What To Do When You're Stopped By Police - The ACLU & Elon James White
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.
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
"Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called for passage of the emergency aid package, saying that it protects families and “does not fund the administration’s failed mass detention policy. ”Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Congress is trying to rush $4.5 billion in emergency humanitarian aid to the southwestern border while placing new restrictions on President Trump’s immigration crackdown, spurred on by disturbing images of suffering migrant families and of children living in squalor in overcrowded detention facilities.
But with a House vote on the package planned for Tuesday, some Democrats are revolting over the measure, fearing that the aid will be used to carry out Mr. Trump’s aggressive tactics, including deportation raids that he has promised will begin within two weeks. Republicans are siding with the White House, which on Monday threatened a veto. They oppose restrictions in the measure that are meant to dictate better standards for facilities that hold migrant children and to bar the money from being used for enforcing immigration law.
Those twin challenges have left the fate of the bill up in the air, even as evidence of deplorable conditions at the border underscores both the urgent need for the money and the bitter rift over Mr. Trump’s policies.
Officials confirmed Monday that hundreds of migrant children had been transferred out of a Border Patrol station in Clint, Tex., where they did not have soap, toothbrushes, clean clothes or enough food. The move followed detailed reports about the dismal conditions that there were no diapers for toddlers and that children as young as 8 were caring for infants.
A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know.
Those reports led to a backlash from elected officials and a rise in donations to immigrant advocacy groups aimed at sending supplies to the shelter. Officials said only 30 children remain in the Clint station, which was intended as a temporary holding center. Children are supposed to be transferred out after 72 hours, but many had been held there for weeks.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi huddled privately into the evening with concerned Democrats on Monday to try to keep the bill on track, with little time to spare.
“Democrats distrust this president because we have seen his cruel immigration policies and lawless behavior terrorize our constituents,” Representative Nita M. Lowey of New York, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, said on Monday evening as she pleaded with fellow Democrats to support the package. “That is why we have language to stop transfers of money for immigration raids and detention beds. But we cannot allow our anger at this president to blind us to the horrific conditions at facilities along the border as the agencies run out of money.”
The aid package poses a difficult dilemma for Democrats, who are torn between their desire to champion humanitarian help for migrants and their concern that any money they approve will be used by the Trump administration to advance what they consider to be a fundamentally inhumane set of policies. They are also loath to be seen as the ones holding up soap, diapers and food for babies, keenly aware that Mr. Trump and his team are eager to blame Democrats for the dire conditions.
“The administration chooses to direct the vast majority of funding toward enforcement, and then cries poverty when it comes to diapers and food,” said Heidi Altman, the policy director at the liberal National Immigrant Justice Center. “It’s a hostage-taking way of engaging in policy.”
Hispanic-American lawmakers are particularly split; some are arguing that it is crucial to get the aid to agencies and outside groups assisting migrants at the border, while others say they will not be complicit in sending any money to the very departments that have carried out Mr. Trump’s harsh initiatives against immigrants.
“I will not fund another dime to allow ICE to continue its manipulative tactics,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat of New York, said on Monday evening on her way into the meeting in Ms. Pelosi’s Capitol office.
The gathering stretched on for more than an hour as lawmakers aired their differences and complaints about the package. “It’s intense,” Representative Tony Cárdenas, Democrat of California, said as he emerged from the session, saying he was leaning toward supporting the aid. “No yelling, no screaming, but it’s intense.”
Several members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus are pushing to attach stricter conditions to the money, including higher humanitarian standards for facilities that hold migrant children.
But given the urgent nature of the situation facing migrants, some lawmakers, particularly those from districts on the border, said there was no time to hold out for such additions.
“Are there things I would like to change? Absolutely,” said Representative Veronica Escobar, Democrat of Texas, whose El Paso district abuts the border. “But we have a real crisis.”
She said Democrats were trying to advance “a bill that reflects more of our values,” but added: “We’re running out of time. We all saw what happened in Clint — there’s no time.”
Concern about the funding bill swelled over the weekend, after Mr. Trump tweeted on Sunday that he was suspending the raids for two weeks to provide time for a bipartisan compromise on changing asylum laws and closing immigration “loopholes.” His abrupt reversal came after Ms. Pelosi telephoned Mr. Trump to ask for a delay.
Ms. Pelosi praised the postponement, and in a strongly worded statement later on Sunday she called for passage of the emergency aid package, saying that it protects families and “does not fund the administration’s failed mass detention policy.” It would also do nothing to change asylum laws to meet Mr. Trump’s demands.
“As members of Congress and as Americans, we have a sacred moral responsibility to protect the human rights and the lives of vulnerable children and families,” she said. “To do anything less would be an outrageous and unacceptable violation of our oath and our morality.”
But even as the speaker was pressing to advance the bill, dozens of House Democrats were in revolt over it. In separate conference calls on Sunday, more than 30 members of the Progressive Caucus and more than 15 members of the Hispanic Caucus aired their concerns, many of them arguing that the legislation did not set high enough standards for migrant shelters or do enough to block money from going toward enforcement.
“We all want to address the problems at the border, but we don’t know that there are enough sticks in this bill to make sure that the Trump administration actually spends the money the way they’re supposed to,” said Representative Pramila Jayapal, Democrat of Washington and the co-chairwoman of the Progressive Caucus. “He’s creating these crises and then trying to point a finger at Democrats to give him more money, which he then uses for his own purposes.”
Ms. Jayapal said there was no reason to believe that the Trump administration would abide by any restrictions included in the legislation or standards dictated by the measure, given its “lawless” behavior when it came to immigrants.
The conflict in the House stands in contrast to the Senate, where Republicans and Democrats on a key committee came together last week to approve a $4.6 billion border aid package that contained some limitations to bar the administration from using the resources for enforcement. It would, for instance, prohibit the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the division of the Department of Health and Human Services that houses unaccompanied migrant children, from sharing information with immigration officials about people who take custody of the children.
Representative Pramila Jayapal said there was no reason to believe that the Trump administration would abide by any restrictions included in the legislation or standards dictated by it.Erin Schaff/The New York Times
The House bill goes further than the Senate legislation in placing restrictions on the money. Facilities that house unaccompanied children would have a slightly shorter time frame — 12 months instead of 14 months — to meet existing legal standards for healthy, sanitary and humane conditions; they would have to allow oversight visits from members of Congress without warning; and the Department of Health and Human Services would have to report a child’s death in its custody to Congress within 24 hours.
Representative Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee, the senior Republican on the panel overseeing the bill, said he opposed the measure as written by House Democrats. “You will see just about every Republican in the House vote against the Democratic supplemental bill,” Mr. Fleischmann said, citing the added restrictions and the lack of funding for back pay for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
And even if they are able to muscle it through, he added, doing so sets up a negotiation to resolve differences with the Senate that will only delay the aid. “The enemy right now is time,” said Mr. Fleischmann, who supports the Senate bill.
“It is agreeable to the White House,” he said, “so we have two-thirds of the puzzle complete there.”
The White House on Monday issued a statement threatening that Mr. Trump would veto the House measure because it “does not provide adequate funding to meet the current crisis” and “contains partisan provisions designed to hamstring the administration’s border enforcement efforts.”
Ms. Pelosi has told colleagues that while she understands their concerns about the aid measure, its demise in the House would essentially cede the issue to the Senate and its weaker bill, according to people familiar with the conversations who described them on the condition of anonymity.
But many Democrats are pressing for more. They want to give the administration less time to comply with existing standards for facilities that house children, and to include higher health, nutritional, hygiene and sanitation standards for Customs and Border Protection facilities.
They would ban for-profit companies from running migrant shelters and would scrap funding for the United States Marshals that is specifically geared toward referring people who entered or re-entered the country illegally for criminal prosecution. And they want stronger prohibitions against sharing the immigration records of people who come forward to take custody of unaccompanied migrant children.
The measure has also exposed a rift among immigrant advocacy groups, with some of the most liberal organizations actively calling on lawmakers to oppose it and others privately saying the aid, however imperfect, is desperately needed.
The grass-roots group Indivisible began a social media campaign to urge members of Congress to vote against the legislation as a way of starving “Trump’s deportation machine,” in a tweet with the hashtag #notonedollar.
The language echoes that of several liberal Democrats who announced on Friday that they were opposed to the funding bill, saying they could not “in good conscience” back legislation that sent money to Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to “support a fundamentally cruel and broken immigration system.”
“These radicalized, criminal agencies are destroying families and killing innocent children,” said a statement by four freshman representatives, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. “It is absolutely unconscionable to even consider giving one more dollar to support this president’s deportation force that openly commits human rights abuses and refuses to be held accountable to the American people.”
Emergency Aid for Migrants Badly Divides Democrats - The New York Times
Monday, June 24, 2019
For Joe Biden, Friendship Is Magic. "His praise of white supremacists is not a blunder but a key to his clubby worldview.
"His praise of white supremacists is not a blunder but a key to his clubby worldview.
By Jeet Heer Today 6:00 am
Joe Biden loves to rattle off the names of dead racist politicians he befriended in the same spirit of nostalgic reverie that a hero of a 19th-century French novel might reminisce about the mistresses he enjoyed as a young man. At a fundraiser on Tuesday, the current front-runner in the Democratic presidential primary cited his warm relationship with the late James O. Eastland and the late Herman Talmadge, both ardent segregationists. “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland,” Biden told the audience. “He never called me ‘boy,’ he always called me ‘son.’” (Was Biden even aware of the racist code that reserved “boy” for black men and “son” for white ones?). Biden added, “At least there was some civility. But today, you look at the other side and you’re the enemy.”
Biden’s rivals and the media jumped on this supposed blunder. Senator Cory Booker, among others, called on Biden to apologize. The Washington Post described Biden’s remarks as belonging to the “pantheon of campaign-defining gaffes.”
But did Biden really make a faux pas? Or was it a frank statement about what the veteran politician actually thinks? Biden’s advisers reportedly warned him against using Eastland as an example. Biden discounted their warnings, which suggests the remarks were made with forethought. Far from speaking off-the-cuff, Biden was expressing one of his deepest convictions: that the vocation of politics is all about friendship.
Biden’s famous affability isn’t just an aspect of his personality. It’s a core belief. Like the talking horses in the animated kids show My Little Pony, Biden believes that “friendship is magic.”
Biden’s vision is similar, in some respects, to Obama’s promise in 2008 to unite a divided America. But Obama’s post-partisan politics was an attempt to get debates on key issues like health care settled by reasoned public debate. Biden’s post-partisanship is more narrowly personal.
For Biden, one-to-one relationships are the essence of life and politics. In his 2003 eulogy for the famously racist Senator Strom Thurmond, Biden said that “friendship and death are great equalizers, where our differences become irrelevant and the only thing that is left is what’s in our heart.”
Biden knows all about death, having lost his first wife and a 1-year-old daughter in a car accident in 1972, as well as an adult son to brain cancer in 2015. Being a man of grief and resiliency defines Biden. “The Bidenite glad-hander,” as George Blaustein observed in The New Republic, “offers emotional connection in a society of strangers, and having known sorrow makes Biden the best glad-hander in the business.” The experience of unspeakable grief is what gives Biden’s thirst for friendship its authenticity, freeing it from the tawdriness of mere networking.
Biden is quick to play up his friendships, whether with Barack Obama or Strom Thurmond. On June 8, he tweeted, “Happy #BestFriendsDay to my friend, @BarackObama.” This mawkish tweet was accompanied by a photo of a braided friendship bracelet that read “Joe” and “Barack” along with little emblems of joy (including a star and a happy face).
In a heartfelt eulogy, Biden recalled how Thurmond had defended him from an accusation of plagiarism in law school. “When partisanship was a winning option, he chose friendship,” Biden said.
Biden claims Thurmond underwent a change of heart on racism, a redemption narrative at odds with the evidence. (Biden made the same claim about another racist pal, John C. Stennis.) Thurmond died at the age of 100 without acknowledging that he was the father to an African-American daughter, the product of a relationship he had as a young man with a 16-year-old maid. Whatever private remorse Thurmond or Stennis might have felt does nothing to address the impact of their decades-long advocacy of racism from the commanding heights of American politics.
Politics is defined by a choice of friends and enemies. Bernie Sanders’s foes are the 1 percent. Elizabeth Warren’s nemesis is monopolistic corporations—or the Republican Party. Joe Biden’s target is just one man: Donald Trump. Biden’s theory of political change is a simple one: Get rid of Trump and we can all be friends again. “The thing that will fundamentally change things is with Donald Trump out of the White House,” Biden told donors in early July. “Not a joke. You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends.”
Biden’s cult of friendship is so heartfelt that it seems churlish to point out that it is also absurd. Even New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait, who shares much of Biden’s centrist politics, notes that the Obama years provide ample evidence that bipartisan conviviality is not enough. Biden’s bonhomie helped secure a handful of Republican senatorial votes in one key issue (stimulus funding), but was otherwise effective only on minor matters. Biden’s back-slapping geniality was no match for the ferocious partisanship of Mitch McConnell. Partisan polarization and Republican extremism go far beyond Donald Trump, and won’t be solved by gregariousness.
From the outside, what Biden sees as friendship looks more like cliquishness. Strom Thurmond helped his buddy Joe—a smart move in a clubby world. Thurmond was a notorious sexual harasser, who benefited from the old-boys’-club protectiveness of the Senate. But aside from such personal back-scratching, Thurmond prioritized not just partisanship but an ideological commitment to white supremacy. It was that overriding goal of white power that made Thurmond break with the Democrats in 1948 to run as a Dixiecrat and eventually become a Republican in 1964.
Thurmond knew politics wasn’t really about personal loyalty (after all, he betrayed his own party) but about pushing an agenda. This is an insight Joe Biden lacks. The Jim Crow system that Thurmond upheld wasn’t defeated by his change of heart or his friendship with other politicians, but through a mass protest movement that broke the logjam of cozy Washington.
Nor did Biden’s friendship with Thurmond achieve much good. Biden cites their work on the 1991 Thurmond-Biden Crime Bill, one of the building blocks of American mass incarceration. As for James O. Eastland, Biden bonded with him over a shared opposition to school integration. “I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week’s Committee meeting in attempting to bring my antibusing legislation to a vote,” Biden wrote to Eastland in 1977.
Democrats might ask themselves: With friends like Biden and his pals, who needs enemies?"
For Joe Biden, Friendship Is Magic
The body of a 20-year-old woman was found together with the children, the sheriff said.
Border Patrol agents found four bodies, including three children, near the Rio Grande in South Texas on Sunday, Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra said.
Two of the children were infants and one was a toddler, Guerra said. The adult was a 20-year-old woman, he said.
The deaths come amid a huge influx of undocumented immigrants at the Southwest border and demonstrate how treacherous it is to journey, often on foot, to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America.
The bodies were found southeast of Anzalduas Park in the Las Paloma Wildlife Management Area, just north of Reynosa, Mexico, and south of McAllen, Texas, Guerra said.
He said deputies were awaiting FBI agents to lead the investigation.
More than 132,000 people were stopped while crossing the border illegally or presenting themselves at legal ports of entry in the month of May — the most in 13 years, U.S. Customs and Border Protections officials said.
At least seven children are known to have died at the border since last year, though they were in CBP custody at the time. The most recent death, of 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernández Vásquez, occurred last month after the teen was diagnosed with the flu."
Border Patrol finds four bodies, including three children, in South Texas
Sunday, June 23, 2019
Blame those cowards who fear impeachment for what is happening to these children. Trump continues to break the law and immoral people refuse to due their Constitutional duty to impeach him or constituents impose impeachment for political reasons.
"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me." Martin Niemöller
Taking Migrant Children From Parents Is Illegal, U.N. Tells U.S. - The New York Times
Saturday, June 22, 2019
Friday, June 21, 2019
Thursday, June 20, 2019
"By Charles M. Blow nytimes.com
It is America’s responsibility to undo the trauma it has inflicted upon black people for hundreds of years.
Carolyn Smith, a descendant of a slave, gestures toward gravestones of other descendants of enslaved people in Houma, La.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was asked his opinion on the paying of reparations to the descendants of slavery in America, and he came down solidly on the side of “no” and on the side of being intentionally obtuse.
Here is his answer in full:
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, for whom none of us currently are responsible, is a good idea. We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African-American president. I think we’re always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that.
“And, I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it. First of all, it would be pretty hard to figure out who to compensate. We’ve had waves of immigrants as well who come to the country and experienced dramatic discrimination of one kind or another. So no, I don’t think reparations are a good idea.”
Everything McConnell said was fundamentally wrong — factually and morally.
Let’s start at the beginning: Chattel slavery in America is not merely “something that happened” 150 years ago. This year happens to be the 400th anniversary of when the first enslaved African arrived on our shores, and slavery became an indescribably horrific institution that thrived for nearly 250 years.
And the unpaid, unrewarded labor of those enslaved Africans is in large part what made America an economic powerhouse, and now one of the wealthiest countries in the world. And yet, the enslaved reaped none of the benefits of the wealth they created.
Does that sound fair or right?
Here it is important to point out that reparations are not only about the institution of slavery, but also about the century of oppression, a form of semi-slavery that came in its wake through racial terror, black codes and Jim Crow.
From the very beginning, emancipation wasn’t whole. During slavery, the enslaved were not counted as fully human — they were to be counted as three-fifths of a person as set forth in the Constitution — but the Supreme Court’s horrendous decision in the Dred Scott v. Sanford case confirmed that black people were not and could not become citizens of this country.
In the introduction to what remains a jaw-dropping decision, the author writes:
“The doctrine of 1776, that all (white) men ‘are created free and equal,’ is universally accepted and made the basis of all our institutions, State and National, and the relations of citizenship — the rights of the individual — in short, the status of the dominant race, is thus defined and fixed for ever.”
Black people would not be considered citizens until the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, but the 13th Amendment, ratified three years earlier, the year the Civil War ended, had already left a backdoor for quasi reimposition of slavery, stating, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
That exception was just the backdoor that many in power needed, leading to further abominations, like convict leasing. As the Equal Justice Initiative has explained:
“After the Civil War, slavery persisted in the form of convict leasing, a system in which Southern states leased prisoners to private railways, mines and large plantations. While states profited, prisoners earned no pay and faced inhumane, dangerous and often deadly work conditions. Thousands of black people were forced into what authors have termed ‘slavery by another name’ until the 1930s.”
Does that sound fair or right?
When slavery ended, many slaves thought that they would receive 40 acres and a mule; instead, they got pestilence and starvation. In the eyes of America, all their labor had earned them nothing.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. touched on this gross failure of America in speeches just before he died and in advance of his planned Poor People’s Campaign, saying:
“At the same time that America refused to give the Negro any land, through an act of Congress, our government was giving away millions of acres of land in the West and Midwest, which meant that it was willing to undergird its white peasants from Europe with an economic floor. But not only did they give the land, they built land grant colleges, with government money, to teach them how to farm. Not only that, they provided county agents to further their expertise in farming. Not only that, they provided low interest rates in order that they could mechanize their farms. Not only that, today many of these people are receiving millions of dollars in federal subsidies, not to farm and they are the very people telling the black man that he ought to lift himself by his own boot straps.”
“Now, when we come to Washington, in this campaign, we’re coming to get our check.”
The enslaved were freed into an epidemic of sickness and death.
The historian Jim Downs estimates that “at least one quarter of the four million former slaves got sick or died between 1862 and 1870,” as The New York Times pointed out when his book, “Sick From Freedom,” was released in 2012.
There was no medical infrastructure — or educational or financial, for that matter — to support them. The federal government said it was the states’ responsibility, and the states shirked it, saying, in part, that they had enough to handle, with thousands of wounded soldiers returning. So, the bodies fell and the tombstones sprouted.
Does any of this sound fair or right to you?
In an 1888 speech, Frederick Douglass would blast America’s faux emancipation of black people, saying:
“I admit that the Negro, and especially the plantation Negro, the tiller of the soil, has made little progress from barbarism to civilization, and that he is in a deplorable condition since his emancipation. That he is worse off, in many respects, than when he was a slave, I am compelled to admit, but I contend that the fault is not his, but that of his heartless accusers. He is the victim of a cunningly devised swindle, one which paralyzes his energies, suppresses his ambition, and blasts all his hopes; and though he is nominally free he is actually a slave. I here and now denounce his so-called emancipation as a stupendous fraud — a fraud upon him, a fraud upon the world.”
During Reconstruction, not only was the Freedmen’s Bureau established, so was the Freedman’s Bank, in part because white banks wouldn’t do business with black people. After the bank had been run into the ground by mismanagement, Douglass was brought in as president to save it. But it was too late. Just three months later the bank was allowed to fail.
As the National Archives put it:
“The closure of Freedman’s Bank devastated the African-American community. An idea that began as a well-meaning experiment in philanthropy had turned into an economic nightmare for tens of thousands African Americans who had entrusted their hard-earned money to the bank. Contrary to what many of its depositors were led to believe, the bank’s assets were not protected by the federal government. Perhaps more far-reaching than the immediate lost of their tiny deposits, was the deadening effect the bank’s closure had on many of the depositors’ hopes and dreams for a brighter future. The bank’s demise left bitter feelings of betrayal, abandonment, and distrust of the American banking system that would remain in the African-American community for many years. While half of the depositors eventually received about three-fifths of the value of their accounts, others received nothing. Some depositors and their descendants spent more than thirty years petitioning Congress for reimbursement for losses.”
Was this bank not too big to fail?
Then, with the Compromise of 1877, Reconstruction itself was allowed to fail as politicians worked out a scheme to resolve the disputed election of 1876: Rutherford B. Hayes could have the presidency if the federal government finished withdrawing the troops from the South who had helped protect black interests there.
Everyone knew where this would lead, and that is precisely where it led: States across the South, where 90 percent of black people lived, began to call constitutional conventions, beginning with Mississippi in 1890, to enshrine white supremacy into the DNA of those states.
As the historian Jim Loewen has written, one delegate at the convention said: “Let’s tell the truth if it bursts the bottom of the universe. We came here to exclude the Negro. Nothing short of this will answer.”
As Loewen put it, Confederates might have lost the Civil War in 1865, but they “won the Civil War in 1890.”
These new constitutions laid the groundwork for another 75 years or so of legal racial oppression under Jim Crow in which black people were regularly terrorized, excluded and oppressed. And this says nothing of mass incarceration, which sprung up when Jim Crow fell.
None of this is fair or right!
For a vast majority of black people’s time in this country, they have been suffering under an oppression operating on all levels of government — local, state and federal.
It is absolutely a good idea for America to think about how to make that right, to think about how to repair the damage it did, to think about how to do what is morally just.
And the idea that too much time has passed makes a mockery of morality. You can’t use having not done something at a better time as an argument that a later time can never be the right time.
Furthermore, this is not about individual guilt or shame but rather about collective responsibility and redemption. America needs to set its soul right.
The paying of reparations isn’t at all an outlandish idea. To the contrary, it’s an exceedingly reasonable proposition. Most of all, it’s right."
Opinion | Reparations: Reasonable and Right - The New York Times
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
"We're debating the description of forced extrajudicial detainment of a rhetorically demonized racial minority in harsh, punitive conditions.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, during a House Oversight and Reform Committee markup on June 12, 2019.
Oregon became the 11th state in the nation to mandate that public schools teach students about the Holocaust and other genocides, just last month. As an American Jew who attended public school in the late 1970s and 1980s, I was surprised to hear that learning about a defining piece of world history apparently requires specific legislation. As a resident of Oregon — a state founded as a white utopia, with both a history of structural racism and an all-too-current glut of emboldened white nationalists — I was fascinated to read that the bill was a collaboration between a nonagenarian Holocaust survivor and a 14-year-old public school student.
As a person who has witnessed the sharp rise of American anti-Semitism in the past decade, I worry that the bill is too little and too late.
Yesterday, the absurdist game of Mad Libs that is the national news brought us a Twitter faceoff between Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., sparked by the former’s assertion that the Trump administration’s detention facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border are “exactly like concentration camps” and the latter’s subsequent finger-wagging reprimand of Ocasio-Cortez that the comparison trivialized the 6 million Jews who died in such camps.
Before you could ask “war profiteer’s daughter says what?” Twitter had become a pedantic Hydra of arguments that were less about the actual existence of such camps than about what we should be calling them. (For the record, concentration-camp historians agree that using the general term “concentration camp” to describe conditions at the border is accurate.)
Since Cheney mentioned it, though, there’s a reason that people — mostly, but not exclusively, Jewish people — say “Never again” when referring to the Holocaust. The phrase is one that binds Jewish people as a community in remembrance of those who were gassed, starved, shot and worked to death in places such as Auschwitz, Dachau and Buchenwald, which were but some of the 938 camps and subcamps in the Nazis' concentration camp system.
But it’s also a shibboleth against complacency, a reminder that what happened in those camps didn’t happen overnight, but were the yield of an ideological campaign involving the active persecution of groups deemed inferior — not only Jews, but also Roma people, Polish and Slavic people, people with disabilities, LGBT people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, clergy and community leaders and more — that was built over years, its language of dehumanization building to a horrific crescendo of genocide.
Hannah Arendt’s famous assessment of Adolf Eichmann, one of the Holocaust’s chief architects, was that he “did not need to 'close his ears to the voice of conscience'.... not because he had none, but because his conscience spoke with a 'respectable voice,' with the voice of respectable society around him.” The Trump administration has turned today’s respectable voices into a constant, credulous blare of redirections and assurances: He’ll pivot. He isn’t really serious about a Muslim ban. Of course he doesn’t think all Mexicans are rapists. No, he never said that. Well, he did say it, but he won’t follow through. They’re the media voices that, wary of risking their access, devise increasingly baroque ways to avoid calling a lie "a lie"; they’re the political voices on both sides of the aisle promising to take all of this very seriously.
Thus, it’s not that surprising to see American politicians and pundits grasp at small semantic differences in terminology that describes forced extrajudicial detainment of a rhetorically demonized racial minority in harsh, punitive conditions. Whatever students are or are not taught about Germany's and Austria’s concentration camps in their history classes, they very likely hear far less about the Japanese Americans who were rounded up and held in internment camps following the attack on Pearl Harbor, or the millions of Native Americans killed by Europeans who decided that America belonged to them. If Americans confirm with one voice that, yes, there are concentration camps at the U.S.-Mexico border, we confirm the continuation of an ugly history we have yet to fully acknowledge — and the reality that it’s not behind us.
Unlike Germany, which after the end of World War II recognized the importance of confronting the atrocities that unfolded within its borders and making amends, the United States has yet to intentionally reckon with, much less make amends for, its own campaigns of dehumanization.
The national belief in exceptionalism and the corporate media’s thirst for access, scoops and clicks has given our border zone concentration camps that most American of things: A rebrand. We are, after all, the country where “Kentucky Fried Chicken” became “KFC” to make us forget our fried chicken is fried, where “torture” was given the friendlier gloss of “enhanced interrogation,” and where we are trying to make something called “freedom gas” (i.e., natural gas) a thing. Of course we'll call child internment camps anything but concentration camps.
Five migrant children have died since December in detention facilities described by politicians, legal advocates and human rights organizations as being overcrowded and unsanitary, with meager food and extreme temperatures. Those who spend time parsing whether conditions in these places — which are, it’s worth repeating, for civil rather than criminal custody — are bad enough to qualify as concentration camps and berating anyone who dares to describe them accurately, are more concerned with sparing the feelings of those perpetuating the acts in question than they seem to be with the acts themselves.
Liz Cheney and others who have denounced Ocasio-Cortez’s word choice claim concern for “real” victims of history’s abominable acts have been curiously quiet in the past several years as Jews rang the alarm about an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric and actions, as we were harassed online with photos of ovens and worse, and as bomb threats were called into Jewish community centers.
One of the internet age’s most specious paradoxes is that if you have a personal connection to an atrocity — rape, police brutality, mass genocide — you therefore have too much skin in the game to be a reliable witness to or expert on that thing. In a time in which anti-Semitic rhetoric and attacks, including the 2018 massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue and this April’s attack on a San Diego-area synagogue, are on the rise, determining whether the words used to describe the violence of intolerance goes too far is akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic: We’re going down fast, but at least we look respectable doing it.
“Never again” was coined for the Holocaust, but its message is one that speaks to a broader history of the ease with which semantic arguments and nimble euphemisms let intolerance for and dehumanization flourish. We can teach this history in schools — but we must also take moments like these as a reminder that not repeating it demands using accurate words to describe what is happening right in front of us."
AOC was right to compare Trump's border internment camps to concentration camps
Monday, June 17, 2019
Sunday, June 16, 2019
Saturday, June 15, 2019
I can't believe I am sharing a Fox News, Post. It is not collusion. It is accepting something of value from a non-American or permanent resident.
"52 U.S. Code § 30121 - Contributions and donations by foreign nationals
prev | next
(a) ProhibitionIt shall be unlawful for—
(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—
(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;
(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or
(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or
(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.
(b) “Foreign national” definedAs used in this section, the term “foreign national” means—
(1) a foreign principal, as such term is defined by section 611(b) of title 22, except that the term “foreign national” shall not include any individual who is a citizen of the United States; or
(2) an individual who is not a citizen of the United States or a national of the United States (as defined in section 1101(a)(22) of title 8) and who is not lawfully admitted for permanent residence, as defined by section 1101(a)(20) of title 8."
Friday, June 14, 2019
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Police fired 55 times at Willie McCoy. An investigation called it 'reasonable' | US news | The Guardian America the ugly.
"The 20-year-old aspiring rapper had been sleeping in his car at a Taco Bell when Vallejo police shot him"
Police fired 55 times at Willie McCoy. An investigation called it 'reasonable' | US news | The Guardian
Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Monday, June 10, 2019
Her Evangelical Megachurch Was Her World. Then Her Daughter Said She Was Molested by a Minister. - The New York Times
Why would she have expected morality from evangelical churches? They supported, slavery, segregation are deny LGBT and queer rights. Why wouldn’t they support child molesting ministers. “Evangelical churches have long distanced themselves from the sexual abuse crisis that has consumed the Catholic Church. But a reckoning has arrived.”
Her Evangelical Megachurch Was Her World. Then Her Daughter Said She Was Molested by a Minister. - The New York Times
Sunday, June 09, 2019
"After two years of silence, the special counsel Robert Mueller recently made his first public remarks — to complain, it seemed, that no one had read his report. “We chose those words carefully,” Mr. Mueller said, “and the work speaks for itself.”
But at a dense 440-plus pages, if the report speaks for itself, it takes a great deal of time and focus to listen to what it has to say. Mr. Mueller tells a complicated story of “multiple, systematic” efforts at Russian election interference from which the Trump campaign was eager to benefit. And he describes a president eager to shut down an investigation into his own abusive conduct. This is far from, as the president put it, “no collusion, no obstruction.”
The document is packed with even more details, ranging from the troubling to the outright damning. Yet these have been lost in the flurry of discussion around the report’s release.
Even the most attentive reader could have trouble keeping track of the report’s loose ends and dropped subplots. Here are four of the most surprising details that you might have missed — and none of them are favorable to the president.
Coordinating with WikiLeaks?
(Volume I, pp. 52-54)
How much did Mr. Trump personally know about Russian efforts to assist his campaign, and when did he know it? Three pages of heavily redacted text provide hints.
Rick Gates, a top adviser, said that the campaign was “planning a press strategy, a communications campaign, and messaging based on the possible release” of Hillary Clinton emails by WikiLeaks. After receiving a call during a drive to La Guardia Airport, Mr. Trump “told Gates that more releases of damaging information would be coming.” The details are redacted, and the redactions are marked “harm to ongoing matter,” perhaps related to the prosecution of Roger Stone. Mr. Mueller has alleged that Mr. Stone, a Trump affiliate, sought to obtain information about WikiLeaks’ planned release of anti-Clinton material and pass that information to the campaign.
Mr. Mueller found “insufficient evidence” to charge a criminal conspiracy between the Russian government and the campaign. But the campaign was clearly keeping a close eye on Russia-linked hacking and leaking efforts and expecting to benefit from them.
This section suggests that Mr. Trump may have been in the loop on the campaign’s efforts to get a heads-up about what WikiLeaks had planned. And that is a very long way from “no collusion.”
Looking for Clinton’s “missing” emails
(Volume I, pp. 49, 62-63)
At a July 27, 2016, campaign rally, Mr. Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing” — referring to Clinton emails reportedly stored on a personal server. “Within approximately five hours” of Mr. Trump’s remarks, according to the Mueller report, Russian military intelligence began a cyberattack against “Clinton’s personal office.”
After his July 27 comment, the report states, Mr. Trump “asked individuals affiliated with his campaign to find the deleted Clinton emails” — including Michael Flynn.
Mr. Flynn, in turn, reached out to a Republican Senate staffer and a party operative who worked separately to obtain the emails. The operative raised money to support the project, which he marketed as “coordinated with the Trump campaign,” and told others that he was in communication with Russian hackers who had access to emails he believed were Mrs. Clinton’s. But Mr. Mueller “did not establish” that the operative had actually made contact with any real Russian hackers. And while the staffer obtained emails, an effort funded by a businessman close to the campaign found that they were not really Mrs. Clinton’s either.
“Collusion” has no legal definition. But if the term means working behind the scenes with Russian actors to obtain hacked information damaging to Mrs. Clinton, then this section of the report describes just that — collusion that took place at Mr. Trump’s request. It just wasn’t successful.
Sharing polling data
(Volume I, pp. 130-131, 140)
Throughout his time as the Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort stayed in touch with a Russian man named Konstantin Kilimnik, whom, according to the Mueller report, “the F.B.I. assesses to have ties to Russian intelligence.” Mr. Gates, Mr. Manafort’s deputy, believed Mr. Kilimnik to be a “spy.” — a view, the report says, that he shared with Mr. Manafort.
While managing the campaign, Mr. Manafort told Mr. Gates to share “internal polling data” private to the campaign with Mr. Kilimnik, so he could share it with Ukrainian oligarchs and a Russian oligarch. Mr. Gates sent Mr. Kilimnik the data regularly, deleting the WhatsApp messages after he did so. In an in-person meeting with Mr. Kilimnik, Mr. Manafort shared more information about the campaign’s election plans and polling, including information about “battleground states” that would be key to Mr. Trump’s election.
Mr. Gates likewise told the special counsel that Mr. Manafort believed sharing the polling data with Mr. Kilimnik, who passed it to a Russian oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, would help resolve a financial dispute between Mr. Manafort and the Russian oligarch. The report also states that Mr. Manafort hoped his campaign work would help him recover money he was owed by the other oligarchs. Yet Mr. Mueller “could not reliably determine Manafort’s purpose” in sharing the data with Mr. Kilimnik.
This remains one of the more troubling loose ends in the report.
(Volume II, pp. 90-93)
A month after Mr. Mueller’s appointment, President Trump’s ordered his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski — who was not a government employee — to convey a message to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, telling him to constrain the scope of the Mueller investigation. Mr. Sessions, Mr. Trump said, was to deliver a speech restricting the investigation to only future election interference. Mr. Lewandowski never delivered the message.
Simply firing Mr. Mueller would have been within the president’s power. Asking a private citizen to deliver that message, however, moves this outside the realm of the president’s management of the executive branch and toward clearer-cut obstruction of justice. Attorney General Bill Barr’s view that the president did not obstruct justice is informed by his argument that presidential conduct authorized by the Constitution cannot constitute obstruction. But this does not address conduct, like the order to Mr. Lewandowski, that took place outside the scope of the Constitution.
“Substantial evidence,” Mr. Mueller writes, “indicates that the president’s effort to have Sessions limit the scope of the special counsel’s investigation to future election interference was intended to prevent further investigative scrutiny of the president’s and his campaign’s conduct.”
The longer one spends with the report, the more disturbing a document it is, despite the initial fuzziness of some of Mr. Mueller’s conclusions. The instances here make up only about 12 pages out of a report that spans hundreds. Mr. Mueller makes clear that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election with the goal of supporting Mr. Trump; that the Trump campaign sought to benefit from that interference; and that the president worked to put to an end to the office investigating the interference effort. Questions remain, but the most important question is whether this conduct should be acceptable."
Opinion | 4 Disturbing Details You May Have Missed in the Mueller Report
Saturday, June 08, 2019
Thursday, June 06, 2019
A thoughtful piece far beyond Nancy Pelosi's embarrassing comments reported today in Politic which showed she was lying to the American public all winter and spring.
"Laurence H. Tribe is the University Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard and the coauthor, most recently, of “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment.”
It is possible to argue that impeaching President Trump and removing him from office before the 2020 election would be unwise, even if he did cheat his way into office, and even if he is abusing the powers of that office to enrich himself, cover up his crimes and leave our national security vulnerable to repeated foreign attacks. Those who make this argument rest their case either on the proposition that impeachment would be dangerously divisive in a nation as politically broken as ours, or on the notion that it would be undemocratic to get rid of a president whose flaws were obvious before he was elected.
Rightly or wrongly — I think rightly — much of the House Democratic caucus, at least one Republican member of that chamber (Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan) and more than a third of the nation’s voters disagree. They treat the impeachment power as a vital constitutional safeguard against a potentially dangerous and fundamentally tyrannical president and view it as a power that would be all but ripped out of the Constitution if it were deemed unavailable against even this president.
That is my view, as well.
Still, there exists concern that impeachment accomplishes nothing concrete, especially if the Senate is poised to quickly kill whatever articles of impeachment the House presents. This apprehension is built on an assumption that impeachment by the House and trial in the Senate are analogous to indictment by a grand jury and trial by a petit jury: Just as a prosecutor might hesitate to ask a grand jury to indict even an obviously guilty defendant if it appeared that no jury is likely to convict, so, it is said, the House of Representatives might properly decline to impeach even an obviously guilty president — and would be wise to do so — if it appeared the Senate was dead-set against convicting him.
But to think of the House of Representatives as akin to a prosecutor or grand jury is misguided. The Constitution’s design suggests a quite different allocation of functions: The Senate, unlike any petit (or trial) jury, is legally free to engage in politics in arriving at its verdict. And the House, unlike any grand jury, can conduct an impeachment inquiry that ends with a verdict and not just a referral to the Senate for trial — an inquiry in which the target is afforded an opportunity to participate and mount a full defense.
Take, for instance, the 1974 investigation of President Richard M. Nixon when the House gave the president the opportunity to refute the charges against him either personally or through counsel and with additional fact witnesses. (Nixon chose to appear only through his attorney, James D. St. Clair.) Following its impeachment proceedings, the House Judiciary Committee drafted particularized findings less in the nature of accusations to be assessed by the Senate — which of course never weighed in, given Nixon’s resignation — than in the nature of determinations of fact and law and verdicts of guilt to be delivered by the House itself, expressly stating that the president was indeed guilty as charged.
It seems fair to surmise, then, that an impeachment inquiry conducted with ample opportunity for the accused to defend himself before a vote by the full House would be at least substantially protected, even if not entirely bullet-proofed, against a Senate whitewash.
The House, assuming an impeachment inquiry leads to a conclusion of Trump’s guilt, could choose between presenting articles of impeachment even to a Senate pre-committed to burying them and dispensing with impeachment as such while embodying its conclusions of criminality or other grave wrongdoing in a condemnatory “Sense of the House” resolution far stronger than a mere censure. The resolution, expressly and formally proclaiming the president impeachable but declining to play the Senate’s corrupt game, is one that even a president accustomed to treating everything as a victory would be hard-pressed to characterize as a vindication. (A House resolution finding the president “impeachable” but imposing no actual legal penalty would avoid the Constitution’s ban on Bills of Attainder, despite its deliberately stigmatizing character as a “Scarlet ‘I’ ” that Trump would have to take with him into his reelection campaign.)
The point would not be to take old-school House impeachment leading to possible Senate removal off the table at the outset. Instead, the idea would be to build into the very design of this particular inquiry an offramp that would make bypassing the Senate an option while also nourishing the hope that a public fully educated about what this president did would make even a Senate beholden to this president and manifestly lacking in political courage willing to bite the bullet and remove him.
By resolving now to pursue such a path, always keeping open the possibility that its inquiry would unexpectedly lead to the president’s exoneration, the House would be doing the right thing as a constitutional matter. It would be acting consistent with its overriding obligation to establish that no president is above the law, all the while keeping an eye on the balance of political considerations without setting the dangerous precedent that there are no limits to what a corrupt president can get away with as long as he has a compliant Senate to back him. And pursuing this course would preserve for all time the tale of this uniquely troubled presidency."
Impeach Trump. But don’t necessarily try him in the Senate. - The Washington Post
"Kamala Harris along with Elizabeth Warren are the thinking person's candidates for President.
"By Elise C. BoddieJune 6, 2019
We need more ideas like the one Senator Kamala Harris of California proposed last week to stop abortion laws from going into effect unless the federal government agrees they comply with Roe v. Wade.
This idea, known as preclearance, is widely considered the single most effective civil rights tool in American history, because it blocks bad policies before they can take root and spread harm across generations.
Ms. Harris’s proposal focuses on laws that harm women. But the concept ought to be extended to racial disadvantage. Every candidate should offer similar proposals in areas like policing, housing, education and transportation. It’s the best way to stop discrimination.
Ms. Harris modeled her idea on a section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which for decades allowed the Justice Department or a federal court in Washington to prevent harmful voting laws in places with chronic discrimination. Preclearance was created to combat the pernicious methods Southern states used to stop black people from voting after the 15th Amendment prohibited them from doing so outright.
It lifted a huge burden off voters who otherwise would have been stuck battling discriminatory laws in court, long after elections had passed, costing hundreds of thousands dollars (if not millions).
This changed in 2013 when a conservative majority on the Supreme Court gutted preclearance in Shelby County v. Holder. That resulted in a wave of voter suppression, including North Carolina and Texas rushing to reinstate discriminatory voter ID laws that had been blocked.
But the court also acknowledged that Congress can still legislate preclearance in places that discriminate. State legislatures have even broader authority to do so.
This idea is vital because racial discrimination morphs and mutates, sometimes to evade law, other times in spite of it, as I wrote in a 2016 law review article. That’s why we can’t rely only on courts and litigation, nor on good will and piecemeal tactics. We need bold solutions that match the scope, adaptability and intensity of racial discrimination. Preclearance does that.
Here’s how it could work in housing.
Local zoning laws play a major role in denying housing opportunity by perpetuating the enormous wealth gap between white people and black people. Rich towns often require large lot sizes for single-family homes, making them more expensive. This has the effect of keeping out black families, who didn't benefit from decades of government largesse (like subsidized mortgages) available only to whites.
Under a national system of preclearance, a federal agency like the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or a comparable state agency, would have to approve these laws before they went into effect. The town would have to show that the ordinance did not have the intent or effect of excluding people of color.
After reviewing the town’s information, the government agency would decide, within a certain amount of time, whether to object to the ordinance. (The Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department used a similar process to review thousands of proposed voting changes under the Voting Rights Act.)
To do this, agency employees would conduct interviews or solicit public testimony and comments about the purpose and likely impact of the ordinance. They could research local and regional data on race and income to identify people who would be affected, while taking into account which populations are moving into and out of the area. If the agency did not have enough information to reach a conclusion, it could ask the town for more data.
If it found that the ordinance was discriminatory, the agency would block it. Then the town would either modify it or discard it. But the ordinance would go into effect if the agency had no objections.
This idea could apply to policing, too.
Imagine a local police department with a history of discrimination adopts a new stop-and-frisk policy. Under preclearance, this policy would have to be reviewed by federal authorities, or by an independent state agency, before it could be carried out.
As a condition of approval, the agency might insist on training police officers not to use race alone in stopping people unless they match a specific description from a trustworthy source. It might also bar stops based solely on people’s presence in a high-crime area.
This process would give communities a chance to work with police departments to promote greater accountability, such as requiring officers to identify themselves with a business card during every street stop, including traffic and low-level stops (like for selling loose cigarettes). The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, on whose board I sit, is doing this work.
Some people might object that preclearance would be too burdensome or bureaucratic and that it would undermine the autonomy of states and cities. But as state attorneys general (including Ms. Harris, a former California attorney general) who dealt with preclearance have acknowledged, its benefits far outweigh the costs. And the expertise already exists to do preclearance effectively: The administrative process that was in place before the decision in Shelby County v. Holder had been streamlined to minimize its burdens.
Of course, there is an even simpler way for states and localities to avoid costs: They can stop discriminating. Ill-conceived policies that disproportionately harm or intentionally discriminate against people of color result in lasting, often irreparable damage.
Ms. Harris, along with the drafters of the Voting Rights Act, has pointed us toward a better way. Her fellow presidential candidates should take up the challenge.
Elise C. Boddie (@eliseboddie) is a law professor at Rutgers Law School where she directs the Inclusion Project."
Opinion | Kamala Harris Has a Brilliant Idea on Abortion
"By Linda Greenhouse
In a rational world, the Supreme Court would hit the pause button on the pending census case to take account of new evidence that the Trump administration’s stated reason for adding a citizenship question was a fiction that masked its flagrantly partisan motive. True, the case is to be decided within weeks, to meet what the Commerce Department says is the deadline for preparing the 2020 census, but the country will live for years with the impact of the census on political redistricting and the allocation of federal money.
Unfortunately, given the presidency of Donald Trump and the partisan polarization that has all but overtaken the Supreme Court, it’s hard these days to argue from rationality. And as I suggested last month in describing how, during oral argument, the conservative justices pretended not to understand the fraud that the administration was trying to perpetrate, it’s also hard to argue from shame. Those justices who seemed unable to accept the experts’ conclusions that a citizenship question would distort the census by undercounting immigrant communities seemed beyond embarrassment. It’s highly likely that with the opinion already assigned and presumably circulating in
draft, the justices will plow ahead and do what some of them set out to accomplish.
I didn’t expect to be writing again about this case, Department of Commerce v. New York, so soon, and certainly not before the court’s decision came down. Then Michael Wines broke a story in The New York Times last week about the discovery of documents that refute the administration’s claim of wanting the citizenship question to better enforce the Voting Rights Act on behalf of ethnic minorities. He reported that a consultant who had played a crucial role in the Trump administration’s decision to add the citizenship question wrote a study in 2015 concluding that adding the query would allow Republicans to draft even more extreme gerrymandered maps to stymie Democrats. Even before that disclosure, three Federal District judges overseeing separate cases on the issue had also expressed skepticism about the administration’s explanation for the question.
Still, the response of election law experts to the news seemed as definitive as anything I might have said. For example, Prof. Richard L. Hasen of the University of California at Irvine wrote on Slate that “it’s difficult to produce a greater smoking gun than explicitly saying you are hoping to help the G.O.P. by increasing white voting power.”
Professor Hasen added that “the Commerce Department’s decision to include the citizenship question is a textbook example of arbitrary and capricious action in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.” It was on this basis that Judge Jesse M. Furman of Federal District Court in Manhattan declared the citizenship question invalid in the case now before the Supreme Court; the justices accommodated the administration’s request for speed by taking up the case directly without waiting for a Court of Appeals ruling.
What changed my mind about writing about this issue again was the administration’s response to the request by the plaintiffs, a coalition of immigrant rights groups, to Judge Furman for “sanctions or other appropriate relief” against a Justice Department official and an expert administration witness who, the newly revealed documents indicated, testified untruthfully about the origin of the citizenship question. The plaintiffs have lodged a copy of their District Court filing with the Supreme Court.
The administration’s response, a copy of which was also sent to the Supreme Court, was in most respects unsurprising. It described the new material as unauthenticated and inadmissible hearsay, and it insists that the plaintiffs’ interpretation of the citizenship question’s origin is “not only
false, but legally irrelevant as both a procedural and substantive matter.”
(In a hearing Thursday, Judge Furman deferred until after the Supreme Court’s expected ruling any decision on imposing sanctions. or conducting further discovery.)
What got my attention was the anti-media theme running through the administration’s five-page filing. The Justice Department lawyers who signed the cover letter to Judge Furman complained that along with the plaintiffs’ motion for sanctions was the “near-simultaneous publication of an accompanying article in The New York Times” — as if news coverage of a public court filing cast a cloud over the propriety of the filing, rather than the documents’ revelations casting a cloud over the propriety of the administration’s litigating position. The administration lawyers complained further that the plaintiffs “appear to have spent more time coordinating with the media — the detailed Times article was posted online less than an hour after the E.C.F. filing notice — than performing the requisite investigation.” (E.C.F. stands for electronic court filing.)
In other words, what would look to an outside observer — or skeptical judge — as a conspiracy to mislead the public about the reason for asking people about their citizenship status was really a conspiracy between the plaintiffs and the media. What was this doing in a court filing? Either the administration’s witnesses lied to Judge Furman or they didn’t. Either the real reason for asking about citizenship was to help minority communities or to hurt them. What did the reporting have to do with it?
Official Washington’s fixation on the media is, of course, familiar to anyone who breathes these days. But the administration’s filing resonated with something else I’ve been noticing lately — a meme in conservative media that there is a concerted effort on the liberal side of the ideological street, media and elsewhere, to invoke concern about the Supreme Court’s “legitimacy” as a tool for prying Chief Justice John Roberts away from his conservative soul mates on the court.
“There’s a wooing going on,” David French warned in National Review in March under the headline “The Temptation of John Roberts.” His focus was not the census case but abortion and the Mueller report. “According to this construct,” Mr. French wrote, “it’s Roberts the ideologue who would vote to restrict abortion rights. It’s Roberts the conservative who would back the Trump administration. But a chief justice who cared about the institution of the Supreme Court? Well, he guards Roe. He checks Trump.”
In The Wall Street Journal last month, under the headline “John Roberts’s ‘Illegitimate’ Court,” the newspaper’s editorial columnist, William McGurn, wrote: “For those not fluent in modern Beltway, let us translate: It’s a threat, aimed at John Roberts. If the chief justice does not produce the desired progressive outcome, the Roberts court will find itself attacked as institutionally illegitimate.” This week, The Journal’s editorial board took aim at the new development in the census case under the headline “Census Target: John Roberts.” “Whenever you read ‘legitimacy’ in a sentence about the court, you know it’s a political missile aimed directly at Chief Justice John Roberts.”
The conservatives’ touchiness about the chief justice’s reliability is easy enough to understand. It stems from his unexpected vote in 2012 to uphold the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. The Washington Post columnist George Will, who had excellent access to the Supreme Court while his friend Antonin Scalia was alive, provided an early indication of trouble ahead in a column he published a month before the court issued the Obamacare decision. Mr. Will’s target in the column, headlined “Liberals Put the Squeeze to Justice Roberts,” wasn’t the media but rather Democratic politicians who were warning about damage that would befall the court if a five-member majority made up of Republican-appointed justices struck down President Barack Obama’s prime legislative accomplishment. In die-hard conservative circles, Chief Justice Roberts is still regarded as a traitor, even though it is surpassingly difficult to think of other examples of apostasy aside from his votes in the two Obamacare decisions.
Yet the steady flow of right-wing commentary mocking concerns about the Supreme Court’s legitimacy (and I readily admit to having added my voice to those concerns) leaves me with this thought: What about the other justices? Why is it assumed on the right that Chief Justice Roberts is the only conservative on the court who has its welfare in view and who worries about the loss of public confidence if the justices come to be seen as mere politicians in robes?
Maybe the question answers itself. (Speaking of election law, it was Justice Clarence Thomas who wrote in a separate opinion three years ago that he regarded the court’s “one person, one vote” jurisprudence as lacking a “sound basis.”) Justice Samuel Alito? The new justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh? Shouldn’t we assume that they care too? And if not, why not? As the clock ticks toward the 2020 census, just asking."
Opinion | Who Cares About the Supreme Court’s ‘Legitimacy’? - The New York Times
Joe Biden's past abortion record holds surprises: report. Joe Biden's past opposition to most federal funding for abortion services is more striking than previously recognized, according to an NBC News review of his Senate voting record. Reporter Heidi Przybyla discusses."
"Joe Biden's past opposition to most federal funding for abortion services is more striking than previously recognized, according to an NBC News review of his Senate voting record. Reporter Heidi Przybyla discusses."
Joe Biden's past abortion record holds surprises: report
Joe Biden's past abortion record holds surprises: report
Tuesday, June 04, 2019
Monday, June 03, 2019
Donald Trump and the Central Park Five: the racially charged rise of a demagogue | US news | The Guardian. Donald Trump called for the death penalty for these Black teenagers falsely accused of rape and after they served 15 years in jail and DNA exonerated them he said he believed they were still guilty. Given this history, it is revolting that some people hesitate to see Donald Trump impeached for his crimes. Ignorance is rampant in America.
Donald Trump and the Central Park Five: the racially charged rise of a demagogue | US news | The Guardian
"Coverage of violent crime is a staple of American news, yet only a handful of stories capture the attention of the nation. Even fewer go on to inform the trajectory of American legal proceedings. The acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay tackles one of the most significant criminal cases of the 1990s with her miniseries When They See Us, which premiered on Netflix on May 31. In four episodes, DuVernay provides the most complete account of the impact of the “Central Park Jogger” case on the lives of the defendants and their families.
On April 19, 1989, police found the body of a 28-year-old white woman in New York’s Central Park. She was covered in blood and nearly dead after a brutal sexual assault. Trisha Meili, the injured party, was not the only victim of the night’s horrific events. So, too, were Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise, Yusef Salaam, and Antron McCray—the kids, ages 14, 15, and 16, who were wrongfully convicted of her attack. Despite no DNA evidence, fingerprints, blood, or semen linking any of the black and brown boys to the crime, all five defendants grew up in prison, each one spending between six and 13 years behind bars.
When They See Us is primarily focused on the racist logic of the policing, court, and prison systems that cost the five defendants their childhood. The series also profoundly illuminates some inherent problems in American criminal justice from a range of perspectives. Viewers get an intimate glimpse of mothers, fathers, and siblings fighting for the freedom of their loved ones; law-enforcement authorities classifying these same boys as “animals”; and protesters on both sides holding signs, declaring It’s Not Open Season on Women or The Real Rapist in Court Today Is the New York Police and the D.A.
Ultimately, the hysteria surrounding the Central Park Jogger case gave rise to new language about black-youth crime, and to new laws that caused more children to stand trial as adults than at any other time in American history. When They See Us gets the audience closer to understanding why juvenile and adult prison populations exploded through the 1990s, and how the United States became home to the largest incarceration system in the world.
A courtroom scene from When They See Us
Photo by: Atsushi Nishijima / Netflix
The series begins on the morning of April 19, introducing viewers to the five teenagers as they navigated an ordinary day in their Harlem neighborhood. McCray (played by Caleel Harris), a rising Little League star, discussed the Yankees with his father (Michael K. Williams). Richardson (Asante Blackk), a trumpet player, anticipated being named first chair as he walked home from school with his older sister. Meanwhile, Santana (Marquis Rodriguez) and Wise (Jharrel Jerome) seemed primarily occupied with impressing girls, as Salaam (Ethan Herisse) avoided a bully. By nighttime, the boys had entered Central Park together, along with 25 to 35 others—some of whom began throwing rocks at cars, harassing passersby, and beating up homeless people. When the police arrived, the crowd scattered. The officers managed to catch five boys during the chase, including Richardson and Santana, who were taken to the Central Park station for questioning.
Initially, the police prepared to charge the kids with unlawful assembly and refer them to the children’s court system. But New York District Attorney Linda Fairstein (Felicity Huffman) and investigators quickly concluded that the boys instead were Meili’s attackers and built a case around them, rather than conducting a full investigation. “Every young black male who was in the park last night is a suspect in the rape of that woman who is fighting for her life,” Huffman’s Fairstein says to NYPD officers. She called for the deployment of an “army of blue up on Harlem” and encouraged police to “stop every little thug you see.”
The police, investigators, and the press dubbed the boys’ actions in the park that night “wilding.” Two days after the remaining three suspects had been arrested, the New York Post portrayed “wilding” as “packs of bloodthirsty teens from the tenements, bursting with boredom and rage, roam[ing] the streets getting kicks from an evening of ultra-violence.” Soon the term became part of the national discourse, with the newscaster Tom Brokaw describing “wilding” as “rampaging in wolf packs and attacking people just for the fun of it” on NBC Nightly News. Peter Jennings of ABC named it “terror,” plain and simple.
The concept of “wilding” and the racist assumptions behind it made it seem plausible to law-enforcement authorities and the public that black and brown boys’ mischief could easily turn into violent rape. In When They See Us, viewers hear excerpts from the New York Post columnist Pete Hamill’s April 23 account. “They were coming downtown from a world of crack, welfare, guns, knives, indifference, and ignorance,” Hamill wrote, “and driven by a collective fury, brimming with the rippling energies of youth … they had only one goal: to smash, hurt, rob, stomp, rape.” For Hamill, “wilding” was an expression of class and racial hatred. “The enemies were rich. The enemies were white.” The implication was that “wilding” would destroy affluent, white New York if young black and brown boys and men were not severely punished. DuVernay reminds her audience that Donald Trump purchased $85,000 ads in New York City newspapers that screamed “BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE!”
Read: Ava DuVernay does true crime differently in ‘When They See Us’
Five years later, the animalistic premise of “wilding” that When They See Us so vividly illuminates received academic treatment. In his definitive 1995 Weekly Standard essay, “The Coming of the Super-Predators,” John DiLulio Jr.—then a politics and public-policy professor at Princeton—predicted that immediate demographic shifts would “unleash an army of young male predatory street criminals.” These chiefly black and brown youths were, according to DiLulio, “so impulsive, so remorseless, that [they] can kill, rape, maim, without giving it a second thought.” Politicians and the media seized on the “super-predator” idea, just as they had done with “wilding.” Three months after the release of DiLulio’s article, then–first lady Hillary Clinton famously called for authorities to bring “the kinds of kids who are called ‘super-predators,’ no conscience, no empathy … to heel.”
Amid the “super-predator” frenzy, nearly every state passed laws that made it easier to punish children as young as 13 as adults and, in some cases, sentence them to life without the possibility of parole. In 1998 alone, roughly 200,000 youths were put through the adult court system, and the majority of them were black. Sixteen-year-old Korey Wise was the only Central Park Five defendant to be tried as an adult, and the fourth episode of When They See Us is mainly told from his perspective. With an exceptional performance by Jharrel Jerome—who plays Wise both as a boy and as an adult, and imbues the role with empathy—the episode exposes the horrors children experience when they are locked up with adults. In one scene, for instance, a Rikers Island guard helps two prisoners orchestrate a violent attack against Wise. The teen then chooses to enter solitary confinement for his own protection.
These practices went even further in the mid-1990s. Though Trump’s 1989 call for the execution of the Central Park Five went unfulfilled, between the release of “The Coming of the Super-Predators” in 1995 and the Supreme Court’s Roper v. Simmons decision, which outlawed the death penalty for juveniles in 2005, 62 percent of the children placed on death row across the U.S. were black or Latino.
But by the late 1990s, it became clear that DiLulio’s “super-predators” were not, in fact, coming for blood. Youth violence had declined—not drastically increased—and a number of prominent criminologists discredited DiLulio’s data. He apologized in 2001 for “any unintended consequences.” A year later, after DNA evidence linked a serial rapist and murderer named Matias Reyes to Meili’s attack, the New York Supreme Court vacated the Central Park Five’s convictions. And in 2014, the court settled a civil case with the five men for $41 million. Nonetheless, the “super-predator” myth irrevocably altered the lives of McCray, Richardson, Salaam, Santana, Wise, and tens of thousands of youths and their families, with the proliferation of misguided state and federal policies.
Super-predator may now be seen as a dirty word (and indeed came to haunt Clinton during her 2016 presidential-election bid), but the “wilding” concept that emerged during the Central Park Jogger case is alive and well. The most recent usage came almost 30 years to the day of Meili’s rape, on April 17, 2019, after a reported 500 black youths in Chicago descended on Millennium Park, allegedly stealing from and harassing tourists. The local news described their actions as “wilding.” An official blamed “soft on crime” policies, warning of more “wilding” to come. As DuVernay’s strongest work to date, When They See Us should inspire people to recognize that crime-control policies and the racist ideas behind them must change. Otherwise, the history of the Central Park Five is likely to repeat itself."
'When They See Us' Shows a Case's Impact on U.S. Policy - The Atlantic