Save The Date: Black Lives Matter at School Week, February 3-7, 2020.

Mark your calendar! The Black Lives Matter at School national week of action will be held from February 3-7th, 2020–and educators from coast to coast are organizing to make this the biggest coordinated uprising for racial justice in the schools yet. 

Black Lives Matter At School is a national coalition educators, parents and students organizing for racial justice in education..  We encourage community organizations and unions to join our annual week of action during the first week of February each year. To learn more about how to participate in the week of action, please check out the BLM@School starter kit

If you or your organization would like to support or endorse the week of action, please email us at: BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail..com..  

During the 2018-2019 school year, BLM@School held its second national week of action in some 30 different citiesaround the country.. During the nationally organized week of action, thousands of educators around the U..S... wore Black Lives Matter shirts to school and taught lessons about the guiding principles of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, structural racism, intersectional black identities, black history, and anti-racist social movements. 

In addition to centering Blackness in the classroom, BLM at School has these four demands:

1) End "zero tolerance" discipline, and implement restorative justice

3) Mandate Black history and Ethnic Studies in K-12 curriculum

The lessons that educators teach during the week of action corresponded to the guiding principles of Black Lives Matter:

Monday: Restorative Justice, Empathy and Loving Engagement

Tuesday: Diversity and Globalism

Wednesday: Trans-Affirming, Queer Affirming and Collective Value

Thursday: Intergenerational, Black Families and Black Villages

Friday: Black Women and Unapologetically Black

With your help, this year's BLM at School week of action can continue to grow and provide healing for Black students.  Learn more about how to participate by visiting our website, www.BlackLivesMatterAtSchool.com. Let us know what you are planning for BLM at School week this school year or ask us how to get involved with the action by emailing us at: BlackLivesMatterAtSchool2@gmail.com.





Join the International Days of Action against Sanctions and Economic War March 13-15, 2020

Sanctions Kill!

Sanctions are War!

End Sanctions Now!

Organize an event in your area against U.S. imposed sanctions! Help build a Global Movement with hundreds of actions around the world March 13-15

Help expose this war crime against people of the world.

Add your endorsement at: https://sanctionskill..org/

List events and contact info at: info@SanctionsKill.org

Sanctions Kill!

Sanctions are War!

End Sanctions Now!

Please add your endorsement and help spread the word



Party for Socialism and Liberation

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La Riva / Peltier 2020 Campaign
10-Point Program

10 Point Program

The 10-Point Program of the La Riva/Peltier 2020 Campaign is a fighting program that represents the interests and needs of the vast majority of people of the United States and extends international solidarity to the peoples of the world. Our campaign will reach to every corner of the U.S. with the message that only socialism can solve the crises of climate change, racism, poverty and war. It will take a people's movement for real, lasting and sustainable change. We hope you will join us!

★ 1 | Make the essentials of life constitutional rights

The U.S. has more than enough so that all the essentials of life — food, housing, water, education, health care and a job or basic income can be guaranteed rights — rather than distributed only for profit. Create a completely free and public healthcare system.. Make education free—cancel all student debt. Fully fund rebuilding of the infrastructure in transport, water and utility systems. Stop all foreclosures and evictions. End all discrimination based on ability/disability.

★ 2 | For the Earth to live, capitalism must be replaced by a socialist system

Global warming, pollution, acidified and depleted oceans, fracking, critical drought, plastics choking the seas, nuclear weapons and waste — it is clear that capitalism and production for profit are destroying the planet and threatening all life. The crisis is already here, with the most vulnerable and oppressed areas of the U.S. and Global South bearing the brunt. Using truly sustainable energy and seizing the oil and coal companies to stop fossil fuel pollution, are urgent steps needed to reverse climate change. Ultimately, only the socialist reorganization of society can assure the future of the people and the planet.

★ 3 | End racism, police brutality, mass incarceration. Pay reparations to the African American community

Mass incarceration and racist policing are symptomatic of the 400 years of brutal repression meted out to African-descended peoples in the U.S. Reparations must be paid! More than 2.2 million people are behind bars in the largest prison complex in the world. End mass incarceration of all oppressed and working-class people. Fully prosecute all acts of police brutality and violence. Free Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners!

★ 4 | Full rights for all immigrants

Abolish all anti-immigrant laws. Stop the raids and deportations and demonization of immigrants.. Shut down ICE and the concentration camps and reunite families. The government's war on immigrants must end. The border wall must be dismantled. Amnesty and citizenship for those without documents. Full rights for all!

★ 5 | Shut down all U.S. military bases around the world—bring all the troops, planes & ships home

U.S. foreign policy uses the pretext of national security to enforce the imperialist interests of the biggest banks and corporations. That is what is behind the endless wars and occupations. Use the $1 trillion military budget instead to provide for people's needs here and worldwide. Abolish nuclear weapons. Stop U.S. aid to Israel. Self-determination for the Palestinian people, including the right of return. End the U.S. blockade of Cuba and sanctions against Venezuela, Iran and all countries. Independence for Puerto Rico and cancel its debt!

★ 6 | Honor Native treaties. Free Leonard Peltier now

Both major parties have continued to allow the destruction and theft of Native lands by mining and corporate agricultural interests in blatant disregard of indigenous sovereign rights. 33% of Native children live in poverty and many of the poorest U.S. counties are reservations. The crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and the over-incarceration of Native peoples shows the bankruptcy of capitalism from its earliest inception in the Americas until today..

★ 7 | Full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people

Fight back against anti-LGBTQ discrimination and violence. Defend marriage equality. Full equality in all matters governed by civil law, including employment, housing, healthcare and education. No to "religious exemption" laws that allow discrimination against LGBTQ people!

★ 8 | Equality for women and free, safe, legal abortion on demand

Stop the attack on women's reproductive rights and defend Roe v. Wade. Women must have the fundamental right to choose and to control their own bodies. Women still earn 22 percent less than men, and the gap is even more severe for Black and Latina women. Close the wage gap and end the gender division of labor.

★ 9 | Defend and expand our unions

Support the right of all workers to have a union. Fight back against the attacks on collective bargaining. Require employers to recognize card check union votes. Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act. Focusing on low-wage worker organizing, rebuild a fighting labor movement.

★ 10 | Take over the stolen wealth of the giant banks and corporations – Jail Wall St. criminals

The vast wealth of the giant banks and corporations is created by workers labor and the exploitation of the world's diminishing natural resources. The billionaires looted and destroyed the economy. It is time to seize their assets and use those resources in the interests of the vast majority. Power must be taken out of the hands of the super rich, and Wall Street criminals must be jailed.

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Stop Kevin Cooper's Abuse by San Quentin Prison Guards!


On Wednesday, September 25, Kevin Cooper's cell at San Quentin Prison was thrown into disarray and his personal food dumped into the toilet by a prison guard, A. Young.

The cells on East Block Bayside, where Kevin's cell is, were all searched on September 25 during Mandatory Yard. Kevin spent the day out in the yard with other inmates. In a letter, Kevin described what he found when he returned:

"This cage was hit hard, like a hurricane was in here .. ... . little by little I started to clean up and put my personal items back inside the boxes that were not taken .. . .. I go over to the toilet, lift up the seatcover and to my surprise and shock the toilet was completely filled up with my refried beans, and my brown rice. Both were in two separate cereal bags and both cereal bags were full. The raisin bran cereal bags were gone, and my food was in the toilet!"

A bucket was eventually brought over and:

"I had to get down on my knees and dig my food out of the toilet with my hands so that I could flush the toilet. The food, which was dried refried beans and dried brown rice had absorbed the water in the toilet and had become cement hard. It took me about 45 minutes to get enough of my food out of the toilet before it would flush."

Even the guard working the tier at the time told Kevin, "K.C., that is f_cked up!"

A receipt was left in Kevin's cell identifying the guard who did this as A. Young. Kevin has never met Officer A.. Young, and has had no contact with him besides Officer Young's unprovoked act of harassment and psychological abuse..

Kevin Cooper has served over 34 years at San Quentin, fighting for exoneration from the conviction for murders he did not commit. It is unconscionable for him to be treated so disrespectfully by prison staff on top of the years of his incarceration.

No guard should work at San Quentin if they cannot treat prisoners and their personal belongings with basic courtesy and respect........ Kevin has filed a grievance against A. Young. Please:

1) Sign this petition calling on San Quentin Warden Ronald Davis to grant Kevin's grievance and discipline "Officer" A. Young.

2) Call Warden Ronald Davis at: (415) 454-1460 Ext. 5000. Tell him that Officer Young's behaviour was inexcusable, and should not be tolerated..

3) Call Yasir Samar, Associate Warden of Specialized Housing, at (415) 455-5037

4) Write Warden Davis and Lt. Sam Robinson (separately) at:

Main Street

San Quentin, CA 94964

5) Email Lt. Sam Robinson at: samuel.robinson2@cdcr.........ca.gov



Sign Global Petition to Dismiss Charges Against Anti-Nuclear Plowshares Activists Facing 25 Years


This is an urgent request that you join with distinguished global supporters including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, other Nobel laureates and many others by signing our global petition to dismiss all charges against the Kings Bay Plowshares 7 (KBP7). They face 25 years in prison for exposing illegal and immoral nuclear weapons that threaten all life on Earth. The seven nonviolently and symbolically disarmed the Trident nuclear submarine base at Kings Bay, GA on April 4, 2018, the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (View KBP7 reading their statement here..)

This petition is also a plea for us all to be involved in rebuilding the anti-nuclear weapons movement that helped disarm the world's nuclear arsenals from 90,000 down to 15,000 weapons in the 1980s.. We must abolish them all. The KBP7 trial is expected to begin this fall in Georgia. Time is short. Please sign the petition and visit kingsbayplowshares7..org. Help KBP7 by forwarding their petition to your friends, to lists, and post it on social media...

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 have offered us their prophetic witness. Now it's up to us!

In peace and solidarity,

The Kings Bay Plowshares 7 Support Committee




Support the return of Leonard Peltier's Medicine Bundle

November 1, 2019

Dear Friends and supporters,

We need your help in getting Leonard Peltier's- (89637-132) Medicine Bundle returned to him. His Medicine Bundle includes: Pipe bowel, Pipe stem, Eagle feathers, sage and cedar. Leonard is at USP Coleman1, in Coleman FL. which has been locked down since mid-July. This lockdown has led to many "shakedowns" that is where the guards go in to a cell and check it for weapons. Leonard said in a legal letter,  that on"10/22/2019 the shakedown crew came to his cell and destroyed itThey came in and tore apart everything and threw out everything they couldjust because they couldThe most painfuland what caused me the most anger was when they took my religious itemsmyPipe (Chunapain myMedicine Bundleuse in my prayers."

Leonard's lawyer was immediately on top of the situation and asked us to hold off until he could reach Leonard's counselor and get the Bundlereturned.  I heard from the attorney last night and he said the prison has not returned Leonard his Medicine Bundle nor give them any reason for itbeing taken. 

Leonard Peltier as a citizen of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewaa federally recognized American Indian Nation is afforded all the legalprotections and rights pursuant to the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act codified at Title 42 United States Code 1996 et.seq.

I am asking if today you would send e-mails to Coleman I SR. Attorney J.C. DiNicola jcdinicola@bop.gov, public relations officer-COA/Publicinformation@bop.gov and to thenBOP-Southwest Regional office SERO/ExecAssistant@bop.gov requesting the return of Leonard Peltier 89637-132, Medicine Bundle.. 

This lockdown has been extremely hard on Leonard and his Medicine Bundle is his way to help him maintain his relationship to his Creator!


Paulette Dauteuil ILPDC National Office

Sheridan Murphy- President of the ILPDC Board


Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863....9977 https://freedomarchives.org/


Leonard Peltier's 2019 Thanksgiving Message: "Walking on Stolen Land"

by Levi Rickert

Published November 23, 2019

COLEMAN, FLORIDA – Leonard Peltier, Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, who is incarcerated at the U.S. Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, for his 1977 conviction in connection with a shootout with U.S...... government forces, where two FBI agents and one young American Indian lost their lives...

Peltier, who is considered a political prisoner of war by many, released this statement on Thanksgiving through the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee:

The year of 2019 is coming to a close and with it, comes the day most Americans set aside as a day for Thanksgiving. As I let my mind wander beyond the steel bars and concrete walls, I try to imagine what the people who live outside the prison gates are doing, and what they are thinking. Do they ever think of the Indigenous people who were forced from their homelands? Do they understand that with every step they take, no matter the direction, that they are walking on stolen land? Can they imagine, even for one minute, what it was like to watch the suffering of the women, the children and babies and yes, the sick and elderly, as they were made to keep pushing west in freezing temperatures, with little or no food? These were my people and this was our land... There was a time when we enjoyed freedom and were able to hunt buffalo and gather the foods and sacred medicines.. We were able to fish and we enjoyed the clean clear water! My people were generous, we shared everything we had, including the knowledge of how to survive the long harsh winters or the hot humid summers. We were appreciative of the gifts from our Creator and remembered to give thanks on a daily basis.. We had ceremonies and special dances that were a celebration of life.

With the coming of foreigners to our shores, life as we knew it would change drastically. Individual ownership was foreign to my people..... Fences?? Unheard of, back then. We were a communal people and we took care of each other. Our grandparents weren't isolated from us! They were the wisdom keepers and story tellers and were an important link in our families.. The babies? They were and are our future! Look at the brilliant young people who put themselves at risk, fighting to keep our water and environment clean and safe for the generations yet to come.. They are willing to confront the giant, multi-national corporations by educating the general public of the devastation being caused. I smile with hope when I think of them. They are fearless and ready to speak the truth to all who are willing to listen.. We also remember our brothers and sisters of Bolivia, who are rioting, in support of the first Indigenous President, Evo Morales. His commitment to the people, the land, their resources and protection against corruption is commendable. We recognize and identify with that struggle so well.

So today, I thank all of the people who are willing to have an open mind, those who are willing to accept the responsibility of planning for seven generations ahead, those who remember the sacrifices made by our ancestors so we can continue to speak our own language, practice our own way of thankfulness in our own skin, and that we always acknowledge and respect the Indigenous linage that we carry..

For those of you who are thankful that you have enough food to feed your families, please give to those who aren't as fortunate. If you are warm and have a comfortable shelter to live in, please give to those who are cold and homeless, if you see someone hurting and in need of a kind word or two, be that person who steps forward and lends a hand. And especially, when you see injustice anywhere, please be brave enough to speak up to confront it.

I want to thank all who are kind enough to remember me and my family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for continuing to support and believe in me. There isn't a minute in any day that passes without me hoping that this will be the day I will be granted freedom. I long for the day when I can smell clean fresh air, when I can feel a gentle breeze in my hair, witness the clouds as their movement hides the sun and when the moon shines the light on the path to the sacred Inipi. That would truly be a day I could call a day of Thanksgiving.

Thank you for listening to whomever is voicing my words. My Spirit is there with you.


In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,

Leonard Peltier

Levi Rickert, a tribal citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, is the publisher and editor of Native News Online. Previously, he served as editor of the Native News Network. He is a resident of Grand Rapids, Michigan..



Eddie Conway's Update on Forgotten Political Prisoners

EDDIE CONWAY: I'm Eddie Conway, host of Rattling the Bars. As many well-known political prisoners like Mumia Abu-Jamal continue to suffer in prison…

MUMIA ABU JAMAL: In an area where there is corporate downsizing and there are no jobs and there is only a service economy and education is being cut, which is the only rung by which people can climb, the only growth industry in this part of Pennsylvania, in the Eastern United States, in the Southern United States, in the Western United States is "corrections," for want of a better word. The corrections industry is booming. I mean, this joint here ain't five years old.

EDDIE CONWAY: …The media brings their stories to the masses.. But there are many lesser-known activists that have dropped out of the spotlight, grown old in prison, or just been forgotten... For Rattling the Bars, we are spotlighting a few of their stories... There was a thriving Black Panther party in Omaha, Nebraska, headed by David Rice and Ed Poindexter.... By 1968, the FBI had began plans to eliminate the Omaha Black Panthers by making an example of Rice and Poindexter. It would take a couple of years, but the FBI would frame them for murder.

KIETRYN ZYCHAL: In the 90s, Ed and Mondo both applied to the parole board. There are two different things you do in Nebraska, the parole board would grant you parole, but because they have life sentences, they were told that they have to apply to the pardons board, which is the governor, the attorney general, and the secretary of state, and ask that their life sentences be commuted to a specific number of years before they would be eligible for parole.

And so there was a movement in the 90s to try to get them out on parole.... The parole board would recommend them for parole because they were exemplary prisoners, and then the pardons board would not give them a hearing. They wouldn't even meet to determine whether they would commute their sentence..

EDDIE CONWAY: They served 45 years before Rice died in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. After several appeals, earning a master's degree, writing several books and helping other inmates, Poindexter is still serving time at the age of 75.

KEITRYN ZYCHAL: Ed Poindexter has been in jail or prison since August of 1970. He was accused of making a suitcase bomb and giving it to a 16-year-old boy named Duane Peak, and Duane Peak was supposed to take the bomb to a vacant house and call 911, and report that a woman was dragged screaming into a vacant house, and when police officers showed up, one of those police officers was killed when the suitcase bomb exploded...

Ed and his late co-defendant, Mondo we Langa, who was David Rice at the time of the trial, they have always insisted that they had absolutely nothing to do with this murderous plot, and they tried to get back into court for 50 years, and they have never been able to get back into court to prove their innocence. Mondo died in March of 2016 of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and Ed is going to turn 75 this year, I think..... And he has spent the majority of his life in prison.. It will be 50 years in 2020 that he will be in prison.

EDDIE CONWAY: There are at least 20 Black Panthers still in prison across the United States. One is one of the most revered is H. Rap Brown, known by his Islamic name, Jamil Al-Amin.

KAIRI AL-AMIN: My father has been a target for many, many, many, many, many, many, many, many years of the federal government, and I think him being housed these last 10 years in federal penitentiaries without federal charges show that the vendetta is still strong. The federal government has not forgotten who he was as H.. Rap Brown, or who he is as Imam Jamil Al-Amin..

JAMIL AL-AMIN: See, it's no in between.. You are either free or you're a slave. There's no such thing as second-class citizenship.

EDDIE CONWAY: Most people don't realize he's still in prison. He's serving a life sentence at the United States Penitentiary in Tucson...

KAIRI AL-AMIN: Our campaign is twofold.. One, how can egregious constitutional rights violations not warrant a new trial, especially when they were done by the prosecution... And two, my father is innocent. The facts point to him being innocent, which is why we're pushing for a new trial. We know that they can't win this trial twice.. The reason they won the first time was because of the gag order that was placed on my father which didn't allow us to fight in the court of public opinion as well as the court of law.. And so when you don't have anyone watching, anything can be done without any repercussion.

EDDIE CONWAY: Another well-known political prisoner that has been forgotten in the media and in the public arena is Leonard Peltier. Leonard Peltier was a member of the American Indian Movement and has been in prison for over 40 years and is now 75 years old.

SPEAKER: Leonard Peltier represents, in a very real sense, the effort, the struggle by indigenous peoples within the United States to exercise their rights as sovereign nations, recognized as such in treaties with the United States.. For the government of the United States, which has colonized all indigenous peoples to claim boundaries, keeping Leonard in prison demonstrates the costs and consequences of asserting those rights.

EDDIE CONWAY: Leonard Peltier suffers from a host of medical issues including suffering from a stroke. And if he is not released, he will die in prison..

LEONARD PELTIER: I'll be an old man when I get out, if I get out.

PAULETTE D'AUTEUIL: His wellbeing is that he rarely gets a family visit. His children live in California and North Dakota. Both places are a good 2000 miles from where he's at in Florida, so it makes it time consuming as well as expensive to come and see him. He is, health-wise, we are still working on trying to get some help for his prostate, and there has been some development of some spots on his lungs, which we are trying to get resolved..... There's an incredible mold issue in the prison, especially because in Florida it's so humid and it builds up. So we're also dealing with that..

EDDIE CONWAY: These are just a few of the almost 20 political prisoners that has remained in American prisons for 30 and 40 years, some even longer. Mutulu Shakur has been in jail for long, long decades. Assata Shakur has been hiding and forced into exile in Cuba.. Sundiata has been in prison for decades; Veronza Bower, The Move Nine.... And there's just a number of political prisoners that's done 30 or 40 years.

They need to be released and they need to have an opportunity to be back with their family, their children, their grandchildren, whoever is still alive. Any other prisoners in the United States that have the same sort of charges as those people that are being held has been released up to 15 or 20 years ago. That same justice system should work for the political prisoners also.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Rattling the Bars. I'm Eddie Conway....



Courage to Resist

Reality Winner, a whistleblower who helped expose foreign hacking of US election systems leading up to the 2016 presidential election, has been behind bars since June 2017. Supporters are preparing to file a petition of clemency in hopes of an early release. Reality's five year prison sentence is by far the longest ever given for leaking information to the media about a matter of public interest.. Stand with Reality shirts, stickers, and more available. Please take a moment to sign the letter

Vietnam War combat veteran Daniel Shea on his time in Vietnam and the impact that Agent Orange and post traumatic stress had on him and his family since.. Listen now

This Courage to Resist podcast was produced in collaboration with the Vietnam Full Disclosure effort of Veterans For Peace — "Towards an honest commemoration of the American war in Vietnam." This year marks 50 years of GI resistance, in and out of uniform, for many of the courageous individuals featured.. If you believe this history is important, please ...


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



Mumia Abu-Jamal: New Chance for Freedom

Police and State Frame-Up Must Be Fully Exposed!

Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent. Courts have ignored and suppressed evidence of his innocence for decades. But now, one court has thrown out all the decisions of the PA Supreme Court that denied Mumia's appeals against his unjust conviction during the years of 1998 to 2012! 

This ruling, by Judge Leon Tucker, was made because one judge on the PA Supreme Court during those years, Ronald Castille, was lacking the "appearance of impartiality." In plain English, he was clearly biased against Mumia. Before sitting on the PA Supreme Court, Castille had been District Attorney (or assistant DA) during the time of Mumia's frame-up and conviction, and had used his office to express a special interest in pursuing the death penalty for "cop-killers." Mumia was in the cross-hairs. Soon he was wrongly convicted and sent to death row for killing a police officer.

*     *     *     *     *

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an award-winning and intrepid journalist, a former Black Panther, MOVE supporter, and a critic of police brutality and murder.  Mumia was framed by police, prosecutors, and leading elements of both Democratic and Republican parties, for the shooting of a police officer. The US Justice Department targeted him as well.. A racist judge helped convict him, and corrupt courts have kept him locked up despite much evidence that should have freed him. He continues his commentary and journalism from behind bars. As of 2019, he has been imprisoned for 37 years for a crime he did not commit. 

Time is up! FREE MUMIA NOW!

*     *     *     *     *

DA's Hidden Files Show Frame-Up of Mumia

In the midst of Mumia's fight for his right to challenge the state Supreme Court's negative rulings, a new twist was revealed: six boxes of files on Mumia's case--with many more still hidden--were surreptitiously concealed for decades in a back room at the District Attorney's office in Philadelphia. The very fact that these files on Mumia's case were hidden away for decades is damning in the extreme, and their revelations confirm what we have known for decades: Mumia was framed for a crime he did not commit!

So far, the newly revealed evidence confirms that, at the time of Mumia's 1982 trial, chief prosecutor Joe McGill illegally removed black jurors from the jury, violating the Batson decision. Also revealed: The prosecution bribed witnesses into testifying that they saw Mumia shoot the slain police officer when they hadn't seen any such thing... Taxi driver Robert Chobert, who was on probation for fire-bombing a school yard at the time, had sent a letter demanding his money for lying on the stand.. Very important, but the newly revealed evidence is just the tip of the iceberg! 

All Evidence of Mumia's Innocence Must Be Brought Forward Now!

Mumia Abu-Jamal's trial for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner was rigged against him from beginning to end. All of the evidence of Mumia's innocence--which was earlier suppressed or rejected--must now be heard:

• Mumia was framed - The judge at Mumia's trial, Albert Sabo, was overheard to say, "I'm gonna help 'em fry the n____r." And he proceeded to do just that. Mumia was thrown out of his own trial for defending himself! Prosecution "witnesses" were coerced or bribed at trial to lie against Mumia.. In addition to Chobert, this included key witness Cynthia White, a prostitute who testified that she saw Mumia shoot Faulkner.. White's statements had to be rewritten under intense pressure from the cops, because she was around the corner and out of sight of the shooting at the time! Police bribed her with promises of being allowed to work her corner, and not sent to state prison for her many prostitution charges.

• Mumia only arrived on the scene after Officer Faulkner was shot - William Singletary, a tow-truck business owner who had no reason to lie against the police, said he had been on the scene the whole time, that Mumia was not the shooter, and that Mumia had arrived only after the shooting of Faulkner. Singletary's statements were torn up, his business was wrecked, and he was threatened by police to be out of town for the trial (which, unfortunately, he was)...

• There is no evidence that Mumia fired a gun - Mumia was shot on the scene by an arriving police officer and arrested. But the cops did not test his hands for gun-powder residue--a standard procedure in shootings! They also did not test Faulkner's hands. The prosecution nevertheless claimed Mumia was the shooter, and that he was shot by Faulkner as the officer fell to the ground. Ballistics evidence was corrupted to falsely show that Mumia's gun was the murder weapon, when his gun was reportedly still in his taxi cab, which was in police custody days after the shooting!

• The real shooter fled the scene and was never charged - Veronica Jones was a witness who said that after hearing the shots from a block away, she had seen two people fleeing the scene of the shooting.. This could not have included Mumia, who had been shot and almost killed at the scene. Jones was threatened by the police with arrest and loss of custody of her children. She then lied on the stand at trial to say she had seen no one running away. 

• Abu-Jamal never made a confession - Mumia has always maintained his innocence. But police twice concocted confessions that Mumia never made. Inspector Alfonso Giordano, the senior officer at the crime scene, made up a confession for Mumia. But Giordano was not allowed to testify at trial, because he was top on the FBI's list of corrupt cops in the Philadelphia police force... At the DA's request, another cop handily provided a second "confession," allegedly heard by a security guard in the hospital.... But at neither time was Mumia--almost fatally shot--able to speak. And an earlier police report by cops in the hospital said that, referring to Mumia: "the negro male made no comment"!

• The crime scene was tampered with by police - Police officers at the scene rearranged some evidence, and handled what was alleged to be Mumia's gun with their bare hands.. A journalist's photos revealed this misconduct. The cops then left the scene unattended for hours. All of this indicates a frame-up in progress...

• The real shooter confessed, and revealed the reason for the crime - Arnold Beverly came forward in the 1990s. He said in a sworn statement, under penalty of perjury, that he, not Mumia, had been the actual shooter. He said that he, along with "another guy," had been hired to do the hit, because Faulkner was "a problem for the mob and corrupt policemen because he interfered with the graft and payoffs made to allow illegal activity including prostitution, gambling, drugs without prosecution in the center city area"! (affidavit of Arnold Beverly).

• The corruption of Philadelphia police is documented and well known - This includes that of Giordano, who was the first cop to manufacture a "confession" by Mumia. Meanwhile, Faulkner's cooperation with the federal anti-corruption investigations of Philadelphia police is strongly suggested by his lengthy and heavily redacted FBI file..

• Do cops kill other cops? There are other cases in Philadelphia that look that way. Frank Serpico, an NYC cop who investigated and reported on police corruption, was abandoned by fellow cops after being shot in a drug bust. Mumia was clearly made a scape-goat for the crimes of corrupt Philadelphia cops who were protecting their ill-gotten gains.

• Politicians and US DOJ helped the frame-up - Ed Rendell, former DA, PA governor, and head of the Democratic National Committee--and now a senior advisor to crime-bill author Joe Biden--is complicit in the frame-up of Mumia. The US Justice Department targeted Mumia for his anti-racist activities when he was a teenager, and later secretly warned then-prosecutor Rendell not to use Giordano as a witness against Mumia because he was an FBI target for corruption.

*     *     *     *     *

All this should lead to an immediate freeing of Mumia! But we are still a ways away from that, and we have no confidence in the capitalist courts to finish the job. We must act! This victory in local court allowing new appeals must now lead to a full-court press on all the rejected and suppressed evidence of Mumia's innocence!

Mass Movement Needed To Free Mumia! 

Mumia's persecution by local, state and federal authorities of both political parties has been on-going, and has generated a world-wide movement in his defense.. This movement has seen that Mumia, as a radio journalist who exposed the brutal attacks on the black community by the police in Philadelphia, has spoken out as a defender of working people of all colors and all nationalities in his ongoing commentaries (now on KPFA/Pacifica radio), despite being on death row, and now while serving life without the possibility of parole (LWOP)..

In 1999, Oakland Teachers for Mumia held unauthorized teach-ins in Oakland schools on Mumia and the death penalty, despite the rabid hysteria in the bourgeois media. Teachers in Rio de Janeiro held similar actions. Letters of support came in from maritime workers and trade unions around the world.. Later in 1999, longshore workers shut down all the ports on the West Coast to free Mumia, and led a mass march of 25,000 Mumia supporters in San Francisco... 

A year later, a federal court lifted Mumia's death sentence, based on improper instructions to the jury by trial judge Albert Sabo. The federal court ordered the local court to hold a new sentencing hearing.. Fearing their frame-up of Mumia could be revealed in any new hearing, even if only on sentencing, state officials passed. Much to the chagrin of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)--which still seeks Mumia's death--this left Mumia with LWOP, death by life in prison. 

Mumia supporters waged a struggle to get him the cure for the deadly Hepatitis-C virus, which he had likely contracted through a blood transfusion in hospital after he was shot by a cop at the 1981 crime scene. The Labor Action Committee conducted demonstrations against Gilead Sciences, the Foster City CA corporation that owns the cure, and charged $1,000 per pill! The Metalworkers Union of South Africa wrote a letter excoriating Governor Wolf for allowing untreated sick freedom fighters to die in prison as the apartheid government had done. Finally, Mumia did get the cure. Now, more than ever, struggle is needed to free Mumia!

Now is the Time: Mobilize Again for Mumia's Freedom!

Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal | Mumia Abu-Jamal is an I....

November 2019

"There is no time for despair, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language.. This is how civilizations heal."

-Toni Morrison



Board Game


Solidarity against racism has existed from the 1600's and continues until today

An exciting board game of chance, empathy and wisdom, that entertains and educates as it builds solidarity through learning about the destructive history of American racism and those who always fought back. Appreciate the anti-racist solidarity of working people, who built and are still building, the great progressive movements of history.. There are over 200 questions, with answers and references.

Spread the word!!

By Dr. Nayvin Gordon



Action Alert for Shaka Shakur

Urgent Action Alert: Stop Prison Officials from Blocking Shaka Shakur's Access to Educational and Vocational Services

Shaka Shakur is a politically active, incarcerated, New Afrikan who was transferred on December 18th, 2018, from the Indiana Department of Corrections (IDOC) to the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) as part of campaign to neutralize his activism by prison officials. This transfer was done in violation of his due process rights as a prisoner. He is currently incarcerated at the Sussex 1 State Prison in Waverly, Virginia... His VA DOC # is 135647.......  Since being held there, his right to access educational and vocational programs has been violated. Below is a summary of these violations in Shaka's own words:

"1) i was moved out of the state of Indiana against my will in violation of Indiana Code and due process.. i was never afforded any form of hearing where i was informed as to why i was being shipped out of state nor allowed to present evidence challenging the decision to move me...

2) Upon my arrival to the prison system in Virginia, i was never given any form of orientation.. I've never been informed as to what my rights are, nor informed as to how i can go about challenging any decision made by the state of Va. I've only been informed that the state of Va has custody of my body and that all decisions pertaining to my classification, security level and placement was being determined and controlled by the state of Indiana and its Department of Corrections (IDOC).

3) There is supposed to be an IDOC liaison that oversees my placement in Va and communicates with an official in the Virginia Department of Corrections (VDOC) named Ms. Collins. She has refused to respond to any and all efforts to contact her by myself or any outside sources. Any questions i've had pertaining to video visits, security level, placement, and classification have gone unanswered except for being told that it is up to Indiana.

4) Per Indiana Code i am supposed to be afforded the same rights and privileges as if i was still in Indiana. That includes jobs, programming, religious services etc..s To deny me such is a const violation and discrimination.... In fact, it denies me equal protection under the law. I am not being allowed to find a job outside of the housing unit.. i'm being told that i'm not going to be allowed to drop my security level even though my points will drop as low as 10 points in Va and less than 15 in indiana. Both of which would qualify me for a level 3 security level placement.

5) The counselor Ponce falsified my classification review/progress report by lying and saying that i had assaulted a staff member within the last 12 months. This was in order to justify my continued placement at a level 4/5 prison. When this was brought to her attention, she pretended that she had corrected it and instead further falsified the report and then blamed it on Indiana.. i have copies of these documents and my lawyer have the originals [see images posted in event below]."


6) The doctors at Sussex 1 have not been provided with Shaka's medical records past 2014... Shaka experiences nerve and other issues due to a degenerative disc on which he has been operated. Without these records he cannot be provided with the necessary care for his chronic condition.

7)There is no appeals process available to Shaka or any other out-of-state inmate. Indiana code establishes the sender state [Indiana] as having unchallenged authority in cases of interstate transfer. Having access only to internal grievance procedures in Virginia, Shaka is unable to appeal decisions made in Indiana

You can read about Shaka's long history of activism and rebellious activity in Indiana prisons here and here..

What You Can Do to Support Shaka:

On Monday, 11/11, call  the Indiana DOC Executive Director of Classification Jack Hendrix at (317) 232-2247. Leave a message with whoever you are able to speak to, or a voicemail. You can also email Jack Hendrix at jdhendrix@idoc.in...gov.

Please tell them to drop Shaka's  security level dropped to a level 3 for which he qualifies so that he can access vocational and educational programs, or to authorize Shaka's lateral transfer to a facility where he can be allowed to participate in vocational and educational programs....

As Shaka stated:

"How am i supposed to work my way back to Indiana if i'm not being allowed to participate in anything positive or constructive?"

To make a donation to Shaka Shakur's legal defense fund and for more info on his case, go to https://www....gofundme.com/f/shaka-shakur-legal-defense-fund

For more information, contact Seth Donnelly at sethdonnelly2000@yahoo..com....



50 years in prison: 


FREE Chip Fitzgerald 

Grandfather, Father, Elder, Friend

former Black Panther 


Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald has been in prison since he was locked up 50 years ago.. A former member of the Black Panther Party, Chip is now 70 years old, and suffering the consequences of a serious stroke. He depends on a wheelchair for his mobility. He has appeared before the parole board 17 times, but they refuse to release him..

NOW is the time for Chip to come home!

In September 1969, Chip and two other Panthers were stopped by a highway patrolman..... During the traffic stop, a shooting broke out, leaving Chip and a police officer both wounded. Chip was arrested a month later and charged with attempted murder of the police and an unrelated murder of a security guard. Though the evidence against him was weak and Chip denied any involvement, he was convicted and sentenced to death.

In 1972, the California Supreme Court outlawed the death penalty. Chip and others on Death Row had their sentences commuted to Life imprisonment with the possibility of parole. All of them became eligible for parole after serving 7 more years. But Chip was rejected for parole, as he has been ever since. 

Parole for Lifers basically stopped under Governors Deukmajian, Wilson, and Davis (1983-2003), resulting in increasing numbers of people in prison and 23 new prisons. People in prison filed lawsuits in federal courts: people were dying as a result of the overcrowding.. To rapidly reduce the number of people in prison, the court mandated new parole hearings:

·        for anyone 60 years or older who had served 25 years or more;

·        for anyone convicted before they were 23 years old;

·        for anyone with disabilities 

Chip qualified for a new parole hearing by meeting all three criteria.

But the California Board of Parole Hearings has used other methods to keep Chip locked up. Although the courts ordered that prison rule infractions should not be used in parole considerations, Chip has been denied parole because he had a cellphone.

Throughout his 50 years in prison, Chip has been denied his right to due process – a new parole hearing as ordered by Federal courts. He is now 70, and addressing the challenges of a stroke victim. His recent rules violation of cellphone possession were non-violent and posed no threat to anyone. He has never been found likely to commit any crimes if released to the community – a community of his children, grandchildren, friends and colleagues who are ready to support him and welcome him home.

The California Board of Parole Hearings is holding Chip hostage..

We call on Governor Newsom to release Chip immediately.

What YOU can do to support this campaign to FREE CHIP:

1)   Sign and circulate the petition to FREE Chip. Download it at https://www.change.org/p/california-free-chip-fitzgerald

Print out the petition and get signatures at your workplace, community meeting, or next social gathering.

2)   Write an email to Governor Newsom's office (sample message at:https://docs..google.com/document/d/1iwbP_eQEg2J1T2h-tLKE-Dn2ZfpuLx9MuNv2z605DMc/edit?usp=sharing

3)   Write to Chip: 

 Romaine "Chip" Fitzgerald #B27527,


P.O. Box 4490


Lancaster, CA 93539


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



Support Chuck Africa for Parole

Michael Africa Jr. started this petition to Pennsylvania Governor

Charles Sims Africa #AM 4975 has been in prison since age 18... He is now 59 years old and a recovering cancer patient. He has been eligible for parole since 2008 but continually denied because of  his political views.

Charles has 8 codefendants. Two has died in prison, four has been released from prison onto parole... Chuck's sister Debbie Sims Africa is one of the four codefendants released onto parole.

Since coming home from prison, Debbie is thriving. Our community of support has supported Debbie to excel and we are committed to do the same for Chuck so that he can excel as well. 




On Abortion: From Facebook

Best explanation I've heard so far..., Copied from a friend who copied from a friend who copied........, "Last night, I was in a debate about these new abortion laws being passed in red states. My son stepped in with this comment which was a show stopper. One of the best explanations I have read:, , 'Reasonable people can disagree about when a zygote becomes a "human life" - that's a philosophical question. However, regardless of whether or not one believes a fetus is ethically equivalent to an adult, it doesn't obligate a mother to sacrifice her body autonomy for another, innocent or not..., , Body autonomy is a critical component of the right to privacy protected by the Constitution, as decided in Griswold v. Connecticut (1965), McFall v.. Shimp (1978), and of course Roe v. Wade (1973).. Consider a scenario where you are a perfect bone marrow match for a child with severe aplastic anemia; no other person on earth is a close enough match to save the child's life, and the child will certainly die without a bone marrow transplant from you. If you decided that you did not want to donate your marrow to save the child, for whatever reason, the state cannot demand the use of any part of your body for something to which you do not consent.. It doesn't matter if the procedure required to complete the donation is trivial, or if the rationale for refusing is flimsy and arbitrary, or if the procedure is the only hope the child has to survive, or if the child is a genius or a saint or anything else - the decision to donate must be voluntary to be constitutional.. This right is even extended to a person's body after they die; if they did not voluntarily commit to donate their organs while alive, their organs cannot be harvested after death, regardless of how useless those organs are to the deceased or how many lives they would save.., , That's the law.., , Use of a woman's uterus to save a life is no different from use of her bone marrow to save a life - it must be offered voluntarily..... By all means, profess your belief that providing one's uterus to save the child is morally just, and refusing is morally wrong... That is a defensible philosophical position, regardless of who agrees and who disagrees.. But legally, it must be the woman's choice to carry out the pregnancy., , She may choose to carry the baby to term. She may choose not to. Either decision could be made for all the right reasons, all the wrong reasons, or anything in between. But it must be her choice, and protecting the right of body autonomy means the law is on her side.. Supporting that precedent is what being pro-choice means..", , Feel free to copy/paste and re-post., y

Sent from my iPhone



Celebrating the release of Janet and Janine Africa

Take action now to support Jalil A.... Muntaqim's release

Jalil A. Muntaqim was a member of the Black Panther Party and has been a political prisoner for 48 years since he was arrested at the age of 19 in 1971. He has been denied parole 11 times since he was first eligible in 2002, and is now scheduled for his 12th parole hearing. Additionally, Jalil has filed to have his sentence commuted to time served by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Visit Jalil's support page, check out his writing and poetry, and Join Critical Resistance in supporting a vibrant intergenerational movement of freedom fighters in demanding his release.

48 years is enough. Write, email, call, and tweet at Governor Cuomo in support of Jalil's commutation and sign this petition demanding his release.



The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of the State of New York

Executive Chamber State Capital Building

Albany, New York 12224

Michelle Alexander – Author, The New Jim Crow; Ed Asner - Actor and Activist; Charles Barron - New York Assemblyman, 60th District; Inez Barron - Counci member, 42nd District, New York City Council; Rosa Clemente - Scholar Activist and 2008 Green Party Vice-Presidential candidate; Patrisse Cullors – Co-Founder Black Lives Matter, Author, Activist; Elena Cohen - President, National Lawyers Guild; "Davey D" Cook - KPFA Hard Knock Radio; Angela Davis - Professor Emerita, University of California, Santa Cruz; Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - Native American historian, writer and feminist; Mike Farrell - Actor and activist; Danny Glover – Actor and activist; Linda Gordon - New York University; Marc Lamont Hill - Temple University; Jamal Joseph - Columbia University; Robin D.G. Kelley - University of California, Los Angeles; Tom Morello - Rage Against the Machine; Imani Perry - Princeton University; Barbara Ransby - University of Illinois, Chicago; Boots Riley - Musician, Filmmaker; Walter Riley - Civil rights attorney; Dylan Rodriguez - University of California, Riverside, President American Studies Association; Maggie Siff, Actor; Heather Ann Thompson - University of Michigan; Cornel West - Harvard University; Institutional affiliations listed for identification purposes only.

Call: 1-518-474-8390

Email Gov.. Cuomo with this form

Tweet at @NYGovCuomo

Any advocacy or communications to Gov. Cuomo must refer to Jalil as:


Sullivan Correctional Facility,

P.O. Box 116,

Fallsburg, New York 12733-0116



Funds for Kevin Cooper


For 34 years, an innocent man has been on death row in California.. 

Kevin Cooper was wrongfully convicted of the brutal 1983 murders of the Ryen family and houseguest. The case has a long history of police and prosecutorial misconduct, evidence tampering, and numerous constitutional violations including many incidences of the prosecution withholding evidence of innocence from the defense. You can learn more here ... 

In December 2018 Gov. Brown ordered  limited DNA testing and in February 2019, Gov... Newsom ordered additional DNA testing. Meanwhile, Kevin remains on Death Row at San Quentin Prison. 

The funds raised will be used to help Kevin purchase art supplies for his paintings .... Additionally, being in prison is expensive, and this money would help Kevin pay for stamps, paper, toiletries, supplementary food, and/or phone calls...

Please help ease the daily struggle of an innocent man on death row!



Don't extradite Assange!

To the government of the UK

Julian Assange, through Wikileaks, has done the world a great service in documenting American war crimes, its spying on allies and other dirty secrets of the world's most powerful regimes, organisations and corporations. This has not endeared him to the American deep state.... Both Obama, Clinton and Trump have declared that arresting Julian Assange should be a priority.. We have recently received confirmation [1] that he has been charged in secret so as to have him extradited to the USA as soon as he can be arrested. 

Assange's persecution, the persecution of a publisher for publishing information [2] that was truthful and clearly in the interest of the public - and which has been republished in major newspapers around the world - is a danger to freedom of the press everywhere, especially as the USA is asserting a right to arrest and try a non-American who neither is nor was then on American soil. The sentence is already clear: if not the death penalty then life in a supermax prison and ill treatment like Chelsea Manning.. The very extradition of Julian Assange to the United States would at the same time mean the final death of freedom of the press in the West.... 

The courageous nation of Ecuador has offered Assange political asylum within its London embassy for several years until now. However, under pressure by the USA, the new government has made it clear that they want to drive Assange out of the embassy and into the arms of the waiting police as soon as possible... They have already curtailed his internet and his visitors and turned the heating off, leaving him freezing in a desolate state for the past few months and leading to the rapid decline of his health, breaching UK obligations under the European Convention of Human Rights. Therefore, our demand both to the government of Ecuador and the government of the UK is: don't extradite Assange to the US! Guarantee his human rights, make his stay at the embassy as bearable as possible and enable him to leave the embassy towards a secure country as soon as there are guarantees not to arrest and extradite him.. Furthermore, we, as EU voters, encourage European nations to take proactive steps to protect a journalist in danger.. The world is still watching.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/politics/julian-assange-indictment-wikileaks....html

[2] https://theintercept.com/2018/11/16/as-the-obama-doj-concluded-prosecution-of-julian-assange-for-publishing-documents-poses-grave-threats-to-press-freedom/




Words of Wisdom

Louis Robinson Jr., 77

Recording secretary for Local 1714 of the United Auto Workers from 1999 to 2018, with the minutes from a meeting of his union's retirees' chapter.

"One mistake the international unions in the United States made was when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. When he did that, the unions could have brought this country to a standstill... All they had to do was shut down the truck drivers for a month, because then people would not have been able to get the goods they needed. So that was one of the mistakes they made. They didn't come together as organized labor and say: "No.... We aren't going for this... Shut the country down." That's what made them weak. They let Reagan get away with what he did. A little while after that, I read an article that said labor is losing its clout, and I noticed over the years that it did. It happened.. It doesn't feel good.."

[On the occasion of the shut-down of the Lordstown, Ohio GM plant March 6, 2019..]




Get Malik Out of Ad-Seg

Keith "Malik" Washington is an incarcerated activist who has spoken out on conditions of confinement in Texas prison and beyond:  from issues of toxic water and extreme heat, to physical and sexual abuse of imprisoned people, to religious discrimination and more...  Malik has also been a tireless leader in the movement to #EndPrisonSlavery which gained visibility during nationwide prison strikes in 2016 and 2018..  View his work at comrademalik.com or write him at:

Keith H. Washington
TDC# 1487958
McConnell Unit
3001 S. Emily Drive
Beeville, TX 78102

Friends, it's time to get Malik out of solitary confinement.

Malik has experienced intense, targeted harassment ever since he dared to start speaking against brutal conditions faced by incarcerated people in Texas and nationwide--but over the past few months, prison officials have stepped up their retaliation even more.

In Administrative Segregation (solitary confinement) at McConnell Unit, Malik has experienced frequent humiliating strip searches, medical neglect, mail tampering and censorship, confinement 23 hours a day to a cell that often reached 100+ degrees in the summer, and other daily abuses too numerous to name..  It could not be more clear that they are trying to make an example of him because he is a committed freedom fighter.  So we have to step up.

Who to contact:

TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier

Phone: (936)295-6371

Senior Warden Philip Sinfuentes (McConnell Unit)

Phone: (361) 362-2300





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..

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.

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

Major Tillery Needs Your Help:


    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:

    Security Processing Center

    Major Tillery AM 9786

    268 Bricker Road

    Bellefonte, PA 16823

    For More Information, Go To: JusticeForMajorTillery.org


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

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






    1) Will Florida Kill an Innocent Man?

    The testimony of a notorious con artist and jailhouse informant could mean the difference between life and death..

    By Jesse Wegman, December 29, 2019


    James Dailey is running out of time to avoid execution.Credit...Eli Durst for The New York Times

    For more than three decades, James Dailey, a Vietnam War veteran, has been sitting on Florida's death row, condemned to die for the brutal 1985 murder of a teenager named Shelly Boggio.

    In October, a federal judge issued a temporary stay of Mr. Dailey's execution. As soon as the stay expires, on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis can schedule a date to have him put to death. 

    What Florida officials have so far refused to acknowledge — and what is documented in an infuriating in-depth investigation by Pamela Colloff for The New York Times Magazine and ProPublica — is that Mr... Dailey, 73, is almost certainly innocent.

    In fact, the local authorities in Pinellas County, on Florida's Gulf Coast, first prosecuted someone else for Ms. Boggio's murder — a housemate of Mr. Dailey's named Jack Pearcy. Mr. Pearcy had a history of arrests for violence against women, was the last person to see Ms. Boggio alive and admitted to the police that he stabbed her — not fatally, he claimed.

    Mr. Pearcy was found guilty, and the jury sentenced him to life in prison. That should have been the end of the matter, but Ms. Boggio's murder had convulsed Pinellas County, and prosecutors there faced intense pressure to make sure someone paid the ultimate price for it.

    That's where Mr. Dailey comes in. He acknowledged having met Ms. Boggio on the night of her murder, but he denied killing her, and no direct evidence linked him to the crime. So how did he end up on death row? Largely on the word of one man, Paul Skalnik, a jailhouse informant who told a jury in compelling detail how Mr.. Dailey had confessed to him.

    Jailhouse informants are some of the more elusive creatures of the criminal justice system — cycling in and out of jail, always seeming to find themselves in the right place when another inmate decides to unburden himself and confess his crimes to a total stranger. They can help destroy an innocent man's life, and yet there is virtually no mechanism within the system to hold them, or the prosecutors who quietly use them, accountable.

    James Dailey and Paul Skalnik couldn't have been more different. Before Ms. Boggio's murder, Mr. Dailey had a single conviction on his record, relating to a bar fight. Mr. Skalnik's rap sheet runs for miles. From fraud to grand larceny to child sexual assault, he has left a trail of deceit and destruction stretching back to the 1970s. He has been married at least eight times, has falsely claimed to be a Homeland Security agent and a terminally ill cancer patient and has defrauded people out of tens of thousands of dollars. Some of his crimes exposed him to decades behind bars. As early as 1985, two years before his testimony sent Mr. Dailey to death row, the Florida Department of Corrections called him a "con artist of the highest degree."

    Yet while Mr. Dailey faces execution, Mr. Skalnik is a free man. Why? Because, according to Ms. Colloff's investigation, Mr. Skalnik is "one of the most prolific, and most effective, jailhouse informants in American history." For decades, he worked hand in hand with Florida prosecutors and law enforcement officials, trading dramatic but suspiciously similar tales of jailhouse confessions for his own freedom.

    In 1982, he was charged with sexually assaulting a child, a crime that could have led to 15 years in prison. The case was strong, and the victim, a 12-year-old girl, was prepared to testify. But officials didn't prosecute him for the crime. Instead, he pleaded no contest to a separate and far less serious charge of grand theft — and he served his sentence not in the state prison but in the Pinellas County jail, where he could continue working as an informant.

    In one six-year stretch in the 1980s, Mr. Skalnik testified or gave information in at least 37 cases in Pinellas County alone, many involving murder charges. Most of those cases ended in convictions or plea deals, and four of the defendants were sentenced to death.

    "Together, we never lost a case," Mr. Skalnik once wrote to a judge..

    Being a jailhouse informant is a good gig, if you can get it. Just about everyone who's been locked up is aware of the benefits that come from snitching — sentences reduced, charges dropped. For the same reason, inmates quickly learn to steer clear of known informants like Mr. Skalnik, who often wind up in cells next to people who are awaiting trial.

    Mr. Skalnik always denied that he was promised any sort of leniency for his testimony. But over and over again, he provided critical testimony in a murder case, and then, sometimes days later, his own sentence would be reduced or his prosecution would magically disappear. Just five days after Mr.. Dailey was sentenced to death, Mr. Skalnik was released from jail for his assistance, even though he was facing a 20-year sentence of his own, and even though his parole officer had warned the year before that he "is and always will be a danger to society."

    The problem isn't simply that Mr. Skalnik is an inveterate criminal, or that he repeatedly got special treatment from the authorities. It's that, as is the case with many serial jailhouse informants, his incentive to tell stories that prosecutors wanted to hear was far greater than his incentive to tell the truth. And that has led to great injustices, like the one Mr. Dailey is living out.

    Of the 367 DNA-based exonerations on record, one in five involved testimony from a jailhouse informant. A 2004 study found that snitch testimony was the leading cause of wrongful conviction in death-penalty cases.

    It's hard to gather more precise data on the use of informants, because prosecutors don't keep such records, which puts defendants, and jurors, at a disadvantage. How are you supposed to judge the credibility of an informant's testimony if you aren't told that he has been feeding similar stories to prosecutors for years? And how are you supposed to weigh the break he gets from prosecutors if they don't give it to him until after the trial?

    Some states and cities have worked to rein in or regulate the use of informants.. In Florida, where 29 death-row inmates have been exonerated — more than anywhere else in the country — the State Supreme Court instituted a rule in 2014 requiring prosecutors to reveal any deals made with informants. It was a good idea, but it was undercut by the fact that prosecutors rarely make explicit promises of leniency before trial. Across the country, there are virtually no consequences for prosecutors who rely on jailhouse informants, no matter how unreliable their testimony turns out to be.

    In response to Ms. Colloff's investigation, Florida officials insisted that Mr. Skalnik was never offered any deal for his testimony. And yet Mr. Skalnik himself has disputed this. In 1988, after prosecutors for once decided not to grant him leniency, he alleged that he'd been coached on how to testify in a convincing way and how to persuade jurors that he wasn't getting any deal in return. Pinellas County prosecutors denied these claims, calling Mr. Skalnik a liar even as they claimed that all of his testimony was on the level.

    Mr. Dailey, for his part, says he never talked to Mr.. Skalnik. On Friday, Mr. Dailey's lawyers filed with the court a declaration by Jack Pearcy, currently serving a life sentence, that he alone was responsible for Shelly Boggio's murder — the second time that he has admitted to the crime under penalty of perjury. "James Dailey was back at the house when I drove Shelly Boggio to the place where I ultimately killed her," Mr. Pearcy's declaration said.

    The victims here are not just people like Mr. Dailey, whose life is on the line, but also the countless people who suffered because of Mr. Skalnik's own crimes — the children he abused, the people he defrauded.

    And Mr. Skalnik shouldn't be the only one considered a criminal in this case. So should the Florida law enforcement authorities who knowingly used him for their own ends for years, repeatedly putting him back on the street where he was able to do more damage. At the very least, they should be held to account for their reckless reliance on the word of a man who has spent his life telling lies.

    Not all prosecutors abuse the system in this way, of course, and most would tell you they are genuinely convinced of the guilt of all of their defendants. But when the pressure to find a killer is so great, when the win-at-all-costs mentality is so powerful, the line between acting on a good-faith belief and cutting corners to score a conviction can blur.

    The rank injustice of cases like James Dailey's provide yet another reason, as if more were needed, that the death penalty must be abolished.

    As the last days of Mr. Dailey's stay of execution run out, Governor DeSantis has shown no interest in revisiting the case. "This has been litigated over and over and over, and so at some point you need to do justice," he said.

    He is right — if not in the way he thinks. The power to do that justice is in his hands.



    2) Why the Impact of the Trump Taxes Remains Partly Hidden

    New taxes should be a big expense for many companies. But they have found a way around disclosing it in annual reports.

    By Peter Eavis, December 30, 2019


    Armed with legions of lobbyists, companies have been pushing hard — and successfully — to weaken new federal taxes that take aim at overseas tax havens. 

    Many of them have managed to avoid publicly disclosing how much they owe under the new taxes. Without such figures, it becomes virtually impossible for outsiders to work out how much companies are saving from the watered down tax rules.

    In theory, this opacity should not exist. United States securities regulations have long required public companies to disclose even relatively minor tax expenses. Over the past year, this requirement has led to a small number of companies revealing the effect of the new taxes on overseas income.

    Yet many others — including some longtime users of tax havens — appear to have found ways around disclosing how the overseas taxes will affect them.

    President Trump's 2017 tax law did not just cut taxes for companies. It also introduced new provisions aimed at discouraging the practice of routing income through countries with ultralow taxes.

    One of those was a tax on "global intangible low-taxed income," known as GILTI, which acts as a minimum tax on certain profits that companies earn abroad. GILTI was expected to hit corporations that appeared to be paying almost no tax on their overseas income. 

    In 2016, for example, Facebook's foreign taxes were only 3 percent of its foreign profits. By taxing income that flows through offshore havens, the GILTI initiative was supposed to bring in tens of billions of dollars for the United States Treasury and to partially offset the revenue lost from the 2017 law's deep tax cuts.

    United States securities laws require publicly traded companies to provide detailed explanations of their taxes in their annual reports. Specifically, companies must reveal any individual tax expenses (or benefits) that exceed 5 percent of what is known as their statutory income tax expense.

    Say a company had $100 in income. At today's 21 percent corporate federal income tax rate, its federal income tax expense would be $21. Under the disclosure rule, that company would have to divulge any particular tax expenses that exceeded $1.05 (5 percent of $21).

    For companies that were big users of tax havens before the passage of the 2017 law, the GILTI tax was expected to be a significant new expense — and one that would presumably have to be individually disclosed. A small number of companies, including Netflix and Bristol Myers, the pharmaceutical giant, did so in their 2018 annual reports. 

    But many of the companies that were most likely to face a large bill from the new tax — like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Facebook — have not disclosed how much the GILTI tax took out of their earnings..

    The lack of disclosure may be masking the financial impact of how the Trump administration is writing rules governing how the 2017 tax package is enacted. Under pressure from corporate lobbyists, the Treasury Department has allowed multinational companies to partly or completely avoid taxes on certain overseas income. 

    Tax experts told The New York Times that the impact of those weakened rules, while hard to measure precisely, is likely to exceed $100 billion. 

    The companies' silence about what they actually are paying under the GILTI makes it hard to quantify the true costs of the Treasury's rules. 

    It's possible that some companies did not reveal how much the GILTI tax was costing them because, after accounting for tax credits and other factors, the amount fell below the 5 percent threshold. Microsoft said that was the case with its GILTI tax in its 2019 fiscal year.

    But other companies appear to have bundled GILTI together with other tax expenses and benefits in a way that makes the cost invisible. Facebook, for example, quantifies "the effect of non-U. S. operations" on its overall tax liability. And Apple provides a number for its taxes on "earnings of foreign subsidiaries." 

    The cost of the GILTI tax is most likely lumped into those categories, tax experts said. Over the years, they say, corporate auditors — who have to review and sign off on companies' financial disclosures — have adopted a loose reading of the tax-disclosure rule, enabling companies to combine items that are not directly related.. 

    Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. Google declined to comment. Apple said in an emailed statement, "Since 2008, Apple's corporate taxes have totaled over $100 billion. We pay all that we owe according to tax laws wherever we operate."



    3) How Big Companies Won New Tax Breaks From the Trump Administration

    As the Treasury Department prepared to enact the 2017 Republican tax overhaul, corporate lobbyists swarmed — and won big.

    ""It is largely the top 1 percent that will disproportionately benefit — the wealthiest people in the world. ...The bill's cuts totaled $5..5 trillion. The corporate income tax rate shrank to 21 percent from 35 percent, and companies also won a tax break on the trillions in profits brought home from offshore. ...Companies continue to shift hundreds of billions of dollars to overseas tax havens, ensuring that huge sums of corporate profits remain out of reach of the United States government. 

    The Internal Revenue Service is collecting tens of billions of dollars less in corporate taxes than Congress projected, inflating the tax law's 13-figure price tag."

    "By Jesse Dricker and Jim Tankersley, December 30, 2019


    The Heads of State

    The overhaul of the federal tax law in 2017 was the signature legislative achievement of Donald J. Trump's presidency. 

    The biggest change to the tax code in three decades, the law slashed taxes for big companies, part of an effort to coax them to invest more in the United States and to discourage them from stashing profits in overseas tax havens.

    Corporate executives, major investors and the wealthiest Americans hailed the tax cuts as a once-in-a-generation boon not only to their own fortunes but also to the United States economy.

    But big companies wanted more — and, not long after the bill became law in December 2017, the Trump administration began transforming the tax package into a greater windfall for the world's largest corporations and their shareholders. The tax bills of many big companies have ended up even smaller than what was anticipated when the president signed the bill.

    One consequence is that the federal government may collect hundreds of billions of dollars less over the coming decade than previously projected. The budget deficit has jumped more than 50 percent since Mr. Trump took office and is expected to top $1 trillion in 2020, partly as a result of the tax law.

    Laws like the 2017 tax cuts are carried out by federal agencies that first must formalize them via rules and regulations. The process of writing the rules, conducted largely out of public view, can determine who wins and who loses.

    Starting in early 2018, senior officials in President Trump's Treasury Department were swarmed by lobbyists seeking to insulate companies from the few parts of the tax law that would have required them to pay more. The crush of meetings was so intense that some top Treasury officials had little time to do their jobs, according to two people familiar with the process. 

    The lobbyists targeted a pair of major new taxes that were supposed to raise hundreds of billions of dollars from companies that had been avoiding taxes in part by claiming their profits were earned outside the United States.

    The blitz was led by a cross section of the world's largest companies, including Anheuser-Busch, Credit Suisse, General Electric, United Technologies, Barclays, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, UBS, IBM, Kraft Heinz, Kimberly-Clark, News Corporation, Chubb, ConocoPhillips, HSBC and the American International Group. 

    Thanks in part to the chaotic manner in which the bill was rushed through Congress — a situation that gave the Treasury Department extra latitude to interpret a law that was, by all accounts, sloppily written — the corporate lobbying campaign was a resounding success.

    Through a series of obscure regulations, the Treasury carved out exceptions to the law that mean many leading American and foreign companies will owe little or nothing in new taxes on offshore profits, according to a review of the Treasury's rules, government lobbying records, and interviews with federal policymakers and tax experts. Companies were effectively let off the hook for tens if not hundreds of billions of taxes that they would have been required to pay.

    "Treasury is gutting the new law," said Bret Wells, a tax law professor at the University of Houston. "It is largely the top 1 percent that will disproportionately benefit — the wealthiest people in the world."

    It is the latest example of the benefits of the Republican tax package flowing disproportionately to the richest of the rich. Even a tax break that was supposed to aid poor communities — an initiative called "opportunity zones" — is being used in part to finance high-end developments in affluent neighborhoods, at times benefiting those with ties to the Trump administration.

    Of course, companies didn't get everything they wanted, and Brian Morgenstern, a Treasury spokesman, defended the department's handling of the tax rules. "No particular taxpayer or group had any undue influence at any time in the process," he said.

    Ever since the birth of the modern federal income tax in 1913, companies have been concocting ways to avoid it. 

    In the late 1990s, American companies accelerated their efforts to claim that trillions of dollars of profits they earned in high-tax places like the United States, Japan or Germany were actually earned in low- or no-tax places like Luxembourg, Bermuda or Ireland..

    Google, Apple, Cisco, Pfizer, Merck, Coca-Cola, Facebook and many others have deployed elaborate techniques that let the companies pay taxes at far less than the 35 percent corporate tax rate in the United States that existed before the 2017 changes. Their playful nicknames — like Double Irish and Dutch Sandwich — made them sound benign.

    The Obama administration and lawmakers from both parties have tried to combat this profit shifting, but their efforts mostly stalled.

    When President Trump and congressional Republicans assembled an enormous tax-cut package in 2017, they pitched it in part as a grand bargain: Companies would get the deep tax cuts that they had spent years clamoring for, but the law would also represent a long-overdue effort to fight corporate tax avoidance and the shipment of jobs overseas.

    "The situation where companies are actually encouraged to move overseas and keep their profits overseas makes no sense," Senator Rob Portman, an Ohio Republican, said on the Senate floor in November 2017.

    Republicans were racing to secure a legislative victory during Mr. Trump's first year in office — a period marked by the administration's failure to repeal Obamacare and an embarrassing procession of political blunders. Sweeping tax cuts could give Republicans a jolt of much-needed momentum heading into the 2018 midterm elections.

    To speed things along, Republicans used a congressional process known as "budget reconciliation," which blocked Democrats from filibustering and allowed Republicans to pass the bill with a simple majority. But to qualify for that parliamentary green light, the net cost of the bill — after accounting for different tax cuts and tax increases — had to be less than $1.5 trillion over 10 years.

    The bill's cuts totaled $5.5 trillion. The corporate income tax rate shrank to 21 percent from 35 percent, and companies also won a tax break on the trillions in profits brought home from offshore. 

    To close the gap between the $5.5 trillion in cuts and the maximum price tag of $1.5 trillion, the package sought to raise new revenue by eliminating deductions and introducing new taxes.

    Two of the biggest new taxes were supposed to apply to multinational corporations, and lawmakers bestowed them with easy-to-pronounce acronyms — BEAT and GILTI — that belie their complexity.

    BEAT stands for the base erosion and anti-abuse tax. It was aimed largely at foreign companies with major operations in the United States, some of which had for years minimized their United States tax bills by shifting money between American subsidiaries and their foreign parent companies.

    Instead of paying taxes in the United States, companies send the profits to countries with lower tax rates.

    The BEAT aimed to make that less lucrative. Some payments that companies sent to their foreign affiliates would face a new 10 percent tax.. 

    The other big measure was called GILTI: global intangible low-taxed income.

    To reduce the benefit companies reaped by claiming that their profits were earned in tax havens, the law imposed an additional tax of up to 10.5 percent on some offshore earnings.

    The Joint Committee on Taxation, the congressional panel that estimates the impacts of tax changes, predicted that the BEAT and GILTI would bring in $262 billion over a decade — roughly enough to fund the Treasury Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Cancer Institute for 10 years.

    Sitting in the Oval Office on Dec. 22, 2017, Mr. Trump signed the tax cuts into law. It was — and remains — the president's most significant legislative achievement. 

    From the start, the new taxes were pocked with loopholes.

    In the BEAT, for example, Senate Republicans hoped to avoid a revolt by large companies. They wrote the law so that any payments an American company made to a foreign affiliate for something that went into a product — as opposed to, say, interest payments on loans — were excluded from the tax.

    Let's say an American pharmaceutical company sells pills in the United States. The pills are manufactured by a subsidiary in Ireland, and the American parent pays the Irish unit for the pills before they are sold to the public. Those payments mean that the company's profits in the United States, where taxes are relatively high, go down; profits in tax-friendly Ireland go up.

    Because such payments to Ireland wouldn't be taxed, some companies that had been the most aggressive at shifting profits into offshore havens were spared the full brunt of the BEAT. 

    Other companies, like General Electric, were surprised to be hit by the new tax, thinking it applied only to foreign multinationals, according to Pat Brown, who had been G.E.'s top tax expert.

    Mr. Brown, now the head of international tax policy at the accounting and consulting firm PwC, said on a podcast this year that the Trump administration should bridge the gap between expectations about the tax law and how it was playing out in reality. He lobbied the Treasury on behalf of G.E.

    "The question," he said, "is how creative and how expansive is Treasury and the I.R.S. able to be."

    Almost immediately after Mr.. Trump signed the bill, companies and their lobbyists — including G.E.'s Mr. Brown — began a full-court pressure campaign to try to shield themselves from the BEAT and GILTI.

    The Treasury Department had to figure out how to carry out the hastily written law, which lacked crucial details.

    Chip Harter was the Treasury official in charge of writing the rules for the BEAT and GILTI. He had spent decades at PwC and the law firm Baker McKenzie, counseling companies on the same sorts of tax-avoidance arrangements that the new law was supposed to discourage.

    Starting in January 2018, he and his colleagues found themselves in nonstop meetings — roughly 10 a week at times — with lobbyists for companies and industry groups.

    The Organization for International Investment — a powerful trade group for foreign multinationals like the Swiss food company Nestlé and the Dutch chemical maker LyondellBasell — objected to a Treasury proposal that would have prevented companies from using a complex currency-accounting maneuver to avoid the BEAT. 

    The group's lobbyists were from PwC and Baker McKenzie, Mr. Harter's former firms, according to public lobbying disclosures. One of them, Pam Olson, was the top Treasury tax official in the George W. Bush administration. (Mr. Morgenstern, the Treasury spokesman, said Mr. Harter didn't meet with PwC while the rules were being written.)

    This month, the Treasury issued the final version of some of the BEAT regulations. The Organization for International Investment got what it wanted.

    One of the most effective campaigns, with the greatest financial consequence, was led by a small group of large foreign banks, including Credit Suisse and Barclays. 

    American regulators require international banks to ensure that their United States divisions are financially equipped to absorb big losses in a crisis.. To meet those requirements, foreign banks lend the money to their American outposts. Those loans accrue interest. Under the BEAT, the interest that the American units paid to their European parents would often be taxed.

    "Foreign banks should not be penalized by the U.S. tax laws for complying" with regulations, said Briget Polichene, chief executive of the Institute of International Bankers, whose members include many of the world's largest banks.

    Banks flooded the Treasury Department with lobbyists and letters.

    Late last year, Mr. Harter went to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and told him about the plan to give the banks a break. Mr. Mnuchin — a longtime banking executive before joining the Trump administration — signed off on the new exemptions, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    A few months later, the tax-policy office handed another victory to the foreign banks, ruling that an even wider range of bank payments would be exempted. 

    Among the lobbyists who successfully pushed the banks' case in private meetings with senior Treasury officials was Erika Nijenhuis of the law firm Cleary Gottlieb. Her client was the Institute of International Bankers. 

    In September 2019, Ms. Nijenhuis took off her lobbying hat and joined the Treasury's Office of Tax Policy, which was still writing the rules governing the tax law.

    Some tax experts said that the Treasury had no legal authority to exempt the bank payments from the BEAT; only Congress had that power. The Trump administration created the exception "out of whole cloth," said Mr. Wells, the University of Houston professor.

    Even inside the Treasury, the ruling was controversial. Some officials told Mr. Harter — the senior official in charge of the international rules — that the department lacked the power, according to people familiar with the discussions. Mr. Harter dismissed the objections.

    Officials at the Joint Committee on Taxation have calculated that the exemptions for international banks could reduce by up to $50 billion the revenue raised by the BEAT.

    Over all, the BEAT is likely to collect "a small fraction" of the $150 billion of new tax revenue that was originally projected by Congress, said Thomas Horst, who advises companies on their overseas tax arrangements. He came to that conclusion after reviewing the tax disclosures in more than 140 annual reports filed by multinationals. 

    Mr. Morgenstern, the Treasury spokesman, said: "We thoroughly reviewed these issues internally and are fully comfortable that we have the legal authority for the conclusions reached in these regulations." He said Ms. Nijenhuis was not involved in crafting the BEAT rules..

    He also said the Treasury decided that changing the rules for foreign banks was appropriate. 

    "We were responsive to job creators," he said.

    The lobbying surrounding the GILTI was equally intense — and, once again, large companies won valuable concessions.

    Back in 2017, Republicans said the GILTI was meant to prevent companies from avoiding American taxes by moving their intellectual property overseas.

    In the pharmaceutical and tech industries in particular, profits are often tied to patents. Companies had sold the rights to their patents to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens.. The companies then imposed steep licensing fees on their American units. The sleight-of-hand transactions reduced profits in the United States and left them in places like Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

    But after the law was enacted, large multinationals in industries like consumer products discovered that the GILTI tax applied to them, too. That threatened to cut into their windfalls from the corporate tax rate's falling to 21 percent from 35 percent.

    Lobbyists for Procter & Gamble and other companies turned to lawmakers for help. They asked members of the Senate Finance Committee to tell Treasury officials that they hadn't intended the GILTI to affect their industries. It was a simple but powerful strategy: Because the Treasury was required to consider congressional intent when writing the tax rules, such explanations could sway the outcome.

    Several senators then met with Mr. Mnuchin to discuss the rules.

    One lobbyist, Michael Caballero, had been a senior Treasury official in the Obama administration. His clients included Credit Suisse and the industrial conglomerate United Technologies.. He met repeatedly with Treasury and White House officials and pushed them to modify the rules so that big companies hit by the GILTI wouldn't lose certain tax deductions. 

    In essence, the "high-tax exception" that Mr. Caballero was proposing would allow companies to deduct expenses that they incurred in their overseas operations from their American profits — lowering their United States tax bills. 

    Other companies jumped on the bandwagon. News Corporation, Liberty Mutual, Anheuser-Busch, Comcast and P.&G. wrote letters or dispatched lobbyists to argue for the high-tax exception.

    After months of meetings with lobbyists, the Treasury announcedin June 2019 that it was creating a version of the exception that the companies had sought.

    Two years after the tax cuts became law, their impact is becoming clear.. 

    Companies continue to shift hundreds of billions of dollars to overseas tax havens, ensuring that huge sums of corporate profits remain out of reach of the United States government. 

    The Internal Revenue Service is collecting tens of billions of dollars less in corporate taxes than Congress projected, inflating the tax law's 13-figure price tag.

    This month, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development calculated that the United States in 2018 experienced the largest drop in tax revenue of any of the group's 36 member countries. The United States also had by far the largest budget deficit of any of those countries.

    In the coming days, the Treasury is likely to complete its last round of rules carrying out the tax cuts. Big companies have spent this fall trying to win more.

    In September, Chris D. Trunck, the vice president for tax at Owens Corning, the maker of insulation and roofing materials, wrote to the I.R.S. He pushed the Treasury to tinker with the GILTI rules in a way that would preserve hundreds of millions of dollars of tax benefits that Owens Corning had accumulated from settling claims that it poisoned employees and others with asbestos.

    The same month, the underwear manufacturer Hanes sent its own letter to Mr. Mnuchin. The letter, from Bryant Purvis, Hanes's vice president of global tax, urged Mr.. Mnuchin to broaden the high-tax exception so that more companies could take advantage of it.

    Otherwise, Mr. Purvis warned, "the GILTI regime will become an impediment to U.S. companies and their ability to not only compete globally as a general matter, but also their ability to remain U.S.-headquartered if they are to maintain the overall fiscal health of their business."

    The implied threat was clear: If the Treasury didn't further chip away at the new tax, companies like Hanes, based in Winston-Salem, N.C., might have no choice but to move their headquarters overseas.

    My NYT Comment:

    "This article is about all the banks of lawyers who are arguing about corporate tax structures and how they can structure it  so that they can  be circumnavigated. But nothing here is said about the CEOs and major shareholders who also have banks of lawyers of their own to circumnavigate their own taxes. Meanwhile, we, the 99.9 percent, have no recourse but to pay what the tax man tells us that we owe. We have no lawyers, lobbyists, no off-shore tax havens. We just struggle to make the payments year after year. Figures don't lie but liars sure can figure! Especially when they have the unlimited  help of their lawyers and lobbyists and the politicians they buy. The boondoggle of capitalism can't last forever. We humans (the overwhelming majority of us) will win out in the end—we will have to if we are to save the future for our children." —Bonnie Weinstein, December 30, 2019




    4) F.D.A. Failed to Ensure Safe Prescribing of Opioids, Documents Show

    The agency, whose oversight of opioid safety has largely eluded scrutiny, did not improve flawed programs designed to reduce addiction and overdoses.

    "'What's surprising here is the design of the program was deficient from the start," said Caleb Alexander, the senior author of the study, who serves as a paid expert witness in litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors. "It's unclear why the F.D.A. didn't insist upon a more scientifically rigorous evaluation of this safety program.' ...But more than a decade after Congress authorized such safety programs, there is sparse evidence of their effectiveness. And the F.D.A.. has come under fire not only for putting pharmaceutical companies in charge of monitoring their own safety practices, but for not doing enough to ensure the quality of the prescriber training it requires the companies to pay for."

    By Abby Goodnough and Margot Sanger-Katz, December 30, 2019


    Demonstrators at a rally in Washington in April.Credit...J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — Newly unearthed documents show that the Food and Drug Administration failed to use its policing powers to make sure a program to curb improper prescribing of opioids was effective, researchers say. 

    The lax oversight, they point out, occurred as the epidemic was growing and tens of thousands of people were dying from overdoses each year.

    In 2011, the F.D.A. began asking the makers of OxyContin and other addictive long-acting opioids to pay for safety training for more than half the physicians prescribing the drugs, and to track the effectiveness of the training and other measures in reducing addiction, overdoses and deaths.

    But the F.D.A. was never able to determine whether the program worked, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found in a new review, because the manufacturers did not gather the right kind of data. Although the agency's approval of OxyContin in 1995 has long come under fire, its efforts to ensure the safe use of opioids since then have not been scrutinized nearly as much.

    The documents show that even when deficiencies in these efforts became obvious through the F.D.A.'s own review process, the agency never insisted on improvements to the program, called a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or R.E.M.S. The new research was published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

    "What's surprising here is the design of the program was deficient from the start," said Caleb Alexander, the senior author of the study, who serves as a paid expert witness in litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors. "It's unclear why the F.D..A. didn't insist upon a more scientifically rigorous evaluation of this safety program."

    Dr. Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of opioid policy research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis, said the safety program was a missed opportunity. He is a leader of a group of physicians who had encouraged the F.D.A. to adopt stronger controls.

    He called the program "a really good example of the way F.D.A. has failed to regulate opioid manufacturers. If F.D.A. had really been doing its job properly, I don't believe we'd have an opioid crisis today."

    In 2007, Congress gave the agency the authority to require drug manufacturers to train physicians to safely prescribe certain dangerous drugs, and to monitor the companies' performance. The bill, lawmakers said, was influenced by agency lapses in oversight of drugs like Vioxx, a popular painkiller withdrawn from the market in 2004 after it was found to pose a substantial heart risk.

    The main goals of the 2011 program for long-lasting opioids were to train more than half of an estimated 320,000 doctors who prescribed the drugs on how to do so safely, and to inform patients about the significant risks of taking the drugs. 

    But the Hopkins researchers, who relied on thousands of pages of internal F.D.A. documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, found the agency repeatedly could not determine whether the companies' safety strategies were working because of poor study designs, which the agency itself had approved.

    Asked for a response, the F.D.A. had no immediate comment. 

    About 60 drugs or classes of drugs are subject to such risk-management programs, including the narcolepsy drug sodium oxybate, the antipsychotic drug olanzapine and the acne drug isotretinoin, which used to be branded as Accutane and can cause severe birth defects.

    But more than a decade after Congress authorized such safety programs, there is sparse evidence of their effectiveness. And the F..D.A. has come under fire not only for putting pharmaceutical companies in charge of monitoring their own safety practices, but for not doing enough to ensure the quality of the prescriber training it requires the companies to pay for.

    There were early warning signs that the safety program for long-acting opioids had weaknesses. In 2010, an F.D.A. advisory committee of experts in the treatment of pain voted 25-10 against the proposed program design.. Committee members suggested that the agency require training for prescribers, and that it redesign curriculums to lessen industry influence. The F.D..A. moved forward anyway.

    2013 report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services found that only 14 percent of the safety programs reviewed by the F..D.A. met their goals. And another inspector general report last year noted that the agency did not have the authority to take enforcement actions against companies that don't provide it with enough information to assess their safety programs — a common problem, it found.

    "If F.D.A. does not have comprehensive data to monitor the performance" of the program, the report said, "it cannot ensure that the public is provided maximum protection from a drug's known or potential risks."

    In the case of long-acting opioids, the F.D.A. wanted 60 percent of prescribers to take the classes developed as part of the program. But only about 27 percent did so within the specified time frame, 2012 to 2016. Surveys conducted by manufacturers found "modestly greater" knowledge of safe prescribing practices among doctors who took the classes than among those who did not. But opioid prescribing was dropping overall at that point, and the surveys were not designed in a way that could determine whether doctors who took the classes prescribed less as a result.

    Perhaps most important, the researchers found that manufacturers didn't do a good job of assessing whether the safety program led to fewer overdoses and deaths. Instead they relied on broad national data that made no distinction between patients of doctors who had taken the safety classes and those who had not — a problem the F.D.A. pointed out repeatedly, in the third, fourth and fifth years of the program.

    Last year, the same Hopkins researchers found failings in a similar safety program the F.D.A. established in 2011 to curb inappropriate use of a small class of fast-acting fentanyl drugs meant only for cancer patients. The program required doctors who prescribed those drugs to take classes and sign forms saying they understood the dangers of prescribing to patients who did not have cancer, but many continued prescribing the drugs much more widely.

    The researchers also found that the F.D.A. did nothing to sharpen the safety program for the drugs, known as transmucosal immediate release fentanyls, even though it was aware of the broader prescribing. Top executives of one manufacturer, Insys Therapeutics, were criminally convicted in May of bribing doctors to prescribe and give sham educational talks about its drug Subsys, and of misleading insurers about patients' need for the drug.

    Extended-release, long-acting opioids are a much larger drug class, used by many more people. In addition to OxyContin, they include methadone and the extended-release versions of hydrocodone, hydromorphone and morphine, as well as fentanyl patches and buprenorphine, which, like methadone, is not only for pain but to treat withdrawal in people addicted to opioids.

    These drugs are prescribed for pain severe enough to require daily, around the clock, long term opioid treatment. But they have often been diverted for illicit use, with many people crushing and snorting or injecting them for a particularly potent, dangerous high.

    Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, a vice dean at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and one of the paper's authors, said it was "extraordinarily important" for the F.D.A. to not only ensure safe prescribing programs are effective, but to keep the public informed if they are not. Dr. Sharfstein was the principal deputy commissioner of the F.D.A. from March 2009 to January 2011, and said that while he was not deeply involved in developing the safety. program for long-acting opioids, "I wish I had focused on it more." 

    In 2017, the F.D.A. began requiring safety programs for all opioid painkillers — not just the long-acting formulations — and updated its blueprint for the programs' prescriber training. But Dr. Kolodny said the revised blueprint still implies that long-acting opioids are safe and effective for chronic pain, contradicting a growing body of research. 

    Prescription painkillers were the main cause of overdose deaths in the United States until heroin, and then fentanyl, surpassed them over the last decade.. The national opioid prescribing rate started rising steadily in 2006 and peaked in 2012, at 81.3 prescriptions per 100 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By 2017, the prescribing rate had fallen to the lowest it had been in more than a decade, at 58.7 prescriptions per 100 people.

    But prescribing rates remain high in certain regions, and even as deaths from prescription opioids have dropped, deaths from illicitly manufactured fentanyl have continued to rise.



    5) Protesters Attack U.S. Embassy in Iraq, Chanting 'Death to America'

    President Trump blamed Iran after demonstrators breached the compound's outer wall. Tensions are high after American airstrikes killed members of an Iran-backed militia.

    By Falih Hassan and Ben Hubbard, December  31, 2019


    Guards fired tear gas toward protesters who broke into the United States Embassy compound.Credit...Khalid Mohammed/Associated Press

    BAGHDAD — Protesters broke into the heavily guarded compound of the United States Embassy in Baghdad on Tuesday and lit fires inside to express their anger over American airstrikesthat killed 24 members of an Iranian-backed militia over the weekend.

    The men did not enter the main embassy buildings and later withdrew from the compound, joining thousands of protesters and militia fighters outside who chanted "Death to America," threw rocks, covered the walls with graffiti and demanded that the United States withdraw its forces from Iraq.

    The situation remained combustible, with protesters vowing to camp outside the compound indefinitely. Their ability to storm the most heavily guarded zone in Baghdad suggested that they had received at least tacit permission from Iraqi security officials sympathetic to their demands.

    The American airstrikes on Sunday have resulted in the most serious political crisis in years for the United States in Iraq, stoking anti-Americanism and handing an advantage to Iran in its competition for influence in the country.

    The airstrikes targeted an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia, Kataib Hezbollah, which the United States accused of carrying out a missile attack on an Iraqi military base that killed an American contractor and wounded American and Iraqi service members. A spokesman for the militia denied involvement in the attack.

    But the size of the American response — five strikes in Iraq and Syria that killed two dozen fighters and wounded dozens of others — prompted condemnation from across the political spectrum and accusations that the United States had violated Iraqi sovereignty.

    President Trump quickly blamed Iran for both the death of the American contractor and the storming of the embassy compound, which he described as "an attack," adding that the Iraqi government shared responsibility for the compound's safety.

    "Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many. We strongly responded, and always will," he wrote on Twitter.. "Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!"

    Thousands of protesters marched into Baghdad's heavily guarded Green Zone on Tuesday after prayer services for the militia fighters killed in the American strikes. While few of them were armed, many were members of Kataib Hezbollah and other fighting groups that are technically overseen by the Iraqi military. The militia is separate from the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, although both groups are backed by Iran and oppose the United States.

    At the United States Embassy, protesters used long poles to shatter security cameras, covered the compound walls with anti-American graffiti and lit a guardhouse on fire. After breaking open a compound entrance, dozens of men entered and lit more fires while embassy security guards watched them from the embassy roof and fired tear gas.

    One group of protesters ended up separated from United States troops by only a pane of glass, according to a video shared on social media. It was not immediately clear how many Americans were inside the compound.

    The men eventually left the embassy compound, but climbed on top of adjacent buildings where they planted militia flags. Iraqi police and military personnel eventually arrived at the scene, but they did not disperse the protesters.

    The Iraqi interior minister, Yassin al-Yasiri, said in an interview near the embassy that American attacks on an Iraqi militia had invited trouble.

    "These are the dangerous ramifications of this strike," he said. "What happened today is the danger that we were afraid of, and that the Americans should have been afraid of."

    Mr. al-Yasiri said he had coordinated with the Iraqi military and the militias to ensure the embassy's safety and request that the militia members leave the compound.

    While the protesters carried the flags of Iraq and a range of militia groups, the most prominent was that of Kataib Hezbollah, the group targeted by the United States.

    A spokesman for Kataib Hezbollah, Mohammed Muhi, said his group intended to erect tents in the street in front of the United States Embassy for an opened-ended sit-in to pressure the Americans to leave Iraq.

    "We will not leave these tents until the embassy and the ambassador leave Iraq," Mr. Muhi said.

    The upheaval comes at a critical time for Iraq and for the United States' role in the country. Mass protests in recent months against poor governance have weakened the government and underscored the criticism of Iraqis who feel that Iran has too much sway over the country's politics.

    At the same time, Iran and the United States have been competing for political influence in the aftermath of the battle against the Islamic State, which once covered large areas of Iraq.

    Iraqi militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, formed in part to help fight the Islamic State in tandem with the national security forces, a battle that effectively put them on the side of the United States.

    They have since evolved into a powerful military and political force with a significant bloc in Parliament. Some of the militias are backed by Iran and use their power to help advance its interests in Iraq.

    The United States has about 5,000 troops in Iraq in addition to an unclear number of civilian contractors. The troops are tasked with training Iraqi security forces and helping to prevent a jihadist resurgence..

    After years of military and political investment in Iraq, the United States finds itself in a position where few powerful Iraqis are willing to stand up for it and its role in the country.

    Condemnation of the recent airstrikes continued on Tuesday. The Iraqi prime minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, announced an official three-day mourning period for the men killed in the strikes, which he called an "outrageous attack."

    In a statement, the Iraqi military reiterated the government's condemnation of the strikes, but called on protesters to stay away from foreign embassies.

    "Any attack on foreign embassies or representatives will be firmly prevented by the security forces and punishable by law with the most severe penalties," it said.

    Falih Hassan reported from Baghdad, and Ben Hubbard from Beirut, Lebanon.



    6) Thousands Flee to Shore as Australia Fires Turn Skies Blood Red

    The country's east coast was dotted with apocalyptic scenes on the last day of the warmest decade on record in Australia.

    By Isabella Kwai, December 31, 2019


    A house under threat from an approaching bushfire in Conjola, Australia, on Tuesday.Credit...Matthew Abbott for The New York Times

    SYDNEY, Australia — As the fire stalked toward the coastal town of Mallacoota, the daytime sky turned inky black, then blood red. Emergency sirens wailed, replaced later by the thunder of gas explosions. Thousands of residents fled their homes and huddled near the shore. There was nowhere else to go. 

    On the last day of the warmest decade on record in Australia, the country's east coast was dotted on Tuesday with apocalyptic scenes like the ones in Mallacoota, a vacation destination between Sydney and Melbourne.

    Wildfires near Bairnsdale in Victoria. Credit....State Government of Victoria

    Australia is in the grip of a devastating fire season, with months of summer still to go, as record-breaking temperatures, strong winds and prolonged drought have ignited huge blazes across the country.

    The devastation is immense. In the state of New South Wales, which includes Sydney, more than 900 homes have been destroyed and nine million acres have burned since November. About 100 fires are currently raging in the state, with about three dozen more across the border in Victoria. At least 11 people have died.

    Australia, the most arid inhabited continent, is uniquely vulnerable among developed nations to the effects of global warming, scientists say.. The country recently concluded its driest spring on record. That was followed in mid-December by the hottest day on record, with average highs across the country of 41.9 degrees Celsius (107.4 degrees Fahrenheit).

    The catastrophic fire conditions have put an intense focus on the Australian government's failure to abide by its promises to reduce carbon emissions. Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a conservative, has made it clear that Australia's economic prosperity comes first. Even as his country burned, he has said repeatedly that it is not the time to discuss climate policy. 

    As Australia has seen a surge of climate activism in recent months, Mr. Morrison has gone so far as to suggest that the government should outlaw efforts by environmental groups to pressure businesses with rallies and boycotts. Other members of Mr. Morrison's government have answered calls for action with insults; the deputy prime minister called people who care about global warming "raving inner-city lunatics.."

    More recently, Mr. Morrison has been in damage control mode over his decision to vacation in Hawaii even as the authorities raised emergency fire warnings across the country. He cut the trip short after two volunteer firefighters died.

    Those deaths raised new questions about Australia's reliance on an overwhelmingly volunteer firefighting force. The physical and emotional toll on the thousands of unpaid firefighters has been mounting as some have worked shifts of 12 hours or more. After initially resisting calls to compensate firefighters, Mr. Morrison announced limited daily payments. 

    The fires have been a constant presence in Australia for weeks, but the eerie images that emerged on social media on Tuesday cast them in a new light, and seemed to be a harbinger for the new decade that the country rang in hours later. 

    In Mallacoota, residents in boats shared footage of themselves wearing masks and life vests as they waited under the blazing red sky. Others opted to stay and defend homes, likening burning trees to "exploding infernos" and describing the roar of the blazes.

    In Batemans Bay, four hours north, residents sat on folding chairsalong the beach, life rafts at the ready, as a fire encircled the town and burned homes. To the south, in Cobargo, a father and son died in a blaze as they tried to protect the family home.

    With several blazes burning out of control, thousands were stranded in evacuation centers in other towns along the coast as firefighters told people to stay put.. Tens of thousands of people were without power, the Australian military was authorized to deploy aircraft and naval vessels, and the government requested firefighting help from Canada and the United States.

    In Sydney, where heavy smoke from fires has obscured the sun many days this summer, officials rejected calls to cancel the city's signature New Year's Eve fireworks display after the Rural Fire Service in New South Wales approved the celebration. One blaze reached the western part of Sydney, threatening homes.

    The fires have been so fierce that they have created their own weather systems. On Monday night, a volunteer firefighter died after a phenomenon called a fire tornado — turbulence caused by extreme rising heat — in New South Wales caused a 10-ton fire truck to roll over. 

    The firefighter, Samuel McPaul, 28, was due to become a father in May. He was the third volunteer firefighter to die this fire season; the other two, who also died in an accident involving a fire truck, were fathers of young children.

    In Mallacoota, just over the border in the state of Victoria, residents had spent Monday night preparing to evacuate.. As the fire approached, some gathered at a community center, while others climbed into boats in bodies of water. 

    "I've never seen anything like it," said one man filming his escape on a boat.

    Ida Dempsey of Melbourne, who spends Christmas every year in the area with her family, also took refuge on the water.

    "We couldn't see a thing. It was pitch black," Ms. Dempsey said. "We had face masks; the smoke was very bad."

    She commended fire officials for keeping people calm. "If we didn't have a plan, I would have panicked a bit more," she said.

    In Batemans Bay, said James Findlay, who grew up there, the fire came so quickly that there was no hope to save his family home. 

    "Everything's gone," he said. 

    His parents, Mr. Findlay said, were in shock.

    "People have lost their homes, their farms, and people have lost their lives," he said. 

    "If this isn't some kind of a sign that more should be done, then I don't know what is."