Please note the June 23 location has changed to Justin Herman Plaza

On Thursday, June 28thWomens March and partners are organizing a mass civil disobedience in Washington, D.C.

We call on women from all communities to descend on our nation's capital and demand the safety and freedom of immigrant families and children.We will put our bodies on the line to demand an end to this administration's the zero-tolerance policy that automatically criminalizes undocumented immigrants and tears families apart.

We will take escalated action in D.C. on June 28th demanding lawmakers and federal officials do everything in their power to #EndFamilyDetention. On Saturday, June 30, we will rise up in cities across the nation to say #FamiliesBelongTogether. These children and families are counting on us. We can not allow these atrocities to go unchallenged. The time to ACT is NOW.

Marching is no longer enough, not when this administration is enacting policies that violently separate families, incarcerate children in prison camps and automatically criminalizes their parents. Not when we see photos and videos of children separated from their families and held in child prison camps. Not when we hear their cries for their parents and see their fear and trauma.

​This is a DEFINING moment. One that will shape our generation. We need bold, strategic and targeted action. We cannot be silent.

*Direct action training and legal support will be provided to all women participating in nonviolent civil disobedience*


Endorsed by: 

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

Latino Community Foundation


On June 30th join a FAMILIES BELONG TOGETHER action in Washington, DC and around the country

On June 30, we're rallying around the country and in Washington, DC to tell Donald Trump and his administration to stop cruelly separating kids from their parents.




Action Alert – PA Parole Board Must Grant Janet and Janine Africa Parole


Take action Monday, June 25th - Wednesday, June 27th

Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: 717-787-5699

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

On Saturday, June 16, MOVE member Debbie Africa was released on parole from State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cambridge Springs after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration.

Fellow MOVE members Janet and Janine Africa, however, were denied parole despite having virtually identical Department of Corrections records as Debbie.

Janet, Janine, and Debbie all:

- Have gone more than 20 years without a misconduct for any rule violation

- Were recommended for parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

- Were recommended for parole by former PA DOC Secretary Martin Horn

- Were recommended for parole by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

- It is beyond dispute that Debbie, Janet and Janine present zero threat to public safety

The Parole Board has denied them the opportunity to return home based on unlawful factors. Claiming the two minimized the offense and did not express remorse, the Board ignored the only relevant assessment under Pennsylvania law: that the two do not present a threat to public safety.

The Parole Board also lied, claiming that Janet and Janine received the negative recommendation of the prosecuting attorney, when in truth Philadelphia's District Attorney, Larry Krasner, recommended all three women – Debbie, Janet, and Janine – for parole, his office stating that it "was "confident" that Janet and Janine "will not pose a threat to the Philadelphia community" and that their "continued incarceration does not make our city safer."

Take Action – Call the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and Parole Chairman Leo Dunn:

Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: 717-787-5699 – Ask for Chairman Leo Dunn's office

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

Talking Points:

- Janet and Janine have not had any rule violation in more than 20 years

- Each has the support of the DOC, former DOC Secretary and nationally-renowned corrections expert Martin Horn, and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office

- Janet and Janine do not present a threat to public safety and should be released just like Debbie

- The Board must stop making political decisions in the MOVE cases: when judged on their record in the DOC and community support Janet and Janine have a right to be released


- That Leo Dunn agree to have the Board reconsider its denial

- Grant Janet and Janine Africa release on parole


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/

Questions and comments may be sent to claude@freedomarchives.org



Donald Trump Jr.

Hey, Bungalow Bill

What did you kill

Bungalow Bill?

He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun

In case of accidents he always took his mom

He's the all American bullet-headed saxon mother's son.

All the children sing

Hey Bungalow Bill

What did you kill

Bungalow Bill?

Deep in the jungle where the mighty tiger lies

Bill and his elephants were taken by surprise

So Captain Marvel zapped in right between the eyes

All the children sing

Hey, Bungalow Bill

What did you kill

Bungalow Bill?

The children asked him if to kill was not a sin

Not when he looked so fierce, his mother butted in

If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him

All the children sing

Hey, Bungalow Bill

What did you kill

Bungalow Bill?

The Beatles





Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


Listen and subscribe to our podcast from your mobile deviceVia Apple Podcasts | Via RadioPublic | Via Stitcher

The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.

On today's episode:

• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September. 

They need to hear from us!

  • It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
  • Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
  • No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
  • Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
  • Submit your own comments online here.

As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.

The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."

Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).

  • June 26/27, 2018: Iowa City, IA
  • June 28/29, 2018: Chicago, IL
  • July 19/20, 2018: Waco, TX
  • August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
  • September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA

For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"

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 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."

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!

484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.

Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:

• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary

• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg 

• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities

Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018.  Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.

Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ." 

CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.

Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:

Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email matthew.westbrook@cdcr.ca.gov and cc: scott.kernan@cdcr.ca.gov

Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr.,  c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/

Read statements from the reps: 

Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did  (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)



"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






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

    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



    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

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    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





    1)  'If It Could Happen to Them, Why Can't It Happen to Us?'

    By Jeanine Cummins, June 19, 2018


    The kids showed up in our driveway on a Tuesday afternoon. The boy wore a backpack full of diapers for his sister; she wore neon-pink tennis shoes and wouldn't let go of his hand. Their case worker gave me some paperwork and was gone before I had time to process the thought: Now I'm a foster mom. Their panic was palpable. Mine probably was, too.

    The little one didn't sleep so much as lose consciousness in moments when her small body demanded a break from her otherwise ceaseless crying. This happened with no discernible pattern. My two biological daughters, then 7 and 3, watched with concern as her cries turned to whimpers and then sloped into the ragged breath of sleep. She could nod off anywhere except in her crib: at swimming lessons, at the dinner table, sprawled on the kitchen floor.

    Sometimes her cries went the other direction, too, spiking into screams, her body rigid with terror. Attempting to remove her sneakers provoked such hysteria that for the first three nights, my husband and I let her wear them to bed.

    We may have been experienced parents, but we were inexperienced at parenting a traumatized child. I didn't know how to change the diaper of a baby who was afraid of me. I didn't know how to comfort a child who became frantic when I tried to touch her.

    During the months that followed, the crying diminished and the children began to trust us. We tried to provide a safe, stable home for them. We gave them clothes, toys, grandparents. We laughed at their jokes and cried with them when visiting their parents was difficult. We loved them.

    And yet we were, inherently, part of their trauma. Their parents were, for the moment, unable to provide a safe home for them. But even when it's necessary, removing children from their parents causes acute distress. I witnessed that suffering. It lived in my home.

    My older daughter began having nightmares that "the people" would take her away from us and give her to another family. She was inconsolable. "If it could happen to them," she asked with the cleareyed logic of a 7-year-old, "why can't it happen to us?"

    I tried telling her that it happens only to parents who don't, or can't, take care of their children. It happens only when parents aren't doing what they're supposed to do.

    It turns out she knew something I didn't.

    I've tried not to read the headlines about migrant children being separated from their parents. The stories of frantic parents and sobbing children are painfully familiar. It is too easy to imagine a little girl shrieking in her new foster mother's kitchen, writhing and kicking at the unfamiliar hands attempting to soothe her. I can see her falling into a fitful sleep in her hot-pink sneakers.

    I told my kids this kind of separation happens only to children whose parents don't do the right thing. But now it's happening to people who are behaving exactly as good parents should. To parents who endure inconceivable hardship to get their children to this country, precisely in order to protect them. They come from places of violence and poverty and they travel, in some cases, thousands of miles carrying their children on their backs, all in the hopes of providing those children with a chance at safety. Their perseverance is the very model of parental sacrifice.

    My husband, an immigrant, tried to soften the emotional spasm of my response to this news. "Surely a temporary separation would be worth it," he said, considering how we would feel if we were asylum-seekers, "if that's what it took to get our children out of a dangerous situation."

    But, I countered, "It's like forcing someone to choose between diabetes and cancer." It's not a deterrent; it's forcing migrants to make an absurd, unnecessary, detestable choice: Would you prefer to keep your children in a dangerous place or risk losing them in a place you can only hope will be safer?

    Republicans are ostensibly the party of Christian family values. Their leader is making a mockery of those values at our borders, separating even asylum-seekers from their children, and then using those children to force migrants into voluntary departure. In immigration court, migrants are being told that the best way to see their kids again is to plead guilty, to return to whatever they're running from. And yet even if they do just that, some parents still don't get their children back. Where is our righteous Christian outrage?

    After six months, our foster kids went home to their parents, and what remained with me was a new perspective on the fragility of family. We love our children so much, it's easy to mistake the strength of that feeling for invincibility. Now I understand that it's not always merit-based, who gets to keep their kids and who doesn't. It can be arbitrary — a matter of unlucky geography — even in 2018, even in the United States of America.

    My daughter was right to be afraid.

    Jeanine Cummins is the author of the forthcoming novel "American Dirt."



    2) Protesters Confront Kirstjen Nielsen at Mexican Restaurant: 'Shame!'

    By Sarah Mervosh, June 20, 2018


    Ms. Nielsen at a White House press briefing on Monday in which she defended the administration's policies.CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

    Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America, which works for social and economic justice, claimed responsibility for the protest. A spokesman for the group said that a diner had tipped off the group that Ms. Nielsen was eating at MXDC Cocina Mexicana, and that about 15 activists arrived at the restaurant around 8 p.m. He said he believed that Ms. Nielsen left after the protesters did.

    The group interrupted what a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security described as a "work dinner."

    "While having a work dinner tonight, the secretary and her staff heard from a small group of protesters who share her concern with our current immigration laws that have created a crisis on our southern border," a department spokesman, Tyler Q. Houlton, posted on Twitter. He shifted the focus to Congress, asking people who are concerned about immigration to reach out to their representatives.

    Ms. Nielsen also took to Twitter on Tuesday night, retweeting a message from President Trump saying that she did a "fabulous job" at a news conference on Monday. She also posted that she would "work tirelessly until our broken immigration system is fixed, our borders are secure and families can stay together."

    Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America released a statement from a member of its steering committee, Margaret McLaughlin: "We will not stand by and let Secretary Nielsen dine in peace, while she is directing her employees to tear little girls away from their mothers and crying boys away from their fathers at our border."

    She added that while Ms. Nielsen's dinner "may have been ruined, it is nothing compared to the horrors she has inflicted on innocent families."

    A worker who answered the phone at MXDC Cocina Mexicana late Tuesday referred inquiries to a public relations representative, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



    3) Microsoft Employees Protest Work With ICE, as Tech Industry Mobilizes Over Immigration

    By Sheera Frenkel, June 19, 2018


    At Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft employees posted an open letter on Tuesday protesting the software maker's work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.CreditStuart Isett for The New York Times

    SAN FRANCISCO — In an open letter posted to Microsoft's internal message board on Tuesday, more than 100 employees protested the software maker's work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and asked the company to stop working with the agency, which has been separating migrant parents and their children at the border with Mexico.

    "We believe that Microsoft must take an ethical stand, and put children and families above profits," said the letter, which was addressed to the chief executive, Satya Nadella. The letter pointed to a $19.4 million contract that Microsoft has with ICE for processing data and artificial intelligence capabilities.

    Calling the separation of families "inhumane," the employees added: "As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit. We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm."

    The letter is part of a wave of tech workers mobilizing this week against the Trump administration's new "zero tolerance" policy that refers for criminal prosecution all immigrants apprehended crossing the border without authorization. The policy has resulted in about 2,000 children being separated from their migrant parents, raising a bipartisan outcry.

    At Silicon Valley companies including Google, Apple and Facebook, employees have in recent days circulated internal emails asking for donations to nonprofit groups that support immigrants. Many have shared information about protests in San Francisco and Washington. And some of the workers have spoken to their managers about the issue or called on internal message boards for their chief executives to respond.

    The activity has had an effect. Late on Tuesday, after Microsoft's employee letter went up, the company released a memo from Mr. Nadella in which he called the immigration policy "cruel and abusive" and said Microsoft was not working with the federal government on any projects to separate families. Microsoft's president, Brad Smith, also published a blog post titled, "The Country Needs to Get Immigration Right."

    Their comments came after other tech chief executives spoke up on Tuesday. Apple's chief, Timothy D. Cook, in an interview with The Irish Times, called the immigration policy "heartbreaking." Elon Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, tweeted that he was a "top donor" to the American Civil Liberties Union and said that "if there is some way for me to help these kids I will do so." Sundar Pichai of Google, Dara Khosrowshahi of Uber and Chuck Robbins of Cisco also tweeted their opposition to the policy.

    On Facebook, two former employees of the social network started a fund-raiser on Saturday to collect $1,500 for migrants who needed legal assistance because of the new policy. By Tuesday afternoon, the effort had garnered more than $5 million from donors who included numerous tech workers, according to a spokeswoman for the fund-raising drive.

    Among the donors were Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and its chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, a Facebook spokesman said. In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Mr. Zuckerberg called for more donations and said the policy of splitting up immigrant children from their families needed to be stopped. Ms. Sandberg, in her own Facebook post, called the cries of the children taken from their parents "unbearable" and added that the practice "needs to end now."

    The activity by tech workers is reminiscent of protests in January 2017when many Silicon Valley employees were up in arms over an executive order from President Trump that suspended immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries. At the time, Google employees held rallies to object; Amazon and Expedia were among the companies that filed in court to stop the order. (Many tech companies comprise workers who are first-generation immigrants or who grew up in immigrant families.)

    Since then, tech workers have watched their companies increasingly come under scrutiny for their moral and ethical behavior. Many tech employees have begun organizing against actions by their own companies — in April, for example, thousands of Google employees signed a letter protesting the company's involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence in weaponry.

    On Monday, the A.C.L.U. also demanded that Amazon stop selling a facial recognition software tool, called Rekognition, to police and other government entities because it feared it could be used to unfairly target immigrants. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Microsoft, based in Redmond, Wash., publicly promoted its work with ICE in January in a blog post, citing it as an example of the success of its technology.

    At the same time, Microsoft has been positioning itself as tech's moral leader. Mr. Nadella and Mr. Smith have publicly said they want to protect user privacy and establish ethical guidelines for new technology like artificial intelligence.

    "We need to ask ourselves not only what computers can do but what computers should do," Mr. Nadella said at Microsoft's developer conference last month.

    Some Microsoft executives earlier objected to the Trump administration's new immigration policy. On Sunday, Mr. Smith penned a LinkedIn post, saying the news of migrant children being taken from their families was "especially poignant."

    Yet criticism of Microsoft's work with ICE began to grow. One Microsoft engineer, Larry Osterman, tweeted on Monday to ask how working with ICE matched with the company's "ethical stances."

    Mat Marquis, an independent developer who works with Microsoft, also said in a tweet on Monday that he no longer planned to work with the company because of its ICE contract. When he receives his last payment from Microsoft, he said, he plans to donate the money to a group providing support to families that had been separated at the border.

    Late Monday, Microsoft issued a statement saying that it was not working with federal agencies to separate children from their families at the border and that it was not aware of its services or products being used for that purpose. It also said it was "dismayed" by the immigration policy and urged that it be changed.

    But for many Microsoft employees, that was not satisfactory. A group of about a dozen employees began working together to draft the protest letter, in which they said the company's statement "does not go far enough."

    The employees continued, "We are providing the technical undergirding in support of an agency that is actively enforcing this inhumane policy."

    The letter added that Microsoft should not only cancel its contract with ICE but be open to a review of its contracts with government agencies domestically and internationally, and that it should create a policy stating it would not work with those "who violate international human rights law."

    Microsoft declined to comment on the employee letter, which was posted internally on Tuesday afternoon. Within hours, it had received more than 100 signatures.

    It was only later that the messages from Mr. Nadella and Mr. Smith decrying the immigration policy were released. "We will always stand for immigration policies that preserve every person's dignity and human rights," Mr. Nadella said.



    4) 'Tender Age' Shelters Opening for Young Children Separated From Parents

    By Caitlin Dickerson, June 20, 2018


    Toddler separated from parents is  crawling across a multi-colored mat inside a "Tender-Age"  shelter in Brownsville, TX 

    Immigration authorities have opened shelter space for children under the age of 12, referred to as "tender age" detainees, who are entering the detention system in ever-larger numbers under the Trump administration's practice of separating children from parents who enter the country illegally.

    Many of the children are toddlers and babies and require special care, and their numbers have been rising since last month, when the government enforced a "zero tolerance" policy on people crossing the border. Since then, estimates suggest that more than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents.

    Three centers in southern Texas are being outfitted to accommodate the younger children.

    A shelter housing babies and toddlers is in Brownsville, Tex., and is run by the same nonprofit group that operates a shelter at a former Walmart, Southwest Key Programs. The shelter that includes tender-age children, called Casa El Presidente, is in a former medical center.

    A person inside the shelter took a series of pictures and supplied them to The New York Times. One image shows a toddler girl who is about 12 months old, playing on a colorful mat decorated with the letters of the alphabet and drawings of animals. The workers and others standing around the little girl wear blue hospital-style bootees to keep the wooden floor clean.

    The girl was separated from her relatives for about a month as part of the family-separation policy, according to the person who took the photo, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to release an image.

    The internet erupted with fury on Tuesday night after The Associated Press first reported news of the shelters. The MSNBC late night host Rachel Maddow broke down crying on the air as she read The A.P. article.

    Referrals of young children have risen "exponentially" since the "zero tolerance" policy was announced, according to Elizabeth Frankel, associate director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights. The center pairs migrant children with adults who act as guardians until the children are reunited with parents.

    "Nobody knows what to do," Ms. Frankel said, explaining that her colleagues have been charged with caring for "a number of infants," including some as young as 8 and 10 months. Many of the children are too young to speak, Ms. Frankel said. Without knowing where or even who the parents are, Ms. Frankel's colleagues have struggled to advocate for the children.

    Ms. Frankel said that contract workers were well trained and doing their best to help but that the youngest children are struggling even more than older ones because they cannot understand what is happening. "The young kids think that their parents have abandoned them, or that something very bad has happened to them," she said.

    "They're in crisis. They're just crying uncontrollably," she said. "We've seen young kids having panic attacks, they can't sleep, they're wetting the bed. They regress developmentally, where they may have been verbal but now they can no longer talk."

    Since the administration's policy became public, doctors and child welfare experts have spoken out about the potential health implications of separation, citing an increased risk for children of anxiety and depression, as well as post-traumatic stress and attention-deficit disorder.

    The potential for long-term effects, such as prolonged emotional problems, will depend in part on the age of the children as well as the length of time during which they are separated from their parents, experts have said.

    The shelters are run by private organizations that contract with the federal government to provide education and health care.

    Representatives of the Health and Human Services Department, which cares for the children, did not respond to requests for data on Wednesday on the number of tender-age children in custody. But Ms. Frankel said that her organization had been informed that government facilities were at capacity.

    "They are placing the children wherever there is an available bed," she said. Some are being flown thousands of miles away from their parents.

    Ms. Frankel said most of the youngest children were being placed overnight in temporary foster homes, and then transported during the day to government facilities for case management and other services. Children who were old enough were going to school during the day, she said, while the babies are kept together in rooms where they are cared for by contract workers.

    Manny Fernandez contributed reporting from Brownsville, Tex.



    5) Children Taken at the Border Arrive in New York

    By Liz Robbins, June 20, 2018


    Central American asylum seekers are taken into custody by U.S. Border Patrol agents in Texas. Many children have been separated from their parents at the border, and some of them have landed in New York shelters.CreditJohn Moore/Getty Images

    The crisis at the southern border has reached New York City, as waves of children separated from their parents have been arriving in the area.

    At least 74 children have been sent to nine shelters in New York, according to the office of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

    That number appeared to increase overnight, as a video captured by NY1 showed a group of young girls being led in the darkness into a shelter in East Harlem run by Cayuga Centers, an agency that has a contract with the federal government. The shelter also has contracts with the city and the state to house children. A director for Cayuga, when reached by phone Tuesday, said she was not able to comment because the contract prohibited her from speaking to the news media.

    The federal agency that cares for unaccompanied minors — the Office of Refugee Resettlement — did not immediately return a request for comment.

    The children have been separated from their parents at the southern border, as part of the federal government's zero tolerance policy, in which adults are prosecuted for entering the country illegally, and their children are taken from them and placed into custody separately. More than 2,000 children have been separated from their parents in the last two months.

    Jessica Lynch, a lawyer for Catholic Charities of New York, which represents the children in immigration court, said that since the policy was announced, "we've had a surge in minors coming who have been separated from their parents in the shelters."

    New York State regulates the shelters, which are also on Long Island, in Westchester and the Bronx, that care for what the federal government calls unaccompanied minors. But Mr. Cuomo said that the facilities have been instructed by the federal government not to speak to state authorities, a process he deemed problematic.

    Mr. Cuomo said on Tuesday that he intended to sue the federal government within the next two weeks for its zero-tolerance policy because it violated the constitutional rights of parents to care for their children.

    "There's been a lot of talk about the morality of this practice," Mr. Cuomo said on Tuesday. "But we also believe that this practice is illegal."

    The children are entitled to their own court hearings and, according to lawyers who deal with their cases, they are asking to be sent back to Central America. That is a shift from earlier cases, in which children who often arrived alone at the border would be placed with family members in New York and seek to stay in the United States.

    The children arriving now, " didn't make the decision to come," said Anthony Enriquez, the director of the unaccompanied minors program for Catholic Charities. "They said, 'I just followed my mom here.' I am dealing with that trauma, of family separation."

    But sending children back can be difficult because often the government does not know where the parent is, or, whether the parent has been deported ahead of the children.

    "There is no system whatsoever to track these family separations, no efforts systematically to reunite these families," Mr. Enriquez said. "There is no supervisor, there is no database saying, 'child here, parent there,' so they can come back together."




    6) New York City Will End Marijuana Arrests for Most People

    By Benjamin Mueller, June 19, 2018

    "Some of the categories of people who will still be arrested on charges of smoking in public are overwhelmingly nonwhite. For example, as of 2007, three-quarters of the people on probation in New York City were black or Hispanic, compared to 17 percent of probationers who were white, according to the most recent publicly available probation profile. ...In the first four months of this year, 80 percent of those given tickets for marijuana possession were black or Hispanic."


    Most people will soon avoid a trip to the police station if they're caught smoking marijuana in public in New York City.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

    The New York Police Department plans to slash arrests for publicly smoking marijuana by more than half and give people tickets instead, but will keep arresting some of those who have past arrests or convictions, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Tuesday.

    The changes come amid strong signals from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's administration that it will push to legalize marijuana across New York State. But with any new legislation months away, and Mr. de Blasio facing mounting pressure to address a steep racial disparity in marijuana arrests, the city took another step on Tuesday toward shrinking a pool of arrests that no longer exists in some states.

    The new policy, which will take effect on Sept. 1, will not curb police officers' power to stop and search people who they think are smoking marijuana. And because it exempts from the no-arrest policy certain people with criminal records, many of them black, it is unlikely on its own to shift the focus of marijuana enforcement away from the nonwhite New Yorkers who have for decades been the targets of arrests.

    People caught smoking marijuana in public will still be handcuffed and taken to a police station house for fingerprinting if they have been arrested in connection with a violent crime in the last three years, are on probation or parole or have an open arrest warrant. Around 17,500 people are arrested each year on marijuana possession charges in New York City, but Mr. de Blasio said about 10,000 of those arrests would be eliminated and replaced with criminal summonses under the new policy.

    The mayor, caught between progressive allies who want to end marijuana arrests and a Police Department loath to relinquish its broad powers, has seemed content of late with the city's enforcement policy. In January, he said the annual arrest count was "a normal level in the sense of what we were trying to achieve."

    Governor Cuomo, too, has been reluctant to reconsider a prohibition on marijuana, saying as recently as last year that it was a "gateway drug."

    But with Cynthia Nixon criticizing Mr. Cuomo's position as she bids for the Democratic nomination for governor and the New York City Council pressing the Police Department to explain the disparities in arrests, the two oft-feuding Democrats have reached a sort of consensus that public opinion has shifted.

    "We're doing what we can do right now," Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference.

    Tuesday's announcement was another attempt by the city to preserve the Police Department's enforcement powers without falling too far behind a broad shift in favor of legalizing marijuana.

    The police commissioner, James P. O'Neill, convened a 30-day working group in May to review enforcement after The New York Times published an analysis of the racial disparities, and Mr. de Blasio said one of the goals of the new policy would be to reduce those disparities.

    But the working group's 19-page report did not attempt to explain the racial disparity, beyond suggesting that nonwhite people may smoke marijuana in public at higher rates and that racially skewed enforcement was a byproduct of broader societal forces.

    It also did not lay out any reasoning in support of having police officers continue to arrest some people for smoking marijuana, not because the city believes smoking merits an arrest on its own, but because those people have a criminal history.

    Research has found "there is no good evidence" that marijuana arrests in New York City are associated with reductions in serious crime. The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., found in a six-month study that marijuana arrests "waste an enormous amount of criminal justice resources for no punitive, rehabilitative, deterrent or other public safety benefit."

    At the news conference with the mayor, Mr. O'Neill said that people with criminal histories should be punished more harshly for so-called quality-of-life crimes.

    "If you have a propensity to commit crimes, and our job is to keep people safe, and if you're going to commit quality-of-life violations, I think the consequences have to be higher," he said.

    Criminal summonses for marijuana possession, already climbing in New York City since Mr. de Blasio said in late 2014 that the police would largely give summonses instead of making arrests for carrying personal marijuana, would rise further under the new policy. People given a summons are generally allowed to continue on their way after the police check databases for open warrants and previous arrests and convictions, and are told to appear in a courtroom.

    Many of the tickets later become arrest warrants if the person misses a court date. Just over 7,000 of the summonses given last year in New York City for the unlawful possession of marijuana — about a third of all such marijuana summonses — later became active warrants, according to court statistics. Overall, there are roughly 1.2 million active warrants in New York City relating to missed court dates, a courts spokesman, Lucian Chalfen, said.

    Summonses for unlawful possession of marijuana, a noncriminal violation, can come with fines up to $100, though city officials said the fine amounts were ultimately up to judges and could change depending on someone's criminal history.

    Defense lawyers say the real impetus for marijuana enforcement is often not an arrest or summons itself, but rather the opportunity for police officers to stop and search people and check for open warrants in other cases. They said the fact that the new policy preserves officers' authority to search people they stop for smoking marijuana suggests that the Police Department believes smokers merit closer scrutiny than people, for example, who are caught drinking in public — something they say there is little evidence to support.

    Beyond the arrests based on someone's criminal history, people caught smoking in public would also be arrested if they did not have identification or were smoking in a way that created an "immediate threat to public safety," said Rodney Harrison, the Police Department's chief of patrol. He said, for example, that officers would be given discretion to arrest people who are smoking around children in a park or smoking while operating heavy machinery. To protect against unsafe driving, people caught smoking in the driver's seat of a car would also be arrested.

    Chief Harrison said that officers could make a case for arresting someone in a place that has been the subject of repeated public complaints about marijuana smoke. He said every arrest has to be approved by a precinct supervisor.

    He said the police had to arrest people caught smoking while on parole or probation because it represented a violation of the terms of their release. The number of people held in city jails on state parole violations has increased in recent years, a trend that runs counter to the city's goal of closing Rikers Island.

    The district attorneys in Manhattan and Brooklyn both said recently that they planned to stop prosecuting many marijuana cases, creating the potential for a patchwork of different policies across the city's five boroughs. The city's new policy was intended to create a more consistent strategy. And the Brooklyn district attorney, Eric Gonzalez, who appeared alongside the mayor at Tuesday's news conference, voiced support for the exceptions in the city's new policy.

    But the Manhattan district attorney, Mr. Vance, said in an interview that while the new policy was a step forward, continuing to arrest people on the basis of their criminal records "stands in contrast with the overarching goal of increasing fairness at the same time as maintaining public safety."

    He said people caught smoking marijuana in public should be treated like people caught drinking in public, who are given a civil summons and not arrested even if they are, for example, on probation or parole. There is no evidence, he said, that marijuana smokers are unusually violent. And Mr. Vance said his office would decline to prosecute people arrested because of their parole or probation status unless the police made a persuasive case there was a public safety threat.

    Some of the categories of people who will still be arrested on charges of smoking in public are overwhelmingly nonwhite. For example, as of 2007, three-quarters of the people on probation in New York City were black or Hispanic, compared to 17 percent of probationers who were white, according to the most recent publicly available probation profile.

    There are already disparities in people who receive tickets for marijuana in New York City. Two-thirds of those given criminal summonses for marijuana possession last year were black or Hispanic, and 13 percent were white, with the race of many of those given tickets — the vast majority in certain precincts — not specified in police records, according to data the Police Department provided to the City Council.

    In the first four months of this year, 80 percent of those given tickets for marijuana possession were black or Hispanic.

    Carrying personal marijuana is already supposed to lead to summonses instead of arrests in New York City under a policy announced in late 2014, but that policy allowed officers to continue to make arrests for smoking in public. Since then, arrests on marijuana possession charges have fallen from about 26,000 people in 2014.

    J. David Goodman contributed reporting.



    7) N.F.L. Players to President Trump: Here's Whom You Should Pardon

    By Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins and Benjamin Watson, Professional Football Players, June 21, 2018


    hino State Prison in California.CreditKevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    President Trump recently made an offer to National Football League players like us who are committed to protesting injustice. Instead of protesting, he suggested, we should give him names of people we believe were "unfairly treated by the justice system." If he agrees they were treated unfairly, he said, he will pardon them.

    To be sure, the president's clemency power can be a valuable tool for redressing injustice. Just look at Alice Johnson, age 63, who was serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug conviction until her sentence was commuted by President Trump. He should be commended for using his clemency power in that case.

    But a handful of pardons will not address the sort of systemic injustice that N.F.L. players have been protesting. These are problems that our government has created, many of which occur at the local level. If President Trump thinks he can end these injustices if we deliver him a few names, he hasn't been listening to us.

    As Americans, it is our constitutional right to question injustices when they occur, and we see them daily: police brutality, unnecessary incarceration, excessive criminal sentencing, residential segregation and educational inequality. The United States effectively uses prison to treat addiction, and you could argue it is also our largest mental-health provider. Law enforcement has a responsibility to serve its communities, yet this responsibility has too often not met basic standards of accountability.

    These injustices are so widespread as to seem practically written into our nation's DNA. We must challenge these norms, investigate the reasons for their pervasiveness and fight with all we have to change them. That is what we, as football players, are trying to do with our activism.

    President Trump could help. He could use his powers, including the clemency power, to make a real dent in the federal prison population. People like Alice Johnson, for example, should not be given de facto life sentences for nonviolent drug crimes in the first place. The president could stop that from happening by issuing a blanket pardon for people in that situation who have already served long sentences.

    Of the roughly 185,000 people locked up in federal prisons, about 79,000 are there for drug offenses of some kind — and 13.5 percent of them have sentences of 20 years or more. Imagine how many more Alice Johnsons the president could pardon if he treated the issue like the systemic problem it is, rather than asking professional football players for a few cases.

    There is also a systemic problem in federal prison involving the elderly, who by next year will make up 28 percent of the federal prison population. Releasing these prisoners would pose little to no risk to society. And yet from 2013 to 2017, the Bureau of Prisons approved only 6 percent of roughly 5,400 "compassionate release" applications. About half of those applications were for people who had been convicted of nonviolent fraud or drug offenses. Of those denied release, 266 died in custody.

    President Trump could order the release of any drug offender over the age of 60 whose conviction is not recent. That would be the morally right thing to do.

    Apart from using the pardon power, there are policies the president and the attorney general could implement to help. For instance, they could eliminate life without parole for nonviolent offenses. Currently, more than half of those sentenced to die in federal prison are there for nonviolent offenses, and 30 percent of people sentenced to life (or de facto life) are there for a nonviolent drug crimes. Compare that with the state level: Only 2 percent of those sentenced to life (or de facto life) are there for drug offenses.

    These changes, if President Trump were to make them, would positively affect the lives of thousands of people and have a lasting beneficial effect on many more people in the future. The president can implement these changes with his pardon power and other executive decisions. His ability to change the lives of people for the better is immense. We hope he uses it, not just for the few, but for the many.

    President Trump, please note: Our being professional athletes has nothing to do with our commitment to fighting injustice. We are citizens who embrace the values of empathy, integrity and justice, and we will fight for what we believe is right. We weren't elected to do this. We do it because we love this country, our communities and the people in them. This is our America, our right.

    We intend to continue to challenge and encourage all Americans to remember why we are here in this world. We are here to treat one another with the kindness and respect every human being deserves. And we hope our elected officials will use their power to do the same.

    Doug Baldwin, Anquan Boldin, Malcolm Jenkins and Benjamin Watson are members of the Players Coalition, an advocacy group of National Football League players.



    8)  Andrew Cuomo: A Moral Outrage New York Will Not Tolerate

    By Andrew M. Cuomo, June 20, 2018


    Central American asylum seekers being taken into custody by Border Patrol agents near McAllen, Tex., last week. John Moore/Getty Images

    The Trump administration's inhumane treatment of immigrant children has left a dark stain on the history of our nation. It is a human tragedy and a threat to our values.

    On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order rolling back his own policy of separating parents from their children — claiming to solve a problem that was of his own creation.

    But this order is no solution at all. It still leaves open the long-term detention of immigrant children, which would clearly violate federal law.

    Moreover, you can't un-abuse the more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents at the border with the swipe of a pen. The administration's family separation policy has already done potentially irreparable harm to those children who were used as pawns in the president's political agenda. And the order includes no plan to reunite these children with their parents, something that should be done as quickly as possible.

    The potential toll on these children is heavy. Research shows that the trauma of forced separation can cause long-lasting physical and emotional effects on children, changing how they process information, react to stress and develop executive function and decision-making skills. Such stress could also make these children more prone to inflammation and disease as they grow to be adults. As the number of adverse childhood events increases, the risk of health problems such as obesity, alcoholism and depression later in life increases.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seemed to defend the policy by praising the resilience of refugees this week. But in fact, by separating such young children from their parents, the federal government may have undermined that argument: Research shows that trauma can inhibit the development of resilience.

    To make matters worse, the federal government is prohibiting New York from providing health and mental health services to the hundreds of children who have already been placed by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement in centers around the state — even though the state regulates those centers.

    The facilities in New York are a testament to the love and compassion of our residents, providing high-quality care and homelike settings that contrast with the terrifying tent city and refurbished Walmart being used to house detainees along the border. But these children shouldn't be in facilities in New York or anywhere else in the first place. They should be with their parents.

    The mistreatment of children seeking refuge within our borders is a moral outrage and an affront to the teachings of every major religion. "All tyranny needs to gain a foothold," it has been said, "is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

    New York will not remain silent. Our state has always served as a beacon of liberty and opportunity for the world, and the Lady of the Harbor holds her torch high not only to light the way for immigrants, but to light the way forward when our country is lost.

    This week, I announced New York State's intent to file a multiagency lawsuit against the Trump administration to swiftly reunite children with their parents and put an end to the abuse of immigrant families. We fully intend to move forward with this suit to prevent any further harm to the children in custody.

    Our case rests primarily on three claims.

    First, that holding the children apart from their families is a violation of the constitutional rights of parents to care for, maintain custody of and communicate with their children. These parents are afforded the fundamental right to family integrity under the United States Constitution and under the New York State Constitution. By systematically separating parents from their children, this administration has shown complete disregard for parental rights.

    Second, that detaining children — alone or even with their families for an extended period of time — is a violation of the terms of the 1997 Flores settlement agreement with the federal government, which set national standards regarding the detention, release and treatment of children in immigration detention. The settlement, which the administration is seeking to modify, prioritizes the principle of family unity, requires juvenile immigrant detainees to be released within 20 days, and explicitly requires family reunification with a clear preference for parental custody.

    Third, we intend to invoke what is known as the "outrageous government conduct doctrine." In a 1973 case, United States v. Russell, the Supreme Court wrote that it "may someday be presented with a situation in which the conduct of law enforcement agents is so outrageous that due process principles would absolutely bar the government from invoking judicial processes to obtain a conviction." That day has come. The callous tactics used by Immigration and Customs Enforcement have no place in this country.

    We cannot wash away this stain on American history. But we are not without a voice, and will speak up for the voiceless, with words and with action. We will not let what has been done go unanswered, and we will do everything we can to ensure that it never happens again. Together, we can reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental values that built this state and this nation.

    Andrew M. Cuomo is the governor of New York.



    9)  The King and Queen of Cruelty

    By Charles M. Blow, June 20-, 2018


    The Trumps preparing to greet King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain on Tuesday.CreditChip Somodevilla/Getty Image

    You just can't construct prisons for babies. You can't rip children from mothers and fathers. You can't use the power of the American government to institute and oversee a program of state-sponsored child abuse. You can't have a system where the process and possibility of reunification is murky and maybe futile.

    You can't do any of that and assume that decent people won't rise up in revolt.

    Donald Trump learned that this week as an avalanche of indignation came down on him and his administration for his brutal, inhumane "zero tolerance" policy at the border, which was resulting in the terrible suffering of children and their parents.

    Citizens were outraged. Politicians were outraged. Corporate leaders were outraged. Foreign leaders were outraged. The pope was outraged.

    This is an immoral act of an immoral man, one who saw absolutely no flaw in using the anguish of children and families — people he viewed as deficient and less-than, "not their best" — as pawns in a political fight to force Congress to fund his ridiculous hate symbol: a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

    He clearly didn't even think that this was a losing battle for him. He thought using border agents to abduct these children was a winning idea.

    On Wednesday, The Associated Press reported: "President Donald Trump sees his hard-line immigration stance as a winning issue heading into a midterm election he views as a referendum on his protectionist policies."

    Republican member of Congress told CNN that Trump said on Tuesday during a closed-door meeting that "the crying babies doesn't look good politically."

    Indeed, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS and released Monday found although two-thirds of Americans overall opposed the policy, a majority of Republicans supported it.

    Think about that for a second. That to me goes beyond standard political tribalism. That ventures into the territory that the Tennessee Republican senator Bob Corker described last week: This is cultlike.

    Trump's grip on the throat of the Republican Party is so strong that it no longer has breath or voice for objection.

    As goes Trump, so goes it.

    Not even the sight of devastated families could move the party that once called itself the party of family values. Not even the idea of "tender age" internment camps for babies could move the party built on the protection of "unborn babies."

    The contradiction is abominable.

    It's not that Trump and his family don't understand the downside of imposing even the smallest amount of stress on children. It's just that they value different children in differing degrees.

    Melania Trump clearly thought that it was too traumatic to move the couple's young son to Washington during the school year, so she stayed with him in New York, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for security.

    As Ms. Trump told Us Weekly in January 2016 about talking to the couple's son about potentially moving to Washington:

    "At that age, it's hard to explain to them. … I tell him: Take it day by day, enjoy your life, live your meaningful life as I like to do. … Of course, at that age, every child would worry, especially if they love school, if they love friends; they don't want to lose that. Everything is a new opportunity and it brings new friends and a new school. You never know, you never know what happens. Enjoy it day by day, live your life and don't stress yourself."

    No, please don't stress yourself. Stress is for poor people, like immigrants.

    Even though, as The New York Times reported, sparing their son from the stress of changing schools and moving from a luxury Manhattan apartment to one of the most famous and important residences in the world cost the New York Police Department an estimated $127,000 to $146,000 a day "to protect the first lady and her son while they reside in Trump Tower."

    Melania Trump didn't move to the White House until last June.

    In May 2017 Reuters reported:

    "A federal spending agreement reached late on Sunday will reimburse New York City for money spent securing U.S. President Donald Trump and his family at Trump Tower in Manhattan."

    Yes, she made an unusual step in publicly condemning the family separation policy, but she did so using her husband's false "both sides of the aisle" talking point. That was a lie. The president alone started this and had the power to end it.

    Then she tweeted this tone-deaf, Marie Antoinette-ish statement, as her husband was still separating children from their parents and sending them to internment camps:

    "A great visit with the King & Queen of Spain at the @WhiteHouse today. Queen Letizia & I enjoyed tea & time together focusing on the ways we can positively impact children."

    Enjoyed tea? Positively impact children?

    I just can't.

    Now some people are reporting that she quietly pressured her husbandbehind the scenes to reverse the policy.

    Is she or her husband going to visit the child internment camps he created, to see what they wrought and console the crying children there? Is either going to work tirelessly for the swift reunification of every single family that has been torn apart? Will either publicly apologize to the families who were damaged?

    Until then, I give her no laurels. Donald and Melania are a team in this terror. They have worked together to make the abhorrent normal. They deserve each other; we deserve better.



    10) Trump Wasn't First to Separate Families, but Policy Was Still Evil

    By Nicholes Kristof, June 20, 2018


    At left, a Jewish boy with his family surrendering to Nazi soldiers in 1943. At right, a Honduran boy and his father seeking asylum were taken into custody last week near Mission, Tex., a border town.CreditLeft, Corbis, via Getty Images; right, John Moore/Getty Images

    President Trump finally caved to public pressure and promised to stop separating children from parents at the border. After long insisting that he couldn't do anything about this, he snapped his fingers and changed the policy that he had denied was a policy.

    Yet the next steps remain unclear and of uncertain legality. Will there be internment camps? This hazy juncture is a useful opportunity to draw lessons.

    Trump is right that he didn't begin the practice of wrenching crying children from their parents. This fits into a long and shameful history:

    "My brothers and sisters were bid off first, and one by one, while my mother, paralyzed by grief, held me by the hand. Her turn came, and she was bought by Isaac Riley of Montgomery County. Then I was offered to the assembled purchasers. My mother, half distracted with the thought of parting forever from all her children, pushed through the crowd while the bidding for me was going on, to the spot where Riley was standing.

    "She fell at his feet and clung to his knees, entreating him in tones that a mother only could command to buy her baby as well as herself. … I must have been then between 5 and 6 years old. I seem to see and hear my poor weeping mother now." — Josiah Henson, a slave in Maryland, in his account of his life from 1858

    "The Negroes at home are quite disconsolate but this will soon blow over. They may see their children again in time." — Thomas Chaplin, a slave owner, in 1845, quoted in "Help Me to Find My People," by Heather Andrea Williams

    "My mother then turned to [her owner] and cried, 'Oh, master, do not take me from my child!' Without making any reply, he gave her two or three heavy blows on the shoulders with his raw hide, snatched me from her arms, handed me to my master, and seizing her by one arm, dragged her back. … The cries of my poor parent became more and more indistinct. … The horrors of that day sank deeply into my heart." — Charles Ball, whose 1837 autobiography of a life in slavery included this discussion of his separation from his mother at the age of 4

    The black family "suffers little by separation." — Thomas R. R. Cobb, a pro-slavery legal scholar, in 1858

    "I stared intently, trying desperately not to lose sight of my mother, my little sister with her hair of gold and sun, my grandmother, my older sisters. I see them always, for I am still looking for them, trying to embrace them one last time. … What remains of that night like no other is an irremediable sense of loss, of parting. My mother and my little sister left, and I never said goodbye. It all remains unreal." — Elie Wiesel, "Memoirs," describing how the Nazis separated his family during the Holocaust

    "'I'm going to take your child to get bathed.' That's one we see again and again. ... The child goes off, and in a half an hour, 20 minutes, the parent inquires, 'Where is my 5-year-old?' ... And they say, "You won't be seeing your child again.'" — Anne Chandler, Tahirih Justice Center, in Texas Monthly last week

    "The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever." — White House Chief of Staff John Kelly last month

    "All I can remember is how much my son and I were both crying as they took him away. … It has been about six months since I last saw my son." — A detainee in an A.C.L.U. lawsuit filed in April, describing the seizure of his 13-year-old son in October

    "Womp womp." — Corey Lewandowski, a Trump surrogate, mocking family separations on Tuesday

    "My babies started crying when they found out we were going to be separated. It breaks my heart to remember my youngest wail: 'Why do I have to leave? Mami, I want to stay with you!' My youngest cried and screamed in protest. … In tears myself, I asked my boys to be brave, and I promised we would be together again soon. … I do not know where my sons are, and I am very worried about them." — Mrs. J.I.L., a Salvadoran woman, in the A.C.L.U. suit

    "We have an orchestra here." — A Border Patrol agent joking last week as children cried inconsolably after being taken from their parents.

    So, Mr. President, you're right that you didn't start family separation. Today's practice is not the same as slavery or Nazism, but it still fits neatly into the annals of barbarism.

    I hope you will genuinely stop this cruelty. One lesson from this history is that while there are always apologists at the time, ultimately we come to appreciate that to wrench shrieking children from the arms of their parents is not just cruel, not just abhorrent, but truly evil.



    11) Why Are Parents Bringing Their Children on Treacherous Treks to the U.S. Border?

    President Trump hopes to deter the flow of migrants into the United States, but near the busy border crossing in Arizona, some said that the threat of separation from their children would not deter them.

    By Julie Turkewitz and Jose A. Del Real, June 22, 2018


    A child from Guatemala at Casa Alitas in Tucson.

    TUCSON, Ariz. — When Luis Cruz left behind his wife, four of their children and the house he'd built himself, he'd heard that American officials might split him from his son, the one child he took with him. But earlier this month, the two of them set out from Guatemala anyway.

    The truth, he said this week, moments after they arrived at a cream-colored migrant shelter in Tucson, was that he would rather be apart from his child than face what they had left behind. "If they separate us, they separate us," said Mr. Cruz, 41. "But return to Guatemala? This is something my son cannot do."

    For years, children and parents caught crossing the nation's southern border have been released into the United States while their immigration cases were processed, the result of a hard-fought legal settlement designed to keep children from spending long months in federal detention. In the eyes of the Trump administration, this practice has served as an open invitation for people like Luis Cruz, and has played a major role in driving thousands of families across the border with Mexico.

    Mr. Trump's newest immigration policies — first an effort to separate families crossing the border, and now an effort to change the legal settlement on migrant family detention — represent an aggressive effort to rescind that invitation, one that has plunged the nation into a debate about the limits of its generosity.

    But interviews at shelters and passage points along both sides of the border this week, as well as an examination of recent immigration numbers, suggest that even with tightened restrictions on families, it's going to be difficult for the president to stanch the flow.

    Though it's impossible to know yet whether the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" crackdown on illegal border crossers will have a significant deterrent effect, one thing was clear this week at the Arizona-Mexico border: Many families — especially those from countries in Central America plagued by gang violence and ruined economies — are making the calculation that even separation or detention in the United States is better than the situation at home.

    "Why would you undertake such a dangerous journey?" said Magdalena Escobedo, 32, who works at the migrant shelter here in Tucson, called Casa Alitas. "When you've got a gun to your head, people threatening to rape your daughter, extort your business, force your son to work for the cartels. What would you do?"

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions in April announced a policy of prosecuting all illegal border crossers, yet federal agents caught nearly 52,000 people at the border in May, marking a steady rise in illegal entries after a sharp decline during the first year of Mr. Trump's administration. More than 250,000 migrants had been arrested this year as of late May, according to data by United States Customs and Border Protection; that number is close to the total number arrested in all of 2017, about 311,000.

    Casa Alitas, a low-slung building down a dusty street in Tucson, takes in families who've presented themselves to border officials to ask for asylum. Once they're processed at immigration facilities, authorities drop them off here for a meal and a shower before they head off to stay with friends or relatives and wait for their day in court.

    On Thursday, men like René Pérez, 40, who made it into the United States with his son this week, said he was well aware that they might have been separated or placed in custody. "If it happens, it happens," said Mr. Pérez.

    Across the border in the Mexican town of Nogales, many parents preparing to cross the border said temporary separation from their children in the United States would be better than facing the violence back home.

    "I'd rather accept that, to know that my son is safe," said Lisbeth de la Rosa, 24, who was waiting in line to enter the United States with her 4-year-old son.

    "It's worth it," said Lidia Rodríguez-Barrientos, 36, standing with her 9-year-old daughter. "Why? Because we're afraid to go back."

    What has guided much of border detention policy in recent years is a 1997 agreement in the case Flores v. Reno, in which the federal government was barred from detaining migrant children, save for a short period and under certain conditions. The agreement was interpreted later to include children traveling with their families.

    Unwilling to separate young migrants from the parents traveling with them, both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations arrived at the policy of releasing families while they awaited immigration proceedings—though Obama administration officials did so only after having been successfully sued over their policy of holding families together in detention.

    Critics, including Mr. Trump, have long said that allowing migrants to go free while their immigration cases are pending encourages parents to enter the United States with children, and some conversations bear that out.

    "This is the reason I brought a minor with me," said Guillermo T., 57, a construction worker who recently arrived in Arizona. Facing unemployment at home in Guatemala, he decided to head north; he had been told that bringing his 16-year-old daughter would assure passage. He asked that only his first named be used to avoid consequences with his immigration case.

    "She was my passport," he said of his daughter.

    The Trump administration is asking for changes to the Flores settlementthat would allow officials to detain children with their families for longer than the short period allowed under the agreement. Lawyers for the Obama administration already asked for changes to that settlement and were denied. In any case, it's unclear if that will stop people from coming.

    Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, a global fellow at the Wilson Center who has interviewed hundreds of Central American migrants in the field, said that they are primarily motivated to leave their countries by violence and lack of economic opportunities, phenomena which she described as closely connected.

    She said these migrant families choose the United States because they often have networks in the country already and know that there are many job opportunities. "There are push and pull factors. The push factors are the lack of economic opportunities and the security problems in their countries. It's a mix of these conditions. The pull factors are of course the jobs and the families."

    Even with steep drops in the number of recorded murders in the past year, El Salvador and Honduras, the home countries of many migrants, are still among the most dangerous countries in the world. Poverty is hammering away at livelihoods in much of Central America, and for some, the decision to leave is a gamble on a better life.

    For others, it's a matter of saving the one they have.

    On Thursday, federal officials dropped Mr. Cruz and his 16-year-old son, also named Luis, at Casa Alitas. Both wore black, despite the southwestern heat, and inside, they sat at a table covered with a cloth of bright sunflowers.

    They eagerly consumed big bowls of soup before explaining why they had come.

    The elder Mr. Cruz, a lemon and orange grove worker, had hoped to live his life in his home state of Suchitepéquez. Then in late May, his son was approached twice by a gang who demanded he join them, flashing a gun and urging him to commit his first extortion. "They kill you if you don't obey," said Mr. Cruz.

    On June 3, the pair left for the United States, and then presented themselves at the border to ask for asylum. After lunch at the shelter, the younger Mr. Cruz pulled a piece of paper from his pocket, unfolding it to reveal a letter his school director had written before he left — a note they hoped would be the evidence they needed to win asylum in the United States.

    "The student had to withdraw himself from school due to violence and gang persecution," she wrote. "He decided to move to save his life."

    Julie Turkewitz reported from Tucson and Jose A. Del Real reported from Nogales, Mexico. Miriam Jordan contributed reporting from Los Angeles and Frances Robles from Miami.



    12) 75 Percent of Americans Say Immigration Is Good for Country, Poll Finds

    By Niraj Chokshi, June 23, 2018


    A newspaper salesman in front of the entry to the United States from Nogales, Mexico. Many Americans view immigration as a top concern ahead of this fall's midterm elections.CreditRyan Christopher Jones for The New York Times

    Most Americans oppose the separation of immigrant families at the border, and a larger share of people than at any point since 2001 say immigration is good for the nation.

    Those were just some of the findings of polls published in the past week that shed new light on attitudes toward immigration, a subject that many Americans view as a top concern ahead of this fall's midterm elections.

    While most oppose President Trump's policy of separating children from their parents at the border, fellow Republicans were more likely to support it than not, the polls found. Since the polls were conducted, however, the president caved to public pressure and agreed to stop the separation policyby detaining families at the border together for an indefinite period.

    And despite the president's anti-immigration message, three in four Americans say immigration is generally good for the nation, according to Gallup, the polling organization.

    "Americans' strong belief that immigration is a good thing for the country and that immigration levels shouldn't be decreased present the president and Congress with some tough decisions as the midterm elections loom," Gallup said in a news release Thursday.

    Here's what the recent polls show

    Despite the contentious political climate, 75 percent of Americans think immigration, in general, is good for the nation, according to Gallup, which surveyed more than 1,500 adults during the first two weeks of June.

    Among Democrats and those who lean toward the party, 85 percent viewed immigration positively, compared with 65 percent of Republicans and those who lean Republican.

    When asked their thoughts about "legal immigration" specifically, even more Americans, about 84 percent, said it was good for the country.

    Support for reining in immigration is at its lowest level in more than half a century: Just 29 percent of Americans believe it should be decreased, the smallest share recorded by Gallup since at least 1965.

    Strong opposition to separating familiesSeveral recent polls found that most Americans disagreed with President Trump taking a hard-line approach to immigration enforcement by separating families at the border.

    "When does public opinion become a demand that politicians just can't ignore?" Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, said in a statement this week, announcing the results of a recent survey of more than 900 voters conducted last week and weekend. "Two-thirds of American voters oppose the family separation policy at our borders."

    Two similar polls of adults — one conducted by Ipsos and another conducted by YouGov with The Economist — found comparable results, albeit with smaller majorities opposing the policy.

    In all three polls, those surveyed were about twice as likely to oppose separating families as to support it. But there was a large partisan divide: Republicans were more likely to support family separation than oppose it, while Democrats overwhelmingly disliked it. Independents strongly opposed the policy, just not to the same degree as Democrats.

    "Neither quotes from the Bible nor get-tough talk can soften the images of crying children nor reverse the pain so many Americans feel," Mr. Malloy said in the statement. The administration was heavily criticized after Attorney General Jeff Sessions used a Bible passage to justify the separation policy and images of weeping children began to circulate widely.

    The nation's top problem?

    Immigration has also emerged as a top policy concern among Americans: Those who were asked this month to name the most important problem facing the nation were more likely to bring up the issue than any other, according to a Pew Research Center survey of about 2,000 adults.

    When Pew asked that same question in January 2017, immigration was cited less often than health care, the economy, unemployment, race relations and Donald J. Trump, then the president-elect.

    Gallup found similar results: The share of Americans who said immigration was the top problem facing the country rose to 14 percent in June, from 10 percent the month before.

    Both polls found that Republicans cited immigration far more often than Democrats. Still, Pew found that about one in five Democrats and Republicans alike wanted local candidates to discuss the issue this fall.



    13) 16 and Alone, Inside a Center for Separated Children in New York

    By Jesse McKinley, Liz Robbins and Annie Correal, June 22, 2018


    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo toured a campus of a childcare agency in New York on Thursday for a rare glimpse at the conditions in which children separated from their parents are being held.CreditGabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

    It was just three weeks ago that the 16-year-old was detained by immigration agents in Texas after traveling with his father to the United States. The father was deported back to Guatemala. The child was sent to New York.

    Today, he sits in a children's residence, one of an estimated 700 young people who have been placed with child care agencies in New York since President Trump announced his "zero tolerance" policy of separating children from family members when they are apprehended at the southern border.

    Amid a rising outcry over the practice, and even as the president signed an executive order ending it, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo toured one of the agency campuses with a New York Times reporter for a rare glimpse of these children's lives. Because the agency that runs the residence receives federal funding that could be imperiled by speaking to the press, it offered the tour on the condition that its name, exact location and the name of the children interviewed not be disclosed.

    Mr. Cuomo said that he wanted to visit the residence to make sure that the children there were being well cared for, and he excoriated the Trump administration for not informing him of the presence of the separated children in New York earlier. "They're placing children in state-certified facilities, state-regulated facilities, and not even communicating with us," he said.

    The separated children are only the most visible part of a migration that has been taking place quietly since 2014, when a surge in the number of "unaccompanied minors" — children arriving at the border without parents — garnered attention. Ten state welfare agencies have contracts to provide medical, educational and other support services while providing temporary housing for the children. Many unaccompanied minors have been subsequently placed with relatives or guardians already living in the United States.

    But the separated children may not have those connections, and how they will be reunited with their parents remains unclear. Many of them are under 12, known as "tender age," and they now make up about 20 percent of the 11,801 unaccompanied minors in the custody of the government, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

    In New York, there were hints of the coming crisis at the beginning of May, for those who knew where to look. At one child care agency, the number of unaccompanied minor children placed by the federal government swelled to 15 that month, from just three the month before.

    Megan Newman, who lives near a child welfare agency in East Harlem, said she has seen children coming and going from the building for months. And recently, she noticed something else.

    "More little ones," she said in a telephone interview. "The little minis. I haven't seen babies, per se. But yeah, a lot of little ones. It's a steady parade."

    About a month ago, a 9-year-old boy from Honduras landed with the same foster care agency, Cayuga Centers, after traveling by bus from Texas, where he and his mother had been apprehended. On June 8, a family friend contacted the office of Mayor Bill de Blasio, asking for legal advice.

    From that call, it would be nearly two weeks before the extent of the number of children being sent to New York became clear.

    "It's inhumane and unsustainable," Mr. Cuomo said Thursday, of taking children from their parents at the border. "This was either a deliberate strategy to create chaos or one of the greatest government blunders in history."

    Both Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio expressed shock at the number of children placed in New York, and outrage at the federal government's lack of transparency. But there is no requirement that federal officials inform the city or state about how many children it is sending.

    Eric Ferrero, the deputy commissioner for the city's Administration for Children's Services, said that his office had been asking federal authorities for more than a week about children arriving from the border.

    "Do they have an obligation to tell you, 'We've got six kids coming into La Guardia tonight'? No, that's not how it typically works," he said. "But we would expect the federal government to answer our questions about how many kids they have in New York City who have been separated from their parents and are experiencing trauma. These are kids that have presumably some really complicated needs that we want to make sure we're helping to meet."

    The consulates for the children's home countries also said they weren't getting information from the government. José Vicente Chinchilla, the consul general of El Salvador, said there was no indication until this week that children separated from their families had been sent to New York, let alone how many.

    He relies on a monthly report from the federal government of the number, names and ages of unaccompanied minors in his jurisdiction — New York and Pennsylvania — and according to the May report there had been no significant increase.

    Asked how many separated Salvadoran children were in New York, he said, "To be honest, I don't have a number," noting on Thursday that neither the federal authorities nor the local welfare agencies had responded to requests for information.

    The campus Mr. Cuomo visited sits in an almost serene suburban locale and is home to about 15 of the separated children, along with other unaccompanied minors. The hallways and classrooms were clean. Dozens of children played soccer on well-used fields, while a limp American flag sat on a hillside above several of the dormitories.

    Inside a dorm set aside for teenage girls, the walls were spare, dotted with snapshots of birthday parties and painted with inspirational maxims; the doors lock from inside and out. But there were also signs of longing for home and a better life, including a series of cut-out paper butterflies glued to a wall with messages of the children's hopes. "I want to be someone in life to be able to help all the people who need it," said one, in Spanish. "I want to learn to become a teacher," said another.

    An official at the residence said many of the children had managed to speak to their parents, and several of the separated children had been placed with family. For others, the wait continues. "Because they are older than the tender-age children, they are faring much better, but still it's very traumatic, they've been traumatized by the separation," the official said. "They have trouble sleeping, sometimes they're anxious, depressed, crying, primarily."

    One of those hoping to stay in the United States was the 16-year-old from Guatemala — a diminutive, talkative teenager who said he had only finished schooling through fifth grade. He said he had not expected his father to be sent back, and suddenly found himself alone in New York. He had spoken with his father several times and said he had a cousin in Houston, where he would like to go live, though it is not clear if that will happen.

    Despite being taken away from his father, he expressed optimism. "It is a happy place here," he said, holding a soccer ball firmly in his grasp while talking to the governor. "It's not a sad place, it's a happy place."

    Zoe Greenberg, William Neuman, Sean Piccoli and Nate Schweber contributed reporting.



    14) Rare Hantavirus May Have Caused Belmont Racetrack Worker's Death

    By Sarah Maslin Nir, June 22, 2018


    A worker's bedroom at Belmont Park racetrack, with blood spots on the wall from bedbugs.CreditSarah Maslin Nir/The New York Time


    A worker at Belmont Park racetrack has died in what health officials believe may be a rare case of hantavirus in New York State.

    The worker, whose name has not been released, was found earlier this month collapsed outside the ramshackle employee barracks, tucked between the horse barns and exercise pens where he and scores of other grooms, hot walkers and riders live, state health officials said. He was hospitalized and died on June 6 of what appears to have been hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, an advanced stage of the virus, according to the New York State Department of Health's preliminary findings.

    The illness, the pulmonary form of which has a nearly 40 percent fatality rate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cannot be communicated between humans. It is typically contracted by inhaling air contaminated with rodent droppings in confined spaces, or, in rare cases, via a bite.

    In New York State, there have been five cases of hantavirus since the state began tracking it in 1993: three were in Long Island and two upstate, according to the Health Department. Nationwide, there have been 728 reports of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome between 1993 and 2017, according to the C.D.C. (The center is reviewing the case at Belmont, which will officially determine if hantavirus caused the death.)

    At Belmont, which is in Elmont, N.Y., near the Queens border, far from the sun-hatted hordes in the stands on big race days like the Belmont Stakes, dilapidated bungalows house the mostly immigrant work force responsible for cosseting and caring for the thoroughbreds that race there. According to interviews with residents, a jockey and a former trainer, the barns and living spaces are plagued with rats.

    "When you get down on your knees to do a horse up? They run up your legs," said Peter Daly, a former trainer who now owns Tack Room Products, a supply shop across the street from the park.

    Inspectors on Thursday ordered the removal of 32 workers from rooms they found had dangerous conditions. They have been relocated to other housing on-site, according to the New York Racing Association, a nonprofit corporation. Between 900 and 1,000 people live on the premises. The racing association, which is responsible for the housing, has begun patching holes, securing overflowing feed bins and containing waste to remediate the problem.

    "We are redoubling our prior efforts to address appropriate rodent control measures throughout all backstretch facilities," Patrick McKenna, a spokesman for the racing association, said in an email.

    Drawn by the feasts of horse oats and refuse, rats often pass unimpeded from the barns through holes visible in the sides of the cinder-block dorms and small clapboard shacks where the workers live, according to workers who reside there. Rooms are often shared, and many are squalid, with mattresses or pallets on the floor, some with punched-out windows covered by cardboard. The workers asked not to be named because they feared reprisal for criticizing the facility, which is state-owned and operated by the racing association.

    "It's a challenging setting because of the nature of the industry; rodents like the environment," said Brad Hutton, the New York State Department of Health's deputy commissioner for public health.

    Mr. Hutton and a team of epidemiologists and inspectors have spent the past several days at the track, assessing conditions and teaching workers how to identify early symptoms of hantavirus. The illness can start with flulike symptoms and can progress over weeks to the point where "it feels like someone is sitting on your chest," Mr. Hutton said.

    As inspectors have visited the facility this week to root out the conditions that may have caused the possible case of hantavirus, they have also found other types of infestation, Mr. Hutton said.

    One worker, who said he has lived in the barracks on the racetrack grounds for 20 years, showed a reporter the roughly 10-by-12-foot room he shares with another man: Blotches of blood from crushed bedbugs stained the walls. Next to a pillow was a can of repellent with which his roommate sleeps.

    NYRA, as the New York Racing Association is known, was returned from state to private control last year. It has made some improvements to the facility, which was first constructed at the turn of the 20th century, as part of a $30 million multiyear campaign that includes renovations to more than 50 residential cottages and nearly 30 barns. In 2016, the association completed the construction of a new residential dormitory, and is in the midst of building a second. This week, lawmakers voted to make it eligible to receive state funding for the redevelopment project.

    "While the improvements have been substantial and meaningful, there is more work to be done," said Mr. McKenna.



    15) Large-Scale Art Protest Outside OxyContin Maker Ends in Arrest

    By Colin Moynihan, June 22, 2018


    Police confiscated a large sculpture of a spoon that was placed outside Purdue Pharma headquarters in Stamford, Conn., as part of a protest against the opioid crisis.CreditGregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

    STAMFORD, Conn. — The sculpture, about 10 feet long and weighing some 700 pounds, is a huge depiction of the sort of spoon addicts use to cook heroin before injecting it.

    On Friday morning, the spoon, by the Boston-based sculptor Domenic Esposito, was unloaded here outside the headquarters of Purdue Pharma, the makers of the painkiller OxyContin.

    Some of Mr. Esposito's work exploring the ways that addiction affects lives will appear in a new exhibition at a gallery a few blocks away. He and the gallery owner, Fernando Luis Alvarez, said they were at Purdue to shame the company, asserting that its much-abused drug had led countless people to dependence and served as a gateway to other narcotics like heroin.

    "I think this is an important matter," Mr. Alvarez said. "People are dying."

    As the opioid epidemic rages on, Purdue Pharma has become a magnet for criticism from legislators, regulators and the relatives of the dead. On Friday it was the artists' turn, however briefly. The spoon was gone by noon, carted off on the orders of the police. And the gallery owner was arrested and led away in handcuffs after he refused to move the piece from where it had been blocking Purdue's driveway.

    A statement Friday from a Purdue spokesman, Robert Josephson, said, "We share the protesters' concern about the opioid crisis and respect their right to peacefully express themselves."

    Mr. Josephson said the company is committed to working on meaningful, collaborative solutions to help stop deaths related to opioid overdoses.

    Over the past year, increasing attention has been directed at Purdue and the members of the Sackler family who owned and ran the company while it aggressively marketed OxyContin as a painkiller that was less prone to abuse than other drugs. In 2007, the parent company of Purdue pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge of misbranding OxyContin with the intent to defraud or mislead.

    Multiple states have since sued the company, saying it employed deceptive marketing practices, an allegation Purdue has denied. The photographer Nan Goldin, who said that a prescription for OxyContin led her to addiction, has organized protests including one inside the Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which members of the family had supported with sizable donations.

    Other recent protests have taken place outside Purdue Pharma's building. Earlier this month two brothers from Pennsylvania used a projector to beam messages onto the building's facade, referring to the company as a "cartel," according to the Stamford Advocate.

    Mr. Esposito said he spent about six weeks fashioning the spoon from steel. The idea, he said, was to reflect the experience of a relative who had begun using OxyContin and Percocet experimentally before turning to heroin.

    The bent spoon became an emblem of the relative's struggles, Mr. Esposito said. The family would sometimes find similar implements around, disappointing discoveries at a time when they believed their loved one had been in recovery.

    "And then all the pain started over," he said.

    The addiction-related works in Mr. Alvarez's gallery are part of a show titled "Opioid: Express Yourself." They include an image of a giant white capsule with damaged ends depicted against a bright red background, and an abstract painting meant to project depression and anxiety. There is also a work that represents a section of bathroom wall that also includes pill bottles peeking from behind tiles affixed to the wood, and a medicine cabinet shaped like a tombstone.

    As for the spoon, Mr. Alvarez, Mr. Esposito and a few friends towed it to the Purdue building around 8 a.m. on Friday in a trailer emblazoned with an image of a skull. The police arrived before long and over the next two hours officers negotiated with Mr. Alvarez, telling him "your giant spoon" has to go. Finally a commander issued Mr. Alvarez a ticket for "obstructing free passage." When he declined after that to remove the sculpture Mr. Alvarez was placed under arrest on a charge of "interfering with police," the commander said. He was detained briefly before being released.

    Back at the building, a yellow front loader arrived. Several men wrestled the spoon into the shovel of the frontloader, and it was then hoisted up, placed onto the back of a truck and driven away.



    16) Black Dolls Found in Nooses at San Francisco Construction Site, Workers Say

    By Mihir Zaveri, June 22, 2018


    Craig Ogans at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., on Thursday. He is one of the three employees who said that co-workers used threats of violence and racial slurs to try to drive them off the job.CreditJana Ašenbrennerová

    Three African-American construction workers said this week that they were targeted by racial slurs and death threats, including black dolls hanging from nooses in the bathroom, while working on the site of a San Francisco high-rise.

    The workers, Craig Ogans, Douglas Russell and Don'ta Laury, filed complaints Thursday with the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment against Clark Construction, based in Maryland. The company is building the 43-story tower where the men worked. Facebook is expected to be its major tenant.

    The three men were elevator operators on the site in the city's financial district. Their complaints said they were repeatedly harassed and discriminated against by co-workers, including a threat with a knife, as part of a concerted campaign to drive them off the project.

    "It made me feel hurt, angry, scared, fearing for my safety," Mr. Ogans said in a phone interview. "It was an emotional roller coaster for me."

    In an emailed statement, Clark Construction said it "does not tolerate harassment or discriminatory behavior" and had notified law enforcement officials about the racial harassment when it received complaints.

    Grace Gatpandan, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Police Department, said that nooses found at the site in April were being investigated by the police as a possible hate crime, though no one had been arrested yet. She said that was the only time the police were called to the work site.

    The company said it held anti-harassment and discrimination training at the site after the complaints and installed security cameras to "deter individuals from acts that are not permitted by policy or law."

    The three men were employed by a subcontractor of Clark Construction, Bigge Crane and Rigging, which was not named in their complaints. A Bigge spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

    The men are being represented by John Burris, an Oakland civil rights lawyer. Mr. Ogans and Mr. Russell said they were reassigned to different work sites after they reported the incidents. Mr. Laury could not be reached for comment, but Mr. Burris said that he was still working at the high-rise site where the harassment was alleged to have occurred.

    Clark representatives said the company would install signs on the project site — reading "Give Respect. Get Respect." — as a reminder to workers that they are entitled to a "safe and peaceful work environment."

    "We are committed to addressing reported instances of harassment and discrimination," read the statement from the company, which has 4,200 employees across the United States, according to its website.

    Mr. Burris said that the complaints filed this week were a precursor to a lawsuit the men intend to file against the company. They must first receive a "right to sue" notice from the California agency, which Mr. Burris said he expects within a week.

    At a news conference on Thursday, he displayed photos that show racial slurs and death threats scrawled in dark ink, as well as dolls dangling from nooses.

    "I'm hopeful," he said, "that this case sends a message to all construction owners at various construction sites, particularly in San Francisco, showing that they have some kind of responsibility to provide a safe working environment free of hostility."

    Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit group, said that race-based discrimination and harassment have increased in recent years. Ms. Clarke said nearly identical instances of harassment, including nooses and racial slurs, have been reported recently nationwide.

    "It aligns with a significant increase in hate crimes and racially motivated hate activity across the country," she said.

    The number of complaints received by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has steadily risen to about 9,000 in 2017 from about 6,000 in 1998.

    Mr. Ogans wrote in his complaint that shortly after he started working as an elevator operator at the construction site in March, co-workers told him to enter a sixth-floor bathroom, where he saw words using a racial slur that encouraged the killing of African-Americans.

    In April, Mr. Ogans said he found two black dolls hanging by nooses in a bathroom with references to killing him and Mr. Russell.

    "I saw this horrific sight," Mr. Ogans said. "I would like some major reforms put in place to ensure this stuff never happens ever again."

    Mr. Russell said in his complaint that after he started working on the site in February, he saw a Clark Construction employee carrying a noose.

    Mr. Laury's complaint said that between August 2017 and February 2018, he was the only African-American elevator operator on site. Co-workers repeatedly asked him, "Why are you here?" and "How did you get a job here?" and said African-American workers don't "belong" on the site, his complaint said.

    "Throughout my time working at this Clark Construction site," he wrote, "it felt like there was a concerted effort to drive out the black workers."

    Susan C. Beachy contributed research.



    17)  Once Cut, Corporate Income Taxes Are Hard to Restore

    By Robert J. Shiller, June 22, 2018


    Tax rates on corporate profits rose sharply during World War II. Here, in 1942, guns used by the United States military are assembled in a Firestone Tire & Rubber plant in Akron, Ohio.CreditAssociated Press

    The Trump corporate income tax cuts are the latest in a decades-long trend of tax reductions that have been substantially reversed mainly during times of war.

    The historical evidence is revealing.

    When the federal corporate income tax began in 1909, it was about as low as it could be — a rate of only 1 percent of corporate profits. Over more than 100 years, it has followed a broad hump shape, increasing for about half a century, and then decreasing for about the next 50 years.

    The corporate tax rate peaked in 1968 at 52.8 percent. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 brought the 2018 rate down to 21 percent from 35 percent last year.

    Wars provided an impetus for tax increases, with major hikes during both world wars and the Korean War. Corporate taxes remained high for more than 30 years, then dropped sharply under President Ronald Reagan and now, again, with President Trump.

    At the beginning of the modern era of income taxes in America — in 1909 for corporations and 1913 for individuals — war was not a factor. Instead, in the Progressive era, the main argument for instituting these levies was that "wealth is escaping its due share of taxation," Edwin Seligman wrote in his 1914 book, "The Income Tax: A Study of the History, Theory and Practice of Income Taxation at Home and Abroad."

    Taxes on land hit farmers unfairly, proponents of the new taxes said, while owners of corporate stocks paid no taxes. Excise and customs duties taxed consumers unfairly and benefited specific domestic industries, so the argument went. Seligman, a professor at Columbia University, said the income taxes were not an "attack on wealth as such." The aim of the new income taxes "was solely to redress the inequality of taxation."

    That was an intellectual defense of the income tax. But more emotional issues — those of unequal sacrifice in time of war — account for the high levels to which corporate tax rates rose.

    During World War I, the federal corporate income tax rose to 12 percent in 1918 from 1 percent in 1915. In addition, in 1917 a new "excess profits tax" — on profits above the payer's prewar level — was imposed, and it ranged as high as 80 percent. The increase came amid public outcry against wartime "profiteering." People were angry to see men who stayed at home becoming millionaires from war profits, while the soldiers overseas were fighting and, often, dying.

    The excess profits tax was scrapped in 1921, but the corporation income tax remained at nearly the same level.

    With World War II, rates rose further, reaching 40 percent in 1942. And once again a wartime excess profits tax was instituted, ranging up to 95 percent.

    After that war, the corporate excess profits tax was eliminated, but the corporate income tax rates were not cut back for long.

    The Korean War, which scared many people as being the possible beginning of what they called "World War III," occasioned further increases. The federal corporate income tax rate rose to 52 percent, and yet another temporary excess profits tax was instituted. And again, a familiar pattern was in place: Corporate income tax rates did not decline much after the war was over.

    These wartime tax increases left a lasting legacy of relatively high corporate income tax rates. Even with the Trump tax cuts, the United States is far above the rate that prevailed before World War I.

    According to a "cognitive theory" of taxation offered by Edward J. McCaffery, a scholar at the University of Southern California, governments use the opportunity of a war to raise tax rates when "citizens are either more patriotic and willing to share with the government, and/or are distracted by the crisis itself."

    What prompted taxes to begin a long decline, starting with the Reagan presidency in the 1980s? Here, we are in the realm of speculation. Decades after the Korean War — arguably the last American war with a high degree of public unanimity — the names and feats of war heroes began to fade in memory. People may simply have returned to more individualistic, self-centered views of society and the economy.

    In any case, under Reagan, the top corporate tax rate dropped from 46 percent to 34 percent. In 1993, during the Clinton administration, it increased slightly to 35 percent, where it held until last year.

    Similar declines occurred in other countries in recent decades. That didn't happen because governments needed less tax revenue. To the contrary, Prof. Joel Slemrod of the University of Michigan has shown that "across countries, there is no association of the expenditure-G.D.P. ratio with the corporate statutory rate."

    Effective tax rates — actual corporate taxes paid as a percentage of pretax profits, including the effects of all deductions and accounting tricks — can't be tracked accurately all the way back to 1909, but estimates have also shown a decline in these rates in recent decades.

    What data we do have shows an unmistakable trend. Consider, for example, the United States National Income and Product Accounts, published by the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis. Data from that source indicates that the fraction of profits on corporate income taken by federal, state, local and foreign taxes peaked during World War II and has shown a fairly linear, steady and steep downtrend ever since.

    This history provides an important perspective.

    While it may be tempting to view the Reagan and Trump tax policies as anomalies, they may be seen as part of a long-term trend. It is important to recognize that Reagan's tax decreases were not substantially reversed under subsequent administrations. And it is quite possible that President Trump's corporate tax cuts may remain in place, even if Trump political power ebbs.

    Given this history, I have to wonder: Will it take a major war — one that galvanizes the public, involves vast sacrifice and seems to truly threaten domestic survival — to raise the corporation income tax significantly?

    Robert J. Shiller is Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale.















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