- Campaign Finance Reform
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Undo Unconstitutional Life-Without-Parole Sentence for Bobby BosticBobby Bostic was only 16 years old when he was sentenced to 241 years in prison for non-fatal crimes. He is now 38, and will not be eligible for parole until he is 112 years old. Despite two recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings that determined life without parole sentencing for juveniles who have not been convicted of murder to be unconstitutional, the state of Missouri has repeatedly refused to offer Bobby an appeal. We must stand with Bobby in his effort to take his appeal, if necessary, to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 1995, Bobby Bostic and an older accomplice were convicted of 18 crimes stemming from an armed robbery and carjacking. While the older accomplice pleaded guilty and took a plea bargain for a 30-year sentence, Bostic took the case to trial. He was found guilty on all counts and was given the maximum possible sentence: 241 years. "Your mandatory date to go in front of a parole board will be the year 2201," the judge said. "Nobody in this room is going to be alive in the year 2201." At the time, Bobby was just 16 years old. "Two of the Supreme Court's rulings in recent years have barred judges from imposing sentences of life without parole for juveniles who haven't killed anyone," reports Riverfront Times. "But Missouri is one of a small number of states arguing that doesn't apply to defendants who aren't technically sentenced to life without parole — even if their sentences add up to just that." In addition, the Missouri Supreme Court has defended its ruling by claiming that the U.S. Supreme Court rulings pertain only to defendants convicted of a single charge, not multiple charges added together. "In practice, that means Bostic would have been better off committing a single act of murder than being convicted of multiple, non-fatal crimes," noted Doyle Murphy, a journalist at the Riverfront Times. Bostic's sentence also violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty to which every single nation on earth other than the United States is party, and which is therefore international law. The treaty states: "Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offenses committed by persons below eighteen years of age." While Bobby Bostic awaits his parole date in over 100 years from now, his accomplice will be eligible for parole next year. The case of Bobby Bostic illuminates the punitive nature of the U.S. criminal justice system. Instead of managing prisons as spaces of rehabilitation, the U.S. Department of so-called Corrections has made it a point to punish offenders in the most retributive ways possible, depriving juveniles like Bostic of any meaningful opportunity to obtain release. According to the ACLU's state legal director, Tony Rothert, "Bobby Bostic should get a chance to show that crimes he committed as a teen do not define him. The Constitution demands nothing less." Background: Riverfront Times: Bobby Bostic, Sentenced as a Teen to 241 Years, Appeals to U.S. Supreme Court https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2017/12/21/bobby-bostic-sentenced-as-a-teen-to-241-years-appeals-to-us-supreme-court
Keep and Maintain Digital DNA (Save the Egg!)Unveiled in 2005, Digital DNA is very arguably the most popular and culturally significant work of public art the City has ever commissioned. (As one measure of the work's popularity and impact, searching Instagram public posts by #[artwork title] shows that through 2017 Digital DNA had by an extraordinarily wide margin more posts than all of the City's other permanent sculptures combined, comparable to the number of posts of Rodin's Burghers of Calais at Stanford University.) Digital DNA is so popular in part because it recognizes Palo Alto (indeed, the HP garage) as the birthplace of the Silicon Valley and the computer revolution in such a visually engaging, almost whimsical way. At the same time, the sculpture poses challenging questions about what it means to live and work in the Silicon Valley where every day companies determine and produce new technologies and make decisions that profoundly change the DNA of both it and every other society on the globe. Based on social media metrics, it appears that Digital DNA has resonated with Palo Alto citizens and visitors alike to a much greater extent than any other permanent public artwork commissioned by the City. Visitors from all over the world make a point to visit Digital DNA as part of their exploration of Silicon Valley. Can the same be said of any other public artwork in Palo Alto? When the City does succeed in commissioning artwork that has significant popular and cultural impact as it has with Digital DNA, it seems self-evident that its Public Arts staff should concentrate its efforts and resources on properly maintaining such work. Otherwise, the City will find itself expending significant financial resources to acquire and maintain a collection of public artwork that has much lower public impact. It is clear that the City can properly maintain Digital DNA. In 2015, the City hired ARG, a leading San Francisco arts conservator, to provide guidance on maintaining its outdoor public art. ARG advised the City that if a "water based coating is applied annually and the artwork inspected regularly, it will be acceptable to keep [Digital DNA] in its current location." After it had spent taxpayer funds to obtain it, the City omitted ARG’s assessment from it Deaccession Request for Digital DNA even though its Deaccession Policy requires it to include the opinion of a "qualified visual arts conservator." Experienced arts caretakers such as the Getty Museum have routinely maintained outdoor plastic sculptures in excellent condition for many decades through regular maintenance and periodic restoration. There is no excuse for the City not to maintain Digital DNA using these same standard procedures. The cost of maintaining Digital DNA through annual maintenance and periodic restoration as needed is several thousand dollars per year, a small price to maintain very arguably the City's most successful public artwork and a tiny fraction of its total Public Arts budget.
Release Imprisoned Bahraini Human Rights Defender Dr. Abduljalil al-SingaceFrom Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain: Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace is a Bahraini academic, blogger, and human rights defender sentenced to life in prison after he called for democracy during Bahrain’s 2011 Arab Spring protest movement. Along with twelve other leading human rights and political activists that would come to be known as the “Bahrain 13,” Dr. al-Singace was tortured before a military court convicted him on baseless charges stemming from his right to free expression. Despite international criticism and formal calls for reform, civilian courts upheld the “Bahrain 13” rulings and confirmed his life sentence. Now, Dr. al-Singace is spending his 56th birthday in prison – his sixth behind bars since the start of his unjust life sentence. Dr. al-Singace suffers from a number of serious, ongoing health concerns – including post-polio syndrome and sickle-cell anemia – that the Bahraini government has refused to adequately address during his detention. Authorities have consistently denied Dr. al-Singace regular medical treatment and have failed to provide him with surgery required as a result of the torture he suffered in 2011. Prison officials have even denied Dr. al-Singace necessary medical supplies, including rubber stops for the bottom of his crutches. As a consequence, it is difficult for him to walk, and he is prone to slipping and falling on his unstable crutches – avoidable accidents which draw ridicule from prison guards. In recent weeks, Dr. al-Singace and other prominent prisoners of conscience held in Bahrain’s Jau Prison have faced increased harassment, including repeated raids at odd hours which have resulted in the confiscation of nearly all personal effects. Dr. al-Singace has had all books, papers, pens, and materials seized, including the only manuscript of a book he had been authoring during his detention. Though advocates for Dr. al-Singace have issued repeated complaints to Bahraini oversight institutions, the government has taken no action to rectify these issues. Dr. al-Singace has been subjected to torture, arbitrary detention, inhumane and degrading treatment, and life imprisonment – merely for peacefully exercising his right to free opinion and expression. But you can help. Take this opportunity on Dr. al-Singace’s 56th birthday to sign this petition calling for his immediate release, and demanding the Bahraini authorities provide him unrestricted access to adequate medical care. After signing the petition, please use the tools on the next webpage to share it with your friends. Please tweet at the Bahraini Ministry of Foreign Affairs (@bahdiplomatic) and the Foreign Minister (@khalidalkhalifa) to call for Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace’s release and for him to be provided proper medical care. Feel free to use the following sample message: #Bahrain human rights defender Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace shouldn’t spend another birthday in prison. @bahdiplomatic @khalidalkhalifa must ensure he is immediately released & given proper medical care! Background from ADHRB: • The Health of Nabeel Rajab and Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace https://www.adhrb.org/2017/06/hrc35-item-3-oral-intervention-health-nabeel-rajab-dr-abduljalil-al-singace/ • High-Profile Political Leaders and Human Rights Defenders Face Ongoing Degradation, Punishment, and Restrictions on Access to Medical Care http://www.adhrb.org/2017/10/high-profile-political-leaders-and-human-rights-defenders-face-ongoing-degradation-punishment-and-restrictions-on-access-to-medical-care/ • No contact for a week: Family fears for Dr. al-Singace’s health http://www.adhrb.org/2016/07/no-contact-week-family-fears-dr-al-singaces-health/ • Urgent Appeal: Release Prisoner of Conscience Dr. Abduljalil al-Singace as Hunger Strike Reaches 160th Day https://www.adhrb.org/2017/10/high-profile-political-leaders-and-human-rights-defenders-face-ongoing-degradation-punishment-and-restrictions-on-access-to-medical-care/ • Champion of Justice: Dr. Abuljalil al-Singace http://www.adhrb.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Champion-of-Justice-Abduljalil-al-Singace.pdf
Support OperationPUSHJanuary 15 marked the beginning of a month-long work stoppage organized by prisoners throughout the Florida Department of Corrections demanding an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane working conditions at their facilities. The strike, announced in late December, aims to force corrections officials to pay prison laborers monetary compensation for their work as opposed to “the current slave arrangement,” in which they are paid in time deducted from their sentences. In written statements to news media, the strikers have also demanded increased access to parole, cheaper and more reasonable prices for basic food and hygiene items, voting rights for former felons, and an end to prison-guard brutality. The organized strike began on Martin Luther King Jr. Day — and is named #OperationPUSH, after civil rights leader Jesse Jackson’s 1970s-1990s campaign to improve economic conditions for African Americans. Almost a third of Florida inmates are black, compared with fewer than 17% in the general population. Florida has the nation’s third-largest prison system in the United States, with 97,000 inmates. Prison work inside Florida correctional facilities consists of doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, maintaining the facilities, and even growing food for the inmate population. Before the strike began, one organizer wrote that “[the strike’s] goal is to make the Governor realize that it will cost the state of Florida millions of dollars daily to contract outside companies to come and cook, clean, and handle the maintenance, [which] will cause a total breakdown." Outside of the prison, incarcerated laborers work in “community work squads,” providing free labor to state offices such as the Department of Transportation, the Division of Forestry, and the Department of Environmental Protection. According report by the FDOC, “community work squads” worked over 3.15 million hours in 2017 alone and saved the state more than $38 million in payroll expenses, including flooding and debris cleanup work after Hurricane Irma. Ironically, these same incarcerated workers are barred from employment at the state-level upon release, due to their criminal records. Another incarcerated organizer wrote that Florida prisoners “want to create an environment where someone can do their time, be rehabilitated, and enter into society with some type of hope…that would be helpful for society instead of creating a revolving door where you lock people up and just set them up for failure so that they keep coming back.” In fear of retaliation, these organizers have asked to remain anonymous. One week into the month-long work stoppage, internal sources have reported the participation of strikers in at least eight different Florida facilities in the FDOC. Internal sources have reported that many of these strikers have been placed into solitary confinement by correctional officials. In solidarity with prisoners, marches and protests have been organized throughout the state, and more than 135 civil rights and activist groups, including local chapters of the NAACP and the Florida Women's March, have voiced their support for #OperationPUSH. At a speech at Florida State University, civil rights leader Angela Davis said there is "no better way to keep the legacy of Dr. King alive than by supporting the prisoners' strike." Will you sign the petition to support #OperationPUSH and to demand an immediate end to unpaid labor and inhumane work conditions in Florida prisons? Sources: Movement Against Prison Slavery Ramps Up With OperationPUSH in Florida https://shadowproof.com/2018/01/11/operation-push-movement-against-prison-slavery-florida/ Florida Prisoners Set to Strike January 15th Against Prison Slavery https://itsgoingdown.org/florida-prisoners-set-strike-january-15th-prison-slavery/ Striking Florida Prisoners Thrown in Solitary Confinement, Activists Say http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/striking-operationpush-florida-prisioners-placed-in-solitary-activists-say-10006900
STOP HAWAII’S MONTHLY NUCLEAR ATTACK WARNING SIREN AND CELL PHONE ALERTSHow did you like the "mistaken" nuclear attack warning siren and cellphone alert on Friday?? People in Honolulu crawling into manholes, cowering in the bathrooms and closets!! Time to stop these sirens!! The State of Hawaii is war mongering and scaring its citizens with its monthly nuclear attack warning siren which began in December 2017. Hawaii citizens are demanding the State Emergency Management Agency stop the fear-mongering with the nuclear attack warning siren and call on State officials including Hawaii’s Congressional delegation to make a firm stand for diplomacy, not military action, to resolve the crisis on the Korean peninsula. The sirens heighten the anxiety and stress of impending conflict and devastation, make citizens afraid and in their fear, accept whatever the government feeds them on how great threats to our nation are. We know that successive administrations have lied our country into wars –from Vietnam to Iraq. We do not agree for the need for war with North Korea and refuse to accept the attempted US intimidation of North Korea which could lead to war. The sirens normalize the potential for war. Certainly, If the U.S. initiates military action against North Korea, militarized Hawaii with its four major military bases on Oahu—the headquarters of the U.S. military Pacific Command that covers half the world, the Army’s 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks, Marine Expeditionary Force at Kaneohe, Hickam Air Force Base and Pearl Harbor Navy Base, the huge NSA underground listening station near Wahaiwa, the massive practice bombing area called Pohakuloa, on the Big Island and the Pacific Missile Range on Kauai would be a retaliatory target for North Korea and any other nation threatened by the United States. Therefore, it is in Hawaii’s survival interest that we demand that the U.S. government resolve issues with North Korea in a nonviolent manner. The national government in Washington, DC does not feel the need to have nuclear warning sirens, so why should Hawaii? One would think the politicians who make the decisions for war and the Pentagon would be bigger targets than Hawaii. Please sign this petition to the Hawaii Governor, the Hawaii State Emergency Management Agency and Hawaii’s Congressional delegation demanding that the monthly nuclear attack warning sirens STOP.
If You Don't Want War, Don't Pay For It!Many Americans hold deeply held beliefs against participating in war. The government recognizes conscientious objection to military service but doesn't for income tax payment. H.R. 1947 will allow people morally opposed to having the portion of their income taxes used for military purposes directed to non-military spending. This will stop our income taxes from being conscripted. This is a First Amendment constitutional issue! Find out more: National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund
Thank you for defending whistleblowers!It’s time to take a stand with Jesselyn and her work at WHISPeR. In the age of “alternative facts” -- when the Attorney General is increasingly threatening to prosecute both sources and journalists for espionage, when the President is openly promising to commit war crimes as a matter of policy -- her work protecting truth-tellers is critically important to our struggle for peace and justice.
Universal Basic Income1. Automation results in Human ineligibility for Jobs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pq-S557XQU Based on location / nation the pace would differ, but the implications seem universal affecting people everywhere. 2. To address human economic needs, a global transition to a Universal Basic Income (UBI), (not 'welfare'), is called for, and a way to implement the same is given below : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEkT14RBzDI 3. Under UBI, taxation (essential in any society) could be realized as follows: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQXxcjJ5ODw Support.
Remove U.S. Troops from Korea NOW #removeUSTroopsThe costly military presence of foreign bases creates fear and exposes ALL Americans and Koreans to extreme risk. Let’s get our people out of danger. It’s time to bring our troops home. We have a DUTY to remove 140,000 citizens from an indefensible position. #RemoveUSTroops Demonstrate Secretary Tillerson’s statement that, “We are not your enemy and do not seek regime change.” This letter is an appeal to save lives and invest in our children’s future. See FACEBOOK, "Remove U.S. Troops From Korea NOW" for more about this: https://www.facebook.com/RemoveUSTroops/
Protect Bethesda African CemeteryThis community built the main thoroughfares in the county. It manufactured building materials and provided the manpower building the bunker under the White House. By around the 1850s free Africans owned property in Bethesda but were confined to a small area by covenants preventing them and Jews from living elsewhere. A community once thrived there. That history has been erased, but needs to be preserved. A museum could provide the archive for that history as well as serve as the vehicle for conveying the story to future generations. Washington Post death notices, County plat and plot maps, oral histories, aerial photos and other historic materials substantiate the existence and location of the cemetery. No documentation of bodies being disinterred has ever been produced. Currently there is a Sector Plan that seeks to place a parking garage and housing units on top of what is now a parking lot that was placed on top of the African Cemetery (allegedly at least in part to prevent erosion from exposing the remains). History of the enslavement of Africans is American history. More importantly, the triumph of Africans against enslavement in a living museum and memorial will be an ongoing testament to these people, their heritage and their legacy.