The Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia had recently organised a solo exhibition titled “Indonesia Exposé 2016: Seizing Trade, Investment, Tourism, Industry, and Services Opportunity from Indonesia” at Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi.The Exposé 2016 displayed various typical export-quality commodities from western, central and eastern part of Indonesia. 13 representatives from the industrial sector, Regency of Kebumen and Buru Selatan as well as the Embassy had actively participated in the exhibition to promote their commodities to the Indian business communities.Ambassador of Indonesia to India HE Rizali Wilmar Indrakesuma at the inauguration stated that the Indonesia Exposé 2016 was part of the Embassy’s economic diplomacy endeavour to promote diversification of Indonesia’s non-oil & gas export products in India, to attract investment from Indian investors, and to enhance tourists visit from India.The solo exhibition was organised by the Embassy in association with Indian chambers of commerce and industry namely Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), PHD Chambers, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), India Chambers of Commerce (ICC); Aditya Birla Group; and Le Meridien Hotel.Indonesia Exposé 2016 was designed to provide a platform and bring immense opportunity for business communities and traders from Indonesia and India to trade in goods and services, create networking and attract investment.The Embassy, to have a continuous communication among the business communities, plans to organise such solo exhibition in India periodically.
RelatedAirport etiquette: what gets your goat?Tell us what annoys you the most about airport encounters and you could win £100 worth of vouchers!Flight Geek of the Week – Łukasz SuligaFlight Geek of the Week – Łukasz SuligaBen Fogle: My Life in TravelBen Fogle shares his most embarrassing travel moment – and more – in our exclusive interview with the TV explorer. View SurveyReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
State Rep. Phil Potvin today encourages families to take advantage of Michigan’s Free Fishing Weekend June 13-14.Rep. Potvin, R-Cadillac, said the Michigan Department of Natural Resources waives the requirement for a fishing license for the weekend, enabling those who do not fish regularly to try it out. All fishing regulations are in effect during the weekend.“This is a wonderful opportunity for everyone,” said Rep. Potvin. “Whether you are a beginner who is trying out fishing for the first time, or you already have a fishing license and you want to take a friend or family member who has never been fishing out on the water for the day, it is a great way to enjoy what Michigan has to offer.“For many, the annual Free Fishing Weekend has become an annual event to come together for some fishing fun. Experienced anglers who offer a child the chance to take their first fishing trip can provide a rewarding experience for all.”Rep. Potvin said Michigan offers some of the finest freshwater fishing in the world, with more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, more than 11,000 inland lakes and tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams.The Natural Resources Commission recently released updated fishing regulations for the year, including season changes for certain species and hook restrictions. The details are now available online at www.michigan.gov/fishingguide. Categories: News 09Jun Rep. Potvin encourages residents to cast a line for free this weekend
20Oct Rep. Poleski invites residents to November office hours Categories: News State Rep. Earl Poleski today announced his local November office hours schedule. Residents are invited to join in conversation at the Jackson County Tower Building, located at 120 West Michigan Ave., from 3 to 5 p.m. every Friday of the month, excluding the week of Thanksgiving, when the meeting will instead be held on Tuesday, Nov. 24.“This is a very valuable opportunity for us to come together to discuss the future of our great state and the impact that state legislation will have locally,” said Rep. Poleski, R-Jackson. “It’s really an invaluable part of my job as your state representative.”No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to contact Rep. Poleski’s office by phone at 517-373-1795 or by email at EarlPoleski@house.mi.gov.###
Plan extends open record requirements to governor, LegislatureState Rep. Beth Griffin today voted to approve a bipartisan plan to make state government more accountable to the people of Michigan.Griffin, of Mattawan, said the House unanimously approved the multi-bill proposal.“The government belongs to the people, and it’s vital for all public servants to be accountable to the people they represent,” Griffin said. “I believe state officials should be open to high standards of transparency and public scrutiny just like other government officials.”Michigan is one of just two states that still exempts its governor and the Legislature from open records laws. The bipartisan solution approved today would end these exemptions and increase transparency in state government.The proposal will subject the governor and lieutenant governor to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and hold state representatives and senators to the same high standard by creating the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA).While LORA mirrors FOIA in many ways, there are exemptions for constituent inquiries to ensure that personal information is protected and kept private. Other types of communications – including those lawmakers have with state departments and lobbyists – would not be exempt.House Bills 4007-13 and 4015-16 now advance to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: Griffin News,News 19Mar Rep. Griffin votes to make state government transparent
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares robertlamphoto / Shutterstock.comMay 11, 2014;CNN“If I said anything wrong, I’m sorry.” That was the apology Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling offered CNN’s Anderson Cooper. The conditional “if’ apology is a tradition in American business and politics. Maybe Sterling was leaving the door open to those viewers of Cooper’s program who might have agreed with the racist rant he directed toward his alleged paramour, V. Stiviano. But if Sterling might be sorry for some thing or another, he’s clearly not sorry about slamming Magic Johnson’s business and charity dealings. Sterling seems to have an itch about Magic who he described in less than complementary tones with Cooper.“What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?” Sterling asked. “He acts so holy. He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hope he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?” When corrected by Cooper about the difference between HIV and AIDS, Sterling modified his statement: “What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?” Sterling said, “I think he should be ashamed of himself.”Let’s put aside Sterling’s likely sensitivity to the rumor that Johnson might be a potential purchaser of the Clippers if the NBA forces Sterling to sell, along with the image of Johnson as beyond any possible criticism, and see what the former basketball great has done with his charity and philanthropy.It is impossible to forget Magic Johnson’s press conference in 1991 announcing that he had been diagnosed with HIV. At the time, HIV and AIDS were largely thought of as restricted to gay white men. Johnson’s courage in speaking forthrightly—with no conditionals about his diagnosis or anything else—led to his leadership role in outreach to the black community on HIV and AIDS testing and treatment.Magic’s eponymous foundation runs youth summits on HIV, AIDS, and safe sex (through the Empowering and Reinforcing Awareness of Students through Education program); provides grants (unfortunately not unsolicited) to nonprofits that offer HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and treatment services in urban areas; and hosts free HIV/AIDS testing events. The foundation also awards 30-35 tuition scholarships every year and sponsors technology centers in over a dozen communities across the nation.Based on its 2012 Form 990, the foundation counted for that one year $438,000 in scholarships (not including additional expenditures for “holistic” supportive services to the students), $384,000 in expenditures for the Magic Johnson Community Empowerment Centers, just short of $230,000 in HIV/AIDS outreach and education expenditures, plus other funding for a youth leadership conference and other programs. Maybe Donald Sterling doesn’t get it, but most of America understands that Magic Johnson might have done more for the public’s understanding of and action against HIV/AIDS than just about anyone.Johnson himself is actually analytical and self-aware about the limits of his role. “I’m the blessing because people were talking about (HIV), they ran out and got tested at that time,” he has said. “Then I’m the curse because…people now say, ‘oh well, HIV is nothing because if I get it I can be like Magic. He’s doing good, and I can do the same thing he’s doing or take the same medicine he’s taking and I’ll be okay.’” He points out millions have died during the two decades the foundation has been in operation; HIV/AIDS has not been defeated, and Johnson is not complacent.Magic Johnson’s charity stands on its own. In addition to the foundation and to his personal charitable giving, Magic’s business investments in inner-city movie theaters and 124 inner-city Starbucks franchises have generated jobs and income in cities needing the economic activity. No offense to the billionaire Sterling, but in light of his racist comments to his putative paramour and his track record of racial discrimination in renting apartments, we’ll take Magic Johnson anytime.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 17, 2014; Open Secrets (Center for Responsive Politics)Initially, Organizing for Action wasn’t totally on board with the concept of revealing the names and amounts of the major donors to this Obama-linked political nonprofit, but it is doing so—at least by releasing donors’ names and hometowns. Through its “Open Secrets” reporting on money in politics, the Center for Responsive Politics has done the digging to figure out who these big donors actually are. Fourteen donors have given $100,000 or more to Organizing for Action in the 2014 campaign cycle to date. They are well known donors to Democratic Party campaigns, so OFA has announced a “fundraising timeout” to start in two weeks so that these donors can shift their attention from the OFA, which is not legally permitted to coordinate its activity with political campaigns, to specific campaign-oriented funds tied to the 2014 midterm elections.OFA’s voluntary disclosures reveal donors from hedge funds, real estate, and philanthropy, though that shouldn’t be surprising: Big donors are people with big money. Among the more notable OFA donors with philanthropic interests are these:The largest of the 2014-cycle donors to OFA at $1 million, David E. Shaw founded an investment firm that manages $32 billion in investments and according to Forbes is worth some $4 billion himself. For nonprofits, it is important to note that Shaw and his wife, personal finance writer Beth Kobliner, have their own family foundation, the Shaw Family Endowment Fund, with grantmaking between 2009 and 2011 of nearly $400,000 to the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, a similar amount to Memorial Sloan Kettering Center Center, $1 million to Yale, more than $800,000 to the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, New York (where tuition for pupils from pre-K to 12th grade is $41,150 a year), $1 million to Stanford, and more than $1 million to Harvard University. Shaw is also on the board of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which is one of the recipients of grants from his family foundation. Although Shaw isn’t currently involved, four senior people from the D.E. Shaw Group or D.E. Shaw and Company are on the board of directors or other advisory committees of the Robin Hood Foundation.Donor Amy Goldman Fowler, described as a “real estate heiress and philanthropist,” is listed as having donated $750,000. She is a trustee of the Lillian Goldman Charitable Trust ($10 million to the United Way in New York City in 2008, strong support for Planned Parenthood in 2005 and 2008, the Seed Savers Exchange, where she was a board member until 2012 and functions as a special advisor to the board, and the Global Justice Center), the Amy P. Goldman Foundation (whose largest grant in 2012 was $416,000 to the New York Botanical Garden, where she is a board member), and the Center for Jewish History.John D. and Marcia Goldman are listed at $325,000, known as major philanthropists for work with the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation, which assumed the assets of the foundation of Goldman’s father, the Richard and Rhonda Goldman Foundation. The Goldmans’ three seven-figure grants from the foundation in 2011 went to the San Francisco Symphony, the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, and Stanford University.With an OFA donation of $200,000, billionaire Jon Stryker, an heir to his grandfather’s medical device firm (Homer Stryker invented the mobile hospital bed) is known to nonprofits as the founder of the Kalamazoo-based Arcus Foundation, which is well known as a major philanthropic supporter of LGBT causes as well as efforts to protect great apes. According to the Center, citing the Washington Blade, Arcus is the largest funder of LGBT causes in the world. However, the Center suggests that Stryker’s interests haven’t always lined up on the Obama side of the political equation. His family firm, the Stryker Corporation, lobbied against the excise tax on medical devices that was part of the Affordable Care Act financing. Last year, Stryker paid $13.2 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that it had bribed foreign officials and clients through overseas subsidiaries.Donating $190,550, Laure Woods Kastanis is a well-known Bay Area philanthropist. Her husband, David Kastanis, is on the board of the Laurel Foundation, and she is on the board of the Whittier Foundation (in 2011 and 2012, seven-figure grants to the University of Southern California and Bennington College plus $2 million to ICEF Public Schools, a nonprofit that runs programs in charter schools, chaired by former Republican Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan).Wayne Jordan and Mary Quinn Delaney, listed as donors of $150,000 to OFA, are known to nonprofits for the Akonadi Foundation, which is described on its website as “working to support and nurture a racial justice movement that can finally put an end to the structural racism that lies at the heart of social inequity in the United States.” A laudatory case study of Akonadi was recently published by the Philanthropic Initiative on Racial Equity, highlighting Akonadi’s Arc Toward Justice Fund focused on grants for youth and its Beloved Community Fund to reclaim public spaces, both in Oakland, California.Don’t take this as an “outing” of liberal donors. Just as we often talk about the philanthropic identity of conservative political donors, this list simply demonstrates that moneyed people in the political arena frequently have charitable and philanthropic identities. In some instances, the type of philanthropic grantmaking priorities these people emphasize provide some extra detail to their political thinking.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share5TweetShare1Email6 SharesSeptember 14, 2015; New York TimesLawrence Lessig’s campaign to clean up campaign finance will never find itself short of examples of existing and planned abuses aimed to increase the flow of big money into elections. The latest is the Democrats’ plan, a request to the Federal Election Commission for approval for a bunch of new Super PACs for Democratic Senate and House seats. The request makes the idea of PAC that is not connected to a candidate’s official campaign just about obsolete.Writing for the New York Times, Nick Confessore explains in a few paragraphs the territory that the Democrats are trying to claim, based on their contention that the Republicans already do this:The filing…suggests that Democrats would, if allowed, seek to use tactics pioneered by Republican presidential candidates this cycle, helping prospective candidates establish and raise money for super PACs before they officially declare their intent to run.Most strikingly, the lawyers are asking the commission to clarify how declared candidates, their campaign staff and their volunteers can help court donors for independent super PACs—even whether a candidate could be the “special guest” at a super PAC “fundraiser” with as few as two donors. Its answer could have profound ramifications for the 2016 campaign, particularly for Democrats who, like Hillary Rodham Clinton, have been reluctant to engage too closely with super PAC fund-raising.In seeking the commission’s guidance on the tactics, Democrats contend that most of the activities their request describes—like having a candidate pretend to “test the waters” of a candidacy for months on end while raising money—appear to violate the law.But if federal regulators determine that such practices are legal, the lawyers wrote, Democratic candidates up and down the ballot are prepared to adopt these tactics in the coming months, a blunt admission that the party cannot compete effectively if it forgoes campaign and fundraising tactics already widely used by Republicans.Much like Barack Obama’s decision to forgo public financing of his campaigns so that he could raise—successfully—unfettered private contributions because the Republicans might do the same or would outraise his campaign through sources such as “independent” PACs, much like the Democrats’ creation of counterparts to Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, and like Republicans virtually inventing the array of 527 “stealth PACs,” this is the Democrats again showing no reluctance to ape the practices of the opposition despite their deleterious effects not only on the practice of campaign finance, but on the behavior of political candidates who already feel beholden to and beleaguered by their big money donors. In this instance, the fig leaf of distance between the candidates and the PACs will be gossamer-thin.Confessore describes several instances of Republican presidential wannabes in this electoral cycle who have used PACs while “exploring” their candidacies when it was all but obvious that they were actually running—Governor Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush, to name but a few. In some cases, it seems the coordination between candidates and ostensibly independent PACs continued past the exploratory phase. Perhaps, as the Campaign Legal Center’s Larry Noble told Confessore, the Democrats’ pitch to the FEC is meant to expose and embarrass the Republican strategy that looks pretty close to illegal, though expecting the bitterly divided FEC to prosecute current candidates and their PACs is wishful thinking. This might really be a strategy to get the FEC to simply declare the Republicans’ approach beyond the pale. However, Noble says that the effort to embarrass the Republicans might be in tandem with getting approval for Democrats to do it themselves. There is little question, as pointed out by Alixandria Lapp, the executive director of the House Majority PAC, that “the level of coordination going on is just unprecedented.”Other than possessing, one hopes, a core belief in the remaining shreds of integrity left to the American democratic process, nonprofits have much at stake in this latest perversion of campaign finance. To the press and to the public, the mechanisms for soliciting and spending money on behalf of political campaigns are nonprofits.From an editorial in the Tampa Bay Times: “Millions of dollars are flowing into nonprofit groups aligned with particular presidential candidates to influence voters with often misleading ads, and voters will never know who wrote the checks…The court rulings [such as Citizens United] opened the door for the creation of nonprofits that have little or no reason to exist except to promote political candidates with anonymous contributors.… [Senator Marco] Rubio is among several Republican presidential candidates benefiting from a political nonprofit operating under a facade of independence, and they often operate in tandem with a super PAC.”From the Phoenix New Times: “So here’s a giant surprise, Pinal County Sheriff and unannounced candidate for U.S. Congress Paul Babeu is the ‘honorary chairman,’ of a dark money, 501(c)(4) nonprofit that is pimping…yes, you guessed it, Paul Babeu. Babeu’s new Arizona Security and Prosperity Project’s website promises that the group will pursue ‘public advocacy for enhanced border security, economic strength and individual liberty,’ and that, in so doing, the group ‘will be non-partisan, and will not advocate the election or defeat of any identified candidate for public office.’ And yet, the ASPP brazenly shills for Babeu, who has all but jumped into the fray in the GOP primary for Arizona’s First Congressional District.”From the New York Times: “The chairman of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign will meet with a group of prospective donors to the ‘super PAC’ supporting her in New York City this week, according to an invitation to the event. John Podesta will be the featured speaker at a Manhattan event hosted by Bernard Schwartz, a longtime supporter of Mrs. Clinton. Guy Cecil, the chief strategist and co-chairman of Priorities USA Action, the super PAC, is also headlining the event. The appearance of Mr. Podesta marks a fresh level of engagement for senior campaign officials trying to help the super PAC increase its coffers. While no further meetings have been scheduled, Mr. Podesta is likely to do future events. ‘John Podesta is appearing at this event only as a special guest,’ the invitation says. ‘John Podesta is not asking for funds or donations.’ The event is similar to the type of meetings that advisers to President Obama, such as David Plouffe, held with potential donors to the super PAC in the 2012 cycle when it was backing the president’s re-election effort. While the campaign is banned from coordinating with the super PAC, campaign officials can appear at events as long as they don’t explicitly ask for money.”There are plenty of other examples of 501(c)(4)s, PACs, campaign staffers, and candidates themselves blurring into one undistinguishable mélange of money and politics. Other than Lessig and his single-issue campaign, the only major candidates to abjure this structure, at least for the moment, are Bernie Sanders, who has rejected all big donors in his campaign, and Donald Trump, who is a self-financing billionaire who doesn’t seem to want or need campaign contributions, at least for the moment.All of these campaign entities are tax exempt, which to the press and the public reads “nonprofit” or, worse, public charity. As Republicans and Democrats engage in the mud-wrestling of how far they can push a divided FEC and a feckless IRS on campaign finance, nonprofits have to stand up for democracy—which we believe is part of the nonprofit sectors Tocquevillian DNA—and for the integrity of the nonprofit sector and engage in their own campaigning: a firm condemnation of any and all candidates who feel free to engage in dark and dirty money politics.—Rick CohenShare5TweetShare1Email6 Shares
Share80TweetShare2Email82 SharesMarch 22, 2016; Washington PostEven if you were to believe everything the Trump Foundation says about the $25,000 check that was sent to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was at that point considering whether or not to do an investigation of Trump University on fraud charges, you would have to assume that the Trump organization is entirely incompetent. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is not willing to make that assumption: It is asking for an investigation by the IRS.The IRS is known for its sometimes-ambiguous regulations, but “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign” leaves little up to question. Sending money from a charitable foundation to a political committee backing a candidate is not allowed; neither is not disclosing that donation on your filings to the IRS. But his aides say it was a simple mistake, for which they issue a rare apology.Actually, it’s not so simple—if you believe the story, which goes something like this:A solicitation from the Bondi campaign came into the foundation office and was misread as a $25,000 “request for payment,” which a clerk paid (apparently without checking to see if a grant had ever been made) out of grant money.The grant was recorded as paid to “And Justice for All,” a Utah-based group helping poor people and people with disabilities with legal problems, although that group has never received any money from the foundation before or since.Still, somehow the contribution went directly to Bondi or to her political committee, also called “And Justice for All.”But on the 990, Trump’s accountants listed the donation as having gone to a Wichita based anti-abortion activist group called “Justice for All” (no “and”), also a group not actually awarded Trump foundation funds.Allen Weisselberg, chief financial officer of the Trump Organization and treasurer of Trump’s foundation, attributes the listing to “a typographical mistake on the return. […] Somehow, someone who typed up the return for that year put ‘Justice for All.’”When the donation came to light, Trump and a Bondi spokesperson defended its integrity. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Nancy Watkins, treasurer of Bondi’s And Justice for All, said that the group was “comfortable with the propriety of the contribution from the Trump Foundation.” And Trump told the paper that Bondi “is a fabulous representative of the people—Florida is lucky to have her.”In describing the odd fact that the check went to Bondi’s group when it was cut for a group in Utah, Weisselberg said, “The check got cut, and after that, I don’t know exactly where it ended up. […] It must have gone, I guess, to Pam Bondi,” Weisselberg said. “We spoke to our accountants, our tax attorneys in Washington, and they say these things happen all the time.”“If the clerk had known that the check was meant for a political group, Weisselberg said, “we would have taken it out of [Trump’s] own personal account.” Except that might have looked a little hinky while Bondi was still considering an investigation of Trump University.Not only has Bondi not followed through on the complaints against Trump University—she says they were few—but she has also endorsed Trump for President.A reflection: If it was as easy as sending a request for payment to get a foundation grant, I am sure nonprofits would invest more in administrative staff.—Ruth McCambridgeCorrection: The acronym CREW stands for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, not “Committee.”Share80TweetShare2Email82 Shares
Share14TweetShareEmail14 SharesJune 24, 2016; ABC News (Associated Press)When a judge ruled last Thursday that Cleveland’s regulations over any protests to occur at the time of the GOP national convention were infringements of people’s constitutional right to free expression, he also ordered the city and the ACLU, which had brought the suit, to negotiate a settlement. By Friday, the judge mediating the situation declared that an agreement had been struck, though the details have not been released as of this writing.The ACLU brought the suit on behalf of Organize Ohio and Citizens for Trump, both of which plan to hold protests and rallies on July 18th. The lawsuit said the city’s designated parade route for protest marches was unreasonably isolated from any of the action, that the city’s 3.3-square-mile “event zone” was too large, and that rules against everyday items like bottles, cans, and backpacks within that zone were unreasonable because they interfered with the rights of those who live or work in the area. And, indeed, the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless joined the lawsuit, saying the list of prohibited items included things that homeless people normally make use of.Since so much of civic life seems to be politically polarized these days, it should be noted that Cleveland’s mayor is a Democrat, and its city council members are all Democrats, except for one who is a member of the Green Party. The crowd for the event, which is due to run from July 18th through July 22nd, is expected to attract 50,000 to 100,000 people.—Ruth McCambridgeShare14TweetShareEmail14 Shares
Share59Tweet54Share5Email118 SharesBy Mike Haw (originally posted to Flickr as shredded) [CC BY 2.0]August 29, 2017; ACLUAccountability is a cornerstone of American government and advocacy work, but the very concept is under attack this week as the Trump administration takes steps to distance the government from its treatment of immigrants.First, President Trump pardoned Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, whose well-documented abuse of immigrants and defiance of federal court orders have made him the face of hardline anti-immigrant sentiment. Then, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), “Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] recently asked the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA)…to approve its timetable for retaining or destroying records related to its detention operations.” Together, these actions send the message that the Trump administration does not intend to safeguard the human rights of immigrants.Victoria Lopez, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU National Prison Project, writes, “This may seem like a run-of-the-mill government request for record-keeping efficiency. It isn’t. An entire paper trail for a system rife with human rights and constitutional abuses is at stake.”ICE formally requested approval of its plan to destroy “records related to detainees, including incidents of sexual abuse and assault, escapes, deaths while in agency custody, telephone rates charged to detainees, alternatives to detention, logs and reports on status of detainees and detention facilities, and location and segregation of detainees.” Timelines for destruction, ranging from three to 20 years, depend upon the type of report.An analysis of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by CIVIC, a national advocacy organization, found thousands of complaints of physical and sexual abuse lodged against ICE since 2010. Daily Kos noted:Ten undocumented immigrants have died while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody this fiscal year, including three immigrants who died in a private detention facility in the span of only three months. In one New Jersey jail where an undocumented man essentially bled to death this past spring, 121 people filed medical grievances over a two-year period and “the jail took corrective action in fewer than 3 percent of those cases.”Now, thanks to ICE’s request, the records of all these cases may be destroyed, eliminating any opportunity for future justice, or even for advocacy groups to track what’s going on. According to the ACLU, “NARA has provisionally approved ICE’s proposal and its explanations for doing so are troubling. In cases of sexual assault and death, for example, NARA states that these records ‘do not document significant actions of Federal officials.’” Do NARA and the Trump administration simply deem actions involving immigrants insignificant?According to CIVIC’s analysis, only 2.4 percent of the complaints against DHS agencies (which include ICE) have been investigated. ACLU’s Lopez told VICE, “Many of these records are still particularly relevant for being able to conduct review and oversight of the agency and how they run their detention operations.” Destroying the records means that those investigations will never take place, and the abuses of immigrants in detention will simply go unpunished—which is what many detainees assume will happen anyway. Rebecca Merton, Independent Monitor and Program Coordinator of CIVIC’s National Visitation Network, said, “The data is particularly disturbing given that rape and sexual assault are known to be highly underreported in immigration detention facilities due to fears of retaliation, social isolation, language barriers, and the knowledge that allegations are not seriously investigated.”Then again, if Trump’s pardon of Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted for contempt of court, is an indication, even when investigations happened and the abusers are convicted, it seems President Trump will ensure that justice is not served. According to Rolling Stone,Arpaio erected an outdoor jail in Phoenix known as Tent City that he himself referred to as a “concentration camp”…Arpaio also had critics in government and the media arrested, resulting in the county having to make further payouts… The court found that Arpaio’s practice of having individuals stopped on the basis of race violated the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures and the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. But Arpaio proceeded to misrepresent the ruling to his subordinates and continue the practices the court had enjoined. He then lied about it to the court, withheld evidence, launched an investigation into the judge and tried to get him disqualified on the basis of the investigation he had started.That is quite a list, all going back to the idea that Arpaio appears to consider immigrants less than deserving of full human rights and protections. Reports have claimed that Arpaio is “proud” of his methods, that he “puts on the Food Network and the Weather Channel to torture [detainees]…these are outdoor tents and it’s 130 degrees…he wants them to see a different existence so they’ll go to Canada.” If ever accountability for the treatment of one’s fellow human beings was called for, it’s here.But Trump pardoned Arpaio, claiming he was just “doing his job.” Like his “both sides” comment after the Charlottesville rally, this statement signals the president’s blatant disregard of human rights for nonwhite people and his unwillingness to see the human side of race issues.The pardon is troubling for many reasons. Trevor Noah of The Daily Show said,Remember how the three branches of government are supposed to be equal? Well, convicting someone of contempt is the one and only way the judicial branch can put muscle behind its decisions. So, when the president of the United States steps in and pardons someone’s contempt conviction, he’s essentially rendering the courts powerless.Like the destruction of ICE records, the pardon makes it impossible to hold federal officers accountable for their behavior.Will activists step in and try to preserve ICE records, like they did for climate data when it was feared that budget cuts would destroy scientific records? Will Arizonans try to elect officials that will hold their county officers accountable for immigrant treatment? More importantly, neither addresses the issue of accountability when it comes to protecting the human rights of detainees. For that, nonprofit advocacy groups are still our best hope.—Erin RubinShare59Tweet54Share5Email118 Shares
ShareTweet13ShareEmail13 SharesBy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsJune 17, 2018; NBC News (Today)As Gabe Gutierrez and Bianca Steward report for NBC News, “the battle for Puerto Rico’s future is underway.” One front involves schools, with teachers, parents, and students fighting to keep their schools open. “The island’s government,” note Gutierrez and Steward, “plans to close more than 250 of them.”“Where there is no school, there is no community,” says Providencia Figueroa, who works with one of Puerto Rico’s teachers’ unions.Noeliz Fernandez goes to school in Arecibo at the Ramón Emeterio Betances School, which was among those slated for closure. The 12-year-old has seen many of her friends leave to move to the US mainland, note Gutierrez and Steward.“It’s going to be hard because I’ve always loved going to this school,” says Fernandez. “Seeing people leave is like I’ve lost a little piece of my childhood,” she adds.Fortunately for Fernandez, write Gutierrez and Steward, “A judge ruled her school and several others should stay open because Puerto Rico’s Department of Education did not provide enough evidence that it should close.” But, they add, “this summer, thousands of other students like her are waiting to see the fate of their classrooms—and how this island will fare as another hurricane season begins.”Other major challenges facing Puerto Rico include:Intermittent electricity, particularly in mountainous areas. While power is, according to Puerto Rico’s power company, 95-percent restored, this does not mean that said power consistently stays on.“Puerto Rico’s main morgue is now overflowing with unclaimed bodies. Dozens of them are being kept in refrigerated containers in San Juan.”Asthma. ABC News separately reports that, “Doctors in Puerto Rico say they are seeing an alarming rise in the number and severity of asthma cases that they attribute to destruction caused by the deadly hurricane that walloped the island in September. The chronic lung disease is caused by such things as pollution, airborne mold, and pollen, all of which have increased post-Maria.”The problems are intersectional, too. For example, a mother of one asthmatic child told ABC News that “weekly power outages in their coastal town of Aguadilla also feed his anxiety, which can make symptoms worse. He panics about not being able to turn on the plug-in nebulizer that helps control his attacks.”On top of this, of course, is the loss of life and, according to the National Hurricane Center, $90 billion in damages. As NPQ covered, last month a Harvard University study estimated that more than 4,600 people might have died in the hurricane’s aftermath. This, note Gutierrez and Steward, was “dramatically higher than the government’s official count of just 64.”For its part, Puerto Rico’s government has backed off of its own estimate. Gutierrez and Steward write that, “Under pressure, Puerto Rico’s health department then release updated figures showing about 1,200 more deaths in September and October of 2017 than during the same period the previous year.”“We’ve been saying that the numbers were going to be much higher,” says Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Rosselló blames federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention protocols for the undercount of 64. “We realized that protocol was not very good,” says Rosselló.Rosselló has also stepped up his criticism of the federal government. There are some things that I am very satisfied with,” says Rosselló. But, he adds, “there are some things that I am very dissatisfied and even appalled by. I was appalled by the Corps of Engineers’ response. I was disappointed with the bureaucracy in FEMA.”Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, has been more vocal. “There is a total lack of empathy for the people of Puerto Rico. There was a lack of a sense of urgency.”—Steve DubbShareTweet13ShareEmail13 Shares
Share91TweetShareEmail91 SharesBy Public Affairs Office Fort Wainwright from USA [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 28, 2018; Daily News-Miner (Fairbanks, AK)Governor Bill Walker declared a “linguistic emergency” this week ordering a number of measures be taken to preserve the state’s rich mix of 21 Alaskan Native languages. Part of this effort will be manifest in efforts that support “their perpetuation and inclusion in public institutions.” This includes public signage, which will now reflect “accurately spelled traditional Alaska place names,” but it goes beyond language issues to require tribal liaisons to each principal department in an effort to engage the government-to-government relationships with Alaska tribes.“This order focuses on concrete ways Alaska can show leadership to support its first people and their languages—one of our richest and most at-risk resources,” Walker said. “It’s our responsibility to acknowledge government’s historical role in the suppression of indigenous languages, and our honor to move into a new era by supporting their revitalization.”The action was recommended in a fascinating investigative report issued by the Alaska Native Language Preservation Advisory Council that warned that Alaska’s native languages face extinction or dormancy before the end of the 21st century “unless there are well planned, well-implemented policy changes which support people learning and speaking Alaska Native language daily throughout Alaska.” The report’s authors see support of language revitalization as a core element of cultural justice. The report speaks to the historical trauma of forced colonialization and assimilation and identifies the state’s active support of native language revitalization as a key part of a reconciliation process. It relates language revitalization to voting, schooling, and other critical aspects of self-determination in a democracy, and is well worth the read.—Ruth McCambridgeShare91TweetShareEmail91 Shares
Share91TweetShareEmail91 SharesBy MarkBuckawicki [CC0], from Wikimedia CommonsOctober 12, 2018; Vox and Washington PostIt is amazing the number of ways that voters’ names have quietly (and sometimes not so quietly) been removed from the rolls as we approach the midterm elections. States with contentious, close political races seem particularly prone to this. At this point, it might be hard to pick an exemplar, the leading state in voter suppression, but Georgia would be high on the list.In August, Brian Kemp, Secretary of State and candidate for governor of Georgia, allowed a plan to close seven of nine polling places in a largely rural, largely African-American county due to noncompliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The outcry was loud and clear from the NAACP, the ACLU of Georgia, and other groups that threatened to sue. The two-member Randolph County Board of Elections voted the proposal down, leaving some egg on Kemp’s face.Kemp has refused to step down from his role of overseeing Georgia’s elections as he runs for governor. After one failed attempt to disenfranchise voters of color before an election facing an opponent, Stacey Abrams, who’s a Black woman, one would think that Kemp might lay low. But think again.This past week, it has come to light that at least 53,000 voter registrations, the majority of them African Americans, are being held for additional screening that may prevent them from being able to vote in the November election. The reason for the “hold,” as claimed by the Secretary of State’s office, is failure to comply with the “exact match” system of the state.Under this system, information on a voter application must exactly match data on file with the state’s Department of Driver Services or the Social Security Administration. If the information does not match—often due to things like a misspelled name, a middle name not being fully written out, or a missing hyphen—an application is held for additional screening and the applicant is notified and given a period to correct their information.The AP says there was a significant racial disparity among the applications flagged in the system. While the state is roughly one-third black, 70 percent of the 53,000 applications held are from black Georgians.While Kemp says those among the 53,000 can still vote via a provisional ballot, his statements have been met with great fury by the NAACP, voting rights groups, and, of course, his opponent, who has taken him on around voting rights long before they became political opponents for the governorship.Georgia has been a hotbed for voter suppression since the 2013 Supreme Court decision Shelby County v. Holder, which weakened the 1965 Voting Rights Act considerably. (It bears remembering that before the Voting Rights Act was passed, Blacks were widely prevented from voting; in Mississippi, for example, only six percent of Blacks cast a ballot in 1964, compared to 59 percent five years later). Without any further action to remedy this on the part of Congress, Georgia and other states have taken up new ways to suppress voting rights. Indiana, for example, has illegally cancelled the voter registration of over 469,000 voters:A team of database experts, statisticians, lawyers, and investigators working with the Palast Investigative Fund discovered—and Indiana now admits—that these thousands of voters were cancelled in violation of a June 2018 federal court order that barred the state from using the notorious Interstate Crosscheck purge list sent to state officials by Kris Kobach, Secretary of State of Kansas.Indiana claimed these voters were being removed from the rolls because they moved out of state. But the Post Office indicates that only 7,000 of them had moved. Something is not right here.And then there is North Dakota, where the population of Native Americans could make a clear difference in the outcome of a hotly contested Senate race. A lower court decision that only those with IDs that have street addresses may vote in North Dakota was upheld last week by the Supreme Court. This leaves a huge swath of the population of this state disenfranchised due to having post office box numbers in lieu of official street addresses. It is a clever new twist on voter suppression, but one that may have a workaround.Native American activists have responded with plans to create addresses on the spot for those who need them on Election Day.Tribal officials will stand outside polling stations on Nov. 6 with laptops and access to rural addressing software and a shared database of voter names. North Dakota is the only state that does not require voter registration, meaning eligible voters can generally show up at the polls and cast a ballot so long as they have proper identification.O.J. Semans, chief executive of Four Directions, a national Native American voting rights group, said the strategy was “legally watertight” and necessary to counter the “devastating” court ruling.“Even if it doesn’t change the overall result, it’s about fighting back,” Semans said. “We have to fight back.”As the midterm elections approach and voter turnout becomes a critical issue, voter suppression needs to be confronted, addressed, and called out for what it truly is. In most cases it targets people of color, low-income populations, those in rural communities, women and the elderly. Voter suppression is not an equal opportunity happening. It is a form of discrimination that is wielded by whichever party is in power. Perhaps it is time for Congress to revisit and restore the portions of 1965 Voting Rights Act so that voting rights are never a political football.—Carole LevineShare91TweetShareEmail91 Shares
Online video service Netflix has acquired exclusive rights to the new season of Arrested Development in the UK and Ireland. This move is part of a volume deal the digital platform has struck with Twentieth Century Fox Television Distribution. The nascent service, which launched in the UK and Ireland, commissioned a new season of the Jason Bateman-fronted comedy in the US as part of its original programming strategy. Now it has acquired the rights to air it internationally.The deal also sees Netflix add series including Modern Family, The League, Lie To Me and the US remake of The Killing.This follows an earlier arrangement that saw subscribers in the UK and Ireland able to watch Fox series including 24 and Prison Break as well as It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.“Arrested Development is one of the finest American comedies in TV history and we are incredibly excited to bring it back for British and Irish fans,” said Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “As today’s announcement with Twentieth Century Fox clearly shows, we’re continuing to add all kinds of great content for our UK and Ireland to enjoy when and how they want it.”
French movie-interest social network provider Vodkaster is to merge with DVD digitisation specialist Riplay with a view to launching a new Netflix-like video-on-demand service in the country.Vodkaster and Riplay are in the process of raising €1.2 million from investors Partech Ventures, Elaia Partners and 3T.The three funds will take a minority share in the operation, according to a report in financial daily Les Echos, with the founders of Vodkaster and Riplay holding a majority stake.Vodkaster’s social media site dedicated to cinema attracts a million unique visitors each month. The company has already began offering streaming VoD in partnership with streaming site Unvivers Ciné.Riplay, formed in 2012 as a result of a merger of services CheeseVideo and CheeseMusic, allows users to digitise their DVDs and buy and sell digital versions of DVDs for viewing on multiple devices.According to Les Echos, Vodkaster has acquired an UltraViolet licence that will allow it to extend Riplay’s service. Vodkaster CEO Cyril Barthet told the paper that the UltraViolet platform would enable users to access videos between the closure of the transactional VoD window, when movies are generally only available on TV, and the subscription VoD window, which in France only appears 36 months after their release.Barthet told Les Echos his aim was to create a “French alternative to Netflix”.
UK commercial broadcaster has posted strong full-year results, with reveues up 9% to £2.389 billion (€2.899 billion) and EBITA before exceptional items up 21% to £620 million.Non advertising revenues grew by £175 million, boosted by performances from ITV Studios and online, pay and interactive services.“Broadcast and online performed well. we delivered further strong growth in online, pay and interactive, up 16% as we again improved the quality and availability of ITV Palyer and ITV Family NAR was up 2% as the TV advertising market returned to growth,” said CEO Adam Crozier.
A collection of veteran US TV execs have come together to launch a new true-crime channel, Justice Network.The US cable net count has been created by Bounce TV founder Lonnie Cooper.Steve Schiffman, former president of Nat Geo, Barry Wallach, former president of NBCUniversal US TV distribution and John Ford, the ex Discovery Channel president, are all among the senior executive team.Schiffman will be CEO of the new US cable net, which will work with stations group Gannett Broadcasting and cover a third of the US when it rolls out in January, 2015.“Recognising that by 2013, half of the top 50-rated prime shows on television were justice-oriented programming, our management team saw the need to satisfy America’s obsession with justice,” he said. “We are proud to be a part of this unique multicast network’s efforts to make a difference in people’s lives, fight crime and to keep communities safer.”The new channel will work with Crime Stoppers USA, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and other law enforcement agencies and have regular public service announcements, including ‘bad person of the week’, and safety tips for viewers.At launch, the programming line-up will include Body of Evidence, Psychic Detectives, LA Forensics, Missing Persons Unit and Murder by the Book.
Swiss media company AZ Medien has chosen online video platform provider Kaltura to provide the platform for its portfolio of online TV channels, news portals, and specialist online magazines.Kaltura’s platform is supporting news portals including Aargauer Zeitung, Basel, Solothurner Zeitung, and Oltner Tagblatt online TV channels TeleZüri and Tele M1, and the cooking magazine wildeisen.ch. AZ Medien’s other digital channels and portals will follow suit over the next few weeks.“We chose Kaltura because of its incredibly fast HTML5 player, as well as the platform’s flexibility and scalability. It took no time at all to integrate Kaltura’s platform into our various websites and we are already delivering a superior experience to consumers,” stated André Zeiger, Head of Product Management Special Interest-Sites at AZ Medien.“The reaction from our editors has been positive because they now have access to a range of intuitive tools for creating and uploading videos, as well as the ability to centrally manage content in a structured way. This significantly streamlines the whole process and boosts productivity.”
David ZaslavDiscovery says it is driving hard on 4K to ensure it is ready when pay TV platform operators start to demand content in the ultra high definition format.CEO and president David Zaslav and international president JB Perrette both affirmed the factual channel specialist’s commitment to the emerging format at a Discovery event in Paris.“Our content looks fantastic in 4K,” Zaslav said. “When there was the transition to HD we saw a bump in our market share because our content looked fantastic. We have been quietly driving very hard on the 4k transition, and are starting to see that happen; so, when distributors raise their hand and say we want some 4k, we are the leader and out content looksgreat. It’s an additional opportunity for us.”International chief Perrette added that while in-home 3D has not worked, with consumers failing to take to wearing the required glasses for small-screen viewing, Discovery is keen to be ready should 4K take off in the same way as HD.“On the non-fiction side, we’ll be doing more 4K commissioning, although how it will get exploited is to be decided,” he told TBI. “It uses a lot of bandwidth and a lot of distributors are working out what the level of demand is, but ultimately we want to be at the leading edge ofthat evolution.”Channel operators and pay platforms are proceeding cautiously in terms of full 4K networks. BT recently announced an upcoming 4K sports channel, requiring customers to take a new settop box. That will be the first 4K channel in Europe when it rolls out in August.Perrette added that having acquired Eurosport, sport could be a genre that lends itself content in the new format. “I think in sports we’d like to try and experiment in more ways and bring Eurosport into that widerDiscovery fold of being on the cutting edge and do some more things in 4k.”