San Francisco responds to Trump's campaign of hate and discrimination against immigrants

The Trump administration continues its racist campaign ending TPS

(Temporary Protected Status) for migrants from 13 countries that have experienced wars or natural disasters, and that Trump was reported to call "shithole countries." TPS holders, community organizations, labor unions, and members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors respond to the Department of Homeland Security's announcement on the status of TPS for Hondurans. Join us for a press conference and rally

Monday, May 7 -12 noon

San Francisco City Hall, Civic Center side steps

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett PI.

TPS Committee for Permanent Residency Now San Francisco Bay Area, TPS Coalition to Save TPS Northern California

San Francisco responde a la campana de odio y discriminaciön de Trump en contra de los inmigrantes

La administraciön Trump continüa con su campafia de odio y discriminaciön en contra de nuestras comunidades con TPS (Estado de Protecciön Temporal) y estd terminando con esa protecciön para 13 palses que han sufrido guerras civiles o desastres naturales y Trump les ha llamado palses de mierda. Beneficiarios con TPS, organizaciones comunitarias, sindicatos y miembros de la Mesa de Supervisores de San Francisco estamos respondiendo al anuncio de ICE sobre el status del TPS para Honduras. Acomparianos a una Conferencia de Prensa y Rally.

Lunes 07 de Mayo 2018 12:00 M.

San Francisco City Hall, gradas de lado Civic Center

1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett PI.

TPS Committee for Permanent Residency Now San Francisco Bay Area, TPS Coalition to Save TPS Northern California



May 15th, 2018



This International Conscientious Objectors Day, join us in Berkeley
as we celebrate with two events. 

11:30am - Peace Flag raising ceremony

1pm - Invite the Marines to Dessert Now!

First event:
May 15, 2018 @11:30am 

drones protest

A Peace Flag Raising Ceremony 

We'll meet at the Civic Center flagpole (2180 Milvia St) in Berkeley

for the 12th Annual Berkeley CO & War Resisters' Day

  • Sponsored by City of Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission
  • Endorsed by War Resisters League-West and Courage to Resist

Second event:
May 15, 2018 @1:00p

Marines: It's Time To Throw Down Your Weapons 
and Join Us! Dessert Now!

A mid-day dessert gathering

at the US Marine Corps Recruiting Ctr, 64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley

While encouraging service persons to desert is a crime outlined by the Espionage Act,

we will be nearly as bold by inviting Marines and the community to join us in dessert.

Cupcakes and peace-themed desserts will be available . . . and if they do decide to dessert, we will be there to support them!

Courage to Resist has provided legal, material, and political support to hundreds of US military service persons since 2006, who have faced military prosecution for acts of conscience, including going AWOL and/or refusing to fight endless, unjust wars and occupations.

  • Co-Sponsored by CodePink and Courage to Resist

Can you join us?

Let us know on our Facebook event page 

Courage to Resist website event page 


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559





Why I Stand with Survivors of Empire

Dear Bonnie,

I'm Anya, Courage to Resist's Project Manager. I originally came to this work as a veteran of the fight to end the war against women, in which I have fought in both the trenches and bureaucratic offices for the past twenty years. What I know is that survivors who ask for advocacy, support services, and who speak up, will face public and familial humiliation and retaliation from naming their oppressors.

These women are among the most courageous people you will ever meet. And if I am going to learn anything at all about the courage needed to change our society, then I want to be by their side in struggle, determination and persistence.

This is also why I feel it is so vitally important to support war resisters, or survivors of empire. People with this same quality of courage and who choose to use it against the very assumptions of war itself.

In truth, many of us do not stand up and fight back against state-sponsored violence. We accept and bargain with situations of violence we've found ourselves in, because to directly oppose can bring even more push back, often with significant economic, social, physical and/or psychological harm.

Each person who stands up and says "No more will I keep my mouth shut or my eyes closed" impacts endless others through modeling and illuminating how near both resistance and resilience really are.

I joined Courage to Resist only one month before Chelsea Manning was released from jail, and attending the celebration parties I was blessed to witness what is possible. Oppression works when we believe the lies that are told to us, that 'they' have ultimate power over our lives. But that is not true.

Tactics of empire will not change until it is more than the ones being stomped on who take a stand. Solidarity moves mountains and softens cruelty's blow.

Draw a line in the sand. If you have not donated yet this month to our mission, now is the time to do so. In the words of Tamar Ze'evi, the young Israeli refuser with whom we just published a podcast interview:

"Where is the line at which one should stop cooperating, and was it already passed?"

In solidarity,

Anya de Marie

Project Manager, Courage to Resist

We cannot support the resisters without YOU! Please donate what you can today!


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.













It is so beautiful to see young people in this country rising up to demand an end to gun violence. But what is Donald Trump's response? Instead of banning assault weapons, he wants to give guns to teachers and militarize our schools. But one of the reasons for mass school shootings is precisely because our schools are already militarized. Florida shooter, Nikolas Cruz, was trained by U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program while he was in high school.

Yesterday, Divest from the War Machine coalition member, Pat Elder, was featured on Democracy Now discussing his recent article about the JROTC in our schools. The JROTC teaches children how to shoot weapons. It is often taught by retired soldiers who have no background in teaching. They are allowed to teach classes that are given at least equal weight as classes taught by certified and trained teachers. We are pulling our children away from classes that expand their minds and putting them in classes that teach them how to be killing machines. The JROTC program costs our schools money. It sends equipment. But, the instructors and facilities must be constructed and paid for by the school.

The JROTC puts our children's futures at risk. Children who participate in JROTC shooting programs are exposed to lead bullets from guns. They are at an increased risk when the shooting ranges are inside. The JROTC program is designed to "put a jump start on your military career." Children are funneled into JROTC to make them compliant and to feed the military with young bodies which are prepared to be assimilated into the war machine. Instead of funneling children into the military, we should be channeling them into jobs that support peace and sustainable development. 

Tell Senator McCain and Representative Thornberry to take the war machine out of our schools! The JROTC program must end immediately. The money should be directed back into classrooms that educate our children.

The Divest from the War Machine campaign is working to remove our money from the hands of companies that make a killing on killing. We must take on the systems that keep fueling war, death, and destruction around the globe. AND, we must take on the systems that are creating an endless cycle of children who are being indoctrinated at vulnerable ages to become the next killing machine.  Don't forget to post this message on Facebook and Twitter.

Onward in divestment,

Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Jodie, Kelly, Kirsten, Mark, Medea, Nancy, Natasha, Paki, Sarah, Sophia and Tighe

P.S. Do you want to do more? Start a campaign to get the JROTC out of your school district or state. Email divest@codepink.org and we'll get you started!



October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

WASHINGTON—In the last few years, arguably the most visible and well-publicized march on the U.S. capital has been the "Women's March," a movement aimed at advocating for legislation and policies promoting women's rights as well as a protest against the misogynistic actions and statements of high-profile U.S. politicians. The second Women's March, which took place this past year, attracted over a million protesters nationwide, with 500,000 estimated to have participated in Los Angeles alone.

However, absent from this women's movement has been a public antiwar voice, as its stated goal of "ending violence" does not include violence produced by the state. The absence of this voice seemed both odd and troubling to legendary peace activist Cindy Sheehan, whose iconic protest against the invasion and occupation of Iraq made her a household name for many.

Sheehan was taken aback by how some prominent organizers of this year's Women's March were unwilling to express antiwar positions and argued for excluding the issue of peace entirely from the event and movement as a whole. In an interview with MintPress, Sheehan recounted how a prominent leader of the march had told her, "I appreciate that war is your issue Cindy, but the Women's March will never address the war issue as long as women aren't free."

War is indeed Sheehan's issue and she has been fighting against the U.S.' penchant for war for nearly 13 years. After her son Casey was killed in action while serving in Iraq in 2004, Sheehan drew international media attention for her extended protest in front of the Bush residence in Crawford, Texas, which later served as the launching point for many protests against U.S. military action in Iraq.

Sheehan rejected the notion that women could be "free" without addressing war and empire. She countered the dismissive comment of the march organizer by stating that divorcing peace activism from women's issues "ignored the voices of the women of the world who are being bombed and oppressed by U.S. military occupation."

Indeed, women are directly impacted by war—whether through displacement, the destruction of their homes, kidnapping, or torture. Women also suffer uniquely and differently from men in war as armed conflicts often result in an increase in sexual violence against women.

For example, of the estimated half-a-million civilians killed in the U.S. invasion of Iraq, many of them were women and children. In the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, the number of female casualties has been rising on average over 20 percent every year since 2015. In 2014 alone when Israel attacked Gaza in "Operation Protective Edge," Israeli forces, which receives $10 million in U.S. military aid every day, killed over two thousand Palestinians—half of them were women and children. Many of the casualties were pregnant women, who had been deliberately targeted.

Given the Women's March's apparent rejection of peace activism in its official platform, Sheehan was inspired to organize another Women's March that would address what many women's rights advocates, including Sheehan, believe to be an issue central to promoting women's rights.

Dubbed the "Women's March on the Pentagon," the event is scheduled to take place on October 21—the same date as an iconic antiwar march of the Vietnam era—with a mission aimed at countering the "bipartisan war machine." Though men, women and children are encouraged to attend, the march seeks to highlight women's issues as they relate to the disastrous consequences of war.

The effort of women in confronting the "war machine" will be highlighted at the event, as Sheehan remarked that "women have always tried to confront the war-makers," as the mothers, daughters, sisters and wives of the men and women in the military, as well as those innocent civilians killed in the U.S.' foreign wars. As a result, the push for change needs to come from women, according to Sheehan, because "we [women] are the only ones that can affect [the situation] in a positive way." All that's missing is an organized, antiwar women's movement.

Sheehan noted the march will seek to highlight the direct relationship between peace activism and women's rights, since "no woman is free until all women are free" and such "freedom also includes the freedom from U.S. imperial plunder, murder and aggression"that is part of the daily lives of women living both within and beyond the United States. Raising awareness of how the military-industrial complex negatively affects women everywhere is key, says Sheehan, as "unless there is a sense of international solidarity and a broader base for feminism, then there aren't going to be any solutions to any problems, [certainly not] if we don't stop giving trillions of dollars to the Pentagon."

Sheehan also urged that, even though U.S. military adventurism has long been an issue and the subject of protests, a march to confront the military-industrial complex is more important now than ever: "I'm not alarmist by nature but I feel like the threat of nuclear annihilation is much closer than it has been for a long time," adding that, despite the assertion of some in the current administration and U.S. military, "there is no such thing as 'limited' nuclear war." This makes "the need to get out in massive numbers" and march against this more imperative than ever.

Sheehan also noted that Trump's presidency has helped to make the Pentagon's influence on U.S. politics more obvious by bringing it to the forefront: "Even though militarism had been under wraps [under previous presidents], Trump has made very obvious the fact that he has given control of foreign policy to the 'generals.'"

Indeed, as MintPress has reported on several occasions, the Pentagon—beginning in March of last year—has been given the freedom to "engage the enemy" at will, without the oversight of the executive branch or Congress. As a result, the deaths of innocent civilians abroad as a consequence of U.S. military action has spiked. While opposing Trump is not the focus of the march, Sheehan opined that Trump's war-powers giveaway to the Pentagon, as well as his unpopularity, have helped to spark widespread interest in the event.

Different wings of the same warbird

Sheehan has rejected accusations that the march is partisan, as it is, by nature, focused on confronting the bipartisan nature of the military-industrial complex. She told MintPress that she has recently come under pressure owing to the march's proximity to the 2018 midterm elections—as some have ironically accused the march's bipartisan focus as "trying to harm the chances of the Democrats" in the ensuing electoral contest.

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

"Democrats and Republicans are different wings of the same warbird. We are protesting militarism and imperialism. The march is nonpartisan in nature because both parties are equally complicit. We have to end wars for the planet and for the future. I could really care less who wins in November."

She also noted that even when the Democrats were in power under Obama, nothing was done to change the government's militarism nor to address the host of issues that events like the Women's March have claimed to champion.

"We just got finished with eight years of a Democratic regime," Sheehan told MintPress. "For two of those years, they had complete control of Congress and the presidency and a [filibuster-proof] majority in the Senate and they did nothing" productive except to help "expand the war machine." She also emphasized that this march is in no way a "get out the vote" march for any political party.

Even though planning began less than a month ago, support has been pouring in for the march since it was first announced on Sheehan's website, Cindy Sheehan Soapbox. Encouraged by the amount of interest already received, Sheehan is busy working with activists to organize the events and will be taking her first organizing trip to the east coast in April of this year. 

In addition, those who are unable to travel to Washington are encouraged to participate in any number of solidarity protests that will be planned to take place around the world or to plan and attend rallies in front of U.S. embassies, military installations, and the corporate headquarters of war profiteers.

Early endorsers of the event include journalists Abby Martin, Mnar Muhawesh and Margaret Kimberley; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Kathy Kelly; FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and U.S. politicians like former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Activist groups that have pledged their support include CodePink, United National Antiwar Coalition, Answer Coalition, Women's EcoPeace and World Beyond War.

Though October is eight months away, Sheehan has high hopes for the march. More than anything else, though, she hopes that the event will give birth to a "real revolutionary women's movement that recognizes the emancipation and liberation of all peoples—and that means [freeing] all people from war and empire, which is the biggest crime against humanity and against this planet." By building "a movement and not just a protest," the event's impact will not only be long-lasting, but grow into a force that could meaningfully challenge the U.S. military-industrial complex that threatens us all. God knows the world needs it.

For those eager to help the march, you can help spread the word through social media by joining the march's Facebook page or following the march'sTwitter account, as well as by word of mouth. In addition, supporting independent media outlets—such as MintPress, which will be reporting on the march—can help keep you and others informed as October approaches.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer forMintPress News who has written for several news organizations in both English and Spanish; her stories have been featured on ZeroHedge, theAnti-Media, and21st Century Wire among others. She currently lives in Southern Chile.

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Herman Bell is FREE




After almost 14 years of tireless work, we are changing our name to About Face: Veterans Against the War! This has been a long time coming, and we want to celebrate this member-led decision to grow our identity and our work with you.

Member vote at Convention in favor of changing the name

Why change our name? It's a different world since our founding in 2004 by 8 veterans returning from the invasion of Iraq. The Bush Administration's decision to start two wars significantly altered the political landscape in the US, and even more so in the Middle East and Central Asia. For all of us, that decision changed our lives. Our membership has grown to reflect the diversity of experiences of service members and vets serving in the so-called "Global War on Terror," whether it be deploying to Afghanistan, special operations in Africa, or drone operations on US soil. We will continue to be a home for post-9/11 veterans, and we've seen more members join us since the name-change process began.

Over the past 15 years, our political understanding has also grown and changed. As a community, we have learned how militarism is not only the root cause of conflicts overseas, but how its technology, tactics, and values have landed directly on communities of color, indigenous people, and poor people here at home.

So why this name? About Face is a drill command all of us were taught in the military. It signifies an abrupt 180 degree turn. A turn away. That drill movement represents the transformation that has led us to where we find ourselves today: working to dismantle the militarism we took part in and building solidarity with people who bear the weight of militarism in its many forms.

We are keeping Veterans Against the War as our tag line because it describes our members, our continued cause, and because we are proud to be a part of the anti-war veteran legacy. Our name has changed and our work has deepened, but our vision -- building a world free of militarism -- is stronger than ever. 

As we make this shift, we deeply appreciate your commitment to us over the years and your ongoing support as we build this new phase together. We know that dismantling militarism is long haul work, and we are dedicated to being a part of it with you for as long as it takes.

Until we celebrate the last veteran,

Matt Howard
About Face: Veterans Against the War
(formerly IVAW)

P.O. Box 3565, New York, NY 10008. All Right Reserved. | Unsubscribe

To ensure delivery of About Face emails please add webmaster@ivaw.org to your address book.



Tell the Feds: End Draft Registration

Courage to Resist Podcast: The Future of Draft Registration in the United States

We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and he addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains: 

When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."

What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.

The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."

[This] is the first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate about the draft in decades.


484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland, California 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


















Major George Tillery




April 25, 2018-- The arrest of two young men in Starbucks for the crime of "sitting while black," and the four years prison sentence to rapper Meek Mill for a minor parole violation are racist outrages in Philadelphia, PA that made national news in the past weeks. Yesterday Meek Mills was released on bail after a high profile defense campaign and a Pa Supreme Court decision citing evidence his conviction was based solely on a cop's false testimony.

These events underscore the racism, frame-up, corruption and brutality at the core of the criminal injustice system. Pennsylvania "lifer" Major Tillery's fight for freedom puts a spotlight on the conviction of innocent men with no evidence except the lying testimony of jailhouse snitches who have been coerced and given favors by cops and prosecutors.

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

For thirty-five years Major Tillery has fought against his 1983 arrest, then conviction and sentence of life imprisonment without parole for an unsolved 1976 pool hall murder and assault. Major Tillery's defense has always been his innocence. The police and prosecution knew Tillery did not commit these crimes. Jailhouse informant Emanuel Claitt gave lying testimony that Tillery was one of the shooters.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors threatened Claitt with a false unrelated murder charge, and induced him to lie with promises of little or no jail time on over twenty pending felonies, and being released from jail despite a parole violation. In addition, homicide detectives arranged for Claitt, while in custody, to have private sexual liaisons with his girlfriends in police interview rooms.

In May and June 2016, Emanuel Claitt gave sworn statements that his testimony was a total lie, and that the homicide cops and the prosecutors told him what to say and coached him before trial. Not only was he coerced to lie that Major Tillery was a shooter, but to lie and claim there were no plea deals made in exchange for his testimony. He provided the information about the specific homicide detectives and prosecutors involved in manufacturing his testimony and details about being allowed "sex for lies". In August 2016, Claitt reaffirmed his sworn statements in a videotape, posted on YouTube and on JusticeforMajorTillery.org.

Without the coerced and false testimony of Claitt there was no evidence against Major Tillery. There were no ballistics or any other physical evidence linking him to the shootings. The surviving victim's statement naming others as the shooters was not allowed into evidence.

The trial took place in May 1985 during the last days of the siege and firebombing of the MOVE family Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia that killed 13 Black people, including 5 children. The prosecution claimed that Major Tillery was part of an organized crime group, and falsely described it as run by the Nation of Islam. This prejudiced and inflamed the majority white jury against Tillery, to make up for the absence of any evidence that Tillery was involved in the shootings.

This was a frame-up conviction from top to bottom. Claitt was the sole or primary witness in five other murder cases in the early 1980s. Coercing and inducing jailhouse informants to falsely testify is a standard routine in criminal prosecutions. It goes hand in hand with prosecutors suppressing favorable evidence from the defense.

Major Tillery has filed a petition based on his actual innocence to the Philadelphia District Attorney's Larry Krasner's Conviction Review Unit. A full review and investigation should lead to reversal of Major Tillery's conviction. He also asks that the DA's office to release the full police and prosecution files on his case under the new  "open files" policy. In the meantime, Major Tillery continues his own investigation. He needs your support.

Major Tillery has Fought his Conviction and Advocated for Other Prisoners for over 30 Years

The Pennsylvania courts have rejected three rounds of appeals challenging Major Tillery's conviction based on his innocence, the prosecution's intentional presentation of false evidence against him and his trial attorney's conflict of interest. On June 15, 2016 Major Tillery filed a new post-conviction petition based on the same evidence now in the petition to the District Attorney's Conviction Review Unit. Despite the written and video-taped statements from Emanuel Claitt that that his testimony against Major Tillery was a lie and the result of police and prosecutorial misconduct, Judge Leon Tucker dismissed Major Tillery's petition as "untimely" without even holding a hearing. Major Tillery appealed that dismissal and the appeal is pending in the Superior Court.

During the decades of imprisonment Tillery has advocated for other prisoners challenging solitary confinement, lack of medical and mental health care and the inhumane conditions of imprisonment. In 1990, he won the lawsuit, Tillery v. Owens, that forced the PA Department of Corrections (DOC) to end double celling (4 men to a small cell) at SCI Pittsburgh, which later resulted in the closing and then "renovation" of that prison.

Three years ago Major Tillery stood up for political prisoner and journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal and demanded prison Superintendent John Kerestes get Mumia to a hospital because "Mumia is dying."  For defending Mumia and advocating for medical treatment for himself and others, prison officials retaliated. Tillery was shipped out of SCI Mahanoy, where Mumia was also held, to maximum security SCI Frackville and then set-up for a prison violation and a disciplinary penalty of months in solitary confinement. See, Messing with Major by Mumia Abu-Jamal. Major Tillery's federal lawsuit against the DOC for that retaliation is being litigated. Major Tillery continues as an advocate for all prisoners. He is fighting to get the DOC to establish a program for elderly prisoners.

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

Well-known criminal defense attorney Stephen Patrizio represents Major pro bonoin challenging his conviction. More investigation is underway. We can't count on the district attorney's office to make the findings of misconduct against the police detectives and prosecutors who framed Major without continuing to dig up the evidence.

Major Tillery is now 67 years old. He's done hard time, imprisoned for almost 35 years, some 20 years in solitary confinement in max prisons for a crime he did not commit. He recently won hepatitis C treatment, denied to him for a decade by the DOC. He has severe liver problems as well as arthritis and rheumatism, back problems, and a continuing itchy skin rash. Within the past couple of weeks he was diagnosed with an extremely high heartbeat and is getting treatment.

Major Tillery does not want to die in prison. He and his family, daughters, sons and grandchildren are fighting to get him home. The newly filed petition for Conviction Review to the Philadelphia District Attorney's office lays out the evidence Major Tillery has uncovered, evidence suppressed by the prosecution through all these years he has been imprisoned and brought legal challenges into court. It is time for the District Attorney's to act on the fact that Major Tillery is innocent and was framed by police detectives and prosecutors who manufactured the evidence to convict him. Major Tillery's conviction should be vacated and he should be freed.

Major Tillery and family


    Financial Support—Tillery's investigation is ongoing. He badly needs funds to fight for his freedom.

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

    The Conviction Review Unit should investigate Major Tillery's case. He is innocent. The only evidence at trial was from lying jail house informants who now admit it was false.

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


    Kamilah Iddeen (717) 379-9009, Kamilah29@yahoo.com

    Rachel Wolkenstein (917) 689-4009, RachelWolkenstein@gmail.com



    Free Leonard Peltier!

    On my 43rd year in prison I yearn to hug my grandchildren.

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    I am overwhelmed that today, February 6, is the start of my 43rd year in prison. I have had such high hopes over the years that I might be getting out and returning to my family in North Dakota. And yet here I am in 2018 still struggling for my FREEDOM at 73.

    I don't want to sound ungrateful to all my supporters who have stood by me through all these years. I dearly love and respect you and thank you for the love and respect you have given me.

    But the truth is I am tired, and often my ailments cause me pain with little relief for days at a time. I just had heart surgery and I have other medical issues that need to be addressed: my aortic aneurysm that could burst at any time, my prostate, and arthritis in my hip and knees.

    I do not think I have another ten years, and what I do have I would like to spend with my family. Nothing would bring me more happiness than being able to hug my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    I did not come to prison to become a political prisoner. I've been part of Native resistance since I was nine years of age. My sister, cousin and I were kidnapped and taken to boarding school. This incident and how it affected my cousin Pauline, had an enormous effect on me.

    This same feeling haunts me as I reflect upon my past 42 years of false imprisonment. This false imprisonment has the same feeling as when I heard the false affidavit the FBI manufactured about Myrtle Poor Bear being at Oglala on the day of the fire-fight—a fabricated document used to extradite me illegally from Canada in 1976.

    I know you know that the FBI files are full of information that proves my innocence. Yet many of those files are still withheld from my legal team. During my appeal before the 8th Circuit, former Prosecuting Attorney Lynn Crooks said to Judge Heaney: "Your honor, we do not know who killed those agents. Further, we don't know what participation, if any, Mr. Peltier had in it."

    That statement exonerates me, and I should have been released. But here I sit, 43 years later still struggling for my freedom. I have pleaded my innocence for so long now, in so many courts of law, in so many public statements issued through the International Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, that I will not argue it here. But I will say again, I DID NOT KILL THOSE AGENTS!

    Right now, I need my supporters here in the U.S. and throughout the world helping me. We need donations large or small to help pay my legal team to do the research that will get me back into court or get me moved closer to home or a compassionate release based on my poor health and age. Please help me to go home, help me win my freedom!

    There is a new petition my Canadian brothers and sisters are circulating internationally that will be attached to my letter. Please sign it and download it so you can take it to your work, school or place of worship. Get as many signatures as you can, a MILLION would be great!

    I have been a warrior since age nine. At 73, I remain a warrior. I have been here too long. The beginning of my 43rd year plus over 20 years of good time credit, that makes 60-plus years behind bars.

    I need your help. I need your help today! A day in prison for me is a lifetime for those outside because I am isolated from the world.

    I remain strong only because of your support, prayers, activism and your donations that keep my legal hope alive.

    In the Spirit of Crazy Horse


    Leonard Peltier

    If you would like a paper petition, please email contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info.

    —San Francisco Bay View, February 6, 2018

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

    Donations can be made on Leonard's behalf to the ILPD national office, 116 W. Osborne Ave, Tampa, FL 33603



    Artwork by Kevin Cooper



    Reality's trial
    is postponed 

    until October 15th.

    That's 500 Days in Jail,
    Without Bail!


    Whistleblower Reality Winner's trial has (again) been postponed.
    Her new trial date is October 15, 2018, based on the new official proceedings schedule (fifth version). She will have spent 500 days jailed without bail by then. Today is day #301.
    And her trial may likely be pushed back even further into the Spring of 2019.

    We urge you to remain informed and engaged with our campaign until she is free! 

    One supporter's excellent report

    on the details of Winner's imprisonment

    ~Check out these highlights & then go read the full article here~

    "*Guilty Until Proven Innocent*

    Winner is also not allowed to change from her orange jumpsuit for her court dates, even though she is "innocent until proven guilty."  Not only that, but during any court proceedings, only her wrists are unshackled, her ankles stay.  And a US Marshal sits in front of her, face to face, during the proceedings.  Winner is not allowed to turn around and look into the courtroom at all . . .

    Upon checking the inmate registry, it starts to become clear how hush hush the government wants this case against Winner to be.  Whether pre-whistleblowing, or in her orange jumpsuit, photos of Winner have surfaced on the web.  That's why it was so interesting that there's no photo of her next to her name on the inmate registry . . .

    For the past hundred years, the Espionage Act has been debated and amended, and used to charge whistleblowers that are seeking to help the country they love, not harm it.  Sometimes we have to learn when past amendments no longer do anything to justify the treatment of an American truth teller as a political prisoner. The act is outdated and amending it needs to be seriously looked at, or else we need to develop laws that protect our whistleblowers.

    The Espionage Act is widely agreed by many experts to be unconstitutionally vague and a violation of the First Amendment of Free Speech.  Even though a Supreme Court had ruled that the Espionage Act does not infringe upon the 1st Amendment back in 1919, it's constitutionality has been back and forth in court ever sense.

    Because of being charged under the Espionage Act, Winner's defense's hands are tied.  No one is allowed to mention the classified document, even though the public already knows that the information in it is true, that Russia hacked into our election support companies." 

     Want to take action in support of Reality?

    Step up to defend our whistleblower of conscience ► DONATE NOW

    c/o Courage to Resist, 484 Lake Park Ave #41, Oakland CA 94610 ~ 510-488-3559


    @standbyreality (Twitter)

     Friends of Reality Winner (Facebook)




    From Clifford Conner

    Dear friends and relatives

    Every day the scoundrels who have latched onto Trump to push through their rightwing soak-the-poor agenda inflict a new indignity on the human race.  Today they are conspiring to steal the tips we give servers in restaurants.  The New York Times editorial appended below explains what they're trying to get away with now.

    People like you and me cannot compete with the Koch brothers' donors network when it comes to money power.  But at least we can try to avoid putting our pittance directly into their hands.  Here is a modest proposal:  Whenever you are in a restaurant where servers depend on tips for their livelihoods, let's try to make sure they get what we give them.

    Instead of doing the easy thing and adding the tip into your credit card payment, GIVE CASH TIPS and HAND THEM DIRECTLY TO YOUR SERVER. If you want to add a creative flourish such as including a preprinted note that explains why you are doing this, by all means do so.  You could reproduce the editorial below for their edification.

    If you want to do this, be sure to check your wallet before entering a restaurant to make sure you have cash in appropriate denominations.

    This is a small act of solidarity with some of the most exploited members of the workforce in America.  Perhaps its symbolic value could outweigh its material impact.  But to paraphrase the familiar song: What the world needs now is solidarity, sweet solidarity.

    If this idea should catch on, be prepared for news stories about restaurant owners demanding that servers empty their pockets before leaving the premises at the end of their shifts.  The fight never ends!

    Yours in struggle and solidarity,


    Most Americans assume that when they leave a tip for waiters and bartenders, those workers pocket the money. That could become wishful thinking under a Trump administration proposal that would give restaurants and other businesses complete control over the tips earned by their employees.

    The Department of Labor recently proposed allowing employers to pool tips and use them as they see fit as long as all of their workers are paid at least the minimum wage, which is $7.25 an hour nationally and higher in some states and cities. Officials argue that this will free restaurants to use some of the tip money to reward lowly dishwashers, line cooks and other workers who toil in the less glamorous quarters and presumably make less than servers who get tips. Using tips to compensate all employees sounds like a worthy cause, but a simple reading of the government's proposal makes clear that business owners would have no obligation to use the money in this way. They would be free to pocket some or all of that cash, spend it to spiff up the dining room or use it to underwrite $2 margaritas at happy hour. And that's what makes this proposal so disturbing.

    The 3.2 million Americans who work as waiters, waitresses and bartenders include some of the lowest-compensated working people in the country. The median hourly wage for waiters and waitresses was $9.61 an hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Further, there is a sordid history of restaurant owners who steal tips, and of settlements in which they have agreed to repay workers millions of dollars.

    Not to worry, says the Labor Department, which argues, oddly and unconvincingly, that workers will be better off no matter how owners spend the money. Enlarging dining rooms, reducing menu prices or offering paid time off should be seen as "potential benefits to employees and the economy over all." The department also assures us that owners will funnel tip money to employees because workers would quit otherwise.

    t is hard to know how much time President Trump's appointees have spent with single mothers raising two children on a salary from a workaday restaurant in suburban America, seeing how hard it is to make ends meet without tips. What we do know is that the administration has produced no empirical cost-benefit analysis to support its proposal, which is customary when the government seeks to make an important change to federal regulations.

    The Trump administration appears to be rushing this rule through — it has offered the public just 30 days to comment on it — in part to pre-empt the Supreme Court from ruling on a 2011 Obama-era tipping rule. The department's new proposal would do away with the 2011 rule. The restaurant industry has filed several legal challenges to that regulation, which prohibits businesses from pooling tips and sharing them with dishwashers and other back-of-the-house workers. Different federal circuit appeals courts have issued contradictory rulings on those cases, so the industry has asked the Supreme Court to resolve those differences; the top court has not decided whether to take that case.

    Mr. Trump, of course, owns restaurants as part of his hospitality empire and stands to benefit from this rule change, as do many of his friends and campaign donors. But what the restaurant business might not fully appreciate is that their stealth attempt to gain control over tips could alienate and antagonize customers. Diners who are no longer certain that their tips will end up in the hands of the server they intended to reward might leave no tip whatsoever. Others might seek to covertly slip cash to their server. More high-minded restaurateurs would be tempted to follow the lead of the New York restaurateur Danny Meyer and get rid of tipping by raising prices and bumping up salaries.

    By changing the fundamental underpinnings of tipping, the government might well end up destroying this practice. But in doing so it would hurt many working-class Americans, including people who believed that Mr. Trump would fight for them.





    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

    GOP Tax Plan Would Give 15 of America's Largest Corporations a $236B Tax Cut: Report

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017











    Puerto Rico Still Without Power

















    Addicted to War:

    And this does not include "…spending $1.25 trillion dollars to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal, and $566 billion to build the Navy a 308-ship fleet…"









    Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:

    Love this guy!








    1) Man Who Killed 2 Officers in '71 Is Released From Prison

    By Al Baker, April 27, 2018


    Herman Bell

    Herman Bell, who spent four decades in prison for the murders of two New York City police officers, was freed on Friday, after having been granted parole in March, officials said.

    The release of Mr. Bell, 70, ends a weekslong effort to keep him behind bars, including protests by the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association and a letter from Mayor Bill de Blasio urging the state parole board to reconsider its "tragic and incomprehensible" decision.

    "Murdering a police officer in cold blood is a crime beyond the frontiers of rehabilitation or redemption," Mr. de Blasio wrote in March to the board's chairwoman.

    In the end, the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision said it would comply with an order a judge issued last week to free Mr. Bell, and on Friday evening, state officials said that he had been released. They said he would be supervised, for life, in Brooklyn.

    The two officers, Joseph A. Piagentini and Waverly M. Jones, were ambushed and fatally shot in the back outside a housing project in Harlem on May 21, 1971, a time when the city was rife with racial tension.

    The Black Liberation Army, an offshoot of the Black Panther Party, took credit for the killings. Three men were charged — Mr. Bell, Anthony Bottom and Albert Washington. All claimed at trial that the violence was part of their war against the United States, and all were convicted and sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. Mr. Bell entered state prison in 1979, state officials said.

    After Mr. Bell was granted parole on March 13, in his eighth attempt, Officer Piagentini's widow, Diane, said the parole board had "betrayed the trust" of police families, and she filed court papers opposing the decision. But an acting State Supreme Court judge, Richard M. Koweek, determined that she did not have standing to make her challenge and ruled that judicial intervention was unnecessary in the board's 2-to-1 vote to free Mr. Bell.

    "It was not irrational," the judge wrote of the board's decision. "Nor did it border on impropriety. Therefore, it must be upheld."

    In a letter to Mr. Bell, the parole board wrote that he had matured and expressed remorse. The board reviewed several factors, including Mr. Bell's age, scant disciplinary history and network of supporters, and said the state had prepared him well for release.

    Justice Koweek wrote that recourse for opponents of Mr. Bell's parole may lie in legislation, and on Friday, Patrick J. Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, called on lawmakers to "fix the broken" state parole system, close "loopholes" and "prevent other cop-killers from stepping foot outside prison walls."

    At an event on Puerto Rico on April 19, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, when asked if he supported the parole board's decision to release Mr. Bell, said the board was independent, but that if he were on it, "I would not have made that decision."



    2) Happy Birthday, Karl Marx. You Were Right!

    By Jason Barker, April 30, 2018


    Ralf Hirschberger/European Pressphoto Agency

    SEOUL, South Korea — On May 5, 1818, in the southern German town of Trier, in the picturesque wine-growing region of the Moselle Valley, Karl Marx was born. At the time Trier was one-tenth the size it is today, with a population of around 12,000. According to one of Marx's recent biographers, Jürgen Neffe, Trier is one of those towns where "although everyone doesn't know everyone, many know a lot about many."

    Such provincial constraints were no match for Marx's boundless intellectual enthusiasm. Rare were the radical thinkers of the major European capitals of his day that he either failed to meet or would fail to break with on theoretical grounds, including his German contemporaries Wilhelm Weitling and Bruno Bauer; the French "bourgeois socialist" Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, as Marx and Friedrich Engels would label him in their "Communist Manifesto"; and the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bakunin.

    In 1837 Marx reneged on the legal career that his father, himself a lawyer, had mapped out for him and immersed himself instead in the speculative philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel at the University of Berlin. One might say that it was all downhill from there. The deeply conservative Prussian government didn't take kindly to such revolutionary thinking (Hegel's philosophy advocated a rational liberal state), and by the start of the next decade Marx's chosen career path as a university professor had been blocked.

    If ever there were a convincing case to be made for the dangers of philosophy, then surely it's Marx's discovery of Hegel, whose "grotesque craggy melody" repelled him at first but which soon had him dancing deliriously through the streets of Berlin. As Marx confessed to his father in an equally delirious letter in November 1837, "I wanted to embrace every person standing on the street-corner."

    As we reach the bicentennial of Marx's birth, what lessons might we draw from his dangerous and delirious philosophical legacy? What precisely is Marx's lasting contribution?

    Today the legacy would appear to be alive and well. Since the turn of the millennium countless books have appeared, from scholarly works to popular biographies, broadly endorsing Marx's reading of capitalism and its enduring relevance to our neoliberal age.

    In 2002, the French philosopher Alain Badiou declared at a conference I attended in London that Marx had become the philosopher of the middle class. What did he mean? I believe he meant that educated liberal opinion is today more or less unanimous in its agreement that Marx's basic thesis — that capitalism is driven by a deeply divisive class struggle in which the ruling-class minority appropriates the surplus labor of the working-class majority as profit — is correct. Even liberal economists such as Nouriel Roubini agree that Marx's conviction that capitalism has an inbuilt tendency to destroy itself remains as prescient as ever.

    But this is where the unanimity abruptly ends. While most are in agreement about Marx's diagnosis of capitalism, opinion on how to treat its "disorder" is thoroughly divided. And this is where Marx's originality and profound importance as a philosopher lies.

    First, let's be clear: Marx arrives at no magic formula for exiting the enormous social and economic contradictions that global capitalism entails (according to Oxfam, 82 percent of the global wealth generated in 2017 went to the world's richest 1 percent). What Marx did achieve, however, through his self-styled materialist thought, were the critical weapons for undermining capitalism's ideological claim to be the only game in town.

    In the "Communist Manifesto," Marx and Engels wrote: "The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers."

    Marx was convinced that capitalism would soon make relics of them. The inroads that artificial intelligence is currently making into medical diagnosis and surgery, for instance, bears out the argument in the "Manifesto" that technology would greatly accelerate the "division of labor," or the deskilling of such professions.

    To better understand how Marx achieved his lasting global impact — an impact arguably greater and wider than any other philosopher's before or after him — we can begin with his relationship to Hegel. What was it about Hegel's work that so captivated Marx? As he informed his father, early encounters with Hegel's "system," which builds itself upon layer after layer of negations and contradictions, hadn't entirely won him over.

    Marx found that the late-18th-century idealisms of Immanuel Kant and Johann Gottlieb Fichte that so dominated philosophical thinking in the early 19th century prioritized thinking itself — so much so that reality could be inferred through intellectual reasoning. But Marx refused to endorse their reality. In an ironic Hegelian twist, it was the complete opposite: It was the material world that determined all thinking. As Marx puts it in his letter, "If previously the gods had dwelt above the earth, now they became its center."

    The idea that God — or "gods"— dwelt among the masses, or was "in" them, was of course nothing philosophically new. But Marx's innovation was to stand idealistic deference — not just to God but to any divine authority — on its head. Whereas Hegel had stopped at advocating a rational liberal state, Marx would go one stage further: Since the gods were no longer divine, there was no need for a state at all.

    The idea of the classless and stateless society would come to define both Marx's and Engels's idea of communism, and of course the subsequent and troubled history of the Communist "states" (ironically enough!) that materialized during the 20th century. There is still a great deal to be learned from their disasters, but their philosophical relevance remains doubtful, to say the least.

    The key factor in Marx's intellectual legacy in our present-day society is not "philosophy" but "critique," or what he described in 1843 as "the ruthless criticism of all that exists: ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be." "The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it," he wrote in 1845.

    Racial and sexual oppression have been added to the dynamic of class exploitation. Social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo, owe something of an unspoken debt to Marx through their unapologetic targeting of the "eternal truths" of our age. Such movements recognize, as did Marx, that the ideas that rule every society are those of its ruling class and that overturning those ideas is fundamental to true revolutionary progress.

    We have become used to the go-getting mantra that to effect social change we first have to change ourselves. But enlightened or rational thinking is not enough, since the norms of thinking are already skewed by the structures of male privilege and social hierarchy, even down to the language we use. Changing those norms entails changing the very foundations of society.

    To cite Marx, "No social order is ever destroyed before all the productive forces for which it is sufficient have been developed, and new superior relations of production never replace older ones before the material conditions for their existence have matured within the framework of the old society."

    The transition to a new society where relations among people, rather than capital relations, finally determine an individual's worth is arguably proving to be quite a task. Marx, as I have said, does not offer a one-size-fits-all formula for enacting social change. But he does offer a powerful intellectual acid test for that change. On that basis, we are destined to keep citing him and testing his ideas until the kind of society that he struggled to bring about, and that increasing numbers of us now desire, is finally realized.

    Jason Barker is an associate professor of philosophy at Kyung Hee University in South Korea and author of the novel "Marx Returns."

    Now in print: "Modern Ethics in 77 Arguments" and "The Stone Reader: Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments," with essays from the series, edited by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley, published by Liveright Books.



    3) For Gaza Protester, Living or Dying Is the 'Same Thing'

    By Iyad Abuheweila and David M. Halbfinger, April 29, 2018


    Palestinians gathered for a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel on Friday.CreditWissam Nassar for The New York Times

    GAZA CITY — No one would ever pick out Saber al-Gerim from the crowds of Palestinians demonstrating against Israel along the heavily guarded fence that has helped turn the Gaza Strip into an open-air prison.

    Not for his youthful appearance. At 22, he wears ripped jeans and white sneakers, has a modish haircut and carries a few extra pounds from too many months without work.

    Not for his anger. Screaming "Allahu akbar!" and hurling stones with a sling, or straining to pull a cable hooked onto Israel's barbed-wire barrier in hopes of tearing it apart, he is just one in a fevered multitude, a protagonist in nobody's drama but his own.

    Not even for his willingness to risk death, or his dream of going home to a patch of land he has never seen and cannot really visualize.

    But zoom in on this man: A beggar's son, just a few yards from Israel, and squarely in the line of fire. Soldiers, the only Israelis Mr. Gerim has ever seen this close, can be spotted through the smoke of burning tires, moving about in their foxholes atop tall sand berms, occasionally launching tear-gas barrages, sometimes using live fire. Over a loudspeaker, one warns Palestinians to retreat or risk death.

    Mr. Gerim, well within range, and resting between slinging stones, shouts back: "We want to return!"

    Say what you will about root causes and immediate ones — about incitement and militancy, about siege and control, about who did what first to whom — one thing is clear. More than a decade of deprivation and desperation, with little hope of relief, has led thousands of young Gazans to throw themselves into a protest that few, if any, think can actually achieve its stated goal: a return to the homes in what is now Israel that their forebears left behind in 1948.

    In five weeks of protests, 46 people have been killed, and hundreds more have been badly wounded, according to the Gaza health ministry.

    With its 64 percent unemployment rate among the young, Gaza, under a blockade maintained by Israel and Egypt for years, presents countless men like Mr. Gerim with the grimmest of options.

    They can seek an education in preparation for lives and careers that now seem out of reach, and hope for a chance to eventually emigrate. They can join groups like Hamas or Islamic Jihad, devoting themselves to armed conflict with Israel in return for a livelihood and a sense of purpose and belonging. Or they can stay home, staving off boredom by smoking shisha, a tobacco-molasses mix, or stronger stuff, and wait for things to change.

    Mr. Gerim considers himself neither a terrorist nor a freedom fighter. He is not much for prayer or for politics; he says he does not belong to Hamas or Fatah or any other faction. He is a young man with nothing to do, for whom the protests have offered a chance to barbecue with friends late into the night, sleep late most mornings, make himself useful while singing songs of love or martyrdom or an end to suffering, and lash out at a hated enemy all afternoon.

    "It doesn't matter to me if they shoot me or not," he said in a quiet moment inside his family's tent. "Death or life — it's the same thing."

    The protests, with an outdoor festival's schedule of fun and games, performances and creative programming — and carnage every Friday — is meant to build to a climax on May 15, the day Palestinians mark the Nakba, or catastrophe, of their flight and expulsion when Israel was established 70 years ago.

    The protest, which grew out of a young activist's Facebook page and was a grass-roots initiative before being embraced, organized and publicized by Hamas, the militant Islamist group that rules Gaza, has hardly scared the Israelis into altering their basic policy. Israel continues to treat the tiny coastal enclave like a deadly virus to be quarantined and, other than that, more or less tunes it out.

    But it has been a success in one important respect: It has cast a light onto the unsolved problem that is Gaza, and reminded a world that had seemed to move on to more urgent crises that its two million people, deprived of clean water, freedom of movement and a steady supply of electricity, are sliding steadily into despair.

    Mr. Gerim is typical in another way: He does not think of Gaza as his home, but he has no idea what home is.

    His grandmother, Haniya al-Kurdi, 80, was a little girl when her family left what is now Ashdod, Israel, in 1948. She has never been back, but has heard that there is a coffee shop next to where her home was. The closest anyone else in the family has gotten was in 2013, when Mr. Gerim's sister, Sabreen, now 26, contracted cancer and was allowed to spend a year in Tel Aviv getting treatment. On the way there, her mother, Iktimal al-Gerim, asked their driver to point out Ashdod to them from the highway.

    For Mr. Gerim, the family's old property is an idea more than a place he can actually picture.

    Israelis themselves he has had more experience with. When he was about 10, before the Israelis evacuated their Gaza settlements in 2005, Mr. Gerim climbed a tree outside his grandfather's house to get a better look at the soldiers a few hundred yards away. Then he fell to the ground and broke his right hand.

    He has been as enterprising, and as ill-starred, ever since.

    He used to raise pigeons and chickens on his family's roof, for fun and for food — until an Israeli airstrike hit a neighbor's house and it collapsed on the coop, killing all of his birds.

    He sometimes dreams of working in an automobile-manufacturing plant, of traveling overseas to learn how to build cars, then coming back to Gaza to make them. But the closest he has ever gotten is loading tuk-tuks — motorcycles with cargo beds — or handling a pushcart to distribute sacks of donated flour, sugar and other staples to his fellow refugees.

    In the autumn, Mr. Gerim sometimes harvests olives. When there is construction work, he looks for chances to lay bricks or pour concrete. He has never had a regular job.

    He is stoic for a 22-year-old, though this may be an acquired response to adversity: His father is mentally ill, Mr. Gerim says, given to flying into destructive rages over the slightest disappointments. His family — two younger brothers, their sister and their parents — all share a single room with a tile floor and blankets but no beds. The kitchen floor is sand. The family's debts are choking them, he says.

    Mr. Gerim's industriousness shows at the protests, as does his stoicism.

    On Thursday, he arrived early at his family's tent, a roomy contraption that was provided to them by the protest's organizers, and set about sweeping the tarpaulin floor for the first of several times, before building a fire and cooking eggplants and tomatoes that city workers were distributing to the needy.

    At lunch, a charity handed out meals of chicken and rice, and then Mr. Gerim swept the floor of crumbs and bones, singing a love song as he did.

    He has no girlfriend, and no hopes of marrying. "There is no money, no work," he explained. "Marriage is not free."

    After lunch, he walked up to the fence for a quick look across at the Israeli soldiers, then foraged for firewood. He dragged a six-foot log more than a quarter-mile back to the tent, and broke it apart with his hands and feet.

    Later, he assembled kites from sticks, clear plastic and paper — and talked about attaching soda cans to them stuffed with gasoline-soaked rags, to sail over the fence and maybe set something or someone on fire.

    At 10 p.m., he and his friends began barbecuing a feast for 12. It didn't end until 2:30 a.m. It takes a long time to cook 22 pounds of chicken wings on a grill about 18 inches across.

    Sitting around the fire, a friend named Abu Moaz, 25, said he wanted to use a kite to drop leaflets in Hebrew and Arabic warning Israeli soldiers to "evacuate your houses and return to the countries from which you came."

    Everyone liked the sound of that.

    Mr. Gerim went home to sleep, but was back at the tent at 8 a.m. on Friday, sweeping again, building the wood fire, drinking tea with his neighbors.

    He went to Friday Prayer, then ate a falafel sandwich.

    At 2:30, he was crouching behind the barbed-wire barrier, whirling his slingshot like a helicopter rotor, aiming in vain at Israeli soldiers again and again.

    Around 5 p.m., he saw a group of men a few hundred yards to the south, and ran to see what they were doing. They had breached the barbed wire, and were trying to get to the main fence marking Israeli territory. Mr. Gerim hung back, and did not try to join them.

    Near him, a man fell, hit in the stomach by what seemed like a grenade fragment, Mr. Gerim said.

    He was not shocked by this, he said afterward.

    "I could be shot or killed anytime," he said. "It doesn't matter."

    Night had fallen now; the protesters were headed home. And soon Mr. Gerim was singing again — this time a Lebanese tune of weariness with conflict.

    "Enough is enough," he crooned softly in Arabic. "Enough for miseries, promises and words. School students, church bells, a soldier, a knight and the calls of prayer — all pray for prevailing peace."

    Iyad Abuheweila reported from Gaza, and David M. Halbfinger from Jerusalem.



    4) Mumia Abu-Jamal's Appeals Hearing Continued Until August

    Appeals hearing for former death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal is continued to August due to missing document.

    By Associated Press, April 30, 2018


    Supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner, gather outside the Criminal Justice Center in Center City Philadelphia on Monday, April 30, 2018. Former death-row inmate Abu-Jamal is in court asking a judge to vacate his previous failed appeals attempts, so he can again appeal his case. (Jessica 

    Former death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal asked a judge Monday to vacate his previous failed appeals attempts so he can again appeal his case.

    A judge continued the hearing until Aug. 30 after a document Abu-Jamal's defense said they need to prove their petition was not found. The judge also approved a deposition of the employee who wrote the document to see if she can remember the contents.

    Abu-Jamal's lawyers are petitioning under the Post-Conviction Relief Act, arguing that the 64-year-old's rights were violated during previous appeals because of what they say is the bias of state Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille.

    Castille is a former Philadelphia district attorney. As prosecutor, his office succeeded in getting the State Supreme Court to uphold Abu-Jamal's conviction.

    Abu-Jamal's attorneys say Castille should not have had any involvement in deciding his appeals after he became a judge.

    Philadelphia District Attorney's office spokesman Ben Waxman said the office looked for any documents that would be relevant to the argument that Castille had direct personal involvement in the case when he was prosecutor, but found none.

    The judge also asked the district attorney's office to reach out to Castille to see if he has the document in question in his personal papers.

    Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, spent 29 years on death row following his conviction in the 1981 murder of white Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner. Abu-Jamal's sentence was reduced to life without parole in 2011.

    Abu-Jamal has maintained his innocence and has become a symbol for groups seeking criminal justice reform.



    BY ADELE PETERS, May 2, 2018


    [Photo: Future Meat Technologies]

    In 2013, producing the first lab-grown burger cost $325,000. By 2015, though the cost had dropped to around $11, Mark Post, the Dutch researcher who created the burger, thought that it might take another two or three decades before it was commercially viable. But the first so-called "clean meat," produced from animal cells without an actual animal, may be in restaurants by the end of 2018.

    The Israel-based startup Future Meat Technologies aims to begin selling its first products later this year. The startup's costs are still very high–around $363 a pound–but it believes that it can cut the cost of cellular agriculture to about $2.30 to $4.50 a pound by 2020. (Post's $11 burger came in at $37 a pound; as of April, the average wholesale value of beef in the U.S. was $3.28 a pound, though no directly comparable production cost is available.) Today, the startup announced a $2.2 million seed round of investment, co-led by Tyson Ventures, the venture capital arm of the meat giant Tyson Foods.

    "Right now, growing cells as meat instead of animals is a very expensive process," says Yaakov Nahmias, founder and chief scientist of Future Meat Technologies. The startup's new process is designed to reduce that cost in a few ways. The biggest expense in cellular agriculture is the medium–made of sugars, salts, and amino acids–used for growing cells, which typically has to be replaced as the cells grow. The startup uses a process that cleans and recycles the medium, similar to the way that an animal's liver and kidneys clean and recirculate blood.

    The process also avoids using serums, which are made from animal blood, and which have been used by other companies working in the field, and are both expensive and unappealing to consumers who want to avoid animal products entirely. In addition, rather than using the same type of huge bioreactors that are used in the pharmaceutical industry–and are also very expensive–the company plans to use small units that can be distributed to existing farms.

    "If we start small and stay small, we can essentially dramatically reduce the cost, and the capital burden drops by an order of magnitude or more," Nahmias says. "With these two plays–a more efficient bioreactor and a distributed manufacturing model–we can essentially drop the cost down to about $5 a kilogram [$2.27 a pound]. This is where it starts getting interesting, because the distributed model also allows you to use the current economics."

    Farmers, he suggests, could begin to shift from animal agriculture to cellular agriculture. "These distributive models allow us to grow organically and essentially replace chicken coops with these bioreactors," he says. "This, I think, is a reasonable way of actually taking over and replacing this industry sustainably."

    The company plans to supply farmers with a small collection of cells or a piece of tissue roughly the size of an coffee capsule, along with the nutrients to feed the cells and the equipment for growing them (the platform can use cells from any animal). Ten to 18 days later, after the tissue has grown, it will be sent to processing plants where it can be turned into "clean meat" for consumers. Turning protein into something with the shape, texture, and mouthfeel of meat has become relatively easy, he says, as companies like Beyond Meat and others have shown with soy and other plant-based proteins.

    To address flavor, Future Meat Technologies creates lab-grown fat cells along with muscle cells (it first grows connective tissue cells, which can be induced to turn into either fat or muscle cells). "Most companies today are growing muscle cells . . . they're producing this mass of protein, but one of the things that's missing is fat," says Nahmias. "Fat is what we really crave. Fat is what gives meat its distinct aroma and flavor." The end result tastes like meat from an animal, with the same nutrition–although because the process is controlled, it's possible to tweak the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat to make it healthier.

    If a move away from animals seems unlikely, Nahmias argues that it's necessary as the world adapts to a growing demand for meat at the same time as traditional meat production strains the environment. A quarter of the world's land, apart from Antarctica, is used for pasture; most deforestation in the Amazon basin happened because of cattle ranching. Livestock is responsible for an estimated 14.5% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. Producing a single pound of beef can take around 1,800 gallons of water. As the world population swells to 10 billion by 2050, we'll need to produce 70% more food calories–and between 2006 and 2050, demand for animal-based protein is expected to grow 80%.

    "Cultured meat is a transformative concept in general," Nahmias says. "We're running out of land, we're running out of water resources, and if you want to continue feeding a growing population not only in the West but also in China and India, where people are moving toward Western-style diets in increasing numbers, then we need to fundamentally change the way we produce meat."

    In 2017, China made a $300 million trade deal with Israel to collaborate on clean-tech projects, including both clean energy and clean meat. "There is a strong interest in China to move into sustainable agriculture in multiple ways," he says. "This trade deal is definitely part of it and we can definitely take advantage of it if we get to market fast enough." Chinese VC firm Bits x Bites, the country's first food tech accelerator, is one of Future Meat Technologies' investors.

    Tyson, which is one of the world's largest food companies and is known for chicken, sausage, hot dogs, and other meats, doesn't expect traditional meat production to go away. But the company, which also invested in the lab-grown meat company Memphis Meats, sees an opportunity for new kinds of protein. "It will be a part of the story, over time, in our estimation," says Justin Whitmore, executive vice president of corporate strategy and chief sustainability officer of Tyson Foods. "The biggest question is how much time, when you're talking about lab-grown meat."

    One key to widespread adoption, of course, is cost. The Good Food Institute, an organization that focuses on alternatives to animal products, has done research into the financial viability of the clean meat sector as a whole. "I was tasked with figuring out if this clean meat thing is worthy of our time or should we put all of our focus into plant-based meat," says Liz Specht, the nonprofit's senior scientist. "I actually came in into that exercise quite skeptical because I've done animal cell culture for biomedical R&D, and I knew what the high costs were associated with that. Through doing this analysis I actually did end up quite optimistic."

    Other startups in the space, she says, are also finding ways to drive down the cost of production, though because the products are not yet in production, companies' specific cost projections are still highly speculative. At least one other company–Just, formerly known as Hampton Creek–also plans to launch its first clean meat product by the end of 2018. The company is aiming for a price within 30% of the conventional product (other companies are also working on recycling the medium and eliminating the use of serum).

    Nahmias believes that clean meat will eventually be cheaper than traditional meat from animals. Along with other advantages, such as avoiding the risk of contaminants like salmonella, and eliminating the need for antibiotics, which are heavily used in animal agriculture today, he thinks that clean meat could someday largely replace the traditional version.

    "That's not to say that there are not going to be specialty restaurants producing meat traditionally–more expensive restaurants–but I think the burgers that we're going to put on the grill, and the chicken nuggets that we're going to eat at McDonald's, and the barbecued chicken that we're going to eat in Chipotle is mainly going to be cultured meat decades from now," he says.



    By David Mattson, May 1, 2018


    Photo by William Illingworth. A slightly different version of the famous photo with Custer, minus two of his companions behind him and wagons coming and going in the background.

    On August 7th, 1874, George Armstrong Custer shot a grizzly bear. At the time, he was trespassing in the Black Hills of the Great Sioux Nation along with more than 1000 heavily-armed soldiers and sundry civilians. To be accurate, he shot the bear as part of a fusillade delivered by two other soldiers and an Arikara scout. According to published accounts, the bear was innocently browsing on berries in a small draw prior to the ambush. Custer's verdict on the incident was delivered in a letter to his wife: "I have reached the hunter's highest round of fame…I have killed my Grizzly."

    During the next 50 years, Europeans driven by a similar lust for blood and glory eradicated grizzly bears from over 90% of the places they once lived in the contiguous United States. Thirty years after that, grizzlies were gone except for in remote enclaves centered on Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. This epoch coincided with a slaughter perpetrated by Europeans armed with guns, disease, and poison that drove most wildlife bigger than mice and voles nearly to extinction, perpetrated genocide against Indians, and relegated any who survived to Reservations.

    The ethos informing this vendetta against nature and natives was one of violence and death, but under the putatively ennobling rhetoric of Manifest Destiny—of Taming the Wilderness to clear the way for White Anglo-Saxon Civilization. Those who styled themselves as hunters were at the heart of this enterprise. Thus it was that my ancestors showed up in South Dakota at the end of the 19th Century to lay claim to a seemingly vacant land, emptied of Indians and wildlife, begging to be populated with sheep, cattle, and (more-or-less) God-fearing white people.

    Enter Aldo Leopold and the Legacy of his Ilk

    At about this time, Aldo Leopold was sounding the alarm over the demise of Big Game in the Southwest, where he was working for the newly constituted US Forest Service. His remedy was the same as that being espoused by better-known "conservationists" such as Teddy Roosevelt and William Hornaday: protect Big Game from market hunting, supplement feed, and eliminate the predatory varmints and vermin. For all of these early conservationists, Big Game referred exclusively to large-bodied herbivorous mammals that comprised the stock from which sportsmen could harvest trophies and the occasional meat for the larder. Bears, lions, and wolves were amongst the varmints to be eradicated. And, notably, the core vernacular was agricultural: "harvest," with the goal of producing "harvestable surpluses."

    So, we had gone from unchecked slaughter of anything that moved, to a more restrained and presumably sustainable slaughter of large sexy herbivores, but with a continuing mandate to slaughter any predators that might compete with our opportunities to lay claim to a harvestable surplus.

    Tragically, this doctrine was grafted on the very bones of the newly professionalized institution of wildlife management, thanks, in part, to the likes of Aldo Leopold. And "sportsmen" were the newly ennobled allies of this undertaking, in fact, the only constituency and clientele that mattered.

    So it has remained to this very day, with, over time, sport hunters developing a stranglehold on wildlife management. The only appreciable change during the last 50-70 years has been ever-more enthusiastic slatherings of science, both as means of increasing harvestable surpluses (of large sexy herbivores) and, more recently, increasing the legitimacy of an enterprise that looks ever-more corrupt to ever-more people.

    Despotism Institutionalized

    And, in fact, wildlife management is one of the most despotic and corrupt of modern-day institutions…which is saying a lot. The ingredients of undemocratic debasement are not subtle. Virtually all of the income for state wildlife management derives from either the sales of hunting and fishing licenses to hunters and fishers or, through federal grants, from taxes on the sales of arms and ammunition. Almost all agency employees and regulators are self-avowed avid hunters, creating a potent cultural amplification for financial dependencies. Almost all hunters, fishers, and wildlife managers are of a single demographic cloth: white, male, and disproportionately rural and ill-educated.

    It is no wonder that wildlife managers talk about hunters as "clients" and "customers" and give little or no heed to the interests and desires of anyone else. And this, remember, by government employees putatively charged as public servants with serving the public trust.

    Custer's lust for blood and glory lives on in the modern-day ethos of sport hunting and wildlife management, to the detriment of anyone who cares about anything else.

    But, Wait a Minute

    Interestingly, Aldo Leopold sounded the alarm about wildlife management shortly after establishing its foundations. More specifically, he soon became concerned about the extent to which this new profession had become slaved to the narrow interests of hunters, to the neglect of all others. As he stated in his 1940 essay on The State of the Profession:

    Someday the hunter will learn that hunting and fishing are not the only wildlife sports; that the new sports of ecological study and observation are as free to all now as hunting was to Daniel Boone. These new sports depend on the retention of rich flora and fauna…There is a growing number of private sanctuaries, private arboreta, and private research stations, all of which are groping toward non-lethal forms of outdoor recreation.

    Not long after, in 1949, Aldo died.

    The Cult of Sport Hunting

    Leopold's concerns seemed to die with him, at the same time that the incestuously intertwined pursuits of hunting and wildlife management became increasingly cult-like. The central ethos of this cult was, and continues to be, death, violence, and domination, linked to long-standing cultural obsessions going back to European settlement of North America. No one has described this syndrome better than Richard Slotkin in his epic treatises, Regeneration through Violence, The Fatal Environment, and Gunfighter Nation. In this tripartite overview, Slotkin clearly links our national obsession with domination and death to chronic collective anxieties arising from colonization, industrialization, and imperialism.

    But, of course, every cult needs a justifying if not ennobling myth which, in this case, is a racially-charged manifesto extolling the virtues of European conquest and dominance—even unto this day. Of more direct relevance to my argument here, derivative myths extoll the masculine virtues of white male hunters, hearkening back to Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, and Teddy Roosevelt. A recent mythic gloss has been provided by a codified doctrine and formula called The North American Model of Wildlife Management. Increasingly, those worshipping at the altar of sanctified violence directed at animals invoke this creed as justification, not only for their behavior, but also for their privileged status within the institution of wildlife management—for the perpetuation of despotism.

    Rigid Maladaptive Institutions

    The problem with despotic institutions is that they rarely constructively adapt to changing environments. Instead, the pattern is one of entrenchment against emerging threats at the enthusiastic behest of those who are most privileged by established arrangements. The result is an increasingly brittle institution destined for catastrophic failure, much like the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980s.

    This, then, becomes a problem, not only for those who are disenfranchised and demanding change, but also, ultimately, for those who hold the greatest prerogatives. And, yet, those holding power, besotted by privilege and blinded by justifying narratives, double down in defiance of irresistible change.

    What about change?

    The American public is, in fact, evincing increased alienation from the precepts of current wildlife management. A recent nationwide YouGov survey showed that 71% of those who were polled thought that sport hunting was morally wrong; 76% thought that killing animals for furs was unethical; both within a 3% margin of error. I'm not saying here that a super-majority of the American public "did not support" or "skeptically viewed" sport hunting. They felt something stronger. They thought it was unethical, even morally repugnant. And this objection, even revulsion, was exhibited across all age groups and political perspectives.

    Similarly, the number of adults who hunt has declined since the early 1990s, not just as a percentage of the total, but also in absolute numbers. A survey conducted at 5-year intervals by the US Census Bureau at the behest of the US Fish & Wildlife Service found that hunter numbers dropped from 13 to 12 to 10-11 to 9% of all surveyed adult males. Between 1991 and 2016, absolute numbers dropped 20%. Revenues generated by hunting similarly declined. By contrast, numbers of people who considered themselves "wildlife watchers"—who valued animals simply to watch them—increased by 37%, and consistently outnumbered hunters by 6- to 9-fold.

    Those who are morally repulsed by sport hunting or simply choosing not to participate in hunting for whatever reasons, are finding their voice. With increasing frequency, letters to the editor are objecting to hunting—especially "sport" or "trophy" hunting. Membership in organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is burgeoning. Other groups such as Project Coyote, focused on protection of predators, are flourishing. More and more people are talking about reforming wildlife management, especially as practiced by State agencies.

    Demands for change are becoming more common, more vocal, more insistent, and more unavoidable.

    A Predictable Response

    And what has been the response of hunters and wildlife management bureaus to this crisis of credibility, support, and finances? What you would expect from despots and their allies: increasingly strident, even vitriolic, public derogation of critics and denial of their claims.

    Moreover, rather than distancing themselves from sport and trophy hunting, wildlife managers are ever more exuberantly embracing it, seemingly as a symbolic act of defiance. There is no better example of this phenomenon than the current dogged push by the states of Idaho and Wyoming to hunt grizzly bears in the long-isolated Yellowstone population, only recently surrendered to state managers by federal officials after a 40-year battle to rescue this enclave of bears from extirpation.

    One peculiar aspect of this reactionary exhibition is the frequent even frenzied invocation of "science" by hunters and wildlife managers as justification for trophy hunting. After all, science-based management is one of the purported pillars of the much-extolled North American Model of Wildlife Management. So, logically, in keeping with this doctrinal premise, trophy hunting is represented as "scientific" whereas objections to trophy hunting are represented as "emotional." Examples are legion, including a recent letter to the editor of the Cody Enterprise in support of Wyoming's planned grizzly bear hunt.

    Bull Shit.

    Pseudo-Scientific Hunting

    "Science" does not, in fact, support trophy hunting grizzly bears, nor does it support sport hunting of essentially any large carnivore. Research worldwide, including in the Yellowstone Ecosystem of Wyoming, has shown that large carnivore populations are self-regulating. As these population near carrying capacity, self-regulating dynamics kick-in with ever-increasing vigor. There is no science-based justification for hunting grizzly bears in Yellowstone or anywhere else.

    As evidence of this, a recent survey by Michelle Lute and her colleagues of conservation scientists and professionals worldwide asked, first, whether hunting of large carnivores (among other strategies) was effective for promoting coexistence with people and, second, whether killing carnivores was justified for (among other reasons) increasing carnivores' fear of people and protecting people from perceived risk. Hunting was scored the least effective of 12 candidate strategies and increasing fear and safety from perceived risks the least justified of 11 candidate reasons for lethal management.

    This professional consensus flies in the face of reasons being offered, for example, by hunters, wildlife managers, and the Safari Club for hunting Yellowstone's grizzly bears. Science-based? Not really. Even Aldo Leopold, back in the 1930s and 1940s, would have probably objected to the invocation of science in support of trophy hunting grizzly bears—the last of which he so eloquently eulogized on Escudilla Mountain in the southwestern U.S.

    Kyle Artelle and his colleagues published a recent paper that provides interesting context for the emotion-ridden invocation of pseudo-science by hunters and wildlife managers. Kyle and company decided to test the proposition that wildlife management in Canada and the United States was, in fact, science-based by looking at a slew of hunt-management plans. Without going into the details of their research, they found:  "These results raise doubt about the purported scientific basis of hunt management across the United States and Canada." In other words, "science-based" was more often rhetoric than reality, which is consistent with the propaganda being propagated by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department and its hunter allies in defense of plans to hunt grizzly bears.

    Killing Custer

    At this point, convention would have me shift to—conclude by—providing a litany of practical measures that could be undertaken by a compliant institution to reform itself. Such is the nature of Liberals willing to widdle all over themselves in an effort to demonstrate their "reasonable" intentions. Well…not me. If nothing else, Trump has reformed me. In fact, virtually all of the white, male, rural, ill-educated people who devote themselves to hunting also voted for Trump, despite the self-evident fact that he is one of the vilest human-beings to ever take political center stage.

    We need revolution, not reform, when it comes to wildlife management. We are no longer (for the most part) a nation bent of genocide, whether homo- or eco-centric. We need federal policies that empower everyone in this country—urban or rural; white, black, red, or brown; female or male; who cherish animals simply because they exist, or to enjoy watching them, or, yes, to hunt them—when it comes to living with the wild animals on this Earth. They are sentient beings, like us. They deserve rights. Their welfare deserves our attention.

    I guess my concluding admonition would be, to paraphrase James Welch, author of Killing Custer: Relegate Custer's ethos to the deserved trash-bin of history.



    7) Police Fire Rubber Bullets, Tear Gas at Peaceful May Day Protesters in Puerto Rico

    By Vanessa Romo and Adrian Florido, NPR News, May 2, 2018


    Police form a barrier against protesters during a May Day march Tuesday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to protest pension cuts, school closures and slow hurricane recovery efforts. (photo: Carlos Giusti/AP)

    evere government austerity measures designed to jolt Puerto Rico out of an 11-year recession propelled thousands of protesters into the streets across the island's capital on Tuesday in a series of marches that ended in chaos.

    Rallies that began in different parts of the city remained largely peaceful throughout the day as students, teachers, government employees and private sector workers wound their way through the streets to converge in the downtown area. But the demonstrations ended in gasps, tears and fits of coughing after police fired gas canisters into crowds who had come up against their barricades.

    In recent days police and protesters had agreed on the route the marchers would take around San Juan's financial district. But what began as a cooperative process turned contentious as the afternoon wore on. Police officials said some protesters deviated from the previously negotiated route.

    Faced with a line of heavily armored police officers, some demonstrators tried to force their way through the barrier. Police responded by firing tear gas into the crowd, which sent people screaming as they fled for cover. At least one journalist reported being struck by a rubber bullet fired by police.

    Speaking at the governor's mansion after the protests, Gov. Ricardo Rossello said police had no choice but to act after a small group of agitators hurled rocks and bottles at them.

    "Freedom of expression cannot come at the expense of people's safety and well being," the governor said, holding up a rock he said had been hurled by protesters. "This kind of violence damages the good name of Puerto Rico."

    But Vanessa Rivera, a 25-year-old university student who was overcome by the gas, called the police's actions "an injustice."

    She told NPR she's angry that the Puerto Rican government continues to capitulate to the demands of a federal oversight board that has demanded cuts to the island's government pensions, public health programs and schools.

    "The financial oversight board acts as if they control us," she said. "It's as if they can say what whatever they want and that's what has to happen."

    Puerto Rico has been in a recession for more than a decade, and for years its government has been buckling under the weight of the more than $70 billion it owes to Wall Street bondholders.

    In 2016, Congress passed a law allowing the island territory to seek protection from its creditors through a process akin to a municipal bankruptcy. But the legislation also created the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, the seven members of which were given immense power over the island's finances.

    During the press conference Rosello said he shared many of the protesters' frustrations. "The fiscal oversight board tries to ram policy measures down our throats," he said.

    Nonetheless, the governor has agreed to implement most of the austerity measures.

    "It's important for everybody to realize that Puerto Rico doesn't have any credit," he said. "We don't have a printing machine for money. When the money is over, it's over."



    8) Bill Cosby Should Have Been Denounced by Black America Long Ago

    By Glen Ford, May 2, 2018


    The following article was authored by Glen Ford when he was editor of The Black Commentator.

    Bill Cosby's Confused Notions of 'Responsibility'

    The Black Commentator, June 3, 2004

    Bill Cosby has some nerve talking about "personal responsibility." On May 17, with no warning, the 67-year-old multimillionaire comedian ambushed three venerable Black organizations – the NAACP, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Howard University – fatally disrupting a gala celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Browndesegregation decision. Cosby drew from the hip (or the lip) to spray the hall with generalized insults against people who weren't even there: the Black poor who, he said, "are not holding up their end in this deal."

    Apparently, Cosby thinks he is one of the deal-makers, and that he's been cheated. The mostly Black, tuxedoed attendees at Washington's Constitution Hall, forced to bear witness to Cosby's tirade, were also to blame "in this deal" since they had collectively failed to sufficiently call the "lower economic people" to account for their "personal responsibility" deficits.

    Not once did it occur to "Cos" that he owed his immediate and larger audience the benefit of a well-prepared presentation. Dr. Cosby saw no need to buttress his rant with a single reliable fact, nor to provide a coherent structure for his argument, so that reasonable people might arrive at some useful conclusions. Instead, he played the elderly "shock jock," frothing and flailing away, spewing a sewer of abuse that, if directed against other ethnic groups, would be considered blood libels. (See a compilation of "Cosbyisms" at the end of this essay.)

    The super-successful entertainer, famed for his practiced timing and flawless delivery, the evangelist of education – the discipline in which he received his Ph.D. – displayed an utter disrespect for his audience and for the august occasion of the anniversary. His extended outburst, presented without the evident benefit of even the most rudimentary preparation, was a gross violation of professional and personal discipline – an affront Cosby would never commit against a half-drunk nightclub crowd, much less the corporate and university audiences he regularly addresses. Yet he gave free rein to his inner demons in front of a throng of African Americans at Constitution Hall on the anniversary of Brown.

    The irresponsible icon

    Icons always have apologists; Cosby has a media-full. Black people who should be insulted, instead make excuses for Cosby's shameful, impulsive, totally uninhibited behavior that, in a non-icon, would invite suspicions of substance abuse.

    USA Today's Black columnist DeWayne Wickham – normally a smart fellow – sugarcoats Cosby's bile as "talking black" – as if Black discussions of public policy, including subjects as momentous as the Fate of the Race, are by definition devoid of substance, structure, precision or logic. A similar exculpatory current runs through most corporate newspaper columns penned by Black writers in the wake of the Cosby abomination.

    Amazingly, the out-of-control, grotesquely self-indulgent comedian was roundly praised for his "courage" in confronting the supposed Black phobia against "airing dirty linen" in public, i.e., within hearing distance of whites. How perverse and ironic! Much of the Black talking classes forgive Cosby's clear lack of a sense of "personal responsibility" and elementary decorum, precisely because to do otherwise would risk diminishing a Black icon – in front of white people! Better to let Cosby's insults to African Americans, slide.

    And since when was it an act of courage to badmouth poor Black people in America?

    By simple standards of civility Cosby is guilty of an extreme lapse in "personal responsibility" by dint of his behavior to his audience and to the millions of people he slandered. More to the point, Cosby doesn't know the meaning of the term – and neither do most of the Black chatterers who have been bandying it about.

    Role Model mogul

    What do the various political actors mean by "personal responsibility?" Certainly, we know that in the mouths of Republicans and their Black camp followers "personal responsibility" is a code for what people are told to exercise when the state refuses to see to the general welfare of its non-rich citizens. We know that song. But what does Cosby mean, and why are otherwise progressive Black writers and politicians bending over backwards to find ways to agree with him?

    An enormous vacuity surrounds the Black discussion over Cosby's remarks. People rush to say "yes" to a term, the definition of which is not necessarily shared or understood. Where does "personal responsibility" end and "social responsibility" begin? If a comedian turned demagogue can hector a substantial portion of a race of people to behave as he (vaguely) commands, then surely he is talking politics, not just giving advice to individuals. Cosby's politics are in fact rooted on the conservative side of the Black spectrum – that is, when he is being coherent at all.

    The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page recalls:

    "Cosby was saying the same thing backstage when I interviewed him during my college days. It was 1968, but he didn't want to talk about black power, Black Panthers or cultural revolutions. He wanted to complain about why so many young blacks of my generation were wasting the great opportunities that hard-won civil rights victories had brought us. In those politically polarized times, I was disappointed by his traditionalist attitude. But I appreciate its wisdom today with new eyes, the eyes of a parent."

    Actually, Page appreciates Cosby with the "new" eyes of a highly paid corporate journalist who finds enough common ground with white conservatives to appear regularly on shows like The McLaughlin Group.

    Thirty-two years later, Cosby was still urging young people on campus to be politically passive. At Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in May, 2000, he warned students:

    "Those of you going to grad school, listen to me carefully… I know you have an idea of how you want to make a change in the world. That is not what grad school is for. Do what they tell you to do and then when you graduate, do what you want to do. That is what grad school is for. If you're gonna argue with the professor you're going to not get a good grade, you're not going to graduate in grad school. Okay? So take your young idea, study what they want you to study, kick tail and then when you get your turn to write your dissertation then you tell it the way it ought to be told.

    "It is not for you to stand up and argue… You get an A on all the tests and then, make your move."

    By that, Cosby meant, make your personal career move. Don't dabble in campus politics, or challenge the orthodoxy of those in power at the institution. Shut up.

    Because of men and women who shared Cosby's worldview, many Black college campuses were relatively quiet during the Civil Rights Movement, a silence enforced by Black administrators who did not hesitate to expel students and fire faculty who sought any change whatsoever in the status quo, on or off campus. Later in the Sixties, Blacks on white college campuses tended to be significantly more activist than students at traditionally Black schools, largely because they were not smothered by a "tradition" hostile to mass Black political activity.

    Cosby advocates a neutered Black politics of individual striving within the parameters that are allowed by those in power. He projects his own, self-invented persona as a "role model" for African Americans to follow as individuals, while rejecting collective action to alter power relationships. His message: Each of you people should do as I did. Cosby's method is derived from a long line of accommodationist Negro leaders whose message was the equivalent of, "Eat your Jell-O."

    Ironically, the young Cosby did not follow traditionalist counsel. He dropped out of college to pursue the wildly perilous career of Black standup comedian in a largely segregated America. Had he failed as a comic – as the odds overwhelmingly dictated – without a good education he might not have been able to buy his mother a fine house far from the projects where he grew up. Luckily, Cosby the dropout didn't listen to people like – Cosby.

    Spurned, vengeful benefactor

    Cosby bucked the odds, but never the system. His job was to become a Role Model for a Black presence within the existing order. Once that was accomplished, he added a make-believe family to the Model: the Huxtables. Writer Khalil Tian Shahyd "wasn't surprised at all" at the tone of Cosby's Constitution Hall remarks:

    After all, for more than a decade he presented us every Thursday with what he thought the ideal African-American family should look like. That we should listen to jazz, and have people like BB King come into our home for dinner and invite us to sit front row at his shows. Take weekend trips by limo to the most expensive hotel in the city for dinner and pampering just to treat our partners to a day without the children. Live in a big house with not one neighbor of color, where our children shave their heads to appear in a skin head rock video and are sheltered from the real world of zero sum politics, gentrification, under-funded and abandoned school districts, swelling prison populations, racial profiling, economic marginalization, domestic abuse and all those specifically "poverty based social ills."

    In addition to making Cosby a lot richer, the TV show proved that a Black-cast show could hold white people's attention in prime time for multiple seasons. This was considered a great victory. The ideal Black Role Model – Cosby himself, or the self he created – was now the entire nation's Role Model for Black people. Heady stuff.

    Role Model Politics is nearly as emotion-laden as cult-of-personality politics – and just as divorced from reality. The Role Model is, by definition, the template of righteousness and progress. Those who fail to follow the Role Model's path are rejecting the Model's persona. No wonder Cosby goes ballistic at poor Black people's behavior – or what he imagines that behavior to be. He takes it personally. It's as if "those people" are all playing the "dozens" at his expense. How else to explain the explosive vitriol of Cosby's Constitution Hall performance?

    However, Cosby's inability to perceive that he is obligated as a matter of "personal responsibility" to atone for his blanket verbal assaults, is his personal problem. It is far more worrisome that so many Black opinion molders harbor similar attitudes towards politics and the poor. Cosby showed his ass, but the same ill winds are blowing through the spaces in lots of Black skulls in high places. Deep down, they value other Black people little, and trust them less. They would rather celebrate virtual social mobility (the "Huxtables") than fight for the material resources that bring the possibility of dignity to millions. They see more virtue in a millionaire parting with a fraction of his money – although never enough to risk falling out of wealth – than in the selfless work of thousands of community organizers and activists who are motivated by a sense of both personal and social responsibility.

    Dr. King and Malcolm X and Fred Hampton died in a social struggle to empower Black people. Cosby demonizes these same people, employing the enemy's language, like some vengeful, spurned benefactor. Yet much of Black media pretend not to see the throbbing ugliness in their icon, thus calling into question their own fitness. In the face of a brazen assault on the human dignity of African Americans, they equivocate – or join in the mass lynching. Mimicking racists, they impose yet another burden on the already super-disadvantaged Black poor. As Paul Street wrote in the April 8 issue of :

    "The harsh material and structural-racist reality of American society interacts with timeworn, victim-blaming ruling-class explanations of poverty to play an ugly game on the nation's most truly disadvantaged. They are expected to magically leap beyond their social-historical circumstances – to exercise an inordinately high degree of sound personal responsibility just to keep their heads above water – while others are structurally empowered to "pass Go and collect $2 million" without such exercise, and indeed to deepen the well of black disadvantage."

    If huge numbers of Black people could be drawn together to figure out precisely how we have failed each other, that would be one helluva "social responsibility" conversation. But the Bill Cosbys of the community cannot be allowed to hog the microphone, just because they may have paid for it. As journalist-educator-lawyer-activist Lizz Brown says, "That doesn't give him license."

    In truth, we can't afford Bill Cosby anymore. He costs more than he gives.

    Bill Cosbyisms

    Cosby on the Black poor:

    "Lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal. These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids – $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.' "

    Cosby on Black youth culture:

    "People putting their clothes on backwards: Isn't that a sign of something gone wrong? ... People with their hats on backwards, pants down around the crack, isn't that a sign of something, or are you waiting for Jesus to pull his pants up? Isn't it a sign of something when she has her dress all the way up to the crack and got all type of needles [piercings] going through her body? What part of Africa did this come from? Those people are not Africans; they don't know a damn thing about Africa."

    Cosby on civil rights: 

    "Brown versus the Board of Education is no longer the white person's problem. We have got to take the neighborhood back. We have to go in there – forget about telling your child to go into the Peace Corps – it is right around the corner. They are standing on the corner and they can't speak English."

    Cosby on literacy:

    "Basketball players – multimillionaires – can't write a paragraph. Football players – multimillionaires – can't read. Yes, multimillionaires. Well, Brown versus Board of Education: Where are we today? They paved the way, but what did we do with it? That white man, he's laughing. He's got to be laughing: 50 percent drop out, the rest of them are in prison."

    Cosby on poor Black women:

    "Five, six children – same woman – eight, 10 different husbands or whatever. Pretty soon you are going to have DNA cards to tell who you are making love to. You don't know who this is. It might be your grandmother. I am telling you, they're young enough! Hey, you have a baby when you are 12; your baby turns 13 and has a baby. How old are you? Huh? Grandmother! By the time you are 12 you can have sex with your grandmother, you keep those numbers coming. I'm just predicting."

    Cosby on the sons and daughters of poor, Black, unmarried mothers:

    "…with names like Shaniqua, Taliqua and Mohammed [!] and all of that crap, and all of them are in jail.

    Cosby on Blacks shot by police:

    "These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, [saying] 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"



    9) Devastating Dust Storm Strikes India, Killing at Least 94

     MAY 3, 2018




    Strong winds whipped dust and debris through New Delhi on Wednesday. CreditManish Swarup/Associated Press

    NEW DELHI — A powerful dust storm ripped through northern India on Wednesday, killing at least 94 people and toppling houses, trees and electricity poles, government officials said.

    The storm damaged communities in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, where over 400 people were injured as thunder pierced the sky and visibility plummeted. Cities and villages in at least four other states lost power, the authorities said.

    Witnesses described being shocked by the storm's speed and the devastation left in its path.

    A resident of the village of Khakhawali in Rajasthan, who goes only by the name Surendra, said that within a few short minutes, "dust gathered with such speed" that it was impossible to see "millimeters away or keep my eyes open."

    "There was the clanking sound of tin roofs being blown away and motorcycles getting dragged," he said. "Utensils, clothing, it seemed like everything was flying away. We found it hard to stay rooted. The whooshing sound of the wind made our children howl."

    Damage was caused by flying debris, lightning and rain as wind speeds in some areas reached 100 miles per hour.

    By the end of the storm, a young girl who was buried under rubble in the village had died, and a woman nearly lost her arm after she was struck by a tin rooftop that had been dislodged by the wind.

    Hemant Gera, who oversees disaster management in Rajasthan, said the storm was the worst to hit the state in nearly three decades. Many people died in their sleep after their homes were destroyed, he said.

    "The storm struck when people were all at home," he said. "Mud walls collapsed, burying them under it. In many places, trees were uprooted and people were hit by the trunks and branches, resulting in injuries."

    Mr. Gera said that the families of those killed would each be given about $6,000 in compensation.

    Mahesh Palawat, a meteorologist at Skymet Weather Services, a private forecaster, called the storm a "freak incident," telling The Hindustan Timesthat dust storms were not usually as large or intense as the one that hit the country on Wednesday. Other meteorologists said abnormally high temperatures in parts of northern India had contributed to the storm's formation.

    The Indian National Disaster Management Authority provided updates on Twitter, writing that the worst-hit district was Agra, home to the Taj Mahal, where at least 36 people were killed. Over 150 animals also died during the storm, the government agency said.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered his condolences, writing on Twitterthat he was "saddened by the loss of lives." He directed officials to assist those who had been affected by the storm.

    Follow Suhasini Raj and Kai Schultz on Twitter: @suhasiniraj and @Kai_Schultz.



    10)  Colin Kaepernick: Ambassador of Conscience

    Amnesty International's Ambassador of Conscience AwardTranscript of acceptance speech by Colin Kaepernick 

    Amnesty International, April 21, 2018


    It is only fitting that I have the honor of Eric Reid introducing me for this award. In many ways, my recognition would not be possible without our brotherhood. I truly consider him to be more than a friend—Eric, his wife, his children...they are all a part of my family. 

    Not only did he kneel by my side during the national anthem throughout the entire 2016 NFL season, but Eric continued to use his platform as a professional football player to protest systemic oppression, specifically police brutality against Black and Brown people. 

    Eric introducing me for this prestigious award brings me great joy. 

    But I am also pained by the fact that his taking a knee, and demonstrating courage to protect the rights of Black and Brown people in America, has also led to his ostracization from the NFL when he is widely recognized as one of the best competitors in the game and in the prime of his career. 

    People sometimes forget that love is at the root of our resistance. 

    My love for Eric has continually grown over the course of our ongoing journey. His brotherhood, resilience, and faith have shined brightly in moments of darkness. My love for my people serves as the fuel that fortifies my mission. And it is the people's unbroken love for themselves that motivates me, even when faced with the dehumanizing norms of a system that can lead to the loss of one's life over simply being Black. 

    History has proven that there has never been a period in the history of America where anti-Blackness has not been an ever-present terror. Racialized oppression and dehumanization is woven into the very fabric of our nation—the effects of which can be seen in the lawful lynching of Black and Brown people by the police, and the mass incarceration of Black and Brown lives in the prison industrial complex. While America bills itself as the land of the free, the receipts show that the U.S. has incarcerated approximately 2.2 million people, the largest prison population in the history of humankind. 

    As police officers continue to terrorize Black and Brown communities, abusing their power, and then hiding behind their blue wall of silence, and laws that allow for them to kill us with virtual impunity, I have realized that our love, that sometimes manifests as Black-rage, is a beautiful form of defiance against a system that seeks to suppress our humanity—A system that wants us to hate ourselves.

    I remind you that love is at the root of our resistance. 

    It is our love for 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by the police in less than two seconds that will not allow us to bury our anger. It is our love for Philando Castille, who was executed in front of his partner and his daughter that keeps the people fighting back. It is our love for Stephon Clark, who was lynched in his grandma's backyard that will not allow us to stop until we achieve liberation for our people. 

    Our love is not an individualized love—it is a collective love. A collective love that is constantly combating collective forms of racialized hate. Chattel slavery, Jim Crow, New Jim Crow, massive plantations, mass incarcerations, slave patrols, police patrols, we as a collective, since the colonization of the Americas have been combating collective forms of systemic racialized hate and oppression. 

    But I am hopeful. I am inspired. 

    This is why we have to protest. This is why we are so passionate. We protest because we love ourselves, and our people. 

    It was James Baldwin who said, to be Black in America, "and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time." My question is, why aren't all people? How can you stand for the national anthem of a nation that preaches and propagates, "freedom and justice for all," that is so unjust to so many of the people living there? How can you not be in rage when you know that you are always at risk of death in the streets or enslavement in the prison system? How can you willingly be blind to the truth of systemic racialized injustice? When Malcolm X said, "I'm for truth, no matter who tells it. I'm for justice, no matter who it is for or against. I'm a human being, first and foremost, and as such I'm for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole."I took that to heart. 

    While taking a knee is a physical display that challenges the merits of who is excluded from the notion of freedom, liberty, and justice for all, the protest is also rooted in a convergence of my moralistic beliefs, and my love for the people. 

    Seeking the truth, finding the truth, telling the truth and living the truth has been, and always will be what guides my actions. For as long as I have a beating heart, I will continue on this path, working on behalf of the people. 

    Again...Love is at the root of our resistance. 

    Last but certainly not least; I would like to thank Amnesty International for The Ambassador of Conscience Award. But in truth, this is an award that I share with all of the countless people throughout the world combating the human rights violations of police officers, and their uses of oppressive and excessive force. To again quote Malcolm X, when he said that he, "will join in with anyone—I don't care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth," I am here to join with you all in this battle against police violence. 

    Amnesty International, April 21, 2018




    11) Federal prisons abruptly cancel policy that made it harder, costlier for inmates to get books

    By Ann E. Marimow


    Federal prison officials abruptly reversed a controversial policy Thursday that had made it harder and more expensive for thousands of inmates to receive books by banning direct delivery through the mail from publishers, bookstores and book clubs.

    The restrictions were already in place in facilities in Virginia and California and were set to start this month at a prison in Florida.

    Under the rules, inmates in at least four facilities were required to order books only through a prison-approved vendor and, at three of the prisons, to pay an extra 30 percent markup.

    The reversal came after two days' of inquiries from The Washington Post asking about the vendor, the markup and the rationale for the restriction.

    Prison officials said in an email Thursday that the bureau had rescinded the memos and will review the policy to "ensure we strike the right balance between maintaining the safety and security of our institutions and inmate access to correspondence and reading materials."

    Officials declined to identify the vendor and explain the costs added to the book purchase prices.

    For months, the restrictions meant inmates could not have books shipped free from friends and relatives but also could not have books sent directly from online retailers like Amazon.com or book clubs. Using online retailers or book clubs are two avenues many facilities employ as a way to preserve access but reduce opportunities to alter books or use them to smuggle drugs and other contraband.

    "You shouldn't have to be rich to read," said Tara Libert, whose D.C.-based Free Minds Book Club has had reading material returned from two California prisons in recent months and has stopped shipping to two others because of the policy.

    The head of the federal prison system said during a congressional committee hearing in April that he was not aware of the memos his wardens issued restricting book deliveries and that he would clear up any "misperception" that prison officials are withholding books.

    Concerns from House Judiciary Committee Democrats were stirred when lawmakers learned of the policy at one Florida facility; however, memos showed the practice extending elsewhere in the country.

    Michelle Bonner, executive director of the DC Corrections Information Council, which monitors facilities where District residents are locked up, said limiting book-buying options for inmates stifles "their ability to access information and their ability to better themselves with books."

    Libert said she was thrilled to learn from The Post about the reversal Thursday and that federal prison officials "recognized the importance of having unfettered access to books."

    She also said she planned to remain vigilant to ensure "this is a firm commitment and that they truly understand the educational and rehabilitative impact of books."

    The statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons public affairs office on Thursday, while pulling back the policy, noted that "inmate purchased books provide an avenue for introduction of contraband."

    In announcing the policy in March at the United States Penitentiary Lee in Southwestern Virginia, the warden described the "heightened mail monitoring procedures" as necessary to block attempts to smuggle in drugs through the mail and said the policy would "increase the safety and security of staff and inmates."

    It was unclear Thursday how quickly the message from Washington would filter out to the prison facilities throughout the country.

    "We are working with the wardens to ensure they are clear that we are not implementing restrictions on book ordering at this time and we will follow up as soon as all issues have been addressed," a bureau spokesman said.

    Last year, the New York State corrections department implemented new restrictions on packages for inmates, including used books, as part of an effort to combat contraband in state prisons. The policy required inmates to order through a small number of state-approved vendors. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo quickly rescinded the pilot program after an outcry from families and prison reform advocates.

    Memos from individual wardens to their inmates had described the restriction and how inmates would need to adjust their book buying.

    The memos outlined a cumbersome seven-step ordering process that required inmates to submit their requests with the book title, author — and esoteric 13-digit ISBN number of each volume.

    The costs to the inmate included a 30 percent markup, according to memos for USP Atwater, the Central Valley facility in California with 1,200 inmates, and USP Lee, which has about 1,300 inmates.

    Book orders had been processed weekly and inmates were limited to five softcover books per mailing, according to the memos, first reported by In Justice Today and obtained by the nonprofit CAN-DO, which advocates clemency for nonviolent drug offenders.

    At the D.C. Jail, officials allow delivery of newspapers, newsletters and softcover books directly from a publisher, bookstore, book club and community-based organization.

    Amy Lopez, the former head of educational programs for the Bureau of Prisons during the final months of the Obama administration, reviewed the book-ordering procedures this week and said she is concerned the limits will significantly slow down the distribution of books in prisons and contribute to reduced literacy.

    "When you restrict reading materials, you're contributing to lower literacy rates and it limits inmates' connections with the community," said Lopez, who is now overseeing education at the D.C. Department of Corrections.

    The policy already was cutting off access to educational programs like the Free Minds Book Club, whose members are D.C. residents locked up in federal facilities throughout the country. The group's 600 members in about 50 prisons receive a dozen titles a year, and have most recently read "Hidden Figures" and the memoir "I Am Malala."

    The program pays for the books and ships directly through Amazon. (Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

    Inmates answer book-discussion questions and correspond with the nonprofit's staff members.

    With limited access to book reviews, inmates often don't know which titles to choose, making the directive's requirement that inmates proactively pick titles more problematic, Libert said.

    At a congressional hearing last month, lawmakers pressed the Trump administration to rollback the new orders and ensure the policy is not being adopted throughout the system that houses about 184,000 inmates.

    Bureau of Prisons Director Mark S. Inch suggested the restrictions were one way individual prisons are trying to stop people from bringing contraband into secure facilities.

    Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said the book-ordering limits seem to be at odds with the bureau's mission to rehabilitate and educate inmates, and that it would be particularly damaging for indigent prisoners.

    "Can you make sure that people who don't have money have access to books?" Nadler asked the director.

    Inch assured lawmakers that inmates still have access to books through prison libraries.

    "I will certainly communicate if there's a misperception that we are withholding educational, recreational books, legal books of any form, because that's certainly not the case," Inch said.

    House Democratic lawmakers said Thursday that in the two weeks since that hearing, they had not received a follow-up response from federal prison officials.





















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