to food. The storm shut down ports on an island that imports about 85 percent of its food supply. Farms were flattened. Supermarkets lost electricity and could not find diesel to run their generators. The stores that opened using generator power could not offer much from their understocked shelves.
Puerto Ricans depended heavily on emergency aid dispatched by FEMA. The Department of Homeland Security has doled out more than $1 billion in contracts related to Hurricane Maria, which made landfall in Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.
On Oct. 3, FEMA awarded one of its largest food contracts to Tribute. For $5.10 each, the company agreed to provide 30 million ready-to-eat meals by Oct. 23.
Ms. Brown described herself in an interview as a government contractor — "almost like a broker," she said — who does not keep employees or specialize in any field but is able to procure subcontracted work as needed, and get a cut of the money along the way. She claims a fashion line and has several self-published books, and describes herself on Twitter as "A Diva, Mogul, Author, Idealist with scars to prove it."
After Tribute's failure to provide the meals became clear, FEMA formally terminated the contract for cause, citing Tribute's late delivery of approved meals. Ms. Brown is disputing the termination. On Dec. 22, she filed an appeal, arguing that the real reason FEMA canceled her contract was because the meals were packed separately from the heating pouches, not because of their late delivery. Ms. Brown claims the agency did not specify that the meals and heaters had to be together.
She is seeking a settlement of at least $70 million. Her subcontractors, Cooking With A Star LLC, and Breedlove Foods Inc., have threatened to sue her for breach of contract, Ms. Brown said. Kendra Robinson, the caterer who runs Cooking With A Star, said she has about 75,000 meals her company prepared for FEMA sitting in an Atlanta warehouse.
In a statement, FEMA said it would be "inappropriate" to comment on a contract pending an appeal. But the agency noted it continues to provide meals to Puerto Ricans, despite an error by an agency spokesman last week that suggested the emergency aid would stop.
"At the time of the contract termination there were ample commodity supplies in the pipeline, and distribution was not affected," said Mr. Booher, the agency spokesman. "During the 2017 hurricane season FEMA sourced over 200 million meals through multiple vendors in order to support disaster response activities across multiple disasters."
Tribute has been awarded dozens of government contracts since 2013, including one in 2015 for $1.2 million in mattresses for the Defense Logistics Agency, which supports military combat troops, federal spending databases show. Tribute delivered the mattresses, according to the agency. The databases offer only a fragmented picture of federal contracts.
The government has also canceled Tribute contracts on at least five occasions.
Four cancellations involved the Federal Prison System, which found that Tribute failed to deliver meat, bakery, cereal and other food products to various correctional institutions. A fifth termination involved the Government Publishing Office, which terminated a contract for 3,000 tote bags after Tribute failed to print the Marine Corps logo on both sides of the bags.
An investigation by the office's inspector general found that Tribute "altered and submitted a false shipping document and subcontracted the predominant production function on two contracts without proper authorization," according to a 2015 report submitted to Congress.
The report did not name Tribute, but a Government Publishing Office spokesman confirmed that it was the Georgia company mentioned in the document. The office awarded Tribute 14 contracts totaling more than $80,000 from 2014-15, and the company "routinely delivered late," the report said.
As a result of the botched tote-bag job, the Government Publishing Office prohibited the award of any contracts over $35,000 to Tribute until January 2019. But that exclusion applied only to that office, not to any other federal agency.
Tribute has had three indefinite contracts with FEMA for hygiene kits since 2013, but none of them have been activated.
Asked about the cancellations, Ms. Brown offered explanations for each case, including that she had supplier trouble with the prison meals. She could have fought the Government Publishing Office on the tote bags contract, she said, but could not afford to at the time.
Democrats on the House Oversight Committee say Tribute's contract history should have given FEMA serious pause about awarding the company a huge food contract.
"Clearly, Tribute did not have sufficient financial resources of its own to support this contract," they wrote. "Based on Tribute's lack of experience in large-scale disaster relief and its limited financial capacity, FEMA should have raised serious questions about whether the company could meet the contract terms — especially since the contract concerned such a critical need."
Ms. Brown said she had no doubt she could have provided the 30 million meals, though she estimated she would have needed until at least Nov. 7 — two weeks past FEMA's deadline, and still an unlikely completion date, given Tribute's pace of delivery by the time the contract was canceled.
"They probably should have gone with someone else, but I'm assuming they did not because this was the third hurricane" after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Ms. Brown said. "They were trying to fill the orders the best they could."


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

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

4) Single Mothers Are Not the Problem
 FEB. 10, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/opinion/sunday/single-mothers-poverty.html?action=click&pgtype=
Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-top-region&region=opinion-c-col-top-region&WT.nav=
opinion-c-col-top-region


No group is as linked to poverty in the American mind as single mothers. For decades, politicians, journalists and scholars have scrutinized the reasons poor couples fail to use contraception, have children out of wedlock and do not marry.
When the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution formed a bipartisan panel of prominent poverty scholars to write a "Consensus Plan for Reducing Poverty" in 2015, its first recommendation was to "promote a new cultural norm surrounding parenthood and marriage."
The reality, however, is that single motherhood is not the reason we have unusually high poverty in the United States, compared with other rich democracies. In fact, we recently published a study in The American Journal of Sociology, using data from the Luxembourg Income Study, which demonstrates that reducing single motherhood here would not substantially reduce poverty.
Single-mother families are a surprisingly small share of our population. Among households headed by working-age adults, 8.8 percent of people lived in single-mother households in 2013 — the most recent year we were able to analyze. The share of people in single-mother households actually declined from 10.5 percent in 1980 and has increased only modestly since 1970, when it was 7.4 percent. True, compared with other rich democracies, America does have a relatively high portion of families headed by single mothers. Nevertheless, we still fall below Ireland and Britain and are quite similar to Australia and Iceland.
Because fewer people are in single-mother families than you'd think, even large reductions in single motherhood would not substantially reduce poverty. We can illustrate this in two ways. First, what would the poverty rate be if single motherhood in the United States was as common as it is in the typical rich democracy? Second, what would poverty in America be if single motherhood returned to the rate it was in 1970?
If single motherhood in the United States were in the middle of the pack among rich democracies instead of the third highest, poverty among working-age households would be less than 1 percentage point lower — 15.4 percent instead of 16.1 percent. If we returned to the 1970 share of single motherhood, poverty would decline a tiny amount — from 16.1 percent to 15.98. If, magically, there were no single mothers in the United States, the poverty rate would still be 14.8 percent.
What really differentiates rich democracies is the penalty attached to single motherhood. Countries make political choices about how well social policies support single mothers. Our political choices result in families headed by single mothers being 14.3 percent more likely to be poor than other families.
Such a severe penalty is unusual. In a majority of rich democracies, single mothers are not more likely to be poor. Denmark, for example, has chosen to provide universal cash benefits and tax credits for children, publicly subsidized child care and health care, and paid parental leave. Because of these generous social policies, single mothers and their children have a similar level of economic security as other families.
A common knee-jerk reaction against generous social policies for single mothers is that they pose a moral hazard and encourage more single motherhood. The problem with this argument is that it is overwhelmingly contradicted by social science. Did the 1996 welfare reform, which made social policies less generous for single mothers, cause a large reduction in single motherhood? No. Do rich democracies with more generous policies for single mothers have more single mothers? No. Do rich democracies with higher penalties for single motherhood have fewer single mothers? No.
Single motherhood is one of four major risks of poverty, which also include unemployment, low levels of education and forming households at young ages. Our research demonstrates a broader point about the risks of poverty. Poverty in America is not unusually high because more people have more of these risk factors. They are actually less common here than they are in the typical rich democracy, and fewer Americans carry these risks today than they did in 1970 or 1980. Even if one infers that risk factors result from bad choices and behaviors, Americans apparently make fewer such choices and engage in fewer such behaviors than people in other rich democracies or than Americans in the past.
The reality is we have unusually high poverty because we have unusually high penalties for all four of these risk factors. For example, if you lack a high school degree in the United States, it increases the probability of your being in poverty by 16.4 percent. In the 28 other rich democracies, a lack of education increases the probability of poverty by less than 5 percent on average. No other country penalizes the less educated nearly as much as we do.
More generous social policies would reduce the penalty for all four risk factors. In fact, increasing the generosity of American social policies would lower poverty more than increasing high school graduation or employment, and more than decreasing the number of people heading a household at a young age or the number of single mothers. Nor would reducing these penalties encourage people to drop out of high school, be unemployed, form households too young or become single mothers.
Ultimately, there simply aren't enough single mothers to explain our high poverty. Even if they all married or never had children, poverty would not be substantially lower. We should stop obsessing over how many single mothers there are and stop shaming them.
Instead — even though we all get sick of hearing about how great Scandinavian countries are at handling these issues — we should be following the lead of countries like Denmark. If we did, we could reduce poverty among all American families, including those headed by single mothers. No amount of stigmatization could do the same. Rather than falsely claiming that single motherhood is a major cause of poverty, we should support single mothers in raising America's children.

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

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

5)  In Sweeping War on Obesity, Chile Slays Tony the Tiger
By Andrew Jacobs, February 7, 2018
"Sugar kills more people than terrorism and car accidents combined," he said in an interview as he shook a box of Trix cereal for effect. "It's the poison of our time."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/07/health/obesity-chile-sugar-regulations.html?recb=signature-journalism.editorial_dedup&recid=10PsQzGOFLsWElRn357ILB2AFGw&contentCollection=signature-journalism&mData=articles%255B%255D%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.nytimes.com%252F2018%252F02%252F07%252Fhealth%252Fobesity-chile-sugar-regulations.html%253Frecb%253Dsignature-journalism.editorial_dedup%2526recid%253D10PsQzGOFLsWElRn357ILB2AFGw&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=signatureJournalism-promo-region&region=signatureJournalism-promo-region&WT.nav=signatureJournalism-promo-region


SANTIAGO, Chile — They killed Tony the Tiger. They did away with Cheetos' Chester Cheetah. They banned Kinder Surprise, the chocolate eggs with a hidden toy.
The Chilean government, facing skyrocketing rates of obesity, is waging war on unhealthy foods with a phalanx of marketing restrictions, mandatory packaging redesigns and labeling rules aimed at transforming the eating habits of 18 million people.
Nutrition experts say the measures are the world's most ambitious attempt to remake a country's food culture, and could be a model for how to turn the tide on a global obesity epidemic that researchers say contributes to four million premature deaths a year.
"It's hard to overstate how significant Chile's actions are — or how hard it has been to get there in the face of the usual pressures," said Stephen Simpson, director of the Charles Perkins Centre, an organization of scholars focused on nutrition and obesity science and policy. The multibillion dollar food and soda industries have exerted those pressures to successfully stave off regulation in many other countries.
Since the food law was enacted two years ago, it has forced multinational behemoths like Kellogg to remove iconic cartoon characters from sugary cereal boxes and banned the sale of candy like Kinder Surprise that use trinkets to lure young consumers. The law prohibits the sale of junk food like ice cream, chocolate and potato chips in Chilean schools and proscribes such products from being advertised during television programs or on websites aimed at young audiences.
Beginning next year, such ads will be scrubbed entirely from TV, radio and movie theaters between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. In an effort to encourage breast-feeding, a ban on marketing infant formula kicks in this spring.
Still craving Coca-Cola? In Chile, beverages high in sugar include an 18 percent tax, which is among the steepest soda taxes in the world.
The linchpin of the initiative is a new labeling system that requires packaged food companies to prominently display black warning logos in the shape of a stop sign on items high in sugar, salt, calories or saturated fat.
The food industry calls the rules government overreach. Felipe Lira, the director of Chilealimentos, an industry association, said the new nutrition labels were confusing and "invasive," and that the marketing restrictions were based on a scientifically flawed correlation between the promotion of unhealthy foods and weight gain. "We believe that the best way to approach the problem of obesity is through consumer education that changes people's habits," he said in an emailed statement.
PepsiCo, the maker of Cheetos, and Kellogg's, producer of Frosted Flakes, have gone to court, arguing that the regulations infringe on their intellectual property. The case is pending.
María José Echeverria, a spokeswoman for PepsiCo, said the company was fully compliant with the law, and had no interest in overturning it, but was only trying to protect its ability to use a locally registered trademark.
Kellogg declined to comment.
Soaring obesity rates are forcing governments around the world to confront one of the more serious threats to public health in a generation.
Until the late 1980s, malnutrition was widespread among poor Chileans, especially children. Today, three-quarters of adults are overweight or obese, according to the country's health ministry. Officials have been particularly alarmed by childhood obesity rates that are among the world's highest, with over half of 6-year-old children overweight or obese.
In 2016, the medical costs of obesity reached $800 million, or 2.4 percent of all health care spending, a figure that analysts say will reach nearly 4 percent in 2030.
Such sobering statistics helped rally a coalition of elected officials, scientists and public health advocates who overcame fierce opposition from food companies and their allies in government.
"It was a hard-fought guerrilla war," said Senator Guido Girardi, vice president of the Chilean senate and a doctor who first proposed the regulations in 2007. "People have a right to know what these food companies are putting in this trash, and with this legislation, I think Chile has made a huge contribution to humanity."
From India to Colombia to the United States, countries rich and poor have been struggling to combat rising obesity — and encountering ferocious resistance from food companies eager to protect their profits.
In Chile, corporate interests delayed passage of the law for almost a decade, and on two occasions there were so many lobbyists crowding Congressional hearings for the bill that the Senate president was forced to suspend the sessions and clear the room.
But the industry rarely faces opponents like Senator Girardi. A trained surgeon with a flair for the theatrical, he is a key figure in the governing coalition of President Michelle Bachelet. During the long fight over the food law, Senator Girardi, 56, publicly assailed big food companies as "21st century pedophiles" and before Ms. Bachelet took office, spent weeks protesting outside the presidential palace with placards that accused her predecessor, Sebastián Piñera, of destroying the nation's health by vetoing an earlier version of the legislation.
"Sugar kills more people than terrorism and car accidents combined," he said in an interview as he shook a box of Trix cereal for effect. "It's the poison of our time."
There were other factors that made the legislation possible, including a legislature determined to address the rising economic costs of obesity and support from Ms. Bachelet, a socialist who also happens to be trained as a pediatrician.
In the end, industry pressure succeeded in easing some measures in the original legislation, including loosening the advertising restrictions and quashing a proposed ban on junk food sales near schools.
Strolling through a Chilean supermarket can be visually jarring. Boxes of Nesquik chocolate powder no longer include Nestle's hyperkinetic bunny. Gone, too, are the dancing candies that enliven packages of M&Ms the world over.
Then there are the warning signs that appear on the front of countless items.
Cereal bars, yogurts and juice boxes, products long advertised as "healthy," "natural" or "fortified with vitamins and minerals," now carry one or more of the black warning labels. A bottle of Great Value brand light ranch dressing displays all four warning logos — marking it as high in salt, sugar, calories and fat.
"I never really paid attention to labels," Patricia Sánchez, 32, an accountant and mother of two, said as she filled her shopping cart at a Santiago supermarket, with occasional help from her 7-year-old daughter. "But now they kind of force you to pay attention. And if I don't notice, my kids do."
Obesity rates in Chile have yet to fall, and experts say it could take years to significantly modify the way people eat. But by focusing on the packaging and advertising of unhealthy foods that appeal to children, the Chilean government is hoping to reprogram the next generation of consumers.
"You have to change the entire food system and you can't do that overnight," said Dr. Cecilia Castillo Lancellotti, former head of nutrition at the country's Health Ministry and an early proponent of the legislation.
The new regulations, however, have prompted an unexpected payoff already: Food companies have been voluntarily modifying their products to avoid the dreaded black logos.
According to AB Chile, a food industry association, more than 1,500 items, or 20 percent of all products sold in Chile, have been reformulated in response to the law. Nestlé reduced the sugar in its Milo chocolate powder drink, McDonald's is offering fruit purée, yogurt and cherry tomatoes in its Happy Meals, and local companies have been introducing new products like nuts, rice cakes and dried fruit to sell in schools.
Last month, Coca-Cola began an advertising campaign for new versions of Sprite and Fanta that boasts the tagline "Free of Logos, Equally Rich" — a nod to the fact that they will no longer contain warning labels because the company replaced half the sugar with artificial sweetener.
Ben Sheidler, a spokesman for Coca-Cola, said the company had created 32 new beverages in the last 18 months, and that 65 percent of its drinks portfolio in Chile could now be described as having low or reduced sugar.
A spokesman for PepsiCo said two-thirds of its beverage brands in Chile also qualified as low or sugar-free and that more than 90 percent of its snack offerings were now low in both sodium and saturated fat.
Other companies have embraced the logo system as a way to tout healthy offerings. Soprole, a Chilean dairy company, produced a commercial that features child newscasters explaining the label systemin a way their peers can understand.
"Originally we didn't believe the logos would make much of a difference but in focus groups, we've discovered that kids really do look at them," said Dr. Camila Corvalan, of the University of Chile who has been assessing the impact of new label system. "They'll say 'Mom, this has so many logos. I can't bring them to school. My teacher won't allow it."
Soon after the labels began appearing, AB Chile, the industry association, released an online ad using Chilean celebrities to attack the new regulations. In one scene, a well-known television presenter propped up in his putative sick bed considers a tray of soup, crackers and marmalade — items he said the new law has deemed unhealthy. "This is what my mom gave me all my life and I can no longer eat it?" he asks indignantly. In another, an actress pulls a mound of mints from her pocketbook. "It's obvious that they are high in sugar," she says. "But I only eat two or three."
The ad prompted a fierce backlash online that went viral. In one counterattack, the Chilean actor Pablo Schwartz posted a video of himself pondering a mound of white powder. "Everyone says cocaine is bad, of course, but would you snort a quarter kilo at once?" he asks before inhaling a bump and then adding "It's all about portion."
The association killed their ad criticizing the new regulations.
The job of implementing the rules falls to a group of technical advisers who gather weekly at the Ministry of Health and provide guidance on whether a snack company should remove the dancing cat logo from cookie packages or whether an adult's voice should replace the small, childlike one hawking corn chips on a radio spot.
"Sometimes it's easy, like if a dog is wearing glasses and talking like a person, but sometimes it's not," said Dr. Lorena Rodriguez, the ministry's head of nutrition. "We fight and fight and fight until we have consensus."
Dr. Jaime Burrows Oyarzún, the vice minister of public health, is confident the government will prevail in court. As chief arbiter of the new regulations, he often bears the brunt of industry ire. After the banning of Kinder Surprise, a company executive from Italy and the Italian ambassador to Chile accused him of waging "food terrorism" during a visit to his office, he recalled in an interview.
Mauro Russo, managing director at Ferrero, the maker of the Kinder Surprise, said the law had been erroneously applied to their product because the toy is an intrinsic part of the treat, not a "promotional gadget," as described by the legislation, that seeks to stimulate sales. He also disputed the notion that the product is unhealthy, noting that each egg contains 110 calories and that few consumers purchase more than one or two a year. "Kinder Surprise's impact on obesity is very marginal," he said.
Some nutrition advocates wonder how long the law will survive in its current form. Mr. Piñera, the former president who was recently elected to the office again and will succeed Ms. Bachelet in March, is a conservative businessman who vetoed the food bill in 2011 during his first term in office. Instead, his administration backed a nutrition initiative, financed by multinational food companies, that emphasized healthy recipes, exercise and moderation when it comes to junk food. The campaign was the project of the first lady, Cecilia Morel Montes.
"We don't need more taxes," she said in an interview.
A spokesman for Mr. Piñera said he would likely take a second look at the law and explore ways "to improve it" after he takes office.
In the meantime, other countries in Latin America, among them Ecuador and Brazil, are seeking to borrow elements of Chile's initiative. Dr. Carlos A. Monteiro, a professor of nutrition and public health at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, said leaders throughout the region could no longer ignore the rising medical costs of diet-related diseases like diabetes and hypertension.
"The epidemic of obesity is so clear and harmful to the whole population, including the political elite, and no country is succeeding to control it without regulation of the food environment," he said. "Doing nothing is no longer an option."
Matt Richtel contributed reporting from New York, and Pascale Bonnefoy from Santiago.

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

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

6)  Time Is Running Out for Puerto Ricans Sheltering in Hotels
 FEB. 12, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/nyregion/puerto-rican-hotels-fema-hurricane-maria.html?hp&action=
click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=
top-news&WT.nav=top-news

Rafael Febres and his son John have been living in a Red Roof Inn in Hartford, Conn., since Hurricane Maria forced them from their home in Puerto Rico. CreditJessica Hill for The New York Times


HARTFORD — The fourth floor of the Red Roof Inn felt like a city block on a recent Friday night, as families spilled from their rooms into the hallway. Doors were propped open. Chihuahuas skittered around on the carpet, and a cluster of teenage boys had claimed a spot by the elevators, a speaker thumping with hip-hop.
At the end of the hall, in a room where a window framed the dome of the State Capitol like a postcard, Janette Febres' husband and 12-year-old son watched television on the bed the three of them have been sharing for nearly three months, reaching the end of a day as empty and restless as many of the ones before it.
The living conditions were cramped, and the room did not have a microwave or a refrigerator. Ms. Febres has asked housekeeping to stop cleaning the room just so she could have something to occupy her time. Even so, she was grateful. Her room, like those many other families were staying in, was paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Amid the turmoil that has unraveled much of her family's life since fleeing Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, the room was one of the few things that seemed stable.
"For us," she said, "this is home."
But she is worried about how long the support will continue.

The desperation that followed Maria's devastation and the stumbling response has given way to uncertainty for many Puerto Ricans throughout the country. Some who left for the mainland United States have returned home, while others have laid roots in new places, finding jobs and securing permanent housing.
Yet thousands of other families remain in limbo and have been relying on hotel rooms provided by FEMA as they decide whether to go back or forge ahead elsewhere. Many people staying in the hotels have described confusion over where their cases stand and anxiety about whether they will be able to stay as deadlines rapidly approach — for some, as soon as this week.
"It has me on pins and needles," said Wanda Arroyo, 56, who has been living in a hotel in Queens. "It has gotten to the point that I don't even pick up the letters slipped under my door because of the expectation that one will say I'm being kicked out."
Nearly 4,000 families spread across 40 states and Puerto Rico remain in hotels under FEMA's transitional sheltering assistance program, federal officials said. Most families — more than 1,500 — were in Florida, while hundreds of others were in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New York. More than 800 were in hotels in Puerto Rico.
Most of the stays have been extended until March 20, but about 200 households have been alerted that FEMA would stop paying for their rooms as of Wednesday. The agency had already cut off assistance last month for some households after federal officials determined that their homes in Puerto Rico were habitable and had functioning utilities.
FEMA said that the agency was hearing appeals from some who had been denied further assistance and added that it was possible for the program to continue after March if Puerto Rican officials found that it was still needed. But agency officials stressed that the program — which was also used to support families displaced by hurricanes in Texas and Florida — was supposed to be short-term.
"This is a bridge to other longer-term solutions," William Booher, a FEMA spokesman, said, adding that "survivors are responsible for their own recovery and to actively look for permanent housing solutions."
Some who were told that their homes were fit to live in disagreed, like Ms. Febres, who argued that her house needed significant repairs. Others said they had difficulty getting clear answers from the agency about where their case stood.
In some cases, local officials and charities have stepped in. In Connecticut, officials intervened on behalf of about three dozen families who were told that they had become ineligible for help. After FEMA declined to extend assistance, the state agreed to cover the hotel expenses of 17 families until Wednesday. State officials said that additional money had been set aside to help families in Connecticut who were losing their aid this week.
"The families are in a constant state of unrest," said Wildaliz Bermudez, a Hartford City Councilwoman who visited families staying at the Red Roof Inn downtown. "They were displaced in Puerto Rico and now they're being displaced here."
The situation has been a reminder of how the storm's devastation continues to ripple five months after Maria raked over the island. The families in the hotels have been part of an exodus as Puerto Rico has struggled to recover. Researchers have projected that by next year, nearly a half million will have left Puerto Rico for the mainland United States after the hurricane.
Where the families in the hotels will ultimately end up remains to be seen.
In lobby of the Hartford hotel, one woman said that her daughter had gotten a nursing job and that her family was looking for an apartment. Among others, there was an air of weariness, as they anguished over what might come next. Job interviews had been unsuccessful or language barriers made it difficult to find work. Some were simply aimless as weeks went by with little to do. When Ms. Febres needed to go to the store, her family made the three-mile walk to a Walmart just because they wanted to burn energy.
Many were still reeling from the trauma that has festered since the storm.
Ms. Arroyo was flown to New York City on Nov. 15 and spent two weeks with an aunt before checking into a hotel in Corona, Queens. She suffers from a litany of medical conditions, including diabetes and depression. She needs a wheelchair and is blind in her left eye, which is covered by a patch of white gauze taped to her reading glasses.
After the storm and before her evacuation to New York, she was largely confined to her bed in her home in Ponce, cared for by her father's widow. Stuck in sweltering heat, she worried that wounds on her body would become infected. She was so fearful she even wrote a will and instructions to cremate her remains on the back of a photograph of her father and mother, which she clutched in her hands as she slept.
"I don't know how I survived," she said.
Yanitza Cruz, who is nearly eight months pregnant, was told when she checked into the hotel in Queens in December that she could stay until Feb. 14. She has become increasingly worried as the deadline approaches; her calls to FEMA yielded few answers. When she tried to check the status of her case online, the website said it had been "withdrawn."
"The clock is ticking," she said. "Time is against us."
She traveled to Queens with her husband, Joel García, and 5-year-old daughter, Janesty, from the mountain town of Orocovis, southwest of San Juan. They had been drawn by the promise that New York appeared to offer, fueling hopes of getting an apartment and, for Mr. García, becoming a licensed barber in the city he saw as a "barbershop mecca." It seemed different from home, where they struggled even before the hurricane.
"We didn't even have a car in Puerto Rico," Mr. García said. "We would walk with our bags under the sun. Now we're in a place where for $2.75 I can travel to Brooklyn. I see this as an opportunity. But the thing is, we haven't found stability yet. I'm just looking for stability."
It is difficult to tell when that stability might ever come, but last week they did receive a measure of relief. FEMA called to let them know they could stay in the hotel another month.

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

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

7)  The Problem With Parole
 FEB. 11, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/11/opinion/problem-parole.html?action=
click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=
opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region


States that set out a decade ago to trim prison costs have learned that success lies in a few areas — rolling back draconian sentencing that drove up prison populations in the first place, and remaking parole and probation systems, which have, in numerous cases, sent as many or even more people to jail for rule violations as the courts do for new crimes.
Significant progress has been made on both fronts. Yet New York, a national leader in reducing its prison population, could do much more to reform its parole and probation systems.
These systems were established across in the United States in the 19th century. The premise was that steering people who commit minor offenses to probation, rather than prison, and shortening prison sentences with parole in exchange for good conduct further the goal of rehabilitation. But that notion fell out of favor after the country embraced mass incarceration in the late 20th century, driving up the prison population from about 200,000 at the start of the 1970s to a peak of 1.6 million at the end of the 2000s.
The woefully underfunded parole system fell in line with the jail-first agenda. Parole officers, who were buried under massive caseloads, sent parolees back inside for technical violations, like failing drug tests, missing curfew or socializing with friends they had been forbidden to see. With nearly five million people in the nation under supervision — more than twice the number housed in prisons and jails — the parole and probation systems have become what corrections researchers now describe as a significant driver of recidivism.
Even law-and-order states have grasped the need to refashion so-called hair-trigger community supervision systems that reflexively and unnecessarily send people to prison for minor infractions that have no bearing on public safety. Some have hired additional case workers to make their systems more effective, have given newly released inmates better access to drug treatment or mental health care, or have developed community sanctions that send only the most troubled or repeat-prone offenders back to prison.
A recent analysis by the reform-focused Council of State Governments Justice Center found that states like Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas have seen dramatic reductions over the last decade in recidivism connected to probation or parole.
Then there is New York. The state, which has closed more than a dozen prisons over the last decade alone, is a national standout when it comes to sentencing reform. But a new study from Columbia University's Justice Lab calls on state lawmakers to do significantly more to address the problems with the community supervision system, which come at a considerable cost to the local jails where most of the people locked up for state parole violations are held.
At a time when the number of people being detained in New York City jails is shrinking, state parole violators represent the only subgroup of offenders that is growing. Between 2014 and 2018, for example, the percentage of people held on technical violations of parole increased by 15 percent, even as the overall jail population declined by 21 percent.
A November 2017 snapshot count of city inmates found 1,460 people in New York City's jails for state parole violations. If this were a stand-alone group, the report's authors note, it would be larger than the population of any jail in the state, with the exception of New York City's sprawling Rikers Island complex. Among other things, this population is an obstacle to the city's goal of closing that historically troubled complex altogether.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the State Legislature to make changes that would help those in custody for parole violations, such as abolishing money bail for people accused of misdemeanors, eliminating state supervision fees for people on parole and reviewing how child support is calculated for people incarcerated for more than six months.
But the Columbia study calls on the Legislature to do a lot more. It recommends that the state adopt several common-sense reforms, most of which have already shown promise in other states. These include: adopting a system of graduated sanctions and rewards, instead of automatically dumping people into jail for minor infractions; capping jail terms for minor parole violations; requiring a judicial hearing before parole officers can jail people accused of technical violations; shortening parole terms for people who stay out of trouble for specified periods of time; and using the savings reaped from cutting the prison population to expand education, substance abuse and housing opportunities for parolees, who need considerably more help than they're getting to forge stable lives in their communities.
These proposals would be a heavy lift in the conservative New York State Senate. But they make good policy and economic sense, and would bring the state to the forefront of the parole reform movement.

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

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

8)   Puerto Rico Needs More Than Bandages
 FEB. 12, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/opinion/puerto-rico-water-electricity.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


Four months after Puerto Rico was battered by Hurricane Maria, Congress last week approved more badly needed emergency assistance, including $2 billion to repair the island's severely damaged power grid. An additional $9 billion will be directed to recovery and restoration projects in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The expectation is that this aid will help provide relief not only to the hundreds of thousands of utility customers in Puerto Rico who are still without power but also to the more than three million islanders as a whole, who are still being warned to boil water before drinking it. But the money from Washington falls far short of the island's requirements.
Puerto Rico needs more than bandages. It needs to rethink and redesign its electric, water and wastewater systems, both to protect them against the next big storm and to provide the dependable service they were failing to give residents before Hurricane Maria. To accomplish that and other rebuilding needs, Puerto Rico had sought $94.4 billion in total disaster aid in November. That included nearly $18 billion to rebuild the power grid — nine times what Congress has provided.
Achieving resiliency in the face of powerful storms will require the wholesale rebuilding of the island's utilities. Simply patching them up will not be enough. If that's the extent of the fix, the island is likely to find itself back in the same place after the next big storm, with taxpayers asked to spend new billions on more life preservers.
Even before Hurricane Maria, decades of disinvestment had left Puerto Rico's energy grid and water and wastewater systems particularly vulnerable to hurricanes.
Among its many problems, a storm-damaged dam is putting 70,000 people downstream at risk, and the island's water system is old and leaky; about half of the water conveyed by its pipes disappears. These leaks make the system vulnerable to contamination by microbes in the ground and water — a problem worsened by hurricane-induced pressure loss.
And, of course, when the power goes off, water and sewage treatment systems shut down. Millions of gallons of untreated sewage and contaminated water were released after the hurricane. Even today, Puerto Ricans remain at risk of bacterial contamination in their water.
Before the storm hit, Puerto Rico had the worst drinking water quality of any state or territory in the nation. Nearly 70 percent of the island's water customers received their tap water from systems that were found to have unlawfully high levels of contaminants like coliform bacteria, volatile organic compounds and harmful byproducts of disinfection, or that were not treating their water in accord with federal standards.
The island's largest utility, the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, which operates water and wastewater systems, was under several court-enforced agreements to end sewage discharges from degraded wastewater plants that violated the Clean Water Act. Making matters worse, the Environmental Protection Agency cut off funds to the utility because it was unable to repay earlier loans.
Before Hurricane Maria, the island's water and wastewater utility said that it would need to invest $2.4 billion over the next decade to fix these longstanding issues. That number would be higher now: Puerto Rico's government has said that a majority of its water and wastewater treatment infrastructure was damaged by the hurricane.
The island's brittle electricity grid provides another lesson in disaster mitigation. Before Hurricane Maria, the grid was prone to blackouts. Puerto Ricans experienced power failures four to five times more often than did the average utility customer elsewhere in the United States. Transmission lines cutting across the island's mountain regions often failed. In 2016, a fire shut down the entire grid for three days. Even when it worked, electricity was expensive.
Investment in renewables like solar power and improving energy efficiency would increase Puerto Rico's resiliency. The use of microgridsthat combine solar power and battery storage could significantly cut fuel consumption and help hospitals, water treatment plants and schools keep working in a weather-induced blackout. Such microgrids would also provide more reliable power to isolated communities.
Whether or not a plan announced recently by the island's governor to privatize Puerto Rico's energy utility is carried through, the funds set aside by Congress for the island's power grid will still allow Puerto Rico to release this latest federal money to private utilities for resilient, sustainable rebuilding.
Scientists point to the possible contribution of climate change to Maria's intense rainfall — as well as to the rainfall of Harvey and Irma, its predecessor hurricanes. The Caribbean is already seeing changes in land and ocean temperatures that mimic global climate trends. The mass movement of Puerto Ricans to the mainland after last fall's hurricanes may provide one of the first examples of a large-scale climate migration in the Americas.
It's no surprise that Hurricane Maria wreaked the havoc that it did in Puerto Rico. The island's fragile infrastructure was ripe for a clobbering. These lessons shouldn't need to be learned twice.

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

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

9)  Trump's Infrastructure Plan Puts Burden on State and Private Money
 FEB. 12, 2018
"Instead of the public sector deciding on public needs and public priorities, the projects that are most attractive to private investors are the ones that will go to the head of the line," said Elliott Sclar, professor of urban planning and international affairs at Columbia University. "Private investors will become the tail that will wag the dog, because they'll want projects that will give returns."
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/business/trump-infrastructure-proposal.html?hp&action=
click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region&region=
top-news&WT.nav=top-news

A $3.6 billion reconstruction project at Salt Lake City International Airport. The $200 billion infrastructure program that the White House unveiled on Monday is intended to attract a huge amount of additional money from states, localities and private investors.CreditKim Raff for The New York Times
President Trump's $200 billion plan to rebuild America upends the criteria that have long been used to pick ambitious federal projects, putting little emphasis on how much an infrastructure proposal benefits the public and more on finding private investors and other outside sources of money.
Unveiled on Monday, the infrastructure program that Mr. Trump has championed since the campaign is intended to attract a huge amount of additional money from states, localities and private investors. The goal is to generate a total pot of $1.5 trillion to upgrade the country's highways, airports and railroads.
Those financial priorities are crystallized in the new guidelines established by the White House. The ability to find sources of funding outside the federal government will be the most important yardstick, accounting for 70 percent of the formula for choosing infrastructure projects. How "the project will spur economic and social returns on investment" ranks at the bottom, at just 5 percent.
In this new competition for federal funds, a plan to, say, build a better access road for a luxury development — a project with the potential to bring in more dollars from private investors — could have a strong chance of getting the green light. By comparison, a critical tunnel overhaul that has trouble getting new money might not be approved.
"Instead of the public sector deciding on public needs and public priorities, the projects that are most attractive to private investors are the ones that will go to the head of the line," said Elliott Sclar, professor of urban planning and international affairs at Columbia University. "Private investors will become the tail that will wag the dog, because they'll want projects that will give returns."
Proposals intended to serve more impoverished communities that require more state and local money, including improving drinking water in a place like Flint, Mich., could be given short shrift. Financial investors may not see a big profit in such a project.
"A private corporation has a fiduciary obligation to make a profit. The government is supposed to be providing a public service," Mr. Sclar said.
The president's plan recasts the federal government as a minority stakeholder in the nation's new infrastructure projects. Half of the $200 billion promised over 10 years will be used for incentives to spur even greater contributions from states, localities and the private sector. Mr. Trump also wants to speed up the approval process.
The White House budget, separately released on Monday, also gives federal agencies the authority to sell assets that would be better managed by state, local or private entities in cases where a sale would "optimize taxpayer value." The budget suggests that Ronald Reagan Washington National and Dulles International Airports could be among the assets ripe for new owners.
Coming up with the $200 billion in federal funding will not be easy. Republicans have already ballooned the deficit in last week's spending agreement and with their tax cuts. Democrats are unlikely to go along with cuts that would offset the cost of Mr. Trump's plan.
With his infrastructure framework, the president is rethinking Washington's role.
Economic development has been the justification for federal involvement going back to the country's efforts in the early 1800s to improve harbors and rivers for navigation. It animated the 1902 Reclamation Act that funded irrigation projects that developed the western United States.
"National economic development benefits were the cornerstone of federal support," said Debra Knopman, a principal researcher at the RAND Corporation. "That was the point."
Public health, safety and national defense were added in the 20th century as core values, when the government developed the national highway system and passed the Clean Water Act.
"Now, they're putting out incentive programs that don't have to generate national or regional economic developments," said Ms. Knopman, the lead author of a new 110-page RAND report on transportation and water infrastructure in the United States. "It may happen, but that's not what they're interested in and that's not the way they're screening these projects."
The math for the infrastructure plan also relies on a lot of unknowns.
Along with private investors, cities and states are being counted on to put up significant funds. They have a need. States have been struggling for years to rejuvenate creaky roads, bridges and ports. And even if the plan appears to put much of the onus on them to finance projects, any additional federal funding is welcome.
"States won't look down their nose at adding more money for infrastructure," said John Hicks, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. "It's seen primarily as a positive, because it continues to shine light on a shared need of infrastructure improvement."
But cities and states are not necessarily flush with cash for new infrastructure projects.
Congress has thrown their finances into upheaval, with local lawmakers still trying to come to grips with the effects of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that was passed last year. Many states have already expressed concern that it will be hard for them to increase state and local taxes, because deductions on them have been limited.
Some are considering other ways, such as gasoline taxes, to raise funds, but it may not be enough to fund new infrastructure projects. A report released last month by Fitch, the ratings agency, found that many states could see their tax revenue fall from the changes to the individual and corporate taxation laws.
David Damschen, Utah's treasurer, said his state faces many infrastructure challenges as it works to accommodate a growing population, expand its stock of affordable housing and improve the transportation system. He said Utah was already looking for new sources of tax revenue to fund projects because sales tax and gas tax revenue had been declining.
But Mr. Damschen also noted that public-private partnerships do not tend to work well in his state. "When things roll out, you'll find what the market will do with these ideas," he said. "Sometimes creative ideas don't always have the level of acceptance in the marketplace as you hoped."
The amount of federal funds — $20 billion a year — will be spread very thin when stretched across the entire country. It is also unclear how much new money, as opposed to repurposed funds, the federal government is actually supplying.
One analysis by the Penn-Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania said that other pieces of the White House budget could end up reducing federal infrastructure spending by $55 billion over 10 years — despite the president's new plan.
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and the president of the conservative American Action Forum, complimented aspects of the president's initiative that dealt with streamlining regulations and using federal credit guarantees. But he doubted the promised total could be reached.
"It's hard to get the $200 billion to $1.5 trillion, if you do the arithmetic," he said.
Beyond the math, the revamped selection standards, too, are untested. The new criteria likely stemmed from the administration's attempt to distinguish its program and try something new.
Indeed, criteria announced just last year by the Trump administration for other transportation and infrastructure grants relied on more traditional standards. One lists safety, overall condition, economic competitiveness, environmental sustainability and quality of life as "primary selection criteria." Another cites "support for national or regional economic vitality" as the No. 1 one objective, while coming up with new money was second.
The new plan "doesn't allocate money in terms of congestion, economic need or the public good," said Martin Klepper, the former executive director of the Transportation Department's Build America Bureau. "It does it mostly on the basis of the leverage issue."
Mr. Klepper, who spent decades in the private sector developing, financing and selling large infrastructure projects, was recruited to lead the bureau in the final weeks of the Obama administration. He said he decided to take the job even after the Democrats lost, because of the new administration's commitment to public-private partnership and Mr. Trump's promise of a major infrastructure plan.
He resigned in November 2017.
"I left because I was pretty frustrated and disappointed with where the program was going," Mr. Klepper said. "No one has any idea to the extent with which states and localities will be able to come up with the money to match the federal government."
*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*---------*

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

10)  Donald Trump's Nasty Budget
 FEB. 12, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/12/opinion/trump-budget-cuts.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


During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump told the "forgotten men and women of our country" that he would champion them. As evidence that he was a different kind of Republican, he promised not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit poor and middle-class families.
On Monday, President Trump proposed a budget that would slash spending on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, transportation and other essential government services, all while increasing the federal deficit.
Mr. Trump's 2019 budget, combined with the tax cuts Republicans passed last year, would amount to one of the greatest transfers of wealth from the poor to the rich in generations. It would also charge trillions of dollars in new debt to the account of future Americans. It's a plan that could please only far-right ideologues who want to dissolve nearly every part of the federal government, save the military.
The proposal would raise military spending by 14.1 percent while cutting funding for the State Department — the agency that has a mandate to resolve problems without going to war — by 26.9 percent. It would cut the Department of Health and Human Services by 20.3 percent and the Department of Education by 10.5 percent. It calls for (yet again) the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and proposes cutting food stamps by $213 billion, or around 30 percent, over 10 years. Medicare and Medicaid, which benefit one-third of Americans, are targeted for cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars.
If Congress adopted Mr. Trump's proposal, millions of people would stand to lose health insurance, subsidized food, low-cost housing and other benefits. The result would be to greatly increase poverty and hunger in America.
This is surely not what most of Mr. Trump's working-class supporters imagined during the primary and general election campaigns. In May 2015, Candidate Trump tweeted, "I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid." And in an April 2016 ad that ran in Pennsylvania he promised to "save Social Security and Medicare without cuts."
But wait, there's more. Another of Mr. Trump's promises was to build the "gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land," a promise that he referred to as recently as his State of the Union address in January. Yet his budget recommends slashing funding for Amtrak and grant programs that help local and state governments pay for highway and transit projects. Over all, the administration wants to reduce the Department of Transportation's budget by nearly a fifth. The budget would also effectively cut the Highway Trust Fund by $122 billion over a decade.
No doubt Mr. Trump will claim he is still serious about infrastructure by pointing to a separate infrastructure proposal he announced on Monday. In that document, the administration says it will bolster investment by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. But the math simply doesn't add up. The White House suggests that the federal government would put up only $200 billion, which would be enough to get state and local governments and the private sector to supply the rest of the money. But where would most cities and states find those funds? Already strapped, many will struggle to raise new tax revenue, because the Republican tax law limited the deductibility of state and local taxes. The private sector might be interested, but only in projects like toll roads that produce a steady and rich source of income.
It will be tempting for some to dismiss Mr. Trump's budget as a marketing stunt by his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, who was earlier a Tea Party zealot in Congress. After all, Congress last week passed, and Mr. Trump signed, a two-year bipartisan budget that authorizes a significant increase in domestic, as well as military, spending.
But presidential budgets are statements of principles. They tend to reveal how administrations will try to change policy and funding levels when Congress comes up with detailed appropriations bills for individual departments. With this budget, the Trump administration is giving notice that it will do everything it can to torpedo the bipartisan budget deal, regardless of the needs of millions of Americans.

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

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

11) Julian Assange's Arrest Warrant Is Again Upheld by U.K. Judge
 FEB. 13, 2018
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/13/world/europe/julian-assange-uk-warrant.html?rref=
collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fworld&action=click&contentCollection=world&region=stream&module=
stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=3&pgtype=sectionfront

The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange appearing at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London last May.CreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press


LONDON — A British judge upheld an arrest warrant for Julian Assange for the second time in a week on Tuesday, a significant setback for him after five and a half years of evading the authorities by living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Before a packed London courtroom, Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot rejected the arguments made by Mr. Assange's lawyer, stating that he was not a prisoner, that his living conditions were nothing like those of a prison, and that he could have as many visitors as he liked. In fact, she said, he can — and should — walk free at any time to meet his legal fate.
"He is a man who wants to impose his terms on the course of justice," Judge Arbuthnot said. "He wants justice only when it's in his favor."
If the judge had nullified the warrant, Mr. Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, might have left the embassy, but that was far from certain. The United States and British governments have never publicly ruled out the existence of a secret request to extradite him to the United States, where he could face prosecution for publishing classified documents.

On Feb. 6, Judge Arbuthnot rebuffed a claim by Mr. Assange's lawyer, Mark Summers, that the warrant was void because it stemmed from a Swedish extradition request that has since been withdrawn.
On Tuesday, she rejected the argument that the warrant was contrary to the public interest, saying that Mr. Assange's "failure to surrender has impeded the court of justice."
Mr. Summers gave no immediate public response to the judge's decision.
In the courtroom's public gallery, which held a large contingent of Mr. Assange's supporters, many of the judge's comments met with gasps and murmurs of disapproval. Afterward, several of his allies cited a 2016 ruling by a United Nations human rights panel, stating that Mr. Assange was the victim of arbitrary detention.
"I think it was appalling that the judge was disrespecting the decision of the U.N. working group," said Susan Gianstefani, 50, referring to the panel. "Julian Assange is being harassed because of WikiLeaks."
Emily Butlin, 47, said the judge "spoke as a representative of the U.K. government, assisting government in their work instead of representing justice."
Judge Arbuthnot dismissed the United Nations group's finding as ill informed. The British authorities have said in the past that Mr. Assange is in self-imposed isolation, not detention.
WikiLeaks released in 2010 a trove of government documents provided by Chelsea Manning, a United States Army analyst, which American officials said harmed national security.
In 2016, it published emails, hacked by Russian intelligence, that were damaging to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, has said that WikiLeaks acts "like a hostile intelligence service."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said last year that arresting Mr. Assange was a priority for the Justice Department. But no charges against him have been made public, and it is not clear whether the department has prepared an indictment but kept it under seal.
Ecuador recently granted citizenship to Mr. Assange, 46, a native of Australia, but Britain rejected an Ecuadorean request to give him diplomatic immunity so that he could leave the embassy without fear of arrest.
Mr. Assange's legal hurdles began in 2011, when Sweden requested that he be extradited there to face accusations that he had sexually assaulted two women. He said that the charges were politically motivated, that he would not get a fair trial there, and that Sweden might turn him over to the United States.
After the British courts rejected his bid to quash the extradition request, Ecuador granted him asylum and he took refuge in the embassy. In doing so, he jumped bail, which resulted in the British arrest warrant.
Mr. Summers argued that Mr. Assange's fear that Sweden would hand him to the American authorities was reasonable justification for violating his bail conditions. Judge Arbuthnot said there was no evidence to think that would happen.
This week, news organizations reported that years ago, Swedish prosecutors considered giving up the sexual assault case, but their British counterparts urged them not to.
Last year, Swedish authorities did drop their investigation of Mr. Assange, along with the request to extradite him, and the arrest warrant is the only remaining legal issue that is publicly known.
In the latest bid to quash the warrant, Mr. Summers said that Mr. Assange's health had suffered from being unable to leave the embassy, and that he lacked exposure to sunlight. Judge Arbuthnot responded that Mr. Assange's health was adequate — she accepted that he had depression and a bad tooth — and she rejected the claim about sun deprivation, noting that he had spoken to reporters from a sunny balcony at the embassy.

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

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

12)  There Have Already Been 18 School Shootings in the US This Year
By ABC News, February 15, 2018
http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/48466-there-have-already-been-18-school-shootings-in-the-us-this-year

Parents wait for news after a reports of a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018. (photo: Joel Auerbach/AP)


here have been 18 school shootings in the first 45 days of 2018, according to a nonprofit group. 
Everytown for Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group, had recorded 17 school shootings on their website prior to this afternoon's shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Everytown defines a school shooting as "any time a firearm discharges a live round inside a school building or on a school campus or grounds, as documented by the press and, when necessary, confirmed through further inquiries with law enforcement or school officials," according to its website.
Today's shooting marks the first of the year in Florida. There were three shootings at different schools in Texas, two in different California schools and two in different Michigan schools, according to Everytown's data. There are 10 other states that had at least one shooting.
In eight of the 17 school shootings recorded by Everytown prior to today, a gun was fired but no one was injured. 
Two of the shootings were classified as being attempted or completed suicides with no intent to injure another person.
The Gun Violence Archive, which tracks reports of mass shootings -- defined as incidents where four or more people are shot, not including the shooter -- reports there have been 30 mass shooting incidents so far in 2018, including today's in Florida.
Schools have been some of the deadliest sites for shootings in the past.
The third deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history was at Virginia Tech University in 2007, when 32 people were killed, and the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which is tied for the fourth-highest casualty shooting, led to 26 deaths.
Broward County Public Schools superintendent Robert Runcie said that there were "numerous" fatalities in today's shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School.
According to Brad Garrett, a former FBI agent and current ABC News consultant, most school shootings last for about five minutes or less.
It takes much longer to clear the scene, however, since responding law enforcement officers need to methodically go through, room by room, to both secure and de-arm the shooter and to help students and faculty at the school, Garrett explained. 
Former New York Police Department commissioner Ray Kelly said that bullying could be a possible factor in today's shooting, though the motive has not been confirmed.
"We've seen it in so many cases," said Kelly, who is now an ABC News consultant.
"We don't know for sure but I'm pretty sure there's an element of that here," he said, noting that the bullying could be "real or perceived."





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

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

13) Urging Peace Talks, Open Letter From Taliban Asks American People to Recognize Total Failure of 16-Year War
"Make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials ... adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan," the letter states.
by
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/02/14/urging-peace-talks-open-letter-taliban-asks-american-people-recognize-total-failure?
Children play inside the remains of an old Soviet hotel where they have been living for the past two years, on July 15, 2017 in Rodat District, Afghanistan. (Photo: Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)

Two and half weeks after President Donald Trump rejected the idea of peace talks with Taliban, the militant group published an open letter to the American people urging them to pressure their government to end the occupation of Afghanistan, now in its 17th year, and engage in peace talks.

The letter, published on the group's website, denounces the Bush administration's justification for launching the invasion, as well as the Trump administration, which "again ordered the perpetuation of the same illegitimate occupation and war against the Afghan people."

"No matter what title or justification is presented by your undiscerning authorities for the war in Afghanistan, the reality is that tens of thousands of helpless Afghans including women and children were martyred by your forces, hundreds of thousands were injured and thousands more were incarcerated in Guantanamo, Bagram, and various other secret jails and treated in such a humiliating way that has not only brought shame upon humanity but is also a violation of all claims of American culture and civilization," the letter states.

It goes on to illustrate in numerous ways how the occupation has failed. For example, "3546 American and foreign soldiers have been killed," it states, and "this war has cost you trillions of dollars thus making it one of the bloodiest, longest and costliest war in the contemporary history of your country."

It also references United Nations statistics finding that there was an 87 percent increase in drug production in Afghanistan in 2017 and, despite the uptick in airstrikes, the U.S. watchdog the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) acknowledged that the Taliban is gaining, not losing territory.
Further, "tens of billions of dollars" in taxpayer money have been spent on various reconstruction projects, but the money "has been distributed among thieves and murderers," the letter states. Through the occupation, "the Americans have merely paved the way for anarchy in the country," referring to the rise in other militant groups.

"If you want peaceful dialogue with the Afghans specifically, and with the world generally, then make your president and the war-mongering congressmen and Pentagon officials understand this reality and compel them to adopt a rational policy towards Afghanistan," the letter states.

Ongoing failure for U.S. troops is ensured, the group argues. "If the policy of using force is exercised for a hundred more years and a hundred new strategies are adopted, the outcome of all of these will be the same as you have observed over the last six months following the initiation of Trump's new strategy."

"Our preference is to solve the Afghan issue through peaceful dialogues. America must end her occupation and must accept all our legitimate rights including the right to form a government consistent with the beliefs of our people," the group says.
The thrust of the message echoes what many peace groups have said—Trump is continuing the failed strategies of his predecessors, and there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. 

The letter comes a day after U.S. intelligence agencies predicted (pdf) that the "overall situation in Afghanistan probably will deteriorate modestly this year in the face of persistent political instability, sustained attacks by the Taliban-led insurgency, unsteady Afghan Nationa l Security Forces (ANSF) performance, and chronic financial shortfalls."



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

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

14) Russia Isn’t the Only One Meddling in Elections. We Do It, Too.






Bags of cash delivered to a Rome hotel for favored Italian candidates. Scandalous stories leaked to foreign newspapers to swing an election in Nicaragua. Millions of pamphlets, posters and stickers printed to defeat an incumbent in Serbia.
The long arm of Vladimir Putin? No, just a small sample of the United States’ history of intervention in foreign elections.
On Tuesday, American intelligence chiefs warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia appears to be preparing to repeat in the 2018 midterm elections the same full-on chicanery it unleashed in 2016: hacking, leaking, social media manipulation and possibly more. Then on Friday, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, announced the indictments of 13 Russians and three companies, run by a businessman with close Kremlin ties, laying out in astonishing detail a three-year scheme to use social media to attack Hillary Clinton, boost Donald Trump and sow discord.
Most Americans are understandably shocked by what they view as an unprecedented attack on our political system. But intelligence veterans, and scholars who have studied covert operations, have a different, and quite revealing, view.
“If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all,” said Steven L. Hall, who retired in 2015 after 30 years at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian operations. The United States “absolutely” has carried out such election influence operations historically, he said, “and I hope we keep doing it.”
Loch K. Johnson, the dean of American intelligence scholars, who began his career in the 1970s investigating the C.I.A. as a staff member of the Senate’s Church Committee, says Russia’s 2016 operation was simply the cyber-age version of standard United States practice for decades, whenever American officials were worried about a foreign vote.
“We’ve been doing this kind of thing since the C.I.A. was created in 1947,” said Mr. Johnson, now at the University of Georgia. “We’ve used posters, pamphlets, mailers, banners — you name it. We’ve planted false information in foreign newspapers. We’ve used what the British call ‘King George’s cavalry’: suitcases of cash.”
The United States’ departure from democratic ideals sometimes went much further. The C.I.A. helped overthrow elected leaders in Iran and Guatemala in the 1950s and backed violent coups in several other countries in the 1960s. It plotted assassinations and supported brutal anti-Communist governments in Latin America, Africa and Asia.
But in recent decades, both Mr. Hall and Mr. Johnson argued, Russian and American interferences in elections have not been morally equivalent. American interventions have generally been aimed at helping non-authoritarian candidates challenge dictators or otherwise promoting democracy. Russia has more often intervened to disrupt democracy or promote authoritarian rule, they said.
Equating the two, Mr. Hall says, “is like saying cops and bad guys are the same because they both have guns — the motivation matters.”
This broader history of election meddling has largely been missing from the flood of reporting on the Russian intervention and the investigation of whether the Trump campaign was involved. It is a reminder that the Russian campaign in 2016 was fundamentally old-school espionage, even if it exploited new technologies. And it illuminates the larger currents of history that drove American electoral interventions during the Cold War and motivate Russia’s actions today.
A Carnegie Mellon scholar, Dov H. Levin, has scoured the historical record for both overt and covert election influence operations. He found 81 by the United States and 36 by the Soviet Union or Russia between 1946 and 2000, though the Russian count is undoubtedly incomplete.
“I’m not in any way justifying what the Russians did in 2016,” Mr. Levin said. “It was completely wrong of Vladimir Putin to intervene in this way. That said, the methods they used in this election were the digital version of methods used both by the United States and Russia for decades: breaking into party headquarters, recruiting secretaries, placing informants in a party, giving information or disinformation to newspapers.”
His findings underscore how routine election meddling by the United States — sometimes covert and sometimes quite open — has been.
The precedent was established in Italy with assistance to non-Communist candidates from the late 1940s to the 1960s. “We had bags of money that we delivered to selected politicians, to defray their expenses,” said F. Mark Wyatt, a former C.I.A. officer, in a 1996 interview.
Covert propaganda has also been a mainstay. Richard M. Bissell Jr., who ran the agency’s operations in the late 1950s and early 1960s, wrote casually in his autobiography of “exercising control over a newspaper or broadcasting station, or of securing the desired outcome in an election.” A self-congratulatory declassified report on the C.I.A.’s work in Chile’s 1964 election boasts of the “hard work” the agency did supplying “large sums” to its favored candidate and portraying him as a “wise, sincere and high-minded statesman” while painting his leftist opponent as a “calculating schemer.”
C.I.A. officials told Mr. Johnson in the late 1980s that “insertions” of information into foreign news media, mostly accurate but sometimes false, were running at 70 to 80 a day. In the 1990 election in Nicaragua, the C.I.A. planted stories about corruption in the leftist Sandinista government, Mr. Levin said. The opposition won.
Over time, more American influence operations have been mounted not secretly by the C.I.A. but openly by the State Department and its affiliates. For the 2000 election in Serbia, the United States funded a successful effortto defeat Slobodan Milosevic, the nationalist leader, providing political consultants and millions of stickers with the opposition’s clenched-fist symbol and “He’s finished” in Serbian, printed on 80 tons of adhesive paper and delivered by a Washington contractor.
Vince Houghton, who served in the military in the Balkans at the time and worked closely with the intelligence agencies, said he saw American efforts everywhere. “We made it very clear that we had no intention of letting Milosevic stay in power,” said Mr. Houghton, now the historian at the International Spy Museum.
Similar efforts were undertaken in elections in wartime Iraq and Afghanistan, not always with success. After Hamid Karzai was re-elected president of Afghanistan in 2009, he complained to Robert Gates, then the secretary of defense, about the United States’ blatant attempt to defeat him, which Mr. Gates calls in his memoir “our clumsy and failed putsch.”
At least once the hand of the United States reached boldly into a Russian election. American fears that Boris Yeltsin would be defeated for re-election as president in 1996 by an old-fashioned Communist led to an overt and covert effort to help him, urged on by President Bill Clinton. It included an American push for a $10 billion International Monetary Fund loan to Russia four months before the voting and a team of American political consultants (though some Russians scoffed when they took credit for the Yeltsin win).
That heavy-handed intervention made some Americans uneasy. Thomas Carothers, a scholar at the Carnegie Institute for International Peace, recalls arguing with a State Department official who told him at the time, “Yeltsin is democracy in Russia,” to which Mr. Carothers said he replied, “That’s not what democracy means.”
But what does democracy mean? Can it include secretly undermining an authoritarian ruler or helping challengers who embrace democratic values? How about financing civic organizations?
In recent decades, the most visible American presence in foreign politics has been taxpayer-funded groups like the National Endowment for Democracy, the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute, which do not support candidates but teach basic campaign skills, build democratic institutions and train election monitors.
Most Americans view such efforts as benign — indeed, charitable. But Mr. Putin sees them as hostile. The National Endowment for Democracy gave grants years ago to Aleksei Navalny, now Mr. Putin’s main political nemesis. In 2016, the endowment gave 108 grants totaling $6.8 million to organizations in Russia for such purposes as “engaging activists” and “fostering civic engagement.” The endowment no longer names Russian recipients, who, under Russian laws cracking down on foreign funding, can face harassment or arrest.
It is easy to understand why Mr. Putin sees such American cash as a threat to his rule, which tolerates no real opposition. But American veterans of democracy promotion find abhorrent Mr. Putin’s insinuations that their work is equivalent to what the Russian government is accused of doing in the United States today.
“It’s not just apples and oranges,” said Kenneth Wollack, president of the National Democratic Institute. “It’s comparing someone who delivers lifesaving medicine to someone who brings deadly poison.”
What the C.I.A. may have done in recent years to steer foreign elections is still secret and may not be known for decades. It may be modest by comparison with the agency’s Cold War manipulation. But some old-timers aren’t so sure.
“I assume they’re doing a lot of the old stuff, because, you know, it never changes,” said William J. Daugherty, who worked for the C.I.A. from 1979 to 1996 and at one time had the job of reviewing covert operations. “The technology may change, but the objectives don’t.”



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








































































































































































































































__._,_.___

Posted by: bonnieweinstein@yahoo.com

Reply via web post                       Reply to sender                       Reply to group                       Start a New Topic           Messages in this topic (1)                       

Have you tried the highest rated email app?
With 4.5 stars in iTunes, the Yahoo Mail app is the highest rated email app on the market. What are you waiting for? Now you can access all your inboxes (Gmail, Outlook, AOL and more) in one place. Never delete an email again with 1000GB of free cloud storage.


Yahoo! Groups
• Privacy • Unsubscribe • Terms of Use 




.


__,_._,___