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





Why I Stand with Survivors of Empire

Dear Bonnie,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In solidarity,

Anya de Marie

Project Manager, Courage to Resist

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


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

www.couragetoresist.org ~ facebook.com/couragetoresist



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






Herman Bell is FREE




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

Member vote at Convention in favor of changing the name

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

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

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

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

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

Until we celebrate the last veteran,

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

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

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


















Major George Tillery




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

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

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

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

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    In the Spirit of Crazy Horse


    Leonard Peltier

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

    —San Francisco Bay View, February 6, 2018

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

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



    Artwork by Kevin Cooper



    Reality's trial

    is postponed 

    until October 15th.

    That's 500 Days in Jail,

    Without Bail!


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

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

    One supporter's excellent report

    on the details of Winner's imprisonment

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

    "*Guilty Until Proven Innocent*

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

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

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

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

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

     Want to take action in support of Reality?

    Step up to defend our whistleblower of conscience ► DONATE NOW

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


    @standbyreality (Twitter)

     Friends of Reality Winner (Facebook)




    From Clifford Conner

    Dear friends and relatives

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Yours in struggle and solidarity,


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

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

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017











    Puerto Rico Still Without Power

















    Addicted to War:

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









    Kaepernick sports new T-shirt:

    Love this guy!






    1) Dozens of Migrants Drown Off Tunisia and Turkey; Hundreds Rescued Off Spain

    By The New York Times, June 3, 2018


    Migrants were saved in the Mediterranean Sea by Spanish rescuers in May. Spain said 240 people in 11 small boats had been picked up on Saturday and Sunday.CreditFelipe Dana/Associated Press

    Rescuers said on Sunday that dozens of migrants had drowned off the coasts of Tunisia and Turkey, while hundreds had been rescued off Spain, as the flow of people seeking to get to Europe continued despite tightened controls.

    At least 46 migrants died when their boat sank off Tunisia's coast, the country's Defense Ministry said on Sunday. The Coast Guard rescued 67 others, and the operation was continuing, the ministry said in a statement.

    The migrants were of Tunisian and other nationalities, according to the ministry. Security officials said the boat had been packed with about 180 migrants, including around 80 from other African countries.

    Human traffickers increasingly use Tunisia as a starting point for migrants heading to Europe because Libya's Coast Guard, aided by armed groups, has tried to stem the flow from that country. The migrants often depart in makeshift boats from Tunisia, heading for Sicily.

    In Turkey, the Coast Guard said that nine migrants, including six children, had drowned in an accident off the country's Mediterranean coast.

    The migrants' boat capsized early Sunday morning near the town of Demre in the southern province of Antalya, according to the Turkish Coast Guard, which said it had recovered nine bodies and rescued four other migrants. A fifth was saved by a passing fishing vessel.

    The migrants said there had been 14 or 15 people on the vessel, according to the Turkish state-run news agency Anadolu, and the authorities said they were still searching for one other person. The migrants' nationalities were not immediately released.

    At the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, more than 857,000 reached Greece from Turkey. A 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union has drastically reduced the numbers arriving in Greece. But in March, the bodies of at least 16 people, including five children, were recovered from the sea off a Greek island after a boat smuggling migrants sank in the eastern Aegean.

    The latest deaths at sea came as Spain's maritime rescue service said it had rescued 240 people, with one other apparently drowning, who had been trying to cross the Mediterranean from North Africa.

    The Spanish service said on Sunday that its agents had spotted a body floating underwater after its rescue ship had saved 41 migrants from a sinking smugglers' boat.

    In all, the service said, it rescued the 240 from 11 small boats attempting the perilous crossing from African shores to Spain on Saturday and Sunday.

    The United Nations said at least 660 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean so far this year. Through the first four months of 2018, a total of 22,439 migrants reached European shores, with 4,409 of them arriving in Spain.



    2) The Numbers That Explain Why Teachers Are in Revolt

    By Robert Gebeloff, June 4, 2018


    A recent demonstration in Raleigh, N.C., over teacher pay and school funding.CreditGerry Broome/Associated Press

    American teachers are angry.

    They have taken to the streets in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Arizona, Colorado — and more recently in North Carolina. Dissent is building in Louisiana and Nevada, too.

    But while the protests are spreading this year, the underlying conflict between public school employees and policymakers has roots in decisions made during the last recession, when states and local districts short of cash curtailed education spending for the first time in decades. 

    This had a pronounced effect on school staffing, with layoffs hitting many states. Districts cut support staff as well as regular classroom teachers. In North Carolina, the number of teachers is down 5 percent since peaking in 2009, while the number of teaching assistants is 28 percent lower. And teacher pay stagnated nonetheless. 

    Moreover, the recovery that has lifted the private economy has not quite restored school spending to pre-recession levels, especially in states run by fiscal conservatives determined to hold the line on government spending.

    For a system that had experienced nothing but spending growth for a quarter century, the past few years have been a major shock. K-12 pending per pupil rose 26 out of 29 years before 2010, only to tumble three consecutive years at the beginning of this decade.

    "Per-pupil spending went up forever," says Matthew Chingos, director of the Urban Institute's education policy program. 

    One reason for the consistent rise was a movement in education to reduce class sizes by adding teachers, and to provide more social services beyond basic instruction. These efforts picked up steam in the 1990s in part in reaction to publication of Jonathan Kozol's "Savage Inequalities," which documented the vast disparities in school spending between wealthy and poor school districts, spurring lawsuits and education reform movements in many states to equalize funding by enlarging the overall pot of education money.

    "The book highlighted these hideous inequalities in schooling, where there were 50 kids in a class with pipes that were broken and stuff like that, and there was a very good, earnest push toward increasing equity," said Marguerite Roza, a research professor and director of the Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University.

    Then came a one-two punch to the growth in education spending: The recession worsened financial problems already widespread in many states, and voters began electing conservative governors and legislatures that promised to rein in budget woes with spending cuts.

    Almost every state reduced education spending during the recession. But as the national economy recovered, education spending did not return to the historical pattern of steady growth across all states. By 2016, more than half of states controlled by Democrats had restored education spending per pupil to 2009 levels, but the same was true in only 5 of 22 states controlled by Republicans.

    Some red states have seen slower growth in state and local revenues, in part because of economic factors but also because of tax cuts. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, notes that seven states with school funding controversies — Arizona, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina and Oklahoma — cut taxes in recent years.

    In Kansas, where conservatives had been particularly aggressive in cutting the size of government, the state Supreme Court recently ruled the school funding system there unconstitutional because it failed to meet state requirements to finance education adequately. Republican lawmakers were further shocked when their handpicked consultant's report tied increased funding to improved outcomes and recommended billions in additional education spending.

    On top of fiscal policy decisions, a more fundamental concern is the increasing volatility of state tax revenues, says Bruce Baker, a professor of education at Rutgers University who studies school finance.

    States cover about 47 cents of every dollar spent on public education, with a further 45 cents raised locally, mostly through property taxes, and 8 cents coming from the federal government.

    Real estate values swing more wildly now than in the past, and traditional wage income has become a decreasing share of the income tax base, making revenue streams less reliable and harder to predict. 

    The political climate has also made it tougher to overhaul the tax system in any way that could be perceived as a tax increase, whether in good economic times or bad.

    It's easy to see why teachers are in the vanguard of the protest. Teacher salaries make up the bulk of education spending — so when education spending stagnates or is cut, teachers feel the pain most directly.

    In many of the states spending less on education, average teacher pay has fallen sharply. Nationwide, pay is down 5 percent this decade, to an average of $58,950 from $61,804.

    But this doesn't necessarily mean administrators are cutting teacher pay. It also, in some states, signifies high teacher turnover, with older, higher-paid teachers retiring and being replaced by younger, lower-paid ones.

    Over all, however, the American teaching force is growing more experienced, not less. And federal data shows that teacher pay nationally has fallen in inflation-adjusted terms. Compared with 2007-2008, starting teacher pay is lower, as is average pay for more experienced teachers.

    Protests over these cuts have been directed mostly at state capitols, where overall education policy is administered.

    Yet in states that have struggled with education funding, local revenues have also played a role, especially in red states. Census data shows that while reductions in state aid were universal during the recession, many blue states — which tend to be wealthier to begin with — still experienced local revenue growth that somewhat mitigated the losses.

    Not so in many red states, where schools saw reductions in both state and local funding.

    "Many states will cut state aid for schools and then impose limits on property tax increases as part of a broader package pushing for austerity in spending," Mr. Baker said.

    Property taxes to fund education have been attacked by both small-government conservatives and by liberals who note the wide disparity in tax bases in wealthy and poorer communities.

    Despite the inequity, "local money was the most relatively stable and healthy" revenue source for education, Ms. Roza said, "and so closing that spigot meant it was much harder to fund education from the statehouse." 

    "Inevitably, state budgets were competing with Medicaid and pensions and higher ed funding," she said, "and so that money could not grow as fast as local money could grow."

    The nation's chief educator, Betsy DeVos, recently tweeted a chart depicting the huge increase in education spending plotted against a less than stellar trend line showing student performance: "Test scores continue to stagnate. This is not something we're going to spend our way out of."

    Ms. DeVos's critics, however, say there are many factors that could be holding overall test performance down.

    And recent studies have found that spending disparities matter. University of Pennsylvania researchers showed the impact of the recession was greater on low-income students, particularly in districts with major budget cuts.

    Another paper, by a researcher at Northwestern University, found that students in districts that cut funding the most in the wake of the recession posted lower test scores than peers and were less likely to graduate from high school.

    It now seems the pendulum is swinging toward spending growth in states that had been lagging.

    Teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma protested and won a pay raise. Pressure from educators spurred the Kentucky legislature to block the governor from vetoing the budget. And in Georgia, political pressure forced leaders to fully fund the state aid formula for the first time in years.

    Attention has turned to North Carolina, where thousands of teachers protested at the opening of the state legislative session. North Carolina teachers once ranked 19th in the nation in pay, but now rank 37th.



    3)  Jordan's Prime Minister Quits, as Protesters Demand an End to Austerity

    By Rana F. Swels, June 4, 2018


    Protesters outside the prime minister's office in Amman, Jordan, late Sunday. The government offered no sign that the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki would bring a change to unpopular austerity measures.CreditRaad Adayleh/Associated Press

    AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan's prime minister resigned on Monday, after days of nationwide protests against proposed tax and price increases, in a country already suffering from years of declining living standards and rising prices.

    But the government offered no sign that the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki after two years in office would bring a change to unpopular austerity measures that are backed by the International Monetary Fund. And his departure may not placate the protesters, who have called for the replacement of the entire cabinet, and for the government to drop the planned increases.

    The government is ultimately controlled by King Abdullah II, who appoints the prime minister, the cabinet and members of the upper house of Parliament; the elected lower house has limited influence over policy. The king, who has reshuffled the government many times before, appointed Omar Razzaz, a former World Bank official and education minister, to replace Mr. Mulki and lead a new government.

    The proposal would increase the tax rate on workers by at least 5 percentage points and on businesses by 20 to 40 percentage points. The country's economic picture is already gloomy, with the official unemployment rate above 18 percent and the poverty rate even higher. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees live in Jordan, compounding the country's economic troubles.

    Incomes in Jordan have stagnated for years, as prices have soared. Amman ranks as the most expensive city in the Arab world, and it has a higher cost of living than much wealthier cities, like Dubai, London and Washington, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    "Successive governments have failed in the eyes of the public," said Fares Braizat, chairman of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, a research, polling and consulting firm based in Amman. "This is a statement about bad public economic policy planning and execution."

    More than 30 labor unions and professional groups staged a strike last Wednesday, the largest in years, to protest the bill, which they said would penalize the poor and the middle class. Doctors walked out of hospitals wearing white lab coats, lawyers walked out of courtrooms in their black robes, and shopkeepers shuttered their stores, hanging signs that read: "We are closed. We are on strike."

    A day later, the government increased the price of fuel by more than 5 percent and electricity by 19 percent. The strike turned into daily nationwide protest by thousands of people, the largest in the country since the Arab Spring in 2011.

    King Abdullah II ordered the government to suspend the energy price increases, but the demonstrations continued.

    The protests have drawn diverse crowds — unemployed youths, women, store owners, families, Bedouins and techies. They have been eager to show that they do not come from any particular political or demographic group, but represent a broad range of poor and the middle-class Jordanians.

    The only banner flying in the crowds has been the national flag, and protesters have gone out of their way to saying that they were standing up for police officers, as well.

    "Do you hear us?" crowds chanted in Amman, addressing the government. "Hear us now. We came to say you have left us with nothing. We are broke. The people want the downfall of the government."

    The protests have taken place in the evenings because it is Ramadan on the Islamic calendar, when Muslims fast during daylight hours. A woman wearing a red and white kaffiyeh, or scarf, held a sign that read: "Go away government, so we can go. My father doesn't like me staying out too late."

    The proposed tax and price increases are the latest in series of austerity measures Jordan has imposed since 2016, when it received a $723 million, three-year line of credit from the I.M.F. The fund says the sacrifices will lower the government's debt of $35 billion, advance economic overhauls and promote growth.

    While much of the popular anger is about the economy, some experts say it is also about a steady decline of freedoms since the Arab Spring, a lack of democratic change and a perception that corruption is rampant. Protesters blame politicians for squandering public funds.

    "The protesters also want a changing social contract," said Sean L. Yom, a political-science professor at Temple University who studies Middle Eastern governments. "The Jordanian state is asking citizens to pay more and live more frugally, but in return offers little political concessions or more democracy."

    Polls show a significant decline in public confidence in government, particularly in the past year, Dr. Braizat of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions said.

    Jordan, which does not produce oil or natural gas, relies heavily on aid from the United States and the oil-rich Arab nations states of the Persian Gulf. Maintaining stability in Jordan has been a top American priority in the region for years, but last year, the Gulf states cut their assistance to Jordan, worsening conditions there.



    4)  California Voters Remove Judge Aaron Persky, Who Gave a 6-Month Sentence for Sexual Assault

    By Maggie Astor, June 6, 2018


    Aaron Persky has served on the Santa Clara County Superior Court since 2003.CreditJeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Aaron Persky, the California judge who drew national attention in 2016 when he sentenced a Stanford student to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, was recalled on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press. He is the first judge recalled in California in more than 80 years.

    Judge Persky, 56, had served on the Santa Clara County Superior Court since 2003, and he began his most recent six-year term in June 2016.

    In March 2016, a jury found Brock Turner, then 20, guilty on all three felony charges against him: sexual penetration with a foreign object of an intoxicated person, sexual penetration with a foreign object of an unconscious person, and intent to commit rape. The charges stemmed from Mr. Turner's actions the year before, when he sexually assaulted a woman near a dumpster after she had blacked out from drinking.

    The maximum sentence was 14 years. Judge Persky sentenced Mr. Turnerto six months, of which he served three before being released in September 2016. (Mr. Turner also received three years of probation and was required to register as a sex offender, and Stanford expelled him.)

    The judge said he thought Mr. Turner would "not be a danger to others" and expressed concern that "a prison sentence would have a severe impact" on him. He did not mention the impact of the assault on the victim, known publicly only as Emily Doe, who described her suffering in a more than 7,000-word statement that went viral soon after it was published by BuzzFeed. The CNN host Ashleigh Banfield devoted more than 20 minutes of airtime to reading it almost in its entirety.

    The sentence, and the backlash to it, prompted California lawmakers to enact mandatory minimum sentences in sexual assault cases, and to close a loophole in which penetrative sexual assault could be punished less harshly if the victim was too intoxicated to physically resist. Judge Persky was later cleared of any official misconduct.

    Talk of a recall campaign began almost as soon as Judge Persky handed down his sentence, and early this year, the Santa Clara County registrar announced that supporters of a recall — led by Michele Dauber, a law professor at Stanford whose daughter is friends with Emily Doe — had collected enough signatures to put the question on Tuesday's ballot. Among the effort's most prominent backers were Anita Hill and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

    In a statement filed with the county registrar, Judge Persky — who previously worked as a prosecutor — said he had a legal and professional responsibility to consider alternatives to imprisonment for first-time offenders.

    "As a judge, my role is to consider both sides," he said in the statement. "It's not always popular, but it's the law, and I took an oath to follow it without regard to public opinion or my opinions as a former prosecutor."

    The campaign against Judge Persky caused discomfort even among some Californians who disagreed with the controversial sentence. They argued that recalling him would have a chilling effect on judicial independence, making other judges reluctant to be lenient in cases where leniency might be appropriate.



    5) Attorney general candidate Dave Jones an unexpected ally of Death Row inmate

    By Bob Egelko, June 2, 2018


    Kevin Cooper

    Condemned inmate Kevin Cooper, who says he was framed for four murders that sent him to Death Row, has a new ally in his pursuit of new DNA testing of crime-scene evidence — state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, who has raised it as an issue in his campaign against Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

    Cooper, now 60, was convicted of fatally slashing a man, a woman and two children in 1983 in a home in San Bernardino County, near a prison from which he had recently escaped while serving a sentence for burglary. He came within eight hours of execution in 2004 before a federal court granted a stay, but now has lost the final appeal of his death sentence.

    Five federal appeals court judges, however, signed a dissenting opinion in 2009 saying Cooper was "probably innocent" and raising questions about the handling of the evidence in the case. Cooper's lawyers asked Gov. Jerry Brown in February 2016 to grant a reprieve and order an investigation that would include modern-day DNA testing of a bloody T-shirt found near the victims' home, a hatchet, and hairs found on the bodies that may have come from the killer or killers.

    Brown has not yet responded. His press secretary, Evan Westrup, said the matter is still under review. But two weeks ago, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., who opposed the DNA testing when she was the state's attorney general, said she now supports it and said she hoped the governor and the state would allow testing in the case. Jones, running against fellow Democrat Becerra in Tuesday's primary election, has now added his voice.

    Jones opposes the death penalty. As attorney general, he said in an interview, "I'll be sworn to enforce the death penalty, but I'll work towards its repeal, and in cases like the Kevin Cooper case I would advocate for DNA testing of the evidence."

    Based on Cooper's claims of innocence, he said, this is "a very clear and compelling case for using the most recent DNA technology to test that evidence." One reason he opposes capital punishment, he said, is that "criminal justice is a human system and humans make mistakes. ... I think it's quite possible that someone could be put to death by the state who was wrongly convicted. We've had a number of exonerations on Death Row."

      Jones also said Becerra, who has custody of one of the disputed items of evidence — the T-shirt — has refused to recommend releasing it for testing. Becerra's campaign manager, Dana Williamson, did not comment on that allegation but said Jones "clearly hasn't read the job description for attorney general."

    "It would be inappropriate for the attorney general to make a personal statement about a matter that is under consideration by his client — in this case, the governor," Williamson said in a statement.

    But Norman Hile, a lawyer for Cooper, said he would seek court approval to test the T-shirt if the attorney general agreed. He also said support from Becerra for DNA testing might persuade Brown and San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos to release all of the evidence.

     Becerra supports the death penalty. Brown opposes it but also said, while serving as state attorney general, that there were no innocent people on California's Death Row.

    Cooper was convicted of murdering Doug and Peggy Ryen, their 10-year-old daughter, Jessica, and an 11-year-old houseguest, Chris Hughes, in the Ryens' home in Chino Hills in June 1983.

    The Ryens' 8-year-old son, Josh, was stabbed in the throat but survived. He later testified that he recognized Cooper as the lone attacker. But while being treated for his wounds in a hospital, he communicated to a social worker with hand signals that the assailants had been three or four white men. Cooper is black.

     DNA testing ordered by a court in 2004 found Cooper's DNA on the T-shirt. But Judge William Fletcher, who wrote the appeals court dissent in 2009, said the defense had evidence of preservatives in the blood sample — an indication, he said, that police had taken the blood from a lab in an effort to frame Cooper.



    6)  The Chemical Industry Scores a Big Win at the E.P.A.

    By Eric Lipton, June 7, 2018

    "...the E.P.A. has in most cases decided to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances' presence in the air, the ground or water...Instead, the agency will focus on possible harm caused by direct contact with a chemical in the workplace or elsewhere. The approach means that the improper disposal of chemicals — leading to the contamination of drinking water, for instance — will often not be a factor in deciding whether to restrict or ban them."


    The E.P.A., after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, narrowed how it will conduct safety checks on toxic substances — like perchloroethylene, used in dry cleaning.CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

    WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, after heavy lobbying by the chemical industry, is scaling back the way the federal government determines health and safety risks associated with the most dangerous chemicals on the market, documents from the Environmental Protection Agency show.

    Under a law passed by Congress during the final year of the Obama administration, the E.P.A. was required for the first time to evaluate hundreds of potentially toxic chemicals and determine if they should face new restrictions, or even be removed from the market. The chemicals include many in everyday use, such as dry-cleaning solventspaint strippers and substances used in health and beauty products like shampoos and cosmetics.

    But as it moves forward reviewing the first batch of 10 chemicals, the E.P.A. has in most cases decided to exclude from its calculations any potential exposure caused by the substances' presence in the air, the ground or water, according to more than 1,500 pages of documents released last week by the agency.

    Instead, the agency will focus on possible harm caused by direct contact with a chemical in the workplace or elsewhere. The approach means that the improper disposal of chemicals — leading to the contamination of drinking water, for instance — will often not be a factor in deciding whether to restrict or ban them.

    The approach is a big victory for the chemical industry, which has repeatedly pressed the E.P.A. to narrow the scope of its risk evaluations. Nancy B. Beck, the Trump administration's appointee to help oversee the E.P.A.'s toxic chemical unit, previously worked as an executive at the American Chemistry Council, one of the industry's main lobbying groups.

    A spokesman for the E.P.A. said that the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and other laws already provided the agency with the authority to regulate chemicals found in the air, rivers and drinking water, so there was no need to revisit them under the 2016 law, which updated the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.

    The agency can "better protect human health and the environment by focusing on those pathways that are likely to represent the greatest areas of concern to E.P.A.," said the spokesman, Jahan Wilcox.

    But three former agency officials, including a former supervisor of the toxic chemical program, said that the E.P.A.'s approach would result in a flawed analysis of the threat presented by chemicals.

    "It is ridiculous," said Wendy Cleland-Hamnett, who retired last year after nearly four decades at the E.P.A., where she ran the toxic chemical unit during her last year. "You can't determine if there is an unreasonable risk without doing a comprehensive risk evaluation."

    Senator Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico, and Representative Frank Pallone Jr., Democrat of New Jersey, who played leading roles in passing the 2016 law, said the E.P.A. was ignoring its directive for a comprehensive analysis of risks.

    "Congress worked hard in bipartisan fashion to reform our nation's broken chemical safety laws, but Pruitt's E.P.A. is failing to put the new law to use as intended," Mr. Udall said in a statement referring to Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator.

    A spokesman for Senator John Barrasso, Republican of Wyoming, who is chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the agency, declined to comment.

    Cumulatively, the approach being taken for the 10 chemicals means the E.P.A.'s risk analysis will not take into account an estimated 68 million pounds a year of emissions, according to an analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund, based on agency data.

    Dr. Beck declined requests for comment. She had pushed the E.P.A. during the Obama administration to narrow the scope of the risk evaluations, in a fashion similar to the approach under her watch.

    Also helping oversee the risk evaluation effort is Erik Baptist, a former senior lawyer at the American Petroleum Institute, another big player in the chemical industry.

    The American Chemistry Council said in a statement last week that the E.P.A.'s approach met "the requirements of the law," adding that it wanted the risk assessments to be "protective and practical."

    Under the approach, the E.P.A. will examine what harm can be caused, for example, to anyone directly exposed to perchloroethylene — a dry-cleaning solvent and metal degreaser designated by the E.P.A. as a likely carcinogen— during manufacturing or when using it in dry cleaning, carpet cleaning or handling certain ink-removal products.

    But the agency will not focus on exposures that occur from traces of the chemical found in drinking water in 44 states as a result of improper disposal over decades, the E.P.A. documents say. The decision conflicts with a risk assessment plan detailed by the agency a year ago, which included drinking water. And the change came after the American Chemistry Council argued in February last year that "the E.P.A. has discretion to select the conditions of use that it will consider."

    The agency will also not consider the hazards of perchloroethylene discharged into streams or lakes, landfills or the air from dry-cleaning stores or manufacturing or processing plants, the documents say.

    The documents contain similar conclusions about nine of the 10 chemicals under review. One of these is 1,4-dioxane, which can be found in small amounts in antifreeze, deodorants, shampoos and cosmetics and is considered "likely to be carcinogenic to humans." Another is trichloroethylene, which is used to make a refrigerant chemical and remove grease from metal parts and is associated with cancers of the liver, kidneys and blood.

    Other changes identified in the E.P.A. documents narrow the definitions of certain chemicals, including asbestos. Some asbestos-like fibers will not be included in the risk assessments, one agency staff member said, nor will the 8.8 million pounds a year of asbestos deposited in hazardous landfills or the 13.1 million pounds discarded in routine dump sites.

    The most likely outcome of the changes will be that the agency finds lower levels of risks associated with many chemicals, and as a result, imposes fewer new restrictions or prohibitions, several current and former agency officials said.

    "They don't want to open Pandora's box by looking comprehensively at the risk, as they may prove to be significant and then they have to deal with it," said Robert M. Sussman, a former chemical industry lawyer and E.P.A. official who now works as a consultant to Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, an advocacy group.

    Despite the changes, the E.P.A. is still expected to ban the use of methylene chloride as a paint stripper soon — an action first proposed at the end of the Obama administration. The chemical, one of the 10 under review, is a popular ingredient used in dozens of products sold at home improvement stores nationwide, and has been blamed in dozens of deaths.

    A collection of more than a dozen groups — representing environmental, public-health and labor organizations — are suing the E.P.A. to challenge earlier changes in the toxic chemical evaluation program. The case is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco.



    7) The Secret Life and Value of Trees

    By Timothy Egan, June 8, 2018


    While we were obsessing over the self-obsessive one, people who take a much longer view of things have been debating the question of whether trees talk to one another, experience pain, have sex and send out signals of distress about the eminent collapse of this little planet of ours.

    Trees are sociable, it turns out, and even somewhat selfless, nurturing their drought-stricken or wounded arboreal siblings. They share nutrients. They suffer when a big arm is lopped during the growing season, or a crown is next to an all-night light. Some trees warn other trees of danger by releasing chemical drifts.

    I found these relatively new discoveries not long after a giant fir came crashing down in my front yard during a freakish windstorm, nearly crushing my family and our century-old house. We were spared by six inches. But a question remained: What was the big guy trying to say?

    Perhaps it has something to do with the 129 million trees that died from climate-change-aggravated drought and beetle infestation in California, or the five million acres of formerly sylvan green wiped out in Colorado by the same plague. Or maybe it's a president who dictated the largest single rollback of public land protection in our history, putting a national monument and its ancient flora at risk from predators with political connections.

    Trees are fighting back, helped by others doing the talking for them. Sadly, we are past the point when an appeal to our better angels does any good. "It is worse than boorish, it is criminal to inflict an unnecessary injury on the tree that feeds or shadows us," wrote Henry David Thoreau. "Old trees are our parents, and our parents' parents, perchance." A lovely sentiment, but largely futile.

    Instead, in this moment of mercenary politics, those of us who are out-proud tree-huggers have taken to citing the bottom line. And the winning argument here is simple: Trees are a vast source of wealth. A single national forest, the 1.7-million-acre Mount Baker-Snoqualmie east of Seattle, may be worth more in total value than the annual revenue of Amazon, the world's largest online retailer, according to a recent study by the Wilderness Society.

    The clean water, timber, cultural and recreation opportunities of this one forest deliver more economic value than all of the failing American coal industry. The entire outdoor recreation sector generates at least $373 billion in gross domestic product, more than the gas, oil and mining industry, the government reported this year.

    "I have mixed feelings about monetizing the geography of hope," said Peter Jackson, a writer and conservationist, using one of the best-known phrases of Wallace Stegner. A wilderness in the Cascade Mountains is named for his late father, Senator Henry M. Jackson, a giant of Congress from an era when support for purple mountain majesties was bipartisan.

    So why is the Trump administration trying to prop up unprofitable coal plants, in a move that could cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars, while an unsubsidized industry based on nature's glories has to fight the administration? Plus, coal-burning, one of the biggest producers of earth-warming carbon, is an indirect killer of those life-supporting and economy-enhancing forests.

    The president is a fossil fool, but beyond that, he's never taken a view that extends to the world that Ivanka's grandchildren will inherit. His bias for dirty 19th-century energy is based on pleasing a coal industry that has gone from employing 883,000 people in the 1920s to barely 50,000 now. If the free-market philosophy were still the bedrock principle of governing Republicans, coal would be left to the creative destruction of capitalism.

    Beyond the economic value, trees force us to measure time in epochs. In 1870, Victor Hugo planted a tree outside his home in exile on the island of Guernsey. His hope was that when the little sapling was a mighty oak, Europe would be unified. The European Union and Hugo's plant are still standing, though the tree may be in better shape than the E.U.

    A spruce in Sweden, which sprouted sometime after the last ice age, is 9,500 years old, having survived all the upheavals of history and weather. But will it live through the current era?

    In "The Hidden Life of Trees," an international best seller by Peter Wohlleben, and "The Overstory," a masterful new novel by Richard Powers, forests are main characters, crying to be heard. In the summer, Powers writes, water traveling through a single chestnut "disperses out of the million tiny mouths of the undersides of leaves, a hundred gallons a day evaporating from the tree's airy crown into the humid Iowa air."

    Some scientists think it's wrong to anthropomorphize trees. They aren't sentient life forms, and can't really "talk" like that grumpy apple tree Dorothy encounters on the way to Oz. But surely they communicate, through a system that foresters compare to the neural networks of humans. It's worth a listen.



    8) Israeli Video Portrays Medic Killed in Gaza as Tool of Hamas

    By Herbert Buchsbaum, June 7, 2018





    Protesters evacuating Rouzan al-Najjar after she was shot last week near the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.CreditAdel Hana/Associated Press


    The Israeli military published a brief video on Thursday aimed at showing that a Palestinian medic killed by Israeli forces last week was not the neutral health care worker she has been portrayed as.

    The tightly edited video shows a woman identified as the medic, Rouzan al-Najjar, throwing what appears to be a tear-gas canister. The video does not appear to have been taken the day Ms. Najjar was killed, and the canister does not appear to be aimed at anyone.

    In a second scene, according to the video, Ms. Najjar tells an interviewer, "I am here on the front line and I act as a human shield."

    Since she was killed at a protest at the Gaza-Israel border fence last Friday, Ms. Najjar, who was 20, has become a powerful symbol of the conflict there. Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules Gaza, has portrayed her as a hero and an innocent victim of Israeli aggression.

    Israel has been assailed by human rights groups for using excessive force against the protesters, most of whom were unarmed. Since the weekly protests began in March, according to Gaza health officials, 119 people have been killed by Israeli fire.

    The United Nations Human Rights Council voted last Friday to censure Israel for disproportionate use of force. On Saturday, a group of United Nations agencies called the killing of Ms. Najjar, a "clearly identified" medic, "particularly reprehensible."

    The Israeli Army has said that it has used live ammunition only as a last resort in an effort to prevent the protesters, and any fighters blended in their ranks, from breaching the fence and attacking Israelis on the other side.

    In its first substantive statement on Ms. Najjar's death, the military said Tuesday that it had been unintentional and that the military was still investigating it.

    The video Israel released Thursday did not try to make the case that Ms. Najjar's actions provided a justification for her shooting. Rather the clip, published in English and Arabic, appeared to be part of the battle over her story's narrative and an effort to chip away at Ms. Najjar's image of fresh-faced innocence.

    "This medic was incited by Hamas to give up her life for their goals," the text on the English-language version of the video says. "Hamas uses paramedics as human shields."

    The protests are aimed at ending the 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel and Egypt, and pressing Palestinian claims to lands in what is now Israel.

    Questioned at a policy forum in London on Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel defended the army's use of live fire, saying the military had tried using water cannons and tear gas but had been unable to stop the protesters from attacking the fence.

    "Nobody intentionally went out to kill anyone," Mr. Netanyahu said, accusing Hamas of trying to raise the body count for publicity purposes.

    "I can tell you that Hamas, at a certain point, said, 'Not enough people are being killed,'" he said.

    Hamas officials have blamed Israel for the deaths of the protesters, but they have sought to exploit them to advance their cause.

    Hamas officials have also released a video to portray their version of Ms. Najjar's story. That video, released Saturday, shows Ms. Najjar and other medics walking toward the Israeli fence in white coats and with their hands raised. A Gaza health official said the video was taken shortly before Ms. Najjar was shot.

    A similar public relations battle erupted after the death of an 8-month-old girl, Layla Ghandour, who died after having been exposed to tear gas at the Gaza protest last month. The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said she had been killed by the tear gas.

    The Israeli authorities and others pushed back, saying the child's pre-existing congenital heart disease may have contributed to her death. The Gaza authorities eventually capitulated, removing the child's name from a list of people killed by Israeli troops.

    The Israeli video released Thursday appears to be an excerpt from a longer video produced by Al Mayadeen News, an Arabic satellite channel based in Beirut, Lebanon.

    In the longer video, the comment that the military translated as "I act as a human shield" was part of a sentence in which Ms. Najjar said, "I'm acting as a human rescue shield to protect the injured inside the armistice line."

    The Mayadeen interview suggests that Ms. Najjar may have been a more complex person than either side is making her out to be. While she said she saw her role as a health care worker, she also saw herself as part of the protest.

    "With all my strength, will and persistence, no matter what you do to me, what dangers I'm subjected to, bullets, explosives or tear gas, I will continue on my course and journey," she said. "I will save all the injured so that they can go back and defend their land, and take back our land."

    Yousur Al-Hlou and Irit Pazner Garshowitz contributed reporting.



    9) Authorities in Gaza: Slain Medic's Teams' Hands Were Raised as They Approached Israeli Border

    Head of Gaza's health services says tear gas grenade hit a colleague of medic Razan Najjar. A friend says they returned to treat wounded when they came under fire

    By Jack Khoury and Yaniv Kubovich, June 2, 2018


    Volunteer paramedic Razan Najjar, 21, center, is seen before being shot in her chest by Israeli troops while running with protesters to take cover from teargas fired by Israeli troop near the Gaza Strip

    The medical team that included Palestinian medic who was shot dead on Friday had approached the Gaza border fence with their arms raised shortly before the shooting, authorities in Gaza said Saturday. Authorities in Gaza released a video that it said showed the team, wearing white, walking towards the fence before Razan al-Najjar, 21, was shot.

    Dr. Yossef Abu Arrish, the head of Gaza's health services, said that "the paramedics approached the border with raised hands and while they were in their white uniforms and still the army fired tear gas grenades at them."

    He said that one of the grenades hit one of the medic's legs. A friend of Najjar said the team returned to the border to take care of the wounded – including their fellow medics – when they came under fire. It was at this point, they claim, that Najjar was critically wounded from a gunshot wound to the chest.

    In a video released by the health ministry and allegedly recorded minutes before Najjar was shot, the team of paramedics can be seen approaching the border in white coats and with their hands in the air. Najjar was also photographed wearing a white coat during attempts to resuscitate her.

    Najjar gave an interview in which she took pride in the aid she was providing for the wounded, Palestinian officials said.

    Earlier, the Israel Defense Forces said that it would probe her death, saying in a statement that "cases in which there are claims that a civilian was killed by IDF fire we investigate thoroughly and that is what will be done in regards to these claims." The army said it would use the same "operational probe" used in previous cases.

    Also Saturday, the UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a tweet that "Medical workers are #NotATarget!" and that "Israel needs to calibrate its use of force and Hamas need to prevent incidents at the fence."

    Thousands of Palestinians attended Najjar's funeral in a cemetery in Khan Yunis.

    Speaking at a convention in Wadi Ara on Saturday, Israeli-Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) called Najjar's killing "a heinous war crime," adding that the U.S. and its envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, who vetoed the Security Council resolution for "international protection" for the Palestinians, bear responsibility for Najjar's death.

    Another 40 people were reported wounded during Friday's protest along the Gaza border.  Since the confrontations along the border of May 14, the number of participants has fallen dramatically, and Hamas and other Palestinian factions have set June 5 as the date for a march by tens of thousands to mark 51 years since the Six-Day War, known as Nakba Day by the Palestinians.

    The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has updated its figures and says 118 people have died in the marches, after a 23-year-old Gaza resident succumbed Thursday to the gunshot wounds he suffered on May 14.



    10)  Anthony Bourdain, Chef, Travel Host and Author, Is Dead at 61

    By Kim SeversonMatthew Haag and Alissa J. Rubin, June 8, 2018




    Anthony Bourdain, the chef, author and host of "Parts Unknown," in New York in 2015.CreditAlex Welsh for The New York Times

    Anthony Bourdain, whose madcap memoir about the dark corners of New York's restaurants made him into a celebrity chef and touched off a nearly two-decade career as a globe-trotting television host, was found dead on Friday at 61.

    Mr. Bourdain was found in his hotel room at Le Chambard, a luxury hotel in Kaysersberg, a village in the Alsace region of eastern France, according to a prosecutor in the nearby city of Colmar. The prosecutor, Christian de Rocquigny du Fayel, said the cause of death was hanging. "At this stage, we have no reason to suspect foul play," he said.

    Mr. Bourdain had traveled to Strasbourg in France, near the country's border with Germany, with a television production crew to record an episode of his show "Parts Unknown" on CNN, the network said. "It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague," CNN said in a statement.

    The United States Embassy in Paris also confirmed his death.

    "Anthony was a dear friend," Eric Ripert, a celebrity chef and restaurateur who appeared with Mr. Bourdain on several of his shows, told The New York Times. "He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many. I wish him peace. My love and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones."

    In everything he did, Mr. Bourdain cultivated a renegade style and bad-boy persona.

    For decades, he worked 13-hour days as a line cook in restaurants in New York and the Northeast before he became executive chef in the 1990s at Brasserie Les Halles, serving steak frites and onion soup in Lower Manhattan. He had been an executive chef for eight years when he sent an unsolicited article to The New Yorker about the underbelly of the restaurant world and its deceptions.

    To his surprise, the magazine accepted it and ran it — catching the attention of book editors. It resulted in "Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly," a memoir that elevated Mr. Bourdain to a celebrity chef and a new career on TV.

    "Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds?" Mr. Bourdain wrote in the memoir. "Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria's mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once."

    He first became conscious of food in fourth grade, he wrote. Aboard the Queen Mary on a family vacation to France, he sat in the cabin-class dining room and ate a bowl of vichyssoise, a creamy mix of leek and potato. What surprised him was that the soup was cold. "It was the first food I enjoyed and, more important, remembered enjoying," he wrote. He did not remember much else about the trip.

    Mr. Bourdain became an instant hero to a certain breed of professional cooks and restaurant-goers when "Kitchen Confidential" hit the best-seller lists in 2000. He is largely credited for defining an era of line cooks as warriors, exposing a kitchen culture in which drugs, drinking and long, brutal hours on the line in professional kitchens were both a badge of honor and a curse. Mr. Bourdain was open in his writing about his past addictions to heroin and cocaine.

    Before he joined CNN in 2012, he spent eight seasons as the globe-trotting host of "No Reservations" on the Travel Channel, highlighting obscure cuisine and unknown restaurants. "No Reservations" largely focused on food and Mr. Bourdain himself. But on "Parts Unknown," he turned the lens around, delving into different countries around the world and the people who lived in them. He explored politics and history with locals, often over plates of food and drinks.

    Mr. Bourdain famously appeared with President Barack Obama on an episode of "Parts Unknown" in Vietnam in 2016. Over cold beers, grilled pork and noodles at a restaurant in Hanoi, they discussed Vietnamese-American relations, Mr. Obama's final months in office and fatherhood.

    Celebrities in the food and entertainment worlds expressed deep shock and disbelief Friday morning. Nigella Lawson, the British cookbook author and television personality, tweeted, "Heartbroken to hear about Tony Bourdain's death. Unbearable for his family and girlfriend. Am going off twitter for a while."

    Andrew Zimmern, the television personality and chef, had much in common with Mr. Bourdain. The two met 13 years ago and were friends who often spoke of the pressures that come with fame and who both worked to overcome addiction.

    "We shared a very, very deep feeling of wanting to get off this crazy roller coaster, but at the same time knowing that this was our work," he said. "The world has lost a brilliant human being and I've lost one of the few people I could talk to about some of this stuff. When I did see him he and I would walk off into a corner or have dinner together and share our deepest darkest stuff."

    He last spoke with Mr. Bourdain about a month ago. "He told me he'd never been happier. He felt that he had finally found his true soul mate in Asia," he said, referring to Mr. Bourdain's girlfriend, the actor Asia Argento.

    But Mr. Zimmern had some indication that perhaps there was more going on.

    "Things on the surface never seemed to add up or make sense," he said.

    "We have lost someone who was in my opinion the sharpest and keenest observer of culture that I have ever known," he said. "When we were alone his hopes and dreams extended into amazing areas."

    Anthony Michael Bourdain was born June 25, 1956, the oldest son of Pierre Bourdain, who was an executive in the classical-music recording industry, and Gladys Bourdain, who was a longtime copy editor at The New York Times. He grew up outside New York City, in Leonia, N.J., and his parents exposed him to fine cuisine, taking him often to France.

    Mr. Bourdain graduated from high school in 1973 and attended Vassar College, dropping out after two years, where he spent long nights drinking and smoking pot. "I was — to be frank — a spoiled, miserable, narcissistic, self-destructing and thoughtless young lout," he wrote in "Kitchen Confidential."

    But at Vassar, he met Nancy Putkoski before he left school for a chance at a culinary career. Mr. Bourdain spent a summer in Provincetown on Cape Cod with some friends. There, he started working as a dishwasher at a seafood restaurant and closely watched the cooks, men who dressed like pirates, with gold earrings and turquoise chokers. "In the kitchen, they were like gods," he wrote.

    The experience solidified his determination to make cooking his life's work.

    "I saw how the cooks and chefs behaved," Mr. Bourdain told The Times in 1997. "They had sort of a swagger, got all the girls and drank everything in sight."

    He then enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America in 1975 and graduated in 1978, stepping away at times to work at restaurants in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He started at the bottom in the kitchen hierarchy, with stops at the Rainbow Room, the W.P.A. restaurant on Spring Street and Gianni's at the South Street Seaport. He reached the top in the 1990s, becoming an executive chef at Sullivan's, the restaurant next to the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway, and at Les Halles.

    Mr. Bourdain's first marriage ended in divorce in 2005. In 2007, he married Ottavia Busia, who appeared in several episodes of "No Reservations," and they had a daughter, Ariane, who is 11. The couple divorced in 2016. He had been dating Ms. Argento for about two years.

    Mr. Bourdain had emerged as a leading male voice in support of the #MeToo movement in the wake of rape and abuse allegations against the film producer Harvey Weinstein and others.

    Ms. Argento, 42, said in a lengthy story in The New Yorker that she endured multiple attacks and manipulation by Mr. Weinstein, and that he sexually assaulted her in a hotel room years ago, when she was 21.

    She said she had left her native Italy and moved to Berlin to escape the tension and victim-shaming culture she said she experienced at home.

    Last month, she gave a speech at Cannes that stunned the room. "In 1997, I was raped by Harvey Weinstein here at Cannes," Ms. Argento said. "This festival was his hunting ground."

    In an interview with IndieWire magazine this month, Mr. Bourdain called her speech a nuclear bomb.

    "I was so proud of her. It was absolutely fearless to walk right into the lion's den and say what she said, the way she said it. It was an incredibly powerful moment, I thought. I am honored to know someone who has the strength and fearlessness to do something like that."

    Mr. Bourdain continued speaking out boldly on the subject of sexual abuse and harassment, taking on everyone from Alec Baldwin to the chef Mario Batali, who is under investigation for sexual assault charges. Several women have come forward and described repeated incidents of Mr. Batali groping them and of unwanted kisses and sexual propositions.

    When news of Mr. Batali's plans to attempt a comeback were exposed, Mr. Bourdain kicked down the idea.

    "Retire and count yourself lucky," Mr. Bourdain, a longtime friend of Mr. Batali's who had not spoken with him recently, said. "I say that without malice, or without much malice. I am not forgiving. I can't get past it. I just cannot and that's me, someone who really admired him and thought the world of him."

    [If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resourcesfor a list of additional resources. Here's what you can do when a loved one is severely depressed.]

    Laura M. Holson, Iliana Magra and Elian Peltier contributed reporting.



    11) Police Broke Into Chelsea Manning's Home With Guns Drawn—

    In a "Wellness Check"

    "In 2018 alone, police have shot and killed at least 64 people who were suicidal or had other mental health issues, according to the American Civil Liberties Union."

    By Micah Lee, Alice Speri, June 5, 2018


    Chelsea Manning

    SHORTLY AFTER Chelsea Manning posted what appeared to be two suicidal tweets on May 27, police broke into her home with their weapons drawn as if conducting a raid, in what is known as a "wellness" or "welfare check" on a person experiencing a mental health crisis. Manning, a former Army intelligence analyst turned whistleblower and U.S. Senate candidate, was not at home, but video obtained by The Intercept shows officers pointing their guns as they searched her empty apartment.

    The footage, captured by a security camera, shows an officer with the Montgomery County Police Department in Bethesda, Maryland, knocking on Manning's door. When no one responds, the officer pops the lock, and three officers enter the home with their guns drawn, while a fourth points a Taser. The Intercept is publishing this video with Manning's permission.

    "This is what a police state looks like," Manning said. "Guns drawn during a 'wellness' check."

    Welfare checks like this, usually prompted by calls placed to 911 by concerned friends or family, too often end with police harming — or even killing — the person they were dispatched to check on.

    Manning was out of the country at the time of the incident, said Janus Cassandra, a close friend who was on the phone with her that night. "If Chelsea had been home when these cops arrived with guns drawn, she would be dead."

    Reached for comment, Montgomery County Police Captain Paul Starks at first questioned the authenticity of the footage. "Could someone send you a video that is inaccurate?" he asked, before changing course to, "How do you know nobody was home?"

    Starks ultimately admitted that police conducted the check at Manning's home after receiving calls from "concerned parties" who had seen her tweets. He said officers looked up her address and used a master key to get into the building, and that when they realized she wasn't there they tried to locate her by using her phone. Starks did not reply to follow-up questions about how they attempted to track her phone.

    "They responded to the address to check her welfare," Starks said. "Once inside the residence they realized that the residence did not match the photo that was posted on Twitter. … We tried to determine where she may be by attempting to use her phone but the phone was powered off and they weren't able to leave a message."

    Starks said that the decision to draw weapons "depends on the officer" who "makes the decision based on circumstances that are affecting that officer in that specific situation." He added that the department has a dedicated crisis intervention unit, and that all officers in the department receive 40 hours of training in "dealing with people who may be having emotional episodes or issues," but he failed to indicate whether the department sets guidelines on how to conduct welfare checks.

    "They don't know what kind of circumstances they are entering when they enter a home," Starks said, increasingly flustered. "The fact that a weapon is drawn doesn't mean that they are going to shoot it."

    "Do you know what was going on in that apartment that night? No. Not until you open the door and go in… We respond to hundreds of thousands of calls each year. Many of them are not what is phoned in."

    The problem, mental health experts say, is that police should not be the ones to check on suicidal people in the first place. In 2017, mental illness played a role in a quarter of 987 police killings, according to a tally by the Washington Post. People of color experiencing mental health crises are particularly at risk.

    In 2018 alone, police have shot and killed at least 64 people who were suicidal or had other mental health issues, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. "This January, Alejandro Valdez was suicidal and threatening to kill himself. The police shot and killed him," Susan Mizner, the group's disability counsel, wrote in a recent post. "In February, Orbel Nazarians was suicidal and threatening himself with a knife. The police shot and killed him. In March, Jihad Merrick was suicidal and pointing a gun at his head. The police shot and killed him. In April, Benjamin Evans was making suicidal comments. Police shot and killed him."

    "There is absolutely no excuse for sending armed police to the home of someone who is having a suicidal episode," said Cassandra. "As we've seen countless times, cops know that no matter what happens, they will be shielded from any accountability whatsoever."

    "It's not necessary for police to be the first responders when somebody calls 911 and says they're suicidal," said Carl Takei, a senior ACLU attorney focusing on policing, in an interview. "In the same way that if I were to call 911 and say I'm having a heart attack, I would expect a medical response. As a society, we should expect a mental health response when somebody calls 911 and says they are suicidal, rather than dispatching somebody who is armed with a pistol and most of whose training is directed at enforcing criminal law and how to use force with people whom they suspect are breaking the law."

    When police do become the first responders in mental health crises, Takei added, the ways in which they handle them vary greatly between departments.

    "Some have specially trained crisis intervention teams that are dispatched when there's a call involving a mental health crisis; some departments provide some level of crisis intervention training to all officers; some departments provide no training at all," said Takei. "And, of course, if a department provides no training or very little training on how to deal with situations involving a person in a mental health crisis, the officers are going to default to the training they received, which is very much based on a command-and-control culture."

    MANNING WAS ACCUSED of sending hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks, exposing, among other things, evidence of numerous civilian deaths in Afghanistan and abuse by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces, as well as information about Guant√°namo Bay detainees.

    In 2013, she was convicted of six counts of espionage by a military court, but acquitted of "aiding the enemy" — the equivalent of a treason charge in U.S. military court. She was sentenced to 35 years in prison, but former President Barack Obama commuted her sentence before leaving office. Last week, a military court upheld her conviction, which she had appealed on First Amendment grounds.

    In January, Manning announced her candidacy for the U.S. Senate in Maryland.

    Manning attempted suicide at least twice while in prison, where she had been repeatedly held in solitary confinement, including as punishment for one of those attempts. Last week, she alarmed her many supporters when she posted tweets suggesting suicidal intentions. In one, she posted a photo that appeared to show her standing on the ledge of a building, captioned with the words "im sorry." Manning quickly deleted her tweets, but not before a number of people who had read them called police to check on her.

    "Chelsea is still struggling to recover from the years of torture and mistreatment that she endured in prison, even as she continues to use her position to fight for what she believes in," said Cassandra, her friend.

    "I hope people can understand that she needs space to heal," she added.

    James Drylie, a former police officer who teaches criminal justice at Kean University in New Jersey and wrote a book on the so-called suicide by cop phenomenon, told The Intercept that while a lot of variables determine how police execute a wellness check, what happened at Manning's home is not uncommon.

    "They have to make sure there is no threat," he added. "What you want to try to see is, what prompted them to think that this person may have been a threat to the officers?"

    Drylie, who as an officer had a rifle pointed at him as he conducted a check on an individual reported to be suicidal, conceded that an aggressive police intervention would often only escalate a difficult situation — "Those situations always turn out to be very, very bad," he said. But Drylie believes that police need to be there when a suicidal person is posing a threat to others, whether family or mental health professionals, and argued for better training, rather than removing police from wellness checks altogether.

    "Really, one of the best ways to be prepared for all that is through training," he said, citing costs as a reason why so many departments aren't better equipped to handle mental health crises. "I don't think we do a good enough job."

    There is no question that police too often resort to violence in situations that call for de-escalation, but the state of mental health services across the country is equally to blame, experts argue.

    "There are two simultaneous national crises — one of police violence and the other of inadequate mental health treatment — and we are making a mistake if we focus blame only on the police," wrote Matthew Epperson, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, in an op-ed following the police killing of Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old man whose father had called 911 as he suffered a mental health episode. "They have become, by default, the way in which our society chooses to deal with people with mental illness in crisis, particularly in poor and minority communities."

    "Training alone will not solve the problem of police violence against people with mental illnesses," Epperson added. "If we are to prevent future tragedies, then we should be ready to invest in a more responsive mental health system and relieve the police of the burden of being the primary, and often sole, responders."

    "The moral of this story is don't call the cops," Cassandra said. "If you know someone who is having a mental health crisis, call a friend, a trusted neighbor, or someone close by who can safely intervene. Keep the number to a volunteer emergency medical service in your city or neighborhood that can be called directly without a police response. Mental health emergencies require friends and first responders, not gun-toting cops."

    Last week, a friend posting from Manning's account said that she was "safe." "She is on the phone with friends," the friend added. "Thanks everyone for your concern and please give her some space."



    12) Fighting for a Living

    By Jessica Corbett

    Common Dreams, June 6, 2018


    A "jaw-dropping" wage theft report out this week reveals that many top U.S. corporations—from Walmart to Bank of America to AT&T—"have fattened their profits by forcing employees to work off the clock or depriving them of required overtime pay," based on a review of labor lawsuits and enforcement actions.

    "Grand Theft Paycheck: The Large Corporations Shortchanging Their Workers' Wages" (pdf)[1], produced by Good Jobs First and the Jobs With Justice Education Fund, found that hundreds of firms have collectively paid billions of dollars in wage theft penalties since 2000.

    The report identifies several wage theft practices such as off-the-clock work, job title misclassifications that unfairly exempt workers from overtime pay, and uncompensated clothing purchase requirements, as well as overtime, minimum wage, meal break, and tip violations.

    Researchers uncovered more than 1,200 successful collective actions challenging large companies' bad behavior. Those cases cost top corporations a total of $8.8 billion. A review of actions by the U.S. Department of Labor and eight state regulatory agencies uncovered another 4,220 cases against major corporations, which produced $9.2 billion in penalties.

    "Our findings make it clear that wage theft goes far beyond sweatshops, fast-food outlets, and retailers. It is built into the business model of a substantial portion of corporate America," said Good Jobs First research director Philip Mattera, the report's lead author.

    The employers who paid the most penalties for wage theft violations ranged from retailers and banks to insurance and telecommunications companies, the report highlights:

    "Among the dozen most penalized corporations, Walmart, with $1.4 billion in total settlements and fines, is the only retailer. Second is FedEx with $502 million. Half of the top dozen are banks and insurance companies, including Bank of America ($381 million); Wells Fargo ($205 million); JPMorgan Chase ($160 million); and State Farm Insurance ($140 million). The top 25 also include prominent companies in sectors not typically associated with wage theft, including telecommunications (AT&T); information technology (Microsoft and Oracle); pharmaceuticals (Novartis); and investment services (Morgan Stanley and UBS)."

    Kilian Colin, who worked for Wells Fargo from 2013 to 2016, said that "aggressive sales quotas based on exploiting vulnerable customers forced me into 12-hour shifts with no breaks and no food allowed—and threats to withhold my paycheck if I didn't sign off on working extra hours for free."

    The report suggests such experiences are common among those who work for major American companies. Demos Action researcher Tamara Draut, who was not involved in the study, said the report's documentation of stolen wages provides "one more reason for unions."

    Jobs With Justice Education Fund senior policy analyst Adam Shah, who contributed to the report, said that in light of the findings, there's also a need for crafting stronger policies to protect workers, and that recent developments in government have renewed energy to address the issue of wage theft.

    "We see increased urgency for policymakers to step up with solutions," Shah noted, "because the U.S. Supreme Court recently made it harder to bring collective action lawsuits to stop wage theft and the Trump Administration may weaken federal enforcement."

    Pointing to California's enhanced labor protections as a potential blueprint, Shah concluded, "While wage theft is pervasive, it is also preventable."

    Common Dreams, June 6, 2018





    13) Anthony Bourdain Was the Kind of 'Bad Boy' We Need More Of

    By Farah J. Jackson, June 8, 2018


    Anthony Bourdain on New York's Pier 57, where he was planning on building The Bourdain Market, a 100,000-square-foot food hall, in 2015.CreditAlex Welsh for The New York Times

    When Anthony Bourdain visited the San Francisco Bay Area in 2015 for his CNN show "Anthony Bourdain:Parts Unknown," he made a point of sitting down for a meal with one of the founders of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale. And he didn't just talk about the food. He provided viewers an astute history of the group, its important role in the black freedom movement and the African-American community, and its suppression by the government.

    I first watched that episode while at an airport waiting to board a flight, at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement had only recently entered public consciousness. Mr. Bourdain coolly narrated that the Black Panthers' demands were "shockingly moderate: equality in education, housing, employment and basic civil rights," an accurate statement but one that contradicts the misguided public perception of that unfairly demonized organization. I looked around at the group of mostly white Americans sharing my television screen, awed by how casually radical Mr. Bourdain's commentary was.

    Friday morning, when I heard of his death in France at age 61, I immediately rewatched that episode. I thought of how the world has lost more than a talented chef, writer and media personality. We also lost a man who brilliantly and bravely wove political education into food culture in a way that provided the kind of historical context and compassion for the oppressed that Americans need now more than ever.

    In an era in which "woke" has morphed, for some, into a derisive term for those who are too earnest about injustice, Mr. Bourdain delivered this kind of insight effortlessly and without repentance. It was a secret ingredient baked into his every episode, and served to viewers whether they'd ordered it or not.

    Throughout his career, Mr. Bourdain called for respect for immigrants, without whom, he never let us forget, the restaurant and agricultural industries in the United States would screech to a halt. During the presidential campaign, Mr. Bourdain did not shrink from assailing Donald Trump's proposed wall at the Mexican border as "ludicrous and ugly," and declaring we should be "honest about who is working in America now and who has been working in America for some time." He argued for recognition of the value, creativity and labor of nonwhite and immigrant chefs, noting that it "is frankly a racist assumption that Mexican food or Indian food should be cheap."

    On both "Parts Unknown" and his earlier Travel Channel show "No Reservations," he treated the people of the places he visited with compassion, modeling how to respect other cultures without exoticizing them. In Vietnam, a place he called one of his favorites, he offered a lesson on colonialism, war and American intervention. Likewise during episodes focused on ColombiaIranCambodia and Sri Lanka, he would marvel at the beauty, the food, the literature and the generosity of the people. Then in the next breath, he'd contextualize stereotypes Americans might have about these cultures with lessons on Western imperialism, political violence and dictatorial regimes.

    He also scrutinized inequality at home. He pondered the uniquely American history of Detroit, with insights about race, migration and gentrification. He exuded genuine respect for all of the people touched by these issues, discussing their history not with pity, but with nuance. Perhaps most remarkably, he did all this while also making us laugh.

    His work represented a beautiful merging of love of food with an earnest effort to listen to others, especially marginalized people. After he visited Gaza, he openly criticized what he saw as the dehumanizing representation of Palestinians in the media, and proclaimed that the world was "robbing them of their basic humanity."

    Mr. Bourdain didn't limit this inclusive and compassionate worldview to his television shows. He aligned himself with the rights of L.G.B.T. people, starring in an ad in support of marriage equality for the Human Rights Campaign and signing an amicus brief by a group of food industry professionals supporting the gay couple at the center of the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. He became an outspoken advocate of the Me Too movement, and an ally to women who experienced harassment and assault, forthrightly labeling Harvey Weinstein a "rapist" and sardonically calling out other powerful A-listers who remained silent on these issues. Here, he was doing the public messy work of tackling toxic masculinity, homophobia and misogyny, which he admitted had shaped his own life and actions.

    Mr. Bourdain was not just curious about food and the world. He was aware that injustice and inequality are systemic issues, and he never shied away from pointing that out. He regularly humbled himself before people very unlike him, he asked careful questions, and he listened. Before our eyes, he was always learning, and trying to make the world just a little better.

    We live in a time when the simplest protests against racial injustice by athletes and celebrities are considered divisive, and when admitting imperfection while striving for righteousness and truth makes you a rebel. Perhaps that partly explains why people called the curious and empathetic Mr. Bourdain a "bad boy." If that's the case, let's have more like him. May his compassion and indignation live on.

    Sarah J. Jackson is an associate professor of communication studies at Northeastern University and the author of "Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press."













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