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

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

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

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

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

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


Endorsed by: 

Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

Latino Community Foundation


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

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




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


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

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

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

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

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

Janet, Janine, and Debbie all:

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

- Were recommended for parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Send Email message: ra-pbppopc@pa.gov

Talking Points:

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

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

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

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


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

- Grant Janet and Janine Africa release on parole


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

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



For Immediate Release                                        For Immediate Release

Press Contact: Herb Mintz

(415) 759-9679

Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer

(415) 867-0628

25th Annual LaborFest 2018

Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in

 the 21st Century

San Francisco:  LaborFest opens its 25th annual festival on July 1, 2018 with a month of timely events inspired by local and international labor activists and labor history.  The program schedule includes eleven international and local films, labor history walks, a labor history bike ride, a maritime history boat ride, lectures, forums, readings and theater and music performances. Most events are free of charge and are presented in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose.

This year LaborFest continues to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 with a series of lectures and walks.  LaborFest will also focus on the role of technology on workers from Silicon Valley to UBER, Lyft and taxi drivers, workers in the so-called 'gig economy' as well the role of Airbnb on hotel workers and communities and neighborhoods in San Francisco.  The FilmWorks United International Working Class Film and Video Festival will feature films not only from the United States but China, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.  Directors will be present to introduce some of the films.

Particular events in this year's LaborFest include a forum on the 50th Anniversary of the student strike at San Francisco State University, a concert by labor musician extraordinaire Charlie King, a screening of the LGBT historical comedy-drama film Pride, a book reading from Matilda Rabinowitz's memoir, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, a night of labor and immigration history inspired song by the Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus and a panel entitled Workplace Racism: Hanging Nooses and Fightback sponsored by United Public Workers.


LaborFest is the premier labor cultural arts and film festival in the United States.  LaborFest recognizes the role of working people in the building of America and making it work with over 50 events.  Most of these events are free or ask for a voluntary donation.  The festival is self-funded with contributions from unions and other organizations that support and celebrate the contributions of working people.

For more details and to read or download a full schedule and description of LaborFest 2018 events, go here: http://www.laborfest.net /events/2018-07/





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

By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018


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

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

On today's episode:

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



Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft

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

They need to hear from us!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate 

about the draft in decades . . .

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

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




Incarceration Nation

Emergency Action Alert:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read statements from the reps: 

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



"There Was a Crooked Prez"

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon

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

He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,

They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,

And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.

April 28, 2018

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



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

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

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

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

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

Onward in divestment,

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

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



October 20-21, 2018

Cindy Sheehan and the Women's March on the Pentagon

A movement not just a protest

By Whitney Webb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different wings of the same warbird

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

In response, Sheehan stated that: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MPN News, February 20, 2018






Major George Tillery




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

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

Sex for Lies and Manufactured Testimony

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:

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

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

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

Major Tillery and family


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

    Go to JPay.com;

    code: Major Tillery AM9786 PADOC

    Tell Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner:

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

    Call: 215-686-8000 or

    Write to:

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    SCI Frackville

    1111 Altamont Blvd.

    Frackville, PA 17931

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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



    Free Leonard Peltier!

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

    By Leonard Peltier

    Art by Leonard Peltier

    Write to:

    Leonard Peltier 89637-132 

    USP Coleman I 

    P.O. Box 1033 

    Coleman, FL 33521

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



    Reality's trial

    is postponed 

    until October 15th.

    That's 500 Days in Jail,

    Without Bail!


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

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

    One supporter's excellent report

    on the details of Winner's imprisonment

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

    "*Guilty Until Proven Innocent*

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

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

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

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

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

     Want to take action in support of Reality?

    Step up to defend our whistleblower of conscience ► DONATE NOW

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


    @standbyreality (Twitter)

     Friends of Reality Winner (Facebook)



    Working people are helping to feed the poor hungry corporations! 

    Charity for the Wealthy!

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

    By Jake Johnson, December 18, 2017





    1)  Amazon Is Latest Tech Giant to Face Staff Backlash Over Government WorkBy Jamie Condliffe, June 22, 2018"We refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights. As ethically concerned Amazonians, we demand a choice in what we build, and a say in how it is used."


    Shankar Narayan, legislative director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, speaking at a news conference outside Amazon headquarters.CreditElaine Thompson/Associated Press

    From Google to Microsoft and now Amazon, the largest technology companies are increasingly seeing their workers protest their government projects.

    In recent years, tech firms have built artificial intelligence and cloud computing systems that governments find attractive. But as these companies take on lucrative contracts to furnish state and federal agencies with these technologies, they're facing increasing pushback from their staffs.

    Amazon employees have joined civil rights groups and investors in protesting the company's sale of facial recognition technology to law enforcement agencies. Amazon began marketing a facial recognition system, called Rekognition, to law enforcement as a means of identifying people suspected of committing crimes shortly after the tool was introduced in 2016. The system — which analyzes images and videos and compares them with databases of photographs to pick out individuals — has been used by the Police Department in Orlando, Fla., and the Sheriff's Department in Washington County, Ore.

    In a letter addressed to the company's chief executive, Jeff Bezos, that was published by The Hill, employees wrote:

    We refuse to contribute to tools that violate human rights. As ethically concerned Amazonians, we demand a choice in what we build, and a say in how it is used.

    The letter also criticized the data science company Palantir's use of Amazon's cloud computing systems to carry out work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    Amazon declined to comment but pointed to a blog post published on its website this month after the American Civil Liberties Union called for Amazon to ban the sale of Rekognition to the police. Matt Wood, general manager of artificial intelligence at Amazon Web Services, wrote:

    We believe it is the wrong approach to impose a ban on promising new technologies because they might be used by bad actors for nefarious purposes in the future. The world would be a very different place if we had restricted people from buying computers because it was possible to use that computer to do harm. The same can be said of thousands of technologies upon which we all rely each day. Through responsible use, the benefits have far outweighed the risks.

    Earlier this week, 100 Microsoft employees wrote a letter to the company's chief executive, Satya Nadella, protesting the software maker's work with ICE. Microsoft holds a $19.4 million contract with ICE for a project relating to data processing and artificial intelligence. According to The Verge, the letter now has 300 signatories.

    With government contracts so lucrative, the question is whether the concerns of employees will push tech executives to action.

    Early signs suggest they may — at least to a degree.

    The campaigns at Amazon and Microsoft echo one by Google employees earlier this year. Workers there sought to halt an A.I. project that Google was working on with the Pentagon that used machine learning to improve the accuracy of drone missions.

    The protest was ultimately successful. Google said the contract with the Defense Department will not be renewed and created a set of principles to guide its artificial intelligence projects. The new guidelines prohibit the kinds of work that could cause injury or violate human rights. They do not rule out all forms of defense work, though.



    2) What My 6-Year-Old Son and I Endured in Family Detention

    By Anonymous, June 25, 2018


    A dormitory in the Artesia Family Residential Center, a federal detention facility for undocumented immigrant mothers and children in Artesia, N.M., in 2014.CreditJuan Carlos Llorca/Associated Press

    The author wrote on the condition of anonymity because of the gang-related threats she and her family face in the United States and in El Salvador.

    I came to this country from El Salvador in 2014 seeking safety for myself and my son. Instead, I found myself locked in a family immigration detention center. It's an experience that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

    When I heard news stories of nearly 3,000 children separated from their parents at the border, my heart broke for them. Now President Trump claims to have ended the separation of families, instead placing parents and their children in family detention — jails like the one my son, who was 6 at the time, and I were in. This is not a solution. It just exchanges one form of trauma for another.

    I was forced to flee my country because of violence and threats of violence against me and my family. When I was a teenager, my father and I witnessed a murder by local gang members. In 2005, my father was murdered for having testified. The gangs threatened me as well, but since the murder case got dropped, I was able to continue my life and found a job in law enforcement. However, several years later, they threatened to kill me too. That's when I decided I had to leave and bring my son and my 16-year-old sister with me. If we had stayed, they could've killed us all.

    El Salvador has one of the worst murder rates in the world, so I knew the threat was serious. I needed to find a safe place for my sister, my son and myself. Our only option was to flee to a country where we couldn't be found as easily — the United States. But after we crossed the border, we found no relief. Instead, we were held for two months in a family immigration detention center in Artesia, N.M., run by a for-profit company.

    The day-to-day conditions were horrible. The food was often expired, the milk was spoiled, and we weren't provided with snacks for our children between meals. When we saved food for snacks, it was taken from us and thrown out because of concerns about rats in the dorms. Children went to bed hungry. And we could get water between meals only by asking the officers. Sometimes they wouldn't bring any. The water we did have made us sick.

    It was no place for human beings, let alone for families with small children.

    When our children were sick, we waited days for medical attention. When one mother whose daughter had asthma informed the officers that her child needed medical care, she was told that she should have thought about that before she came to the United States. Another mother asked for medical assistance for her son but it never came. She was deported, and her son died just a few months later.

    We weren't allowed to sleep in the same beds as our children, even the youngest ones who wanted to sleep with their mothers to feel safe. Deportations usually happened in the middle of the night, with flashlights pointed in our faces to wake us up.

    Most of the officers didn't speak Spanish, which made it hard to communicate. Things were even worse for the indigenous women among us who spoke only their native languages. Once, officers physically forced an indigenous woman to take a shower while she was menstruating, violating both her privacy and her cultural beliefs. As a woman, witnessing this type of treatment was heartbreaking — and it has stayed with me in the years since.

    Until we joined together to demand it, there was no legal assistance available to inform of us our rights or guide us through the asylum process. Many women were deported before seeing a judge because they were pressured by officers to sign deportation papers.

    The effect on our children was undeniable.

    The younger children were very confused about why they were trapped inside. The stories they acted out when they were playing always recreated the dangerous journey they had just gone through to get here. The characters in their games became coyotes (smugglers who help people cross the border), "la migra" (border patrol agents) and immigration judges. The detention center became their entire world. The ones who were old enough to understand what was happening had trouble coping, and I heard of teenagers who tried to take their own lives.

    My son, who is now 10 years old, rarely talks about the experience, so it's hard to know how deeply it has affected him. But since his father was detained by ICE recently, he is starting to remember — and worry. He constantly asks me whether his father is being treated the way we were treated. I struggle to answer that question, because I remember what we went through.

    My teenage sister also suffered in detention. She was already affected by the situation in El Salvador and the death of our father, but being inside the detention center affected her even more. Not being able to feel free and being treated like less than human caused her a deep depression, and to this day, she needs constant psychiatric support.

    Other children I know from the detention center are clearly traumatized, afraid of police officers and constantly worried about going back. They remember it for what it was: a prison.

    After widespread outrage against the separation of families under his "zero tolerance" policy, Mr. Trump signed an executive order directing his administration to keep families in immigration detention indefinitely. That's not a solution, that's a jail sentence.

    Those of us who have been in family detention can't stay silent knowing that so many more families will have to go through what we went through. The Trump administration should stop prosecuting parents who have only committed a misdemeanor by crossing the border. It should stop putting them and their children behind bars in places that are often run by for-profit prison companies. It doesn't make sense to cruelly punish migrants seeking asylum for attempting to do what all parents do — protect and keep their children safe. People fleeing dangerous situations should be given an opportunity to find safety in the United States.

    My asylum case is still in process and my children and I are just waiting for the final court date. Being granted asylum can't take away the fear I still have. My mother is still in El Salvador, and I will never be able to go back. At least now, we are in a place where my son is safe and well taken care of. But I'll never forget those two months in family detention when he was not.

    The writer is an asylum seeker from El Salvador.



    3) The Billion-Dollar Business of Operating Shelters for Migrant Children

    By Manny Fernandez and Katie Benner, June 21, 2018


    Casa Padre, a shelter run by Southwest Key Programs, houses roughly 1,500 immigrant children in a converted Walmart Supercenter in Brownsville, Tex.CreditTamir Kalifa for The New York Times

    HARLINGEN, Tex. — The business of housing, transporting and watching over migrant children detained along the southwest border is not a multimillion-dollar business.

    It's a billion-dollar one.

    The nonprofit Southwest Key Programs has won at least $955 million in federal contracts since 2015 to run shelters and provide other services to immigrant children in federal custody. Its shelter for migrant boys at a former Walmart Supercenter in South Texas has been the focus of nationwide scrutiny, but Southwest Key is but one player in the lucrative, secretive world of the migrant-shelter business. About a dozen contractors operate more than 30 facilities in Texas alone, with numerous others contracted for about 100 shelters in 16 other states.

    If there is a migrant-shelter hub in America, then it is perhaps in the four-county Rio Grande Valley region of South Texas, where about a dozen shelters occupy former stores, schools and medical centers. They are some of the region's biggest employers, though what happens inside is often highly confidential: One group has employees sign nondisclosure agreements, more a fixture of the high-stakes corporate world than of nonprofit child-care centers.

    The recent separation of some 2,300 migrant children from their families under the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy on illegal border crossers has thrust this invisible industry into the spotlight in recent weeks, as images of toddlers and teenagers taken from their parents and detained behind locked doors have set off a political firestorm. President Trump's order on Wednesday calling for migrant families to be detained togetherlikely means millions more in contracts for private shelter operators, construction companies and defense contractors.

    A small network of private prison companies already is operating family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania, and those facilities are likely to expand under the new presidential directive, should it stand up to legal review, analysts said.

    The range of contractors working in the migrant-shelter industry varies widely.

    BCFS, a global network of nonprofit groups, has received at least $179 million in federal contracts since 2015 under the government's so-called unaccompanied alien children program, designed to handle migrant youths who arrive in the country without a parent or other family member. Many of the contractors, some of which are religiously affiliated organizations and emergency-management agencies such as Catholic Charities, see their work as humanitarian aid to some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

    But several large defense contractors and security firms are also building a presence in the system, including General Dynamics, the global aerospace and defense company, and MVM Inc., which until 2008 contracted with the government to supply guards in Iraq. MVM recently put up job postings seeking "bilingual travel youth care workers" in the McAllen area of South Texas. It described the jobs as providing care to immigrant children "while you are accompanying them on domestic flights and via ground transportation to shelters all over the country."

    The migrant-shelter business has been booming since family separations began on a large scale last month along the southwest border.

    For years, including during the Obama administration, contractors housed children who were caught illegally crossing the border unaccompanied by a parent or guardian. After the new policy, the contractors put in new beds and expanded beyond their licensed capacities to house the growing numbers of children the government separated from their families. In Texas alone, 15 shelters have received variances from state officials to expand, including adding bedroom space and toilets, increasing the total licensed capacity in Texas to nearly 5,300 children, from around 4,500.

    The shelters' rush to house, and cash in on, the surge of children has made them a new target for Democrats, immigrant advocates and a vocal chorus of local, state and federal officials and community leaders.

    Many of these contractors, including Southwest Key, whose president and chief executive, Juan Sánchez, has been a well-known and politically connected figure in South Texas for years, saw themselves as the good guys in all the years they were sheltering, housing and educating young people who had crossed the border on their own. But as their client base increasingly has included children forcibly removed from their parents, that public good will has eroded.

    Critics have released tax records showing Mr. Sánchez's compensation — more than $770,000 in 2015 alone — and his organization's usually under-the-radar efforts to open new shelters have become pitched public battles. In Houston, a number of Democratic officials, including Mayor Sylvester Turner, called on Mr. Sánchez to abandon plans to turn a former homeless shelter into a new migrant youth shelter near downtown. Mr. Turner and others said they would urge state regulators to deny the proposed shelter a child-care-facility license.

    Some have raised concerns that the rush to expand will make it difficult to properly manage the housing and care of infants, toddlers and teenagers, all of whom have a host of complex emotional, health and legal issues. In recent years, a number of migrant youth shelters have run into problems unseen by the public: fire-code violations, lawsuits claiming abuse, and complaints from employees alleging wrongful termination and unpaid wages.

    The former Walmart shelter failed two of its 12 fire inspections, including for sprinkler-system problems, but passed its most recent inspection this month. State officials have investigated allegations of sexual abuse and neglectful supervision at numerous facilities.

    Shelter executives and their supporters, as well as federal officials, say they stand behind the contractors' management, their fiscal responsibility and their overall mission.

    "Our growth is in direct response to kids coming to the border," said Alexia Rodriguez, Southwest Key's vice president of immigrant children's services.

    She said that Southwest Key shelters must be in compliance with hundreds of standards to keep their state licenses.

    The majority of the thousands of potential violations that are investigated each year are self-reported by Southwest Key staff to state licensing officials, who conduct an investigation and decide whether there has been a violation. When applicable, Ms. Rodriguez said, staff members under investigation are suspended pending the results.

    The 150 or so deficiencies cited over the past three years are out of tens of thousands of potential violations, most of which were reported by Southwest Key, Ms. Rodriguez said. "We may overreport. But what's critical is how a company responds to a possible incident," she said. "I can say we've never had a deficiency that was not addressed appropriately."

    While Southwest Key has garnered attention because of the Trump administration's policy of breaking up families at the border, only 10 percent of children in its facilities were separated from their relatives. The vast majority in its care still came to the United States alone as unaccompanied minors, mainly from Guatemala and El Salvador.

    The group's shelter capacity has grown significantly: In 2010, it had capacity for up to 500 children a day across 10 shelters. Now it can serve up to 5,000 children a day across 26 shelters. The recent surge in family separations has put even more of a demand on its facilities.

    In Harlingen one recent morning, the federal courthouse that hears immigration cases was packed. Teenagers who had been apprehended crossing the border sat in the courtrooms, fidgeting in their rolled-up jeans and sneakers.

    In the lobby, a group of men and women whispered among themselves as they patiently waited for the hearings to end. They were there for the migrant youth. But they were neither relatives nor lawyers. They were contractors. Their job was to escort the detained children back to nearby shelters.

    Transportation to and from shelters is but one service supplied by contractors on the federal dime.

    Adults and children who are apprehended illegally crossing the border are detained and housed in a variety of facilities, some of which are run by the government and some by private contractors. There are detention centers at Border Patrol stations and at facilities operated by private-prison contractors such as CoreCivic. And then there are the migrant youth shelters.

    One of the best-known is Casa Padre, the name of Southwest Key's shelter for 10- to 17-year-old boys at the converted Walmart. It is the largest shelter of its kind in the country, with nearly 1,500 boys.

    The building is owned not by Walmart but by private owners, who lease it to Southwest Key. The Walmart was gutted, redesigned and renovated into a kind of mini-city, with murals, classrooms, medical offices, on-call physicians, work cubicles, movie theaters, a barbershop and a cafeteria.

    Pre-Trump, Southwest Key was warmly received by left-leaning immigration activists and civil rights organizations. Post-Trump, some of the group's former allies are now leading the outcry.

    Legal organizations including the A.C.L.U. and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law represented Southwest Key in a 2015 lawsuit against Escondido, Calif., accusing the city of manipulating land use and zoning laws to block the opening of a new center that could house 96 children.

    The lawsuit quoted Escondido citizens who had opposed the facility in letters and hearings. "I believe most of us are sick of paying for undocumented invaders," one comment read.

    Southwest Key eventually received a $550,000 settlement from Escondido, but during the case the organization opened housing elsewhere instead.

    "I was taken aback by the venom that came out of certain members of that community, and the threats I received personally to my safety and security," said Ms. Rodriguez, the Southwest Key executive. "These are innocent children that have done nothing wrong, fleeing violent communities, and this is the response we were getting in Escondido?"

    Migrant shelter operators say they have been wrongly thought to be housing youths in the kind of heavily crowded facilities near border crossings at which migrants receive their initial processing.

    Images of children in chain-link cages and pens that have circulated online recently are mainly taken at Border Patrol sites run by the government. Housing at places like Southwest Key facilities generally include dorms, classroom areas and medical and counseling centers.

    "If we ever put a kid in a cage, we'd be shut down for mistreating children," said Ms. Rodriguez. "People are conflating us with the facilities run by Border Patrol, which is a division of Homeland Security. We work with the social service side of the federal government. We are not law enforcement."

    Alain Delaqueriere contributed research.



    4) Supreme Court Upholds Trump's Travel Ban

    By Adam Liptak, June 26, 2018


    Protesters gathered outside the Supreme Court in June of last year over the president's disputed travel ban.CreditAl Drago for The New York Times

    WASHINGTON — President Trump acted lawfully in imposing limits on travel from several predominantly Muslim nations, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.

    The vote was 5 to 4, with the court's conservatives in the majority.

    The court's decision, a major statement on presidential power, marked the conclusion of a long-running dispute over Mr. Trump's authority to make good on his campaign promises to secure the nation's borders.

    Just a week after he took office, Mr. Trump issued his first travel ban, causing chaos at the nation's airports and starting a cascade of lawsuits and appeals. The first ban, drafted in haste, was promptly blocked by courts around the nation.

    A second version, issued two months later, fared little better, although the Supreme Court allowed part of it go into effect last June when it agreed to hear the Trump administration's appeals from court decisions blocking it. But the Supreme Court dismissed those appeals in October after the second ban expired.

    In January, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge to Mr. Trump's third and most considered entry ban, issued as a presidential proclamationin September. It initially restricted travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, Venezuela and North Korea. Chad was later removed from the list.

    The restrictions varied in their details, but, for the most part, citizens of the countries were forbidden from emigrating to the United States and many of them are barred from working, studying or vacationing here. In December, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect while legal challenges moved forward.

    Hawaii, several individuals and a Muslim group challenged the latest ban's limits on travel from the predominantly Muslim nations; they did not object to the portions concerning North Korea and Venezuela. They said the latest ban, like the earlier ones, was tainted by religious animus and not adequately justified by national security concerns.

    The challengers prevailed before a Federal District Court there and before a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.

    The appeals court ruled that Mr. Trump had exceeded the authority Congress had given him over immigration and had violated a part of the immigration laws barring discrimination in the issuance of visas. In a separate decision that was not directly before the justices, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va., blocked the ban on a different ground, saying it violated the Constitution's prohibition of religious discrimination.



    5) 'Why Do You Hate Us?' He Asked. 'Because You're Mexicans,' She Replied.

    By Sarah Mervosh, June 25, 2018


    A video still image from YouTube shows Esteban Guzman, left, with the unidentified woman who unleashed a diatribe against Mexicans.Creditvia Youtube

    A man and his mother were doing yard work in California when a woman unleashed a diatribe against Mexicans, and — invoking President Trump — called them rapists, animals and drug dealers.

    The encounter was captured in a video that was posted on Twitter early Monday morning and had been viewed more than two million times by night.

    In the video, which lasts about 35 seconds, the man — identified as Esteban Guzman — went back and forth with the unidentified woman, who at one point appeared to make a vulgar gesture with her middle finger.

    "Why do you hate us?" Mr. Guzman asked.

    "Because you're Mexicans," the woman said.

    Mr. Guzman told the woman that "we're honest people." She laughed and countered with her own impressions: "Rapists. Animals. Drug dealers." She mentioned the president, who has at times made similar remarks about illegal immigrants coming across the border, often from Mexico.

    Mr. Guzman defended himself during the exchange, asking, "How many people have I raped?" and, "How many drugs have I dealt?"

    It's unclear when the encounter occurred, or what happened before or after the video recording.

    Mr. Guzman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Monday night. The Guardian reported that he works in information technology and does construction on the side.

    Mr. Guzman, 27, was with his mother clearing a yard in Running Springs, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, when the woman approached, The Guardian said.

    The woman told his mother to "go back to Mexico," Mr. Guzman told The Guardian. "She said we were all illegals," he said. "I told her, 'I'm a United States citizen.'"

    Tensions concerning race and immigration have been playing out across the country, as President Trump has taken a hard line against illegal immigration.

    During his 2015 announcement that he was running for president, he assailed immigrants from Mexico, saying: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists."

    The president recently defended his use of the word "animals" to describe dangerous criminals trying to cross into the United States illegally, saying he had been referring to members of the brutal transnational gang MS-13.

    The video prompted an outpouring of support for Mr. Guzman on social media, as people apologized for what he had gone through and many assured him that they did not share the woman's views.

    On Facebook, Mr. Guzman attributed the racism he has experienced to Mr. Trump.

    "Thanks to him everywhere I go I am a rapist, an animal, and drug dealer," Mr. Guzman wrote. "You don't know what it feels like to be hated so much."

    He said that while he can handle racial slurs, it's "another story" when someone yells at his mother.




    6) Antwon Rose II, Killed by a Police Officer, Is Remembered as a 'Bright Light'

    By Melissa Gomez, June 25, 2018


    The funeral in Swissvale, Pa., on Monday for Antwon Rose II, who was fatally shot by a police officer in East Pittsburgh, Pa.CreditKeith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Antwon Rose II was "confused and afraid," he wrote in a poem in 2016.

    "I see mothers bury their sons," it said. "I want my mom to never feel that pain."

    On Monday, two friends of Antwon, 17, a rising high school senior from Rankin, Pa., who was killed by an East Pittsburgh police officer last Tuesday, struggled to read that poem, "I Am Not What You Think!," as family, schoolmates and friends gathered for Antwon's funeral at his school, Woodland Hills Intermediate School, in Swissvale, Pa.

    Antwon died after being shot three times as he ran from a vehicle during a traffic stop. The police said that he and another passenger fled after an officer stopped the Chevrolet Cruze they were in because it was thought to have been involved in an earlier shooting. The driver was taken into custody, interviewed and later released, the police have said.

    A video that recorded the fatal shooting was widely viewed on the internet, and it has prompted days of protests over one more unarmed black teenager killed by a police officer.

    During an interview on Sunday with "Good Morning America," Antwon's mother, Michelle Kenney, held hands with Antwon's father, Antwon Rose Sr., as she spoke about losing her son. She said that the officer who shot Antwon, identified by the authorities as Michael Rosfeld, "murdered my son in cold blood."

    Antwon's father had a message for the protesters: "Keep fighting. Do it peacefully."

    At the funeral, in a packed auditorium at the school, friends and family members shared memories of Antwon, painting a picture of a thoughtful and funny boy. He played basketball and excelled in his school's honors program. He played the saxophone.

    Antwon Rose, 17, in a family photograph.

    At the request of the family, many in the crowd wore purple — a special color to Antwon.

    "Antwon's death shakes my heart, it rattles my faith that things will ever get better or that the injustice will ever end," said Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who met Antwon when he volunteered at the Free Store, a charity she founded. "Slowly, too slowly, things will get brighter, even though they're now so dark."

    She told mourners how hard it was for her to speak about Antwon in the past tense. She said she had wanted to cheer him on at his graduation, and was proud to have known him as "a bright light."

    S. Lee Merritt, who represents the Rose family, said in a phone interview that because of the close relationship between the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office and local law enforcement, he would ask the district attorney to recuse himself and allow the attorney general or the Justice Department to pursue charges against Officer Rosfeld to avoid bias.

    Attempts to reach Officer Rosfeld's lawyer on Monday were not successful. Officer Rosfeld has been placed on administrative leave.

    The Allegheny County Police Department, which is investigating the episode, released no new information on Monday.

    A fund-raising campaign to cover the costs of Antwon's funeral exceeded its goal, Mr. Merritt said, noting that Antwon's mother plans on starting a scholarship in his memory.

    During the funeral, Ms. Fetterman said in a later interview, two of Antwon's friends started to read his poem, which was printed on the program celebrating the teenager's life.

    "You could tell they were having a hard time," she said.

    Antwon's mother stood with them on the stage and held onto their waists and shoulders as they finished reading the poem:

    I try my best to make my dream true

    I hope that it does

    I am confused and afraid



    7) Supreme Court Delivers a Sharp Blow to Labor Unions

    By Adam Liptak, June27, 2018


    Mark Janus, who sued his Illinois public sector union, outside the Supreme Court in February. He said he should not be forced to pay fees to support positions he did not agree with

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday dealt a major blow to organized labor. By a 5-to-4 vote, with the more conservative justices in the majority, the court ruled that government workers who choose not to join unions may not be required to help pay for collective bargaining.

    The ruling means that public-sector unions across the nation, already under political pressure, could lose tens of millions of dollars and see their effectiveness diminished.

    The court based its ruling on the First Amendment, saying that requiring payments to unions that negotiate with the government forces workers to endorse political messages that may be at odds with their beliefs.

    Unions say that reasoning is flawed. Nonmembers are already entitled to refunds of payments spent on political activities, like advertising to support a political candidate.

    Collective bargaining is different, the unions say, and workers should not be free to reap the benefits of such bargaining without paying their fair share of the costs.

    The decision could encourage many workers perfectly happy with their unions' work to make the economically rational decision to opt out of paying for it.

    President Trump took to Twitter to praise the decision, saying it would be a "big loss for the coffers of the Democrats!"

    Limiting the power of public unions has long been a goal of conservative groups. They seemed poised to succeed in the Supreme Court in 2016, when a majority of the justices looked ready to rule that the fees were unconstitutional.

    But Justice Antonin Scalia died not long after the earlier case was argued, and it ended in a 4-to-4 deadlock. The new case, which had been filed in 2015, was waiting in the wings and soon reached the Supreme CourtJustice Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump's Supreme Court appointee, voted with the majority.

    The court overruled its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which had made a distinction between two kinds of compelled payments. Forcing nonmembers to pay for a union's political activities violated the First Amendment, the court said. But it was constitutional, the court added, to require nonmembers to help pay for the union's collective bargaining efforts to prevent freeloading and ensure "labor peace."

    That distinction is untenable and unworkable, the majority said.

    The court struck down an Illinois law that requires government workers who choose not to join a union to "pay their proportionate share of the costs of the collective bargaining process, contract administration and pursuing matters affecting wages, hours and other conditions of employment." More than 20 states have similar laws.

    The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, No. 16-1466, was brought by Mark Janus, a child support specialist who works for the state government in Illinois. He sued the union, saying he does not agree with its positions and should not be forced to pay fees to support its work.

    The decision is unlikely to have a direct impact on unionized employees of private businesses, because the First Amendment restricts government action and not private conduct. But unions now represent only 6.5 percent of private sector employees, down from the upper teens in the early 1980s, and most of the labor movement's strength these days is in the public sector.



    8)  Workers Must Get Radical to Fight Back Against Janus

    By Bryce Covert. Kune 27. 2018


    Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) at a rally in support of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union in Chicago last February.

    The Supreme Court's decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which ruled that public sector unions may no longer require all the workers they represent to pay "agency fees," is a wound to the labor movement that will bleed resources at a time when it's already weak. Working Americans must now get radical to get heard. Even the lawyer representing the unions warned during oral arguments that when unions are denied agency fees, "they tend to become more militant, more confrontational." The moment now necessitates it.

    The Janus decision comes just weeks after the Supreme Court issued a decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis that curtailed employees' ability to band together in class-action lawsuits, forcing workers to go it alone if they experience discrimination or abuse.

    Taken together, the decisions indicate that a majority on the Supreme Court seems to be ignorant of the enormous power corporations now hold. Corporate consolidation has meant Americans have little option but to accept whatever pay and benefits are on offer. Big employers force low-wage employees to sign agreements that bar them from working for competitors and have even colluded with one another to keep pay down. Demands for lower prices from behemoths like Walmart and Amazon even hold down workers' wages at suppliers and contractors.

    It used to be that this kind of power was at least tempered by the countervailing power held by the work force, through unions that worked to increase pay and benefits, even for nonunionized Americans. But their clout has long been on the decline. In the mid-1950s, about one in three workers were in a union. Today it's one in 10.

    The Janus ruling threatens to diminish them further. State and local public-sector workers in collective bargaining states are unionized at a rate of 53.7 percent, but the decision could end up reducing union membership by 8.2 percentage points.

    Workers will have to reconstruct this countervailing power and find new ways to build solidarity. We're going to have to get bold again.

    We've seen a version of what this could look like in this year's teachers strikes. As the momentum of those strikes has shown, when workers are boxed into a corner there's appetite for going outside the normal lines of acceptable action. In West Virginia, Oklahoma, Arizona and Kentucky, where teachers are not legally allowed to strike, they nevertheless walked out of classrooms and won raises for themselves and other state employees.

    The teachers won widespread public support by fighting not just for themselves, but for all government employees. There lies a lesson: We're going to have to stand shoulder to shoulder or else we'll all fall.

    It won't be easy. Going on strike is no longer a familiar exercise for American workers. Last year there were just seven major work stoppages, the second-lowest number ever recorded. In the aftermath of Janus, if unions are further undermined, workers will need to take on this kind of organizing themselves. The teachers strikes offer yet another example of how this can work. The rank and file did much of the organizing in Oklahoma over social media, and the union leadership had to catch up to the members' overwhelming desire to strike.

    Teachers were up against state lawmakers, who they can vote out of office. It could be harder for private-sector workers going up against the largest corporations on the planet.

    The Fight for 15 movement offers some cause for optimism. Starting with its first fast-food industry strike, in 2012, Fight for 15 now includes child care providers, adjunct professors, Uber drivers, home health aides and airport employees. While financially backed by traditional unions, the movement has reached into workplaces that have resisted unionization, and it has gotten confrontational, staging ever-larger strikes and acts of civil disobedience. And it has had some significant wins: State governments in California, New York and Massachusetts and local bodies in Seattle and Washington, D.C., have passed legislation to increase wages to $15 an hour. Democrats now back a $15 wage for all.

    Americans have done this before. In the 1930s, workers had to get militant in the face of a legal landscape in which strikes and organizing were restricted or even banned. That period ended with a truce that exchanged labor peace for laws that facilitated unionization, a truce that is now all but broken. We have no choice but to take up our organizing arms once more.

    If we don't, employers will only hoard more power. Economic growth will continue to leave us out. And if the courts keep turning their backs on us, we will have no choice but to take drastic measures.

    Bryce Covert is a contributor at The Nation and a contributing opinion writer.



    9)  Supreme Court Decision Makes Unions Smaller and Poorer, but Maybe Not Weaker

    By Noam Scheiber, June 27, 2018


    A crowd listening to Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts, at a rally in support of unionized workers outside a Boston firehouse in February. The rally was held to coincide with the Supreme Court arguments in a challenge to public-sector unions.CreditCj Gunther/European Pressphoto Agency

    With the Supreme Court striking down laws that require government workers to pay union fees, one thing is clear: Most public-sector unions in more than 20 states with such laws are going to get smaller and poorer in the coming years.

    Though it is difficult to predict with precision, experts and union officials say they could lose 10 percent to one-third of their members, or more, in the states affected, as conservative groups seek to persuade workers to drop out.

    The court's decision is the latest evidence that moves to weaken unions are exacting a major toll. Beyond the dropout campaigns aimed at members, conservatives have also backed state legislation making it harder for unions to operate — like requiring authorization to deduct part or all of workers' dues from their paychecks — and are bringing lawsuits to retroactively recover fees collected by unions from nonmembers.

    In May, President Trump signed three executive orders making it easier to fire government workers and reining in the role of unions representing federal workers.

    Dropping out of a union is a more attractive proposition now that workers no longer have to pay a so-called agency fee, typically about 80 percent of union dues, if they choose not to belong to a union. (Those doing so generally account for a small fraction of the workers whom public-sector unions represent.)

    In the five years after Michigan passed a law ending mandatory union fees in 2012, the number of active members of the Michigan Education Association dropped by about 25 percent, according to government filings, a much faster attrition rate than before. Its annual receipts fell by more than 10 percent, adjusting for inflation.

    Still, the more interesting question is whether the unions, whatever the blow to their ranks and finances, will be substantially weaker.

    Union leaders insist that they won't — that the crisis posed by the case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, has brought more cohesion and energy to their ranks.

    "No one wanted this case," said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. "But the gestalt around the country has been to turn an existential threat into an opportunity to engage with our members like never before."

    There are reasons to believe that the claim is not merely desperate bravado.

    One parallel to the current development is a 2014 Supreme Court ruling known as Harris v. Quinn, which struck down mandatory union fees for home-based workers who serve private individuals but are paid through government programs like Medicaid.

    As of late 2013, the Service Employees International Union represented about 60,000 public-sector home care and child-care workers in Illinois, about 40 percent of whom were union members. (The rest paid agency fees.)

    Receipts for the service employees union local representing home-based workers in Illinois dropped significantly in the four years after the decision. But an aggressive membership campaign largely offset the loss of members.

    It also built and reinforced personal relationships with members, who could be summoned to make demands of politicians in nearly every legislative district.

    "Our members go and meet Sam McCann," said Keith Kelleher, who until last year was president of the local representing these home-based workers, referring to a Republican state senator. "He says yes most of time because he's got hundreds of members in his district."

    Public home-based workers in Illinois, a state with a notably anti-union Republican governor, continue to notch victories as a result. Last summer, home care workers won a 48-cent-an-hour wage increase from the state, up from an average wage of $13, in a budget that the legislature passed by overriding the governor's veto. This spring, home child-care workers won more than a 4 percent raise.

    In anticipation of the Janus ruling, major public-sector unions have invested heavily in recent years in reaching out to current members — an effort known as internal organizing — and to prospective members to keep their numbers from dropping precipitously and to create a more activist culture. They plan to continue funding these initiatives even if it requires cutting spending elsewhere.

    Mary Kay Henry, the international president of the service employees union, said the union used projections derived from its experience after the Harris decision to cut its budget by 30 percent shortly after Mr. Trump was elected. She said the union, which represents about two million workers, roughly half of them in the public sector, was focusing its spending on recruiting members and mobilizing workers to face down employers and elect pro-labor politicians.

    "We intend to prioritize the political and organizing work," she said.

    Government filings show that the union has cut contributions to organizations that it had traditionally supported, including the Children's Defense Fund, People for the American Way, and the National Immigration Law Center. (The union says it provides nonmonetary support to some of these groups.)

    At the same time, the union is investing tens of millions of dollars in a door-to-door canvassing initiative for the midterm elections, intended to turn out people who don't normally vote.

    Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said that his union's two highest priorities going forward would be its internal outreach and helping to organize nonunionized workplaces, and that the union would probably "have to make adjustments" to fund these programs. The union spent more than $15 million during the 2016 campaign cycle supporting political candidates, parties and committees.

    Mr. Saunders said the union, which represents over 1.2 million workers, had held one-on-one conversations with nearly 900,000 members since 2013. Among the goals of these conversations, he said, is to inoculate members against campaigns by conservative groups to urge them to quit.

    "If someone knocks on their door talking about how you can get out of the union — 'it would be so easy, you don't have to pay union dues' — our folks are prepared to tell them to get the hell off their doorstep," he said.

    Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, a political scientist at Columbia University who studies corporate and conservative efforts to weaken labor, said organized interest groups had traditionally had the greatest impact on elections by educating members about candidates and through on-the-ground canvassing rather than large campaign contributions. "It's doubly so for unions," he said, adding that the focus "seems like a wise decision, but the effectiveness has to be weighed against what happens to membership and overall revenues."

    The unions enjoy certain advantages. States like California and New Jerseyhave tried to ease the blow from Janus pre-emptively by passing legislation that, for example, guarantees public-sector unions access to new hires and their personal contact information to help in recruiting. Several mayors around the country, like Bill de Blasio of New York, are pledging to support similar measures.

    There is also a substantial wind at their back: a rising energy on the left during the Trump era. Workers in particular appear more willing to take to the streets and state capitols, including tens of thousands of teachers who walked off their jobs this year in conservative states to protest the underfunding of public education.

    When the Supreme Court ruled last month that employment contracts could prohibit workers from bringing class-action lawsuits, activists in states like New York, Vermont and Oregon escalated their efforts to pass so-called private attorneys general legislation, allowing workers to bring cases on the state's behalf that could benefit all affected workers, the same way litigation by an attorney general would.

    "We've had many, many folks calling: 'I heard about this legislation you helped design. How do we make this happen?'" said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, an advocacy group pushing the measure. Ms. Axt said the group planned to campaign for the legislation's enactment this summer.

    That kind of energy appears to be benefiting unions. A Gallup poll last summer showed labor's approval at its highest level since 2003, while a survey of teachers by an education group viewed skeptically by unions found that 85 percent consider unions important or essential. (A recent pollfor The New York Times by SurveyMonkey showed bipartisan support for increasing teachers' pay, but a split view on teachers' unions.)

    "We've seen a 13 percent jump in membership because of the walkout," said Ed Allen, president of the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers. "We have over 300 people signed up to work in political campaigns. We've never seen those kinds of numbers before." Teachers unions in West Virginia and other states where teachers walked off the job report gains as well.

    Some union leaders argue that in such an environment, conservatives may have miscalculated by pursuing a national strategy to defund unions through the Janus case, as opposed to the incremental, state-by-state strategy that proved effective in places like Wisconsin and Michigan.

    "I think they made a big mistake by doing it this way," said Ms. Weingarten, whose union estimates it has secured recommitment cards from more than 500,000 of roughly 800,000 members affected by the decision. "It's not as if it's not going to hurt. But there's now a nationwide strategy on our side, in a very somber, resolute, determined way, to ensure that workers have a voice."

    Jack Begg contributed research.



    10) If He Didn't Kill Anyone, Why Is It Murder?

    By Abbie VanSicide, June 27, 2018


    Shawn Khalifa, center, with, from left, his sister, nephew and mother. Mr. Khalifa is serving 25 years to life, convicted under the legal doctrine known as the felony murder rule.

    SACRAMENTO — Late in the evening on Jan. 27, 2004, four teenagers broke into an elderly neighbor's house in the Southern California town of Perris, looking for cash.

    One of them, Shawn Khalifa, guarded the back door. Shawn, who had just turned 15, slipped into the kitchen and stole some chocolate candies. He briefly saw that the homeowner was seriously hurt, and he ran back outside.

    No one accused Shawn of laying a hand on the victim, Hubert Love, 77, but a jury convicted the teenager of first-degree murder.

    Mr. Khalifa, now 29 and serving a sentence of 25 years to life, is one of hundreds of people convicted in California under a legal doctrine known as the felony murder rule, which holds that anyone involved in certain kinds of serious felonies that result in death is as liable as the actual killer.

    "I knew I didn't kill anyone," Mr. Khalifa said. "I felt and kind of knew that I was going to spend the rest of my life in prison. It didn't seem like there was any room to be a human being again. My life was over."

    But the hard doctrine that sent Mr. Khalifa to prison may be softening. A bill moving through the California Legislature would change state law so that only someone who actually killed, intended to kill or acted as a major player with "reckless indifference to human life" could face murder charges.

    The measure, already approved by the California Senate, cleared another important hurdle Tuesday when it won the blessing of the Assembly's Public Safety Committee, despite strong opposition from law enforcement groups.

    IIf the bill passes the State Assembly, California will join a growing number of states iin abolishing or severely restricting felony murder. Over the decades, legislatures in Hawaii and Kentucky have abolished the rule, and, last fall, Massachusetts joined Michigan in ending it through the courts. The Pennsylvania Legislature is weighing a bill aimed at curtailing the practice.

    "Many times in California, if you didn't commit the murder, didn't know the murder occurred, you could be charged and have the same sentence as the actual murderer," said State Senator Nancy Skinner, who introduced the legislation in part because, she said, felony murder cases disproportionately affect women and young black and Latino men. "They had bad judgment, but they didn't commit a murder — and when I understood this, I knew we had to fix that."

    The total number of people serving sentences for felony murder in California is unknown because the cases are not tracked separately from other murder convictions. But proponents of the bill estimate that it is between 400 and 800. In 2016, lawmakers rejected a bill that would have required prosecutors to collect data on felony murder prosecutions and report it to the state.

    A survey answered by 1,000 prisoners convicted of murder found that the felony murder rule disproportionately affects women and young people. Of the women serving life sentences for murder in California, 72 percent were not the killers, according to the survey, which was conducted by Restore Justice, the Youth Justice Coalition and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, California groups that support criminal justice reform.

    The origins of the felony murder rule are murky. Generations of law students have been taught that it is a relic of British common law.

    But Guyora Binder, a professor at the University at Buffalo School of Law and a leading expert on felony murder, said he had found otherwise. He traced modern felony murder doctrine to the 1820s, when state legislatures in the United States codified criminal offenses.

    England abolished its version of felony murder in 1957, followed by India, Canada and other common law countries, and the United States remains the only country where the felony murder doctrine still exists. A Michigan Supreme Court ruling that did away with it in that state nearly four decades ago called it "a historic survivor for which there is no logical or practical basis for existence in modern law."

    The proposed California legislation would not undo felony murder entirely, but it would carve out the group of people who had very little involvement in the underlying crime and no intent to kill anyone, Mr. Binder said. That could make it a model for other states.

    "This proposed bill is a very clever reform because it addresses the least popular and the least defensible aspects of the rule," he said.

    But opponents of the bill argue that people will be less likely to commit crimes if they know they will face maximum penalties if someone dies.

    "The deterrence value is people are discouraged from participating in serious, dangerous felonies," said Sean Hoffman, legislative director for the California District Attorneys Association, when he testified Tuesday in opposition to the bill.

    Prosecutors and victims' rights advocates say that the doctrine is justified because people who choose to participate in dangerous crimes do so knowing that an innocent person could die.

    "The way the legislation is written, it gives everyone a path out, and only penalizes the actual shooter," said Eric Siddall, a prosecutor and vice president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County. Mr. Siddall said the legislation could make gang prosecutions more difficult.

    Critics of the rule say felony murder can lead to absurd results. In some cases, accomplices have been charged with felony murder when the death actually occurred at the hands of the police or even the victim.

    In one notorious 2012 case in Indiana, a group of young men who became known as the Elkhart Four, broke into a house searching for cash. The homeowner, who was napping upstairs, awoke, grabbed his gun and fatally shot one of the intruders. The remaining defendants were convicted of first-degree murder under the felony murder rule. The State Supreme Court later overturned three of the four convictions, but the felony murder rule remains.

    California courts have criticized felony murder, while leaving the rule intact. In 1983, the California Supreme Court called felony murder a "barbaric" rule of "dubious origins" from a "bygone age," but concluded that only the Legislature could change it.

    A killing in California in 1995 drew national attention after a group of young men received life sentences. Five teenagers had gone to another high school student's house near Malibu to buy marijuana. During an altercation, one of the five fatally stabbed another teen. Four of the five — Micah and Jason Holland, Brandon Hein and Anthony Miliotti — were prosecuted for felony murder.

    "That case still haunts me," said Robert Derham, a lawyer who represented Micah Holland on appeal. "It's completely artificial. The punishment doesn't fit the crime."

    Tuesday's committee hearing focused on the human impact of the felony murder rule.

    Jacque Wilson, a longtime San Francisco deputy public defender, recounted how in the summer of 2009 he got a call that his younger brother Neko had been accused of planning to rob a couple at a marijuana grow house in the Central Valley. During the robbery the couple, Gary and Sandra De Bartolo, were killed.

    According to testimony at one defendant's trial, Neko Wilson, 27 at the time, never went inside the house, but he was charged with first-degree murder.

    "At that point, my world stopped," Jacque Wilson said. "I had to explain it to my dad, how his son could be charged with murder without killing anyone."

    Mr. Wilson eventually took over as lead counsel to represent his brother, who has been in Fresno County Jail awaiting trial for almost a decade.

    California has become a kind of national laboratory for prison reform since 2011, when the United States Supreme Court upheld a court-imposed cap on the state's prison population, finding the prisons so overcrowded that inmates were dying. A series of legislative actions and ballot initiatives has reduced some felony crimes to misdemeanors, earmarked money for alternatives like drug and mental health treatment, and shifted more responsibility to the counties for supervising former prisoners.

    The reforms have prompted a backlash from many law enforcement groups, who say the changes have led to the release of dangerous criminals, caused an increase in property crime and removed incentives for people to participate in drug court. Many of these groups are backing a proposed ballot measure aimed at rolling back the reforms.

    One of the most contentious features of the felony murder bill is that it is retroactive, meaning that people currently serving life sentences for felony murder could petition the court to have their sentence reviewed.

    The prosecutors association has said the bill goes too far, raising concerns that retroactivity would cause "potentially disastrous and costly problems."

    Felony murder convictions in California are not tracked or labeled, opening the gates for anyone with a murder conviction to ask for a re-examination of their case. For those who took plea deals, there may be little on the record to examine. A state fiscal analysis found that it could cost millions of dollars to process resentencing petitions, as well as to transport people to and from courts for resentencing.

    Ms. Skinner and the bill's supporters say the costs will be offset by savings from shorter sentences. The average cost to incarcerate an inmate in a California prison is about $80,000 a year.

    Shawn Khalifa's mother, Colleen Khalifa, is hopeful the bill could give her son a second chance. He was tried as an adult and has already served 14 years behind bars for his role as a lookout.

    "It would give us our lives back," she said. "Just the thought that there might be light at the end of the tunnel has given us hope. I already feel the anguish and stress being lifted."



    11) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Defeats Joseph Crowley in Major Democratic House Upset

    By Shane Goldmacher and Jonathan Martin, June 26, 2018


    Representative Joseph Crowley of New York, once seen as a possible successor to Nancy Pelosi as Democratic leader of the House, suffered a shocking primary defeat on Tuesday, the most significant loss for a Democratic incumbent in more than a decade, and one that will reverberate across the party and the country.

    Mr. Crowley was defeated by a 28-year-old political newcomer, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a former organizer for Bernie Sanders's presidential campaign, who had declared it was time for generational, racial and ideological change.

    The last time Mr. Crowley, 56, even had a primary challenger, in 2004, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was not old enough to vote.

    Mr. Crowley, the No. 4 Democrat in the House, had drastically outspent his lesser-known rival to no avail, as Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's campaign was lifted by an aggressive social media presence and fueled by attention from national progressives hoping to flex their muscle in a race against a potential future speaker.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had used Mr. Crowley's role in the leadership, and the fact that he was the head of the local Democratic Party machine, against him in her bid to upend the existing political class. She will face Anthony Pappas, the Republican candidate, in the November general election.

    [Read more on who Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is and her history]

    Mr. Crowley is the first House Democrat in the nation to lose a primary in 2018. His loss is most significant for a congressional incumbent since Eric Cantor, then the No. 2 Republican in the House, was defeated in 2014 to a Tea Party activist, David Brat.

    Like that contest, the Crowley defeat is expected to shake up Congress, where Mr. Crowley was seen as a top contender to replace Ms. Pelosi, if she stepped aside after the midterms.

    The race was not close. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had more than 57 percent of the vote, with almost all precincts reporting.

    "It's surreal," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a live television interview as the votes were being tallied.

    By then, no television showed results at what was supposed to have been Mr. Crowley's victory party.

    Mr. Crowley appeared rattled when he spoke. "I know you're all trying your best to make me cry, but it's not going to happen," he told supporters.

    The guitar-strumming incumbent later played Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run," and dedicated it to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez is a native of the Bronx and a Latina in a Queens and Bronx district that is majority-minority, a fact she emphasized repeatedly on the trail against Mr. Crowley, who is white. In hindsight, the seat represented perhaps a perfect brew for an upset: a rusty incumbent, a charismatic challenger and a liberal district that gave Mr. Sanders more than 41 percent of the vote against Hillary Clinton.

    "Women like me aren't supposed to run for office," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said at the start of a biographical video that went viral last month and was viewed more than half-a-million times.

    She ran as a woman, as a young person, as a working-class champion, as an unabashed liberal and as a person of color. She piled up endorsements from national progressive groups in recent weeks and from Cynthia Nixon, who is running her own insurgent bid for governor against Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. Ms. Nixon attended the Ocasio-Cortez victory party.

    "What I see is that the Democratic Party takes working class communities for granted, they take people of color for granted and they just assume that we're going to turn out no matter how bland or half-stepping these proposals are," Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent interview about why she was running.

    A member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez gathered endorsements from liberal groups like MoveOn, Democracy for America and People for Bernie. The news site The Intercept had urged her on, publishing a drumbeat of negative stories about Mr. Crowley, and glowing stories about her, in the campaign's closing weeks.

    President Trump, who like Mr. Crowley is from Queens, waded in on Twitter. "That is a big one that nobody saw happening," Mr. Trump wrote. "Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!"

    Days before the election, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez had unexpectedly left New York entirely to travel to Texas to protest the ongoing separation of children from their parents who crossed the border illegally.

    That came on the heels of her call to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. Mr. Crowley heated up his own rhetoric in response to her challenge, calling it a "fascist organization," but stopped short of saying it should be dissolved.

    Ten days before the primary, Mr. Crowley skipped a debate against Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and instead sent a surrogate, a Latina former city councilwoman. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez called it "a bizarre twist" on Twitter to be seated across from someone "with slight resemblance to me" instead of her opponent.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez used the moment to generate a fresh wave of publicity in the race's crucial closing days.

    Waging a sharp and sometimes personal campaign, she attacked Mr. Crowley for not living in New York and, specifically, sending his children to school near Washington. When there was tear gas released on protesters in Puerto Rico, she tagged Mr. Crowley on Twitter and wrote, "You are responsible for this." And when he asked her at a debate if she would endorse him, if he prevailed, she pointedly refused.

    Mr. Crowley was not caught totally off guard. He had campaigned aggressively in the last six weeks, pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into television ads and mailers, often highlighting his opposition to Mr. Trump.

    But in an indication of how disparate the two camps were and how much of an outsider Ms. Ocasio-Cortez was, Mr. Crowley said that, as of 11 p.m., they had yet to speak. He did not have her number and he did not believe she had his.

    Ms. Ocasio-Cortez's triumph echoed some of the past upsets in New York City races that turned on a yearning for generational or racial change.

    In 1992, for example, Nydia Velázquez, then 39, became the first Hispanic woman to represent New York City when she defeated a veteran congressman in a newly drawn district that was filled with Puerto Rican voters.

    And two decades earlier, Elizabeth Holtzman, then only 31, unseated 84-year-old Representative Emanuel Celler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who had come to Congress during the Harding administration.

    Mr. Crowley's loss left Democrats in Washington stunned. In recent months, he had begun meeting with lawmakers in small groups in a quiet effort to prepare for a bid for the speakership.

    His departure leaves a gaping vacuum in the House, where he is the top-ranked Democrat under the age of 70.

    "Hi Nance," Mr. Crowley greeted Ms. Pelosi when she called him shortly after his defeat. He later told reporters, "She called me to tell me how much she loves me."

    Representative Steny Hoyer, a longtime rival of Ms. Pelosi's, now is freed from having to worry about Mr. Crowley in his ambition to be leader. But some House Democrats, speaking anonymously to discuss a delicate topic, said Tuesday night that given the party's changing face, it would be difficult to dump Ms. Pelosi for an older, white male lawmaker.

    In a flurry of phone calls and text messages, Democratic lawmakers floated names such as Cheri Bustos of Illinois, Linda Sanchez of California, Joseph Kennedy of Massachusetts and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts as potential younger alternatives to Ms. Pelosi. But Ms. Pelosi has made clear she intends to seek the post again if Democrats take back the House and it is not clear that any potential alternative candidate could build a coalition to defeat her.

    As for Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, she had complained in recent weeks about media coverage that didn't include her name but only that of the better-known man she was running against.

    "Headlines from the Political Patriarchy," she wrote on Twitter of one recent story.

    Now, she is likely to be in headlines for years to come.

    J. David Goodman and John Surico contributed reporting.





































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