Youth and students hold indignation rally in front of Meycauyan, Bulacan police station after striking NutriAsia workers and their supporters were violently dispersed and arrested on July 30, 2018. Photo by Anakbayan, used with permission

Filipino activist groups have launched a boycott campaign against popular Filipino condiment company NutriAsia for violently dispersing the strike of its workers.

On strike for the past two months, NutriAsia workers demand the regularization of contractual or temporary staff. On July 30, NutriAsia workers and their supporters had finished conducting an ecumenical mass in front of the Nutri Asia factory, where a picket line had been set up, when the combined forces of the police and company security began hitting the crowd with clubs, anti-riot shields, and stones.

In the Philippines, short-term employment practice, whereby the employee is terminated just before legally being eligible for regularized working status, is called “Endo contractualization“, the word “endo” referring to “end of contract”.

NutriAsia hires over 1,400 workers but only 100 are regular employees with the security of tenure, health insurance, and other work benefits. The majority of the workers face threats of illegal dismissal, underpaid overtime work amounting to 619 Philippine pesos (US$11.65) for 12 hours, salary deductions, repression of the right to organize unions, and substandard workplace conditions.

The Philippine Labor Ministry has ordered NutriAsia to regularize at least 900 of its workers. However, the company management says this is not possible because, according to them, these 900 workers are actually employees of a third-party agency and not in NutriAsia’s employ.

The strike comes in the wake of President Rodrigo Duterte’s (so-far) failed promise of abolishing contractualization practices in the country, which has led to an explosion of labor struggles seeking the regularization of workers in big companies such as telecommunications company PLDT and fast-food giant Jollibee.

Nutriasia is famous for condiment products like ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, cooking oil, and fruit juices that have become a staple in Filipino households. Its founder Joselito D. Campos, Jr. is also the Chief Executive Officer of Del Monte Pacific Ltd which runs a global operation of pineapple plantations in the Philippines and a dozen factories in the USA, Mexico, and Venezuela.

July 30 dispersal

Among those critically hurt on July 30 was Leticia Retiza, an urban poor leader, who was seen in a now-viral photo with blood from her mouth spilling on her blouse and scarf. At least 20 were hurt during the dispersal.


An old woman is badly wounded on the face when the picket was violently dispersed after an ecumenical mass.

How violent are the Meycauayan police and NutriAsia security guards. Watch the video.

The police arrested 19 strikers and supporters, including youth leaders and volunteers from the independent media outfit Altermidya. They were brought to the Meycauayan Police Station and charged with illegal assembly, alarm and scandal, and physical injuries. Meycauayan Town Police Chief Supt. Santos Mera, who ordered the dispersal of the NutriAsia workers’ picket, also claimed that they recovered guns and drugs from the arrested workers and their supporters.

Bulacan Provincial Police Chief Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna took the cudgels for the police involved in the dispersal and filing of charges against the striking workers, saying it was the protesters who hurt the guards of NutriAsia.

Bersaluna was chief of the Caloocan City police force before he was sacked after public outrage over the summary killing of teenager Kian Delos Santos last year. Police reported Kian was a drug dealer who fought back in a shootout with police but CCTV recording showed him being dragged by police before he was found dead the next day.

NutriAsia asserts that it was the workers and their supporters who started the “violence” by firing a gunshot in the air and throwing stones at police and security forces. However, videos and photos posted by advocates that have been supporting the striking workers undermine the statements made by the company.

The arrested strikers, their supporters, and journalists were released on August 1. The legal battle, however, is not yet resolved and the fate of the temporary workers is still uncertain.

Before the July 30 incident, the striking NutriAsia workers’ picket line had also been violently attacked last June 14, resulting in the arrest of 23 workers and their supporters, including a high school student.

#BoycottNutriAsia campaign

In response, some Filipino shoppers and netizens turned to social media expressing support for NutriAsia workers and calling for the boycott of NutriAsia products:

Mothers and fathers who are always doing grocery, I’m asking your help to #BoycottNutriasia. Here are their brands.

When you see it. From the FB of jong.

Political ads on television are easy enough to spot: anyone who lives in a battleground state or watches TV in late October can recognize the attack ads and candidate promos that blanket the airwaves, always with a disclaimer.

Facebook ads have been much different: Ahead of the 2016 campaign, each user saw a tailored set of advertisements and political ads that often appeared as just another post in the newsfeed.

Facebook has changed its rules to make political ads more obvious. New data released by Facebook and collected by researchers at NYU shows that Americans are still seeing plenty of political ads there — at least 2.2 billion times since May.

Use the tool below to explore political ads that were targeted toward your state, gender and age group, sorted by the advertisers who reached the most people in the demographic you select.

Ad blocking software may affect the performance of this interactive.
Data: Facebook/NYU Credit: Peter Andringa/NBC

Some pages that Facebook announced this week had been banned for taking part in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” ahead of the midterm elections did not appear in the Political Ad Archive database.

Still, the database shows both the size and the continued murky nature of political advertising on Facebook, even after Facebook started requiring that ads disclose their source of funding.

While some ads clearly support political campaigns, others promote a cause and some sell politically charged merchandise — clothing brand American AF has the second-most impressions of all advertisers on the platform. And some of the biggest political groups in the country, like Democratic super PACs Priorities USA Action and Senate Majority PAC, run ads through “community” pages that don’t appear political on their surface.

“Advertising is a deliberate and strategic behavior seeking to influence voters, and voters have a right to know who is influencing them,” said Young Mie Kim, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has studied political advertising on Facebook. “In the 21st century digital media environment, it’s incredibly difficult for voters to understand who is targeting them.”

The new data comes from Facebook’s Political Ad Archive tool, a transparency initiative the social media giant began after receiving bipartisan criticism over the spread of misinformation on its platform in 2016. The tool is one of several the company created to better regulate its own platform — social media is largely unregulated in the U.S., though lawmakers are considering ways to step in.

The database indicates that political advertisers spent between $21 million and $108 million between May 1 and July 18, receiving between 2.2 billion and 5.9 billion impressions in the time period. (Facebook does not provide precise numbers, instead offering a range for each figure to protect advertisers’ confidential information.)

Trump’s Make America Great Again Committee was the top overall spender in the period, spending between $344,000 and $2.3 million. Also included in the top 10 are advocacy groups like Planned Parenthood, companies like ExxonMobil and politicians like Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, who is running to replace Republican Ted Cruz in the U.S. Senate, and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign was one of the first political campaigns to use Facebook advertising on such a large scale, spending tens of millions of dollars on narrowly targeted ads. Sometimes each ad would have thousands of variants, with subtle tweaks in color or wording to test what would perform best.

After the election, Facebook executives internally praised the Trump campaign as an “innovator” in advertising on the platform, according to BuzzFeed News.

But this year, Trump-affiliated firm Cambridge Analytica was revealed to have obtained personal data of 87 million Facebook users through a personality quiz taken by only a few hundred thousand people. Authorities are investigating whether Cambridge Analytica used that data to influence the campaign.

Key Moments From Zuckerberg’s TestimonyKey Moments From Zuckerberg’s Testimony

Amid the fallout, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was called before Congress to testify about how his platform was used in 2016 and to explain what it would do to ensure foreign actors couldn’t influence future elections. Facebook was also hit with fines in the United Kingdom and could face more in the U.S. for allowing Cambridge Analytica to collect data without users permission, while the data firm eventually filed for bankruptcy amid investigators’ scrutiny.

Cambridge Analytica wasn’t the only group to be accused of using Facebook unethically during the election.

In late 2017, the House Intelligence Committee revealed that Russian intelligence services had purchased thousands of Facebook ads in support of the Trump campaign, many of which promoted false news stories or aimed to suppress voter turnout among people who were likely to support Hillary Clinton. Russians created Facebook groups with names like “Secured Borders,” “Blacktivist” and “Heart of Texas,” according to an indictment filed in February by special counsel Robert Mueller.

And on July 31, the company announced that it had already discovered suspicious activity from bad actors who were running pages to try to influence voters ahead of the 2018 elections. Thirty-two pages and accounts with tens of thousands of likes were taken down. They had names like “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters” and shared a variety of content to make their pages harder to identify than in 2016.

Facebook Uncovers ‘Covert’ Political CampaignFacebook Uncovers 'Covert' Political Campaign

Nevertheless, the Trump campaign’s Facebook strategy was effective, so other campaigns are now trying to learn from it. A New York Times report on an earlier version of the NYU dataset cited political consultants who said Republicans generally spent more on digital ads than Democrats did, but noted that trend may be changing — some prominent Democrats appear high in the lists of top spenders.

Boston University professor Tobe Berkovitz, a former political advertising consultant, told NBC that the Trump campaign’s micro-targeting strategy has become an important tool for campaigns because traditional, unifying messages aren’t as effective on social media.

“Very few people are persuaded by social media because it all comes from a highly partisan position,” he said in an email. “It’s better to reinforce existing attitudes or target people with weakly held positions and political affiliations.”

This spring, Facebook announced a number of new policies, among them creating the Political Ad Archive, to protect the platform from misuse of data, misinformation and foreign interference.

In a blog post explaining some of the new rules, Facebook said it would apply extra scrutiny and disclosure rules for ads that have “the goal of either influencing public debate, promoting a ballot measure or electing a candidate.” The policies aim to prevent malicious activity from interfering in the 2018 midterm elections.

This brings the platform more in line with rules for broadcast political ads, which require that advertisements state the candidate or group that paid for them. Yet there are no legal regulations on political advertising on the internet, which means it’s up to companies to make rules it as they see fit.

Many of the advertisers whose activity Facebook has flagged as political are similar: generic-looking news or community pages that share local stories, memes and short viral videos.

An example of a Facebook ad from the T-shirt vendor “American AF.”

But one top advertiser in many locations is shirt vendor American AF, which offers apparel with phrases like “Kill a commie for mommy,” “Guns don’t kill people, I kill people” and “Shut up Hillary.”

Its products are broadly supportive of Trump — shirts shows him riding a T-Rex or pumping iron — while all 15 products on the website that appeared in a recent search for “Hillary Clinton” were critical of her, including one that alludes to a vulgar word for women.

The brand has a large national presence on Facebook with more than 1 million likes and appears in the database as a top advertiser for men in age groups from 18 to 44 for most states across the country.

In an email, brand founder Shawn Wylde told NBC his page spent approximately $900,000 in Facebook ads since May. He said the ads do “remarkably well,” although he disputes why they should be included in the political ads database.

“We don’t feel the majority of our patriotic products are political in nature,” Wylde said in an email. “American AF is a humor page where we make fun of both parties; however, since we find President Trump so funny, we currently offer more products based on him.”

Yet, American AF has had run-ins with Facebook’s ad moderators, Wylde said: “We have had ad representatives revoked, patriotic ads and posts removed, profile accounts banned and were denied the blue checkmark verification badge. I think the page gets punished because some Facebook employees think it’s conservative.”

Devon Kearns, a Facebook spokeswoman, said the company regularly bans fake accounts but will allow anyone who is approved by its verification process to post political ads. Facebook then evaluates each ad on a case-by-case basis, taking down ones that violate the rules — including an ad from American AF that contained a slur against Native Americans, which was removed when NBC brought the page to Facebook’s attention.

Many of these rules are recent, and Facebook is still working to balance free speech and regulations for ads on its platform. Berkovitz, the former political advertising consultant now with Boston University, explained that political advertising on the internet was once a free-for-all and the rules are still evolving today.

“There were basically no rules until Cambridge Analytica,” he said. “Now there’s an effort to create guidelines and procedures. … I think increased transparency on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is a trend that will continue.”

The election advertising researchers who spoke to NBC for this article said Facebook’s disclosure requirements aren’t stringent enough. Facebook requires that groups put their legal name in the “paid for” statement, which is sometimes vague: the database includes sponsors like “One Nation” and “American Action Network” which don’t provide much more context for the average viewer.

“Now we have one more layer of information,” said Kim, who said the change is a step in the right direction, but she would prefer more. “We really need to look beyond not just the face of the ad but the pages and the sponsors – and the payer who could even be different.”

It isn’t always clear from looking at a page that it is being used for political purposes. That’s the case for “Hoosier Country,” a top advertiser in Indiana that calls itself “a community for anyone who wants to show their Hoosier pride” and has run attacks against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Braun.

An example of an ad from “Hoosier Country,” which was paid for by Priorities USA, a Democratic Super PAC.

The page appears at the top of the list of advertisers for most demographics in Indiana, and it spent between $78,000 and $384,000 in the state, according to the Facebook data. All of those ads are funded by the Democratic super PACs Priorities USA Action and Senate Majority PAC, a fact that Facebook now points out on the advertisements.

“Campaigns and political organizations have long created branded websites that share specific information with voters. These are locally focused pages for sharing articles and information from reputable news outlets and clearly labeled political sites that are of interest to voters in a specific region,” Priorities USA Action spokesman Josh Schwerin said in an email.

As of Aug. 1, the Facebook page’s “about” section did not mention its political aim or backers. 

Before May 24, when the political advertising rules went into effect, it would have been much harder to know these ads were funded by two of the largest super PACs in the country. And researchers say there are thousands of smaller “dark money” groups across the country who quietly spend on advertising campaigns.

Kim and her team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers looked at political ads on Facebook in 2016 and found that it was usually difficult to determine who was behind them.

“More than half the groups we examined were unidentifiable,” she said, noting that if academic researchers had trouble identifying advertisers, voters would have an even harder time.

Her team found that in the six weeks before Election Day in 2016, some voters saw about 35 ads a day. “It’s unfair and unreasonable to expect voters to figure out who are behind them,” she said.

Facebook now says it’s planning ahead and doing all it can to limit the misuse of political advertising on the platform for the upcoming midterm elections in November. In an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher this month, Zuckerberg admitted that the company was unprepared in 2016.

“This was a new thing,” he said. “I think we understand that we were slow to it and need to do a better job … defending against nation-states, which is not really a top-line thing that was a major focus before.”

Now that Facebook has close to double the number of users as the population of China, this is the new reality the company will have to face. In the interview, Zuckerberg reiterated his commitment to doing better.

“A lot of people are using [Facebook] for a lot of good,” he said, “but we also have a responsibility to mitigate the darker things that people are gonna try to do.”

The concussive crack of stun grenades echoed through the streets of downtown Portland Saturday as groups on opposing sides of the political spectrum took to the streets.

But despite weeks of heated rhetoric, the protest — which was organized by right-wing Patriot Prayer and countered by groups on the left — resulted in little violence between the two groups. Past clashes have quickly devolved to open fistfights and mayhem.

The protest, billed ostensibly as a rally for free speech and campaign event for Joey Gibson, the leader of Patriot Prayer and Republican U.S. Senatorial candidate from Vancouver, saw hundreds of his supporters, many of whom came from out of state, bussed in from across the border decked out in helmets, crash pads and shields festooned with the Confederate battle flag.

They were met by counter-protesters from a coalition of organizations on the left including a group called Popular Mobilization, which formed recently specifically to counter Gibson’s protest, another group dressed up as clowns and a cadre of antifascist activists commonly known as antifa.

Police formed barriers along Southwest Naito Parkway early in the day and effectively kept the groups separated, close enough to hurl insults, but too far to throw punches.

The biggest dust-up came when police in riot gear ordered a group of counter-protesters to disperse around 2 p.m. The group, which was tightly clustered near the intersection of Southwest Naito Parkway and Southwest Columbia Street, did not immediately leave and officers quickly began firing dozens of flash-bang grenades and rushing toward the crowd, shoving some protesters out of the street.

In a statement released Saturday night, officials said police vehicles were surrounded by the group and protesters were “throwing an unknown chemical agent as well as other projectiles at officers” prior to the use of flash-bang grenades. Police also fired pepper balls and so-called “less lethal” rounds at protesters.

The move elicited loud cheers of “USA! USA!” from the right-leaning group cordoned across the street.

After the dispersal order was given, some projectiles were thrown at police, one of which hit Eder Campuzano, a reporter from The Oregonian/OregonLive, in the head. He was bloodied, but is doing fine.

“Unfortunately, today, some people chose to commit illegal acts of violence, which required members of the Police Bureau to take action in order to keep all participants and non-participants safe,” Police Chief Danielle Outlaw said in a statement. “This was a dangerous situation for all those involved, including officers, and I am disheartened that this kind of illegal behavior occurred in our beautiful city.”

The protest shut down Naito Parkway, a major thoroughfare through downtown, for much of the day Saturday.

The runup to the demonstration took on an ominous tone after Gibson moved it to Tom McCall Waterfront Park, where those with permits to carry concealed weapons could legally arm themselves. Gibson also encouraged his supporters, who were legally able, to bring guns to the protest.

Throughout the day, Portland police released images of weapons collected from both sides, including knives, sticks, shields and fireworks. Unlike past demonstrations, however, Saturday’s dueling events never turned into the melee that many had predicted.

At least four people were arrested during the protest, most for disorderly conduct.

Oregonian reporters Eder Campuzano, Shane Dixon Kavanaugh, Anna Spoerre, Hannah Boufford and Jim Ryan contributed to this post.

—   Kale Williams



Gun enthusiasts argue that the best way to stop shootings is for “good guys” with guns to be present. But what happens when those good guys with guns are in a church or other place of worship, historical places of sanctuary?

Connie Peterson is an accountant whose work requires a calculator, not a weapon. But she doesn’t go anywhere without her gun — not even to church.

“My firearm is part of me,” Peterson says, explaining why she is armed when worshipping each Sunday at Salt Lake Christian Center.

Peterson, who is a licensed firearm instructor, believes that her knowledge and shooting skill could help to protect fellow church members from deadly violence like the July 22 attack at a service of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Fallon, Nevada.

But hers is a controversial position, not only because of the deep divide among Americans on gun control, but also because Peterson takes her gun to a place that has historically been a sanctuary from violence — not only for law-abiding citizens, but even for felons.

There’s also the issue of whether people of faith should be shooting others in a place of worship, given that an intruder might be mentally ill or a juvenile, and there’s always the risk of killing innocents in a chaotic situation.

“Guns and weapons do not belong in God’s house. Guns are not going to protect us. In fact, when a gun is present, people are at risk,” said the Rev. James E. Atwood, a retired Presbyterian pastor and nationally recognized gun control advocate.

With violence at places of worship on the rise, however, businesses that coach churches on security are increasingly busy, warning pastors and laity that their welcoming environs and open doors make them a “soft target” for shooters. Some security consultants even teach worshippers that they shouldn’t close their eyes in prayer in a public place.

But while guns are becoming a part of some churches’ security plans, they aren’t the only thing can bring an attacker down. Sometimes a well-aimed hymnal works.

‘Love always protects’

“There is nothing sacred about a church building,” says former police officer Jimmy Meeks, sounding more like a SWAT team member than the ordained minister he is.

Meeks works with Sheepdog Safety Seminars, which seeks to “awaken the protective instincts that reside in the hearts of all men (and many women)” through aggressive security measures, which can include well-trained people with guns, either hired or volunteer.

Meeks says the church of God is not a building, but, rather, the people who gather within it to worship, and the Bible is clear that the people have a moral obligation to protect their lives and the lives of others. A human “sheepdog” protects the flock from predators, Sheepdog seminars teach, quoting the Christian apostle Paul, “Love always protects.”

“God has no problem with you protecting innocent people from being slaughtered,” Meeks said. “Faith doesn’t mean you do nothing.”

Citing escalating statistics about violent deaths at places of worship — 114 in 2017 — Meeks said many people justify passivity by reciting Jesus’ admonition to “turn the other cheek” and believing that if the worst were to happen, they would die a martyr.

“But that’s not what’s happening. Only 6 to 9 percent of church shooters were motivated by religious persecution. Ninety-one percent of these guys are mad at a family member, their wife or something along those lines. They’re not killing people for their faith.

“Dying for a cause is what makes you a martyr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a martyr. Being gunned down in your church because the gunman is angry at someone, that doesn’t make you a martyr,” Meeks said.

Peterson has no intention of being a victim or a martyr. The Salt Lake City woman became a gun owner 18 years ago and is active with a group called The Well Armed Woman, where she learned to shoot and eventually became an instructor certified by the National Rifle Association.

Using a holster, she carries a gun on her at all times, even in a church pew. “If something happens, I can be my own first responder,” Peterson said, adding that most people are reactive after a shooting instead of being proactive by getting the education and tools to protect themselves in advance.

“Nobody wants to be in a situation where there’s a shooting, but there’s nothing wrong with walking around with a tool to protect your life and the life of those you love and care about, whether you’re in your home or in your church,” she said.

40 days a sanctuary

Dallas Drake, a criminologist who tracks church shootings at the Center for Homicide Research in Minneapolis, acknowledges that church shootings are increasing but finds the idea of arming church members as a deterrent “a little bit concerning,” since in nearly half of church shootings, the shooter was affiliated with the church.

That was the case in Fallon, Nevada, where a church member killed one person at a Mormon service and injured another last month. The victim reportedly greeted the shooter before the worship service.

LDS Church policy, moreover, prohibits the possession of lethal weapons on church property by anyone other than law enforcement officers and says, “Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world.”

Other churches have made similar stances, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), which in 2017 encouraged churches to post signs that read “No Guns in God’s House” and said only active law enforcement officers could bring guns on church property.

In trying to make their sanctuaries gun-free zones, modern churches seek to provide a haven for their members, but their early counterparts did even more, said Elizabeth Allen, an associate professor of English at the University of California, Irvine, who is writing a book on sanctuary law in medieval England.

From at least the 12th through the 16th centuries, churches were not only a sanctuary for worshippers, but also for lawbreakers. If a fugitive could make his way onto church grounds, his protection was guaranteed for at least 40 days, regardless of the crime of which the person was accused. The law even required that the fugitive be provided with food, Allen said, and made the fugitive’s protection “a sacred duty.”

After 40 days, the fugitive was expected to confess to his crime and then go into exile. At the peak of the practice, in the 1300s and 1400s, more than 500 people sought sanctuary in churches every year, Allen said.

Such magnanimity, however, diminished in 1623, when King James announced that felons could no longer enjoy sanctuary in churches, and today the term is largely symbolic.

But the idea of the church as a place that rejects anything related to violence persists in people such as the Rev. James Atwood, a longtime hunter who became impassioned about gun control after one of his parishioners was fatally shot by a teenager who obtained a handgun from a friend at a bowling alley.

In his books “Gundamentalism” and “America and Its Guns, a Theological Expose,” Atwood rues “the caveman’s impulse” to protect oneself by killing others “instead of pursuing the strong biblical admonitions to avoid the shedding of blood.” He says that while horrific shootings, such as those in Charleston, South Carolina, and Sutherland Springs, Texas, remain fixed in the public’s minds, the odds of getting shot at a church are minuscule. Mass shootings — the ones that make headlines — comprise 2 percent of shootings in the country, he said.

“That doesn’t mean I’m going to be Pollyanna and think that something can’t happen, but I’m going to put my basic trust in God and look at the numbers,” he said.

The Center for Homicide Research counted 139 deadly church shootings, with 185 total victims, between 1980 and 2005, its first wave of research. (That number, however, includes 74 people who died at the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas, in 1993.) The shootings occurred in 26 states, with the most in Texas (25, plus those who died in Waco) and 12 each in California and Wisconsin. There were none in Utah.

Even if an assailant does open fire in a church, Atwood said it’s unlikely that armed worshippers firing back will save lives. He cites a study of New York City police officers’ proficiency on a firing range that found only about 18 percent accuracy when fire was being returned. He also notes that Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL featured in the movie “American Sniper,” was an accomplished sniper who was armed when he was killed by a fellow veteran on a shooting range.

“We think if we have a gun, we’re going to be protected, but it’s a myth,” Atwood said.

A special vulnerability

Drake, at the Center for Homicide Research, noted that churches are vulnerable to violence, not only because of their open doors, but because their message of hope is attractive to troubled people, a small percentage of whom may turn violent.

“Churches tend to draw people who need help, whether they’re impoverished, they have mental illness, or domestic violence; that’s part of the role and the position of the church,” he said.

In the center’s first wave of data collection, which spanned the years 1980 to 2005, 5 percent of the shooters had been rejected as a member by the church; 12 percent felt excluded. Additionally, nearly one-quarter of the shootings involved domestic violence.

The research done by Drake and his colleagues involved shootings anywhere on church grounds (to include parking lots and fellowship halls), and it only involved churches, not temples or mosques, which have also seen violence. These incidents include the wounding of two men at a Los Angeles synagogue in 2009, the fatal shooting of six at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee in 2012, and the killing of nine at a Buddhist temple in Arizona in 1991.

Drake and his colleagues are working on a new analysis of shootings in subsequent years, and it appears the incidence has doubled since their initial report.

“It’s clearly something that’s occurring more often, and we need to be concerned about these kinds of things,” Drake said.

The center does not take a stand about what should be done, but Drake notes that even the most well-intentioned gun owner can accidentally discharge a gun. “We like to think there’s a safe place, but there’s not,” he said. “If you are a church that decides to have loaded handguns in church, accidents can happen. There have been many cases of handguns accidentally discharged in restrooms.”

Last year, a Tennessee man accidentally shot himself and his wife at a gun-safety talk at his church.

Jimmy Meeks, the retired police officer who now conducts Sheepdog Seminars, believes in taking aggressive measures to protect yourself and your loved ones, even if you aren’t personally comfortable with guns.

“There are various ways to fight these guys. Not everything is solved with a gun,” he said.

In fact, in one incident in 1988 in Kansas, church members fought off an assailant after one member threw a hymnal at the shooter while he was reloading.

But he does urge churches to consider protection by professionals if they can afford it and applauds Texas for passing a law last year that allows churches to establish their own security forces composed of church members.

“We’re not saying you have to have a gun at all. But if you want to stop these killers, though, and they’re coming with a gun, you need equal firepower or more,” he said. “You never want to make your church all about security, but no church should allow any threat to stop them in their mission.”

Atlantic Screen Music Marks 10th Year Anniversary By Acquiring Redfive Creative, A Noted, UK-Based Music Supervision & Sync Company:

Los Angeles, CA, & London, UK – August 6, 2018 – Atlantic Screen Music, (ASM), a division of parent company Atlantic Screen Group, is currently celebrating its 10th Anniversary Year and, concurrently, has acquired Redfive Creative, a noted, UK-based music supervision and sync company. In addition, the unique ASM, which provides funds for feature film productions – thereby owning the resulting film scores – has just completed its 150th film score, this for the Julian Schnable movie “At Eternity’s Gate” (the closing night film of the 56th New York Film Festival.) Also, ASM has retained Los Angeles-based Jonathan Firstenberg as its first North American Representative. The announcements were made today by Simon Fawcett, CEO, Atlantic Screen Group.

As a result of the ASM acquisition of Redfive Creative, the company’s Creative Director, Rupert Hollier, and Music Supervisor, David Fish, are proud to have become part of one of the world’s largest film score soundtrack production entities. Redfive, a leading creative music agency for film, TV and advertising, brings to ASM its expertise within the areas of: creative searches and licensing, bespoke composition and re-records, sonic branding, music strategy and production, score funding, and financial analysis.
ASM has produced and owns the Film Score Soundtracks for major motion pictures, by funding the films they own the scores to. The ASM Film Soundtrack Catalog features as many styles, genres and moods of music as there are Films that make it to the screen. ASM film score soundtracks offer music cues of varying instrumentation ranging from Fiery Symphonic Orchestra and Choir to Raging Power Guitars, to Plaintive Piano, Poignant Cello, Distorted Electronica and Sound Design and all other familiar and not so familiar instruments and sounds on the spectrum. These soundtracks are now available to license for Film, TV, Advertising and All-Media formats, with the publishing and Masters all Pre-Cleared for quick licensing.

Among the films ASM has produced soundtracks for, to date, are “2 Guns,” “Atomic Blonde,” “Churchill,” “Escape Plan” “Forsaken,” “Heist,” “Kidnap,” “Lone Survivor,” “Paranoia,” “The Frozen Ground,” “The Host,” “The Zookeeper’s Wife,” and “Vice” to name just some. Upcoming ASM film score projects include those for “Backtrace,” starring Sylvester Stallone; “The Hummingbird Project,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Salma Hayek; “I Think We’re Alone Now,” starring Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning; “All the Devil’s Men,” starring William Fichtner and Sylvia Hoeks; “Rabid,” starring Laura Vandervoort; and “Mara,” starring Olga Kurylenko.

In his new role as ASM’s first North American Representative, Jonathan Firstenberg will be scouting for Music Catalog acquisition opportunities and partnerships, introducing Blockbuster Film Score Soundtracks for sync, and promoting ASM’s Copyright Administration Services (CAS) which offers rights’ holders a more robust and generous foreign royalty and mechanical collection model. Firstenberg is an acquisition specialist, experienced in strategic creative and business development for Music Publishing companies. He has served as SVP, Strategic Development, VP Business Development, Creative Director and Executive Producer for Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG and Zomba. Firstenberg is a three-time Emmy Award winner for “Outstanding Music Supervision and Composition.”

Regarding today’s news, Fawcett said, “We are thrilled and delighted to be celebrating our 10 year anniversary milestone. We are 100% focused on creating the best value return coupled with the highest quality of service to our clients working across the genres of feature film, television, advertising and games, as well as throughout the music industry. Our acquisition of Redfive Creative will allow us to expand into the supervision, bespoke, and advertising markets on a number of different levels. Redfive’s ethos and strategy is completely aligned with ours, and we are delighted to integrate them into our team. And we are also looking forward to a long and productive new working relationship with Jonathan Firstenberg, who will help us expand and introduce our company to new clients and partners across the Hollywood marketplace and beyond.”

Adds Rupert Hollier, “We are delighted to be able to bring Redfive Creative under the Atlantic Screen Music umbrella – it is a natural fit due to our existing relationship, which allows R5 to retain its autonomy and independence, whilst benefiting from the ASM model across the board, and being able to provide them with a more robust and proactive music supervision capability. This is hugely exciting for all of us.”


Launched in 2008, Atlantic Screen Music is a music publishing, music production and music investment company, concentrating on the acquisition, financing, supervision, and publishing of over 200 major film score soundtracks. The company’s focus is on screen, writing and production talent, including John Debney, Max Richter, Steve Jablonsky, Clinton Shorter, Daniel Hart, Lorne Balfe, Explosions in the Sky, Atticus Ross, Harry Gregson-Williams and other high profile film/TV/recording artists. ASM also has associations with such top film production companies as Emmett Furla, Voltage Films, Foresight Films, and Kintop Films.

ASM Film Score Soundtracks are created by the world’s most highly-achieved composers and crafted by equally talented music supervisors, directors and producers.

Among the renowned film composers ASM works with are:

John Debney: “The Jungle Book,” “The Greatest Showman,” “The Passion of the Christ,” “Iron Man 2”

Paul Leonard-Morgan: “Limitless,” “Fallen,” “Spooks”

Antonio Pinto: “Collateral,” “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “Lula,” “Senna,” “ Deriva”

Max Richter: “Arrival,” “The Leftovers,” “Lore,” “Vals Im Bashir”

Atticus Ross: “The Social Network,” “Gone Girl,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” “The Book of Eli”

Alex Heffes: “The Last King of Scotland,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Tsunami: The Aftermath,” “State of Play,” “Roots” (2016)

Clinton Shorter: “District 9,” “Code Black,” “2 Guns,” “Pompeii,” “Contraband”

Among ASM’s areas of expertise:

** Music Publishing: film score soundtracks, production and commercial catalogs.

** Monetizing Rights Quarterly: payments to musicians, songwriters, composers and publishers

** Music Publishing Administration: administering the producers’ publishing rights

** Music Supervision: creative searches and commercial cut licensing, budget analysis and negotiations

** Score Production: sourcing composers and arranging for orchestras and recording studios

** Music Investment and Funding: dedicated to music production, composers, media and the entertainment industry

** Music Budgeting: assessing music budgets and estimating music income streams

** Music Copyright Audits: auditing a producer’s historical music royalties

** Creating and Production: high quality TV and feature films for the global market

In Los Angeles, Jonathan Firstenberg, ASM’s North American Representative, can be contacted via: or 323/829-9986.

In the UK, Rupert Hollier, ASM Music Supervisor, can be contacted via or + 44 (0) 7894 757 722

Please see: for more information.

# # #

ASM North American Rep:
Jonathan Firstenberg

Media Contact:
Dan Harary
The Asbury PR Agency
Beverly Hills, CA USA

Students shaken by one of America’s worst school shootings less than six months ago carried their reform message to the Alabama State House today, calling on lawmakers to support gun safety laws and to disregard the powerful National Rifle Association.

A group of about 30 students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., came to Montgomery on their Road to Change tour, presented my March for Our Lives.

Most of the group was not admitted past security so they staged their planned “sit-in” in the State House lobby, chanting “vote them out,” “everyday shootings are everyday problems,” and “USA not NRA.”

Tabitha Isner, the Democratic nominee for Congress in Alabama’s 2nd District, came by the State House to hear what the students had to say.

“I think the biggest takeaway is how great it is to see young people that are using their anger and their fear in a positive way, that they’re trying to make change,” Isner said. “Lots of young people, when they feel ostracized from the community or they feel abandoned in their community will resort to bad behavior, criminal behavior. And I think it’s a powerful testimony that these young folks have decided to try to change policy rather than giving up on the society around them.”

The trip to Montgomery followed a town hall the Florida students held Tuesday in Birmingham, joined by students from Birmingham and Huntsville.

Wednesday evening, they planned to march on the historic Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.

One of the group’s purposes for the State House visit was to deliver a letter to state Rep. Elaine Beech, D-Chatom. Beech, like most lawmakers, was not at the State House on Wednesday morning because the Legislature is not in session.

Alex Wind, 17, who will be a senior at Douglas High School this year, said the students picked Beech because of comments she made in an interview after the Feb. 14 shooting, when a former student killed 17 people.

Beech was interviewed two weeks after the shooting on Eagle Eye Auburn and was asked about proposals for new gun restrictions.

Beech told the interviewer she was an NRA member and joked that she was a “pistol packin’ mama,” because she carried a gun in her car.

Wind said the students thought Beech’s comment was inappropriate in the wake of the school shooting.

In an email today, Beech elaborated on her remarks.

“I did comment that I carried a pistol because I live in the country and live alone,” Beech said. “I have actually completed a gun safety class and mentioned that also.  I guess my ‘packing’ comment was inappropriate at the time, but by no means did I mean to offend anyone.  I grew up with guns and family is a huge hunting family. We have to make our schools safe, but we also need to take care of the mental health issues of this state.”

Wind said in the letter to Beech he asked her to seek tighter regulations of certain weapons.

“I told her that she needs to take action,” Wind said. “In that interview she also said that she sees an argument where there may be some weapons that could be too dangerous to be in the hands of people that could use them potentially in a bad way. So, I asked her to put that into actual legislation and actual change.”

Wind noted that Alabama had the second highest rate of gun deaths in the nation but that the state Legislature is silent on tighter gun restrictions. Wind said a key issue in Alabama and other states is more citizen involvement in government.

“I find that in especially Alabama I’ve seen that a lot of candidates run unopposed,” Wind said. “And what I think is so important as citizens to learn is that we need to make sure that if something is up with our elected officials, we need to try and fix that. And if it has to come into your hands, let it come into your hands. Everyday citizens are the type of people we need in office.”

Some of the students complained during the sit-in that they were not allowed past the security checkpoints inside the State House.

Derek Hamilton, the chief law enforcement officer in the State House, said the group received the same controlled access as other large groups. Hamilton said the students were allowed to designate four people to deliver the letter to a clerk who works for Beech.

“What we did today was consistent with what we’ve done with other groups,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he escorted the four people designated by the group, two students, a group coordinator and a fourth person to take photos and videos. He said media members followed them and conducted interviews.

Hamilton said House security was not told in advance the group was coming.

Isner said she hopes the students’ message is heard.

“My hope is that our legislators, both at the state and federal level will take seriously the concerns of these citizens,” Isner said. “They have a good reason to be afraid and to be mad that they keep being told that nothing can be done about gun violence when there are so many potential policy changes that could be made to reduce gun violence in America.”

A US judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the online publication of blueprints for 3D-printed firearms, in a last-ditch effort to stop a settlement US President Donald Trump’s administration had reached with the company releasing the digital documents.

Eight states and Washington had filed a lawsuit against the federal government, calling its settlement with Texas-based Defense Distributed “arbitrary and capricious.”

Trump’s administration had settled a five-year legal fight by permitting the company to publish its Web site Defcad — which founder Cody Wilson envisioned as a WikiLeaks for homemade firearms called “ghost guns.”

Those weapons can be manufactured using 3D printers or personal steel mills, and lack traceable serial numbers.

US District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order blocking the release of the digital plans.

He also scheduled a hearing for Friday next week.

In a written statement, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood, one of plaintiffs, called the ruling “a major victory for common sense and public safety.”

“As we argued in the suit we filed yesterday, it is — simply — crazy to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3D printed guns at the touch of a button. Yet that’s exactly what the Trump administration decided to allow,” she said.

As uproar mounted on Tuesday, the White House expressed skepticism over the legality of Wilson’s efforts, even though the administration had green-lighted the project.

Trump weighed in on Twitter, revealing that he had spoken to the US’ main pro-gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), about the topic.

“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public,” he said. “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

While Wilson has become the public face of homemade weapons technology, the phenomenon of “ghost guns” is bigger than his Web site.

Los Angeles police last month showcased an arsenal of such weapons seized from gang members during a six-month undercover operation, including AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles.

Attorney Gen. Josh Shapiro says the Texas-based pro-gun group Defense Distributed agreed to block Pennsylvania users after an emergency hearing Sunday night in federal court in Philadelphia, according to the Washington Post. “These downloadable firearms were just about to be widely available online,” Shapiro said on Twitter. “It’s an existential threat to our state and we stepped in to stop it. The site is — and will remain — dark throughout (Pennsylvania)”. Shapiro says he, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Police sued the company before its formal rollout on Wednesday, August 1, according to CBS News. Governor Wolf says untraceable guns in the hands of unknown users “is too daunting to stand by and not take action.”

So far this year there have been 17 668 incidents involving guns across the United States and 4 399...

So far this year, there have been 17,668 incidents involving guns across the United States and 4,399 fatalities, Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit group, says on its website


CBS Philadelphia reports Shapiro said, “The harm to Pennsylvanians would have been immediate and irreversible. Defense Distributed was promising to distribute guns in Pennsylvania in reckless disregard of the state laws that apply to gun sales and purchases in our Commonwealth. Once these untraceable guns are on our streets and in our schools, we can never get them back.” “The decision tonight to block Pennsylvania users from downloading these 3D gun files is a victory for public safety and common sense.” “What I’m opposed to is technology unchecked,” said David Chipman, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent. He says 3D-printed guns present a real and present danger because they’re both unregulated and untraceable. We are basically handing the keys to the store to terrorists and armed criminals,” he said. Shapiro also added that the company actually began distributing gun files Friday and by Sunday, 1,000 people had downloaded 3D plans for AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles.

Prototype of the Blackstar Arms 3D-printed rifle.

Prototype of the Blackstar Arms 3D-printed rifle.

Mitch Barrie from Reno, NV, USA

The Defense Distributed story Defense Distributed was founded by gun rights advocate Cody Wilson in 2012. In the company’s first year, it produced a durable printed receiver for the AR-15, the first printed standard capacity AR-15 magazine and the first printed magazine for the AK-47. According to the company’s original website information, which has been taken down, the nonprofit is organized and operated for charitable and literary purposes, specifically “to defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute… such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest.” Today, the website says “Defense Distributed is a non-profit, private defense firm principally engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacture of products and services for the benefit of the American rifleman. Since 2012, DD has been headquartered in Austin, Texas.” This description is more mundane and there is no reference to 3D printed weapons or Constitutional rights. On May 5, 2013, Defense Distributed made these printable STL files public, and within days the United States Department of State demanded they be removed from the Internet, citing a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. One day later, the company, joined by the Second Amendment Foundation, brought suit against the Department of State in the Western District of Texas, After being denied an injunction against the State Department, the case was sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 10, 2018, it was announced that Defense Distributed and Second Amendment Foundation had accepted a settlement offer from the Department of State, effectively winning the case and restarting their work, according to Wired. The court battle is won Cody Wilson staunchly defended his Second Amendment rights argument, but actually focused on the First Amendment to the Constitution that focuses on the right to freedom of speech. The company argued: “that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information.” This blurring of the line between a gun and a digital file worked.

Portrait of Cody Wilson in Austin Texas in 2012

Portrait of Cody Wilson in Austin, Texas in 2012

Cody Wilson

“If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident,” Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. “So what if this code is a gun?” Well, the Supreme Court couldn’t deny Wilson’s argument and offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse. The court agreed to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber and remove their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won’t try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public Internet. And interestingly, this argument is not just about the right to bear arms, even if they are the new, untraceable ones, but it is about exports. The Washington Post points out there is no reason to restrict the exporting of digital information, in this case, instructions on making a weapon. We may or may not like this new world being ushered in. But there’s no point in trying to restrict it, because doing so just won’t work, continues the Washington Post. So, here we are.

To the editor:

To all LDS/Christian people: The Gospel of Jesus Christ explains very clearly that forced taking of your money without your choice to give to others is wrong. If you are a socialist and claim to be Christian, you need to chose one or the other, as you are an enemy to Father and Christ for pushing a socialist/communist/democracy type of global government.

Socialism isn’t of Father. It is of Lucifer. It’s a planned objective, an attack to remove freedoms of the people and make governments their God, as a giver of freedoms or privileges.


There is a storm coming. The silent majority is awakening and are telling all socialists, democratic, et al. now. The people should not comply with illegal laws enforced, where people can vote away your rights. We’re a republic, where no matter who or how many votes are cast, our rights remain inalienable or untouchable by man or government.

Our republic had installed a safeguard for this type of illegal government action. It is called fully informed juries, as they can decide if the law is justifiable and if the punishment is justifiable for the alleged crimes. But the NGO company called the BAR won’t allow this to take place in their courts. No justice, No peace.

This kind of evil that forces people to surrender their hard earnings to governments or special-interest groups is not of Father, it’s of Lucifer, as he spoke the words of forcing people to obey, not allowing free agency.

Governments have no jurisdiction over our rights, except when “probable cause” justifies law enforcement. In other words, when people harm others or damage others’ property, then the governments with consent of those harmed can intervene.

I’m reaching out to all law enforcement officers and lawmakers. If you say no to socialism, global governments, you’ll see a drastic change in law enforcement support. Stop being revenue collectors for your state, county or city and start protecting and serving the people.

It’s time to make a stand by the silent majority of peace-seeking people. We are not anti government as the press and governments label us. We are only against unlawful governments, deep-state global cartel world bankers, puppets occupying governments.

So you all know. The silent majority of people have over 100 million guns and billions of rounds of ammo. The good people of the USA republic can form a fighting force of over 70 million Americans. So socialism puppets and puppet masters, stand down and accept defeat and leave our nation. Go to a socialist nation and harvest your rewards. So, good luck with that, and most of all, don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

David J. D’Addabbo