What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
Know Anyone Who Thinks Racial Profiling Is Exaggerated? Watch This, And Tell Me When Your Jaw Drops.
This video clearly demonstrates how racist America is as a country and how far we have to go to become a country that is civilized and actually values equal justice. We must not rest until this goal is achieved. I do not want my great grandchildren to live in a country like we have today. I wish for them to live in a country where differences of race and culture are not ignored but valued as a part of what makes America great.
Thursday, October 06, 2022
“Prisoners refuse to work for no pay in prison jobs in food service, laundry and maintenance
The inmate does not want to give their name for fear of being retaliated against, but they do not hold back when it comes to describing the awful conditions that have prompted a widespread jail strike in Alabama’s brutal prisons.
“This is a humanitarian crisis,” said the inmate currently incarcerated at Limestone correctional facility in Harvest, Alabama. “They’re not providing us with any adequate medical treatment [or] mental health treatment. We’re not getting proper diets, we’re not getting any kind of rehabilitation in these places.”
Prisoners at all 13 prisons in the Alabama department of corrections (Adoc) system started striking from their prison service jobs on 26 September, demanding improvement to conditions, and reforms to harsh sentencing laws and surging parole denials that have long plagued the prison system in Alabama.
Prisoners have refused to work prison service jobs such as food service, laundry, maintenance and janitorial jobs that they receive no pay to do.
The strike has continued with the Adoc canceling weekend visits and reducingthe number of daily meals provided to prisoners from three to two, claiming the measure isn’t retaliatory but a logistical requirement and stating Alabama’s prisons are still fully operational.
Prisoners have leaked photos of the cold, inadequate meals they’ve been provided during the strike and a prisoner has publicly claimed they were transported from a work release center to a higher security prison and forced to work against the strike.
The Limestone inmate explained that prison conditions have only worsened in recent years, with parole denials surging in Alabama over the past three years, pushing prisoners to organize a strike to demand improved conditions, and reforms to parole board hearings and harsh sentencing laws that are contributing to significant overcrowding in prisons.
“We’re being warehoused and worked in order to generate more for the state of Alabama,” they said.
As of July 2022, the Alabama department of corrections currently holds over 20,000 prisoners in facilities designed to hold at maximum 12,115 people. In Alabama, 26% of prisoners are serving life sentences or sentences of at least 50 years.
While the state’s prisons have been overcrowded, the system is struggling with severe understaffing of correctional officers, with 541 vacancies as of August 2022. Parole denials also nearly doubled to 84% in 2021 compared to 46% in 2017. In fiscal year 2022, parole board denials also hit a historic high of 89%.
“We’ve been campaigning on these issues and trying to get somebody to do something. When the DoJ came out with their report in 2019, we became optimistic and we sat around and sat around and sat around. We’re still sitting around and nobody has done nothing,” the inmate added. “Alabama is never gonna do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do, they will always have to be compelled by force to do the right thing.”
They noted that Alabama has been required by the federal government to change racist laws throughout its history. Even the state’s constitution – adopted in 1901 – was created “to establish white supremacy”, according to John B Knox, who presided over the Alabama constitutional convention.
These interventions include the federal government forcing Alabama to eliminate slavery during the civil war in the 1860s, debt peonage in the early 20th century, convict leasing loopholes in 1941 under President Franklin Roosevelt, and school segregation and discriminatory voting laws in the 1960s as Alabama’s leadership opposed it.
In 2019, the federal government began the process of forcing Alabama to fix its prison system, when the US Department of Justice alleged the Alabama prison system of violating the US Constitution due to poor conditions. It even filed a lawsuit against the state over prison conditions in 2020. In 2021, the justice department issued a complaint alleging Alabama had not improved conditions.
Alabama is still fighting those allegations in court against the federal government, disputing constitutional violations. The complaints and allegations include overcrowding, understaffing and a failure to protect prisoners from violence, sexual abuse and excessive force from staff.
The trial is scheduled to begin in November 2024, but prisoners and advocates have noted conditions have only gotten worse while the state builds three new prisons, diverting $400m (£354m) in Covid-19 relief funds from the federal government toward construction.
Adoc recently went into mediation after being sued for improperly housing prisoners with serious mental health illnesses. It has been ordered to finalize plans to create an external monitoring team to review and implement changes of Adoc’s mental health staffing ratios.
Frank Ozment, a Birmingham-based attorney leading the case, said the lack of staffing has worsened numerous problems within the Adoc, including an inability to properly provide mental health or medical care to prisoners.
In 2017, a federal judge ruled Alabama’s mental healthcare in prisons was in violation of the US constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment and ordered the Adoc to improve staffing.
“There are so few correctional officers that they can’t get inmates to mental health appointments, even when the appointments are scheduled to occur inside of the prison,” said Ozment, who has filed several prison reform lawsuits. “I got an affidavit from one of the people in charge of keeping up with the mental health appointments inside the system, and she said they have about 600 mental health appointments a day inside the system and roughly 400 of them go unfulfilled – are missed – because they don’t have enough correctional officers.”
Alabama governor Kay Ivey appointed new leaders to the state’s parole board in 2019, coinciding with a significant drop in parole board hearings and the number of paroles granted. A disproportionate majority of inmates granted parole are white while the majority of Alabama’s prison population is black.
Prison reform advocates have criticized Alabama’s harsh laws and sentencing for years. Alabama has a history of recent botched executions and the highest death penalty sentences per capita in the US. In 2021, Alabama prisons reported a record number of deaths of prisoners due to violence and drug overdoses.
“The prison conditions are horrendous,” said Diyawn Caldwell, founder of the advocacy group Both Sides of the Wall and organizer of the strike. “They do not provide the basic necessities, a lot of times they have to beg for toiletries and the basics that they need, and they still won’t get them, said Caldwell, whose husband is currently incarcerated.
“They will get retaliated against for the smallest things. The culture of the Adoc is to bully, retaliate and place fear into people to get what they want and stop what they don’t want.”
Opinion | Why Ketanji Brown Jackson's Supreme Court seat feels like all Black people's - The Washington Post
Opinion Why Black people feel Jackson’s ‘seat at the table’ is ours, too
When you’re Black in America, you spend a lot of time counting firsts. The higher the first, the more we marvel (and shake our heads at how long it took to happen). The higher the first, the more the person who achieved it comes to represent how we want the nation to see us.
The latest vessel of our aspirations is Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman confirmed to the Supreme Court and the third Black person ever to sit on its mahogany bench. And, man, did she show up and show out during her first week at work. But the real test — for her and us — comes in all the weeks that now follow.
Jackson spoke up early during Monday’s arguments in a case challenging the Clean Water Act, asking questions before half her colleagues did and within the first 10 minutes. On Tuesday, she took the facile reasoning about laws “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” that Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. used to help overturn Roe v. Wade and turned it into a sledgehammer against Alabama’s gerrymandered congressional maps.
Jackson’s skillful questioning not only set legal Twitter aglow; it also became another item of pride for African Americans, especially Black women. “I love that Justice Jackson isn’t doing the thing that a lot of Black women are expected to do when we start a new job chock full of white folks which is to be quiet and not make a fuss. To know our place,” journalist Imani Gandy tweeted. “She’s come out SWINGING and I LOVE IT.”
In moving remarks at a celebration at the Library of Congress a few hours after her court investiture on Friday, Jackson let the emotion flow right back. “People from all walks of life approach me with what I can only describe as a profound sense of pride and what feels to me like renewed ownership,” she said. “I can see it in their eyes. I can hear it in their voices. They stare at me, as if to say, ‘Look at what we’ve done.’ ”
Sitting in the audience, I felt those words in my bones, having both received and bestowed ones like them. You never forget how powerful such an interaction is. Jackson’s tearful comments proved her a person of enormous humility about her achievement and boundless gratitude for the outpouring of support.
But Jackson knows that bouquets today could turn into brickbats tomorrow. “There is no doubt that I will have my share of pure bad luck,” she said. Bad luck could come in many forms. I’m thinking particularly that it could manifest as other African Americans wondering why Jackson isn’t as forthright as they want her to be on issues important to them. And she probably won’t always be, so long as the law sometimes leads her as a justice to a place that doesn’t align with her preference as a person.
The worst outcome is that such judicial restraint could cause African Americans to question her Blackness altogether. When you hit certain heights, it’s bound to happen. And it will be painful.
In the new Apple TV Plus documentary “Sidney,” Oprah Winfrey recounts life-changing advice she received from revered Black actor Sidney Poitier. It was during a birthday party for Winfrey at the height of her reign as queen of daytime TV. After being at first beloved by Black audiences, she eventually found herself bedeviled by accusations that she wasn’t Black enough. Poitier, who went through the same swing in Black public sentiment, gave Winfrey an insight she said guided her ever since.
“It’s difficult when you’re carrying other people’s dreams,” Winfrey recalled the actor telling her. “And so you have to hold on to the dream that’s inside yourself. And know that if you are true to that, that’s really all that matters.” That heavy load — a burden for anyone to carry — is only weightier when you’re the first of your kind to crack the stratosphere.
The last words of Jackson’s Library of Congress speech showed that she relishes bearing our dreams. “I have a seat at the table now, and I’m ready to work,” she said to thunderous applause. If her first days on the bench are any indicator, Jackson is wasting no time being heard and representing the best of us. It’s our task to let her do it her own way.
Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj. Subscribe to Capehart, Jonathan Capehart’s weekly podcast."
A majority of GOP nominees — 299 in all — deny the 2020 election results
"Experts say their dominance in the party poses a threat to the country’s democratic principles and jeopardizes the integrity of future votes
A majority of Republican nominees on the ballot this November for the House, Senate and key statewide offices — 299 in all — have denied or questioned the outcome of the last presidential election, according to a Washington Post analysis.
Candidates who have challenged or refused to accept Joe Biden’s victory are running in every region of the country and in nearly every state. Republican voters in four states nominated election deniers in all federal and statewide races The Post examined.
Although some are running in heavily Democratic areas and are expected to lose, most of the election deniers nominated are likely to win: Of the nearly 300 on the ballot, 174 are running for safely Republican seats. Another 51 will appear on the ballot in tightly contested races.
The implications will be lasting: If Republicans take control of the House, as many political forecasters predict, election deniers would hold enormous sway over the choice of the nation’s next speaker, who in turn could preside over the House in a future contested presidential election. The winners of all the races examined by The Post — those for governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, Senate and House — will hold some measure of power overseeing American elections.
Many of these candidates echo the false claims of former president Donald Trump — claims that have been thoroughly investigated and dismissed by myriad officials and courts. Experts said the insistence on such claims, despite the lack of evidence, reflects a willingness among election-denying candidates to undermine democratic institutions when it benefits their side.
The Post’s count — assembled from public statements, social media posts, and actions taken by the candidates to deny the legitimacy of the last presidential vote — shows how the movement arising from Trump’s thwarted plot to overturn the 2020 election is, in many respects, even stronger two years later. Far from repudiating candidates who embrace Trump’s false fraud claims, GOP primary voters have empowered them.
Republican election deniers on the ballot in nearly every state
A Washington Post analysis found that in races for Congress and key statewide jobs, a majority of GOP nominees have denied the results of the 2020 vote.
candidates in the South
have denied the 2020
All but one GOP
candidate in Arizona —
Juan Ciscomani — is an
*Louisiana holds an open primary on Nov. 8.
Source: Washington Post reporting
NICK MOURTOUPALAS/THE WASHINGTON POST
The issue has dominated in key battlegrounds. In Warren, Mich., on Saturday, Trump campaigned for three statewide candidates, all of them deniers: Tudor Dixon for governor, Matthew DePerno for attorney general and Kristina Karamo for secretary of state.
“I don’t believe we’ll ever have a fair election again,” Trump told the crowd. “I don’t believe it.”
Scholars said the predominance of election deniers in the GOP bears alarming similarities to authoritarian movements in other countries, which often begin with efforts to delegitimize elections. Many of those promoting the stolen-election narrative, they said, know that it is false and are using it to gain power.
“Election denialism is a form of corruption,” said Ruth Ben-Ghiat, the author of “Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present” and a historian at New York University. “The party has now institutionalized this form of lying, this form of rejection of results. So it’s institutionalized illegal activity. These politicians are essentially conspiring to make party dogma the idea that it’s possible to reject certified results.”
In the short term, scholars said, that party dogma is likely to produce multiple election challenges this fall from deniers who lose. It could poison the 2024 presidential race, as well.
“It’s quite possible in 2022 we’re going to have a serious set of challenges before the new Congress is seated, and then this will escalate as we move toward 2024 and another presidential election, in which the candidates, again, almost required by the Trumpians, will be challenging election outcomes,” said Larry Jacobs, a politics professor at the University of Minnesota whose areas of study include legislative politics.
In the longer term, Jacobs said, the country’s democratic foundations are at risk.
“It is a disease that is spreading through our political process, and its implications are very profound,” Jacobs said. “This is no longer about Donald Trump. This is about the entire electoral system and what constitutes legitimate elections. All of that is now up in the air.”
The Post has identified candidates as election deniers if they directly questioned Biden’s victory, opposed the counting of Biden’s electoral college votes, expressed support for a partisan post-election ballot review, signed on to lawsuits seeking to overturn the 2020 result, or attended or expressed support for the Jan. 6, 2021, “Stop the Steal” rally in Washington that preceded the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Among the 299 are GOP candidates vying to take over from Republicans who, despite overall support for Trump, have refrained from embracing his false narrative of fraud.
For instance, Eric Schmitt, the Missouri attorney general on the ballot for U.S. Senate this fall, was one of 18 Republican attorneys general and 126 House members who signed on to a lawsuit seeking to overturn the popular vote in Pennsylvania. He would replace Roy Blunt, a retiring GOP senator who voted to certify the 2020 election. In a statement explaining the vote at the time, Blunt cited the “more than 90 judges — many of them Republican-appointed, including several nominated by President Trump,” who dismissed attempts by Trump and his allies to prove the 2020 vote was marred by fraud.
Also among the 2022 crop of election-denying candidates are those who actively promoted misinformation. Anna Paulina Luna, the GOP nominee in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, spread unfounded accusations on social media that Dominion Voting Systems equipment rigged the 2020 outcome and expressed support for decertifying Arizona’s result even after a partisan post-election audit found that Biden had indeed won the state.
Some of the election deniers are themselves in line to oversee elections. Diego Morales, the nominee for Indiana secretary of state, declared on Facebook in 2021: “If we count every legal vote, President Trump won this election.” In Indiana, the secretary of state certifies results.
All three of those candidates, and many more like them, are expected to win their November elections, barring major upsets.
“My position is very clear,” Luna said in a statement provided to The Post. “We need to restore faith in the election process and that starts by asking questions on how we can improve election integrity.”
Morales, when asked through a spokesperson whether he continues to view the 2020 result as rigged, offered this statement: “Joe Biden is the legitimate president. He is doing a horrible job, but he is the president.”
Schmitt did not respond to requests for comment. A Trump spokesman also declined to comment.
The Republican fervor to elevate election deniers this midterm cycle comes at a time when pro-Trump allies and activists are continuing to doubt the administration of elections in the U.S., demanding investigations of voter fraud and accusing state and local election officials of rigging races or using fraudulent voting equipment.
The convergence of those forces as the November election draws near raises the chances that some of the candidates who don’t win, along with their allies, are likely to question their defeats. A dozen Republican candidates in competitive races for governor and Senate queried last month by The Post declined to say whether they would accept the results of their contests.
That, in turn, means that another close presidential contest in 2024 could produce even more chaos than what the country lived through in the aftermath of the 2020 vote, when pro-Trump rioters ransacked the Capitol. More officials may be willing to try to thwart the popular vote, potentially delaying results, undermining confidence in the democratic system and sowing the seeds of civil strife.
The proportion of election deniers on the November ballot is particularly high in three of the battleground states where Trump contested his defeat in 2020: Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. Election deniers have targeted offices in each of those states — as well as in other battleground states, including Wisconsin, Nevada and Pennsylvania — potentially giving Republicans a platform from which to challenge a popular vote they do not agree with in 2024.
The proportion is also higher among candidates for Congress, which holds the power to finalize — or contest — the electoral college count every four years. Among 419 Republican nominees for the U.S. House, 235, or 56 percent, are election deniers. And the vast majority of those, 148, are running in safely Republican districts, with another 28 in competitive races, according to ratings as of Oct. 5 by the Cook Political Report.
There are already scores of election deniers in the House; 139 of them voted against the electoral college count after the violence of Jan. 6, 2021, had finally abated. But with 37 election deniers who are not incumbents running in safely Republican or competitive House districts, that number will almost certainly rise after November.
Several scholars said one of the gravest implications of these candidates dominating the House majority caucus relates to their loyalty to Trump, who has steered the party toward near-universal fealty.
“One of the questions about the Republican conference will be, who is the real leader?” said Steven Smith, a political science professor with a focus on Congress at Washington University in St. Louis. “If the party wins a majority and it seems to be due to the success of the deniers, it’s hard to imagine Trump not taking advantage of this by using his public power to press the conference to follow his wishes.”
That could mean Trump demanding investigations into the administration, determining the GOP’s pick for speaker or dictating whether the House votes to impeach Biden, Smith said. Trump, who has never acknowledged Biden as the legitimate president, was twice impeached.
Trump has amply demonstrated his penchant for driving Republican legislative action, including this past weekend, when he excoriated Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for supporting a stopgap spending bill that included aid for Ukraine. Republicans who won their primaries thanks to a Trump endorsement may be reluctant to defy him.
Smith noted, however, that there is also peril for Republicans in this moment. Although election deniers are on course to win in reliably Republican districts and states, it’s also possible that the party will lose more competitive races because of its focus on the issue. And those who do win could push for a more extreme agenda that could backfire.
The only states where the GOP nominated a clean slate of election deniers are Montana, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wyoming, all of which are reliably Republican. But even in closely divided states where Democrats have been gaining in recent years, candidates who refuse to accept the 2020 result dominate within the GOP.
Among the Republican nominees for Arizona’s nine House seats, all but one are election deniers, according to The Post’s analysis. Four of those are incumbents who voted against the electoral college count on Jan. 6, 2021. The four election-denying newcomers include candidates who promoted false claims that a partisan audit of the Arizona result proved that Trump really won, called for the “decertification” of the Arizona result or endorsed the unfounded findings of the documentary film “2000 Mules,” which claimed that thousands of Democratic activists stuffed ballot boxes with forged votes in 2020.
Just two states — Rhode Island and North Dakota — did not nominate an election denier for any of the offices The Post examined.
The Post’s count covers offices with direct supervision over election certification,such as secretaries of state. Lieutenant governors and attorneys general are also included, with each playing a role in shaping election law, investigating alleged fraud or filing lawsuits to influence electoral outcomes.
It is not certain that all who embraced Trump’s false statements about 2020 would try to undermine a certified result in 2024. Indeed, several election-denying candidates who avidly parroted some of Trump’s unfounded accusations as they sought the former president’s endorsement during their primary races have begun walking back those positions as they focus on trying to win in November.
Don Bolduc, a retired brigadier general who won the Republican Senate primary in New Hampshire in early September, declared during an August primary debate: “I signed a letter with 120 other generals and admirals saying that Trump won the election, and, damn it, I stand by my letter. I’m not switching horses, baby. This is it.”
But days after his win, Bolduc shifted his attention to the general election against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D), who is favored to win her bid for reelection. As he did so, his position on whether Biden had won two years ago shifted, too.
“I’ve done a lot of research on this, and I’ve spent the past couple weeks talking to Granite Staters all over the state from every party, and I have come to the conclusion — and I want to be definitive on this — the election was not stolen,” Bolduc said in an interview on Fox News.
Days later, he suggested to a podcast aligned with the QAnon extremist ideologythat he had simply bowed to political reality, and that “the narrative that the election was stolen, it does not fly up here in New Hampshire.”
Then he repeated a sentiment that has become common among GOP candidates who stop short of denying the 2020 outcome but continue to cast doubt on the integrity of U.S. elections, even though experts and election officials say their claims are not true.
“What does fly,” Bolduc said, “is that there was significant fraud and it needs to be fixed.”
Alexander Fernandez, Hayden Godfrey, Solène Guarinos, Eva Herscowitz, Audrey Hill, Audrey Morales, Lalini Pedris, Alexandra Rivera and Ron Simon III with the American University-Washington Post practicum program and Vanessa Montalbano, Nick Mourtoupalas, Tobi Raji and John Sullivan contributed to this report."
Appeals Court Says DACA Is Illegal but Keeps Program Alive for Now
"The ruling affirmed a lower court decision that deemed a program protecting about 600,000 young immigrants from deportation to be illegal but allowed current recipients to renew their status.
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WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court panel ruled on Wednesday that a program that protects nearly 600,000 young immigrants from deportation is illegal but allowed those already enrolled to renew their status — in essence keeping the status of the program unchanged but its future uncertain.
The decision from the three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit — one of the country’s most conservative federal appellate courts — affirmed a 2021 lower court decision. The Biden administration will need to continue its legal fight to enroll new applicants in the program, called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
The judges sent the case back to Federal District Court in Houston to consider a new administration policy issued in August to protect the program. The new regulation was intended to go into effect at the end of the month.
Wednesday’s ruling was the latest turn in a series of court rulings and administration actions that over the years has canceled, reinstated or rolled back pieces of the DACA program. It has long seemed likely that the case would ultimately go to the Supreme Court.
Immigration advocates said the ruling signaled that the only chance for DACA to survive was for Congress to pass a law to protect young immigrants, something it has been unable to do for more than two decades.
“This decision makes 100 percent clear that the options for preserving DACA in the courts are dwindling and essentially nonexistent at this point,” said Jess Hanson, a staff lawyer at the National Immigration Law Center. “We really need Congress to step up.”
Democrats have been trying to preserve the Obama-era program for years.
Former President Barack Obama created DACA through executive action in 2012 after years of inaction in Congress to provide permanent protection to immigrants who were brought to the country as children, a group referred to as “Dreamers.”
It was intended as a stopgap measure to provide hundreds of thousands of young immigrants protection from deportation. The protection lasts two years at a time and is renewable, but it does not offer a path to citizenship.
Immigrants in the DACA program are on average about 26 years old, with the oldest nearing 40. Most were brought to the country from Mexico; others were born in other Latin American countries and the Caribbean. Many of the DACA recipients have been able to raise families, buy homes and work at jobs in their fields of study, but their status has been precarious for years.
In June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled against the Trump administration’s decision to terminate the program. The court did not rule, however, on whether the program had been legally adopted. One of President Biden’s first actions in office was to strengthen the DACA program. But the 2021 Texas court ruling renewed the uncertainty surrounding it.
On Wednesday, the judges wrote that while they agree with the lower court that the DACA program is not legal, they “also recognize that DACA has had profound significance to recipients and many others in the 10 years since its adoption.”
The Justice Department was working with the Homeland Security Department on a response to the ruling.
In a statement late Wednesday, Mr. Biden reiterated his administration’s commitment to defend the status of DACA recipients.
“The court’s stay provides a temporary reprieve for DACA recipients, but one thing remains clear: The lives of Dreamers remain in limbo,” he said. “Today’s decision is the result of continued efforts by Republican state officials to strip DACA recipients of the protections and work authorization that many have now held for over a decade.”
The Biden administration has repeatedly called on lawmakers to pass legislation enshrining protections for young undocumented immigrants. But the Democrat-led Congress is running out of time to find a long-term solution, particularly if Republicans regain control of the House in the Nov. 8 midterm elections."