Seek

Subscribe   Contact   

Twitter       Facebook  

About         Archives


HEADLINES

Latest Entries
More News

OLDER HEADLINES
Login
Powered by Squarespace


Racist Suspect Watch
Racist Business Index
Support Justice!


free your mind!

Cress Welsing: The Definition of Racism White Supremacy

Dr. Blynd: The Definition of Racism

Anon: What is Racism/White Supremacy?

Dr. Bobby Wright: The Psychopathic Racial Personality

The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy)

What is the First Step in Counter Racism?

Genocide: a system of white survival

The Creation of the Negro

The Mysteries of Melanin

'Racism is a behavioral system for survival'

Fear of annihilation drives white racism

Dr. Blynd: The Definition of Caucasian

Where are all the Black Jurors? 

The War Against Black Males: Black on Black Violence Caused by White Supremacy/Racism

Brazen Police Officers and the Forfeiture of Freedom

White Domination, Black Criminality

Fear of a Colored Planet Fuels Racism: Global White Population Shrinking, Less than 10%

Race is Not Real but Racism is

The True Size of Africa

What is a Nigger? 

MLK and Imaginary Freedom: Chains, Plantations, Segregation, No Longer Necessary ['Our Condition is Getting Worse']

Chomsky on "Reserving the Right to Bomb Niggers." 

A Goal of the Media is to Make White Dominance and Control Over Everything Seem Natural

"TV is reversing the evolution of the human brain." Propaganda: How You Are Being Mind Controlled And Don't Know It.

Spike Lee's Mike Tyson and Don King

"Zapsters" - Keeping what real? "Non-white People are Actors. The Most Unrealistic People on the Planet"

Black Power in a White Supremacy System

Neely Fuller Jr.: "If you don't understand racism/white supremacy, everything else that you think you understand will only confuse you"

The Image and the Christian Concept of God as a White Man

'In order for this system to work, We have to feel most free and independent when we are most enslaved, in fact we have to take our enslavement as the ultimate sign of freedom'

Why do White Americans need to criminalize significant segments of the African American population?

Who Told You that you were Black or Latino or Hispanic or Asian? White People Did

Malcolm X: "We Have a Common Enemy"

Links

Deeper than Atlantis
Thursday
Mar302017

Barry Scheck and Yusef Salaam Urge New York Lawmakers to Pass Recorded Interrogations Legislation

Innocence Project

Innocence Project Co-Founder Barry Scheck and Yusef Salaam of the Central Park Five sat down with PIX11 News on Tuesday to discuss proposed reforms which intend to prevent wrongful convictions in New York.

The budget, which is currently before the state legislature, includes provisions which would require police to video record all custodial interrogations of suspects in major crimes and eyewitness identification best practices.

Salaam was wrongfully convicted of the notorious 1989 Central Park jogger rape case, along with Raymond Santana, Kevin Richardson, Korey Wise and Antron McCray after his codefendants falsely confessed to the crime after hours of interrogation by police. Their confessions were recorded, but the many hours of coercive interrogation that led up to the confession were not.

“When officers get in the room with suspects, we want to show juries everything that happens,” Salaam told PIX11 News.

In 2015, a bill with these provisions passed the state senate but not the assembly. The budget proposal is backed by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Scheck urged lawmakers to finally pass the legislation.

“That will greatly reduce wrongful convictions at the front end,” Scheck told PIX11 News. “There’s no reason why New York shouldn’t lead the way.”

Watch the PIX11 News broadcast here.

Learn how you can voice your support for wrongful conviction reforms in New York here.

Thursday
Mar302017

Study Reveals How Aparthied Is Hurting Chicago

Here & Now

The Chicago region is one of the most segregated in the country, both racially and economically, and according to a new study from the Chicago-based Metropolitan Planning Council and the D.C.-based Urban Institute, that's hurting the city.

The study finds that if the region were to address its segregation problem, it could reduce the murder rate, raise salaries for black residents and dramatically improve the economy. Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson talks with one of the study's co-authors, Marisa Novara (@marisa_novara), vice president at the Metropolitan Planning Council.

Thursday
Mar302017

Blue Pill- The Secret Power of Meditation, Changing Your Frequency, and Positive Thoughts

Thursday
Mar302017

Black prosecutor: “[Florida Gov.] Scott said he was only interested in my recusal and refused to have a detailed conversation.”

TheIntercept

THE TOP PROSECUTOR in Orlando, Florida, took to a podium outside the Orange County courthouse last week to outline a new policy: Her office would no longer seek the death penalty in any capital case.

The prosecutor, State Attorney Aramis Ayala, told assembled reporters that seeking the death penalty is “not in the best interests of this community or in the interest of justice.” After considerable research, she said, she had concluded that capital punishment offers no empirical benefits to society: It is not a deterrent, it neither enhances public safety nor protects law enforcement officers from violence, and it costs millions more — in litigation and housing — to kill a defendant than it does to confine them behind bars for life.

And in Florida in particular, she said, the death penalty system has been the “cause of considerable legal chaos, uncertainty, and turmoil.”

Indeed, the U.S. Supreme Court last year found the state’s capital sentencing scheme unconstitutional. Florida’s highest court subsequently concluded that more than 200 of the 381 inmates on death row in the state could be eligible for new sentencing hearings as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.

Even with the system in such disarray, Ayala’s decision to stop seeking the death penalty was bound to be controversial. But the announcement has kicked off a firestorm — especially due to its impact on a high-profile murder case, in which a man named Markeith Loyd is accused of killing his pregnant ex-girlfriend and, perhaps more politically potent, an Orlando police officer.

The controversy sets Ayala, the first black elected state attorney in Florida, who campaigned last year on a promise to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system, against Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and the knee-jerk “tough-on-crime” politics still prominent in the state.

Thursday
Mar302017

Millions of Muslims take part in mass pilgrimage of Arbaeen – in spite of Isis

Independent.Uk

Millions of Shia Muslims have taken part in one of the biggest marches in the world, as they travel through Iraq in celebration of a famous Muslim martyr.

The marchers made their way to the city of Karbala, 62 miles south west of Baghdad, on Sunday and Monday for the holy day of Arbaeen, which marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, the religious ritual that commemorates the death of the Prophet Mohammad's grandson Imam Hussein in 680 AD. 

Large crowds visit the shrines of Imam Hussein and his half-brother Abbas in Karbala, where they were killed in a revolt against the Umayyad ruler Yazeed in the 7th century AD when they refused to pledge allegiance to Yazeed's Umayyad caliphate. 

Nusayyef al-Khattabi, who heads the Karbala provincial council, said he expected the total number of visitors over several days to range “between 17 million and 20 million”. Among them are an estimated three million foreigners, the majority Iranians who started crossing the border days ago. 

Many choose to make the journey on foot, despite travelling near Isis-controlled areas in the country and the extremist group having made frequent deadly attacks on the pilgrimage. [MORE]

Tuesday
Mar282017

White House refuses to condemn murder of black man by white supremacist

WashPost

James Harris Jackson, a 28-year-old white supremacist from Baltimore, traveled to New York City and brutally murdered Timothy Caughman, a 66-year-old black man, with a sword.

On Monday, April Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, asked Press Secretary Sean Spicer if the White House had anything to say about this hate crime.

Spicer repeatedly refused to saying anything specific about the murder, stating that he was “not going to reference any particular case before the DOJ right now.” He later added the he didn’t “know all the details.”

One detail is that Jackson reportedly told authorities that he killed Caughman for the “rush.” Jackson, who has taken responsibility for the murder, traveled to New York “to kill as many black men as he could.” He also expressed regret that he didn’t kill a “young thug.”

Instead of addressing the murder, Spicer went on a number of bizarre tangents. He told Ryan that there has been “a rush to judgment in a lot of other cases,” specifically anti-semitic attacks, where people have demanded Trump condemn the violence. Later, Spicer said, people have learned that the attacks were not perpetrated by “people on the right.”

Of course, Ryan wasn’t asking the White House to comment because Jackson was a member of the “right” but because he stands accused of a vicious racially-motivated murder.

Spicer also noted, somewhat inexplicably, that Trump had discussed “crime and education” with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Trump has a history of reticence to condemn hate crimes and hate groups. At a press conference in February, Trump was asked about the rise in anti-semitic attacks in the United States and responded with an analysis of the electoral college. [MORE]

Monday
Mar202017

SNigger David Clarke Should Know His Masters Can Replace Him @ Anytime: Suit says jail forced a white woman to give birth while in shackles

Thinkprogress

In July 2016, a newborn baby died at the Milwaukee County Jail after the mother was forced to give birth on her cell floor. Now, three months after Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke’s Office was sued over the baby’s death, the controversial law enforcement leader is being sued for additional jail abuse of pregnant women.

According to a federal lawsuit filed on March 14, plaintiff Melissa Hall was shackled before, during, and after childbirth at a local hospital in 2013. A “belly chain” was allegedly wrapped around her waist when she needed to use the restroom, and she had “her wrists attached to the waist and her legs attached to one another by leg-irons.” Hall claims the jail deputies also denied medical providers’ request to take the chains off her during childbirth, which made it difficult for those providers to give her an epidural.

“The shackling and its consequences caused emotional and physical pain and suffering, discomfort, left marks on Plaintiff’s body, and exposed her to unreasonable risks of harm,” the lawsuit states.

Hall is the only plaintiff named so far, but her attorneys hope to represent more than 40 other women who were shackled while pregnant under Clarke’s leadership. The lawsuit claims that his jail has a “blanket shackling policy” as opposed to one that considers the security threat and risks associated with shackling individual women.

The shackling of pregnant detainees is a widespread trend, despite health risks to women and their babies. The practice leaves marks and bruises and prohibits women’s movement during labor and childbirth, rendering them unable to find a position to minimize pain. The restraints impede women’s balance, and hinder doctors’ ability to perform emergency procedures and maneuver the mothers to ensure a safe delivery.

Several law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement restrict the use of shackles on pregnant women, reserving the chains for detainees who are considered a safety or security threat.

“The misconduct described in this Count was undertaken with malice, willfulness, and reckless indifference to the rights of others, and was objectively unreasonable,” Hall’s lawsuit says. Her allegations are the most recent in a long line of abuse accusations lodged at Clarke and his jail. In June, Clark will appear in court as a defendant in a class action lawsuit regarding the jail’s shackling of additional pregnant women from February 2010 on.

The Milwaukee jail is also known for an alarming number of deaths in 2016. Four people died within its walls last year, including the newborn baby and a male detainee who died of thirst.

Clarke himself is an enthusiastic supporter of President Donald Trump and a proponent of vigilante justice. In the past he encouraged violence against Trump’s opponents and said Black Lives Matter activists are “black slime” who should be “eradicated from American society.”

Monday
Mar202017

100% of the Africans Invited to a US-Africa Trade Conference Were Denied Their Visas

From [HERE] and [HERE] The annual African Global Economic and Development (AGED) Summit, held every year in the United States, is used to some visa troubles. “Usually we get 40 percent [of visas] that get rejected, but the others come,” said Mary Flowers, chair of the AGED Summit. “This year it was 100 percent. Every delegation.”

Voice of America reported that the delegates, many of them government officials and business leaders, were denied a chance to enter America to meet their counterparts in what an organiser termed discrimination against African nations. "I have to say that most of us feel it's a discrimination issue with the African nations...We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent," said Mary Flowers, who chairs the African Global Economic and Development Summit.

"I have to say that most of us feel it's a discrimination issue with the African nations...We experience it over and over and over, and the people being rejected are legitimate business people with ties to the continent," said Mary Flowers, who chairs the African Global Economic and Development Summit.

This year's summit started on March 16, 2017 and ended two days later. The summit, organised by The University of Southern California, was meant to promote bilateral foreign direct investment, international trade, cultural exchange and tourism with the 54 individual countries in Africa. It was the first time that the event went on without Africans, organisers said. The Trump administration is progressively tightening its immigration policies and slamming doors on foreigners. The American government has introduced visa bans for citizens from six Muslim countries. Kenya Chamber of Commerce and Industry chairman Kiprono Kittony expressed disgust, saying: "If the reports are true, then this is something that we would like to condemn in the strongest terms possible." ALSO READ: No exams for Tanzanian doctors as medical board releases requirements Social media users, reacting to the VOA report, were equally disappointed. "Why not hold the summit in Ghana, Ethiopia or South Africa? I am sure that The University of Southern California can partner with African institutions to organise it....bring us some much needed revenue. The weather is great here," said one social media user. Another one replied: "Because the point is to get Africans to meet with business leaders and government officials who are not easy to reach. If the first step was for them to travel to Africa they would never go on this trip!" "This kind of idiotic travel ban is just the beginning of the sharp decline of the American soft power the Trump administration is heading to. In a couple of years, US officials and businesses alike will complain that other global players such as China will have replaced them on the fastest growing continent on earth..." yet another added. Countries whose delegations were affected included Sierra Leone, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa. Reports indicated the delegates are said to have been called for visa interviews a few days before their travel date though they had applied several weeks before. "Usually we get 40 per cent that get rejected but the others come," said Flowers. "This year it was 100 per cent. Every delegation." VOA reported that one of those denied a visa was Prince Kojo Hilton, a Ghanaian artist, whose work includes special effects and graphic art. He paid his Sh51,500 ($500) fee to attend the event and was asked to lead a session on filmmaking.

Read more at: https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001233293/africans-denied-visas-to-attend-trade-meeting-in-us

Monday
Mar202017

Palestine: Resistance against Occupation, Colonialism and Apartheid

Global Research

Hatem Abudayeeh, an Arab leader in the United States, speaks out on the Question of Palestine. An American son of Palestinians, Hatem is Executive Director of Arab American Action Network (AAAN), and co-founder and national coordinating committee member of the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN).

Edu Montesanti: How do you see the meeting between President Donald Trump and Prime-Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on February 15, especially the following observations by the American president: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state” formulations, Mr. Trump said during a White House news conference with Mr. Netanyahu. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one”?

Hatem Abudayyeh: Half of what Trump says is based on a lack of knowledge and understanding of domestic or foreign policy. He says the first thing that comes into his head with no regard for precedent or ramifications. He wants to run the U.S. like he runs his businesses and his relationships with women, like an autocrat. But the other half of what he says is based on an ultra-right wing worldview, so this could be that.

This sounds like he wants to help Israel achieve the Ersatz (Greater) Israel dream of the most fascist and rabid of zionists, not the one state solution that most progressive Palestinians like we in the U.S. Palestinian Community Network (USPCN) would want.

Edu Montesanti: Why cannot Israel and the Palestinians decide alone the question? Why do Palestinians need a third party to get an agreement?

Hatem Abudayyeh: The Palestinian question is not only one that affects us and the settler-colonialist Europeans who live on our land, but the entire region of the Arab World and the Middle East.  So it’s a global question that does not necessarily need only a third party, but many parties. 

We know clearly that the U.S. is not an honest broker and has never been one, so we have absolutely no interest in Trump or his ideas, even if he has invited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House.

The Israelis will not accept any political or diplomatic pressure, so the pressure must instead come from the Palestinian resistance, in all its forms.

Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) has become an international phenomenon, even in the U.S., and Palestinians inside the borders of historic Palestine, including those who live inside the 1948 territories, must continue organizing and struggling to put pressure on the racist Israeli regime.

Edu Montesanti: The passage of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 voted on December 23 last year, condemning the Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and a major impediment to the achievement of a two-state solution, changes nothing on the ground between Israel and the Palestinians. UN member states “agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council” according to the UN Charter. Human rights and the international community also condemns the Israeli settlements and military attacks against Palestinians. As journalist Daoud Kuttab observed last month in Al-Jazeera, in the article US and Israel join forces to bury Palestinian statehood:”Ever since the 1967 occupation, the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly expressed the illegality of the occupation, as in the preamble of Resolution 242 “emphasizing inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war.” Why does nothing change year by year, massacre after massacre?

Hatem Abudayyeh: Nothing changes because of the U.S., which uses and needs Israel as its proxy state in the Arab World.  Many people misrepresent the conflict and believe that the zionists dictate U.S. foreign policy, whether those zionists are in Israel, Europe, the U.S., or even the Arab World.  But in reality, it is U.S. imperialism that unequivocally supports Israel diplomatically, politically, militarily, and financially, because the U.S. needs Israel to safeguard its economic interests in the Arab World.

The U.S. knows that the Arab masses will not stay silent, and will rise up to overthrow dictators like they did in Egypt, Tunisia, and Yemen in 2011. The white, settler-colonialist state of Israel provides the U.S. security that Arab states (regardless of how corrupt and autocratic they are) cannot.

So it is U.S. policy that allows Israel to continue to violate the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people, including self determination, the Right of Return, and independence.

Edu Montesanti: You know the Western media distorts the facts involving this massacre against Palestinians. Please number the crimes or at least some of them committed by Israel.

Hatem Abudayyeh: Collective punishment, home demolitions, expropriation of land, administrative detention, settler violence and killings, military violence and killing, racist legislative and judicial decisions inside Israel affecting 1948 Palestinians, and many others.

Edu Montesanti: How do you evaluate the Western media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Hatem Abudayyeh: Ultimately, the media is the tool of the government in the U.S. and other Western countries.  As I stated above, the U.S. needs Israel to safeguard its interests in the Arab World and Middle East, so its media coverage of the conflict must reflect almost unequivocal support of Israel as well.

That is why there is no balance in the Western media coverage, and why independent media is so important in this day and age.

Edu Montesanti: Would you please comment a little more about the Zionist lobby in US politics? And comment please how it interferes in the peace process in the Question of Palestine.

Hatem Abudayyeh: The zionist lobby is powerful, we acknowledge, but it is not the ultimate determinant of U.S. foreign policy.  It has money and political capital, of course, and definitely pushes Israeli propaganda in the U.S. Congress and across the country, but even if it were non-existent, the U.S. government would still support Israel the way it does currently.

Edu Montesanti: Professor Avi Shlaim observed weeks ago, in Al-Jazeera: ”Sadly, the Palestinians are handicapped by weak leadership and by the internal rivalry between Fatah and Hamas.” Your view on the internal politics among Palestinians, please.

Hatem Abudayyeh: The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank became a comprador years ago, and the cabal around PA President Mahmoud Abbas will continue to work with the enemy to repress Palestinian resistance.

There are many elements of Fatah that are patriotic and want to resist Israel, but ultimately, they never truly challenge the PA. Hamas, on the other hand, has recently played the most leading role in the military resistance against Israel, so its popularity has risen accordingly over the years.

But it is also guilty of some repression against non-Hamas Palestinian forces in Gaza, and it has not been able to administer the Gaza Strip in a way that makes people’s lives better, but this is mostly due to the Israeli and Egyptian siege on the tiny piece of land.

The vast majority of Palestinians want peace and justice, and know that can only happen if we continue our resistance against the oppressor.

The best way for that to happen is to give up on the notion that we are in a “state building” stage of our revolution. We are not. We are still in the national liberation stage, so it doesn’t matter who the president of the PA is, or even that there are two PAs right now, one in the West Bank and one in Gaza.

What needs to happen is for true national unity that includes not only Fatah and Hamas, but all the other Palestinian political parties and forces as well.  The Palestinian victory against Israel in 2014 was won because the resistance was unified, and only political unity can win freedom and independence.

We need a re-formed PLO that does not make concessions to Israel and the U.S., and that truly represents all the resistance forces and social sectors of Palestinian society.

Edu Montesanti: What could we expect from Arab leaders from now on?

Hatem Abudayyeh: Most Arab leaders in the Arab World are corrupt tools of the U.S., and by extension, Israel.  These leaders will do nothing to challenge the status quo, and only care about keeping themselves in power.

On the other hand, the Arab masses can and will make a difference, by winning their own independence in their own countries, and then providing leadership that supports the Palestinian people in our struggle for freedom.

Edu Montesanti: What is the solution to the conflict?  What are the principal obstacles to a fair agreement and solutions?

Hatem Abudayyeh: The solution is a simple one.  We do not accept the notion of a racist, white, settler-colonialist state, like the one in South Africa during the Apartheid regime there.

Israel is a racist state, and so it must be dismantled like Apartheid South Africa was. If this happens, and if Palestinian refugees are able to return to their homes and lands inside historic Palestine, and if the military occupation is defeated and ended, then all the people can live together in one, single state.

This is the only solution, because Palestinian refugees will never give up their Right of Return, and Israel will eventually be forced to end its occupation and oppression of Palestinians in the 1948 territories, the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

When the racist structures of zionist Israel are dismantled, then there can be equality for all people living there.  And this will happen as long as the international community continues to organize BDS campaigns, the people of the U.S. continue to strike blows against U.S. imperialism they way they have been in the anti-Trump movement, and the Palestinians continue their legitimate resistance against occupation, colonialism, and apartheid.

Monday
Mar202017

Second State In Less Than A Month Challenges Fed, Passes Bill To Treat Gold And Silver As Money

BlackListed News

The second state in less than a month has made a direct challenge to the Federal Reserve monopoly on money, by forwarding a bill that would “eliminate capital gains taxes on gold and silver specie.” The Idaho House voted by a margin of 56-13 on March 14 to pass House Bill 206, following the Arizona House’s approval of a similar bill.

According to the Tenth Amendment Center:

The legislation would amend Idaho revenue statutes, providing “that capital gains and losses on precious metals bullion and monetized bullion sales be added to or subtracted from Idaho taxable income.…

Idaho H206 is a revenue neutral proposal over the long run. That’s because both precious metals gains (income) and losses are backed out of the calculation of taxable income for Idahoans. While H206’s passage will have little fiscal impact on Idaho tax revenues, it will have a larger impact on Idahoans’ freedoms.

Capital gains tax on gold and silver is an insidious disincentive based on intentional dollar devaluation. When the dollar’s purchasing power goes down, the metals’ nominal dollar value goes up, triggering a “gain” which is taxed.

If the bill can survive the attack of central economic planners who believe that crushing debt and inflation is the best path toward prosperity, it could pave the way for currency competition. Critical to the Fed’s campaign is perpetuating the belief that gold and silver are merely investments and speculation – rather than the market opportunity is it of creating sound money.

Even though the Constitution recognizes gold and silver as money, the Internal Revenue Service classifies them as “property” which should be taxed as a commodity. It’s no coincidence that the personal income tax (16th Amendment) and the Federal Reserve were established in the same year, 1913. Prior to this, America was experiencing its greatest period of economic growth in history.

Arizona and Idaho seek to join two other states, Utah and Oklahoma, in freeing gold and silver from taxation in the interest of pursuing currency competition and sound money. While these four states are certainly not the most enlightened in other areas – namely the War on Drugs – their efforts at challenging the Federal Reserve are laudable.

Passage into law would mark an important step towards currency competition. If sound money gains a foothold in the marketplace against Federal Reserve notes, the people would be able to choose the time-tested stability of gold and silver over the central bank’s rapidly-depreciating paper currency. The freedom of choice expanded by H206 would allow Idaho residents to secure the purchasing power of their money.

“This isn’t going to end the fed’s monetary monopoly overnight, but it sets the foundation and opens the door for more market activity by the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said. “This is an important part of the overall strategy, and activists in Idaho should continue working to get this bill passed.”

Arizona Rep. Mark Finchem, when introducing the sound money bill in his state, argued that any perceived capital gain from gold and silver is not actually a gain, but a protection against losing money in the inflationary federal reserve system.

“Let’s say it takes 1,200 of them to buy a U.S. Mint gold coin today, but tomorrow it takes 1,300 of those federal reserve notes,” said Finchem. “You’ve actually experienced a loss. It’s called inflation. The Internal Revenue Service for many, many years has been taxing inflation as though it was a gain.

“The U.S. Mint is charged with protecting the value of money, but the Federal Reserve creates nothing but debt,” Finchem continued. “Yet Congress authorized a tax when making the exchange of precious metals for dollars. It’s illegal and they know it, this bill is an effort by one state to protect the people from such confiscation.”

Monday
Mar202017

US House approves bill making it easier for 'mentally incompetent' veterans to purchase guns

Jurist

The US House of Representatives [official website] approved [materials] a bill [text] on Thursday making it easier for certain veterans to obtain firearms. The bill adds a requirement that declaring a veteran mentally defective for purposes of restricting their ability to purchase or own a firearm must be done with an "order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others." 18 USC § 922 [text] makes it illegal to sell a firearm to an individual who has been adjudicated as a mental defective...

Monday
Mar202017

In E-mails, Neil Gorsuch Praised a Leading Republican Activist Behind Voter Suppression Efforts

From [HERE] Few people in the Republican Party have done more to limit voting rights than Hans von Spakovsky. He’s been instrumental in spreading the myth of widespread voter fraud and backing new restrictions to make it harder to vote. 

But it appears that von Spakovsky had an admirer in Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, according to e-mails released to the Senate Judiciary Committee covering Gorsuch’s time working in the George W. Bush Administration.

When President Bush nominated von Spakovksy to the Federal Election Commission in late 2005, Gorsuch wrote, “Good for Hans!”

In another e-mail, when von Spakovksy said he was participating in a “Ballot Access and Voter Integrity Conference” at the Justice Department, Gorsuch wrote, “Sounds interesting. Glad to see you’re doing this. I may try to attend some of it.” Though the Justice Department was supposed to investigate both voting discrimination and voter fraud, the latter cause took priority and eventually led to Republican US Attorneys’ being wrongly fired from their jobs for refusing to prosecute fraud cases.

At very least, the e-mails suggest Gorsuch was friendly with von Spakovksy. But it’s far more disturbing if Gorsuch shares Von Spakovsky’s views on voting rights. Given that we know almost nothing about Gorsuch’s views on the subject, this is something the Senate needs to press him on during confirmation hearings next week.

Though the e-mails sound mundane, they’re much more important when you consider what was happening at the Justice Department during the time Gorsuch overlapped with von Spakovksy. In 2005–06 Gorsuch was principal deputy to the associate attorney general and von Spakosvky was special counsel to Brad Schlozman, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, who said he wanted to “gerrymander all of those crazy libs right out of the [voting] section.” It was a time when longtime civil-rights lawyers were pushed out of the Justice Department and the likes of Schlozman and von Spakovsky reversed the Civil Rights Division’s traditional role of safeguarding voting rights. When von Spakovsky was nominated to the FEC, six former lawyers in the voting section called him “the point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division’s mandate to protect voting rights.”

In particular, von Spakovsky manipulated the process to approve Georgia’s strict voter-ID law in 2005, which was among the first of its kind. (I tell this story in great detail in my book Give Us the Ballot.) Von Spakovsky had been an advocate of such laws nationally and in Georgia specifically, where he was from, since the 1990s. “Requiring official picture identification such as a driver’s license with a current address would immediately cut down on a large amount of fraud,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal in 1995. Two years later, he recommended, “Georgia should require all potential voters to present reliable photo identifications at their polling locations to help prevent impostors from voting.”

Georgia’s voter-ID law was submitted to the Justice Department in 2005 under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which required states like Georgia with a long history of voting discrimination to approve their voting changes with the federal government. The sponsor of the law, Republican Representative Sue Burmeister, told department lawyers, “If there are fewer black voters because of the bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. She said when black voters in her precinct are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.”

Her racially inflammatory assertions set off alarm bells among the team reviewing the submission, indicating that the law may have been enacted with a discriminatory purpose. Department lawyers feared the bill would disenfranchise thousands of voters.

Atlanta’s Mayor, Shirley Franklin, told the story of her 84-year-old mother, who had recently moved from Philadelphia to Atlanta and could not obtain a new photo ID for voting. Her expired Pennsylvania driver’s license was rejected as sufficient documentation to obtain a Georgia ID card, and she was told to produce a copy of her birth certificate. But Franklin’s mother had been born at home in North Carolina and, like many elderly African Americans who grew up during Jim Crow, never had a birth certificate. After voting for 40 years, she would be disenfranchised by the new law.

Citing the high number of voters without ID, the disparate rates of ID possession among blacks and whites, the number of DMV offices that did not issue IDs, the cost of the ID and the underlying documents needed to obtain an ID (ranging from $20 for an ID card to $210 for naturalization papers), four of five members of the Georgia review team urged that the law be rejected under Section 5. “While no single piece of data confirms that blacks will [be] disparately impacted compared to whites, the totality of evidence points to that conclusion,” they wrote in a 51-page analysis.

Yet von Spakovsky placed a conservative lawyer on the review team, Joshua Rogers, who argued that the law should be approved. Von Spakovsky began secretly e-mailing Rogers copies of his articles, and arguments and analysis in favor of the Georgia ID law. He told him to password protect his computer so that no other attorneys on the team could see their correspondence. “They chose to put him on the case because of his political leanings and personal connection with von Spakovsky,” said Heather Moss, a member of the review team. Rogers’s dissenting memo, which was drafted with von Spakovsky’s input, became the basis for the Justice Department’s preclearance of the law.

A year later, when von Spakovsky was nominated to the FEC, it was revealed that he published a law article praising voter-ID laws under the pseudonym “Publius” just a week after Georgia submitted its law for review. The article in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, a conservative legal journal, was titled “Securing the Integrity of American Elections: The Need for Change” and its author was identified as “an attorney who specializes in election issues.” Publius, aka von Spakovsky, wrote: “It is unfortunately true that in the great democracy in which we live, voter fraud has had a long and studied role in our elections,” the article began. It continued: “putting security measures in place— such as requiring identification when voting— does not disenfranchise voters and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise.”

DOJ ethics guidelines clearly stated that von Spakovsky, given his longstanding advocacy for voter-ID laws and the strong viewpoints in his then-anonymous article, should have recused himself from consideration of Georgia’s law. Indeed, his ethical lapses and deceptive support for new voting restrictions were a major reason Senate Democrats blocked his nomination to the FEC and President Bush was forced to give him a recess appointment. (Then-Senator Barack Obama put a hold on von Spakovsky’s nomination and he withdrew in 2008, joining the Heritage Foundation, which has championed Gorsuch’s nomination.)

But that’s not all. In addition to the FEC, Von Spakovsky was also appointed to the advisory board of the Election Assistance Commission, created by the Help America Vote Act to analyze the country’s election problems. The commission hired two well- respected experts, Republican Job Serebrov and Democrat Tova Wang, to produce a comprehensive study on voter fraud. “There is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud, or at least much less than is claimed, including voter impersonation, ‘dead’ voters, non-citizen voting and felon voters,” a draft of the report stated. After von Spakovsky complained to the commission’s GOP leadership, the wording in the final report was changed to, “There is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.”

More recently, von Spakovsky has argued against that the Voting Rights Act was “constitutionally dubious at the time of its enactment” and praised Trump’s promised investigation into voter fraud, which has been widely panned by Democrats and Republicans. “The real problem in our election system is that we don’t really know to what extent President Trump’s claim is true because we have an election system that is based on the honor system,” he wrote with John Fund after Trump said with no evidence that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally.

Given that von Spakovsky hailed Gorsuch as “the perfect pick for Trump,” it’s safe to assume he believes that the Supreme Court nominee shares his views. The Senate needs to aggressively question Gorsuch to see if that’s the case.

Gorsuch has already cited Justice Antonin Scalia as a role model, who said the Voting Rights Act had led to a “perpetuation of racial entitlement.” Gorsuch, if confirmed, could be the deciding vote on whether to weaken the remaining sections of the VRA and whether to uphold discriminatory voter-ID laws and redistricting plans from states like North Carolina and Texas. In many ways, the fate of voting rights in the United States hangs on this nomination. [MORE] 

Monday
Mar202017

Netflix Acquires Film About 1969 LAPD Raid of Black Panther Party Headquarters

From [HEREDeadline reported yesterday (March 16) that Netflix purchased the rights to “The Stand Off,” which will dramatically retell the story of the 1969 Los Angeles Police Department’s newly created SWAT Team launching a violent five-and-a-half-hour assault on the local Black Panther Party headquarters. The film will show the raid from the perspective of the Panthers and the law enforcement officers. It will be helmed by Taiwanese-American director Justin Lin (“Star Trek Beyond”) using a script from writer Mark Heyman (“Black Swan”). There is no word on attached stars or Party consultants.

Monday
Mar202017

EPA gives Flint $100M to help repair pipes

From [HERE] Flint will soon start receiving $31.5 million of a total $100 million in federal funding to be used toward replacing old lead water lines, and it will be making other infrastructure repairs with the other tens of millions to follow.

U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee, all D-Mich., said this morning that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had approved $100 million in funding for Flint authorized under legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by former President Barack Obama late last year.

"Today, we have good news for families in Flint who have already waited far too long for their water system to be fixed,” they said in a joint statement. “After a hard-fought victory to secure $100 million in assistance last year, the City of Flint will finally begin receiving funding."

Lead levels jumped significantly in Flint residents' tap water after the city switched water sources in April 2014 and the state Department of Environmental Quality failed to require corrosion-control treatments. Without those treatments, the more corrosive Flint River water caused lead to leach out of old water pipes into the city's drinking water supply.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver, along with Kildee, who is from Flint Township, and others in Congress, fought throughout 2016 to try to secure funding that would allow the city to replace many of the old water lines, a task expected to cost $55 million or more. Millions more are believed to be needed to pay for other repairs and improvements throughout the city's water treatment and delivery system, as well as to fund maintenance.

Weaver, who has argued that the improvements are necessary to restore confidence in the local water system, said today she was "very grateful" for the funds.

“The City of Flint being awarded a grant of this magnitude in such a critical time of need will be a huge benefit," she said, adding that the city has a goal of replacing 6,000 pipes this year.

Gov. Rick Snyder said the funding, combined with nearly $250 million in state funding already committed toward addressing the water crisis in Flint since 2015, will help keep the city moving toward full recovery.

Added new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, “The people of Flint and all Americans deserve a more responsive federal government. EPA will especially focus on helping Michigan improve Flint’s water infrastructure as part of our larger goal of improving America’s water infrastructure.”

In order to win passage of the funding, Michigan senators had to battle to get it included in other legislation — first losing a fight to have it included in an energy bill, then getting it put into a bill related to water projects. It passed despite efforts in the House to have it stripped out of the final bill.

Under today's announcement, the EPA will start doling out the initial $31.5 million. That will also trigger $20 million in state matching funds for a total of $51.5 million for lead service-line replacements, distribution-main improvements and corrosion control.

At a later date, the remaining $68.5 million will be released to the city but will only be provided after Flint and state officials gather public comments and technical reviews on the projects to be funded.

Beyond the $100 million authorized, the law approved last year included a provision to forgive another $20 million in past infrastructure loans to Flint. It also included $50 million for monitoring and addressing the needs of children exposed to lead, though that funding wasn't specifically for Flint.

Friday
Mar172017

Federal Judge says lawsuit claiming Va. suspends driver’s licenses of poor people in ‘unconstitutional scheme’ should be in state court

From [HERE] A federal court dismissed a class-action lawsuit this week that claimed Virginia suspends the driver’s licenses of some poor people in an “unconstitutional scheme.”

The suit, filed last year in U.S. District Court in Western Virginia by the Legal Aid Justice Center, which represents low-income Virginians, said more than 940,000 people in the state had their licenses suspended for nonpayment of fees and fines. On Monday, Judge Norman K. Moon ruled that the claims may be “meritorious” but said Virginia’s state courts were the proper venue for the case.

“Virginia law leads state judges to automatically suspend a defendant’s driver’s license for nonpayment of court fees and fines, regardless of his ability to pay,” the opinion read. “That unflinching command may very well violate plaintiffs’ constitution rights to due process and equal protection. But the Constitution does not allow a federal district court to decide the matter.”

The suit claimed hundreds of thousands of Virginians have lost their licenses because they cannot pay fines and court costs, “effectively depriving them of reliable, lawful transportation necessary to get to and from work, take children to school, keep medical appointments, care for ill or disabled family members, or, paradoxically, to meet their financial obligations to the courts.”

The Justice Department and the Virginia NAACP filed briefs in support of the suit, which detailed the claims of Damian Stinnie, a 24-year-old Charlottesville man diagnosed with lymphoma who fell into homelessness after failing to pay about $1,000 in traffic fines.

“Mr. Stinnie has been and still is unable to get on a payment plan in any of these courts because they each have highly restrictive payment plan policies that prevent his entry,” the lawsuit said.

The federal court also said that state courts, not Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles commissioner — the defendant named in the lawsuit — were legally responsible for suspending the licenses.

Angela Ciolfi, a Legal Aid Justice Center senior attorney, said the organization was considering its options, which include appealing the decision or filing a new complaint.

“Although we are disappointed in the court’s decision, we stand steadfast with our clients and the nearly one million long-suffering Virginia drivers who will continue to endure a never-ending cycle of debt and incarceration, so long as the law forces them to choose between driving illegally and forsaking the needs of their families,” the Legal Aid Justice Center said in a statement. [MORE]

Thursday
Mar162017

Irritated Genie: Entertainment Fighting the Poltergeist pt1

Thursday
Mar162017

Alpine Bank Creates $1 million loan program to settle Racial Discrimination Case

MPA.mag

An Illinois bank will create a $1 million loan program in order to settle HUD allegations that it discriminated against African American and Hispanic mortgage applicants.

 

HOPE Fair Housing Center of Wheaton, Ill. filed the complaint against Alpine Bank, alleging that the bank’s lack of presence in the Rockford, Ill., area made it difficult for African American and Hispanic lenders to access its financial products. The complaint also said that only one out of the bank’s 14 branches was located in an area that is more than 10% African American.

 

In order to settle the allegations, Alpine Bank agreed to pay HOPE $75,000. The bank will also set up a loan program of $1 million to help leverage mortgage lending to African American and Hispanic borrowers in the Rockford area; conduct outreach programs with seminars on financial literacy, homeownerhsip and credit counseling to minority areas; administer fair-lending training to its staff; and research the possibility of opening a branch in the Rockford area.

 

Under the Fair Housing Act, discrimination in real-estate transactions based on race and national origin is illegal.

 

Thursday
Mar162017

Florida governor signs new death penalty law requiring unanimous decision [Death Row Disproportionately 38% Black]

JURIST

Florida Governor Rick Scott [official website] signed a new bill [SB 280, materials] on Monday declaring that the death penalty may only be imposed by a judge upon unanimous recommendation from the jury. Florida's executions have been on hold [Reuters report] since January 2016, when the US Supreme Court [official website] held [opinion, PDF] that the state's death penalty law violated the Sixth Amendment by allowing judges to override jury recommendations. In October the Florida Supreme Court [official website] also dismissed [opinion, PDF] a version of the law that allowed the death penalty upon the recommendation of 10 jurors. According to the court, the law [JURIST report] had "failed to require the jury, rather than the judge, to find the facts necessary to impose the death sentence." Florida currently has 382 inmates on death row, and it is unclear when executions may resume. The Florida Supreme Court has already declared [JURIST report] that prosecutors may still seek the death penalty in ongoing cases.

Florida's death row is currently disproportionately 38% Black. [MORE]

The death penalty has been a pressing issue across the country. Last week the Arkansas Supreme Court [official website] issued an order [JURIST report] stating there is no stay in place preventing the execution of eight inmates schedule for next month. Last month the Mississippi house approved a bill [JURIST report] allowing firing squad executions. Also last month a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of Ohio refused to lift [JURIST report] a preliminary injunction that delays executions in Ohio. In January Judge Michael Merz blocked [JURIST report] Ohio's lethal injection protocol by deeming it unconstitutional under the Eighth Amendment. Also in January the US Supreme Court refused [JURIST report] to consider a challenge to Alabama's death penalty system. In December a report by the Death Penalty Information Center found that the use of capital punishment in the US is at a 20-year low [JURIST report].

Thursday
Mar162017

Obamacare Repeal & Replacement Will Cost Average Person $1542

Tuesday
Mar142017

Missouri's Underfunded Public Defender Office Forces the Poor to Languish in Jail

The Intercept

UNTIL LAST SUMMER, Shondel Church worked construction six days a week in Kansas City, Missouri, to provide for his wife and four children. That changed on July 19, 2016, when he was arrested and charged with felony theft — a charge resulting from what was essentially a family dispute. After Church’s father died there was some confusion over which of his possessions would be given to whom. Church believed a generator his father had owned was meant for him; his stepmother apparently had a different idea, and Church was charged with stealing the machine.

Unable to afford an attorney, Church was appointed counsel from the Missouri State Public Defender office. Indeed, the Constitution guarantees a defendant’s right to counsel — a right that theoretically is not dependent on a person’s income.

But according to a class-action lawsuit filed March 9 against the state of Missouri by the ACLU on behalf of Church and others, that is precisely how the provision of indigent defense has played out in Missouri. The office is scandalously underfunded, its staff chronically overworked, and its clients left for months without representation — or forced to plead to charges of which they may or may not be guilty. According to the ACLU, the situation has persisted for years, known to state officials, and yet is almost entirely ignored.

Since 1972, the state of Missouri has sought to meet its constitutional obligation to provide lawyers for poor criminal defendants via the operation of a state-funded public defender system. As of 2016, the office had nearly 600 full-time employees and an annual budget of more than $36 million. That may sound like a significant investment, but last year alone the office was tasked with handling more than 111,000 criminal cases — including both juvenile and adult defendants charged with everything from low-level misdemeanors up to death-eligible capital murder.

Missouri’s public defender system ranks 49 out of the 50 states for funding; its lawyers have shockingly burdensome workloads and are seriously underpaid — almost certainly factors that contribute to the office’s high rate of attrition. In Church’s case, the deficiencies of the public defender office played out to disastrous, if not predictable, effect.

For starters, Church had not yet been assigned an attorney the first time he appeared before the court — so there was no one there to advocate for him in an effort to secure his pretrial release from jail. Instead, he was slapped with a $5,000 bond that he could not pay, meaning he would have to remain in jail while the case was pending. He did not see an attorney until some six weeks later, in early September. During that meeting, the assistant public defender, Michael Gass, told Church that he believed Church’s was a winnable case, but cautioned that he would likely have to remain in jail for six months or more before Gass could be ready to take it to trial. As a result, he suggested — prior to even looking into the case — that Church might instead agree to a plea deal. Doing so would saddle him with a criminal conviction, but would likely get him out of jail far sooner.

Church’s wife was not working at the time, and even though he did not believe he should be charged with any crime, he ultimately decided to follow Gass’s advice and enter a plea.

But that also turned out to be difficult. Shortly after Church first met Gass, the lawyer resigned his position without telling him. Church was batted around to two different public defenders in two different courts before he was ultimately able to enter his plea and was released from jail — on November 21, 2016, more than five months after he was arrested.

Although he accepted a probated sentence and wouldn’t spend any more time behind bars, Church had already lost his job, and his family lost their home. Church is now working again, but the impact of his run-in with the criminal justice system has taken its toll. “In jail, you’re starving on what they give you and you’re dying to get out,” he said. “I was hoping things would move faster — but those 129 days cost me a whole lot: I lost all the time working, and I finally had to give up and plead guilty just to get out and help my family.”

There is no reason to believe that Church’s is an isolated case. Among those named in the ACLU’s lawsuit is a man whose lawyer failed for weeks to return phone calls from his client or his client’s sister, who was desperately trying to get in touch to alert the attorney that her brother did not have access to needed medication, and a woman who has been in jail for more than two years waiting for her attorney to have enough time to investigate her case. And in the juvenile system things might even be worse: The Department of Justice has reported that 60 percent of kids accused of crimes in the state go without appointed counsel. According to the lawsuit, when public defenders do handle juvenile cases, they spend an average of just 4.6 hours on each case — well below the minimum time recommended by the American Bar Association.

Missouri officials — from prosecutors and judges to state lawmakers and the governor — have been warned for years that the system is on the verge of a collapse, but they have done little to stop it from happening, to the detriment of tens of thousands of individual defendants. “The effect of the workload, the low salary and the turnover has not surprisingly resulted in morale problems in some offices. Many attorneys feel that without additional resources, they will not be able to provide competent representation to all of their clients,” a 1993 report on the Missouri system reads. “We echo this statement in very strong terms.”