- Campaign Finance Reform
- Civil Liberties / Surveillance
- Civil Rights
- Economic Justice
- Government Accountability / Whistleblowers
- Gun Violence Prevention
- Law Enforcement
- Post Office
- Retirement and Healthcare
Free Marzieh HashemiMarzieh Hashemi (she is a US citizen), when returning from Iran was arrested, without charges, at the St. Louis, Missouri Airport and then taken and put in detention in a prison in Washington D.C. as a 'material witness.' Actually she is an Anchor woman on Press TV. Since when does the US jail 'material witnesses?' This is another travesty against journalists, and the MSM isn't even covering it. Educate yourselves on this. As a material witness whom is she going to testify against---The US gov't, Britain, France and Israel for their ongoing mass murder around the world?
Demand that Indiana DOC Restore Kevin "Rashid" Johnson's Access to His PropertyKevin “Rashid” Johnson (IDOC# 264847) – a Virginia prisoner – was transferred to Indiana on November 4. His transfer was authorized under the Interstate Corrections Compact, commonly used to ship prisoners out of state. Virginia is one of several states that make use of this practice as a tool to repress and isolate prisoners who speak up for their rights. These transfers are extremely disruptive, and serve as an opportunity for prison officials to violate prisoners’ rights, especially regarding their property. This is exactly what has been done to Rashid. Rashid has 24 boxes of personal property. These are all of his possessions in the world. Much of these 24 boxes consist of legal documents and research materials, including materials directly related to pending or anticipated court cases, and his list of addresses and phone numbers of media contacts, human rights advocates, outside supporters, and friends. At Pendleton Correctional Facility, where Rashid is now being kept prisoner and in solitary confinement, only one guard is in charge of the property room. This is very unusual, as the property room is where all of the prisoners’ belongings that are not in their cells are kept. The guard in charge, Dale Davis, has a dubious reputation. Prisoners complain that property goes missing, and their requests to access their belongings – that by law are supposed to be met within 7 days, or if there are court deadlines within 24 hours – are often ignored, answered improperly, or what they receive does not correspond to what they have asked for. Despite having a need for legal and research documents for pending and anticipated court cases, his requests to receive his property have not been properly answered. The property officer, Dale Davis, is supposed to inventory the prisoners’ property with them (and a witness) present, according to IDOC regulation 02-01-101-VIII; this was never done. When Rashid did receive some property, it was a random selection of items unrelated to what he asked for, brought to the segregation unit in a box and a footlocker and left in an insecure area where things could be stolen or tampered with. On December 19th, Rashid received notice that Davis had confiscated various documents deemed to be “security threat group” or “gang” related from his property. Rashid has no idea what these might be, as (contrary to the prison regulations) he was not present when his property was gone through. Rashid does not know how much or how little was confiscated, or what the rationale was for its being described as “gang” related. None of Rashid’s property should be confiscated or thrown out under any circumstances, but it is worth noting that the way in which this has been done contravenes the prison’s own regulations and policies! Dale Davis has been an IDOC property officer for 8 years. He has boasted about how he does not need any oversight or anyone else working with him, even though it is very unusual for just one person to have this responsibility. Prisoners’ property goes “missing” or is tampered with, and prisoners’ rights – as laid out by the Indiana Department of Corrections – are not being respected. Rashid is not asking to have all of his property made available to him in his cell. He is willing to accept only having access to some of it at a time, for instance as he needs it to prepare court documents or for his research and writing. After two months in Indiana, he has still not been supplied with his documents containing the phone numbers and addresses of his loved ones and supporters, effectively sabotaging his relationships on the outside. Rashid is not asking for any kind of special treatment, he is only asking for the prison property room to follow the prison’s own rules. We ask that you look into this, and make sure that Mr. Johnson's right to access his property is being respected, and that something be done about the irregularities in the Pendleton property room. We ask that the rules of the Indiana Department of Corrections be respected. Call the Pendleton Correctional Facility and to ask to speak to the Warden or to someone in the Warden’s office. Also, call the Indiana Department of Corrections and ask that they intervene to make sure Rashid gets access to his property. In each case, please be prepared to give a name and phone number for them to call you back, if needed. Please make phone calls to: Indiana Department of Corrections Stephanie Lightfoot (317) 232-5711 - press 2, press 3, press 2 You may get a voicemail, in which case please leave a detailed message. Pendleton Correctional Facility (765) 778-2107; press 3 and then press 1 You will get a receptionist; explain that you would like to convey your concerns to the warden or to someone in charge, about problems Kevin Johnson is having accessing his property. For updates on Rashid and to access his writings, go to http://rashidmod.com/
Help Free an Unfairly Prosecuted Man from PrisonTruthout reports: "Hamilton was imprisoned with a man named Darnell Thompson, who claims he was threatened by police into pinning the crime on Hamilton. In an affidavit reviewed by Truthout, Thompson said that homicide detectives and prisoner Olivera Rico Cowen conspired to pressure him into testifying against Hamilton. Thompson, who was 18 at the time, says he was coerced into signing a statement against Hamilton, but he later refused to testify against Hamilton in court. But Thompson’s statement, as well as Cowen’s testimony and testimony about Hamilton’s character by a neighbor, were enough for a jury to convict Hamilton to a maximum of 80 years in prison." Lacino Hamilton has said, "There was no physical evidence for the crime I was accused of -- only manufactured by detectives, detectives who wrote a script for them to perform at trial. And when the prosecutor’s office was approached by several attorneys with credible evidence that this was a common police practice, the prosecutor’s office simply forged ahead. I was convicted and sentenced to 52 to 80 years. They just threw me away, like I was garbage." Affidavits, courthouse transcripts, letters and internal memos obtained by Truthout suggest that Darnell Thompson – who is now long deceased – was in fact part of a ring of jailhouse informants – or “snitches” – that allegedly received lenient sentences as well as other monetary and special privileges from detectives in the Detroit Police Department’s homicide division in exchange for making false statements against dozens of prisoners eventually convicted of murder, Lacino just being one of them... “Informants lie primarily in exchange for lenience for their own crimes, although sometimes they lie for money,” according to an article in Golden Gate University Law Review. Testimony from a single jailhouse informant is enough to convict a person for a charge as serious as murder, according to Valerie Newman, assistant defender in Michigan’s State Appellate Defender Office. Hamilton says the reason his original defense attorney did not challenge the prosecutor’s use of an informant speaks to some of the reasons Black communities across the country suffer at the hands of the state: neglect and an assumption of disposability. After being sent to prison, Lacino spent four of his first six years in solitary confinement. It was there that he began to read, think critically and write about the many ways the U.S. criminal justice system perpetuates values of anti-black violence, coercion and oppression. “How some of us live is not a mistake; neither is it the product of a broken system,” he wrote from prison. “We live like that because it is profitable to a lot of people[‘s] businesses…. “I am locked in a windowless cell measuring 10×8 feet, 23 hours per day. For one hour every other day, I am handcuffed, chained around the waist and allowed exercise and a shower in a small cage. I am not allowed to interact with others, or to participate in any educational, vocational, or employment programs. All meals are delivered to the cell. I have no access to a phone.” After nearly two decades of wrongful imprisonment, Hamilton spends most of his time reading and writing about the experience of incarceration. He also spends his time working tirelessly to plead his case and affirm his innocence. After writing to thousands of journalists, lawyers and colleges to plead his case, Hamilton was able to get in touch with Claudia Whitman from the National Death Row Assistance Network, who supplied Truthout with most of the documents behind his story. Whitman also made contact with Christopher Brooks, the prisoner who says he knows who really killed Hamilton’s foster mother. With Whitman’s help, Hamilton was able to convince an attorney to work pro bono to overturn his conviction. The Conviction Integrity Unit of Wayne County, Michigan must do everything in its power to investigate and reverse this wrongful conviction. The Conviction Integrity Unit of Wayne County investigates claims of innocence, to determine whether there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the conviction offense. As stated in the American Bar Association standards, Rule 3.8(h), "When a prosecutor knows of clear and convincing evidence establishing that a defendant in the prosecutor's jurisdiction was convicted of an offense that the defendant did not commit, the prosecutor shall seek to remedy the conviction." In the case of The People of the State of Michigan vs. Lacino Hamilton, there is clear and convincing new evidence that the convicted defendant was not the person who committed the conviction offense. In accordance with Rule 3.8(h), it is the duty of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate and reverse the conviction of Lacino Hamilton. Lacino Hamilton needs your help to affirm his innocence. After nearly two decades of wrongful imprisonment, he deserves immediate justice. Background: > Truthout: Ring of Snitches: How Detroit Police Slapped False Murder Convictions on Young Black Men https://truthout.org/articles/ring-of-snitches-how-detroit-police-slapped-false-murder-convictions-on-young-black-men Write a letter of support to Lacino: Lacino Hamilton, Inmate ID: 247310 Marquette Prison 1960 US Highway 41 South Marquette, MI, 49855
Don't Stand in the Way of Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal! Don't Appeal Judge Tucker's Decision!Mumia Abu-Jamal has always maintained his innocence in the 1981 fatal shooting of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. His prosecution was politically-motivated because of his Black Panther Party membership, his support of the MOVE organization and as a radical journalist. His 1982 trial and subsequent 1995 PCRA appeals were racially biased: the prosecution excluded African Americans from the jury; and PCRA trial Judge Albert Sabo, the same judge in Abu-Jamal's initial trial, declared, “I’m gonna help them fry the n----r.” On Dec. 27, Mumia Abu-Jamal won a significant case before Judge Leon Tucker in a decision granting him new rights of appeal.
Demand Wegmans stop using destructive palm oil!A threat to the environment More than 12 million hectares of land are already covered with oil palm plantations, says WWF, an area equivalent to one third of Germany. Indonesia and Malaysia alone account for 85% of world production. However, the gradual increase in demand is leading to the expansion of plantations: according to Greenpeace, Indonesia is experiencing one of the most important deforestation rhythms on the planet. "The equivalent of a forest football field disappears every 15 seconds, and oil palms are one of the main drivers of this ecological disaster," the NGO deplores. Worse: deforestation caused by oil palm plantations aggravates climate change. According to the United Nations Organization for Development and Agriculture (FAO), this leads to large releases of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. "The CO2 emissions," the paper explains, "are particularly important when oil palm plantations are established on peatlands, a wet soil saturated with organic plant matter and rich in carbon." According to WWF, 90 percent of the forests of Indonesia, Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra have been decimated during the last two centuries, mainly because of palm oil. Finally, if the destruction of the tropical forests continues, the orang-utans will not be able to "continue to exist in the wild". In 10 years, the species could disappear from the surface of the planet, summarizes L'Express.
Ask the City of Charlottesville to Divest from Weapons and Fossil FuelsThe City of Charlottesville has approximately $3 million invested in fossil fuel companies ($1.4 m in energy company bonds, plus approximately $1.6 m through funds invested in by Charlottesville's retirement fund). It may have about the same in weapons companies, as it has $1.1 m directly invested in four "aerospace and defense" companies: Boeing, Heico, Honeywell, and Moog. Boeing and Honeywell are two of the biggest war profiteers including through the wars of Saudi Arabia that even the U.S. Congress is now turning against. Yes, is the unfortunate answer to the obvious question: The whole time that Charlottesville has discussed possibly considering finding the nerve to take down a couple of its many offensive statues, has it been investing public dollars in the mass killing of dark skinned people and the general destruction of a habitable planet? See "Oily Question: Should Charlottesville Dump Its Fossil-Fuel Holdings?" by Carol Diggs, CVille Weekly, December 12-18, 2018, page 15, re proposal from Michael Payne. These are the two documents the City Treasurer provides the public on investments: http://davidswanson.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/PositionsReport_11142018.xlsx http://davidswanson.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/OperatingFundStatement.pdf
Rep. Eliot Engel should not chair Foreign Affairs CommitteeRep. Engel's foreign policies views are well to the right of the vast majority of Democrats. He was among the right-wing minority of Congressional Democrats who voted to authorize the illegal, unnecessary, and predictably tragic U.S. invasion of Iraq. He has opposed efforts to end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s bombing of Yemen, which has killed many thousands of civilians outright and threatened millions more with starvation and disease. He was one of only a handful of Democrats to oppose the Iran anti-nuclear agreement. He has opposed the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan, called for expanding NATO to include Ukraine and Georgia, and supports Morocco’s illegal annexation of occupied Western Sahara. He has defended the Israeli occupation and illegal settlements, Israeli bombing of civilian targets, and praised Trump for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and attacked the United Nations, the World Court, the European Union, and human rights groups for criticizing Israel's right-wing government. Despite Rep. Engel's seniority, the Democratic Party must not give the chair of this important committee to someone whose views are closer to Trump and the Republicans than the majority of Democrats.
INCREASE CALIFORNIA TRUCK SPEED TO 65 MPHSometimes the speed difference between large trucks and smaller vehicles can exceed 15 to 25 mph. This is something that I have personally experienced. I would like to propose that truck speeds be set at about 65 mph, similar to other states. This I believe would expedite load delivery, have truck drivers adhere to the new ELD law being implemented in December and most of all, it would improve driver safety as driver fatigue would reduce due to faster load deliveries. Currently at 55 mph, drivers have to spend more time on the roads, taking longer to deliver loads thus increasing fatigue and load rates (due to fewer load deliveries). I firmly believe that this slight increase in truck speed from 55 mph to 65 mph would increase safety, reduce load time turn arounds, reduce fatigue, increase truck driver salaries and increase overall production. One suggestion can be that in rural area truck speeds can be increased from 55 mph to 65 mph. While in densely populated areas the truck speed limits can be left at 55 mph.
Convene an ADEM election site in Humboldt CountyEvery two years, the California Democratic Party (CDP) holds state-wide elections in a process called Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEMs). These are important Democratic Party elections where 1/3 of all delegates are elected to two-year terms to conduct the business of the CDP. There is no vote by mail or proxy voting in these elections. Debra Broner, regional director of our assembly district (AD 02), has decided to eliminate the physical election site available for the rural voters of Northern California. She has designated only one polling station - Santa Rosa, in Sonoma County - at the farthest southern edge of this vast district! However, more than 50% of registered Democrats in AD 02 live outside that county. We are asking for your help to reverse this decision. This is a significant part of the Democratic Party structure and we are being disenfranchised from participating. We can't expect our people to take one or two days off of work to drive down, vote, then drive back. We have secured the same location as prior ADEM elections. We also have enough local Democrats willing to volunteer to run the entire election. We are making this as easy as possible so that we don’t risk our lives driving needlessly down to Santa Rosa for one election. "The Republican playbook is voter suppression,” says DNC Chair Tom Perez. We read about voter disenfranchisement in the national headlines and yet now we have it here in our own rural backyards! At the same time, our California Democratic bylaws, Article VI, Section 1(a)(5) “Assembly Districts and Assembly District Meetings” specifically allow multiple meeting sites for “good cause” including “the necessity of travelling very long distances” and “traveling in hazardous weather conditions.” Northern AD-02 definitely meets these conditions especially in the wintertime. If the site is not approved, rural Democratic voters of Northern California will, in effect, be disenfranchised by their own political party!