Donald Trump Jr.

Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
Bungalow Bill?
He went out tiger hunting with his elephant and gun
In case of accidents he always took his mom
He's the all American bullet-headed saxon mother's son.
All the children sing
Hey Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
Bungalow Bill?
Deep in the jungle where the mighty tiger lies
Bill and his elephants were taken by surprise
So Captain Marvel zapped in right between the eyes
All the children sing
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
Bungalow Bill?
The children asked him if to kill was not a sin
Not when he looked so fierce, his mother butted in
If looks could kill it would have been us instead of him
All the children sing
Hey, Bungalow Bill
What did you kill
Bungalow Bill?







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) 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 Guantánamo 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."



    2) 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





    3) 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."



    4) African-Americans and the Strains of the National Anthem

    By Brent Staples, June 9, 2018


    Many of us who were born black in the 1950s abandoned reverence toward the national anthem once we were old enough to grasp what Martin Luther King Jr. meant when he said that the country had defaulted on the promises embodied in the Declaration of Independence — and had written people of color a bad check that came back stamped "insufficient funds.''

    That metaphor hit home with considerable force during my high school years in a Pennsylvania factory town during the 1960s. Dr. King was assassinated for preaching nonviolent resistance in the South. Muhammad Ali was stripped of the heavyweight boxing title for refusing induction into the Army. And the Vietnam War was unmasked as a morally repugnant enterprise built on a foundation of racism and lies.

    By the time I started college in 1969, dissent from the national anthem was endemic. It was an almost everyday occurrence to see groups of African-Americans (and whites as well) — occasionally even athletes and cheerleaders — remaining defiantly seated at sporting events as the audience rose dutifully to its feet for "The Star-Spangled Banner."

    Threats and insults were not uncommon. The most consistent and perplexing response came from veterans of World War II, who dominated public life at the time and saw nothing contradictory in the argument that the freedoms they had fought to preserve did not include the liberty to do anything when the anthem was played except stand at attention.

    African-American anthem dissidents are heirs to a venerable tradition of critical patriotism that dates to what W.E.B. Du Bois termed "double consciousness" — the feeling of being part of the American polity yet not fully of it. This insider-outsider status has driven a longstanding struggle among black Americans to find room in a civic and political system that was built to deny them full citizenship.

    The "Star-Spangled Banner" itself has been a subject of that struggle since shortly after Francis Scott Key, a slave-owning Washington lawyer, wrote it to commemorate an American victory over the British during the War of 1812. The song would no doubt have been lost to obscurity had the United States military not appropriated it for flag ceremonies beginning in the late 19th century.

    This history seems innocuous enough until one considers that the song tightened its grip on the country during the height of the lynching era in the South and became popular at baseball games at a time when African-Americans were barred from white baseball.

    This connection was not lost on the great newspapers of the Negro press, in whose pages the song was referred to as "the Caucasian national anthem." Black columnists discredited the song by unearthing a long suppressed third stanza ("No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave") that can be read as reflecting the composer's embrace of slavery and the anger felt toward British officers who used the promise of emancipation to recruit enslaved African-Americans.

    By the early 20th century, African-Americans were already turning their backs on the "Star-Spangled Banner" in favor of "Lift Every Voice and Sing"— known as the Negro national anthem — written by James Weldon Johnson and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson. Passages like "We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered" acknowledge the place of lynching and slavery in the national history.

    The bellicose and jingoistic "Star-Spangled Banner" became ubiquitous as Americans rallied to the flag during World War II, giving the idea of patriotism an increasingly narrow — and militaristic — resonance.

    The Negro press applied Du Bois's double consciousness forcefully during this period: It characterized the war as a battle to defeat two foes — Nazism abroad and Jim Crow segregation at home.

    The black papers also pointed out the hypocrisy of extolling American freedom in song at a time when black servicemen and servicewomen were confined to military installations that featured segregated housing, movie theaters and buses. With black soldiers subjected to segregation even as they offered their lives for freedom, cultural icons of all kinds — including the national anthem — were subject to deconstruction and criticism.

    This attitude is still widely held among African-Americans. A recent pollshows that two-thirds of them believe that the national anthem protests — begun by Colin Kaepernick to protest injustice — are acceptable. Most whites, of course, disagree. And as in the past, the narrow view that people can be counted as patriotic only if they grant the anthem sacrosanct status still holds sway.

    The National Football League's decision to curtail the protests through a threat of fines sets the stage for a potentially combustible football season that will coincide with the midterm elections — and will provide the president with yet another opportunity to exploit racial divisions.

    The league's decision is likely to radicalize players who have come to believe they have a role to play in the debate about police brutality and the resurgence of white supremacy in the age of Trump. Kneeling on the field may have been just the beginning.



    5) Honduran Man Kills Himself After Threat of Family Separation at U.S. Border, Reports Say

    By Jeffery C. Mays and Matt Stevens, June 10, 2018

    Marco Antonio MuñozCreditStarr County Sheriff's Office

    A Honduran man who was told he would be separated from his family after he had crossed the United States border into Texas with them last month strangled himself in his holding cell, according to Customs and Border Protection officials, public records and media reports.

    The man, Marco Antonio Muñoz, crossed the Rio Grande with his wife and 3-year-old son in mid-May near Granjeno, Tex., The Washington Post reported.

    In a statement, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman said Mr. Muñoz was apprehended by Border Patrol agents on May 11 for "attempting illegal entry into the United States" and taken to the Rio Grande Valley central processing center.

    Once there, Mr. Muñoz and his family said they wanted to apply for asylum, The Post reported; Border Patrol agents then told them they would be separated.

    While at the processing center, the Customs and Border Protection spokesman said, Mr. Muñoz "became disruptive and combative," so the authorities moved him to a jail in Starr County, Tex. — about 40 miles west of the processing center — for an overnight stay.

    Although the statement did not say whether Mr. Muñoz was with family members at the border, or explain why he became combative, media outlets reported that he grew upset after learning that his family would be split up.

    public report posted by the Texas attorney general says Mr. Muñoz, 39, was booked into the jail the night of May 12. He was "combative and noncompliant" and scuffled with a detention officer, the report said, before being placed in a padded cell late that night.

    Throughout the evening, officers checked on Mr. Muñoz every 30 minutes, the report said, but during the morning shift, different officers found Mr. Muñoz dead on the floor.

    The death was listed in the report as a suicide by self-strangulation and hanging. Law enforcement officials reviewed video recordings of what happened in the cell overnight, the report said.

    "C.B.P. takes every loss of life very seriously and has initiated an internal review to ensure these policies were followed," the agency's statement said, referring to the agency's standards on transport, escort, detention and search.

    Representatives from the Starr County Sheriff's Office did not return multiple calls and emails for comment on Saturday. A person who picked up the phone there said staff members were not available on weekends.

    On May 7, days before Mr. Muñoz was apprehended at the border, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Trump administration would criminally prosecute everyone who illegally crosses the Southwest border, in what he called a "zero tolerance" policy intended to deter new migrants, mainly from Central American countries like Honduras.

    The policy imposes potential criminal penalties on border-crossers who would have previously faced mainly civil deportation proceedings — and in the process, forces the separation of families crossing the border.

    Many who have criticized the policy have focused on its effect on children who are separated from their parents.

    But Justin Tullius, a lawyer at the nonprofit Raices, which works with migrants in Texas, said adults who are detained have also suffered.

    "We've worked with parents who have shared suicidal thoughts and who have attempted to take their own lives because of the experience of detention," Mr. Tullius said. "We can't allow policies that traumatize parents and children. Families must be allowed to go through the process of seeking protection in the U.S. together, without unnecessary and harmful separation."

    Miriam Jordan contributed reporting.



    6) Judge Stops Deportation of a New York Pizza Delivery Man

    By Liz Robbins, June 9, 2018


    Pablo Villavicencio Calderon with his family. A judge on Saturday halted, at least for now, his deportation.

    A federal judge in Manhattan on Saturday temporarily halted the deportation of a New York pizza delivery man at least until a court hearing on July 20.

    The judge, Alison J. Nathan, of Federal District Court in New York, ruled for the plaintiff, Pablo Villavicencio Calderon, after his lawyers filed an emergency petition earlier in the day. In her order, the judge said federal officials must file court documents before the hearing to explain why a temporary preliminary injunction should not be issued in favor of Mr. Villavicencio, who is still being detained.

    Judge Nathan was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2011. From 2009 to 2010, she served as special assistant to Mr. Obama and was an associate White House counsel.

    Mr. Villavicencio, 35, was delivering from a pizza restaurant in Queens to an Army base in Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn, on June 1 when he was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents by a military police officer. A background check revealed that Mr. Villavicencio, a native of Ecuador, had an open order of removal since 2010. He was immediately taken to the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, N.J.

    A spokeswoman for the immigration agency did not immediately reply to an email or phone message seeking comment.

    In a federal lawsuit, Mr. Villavicencio's lawyers claimed that he was a victim of racial profiling at the Army base and that the detention violated his constitutional rights. Mr. Villavicencio was in the process of applying to become a legal permanent resident, the suit said, and he has not been able to present evidence in his pending application.

    On Friday, his lawyers from the Legal Aid Society of New York filed a petition with the New York field office of ICE, as the immigration agency is known, to have him released on humanitarian reasons. His wife is an American citizen, as are his two daughters, and they argued that since he was a primary provider for the family, he needed to be home. His youngest daughter, 2, has a congenital heart defect, according to the lawsuit.

    But as a judgment was pending on Friday night, the situation got more urgent for his lawyers. They learned that the commissary account for Mr. Villavicencio was suddenly cleared, which is usually a precursor to immediate deportation.

    "The focus was to stop him from getting removed this weekend," Gregory P. Copeland, supervising attorney for the immigration unit of the Legal Aid Society, said. "He's not getting removed, that's the goal."

    The next step, Mr. Copeland said, is to get him out of detention.

    This type of 11th-hour appeal to stop deportation or detention is not uncommon in immigration cases. Notably, in January, lawyers filed a petition in the Southern District to halt the deportation of the immigrant activist Ravi Ragbir. Mr. Ragbir had been detained at an ICE check-in, after fighting his deportation order for multiple years. He was sent to Miami to be deported to Trinidad and Tobago. Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled in an impassioned decision that he should have been entitled to "the freedom to say goodbye." Mr. Ragbir's case is still pending.

    Unlike Mr. Ragbir, who had been convicted of wire fraud in 2000, however, Mr. Villavicencio has no criminal record. A native of Ecuador, Mr. Villavicencio entered the country illegally in 2008. He was granted voluntary departure in 2010, but when he did not depart, he was labeled a fugitive by ICE.

    But the swiftness of the immigration agency's action was deeply unsettling for his wife, Sandra Chica, and their children and outraged Democratic lawmakers and officials. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York included a letter in the lawsuit supporting Mr. Villavicencio, as did Representatives Hakeem Jeffries, Kathleen Rice and Nydia M. Velázquez.

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo sent a letter to the New York field director of ICE, Thomas R. Decker, in which he questioned the government's rush to deport Mr. Villavicencio.

    Mr. Cuomo said it seemed that the detention was part of a pattern targeting New York residents, presumably because of the state's limited cooperation with immigration officials.

    Matt Stevens contributed reporting.



    7)  Tax Havens Blunt Impact of Corporate Tax Cut, Economists Say

    By Jim Tankersley, June 10, 2018


    Researchers concluded that multinational corporations have sheltered nearly 40 percent of their profits in tax havens like Bermuda.

    The new corporate tax cuts are unlikely to stimulate the level of job creation and wage growth that the Trump administration has promised, a trio of prominent economists has concluded, because high tax rates were not pushing much investment out of the United States in the first place.

    Instead, the researchers conclude, multinational corporations based in the United States and other advanced economies have sheltered  in  like Bermuda, depriving their domestic governments of tax revenues and enriching wealthy shareholders. That number suggests a jarringly large amount of what appears, to policymakers, to be investment pushed abroad by high tax rates is instead an accounting trick — so-called paper profits — which tax cuts will not reverse.

    "This idea that if you cut taxes, you'll attract a lot of physical capital, a lot of investment to the United States, I don't think is supported by the evidence," said Gabriel Zucman, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the paper's authors. "Paper profits — that doesn't boost wages for workers. What boosts wages is actual factories."

    The  by Mr. Zucman and Thomas Torslov and Ludvig Wier of the University of Copenhagen does not imply that corporate tax cuts will not help companies or lead to at least some new investment. But it challenges the magnitude of the increase that President Trump and congressional Republicans promised would result from cutting the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from 35 percent as part of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul.

    Throughout the debate over the tax bill, Republicans cast the country's corporate tax rate as uncompetitive when compared with nations such as Ireland and Canada, and said the rate was pushing American multinationals to park their profits in other countries where their tax bills would be lower.

    The new research concludes that assumption is wrong. "Machines don't move to low-tax places," the economists write, "paper profits do."

    Administration officials dismissed the researchers' results, saying the evidence is clear that reducing corporate tax rates increases investment and wages. The chairman of Mr. Trump's Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin A. Hassett, has long argued that workers' wages are bolstered in countries where companies locate their profits. Last year, the council  that reducing America's corporate rate would raise average household incomes in the United States by $4,000 to $9,000 a year in the medium run.

    The research by Mr. Zucman, Mr. Torslov and Mr. Wier employs a first-of-its-kind method to assess how big a share of profits multinational corporations stash overseas. They draw on international data to determine a ratio of pretax profits to wages at individual companies, for both locally owned firms and foreign firms operating in those countries.

    They find that multinationals operating in tax havens are far more profitable than locally owned companies in those countries, and that their profits dwarf what they pay workers. They break the numbers down to show the outsize profits are largely due to money being "shifted" — on paper — into those havens.

    Large corporations like Apple, Google, Nike and Starbucks all  in tax havens such as Bermuda and Ireland. Their strategies have prompted a crackdown by government regulators, particularly in the European Union, where officials have tried to force companies to pay back taxes they believed are owed to their countries. Mr. Zucman said his research suggested that officials should step up those efforts.

    "It's very striking in the sense that these multinational companies, they are the main winners from globalization. And they are also those who have seen their tax rates fall a lot," Mr. Zucman said. "This means that other actors in the economy, they have to pay more in order to take up the tax burden."

    Mr. Zucman said the results should cause policymakers to rethink their efforts on several fronts. They suggest, he said, that advanced countries are underestimating economic growth and undercollecting corporate tax revenues, because they are missing the profits that have been shifted on paper by multinational corporations.

    Kimberly Clausing, an economist at Reed College who has  about the scope of shifting profits to tax havens, said the research demonstrated that "the decline in the corporate tax is a result of policy, not an inevitable feature of the global economy. This implies that policymakers have the ability to address this problem without losing out in a tax competition game against other countries. But they must have the will to tackle tax havens themselves, instead of directing their fire at other non-haven countries."

    Included in the new tax law were several steps meant to address profit-shifting, including a complicated set of global minimum taxes for multinational corporations. Those steps have frustrated many companies as  to issue regulations and guidance on how they will be put into effect. Some economists worry that one of the measures  to move jobs out of the United States.

    Mr. Zucman said it was too soon to tell whether those measures would succeed. But he said it was clear that policymakers should worry less about outdoing their allies with corporate tax cuts, and instead consider steps to crack down on profit-shifting, such as taxing profits where companies register their sales.



    8) Dark Moment of Shame

    With explicit U.S. backing, Saudi attack on Yemen's humanitarian lifeline begins

    By Jake Johnson, June 13, 2018


    With a "green light" from the Trump administration and from the U.S. government, Saudi-led forces plowed ahead with an assault on the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on Wednesday, June 13, 2018, brushing aside dire warnings from international  and  that an attack on the key aid harbor could spark a full-blown famine and endanger millions of lives.

    Responding to the early stages of the attack—which began with an , guided by U.S. military intelligence—Win Without War  on Twitter that the attack is "a dark moment of shame for the United States. We could have stopped this."

    Hodeidah is currently home to around 600,000 civilians, and around 80 percent of all humanitarian aid that flows into Yemen arrives at the city's port, which is currently controlled by Houthi rebels. International observers have warned that a military fight over the port city could .

    "Some civilians are entrapped, others forced from their homes," Jolien Veldwijk—acting country director for the humanitarian group CARE, which is still operating in Yemen—  on Wednesday as the U.S.-backed Saudi assault on Hodeida began. "We thought it could not get any worse, but unfortunately we were wrong."

    As   earlier this month, the Trump administration has been considering deepening U.S. military involvement in the Saudi bombardment of Yemen, which has pushed eight million Yemenis to the brink of famine. In a report on Tuesday, the   that the U.S. is providing the Saudis with "intelligence to fine-tune their list of airstrike targets" in Hodeida.

    Martin Griffiths, United Nations special envoy to Yemen,  on Wednesday that he is "extremely concerned" with the Saudi-led military escalation and said he is working with both parties to avert further disaster.

    In a  responding to the potentially catastrophic attack on Hodeidah, Lindsey German, convener of the Stop the War Coalition, took aim at both the U.S. and the United Kingdom for providing crucial political and military support for the Saudi-led assault, arguing that such complicity reveals "the true face of their foreign policy."

    "Trump and his close ally, [U.K. Prime Minister] Theresa May, have been escalating military involvement in Yemen without pushing for a political settlement to the Saudi-led war," German said. "Their total support for Saudi Arabia and its allies is making the world's worst humanitarian crisis even more severe. It gives an even greater urgency to those in favor of peace to build the biggest possible protest to Trump when he visits the U.K. in July."



    9)  What Happens if Mass Starvation Takes Hold in Yemen?

    By Alex De Waal, June 14, 2018

    "The United States could exert real influence on the Saudi and Emirati forces. It could halt the in-flight refueling of the coalition's aircraft. It could withdraw American military advisers from Saudi command centers in Riyadh. Above all, it could stop its sales of American weaponry."


    Pro-government fighters in Yemen carrying explosives thought to have been dropped by Houthi rebels, around Al Hudaydah, this month.

    Last-ditch diplomatic efforts could not stop the Saudi Arabian and Emirati coalition's offensive on the Yemeni port city of Al Hudaydah this week. With no real prospect for peace talks of any kind, the city, a fief of the Houthi rebels who control much of the country and a hub for humanitarian assistance for millions of desperate Yemeni civilians, could fall within days.

    If the offensive goes according to the Saudis' and Emiratis' plan, promptly after that, the Houthis, who also control the capital Sana, will sue for peace. The maritime blockade in place since 2015 could then be lifted. After that, a vast humanitarian operation could unfold, saving Yemen from a devastating famine.

    But nothing in this war has gone according plan so far, and the risks of mass starvation are greater than ever, even if Al Hudaydah falls fast.

    And yet the United Nations Security Council has not seized on the emergency, and in my conversations with diplomats in New York on Wednesday, that passivity was laced with cynicism: If the Yemenis could survive the hardships of the past few years of war, some were saying, they would be fine for a bit longer.

    Just over three years ago, Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, responded to the Houthi rebels' sudden takeover of Sana by ordering an armed intervention to support the official government, which had retreated to the coastal city of Aden. The Houthis are an Islamist revivalist movement with a strong base in northern Yemen and ties to Iran.

    Saudi airplanes alone have flown more than 100,000 combat missions since then. The United Arab Emirates has joined in, with fighter jets and special forces, overseeing the enforcement of a blockade along the coast. Various Yemeni militias, together with some 7,000 Sudanese paramilitaries, have staged ground attacks. But the Houthi army — about 100,000 fighters strong — has hung on, fighting tenaciously and escalating the conflict by firing ballistic missiles deep into Saudi Arabia.

    Yemen was poor and vulnerable before the war: It depended on imports for 80 percent of basic grains and suffered severe water shortages. Today, three-quarters of the country's 28 million people suffer food insecurity, including 8.4 million who are wholly dependent on food aid to survive. Some 50,000 children died of hunger and related causes last year alone, according to the humanitarian group Save the Children. One million people have cholera — the world's largest such epidemic in a half-century.

    What will happen to all of them if Al Hudaydah falls?

    Why assume that the Houthis, even after losing this strategic post, would surrender or seek some settlement? In fact, some Yemenis have drawn comparisons to Syria to predict that Al Hudaydah will become "Yemen's Aleppo": the site of protracted street-to-street fighting under a siege.

    If the coalition captures the city, it could indeed reopen the port for humanitarian and commercial shipments. But to reach the great majority of starving Yemenis, food would still have to cross the front line. And that's to say nothing of the lasting impediments caused by the extensive damage to civilian infrastructure: At least one-third of the coalition's air attacks have struck roads, bridges, irrigation dams, hospitals and clinics, markets and fishing boats.

    Saudi and Emirati strategists may not be intending to starve the Yemeni people into submission. But in practice, if not motive, hunger has become a weapon in this war. On May 24, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 2417, condemning starvation of civilians as a method of warfare. The resolution didn't name names, but its first test is Yemen.

    And Yemen is America's war, too. The United States is a longstanding ally of Saudi Arabia, and it has become more so since President Trump repudiated the Iran nuclear deal. Even before the State Department approved a new major arms deal earlier this year, Saudi Arabia — the world's second-largest importer of weapons — was buying more than 60 percent of its arms from the United States. Other Persian Gulf states are major buyers, too.

    Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has argued that the use of precision weapons and the advice of American military advisers are reducing civilian casualties from the Saudi-Emirati coalition's bombing raids. But even if an air attack doesn't directly cause bloodshed, the damage it inflicts on the economy and essential services can kill many more people over time, through famine and disease.

    Nikki Haley, America's ambassador to the United Nations, has condemned, rightly, the Syrian government for starving its own people. But it's easy to call out villains like President Bashar al-Assad. It's harder to call out one's allies — though that may be more effective, and therefore more important.

    The United States could exert real influence on the Saudi and Emirati forces. It could halt the in-flight refueling of the coalition's aircraft. It could withdraw American military advisers from Saudi command centers in Riyadh. Above all, it could stop its sales of American weaponry.

    But the Trump administration has lifted Obama-era restrictions on arms transfers to Saudi Arabia, and on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to call on the coalition not to attack Al Hudaydah, saying only that he had "made clear our desire to address" the Emiratis' security concerns while "preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and lifesaving commercial imports."

    This posture is unlikely to change, of course. But once again, the United States — as well as other Western countries — faces a choice between being complicit in an unfolding calamity or stepping in to try to stop it. There would be trade-offs to putting pressure on the Saudis and the Emiratis, and no guarantee that it would work. But the ethical case for getting involved needs to be made.

    So does the strategic case.

    Famine isn't just about masses of people going hungry; famine tears societies apart. It means mass exodus caused by desperation. It means humiliation and collective trauma. Some people profit from the misery of others, hiking food prices or buying land at fire-sale prices. Those who pay the price — and their children and then those children's children — can only resent the opportunists for their plight. Not to mention the aggressors.

    As the British learned in Ireland in the mid-19th century, and the Soviets in Ukraine in the 1930s, starving people is a dangerous and loaded strategy: It leaves behind a bitter legacy, and a long trail of rancor.

    If mass starvation takes hold in Yemen, expect an even more deeply divided country. Expect radicalization. Expect an exodus across the Arabian Peninsula and up the Red Sea, toward the Mediterranean Sea and Europe. Expect to see the ugly and perilous repercussions of this harrowing experience for years to come.

    Alex de Waal is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University.



    10) Inside the Former Walmart That is Now a Shelter for Almost 1,500 Migrant Children

    By Manny Fernandez, June 14, 2018


    A section of fencing delineating the border between Mexico and the United States in Brownsville, Tex. Shelters set up to house migrants who crossed the border illegally have become big business in South Texas.

    "These are children who have been separated from their families and put in jails. These detention centers are jails—the children are locked up through no fault of their own—escaping brutality and starvation in their own countries caused by mainly U.S. corporate exploitation—and not allowed to leave. That's a jail. U.S. corporations are among the biggest exploiters of natural resources in these countries. Corporations can cross borders at will, but the starving masses they have created are criminals if they try to escape their poverty by coming to the belly of the beast that has ravaged their home counties. Both the Democrats under Obama and the Republicans under Trump are guilty of encouraging corporate control of resources across the globe no matter how detrimental it is for the people trying to survive and thrive in their own homelands. All this poverty is the fault of the U.S. government and their commanders of capital. Business as usual for the USA!"  —Bonnie Weinstein

    BROWNSVILLE, Tex. — In the loading docks, children sat in a darkened auditorium watching the animated movie "Moana."

    Where there were once racks of clothes and aisles of appliances, there were now spotless dorm-style bedrooms with neatly made beds and Pokemon posters on the walls. The back parking lots were now makeshift soccer fields and volleyball courts. The McDonald's was now the cafeteria. All this made it difficult to visualize what the sprawling facility used to be — a former Walmart Supercenter.

    The converted retail store at the southern tip of Texas has become the largest licensed migrant children's shelter in the country — a warehouse for nearly 1,500 boys aged 10 to 17 who were caught illegally crossing the border.

    The teeming, 250,000-square-foot facility is a model of border life in Trump-era America, part of a growing industry of detention centers and shelters as federal authorities scramble to comply with the president's order to end "catch and release" of migrants illegally entering the country. Now that children are often being separated from their parents, this facility has had to obtain a waiver from the state to expand its capacity.

    Cots are being added to sleeping areas. The staff is expanding. But even that is not enough. Federal authorities are considering establishing tent cities on Army and Air Force bases, and have already transferred hundreds of immigrant detainees to temporary housing at federal prisons.

    The federal Office of Refugee Resettlement is now overseeing an estimated 100 shelters in 17 states, serving a population that has grown to more than 11,000 youths. One of the biggest concentrations is here near the border in South Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, one of the poorest regions in the nation. There are about 10 shelters in three Valley counties, the majority in the Cameron County cities of Brownsville, Harlingen and San Benito.

    The shelters in and near Brownsville have become big business, employing thousands of residents and bringing abandoned stores, schools and other buildings back to life in a county where the median household income is $34,578 and the percentage of those living below the federal poverty line is 29.1, far higher than the national poverty rate of 12.7 percent.

    But they have also raised questions about federal oversight and management, and the invisibility under which many of them operate.

    Numerous shelters that care for unaccompanied migrant youth in Texas have been cited by state child care facility regulators for dozens of violations in recent years, according to data from two of the state's oversight agencies, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the Department of Family and Protective Services. The majority of the violations were for minor infractions, including incomplete child records. But some were for more serious problems.

    At least 13 deficiency citations have been filed against the shelter at the former Walmart in Brownsville, which seemingly overnight became a symbol of the housing scramble after a Democratic lawmaker, Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, showed up unannounced to take a tour but was turned away by police escort. Mr. Merkley's attempt to gain entry this month, captured on Facebook Live by a member of his staff, put national attention on the shelter, which is run by a nonprofit group that contracts with a federal agency.

    The shelters are part of the federal government's attempt to accommodate a flood of young people who have been surging across the Southwest border over the past several years, often without an accompanying parent. Many of them are seeking asylum from gang violence or other troubles in Central America.

    The number of children under detention has grown in recent weeks as the Trump administration has begun prosecuting migrants who cross the border illegally. Previously, parents traveling with children were often quickly released with orders to appear later in court — a practice which members of the current administration say was providing a powerful incentive for migrants to take their children in tow and travel to the United States. The number of families apprehended at the border has gone up nearly 600 percent compared with the spring of last year, the Homeland Security secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, told Congress in May.

    "Word is getting out," she said.

    But what happens to children in these federally sponsored shelters has had little public scrutiny.

    Here in South Texas, the mystery of what the Oregon senator was not allowed to see — the living conditions for hundreds of migrant boys inside a space originally built to house not people but cheap jeans and housewares — was seemingly solved on Wednesday. Federal officials and the operator of the shelter, Southwest Key Programs, led several reporters on a roughly 90-minute media tour and question-and-answer session.

    The shelter, called Casa Padre, is a world all its own, much of it invisible to outsiders. The few windows are covered in black mesh; in the parking lot, yellow-painted wooden barricades read, "Keep Out."

    Inside, it is clean, massive and brightly lit. Not far from the entrance, there is a large mural of President Trump, an American flag and the White House, with a quote from Mr. Trump: "Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war."

    A team of 48 medical staff and three on-call physicians provide medical services. X-rays and laboratory work are done in-house. The children receive classroom instruction for six hours a day Monday through Friday, and outdoor play time for two hours a day.

    The building no longer resembles a Walmart. The interior has been redesigned, with walls and hallways constructed to create bedrooms, classrooms and other spaces. The mural featuring the president is one of many; one painting depicts former President John F. Kennedy with his words, "Ask not what your country can do for you," in English and in Spanish.

    Most of the boys are from Central America. Many of them smiled, waved at or shook the hands of the reporters touring the site. They were asked by the reporters and Southwest Key executives, in Spanish, "How are you?"

    The constant reply was "Bien, bien," meaning "OK, OK." The media was not allowed to interview the children.

    Some were leaning back, getting a shampoo at the sinks in the shelter's barbershop, where a striped lit-up barber's pole spun outside the door. They lined up in the cafeteria for dinner — chicken, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables. Some played pool, or joined a tai chi session in the rec room. One teenager sat at a cafeteria table with his head bowed and hands clasped, praying silently. Another told the cafeteria worker who served him dinner, "Gracias, Miss."

    Everywhere, some of the shelter's more than 1,000 employees hovered nearby — they sat the ends of the cafeteria tables while the boys ate dinner, watched "Moana" with the children in the old loading docks and escorted lines of boys in the hallways.

    Many of the boys appeared to be 16 or 17, and the few who were much younger, around the age of 10 or 11, seemed almost out of place. They wore gym shorts and sweatshirts, sneakers and rosary necklaces. One had his arm in a sling and another had his leg wrapped in a bandage. All of them are classified as unaccompanied minors by federal officials — they either crossed the border without a parent or guardian, or were separated from their parents as part of the administration's new policy of arresting illegal border crossers and separating them from their children.

    The vast majority, Southwest Key officials said, crossed the border unaccompanied.

    [Conservative religious leaders are issuing sharp rebukes of the Trump administration for immigration policies that tear families apart. .]

    In Bedroom 53, there were four beds on frames and one bed on a cot. The cot highlighted the housing crunch — it was one of hundreds of new beds that were recently added to boost the shelter's capacity. In May, Casa Padre was licensed by the state at a capacity of 1,186. On Wednesday, after a variance approved by the state allowed Southwest Key to boost its population, the new capacity was roughly 1,500.

    Southwest Key executives said the additional children do not make it too big to properly manage. They defended the services and the care they provide the children, as they will likely do when elected officials take tours of their own in the coming days, including Mr. Merkley. A congressional delegation is scheduled to tour the shelter on Monday.

    "We pride ourselves in providing excellent child care," said Alexia Rodriguez, Southwest Key's vice president of immigrant children's services, adding, "We're not a political organization. We take care of kids. We take great care of kids."

    The industry for sheltering young migrants had run into trouble here even before the latest boom. Hundreds of shelter workers in the Rio Grande Valley were laid off at the end of March, after several sites run on contract to the federal government by a private organization, International Educational Services, suddenly shut down. The organization, known as I.E.S., lost its federal financing and shuttered its shelters and other facilities, for reasons that federal officials have yet to publicly explain.

    Last year, a worker at a Brownsville shelter yelled at a child, causing the child to punch a wall. In 2016, children in a shelter in the Cameron County town of Los Fresnos were being told to sit down for four hours as a form of discipline. Shelters were cited in various cases after their employees pushed children, slapped their hands with a ruler or grabbed a wrist. Other violations involved a lack of supervision. One child ate a meal she was allergic to, even though she was wearing a red bracelet that listed her allergies.

    A shelter in the Rio Grande Valley city of McAllen was cited in January after a child missed several doses of medication, and after children who complained of being in pain had to wait several days before care was provided. In September 2015 in Brownsville, medical staff left rubbing alcohol accessible, and a youth took it and consumed it. In October 2017 in San Benito, a random drug test found a shelter employee had showed up to work over the legal limit for alcohol.

    The shelter at the former Walmart has been cited 13 times for deficienciesby state regulators since it was established in March 2017. In August 2017, an employee at Casa Padre made a belittling remark to a child in the presence of other children. One month later, a minor tested positive for a sexually transmitted disease. The medical coordinator failed to follow up, and the minor did not receive medical treatment until four weeks later.

    On the tour on Wednesday, Southwest Key and federal officials did not discuss such violations. They saw nothing wrong with the children spending most of their day indoors. They highlighted numerous phone booths around the shelter, including some the children use to call relatives and others that have direct lines to child protection agencies so they can lodge complaints. And they said there were some cases of children who tried to run away. The average length of stay in a migrant children's shelter is about 56 days, after which children generally are released to a sponsor. Some have been placed with foster families.

    Only 3.5 percent of unaccompanied youths who have arrived from Central America have been returned to their home countries, Ms. Nielsen said in her report to Congress.

    Asked if there were plans to house even more children at the former Walmart, Ms. Rodriguez said the new state-authorized capacity of roughly 1,500 was the maximum. "That's it," Ms. Rodriguez said. "We cannot put any more kids here."































































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