06-27-2022  2:26 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Summer of Sound Celebrates Portland’s Black Jazz and Soul Legacy, Elders

The World Arts Foundation and Albina Music Trust put North Portland’s music history back onstage.

LIV Golf Heads to Oregon, Where Local Officials Aren't Happy

Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf is getting a chilly reception in Oregon, its first stop in the United States.

Abortion Remains Legal, Accessible in Oregon in Wake of Supreme Court Ruling

Decision has no effect on Oregon’s Reproductive Health Equity Act that guarantees right to receive abortion, health care providers’ right to provide it

Black Man Police Killed in Clackamas County ID'd, Police Say He Had Gun

The shooting is being investigated by the Oregon City and Lake Oswego police departments.

NEWS BRIEFS

Hawthorne, Morrison Bridges Will Close to Motorized Vehicles for July 4 Fireworks Show

The bridges will remain open for bicyclists and pedestrians. ...

Increased Emergency Snap Benefits Continue in July

Approximately 422,000 households will receive an estimated million in extra food benefits ...

Opacity of Performance: Takahiro Yamamoto Opens at PAM

The Portland Art Museum marks a return to live art inside its galleries with a dance installation by Takahiro Yamamoto, the museum’s...

Portland's First Black Book Festival Launches on Juneteenth Weekend

She’s bringing together the community through books! ...

Juneteenth Events

Juneteenth Oregon Celebration was founded 50 years ago by the late and beloved community leader Clara Peoples. View Juneteenth events...

Biden aims at China in new illegal fishing policy framework

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The Biden administration is stepping up efforts to combat illegal fishing by China, ordering federal agencies to better coordinate among themselves as well as with foreign partners in a bid to promote sustainable exploitation of the world's oceans. On Monday,...

Air Force ROTC cadet dies in Idaho training accident

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho (AP) — An Air Force ROTC cadet from Alaska died in an accident involving a Humvee during a training exercise in Idaho, Mountain Home Air Force Base said Sunday. Mackenzie Wilson, 19, a cadet at Oregon State University, died of injuries sustained in an accident...

OPINION

Quenn Tiye’s Kitchen

Centuries of indoctrination have ingrained into the minds of white and Black Americans that any aspect of Africanness is negative. ...

The Plan for Transforming Public Safety and Policing in the U.S.

Rising crime leaves communities feeling unsafe, however, police violence and killings of unarmed civilians demonstrate that pouring more money into more-of-the-same policing is not the answer. ...

What Is Afrofuturism? An English Professor Explains

Chambliss defines Afrofuturism as an intersection of speculation and liberation that’s inspired by the concerns of people of African descent. ...

Reflections on the Massacre of the Buffalo 10 & Racism

Former NY state senator and Buffalo native knew many of the people killed ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Harris emerges as top abortion voice, warns of more fallout

WASHINGTON (AP) — During Brett Kavanaugh's 2018 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, then-California Sen. Kamala Harris asked the judge if he thought women's privacy rights extended to choosing to have an abortion. Kavanaugh declined to answer. With Justice Kavanaugh now part of...

Marlin Briscoe, 1st Black starting QB in AFL, dies at 76

Marlin Briscoe, who became the first Black starting quarterback in the American Football League more than 50 years ago, died Monday. His daughter, Angela Marriott, told The Associated Press that Briscoe, 76, died of pneumonia at a hospital in Norwalk, California. He had been...

Supreme Court rules for inmates seeking reduced prison terms

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court made it easier Monday for certain prison inmates to seek shorter sentences under a bipartisan 2018 federal law aimed at reducing racial disparities in prison terms for cocaine crimes. The justices ruled 5-4 that trial judges who are asked to...

ENTERTAINMENT

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 3-9

Celebrity birthdays for the week of July 3-9: July 3: Actor Michael Cole (“The Mod Squad”) is 82. Singer Judith Durham of The Seekers is 79. Actor Kurtwood Smith (“That 70s Show”) is 79. Country singer Johnny Lee is 76. Writer Dave Barry is 75. Actor Betty Buckley is 75. Actor...

Review: A hunting trip turns deadly when a blizzard strikes

“Outside” by Ragnar Jonasson (Minotaur) It’s reunion week in Iceland for Daniel, Armann, Gunnlaugur, and Helena, who were tight in college and like to get together every year or so to drink heavily and catch up. They all have issues. Daniel has been lying about how...

Grammy Award-winning songwriter Ken Williams dies at 83

NEW YORK (AP) — Songwriter Kenneth “Ken” Williams, who wrote or co-wrote hundred of tunes for a vast array of performers, including Donny Hathaway, The Four Tops and Peaches & Herb, including The Main Ingredient's hit “Everybody Plays the Fool,” has died. He was 83. ...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

EXPLAINER: What's the impact of a Russian debt default?

LONDON (AP) — Russia appeared to default on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution...

NATO to boost rapid reaction force, Ukraine military support

BRUSSELS (AP) — NATO allies will decide at a summit this week to increase the strength of their rapid reaction...

No reruns: Committee tries new approach to break through

NEW YORK (AP) — As television programming goes, expectations were widespread that the Jan. 6 committee hearings...

EXPLAINER: G7 provides forum for like-minded democracies

ELMAU, Germany (AP) — In 1975, leaders of the world’s wealthy democracies gathered to deal with an energy...

They danced and died: Tragic teen party mystery in S. Africa

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — South African authorities were seeking answers Monday, a day after 21 underage...

Qatar Energy to cut emissions as methane movement grows

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The state-owned oil and gas company Qatar Energy said Monday it is joining a...

Mark Sherman the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Xavier Alvarez was in good company when he stood up at a public meeting and called himself a wounded war veteran who had received the top military award, the Medal of Honor.

Alvarez was lying about his medal, his wounds and his military service, but he wasn't the first man to invent war exploits.

He was, however, one of the first people prosecuted under a 2006 federal law aimed at curbing false claims of military valor.

Concerns that the law improperly limits speech and turns people into criminals for things they say, rather than do, are at the heart of the Supreme Court's review of his case and the Stolen Valor Act.

Veterans groups have come to the aid of the Obama administration, which calls the law a narrowly crafted effort to protect the system of military awards that was established during the Revolutionary war by Gen. George Washington. The high court will hear the case Wednesday, which is Washington's 280th birthday.

"They're committing fraud. They're impersonating somebody else. They take on attributes of somebody else, attributes of a hero who served honorably," said Pam Sterner, whose college term paper calling for the law wound up in the hands of members of Congress. "When you do that, impersonating someone else, that's fraud, not freedom of speech."

Civil liberties groups, writers, publishers and news media outlets, including The Associated Press, have told the justices they worry the law, and especially the administration's defense of it, could lead to more attempts by government to regulate speech.

When he established military decorations in 1782, seven years before he was elected as the nation's first president, Washington himself also prescribed severe military punishment for soldiers who purported to be medal winners but weren't. Since then, many men have embellished their war records, and some have won special recognition.

It long has been a federal crime to wear unearned medals, but mere claims of being decorated were beyond the reach of law enforcement.

The House of Representatives has more than once voted to name a post office after men who claimed awards they never received. The Air Force named an award after a man who falsely claimed to have survived the Bataan Death March and been awarded the Silver Star in World War II. The Boxing Writers of America named its perseverance award after the late Pat Putnam of Sports Illustrated because of his made-up tale of surviving a Chinese prisoner of war camp in the Korean War and receiving a Navy Cross.

The Stolen Valor Act aimed to solve that problem, and garnered significant support in Congress during a time of war.

"The admiration and respect for the military increased dramatically after 9/11 and the false claims, as well," said Thomas A. Cottone Jr., a retired FBI agent who investigated phony award cases.

Alvarez made his claims by way of introducing himself as an elected member of the Three Valleys Municipal Water District in Pomona, Calif. There is nothing to suggest that he received anything in exchange or that listeners especially believed him.

Even Alvarez' lawyers acknowledged their client sometimes has trouble telling the truth. "Xavier Alvarez lied," they declare in the first sentence of their Supreme Court brief and go on to recount six separate lies in the next few lines.

He lied when he claimed he played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings, married a Mexican starlet who made paparazzi swoon, was an engineer, rescued the American ambassador during the Iranian hostage crisis and was shot when he went back for the U.S. flag. Alvarez also lied, they said, when he talked about his military service.

But the lies Alvarez told harmed no one, they said, so what he did couldn't be considered fraud.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco struck down the law as an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and said the government might instead invest in an awards database that would make it harder for people to lay claim to medals they never won. Last month, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the law in a separate case, saying the First Amendment does not always protect false statements.

The issue might never have reached this stage if not for the efforts of Sterner, and her husband, Doug.

He is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has made it his work in recent years to ensure that service members get the recognition they deserve and expose those who falsely claim acts of heroism under fire. Rather than wait for the government to act, Doug Sterner has entered nearly 100,000 award citations since Civil War in his online database, including all 3,475 Medal of Honor winners in U.S. history. His archive is used by the Military Times newspapers, published by Gannett Co.

Pam Sterner went back to school in her early 40s at Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colo. In a political science course, she wrote a paper that grew out of her husband's frustrations over phony award claimants whose worst punishment was public embarrassment. That paper eventually led to the Stolen Valor Act.

Doug Sterner's database did not save Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, from some embarrassment when he invited cameras and reporters to watch him pin medals on an elderly Korean War veteran in June.

The veteran, Myron Brown of Utah, said his Distinguished Service Cross and Silver Star were awarded belatedly, and he asked Chaffetz to present them to him publicly.

After the ceremony took place, Sterner and others raised questions about the medals and the Pentagon confirmed to Chaffetz in December that they were not authentic.

"Others have been burned by this. I have too, but I want to solve the problem," Chaffetz told the Salt Lake Tribune. He is planning a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee he leads to explore creating a government-run awards database.

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Online:

Military Times Hall of Valor database

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Jan. 6 Committe Hearings - Day 6

A suprise hearing with newly discovered evidence will be held Tuesday, June 28 at 9:45 a.m. PT (12:45 p.m. ET).

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