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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
Tuesday
Mar142017

The GOP Health Bill Is An Assault On People Of Color

From [HuffPost] The American Health Care Act is a rich person’s bonanza. Under the plan proposed by House Republicans, each of the nation’s 400 richest families will save $7 million per year, as part of a tax giveaway. The plan offers no benefits at all to those who earn $200,000 or less a year. And the burden from this cynical wealth grab falls disproportionately on the nation’s black, brown and poor households.

To be clear, people of color cannot be stereotyped.  Most black Americans are not poor, and most live in the suburbs. Donald Trump made repeated assertions on the campaign trail that African-Americans live in a “hell” of poverty and violence. Those remarks were rightly condemned as implicitly racist. Wherever they reside, people of color don’t live in “hell.” They live in humanity.

Nevertheless, our economy is divided along racial lines. While more than half of all Americans experience poverty at some point in their lifetimes, people of color are far more likely to be poor than whites.  The poverty rate is nearly 25 percent for black Americans and more than 21 percent for Hispanic Americans. By contrast, the white poverty rate is 9.1 percent. Any rate above zero is unacceptable, but the level of racial disparity is striking.

Black and Hispanic households are far more likely to experience food insecurity than white households. Black children are three times as likely to live in poverty as white children. And, while many Americans will experience at least one year of poverty in their lifetime, black poverty is more persistent than white poverty.

Black Americans are also more likely to suffer from the perils of inadequate medical care. A 2000 study cited by the CDC found that blacks are more than three times as likely as whites to have a lower limb amputated, often due to complications from diabetes, and are more than twice as likely to be treated for wound infections and skin breakdowns. Both conditions are associated with inadequate treatment.

Black America is also struggling with an infant mortality crisis. The African-American infant mortality rate is more than double the white rate. That figure is even worse in some places, like San Francisco, where the infant mortality rate for blacks is six times as high as it is for whites.

Black Americans still die 3.4 years earlier than whites on average, although the gap has decreased. Part of this change is explained by the growing opioid crisis among whites. Black Americans, especially women, also disproportionately suffer from disabilities as they age.

While whites make up the largest single group of Medicaid enrollees, at 42 percent, most of the people in this need-based program are non-white. Hispanics make up 31 percent, African-Americans are 19 percent, and 8 percent are classified as “other.”

The Republicans also plan to cap Medicaid, which will cut federal support to the program for seniors by $560 billion over the next decade. As Edwin Park of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities wrote, this would “effectively (end)… Medicaid expansion for 11 million people while also harming tens of millions of additional seniors, people with disabilities, and children and parents who rely on Medicaid …”

The GOP’s plans to cut Medicare will disproportionately harm people of color and poor Americans, too.  The program has been instrumental in lifting Americans out of poverty: 29 percent of seniors were impoverished when Medicare was enacted in 1966. That figure has been cut by more than two thirds today.

The Republican plan to weaken Medicare’s finances is, as Nancy Altman and others have noted, nothing new: it’s in line with the the party’s long-held desire to abolish the current Medicare system altogether.

Paul Ryan and other Republicans want to replace today’s Medicare program with a program of federally-subsidized vouchers to purchase insurance from the private market. These vouchers would quickly become incapable of purchasing equivalent coverage, given the typical rates of medical inflation, and Medicare recipients would be dependent on the inefficient, rapacious, and confusing world of private insurance for their care.

Cuts to health funding aren’t the only aspect of the plan that would disproportionately harm black and brown households. The GOP plan cuts income taxes, and there is a significant income gap between white and black households.

The Republicans plan a steep tax cut for unearned income on investments, property, and other wealth, which will benefit white households even more, since the wealth gap between white and black households is even greater than the income gap. A report based on 2013 data found that white households had nearly 13 times as much wealth on average as black households.

In short, the health care overhaul will cut programs that help black and brown people, while providing tax cuts for the wealthy that disproportionately help whites. People may wonder whether this racially biased outcome is accidental or deliberate. In the end, does even it matter? Either way, it’s morally wrong and must be opposed.

Sunday
Mar122017

EFF Director says So-Called WIkiLeaks "Largest Leak of CIA Docs" Does Not Reveal Anything Really New

Sunday
Mar122017

WikiLeaks Will Help Tech Companies Do What Again? Use the Same Code so Corporations Can Spy on You? 

NyTiimes and [HERE

Sunday
Mar122017

“History” Insists on Covering Up the Intellectual Production of Black Women, Even in the 21st Century

Intercept

I NO LONGER REMEMBER how I found Janaína Damaceno Gomes’s thesis, “The Secrets of Virgínia: A Study of Racial Attitudes in São Paulo (1945-1955).” Janaína is a professor at the Baixada Fluminense Teacher’s College in Rio de Janeiro, with a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the University of São Paulo and a master’s in education and bachelor’s in philosophy from Unicamp. Virgínia was a teacher, a health educator, a psychiatric attendant, a psychologist, a sociologist, and a psychoanalyst. She challenged not only the place of women in the first half of last century — especially black women — but also the prevailing thought on subjects like education and race relations.

Virgínia’s work was almost kept a secret, as Janaína tells us, “due to the looting of archives and mold literally growing on the author’s thesis, because of unpublished interviews, references that were not made, and texts that were left out of compendiums, [and] because of the choice of a bibliographic cannon that is perpetuated and rarely reviewed.” Any similarity to some current situations is no mere coincidence.

 

Virgínia Leone Bicudo was born in São Paulo in 1910, the daughter of Giovanna Leona, an Italian immigrant, and Theofilo Júlio Bicudo. Giovanna worked as a maid in the home of Col. Bento Bicudo, in Campinas, where she met the young Theofilo, born of the “free womb” of the slave Virgínia Julio. Taken under the colonel’s wing, Theofilo was very ambitious for a young black man. His dream was to study medicine at the Medical University of São Paulo, however he was denied entry by a professor who believed that the university was not a place for black people. The couple had six children and decided to invest in their education.

Virgínia liked to study and followed her parent’s advice to work very hard “to avoid being hurt and defeated by the expectation of rejection … due to skin color.” “Look, my father’s view was that a person’s value is derived from their education, their preparation, their studies. That was my father. So he put all of us in school,” she said in an interview with Marcos Maio in 1995. But soon she would see that this was not true, as she was chased by schoolmates yelling “blacky, blacky, blacky.”

In 1930, Virgínia Leone graduated from the Normal School, and in 1932, after completing a course in public health education, she started to work as a health educator and then as a psychiatric attendant, rising to the level of supervisor in the Infant Oriented Clinic in São Paulo. During this time, she often traveled around the city, learning about the lives of children who were treated as “problematic” by the “hygienization” campaigns and the eugenic ideas that dominated Brazilian public school policy at that time. Maybe she saw herself in them.

In 1936, she was the only woman to register for the political and social sciences track at the newly founded Free School of Sociology and Politics, which she graduated from in 1938. “I chose the school of sociology because I was suffering, I had pain and I wanted to know what was causing me so much suffering. And I understood that they were external conditions. So I thought that sociology would bring clarity to the causes of my suffering.”

During the program, Virgínia discovered new ideas that would take her career on a new course: “For the first time in my life, I heard about Freud, about sublimation and internal factors. So I said, well, it is not sociology that I need to study, what I need to study is psychoanalysis and Freud.” [MORE]

Sunday
Mar122017

Rep. Jason Chaffetz Is Wrong. A $700 iPhone Can’t Cover Your Health Insurance.

The Intercept

UTAH REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN Jason Chaffetz said in a CNN interview on Tuesday morning that low-income Americans will be able to afford health insurance under a Republican plan to replace Obamacare — as long as they don’t spend so much on things like iPhones.

The comparison is ridiculous and callous; smart phones are much cheaper than health care, and both can be a necessity, not a luxury, in modern life.

“You know what, Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice,” he said. “And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care.”

While iPhones are among the priciest smartphones, they don’t come anywhere close to the cost of health insurance. Even the newest iPhone, off-contract, will cost someone around $700. The online health insurance dealer eHealth estimates that the average individual premium is currently about $393 a month — which means the cost of the brand new iPhone will on average net you less than two months worth of health insurance premiums.

And that’s assuming you don’t get sick. Especially with high-deductible plans, the cost of co-pays and deductibles can quickly become astronomical.

Unfortunately, the refrain that if the poor can afford basic consumer goods then they should be able to afford necessities is common among right-wing ideologues in the United States.

For example, the Heritage Foundation, a think tank that provides the basis of much of intellectual conservatism in the United States, put out a report in 2011 noting that the “typical poor household, as defined by the government, has a car and air conditioning, two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR.” It used these data points to conclude that “government surveys show that most of the persons whom the government defines as ‘in poverty’ are not poor in any ordinary sense of the term.”

This ignores a fundamental reality of the modern age: consumer electronics like televisions have dramatically declined in price over the past few decades, becoming highly affordable, even as basic necessities like health care, child care, and housing have grown much more expensive.

Economist Mark Perry illustrated this divergence in price between necessities and products that were once luxuries: [MORE]

Sunday
Mar122017

Proxymoronic Republican Congressman says 'poor people don't want health care'

From [HERE] A first-term Republican Congressman answered a journalist’s question about Medicaid expansion by answering that the poor “just don’t want health care.” Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS) told STAT, a national health news publication, “There is a group of people that just don’t want health care and aren’t going to take care of themselves.”

The research doesn’t support Marshall’s claim that low-income people “morally, spiritually, socially,” don’t want access to preventive medicine.

Research shows that people in Medicaid both have access to and use primary and preventive care at rates similar to people with employer-sponsored insurance. We also know that people with Medicaid are more likely to access health care than those without coverage. A study of Oregon’s Medicaid program showed that people with Medicaid were more likely to have a regular primary care office or clinic and use preventive care. Medicaid also substantially reduced the prevalence of depression. Studies also show that Medicaid helps patients with chronic diseases receive care that prevents their condition from worsening, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s brief on the effectiveness of Medicaid.

Thirty-one states and the district of Columbia have expanded Medicaid. Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has also positively affected low-income people’s financial security, the affordability of health care, and access to care, most research shows.

That doesn’t mean that Medicaid could not improve for people in many states or that there are no longer barriers for low-income people to access health care, however. Gaps in access to health care between low-income and high-income adults were higher in states with limited Medicaid coverage, according to a 2008 study. Low-income people also had better access to preventive services in states with broader Medicaid coverage.

There are also barriers to care outside of Medicaid for low-income people to contend with, such as lack of transportation and the distribution of the health care workforce, according to KFF. Health policy experts say that the current system does not offer specific compensation for health care providers for preventive services and that there is more the Center for Medicare and Medicaid could do to invest in community-based interventions that focus on preventive care.

Marshall’s comment was one of multiple tone-deaf comments about health care access made by House Republicans this week. On Tuesday, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) said that under Trumpcare, Americans would have to make a choice between buying an iPhone and making sure they see a doctor. Since the plan doesn’t have a mandate, and would result in an increase in premiums — one insurance company CEO said they could rise by 30 percent — his comments appear to be directed at low-income Americans, who would suffer most under the plan.

Saturday
Mar112017

America Ferrera: When Trump Says "America First" He is Not Including Me & My People Democracy Now! 

Saturday
Mar112017

Inmates Involved in Vaughn Prison Rebellion Denied Medical Treatment

Saturday
Mar112017

America's Racist Deportation Machine Unleashed

Saturday
Mar112017

Planet Will Burn Before Corporate Media Covers Climate Change as Existential Threat

Saturday
Mar112017

Native Americans rally against Dakota Access Pipeline in Washington

Saturday
Mar112017

ACLU Files Class Action Over SoCal Immigrant Detentions

Courthouse News

San Diego’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a class action lawsuit in federal court claiming immigrants being held in local detention centers for months on end are denied their due process rights.

According to the ACLU, the long detentions result from delays in initial immigration hearings.

The civil rights group also claims the Department of Homeland Security violates the Fourth Amendment with its pattern and practice of detaining people without seeking judicial review of probable cause promptly after the arrest.

Bardis Vakili, senior staff attorney with the San Diego ACLU, called the lengthy detentions “medieval polices.”

“Physical liberty is a bedrock right protected by the Constitution,” he said in a statement. “It cannot be taken away with no judicial oversight. This level of disregard for basic constitutional safeguards is reminiscent of our government’s decision to open internment camps during World War II.  It’s an injustice that threatens to leave a similar scar on a new generation of American families.”

Three immigrants currently detained in the Southern District of California are spearheading the case, which was filed Thursday. The class representatives include an 18-year-old high school senior who is eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program; a mother of two U.S. citizens who has lived in the U.S. for years; and a man who claims to be a U.S. citizen.

The detainees wear color-coded prison uniforms and are confined to a “pod” or “unit” of 60 to 80 other people. They are allowed daily limited “yard” time in a concrete patio enclosed by concrete walls at least 20 feet high, according to the 26-page complaint.

Immigrants detained in the Southern District are held at two detention centers operated by Immigrations and Custom Enforcement: the Otay Detention Facility and the Imperial Regional Detention Facility. On any given day, the two facilities confine about 1,500 immigrants, according to the ACLU.

The ACLU says DHS does not take into proper consideration the immigration court’s ability to commence and process cases promptly. It takes no responsibility for presenting detainees to the court in a timely manner or for the fact that cases involving detained persons must proceed on an expedited docket.

The initial appearance is vital for detainees to get access to information related to their cases, and it is the first time they can request a bond hearing, which, if granted, must be scheduled at the earliest possible date.

The first hearing also gives unrepresented detainees the opportunity to add their names to a list that is handed out to pro bono legal organizations.

In addition, ICE attorneys and immigration judges interact with detainees for the first time at these initial appearances, which can reveal if an immigrant has mental health issues that require special accommodations.

Delaying a detained immigrant’s initial court appearance brings with it the “significant” risk of an erroneous detention, the ACLU claims. Timely hearings would reduce this risk.

The ACLU seeks declaratory, injunctive and habeas corpus relief to prevent immigration authorities from detaining people for an “unreasonable period” while they await a court hearing.

Saturday
Mar112017

Federal appeals court rules Native American tribe has groundwater rights in CA Reservation

[JURIST]

A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] on Tuesday affirmed [opinion, PDF] a lower court ruling that the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians [official website] has federally established rights to groundwater in the Coachella Valley reservation in California. This litigation proceeded in three phases in the trial court, but the Ninth Circuit panel considered only Phase I on appeal, which raised the issue "whether the Tribe has a federal reserved right to the groundwater underlying its reservation." The lower federal court granted a partial summary judgment motion in favor of the Agua Caliente Tribe stating that the US impliedly reserved appurtenant water sources, including groundwater, when it created the tribe's reservation in the Coachella Valley. The appellate panel agreed, holding that state water rights are preempted by federal reserved rights. In so holding, the panel acknowledged that "there is no controlling federal appellate authority addressing whether the reserved rights doctrine applies to groundwater." The panel also stated that it is irrelevant whether the tribe historically accessed groundwater and rejected any attempts to distinguish between surface water and ground water stating that the doctrine established by the Supreme Court in Winters v. United States [opinion] does not allow for such distinction. The panel also held that the tribe's entitlement to state water does not subrograte or otherwise affect its federally reserved water rights. In reaching this decision, the panel refused to speculate "how much water falls within the scope of the Tribe's federal groundwater right," but stated that "there can be no question that water in some amount was necessarily reserved to support the reservation created."

Contention about Native American rights and tribal sovereignty has long been prevalent within the US, with 562 federally recognized Native American tribes enjoying a degree of autonomy from federal and state governments. On Tuesday a federal judge ruled [JURIST report] against Native American Tribes seeking to stop construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) [fact sheet]. Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] rejected the arguments of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Souix [official websites] Tribes that construction of the pipeline would prevent the Tribe from practicing religious ceremonies. The UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [official website], Victoria Tauli-Corpuz on Friday called [JURIST report] for the US to adopt a consistent approach to indigenous land rights in pipeline projects. The Special Rapporteur was concerned [transcript] about how indigenous peoples were not fully consulted on the DAPL, leaving them with disruptions to their land. Protesters had made camp at the site since early summer and were led in part by the Indigenous Environmental Network [advocacy website] and the Standing Rock Sioux. Conflict between protesters and police has been condemned by both the UN and the American Civil Liberties Union [advocacy website]. In November the ACLU reported that police at the Standing Rock site in North Dakota used life-threatening weapons [JURIST report] to control protesters. Earlier that month a UN rights group released a statement expressing concerns that the US government is ignoring treaty rights, as well as human rights [JURIST report] of Native Americans and others that are protesting the DAPL. In the face of these events concerning the DAPL, this Agua Caliente ruling is seen as a positive development, and a landmark ruling.

Saturday
Mar112017

Virginia Senate bill to limit governor’s power to restore voting rights blocked in the House

RichmondTimes

A House of Delegates committee recently blocked a proposal by Sen. Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, which would have limited the governor’s ability to restore voting rights to persons with a felony conviction. Sen. Norment’s bill, which narrowly passed the Senate, would have allowed the legislature to set criteria for felony offenses that would be eligible for rights restoration. In addition, it would have required individuals to pay all fines and fees associated with their convictions before having their rights restored, and would have imposed a five-year waiting period for people convicted of violent offenses.

Sen. Norment’s proposal came in response to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s attempt to use his executive power to restore voting rights to an estimated 200,000 Virginians en masse last year. Sen. Norment said that his proposal was trying to create a consistent process for restoring voting rights. However, Senate Democrats argued that the legislation was comparable to previous racist attempts during the early 20th century, when the state used felony disenfranchisement laws as an overt way to stop blacks from voting.

Saturday
Mar112017

Florida House bill would automatically restore voting rights after three years

Sentencing project

Rep. Al Jacquet, D-Lantana, has filed a House bill to amend the state Constitution and automatically restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions three years after they have completed their sentence. If passed, the constitutional amendment would be placed on the next general election ballot.

Florida is one of only four states in the nation – along with Virginia, Iowa and Kentucky – to disenfranchise all individuals with felony convictions for life. The only means of regaining voting rights in these states is through action by a governor or pardons board. In Florida, the governor and cabinet meet only four times a year to hear petitions for rights restoration.

A proposed constitutional amendment by Floridians for a Fair Democracy goes further than Rep. Jacquet’s bill, and calls for automatic restoration of voting rights upon full completion of an individual’s sentence. The Florida Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the group’s ballot proposal in March.

Saturday
Mar112017

Dummy Trump asks U.S. Attorneys to resign after Hannity calls for ‘purge’ of ‘Obama holdovers’

ThinkProgress

On Friday afternoon, Attorney General Jeff Sessions “abruptly” asked for the resignations of all 46 remaining U.S. Attorneys at the Justice Department appointed during the Obama administration. Career prosecutors will oversee cases until the Trump administration begins nominating new U.S. Attorneys to take their place.

While this action is not unprecedented — Sessions himself was asked to resign as U.S. Attorney in 1993 by the Clinton administration — both George W. Bush and Barack Obama gradually eased prosecutors out of their appointments as they sought replacements, to preserve continuity.

“In January, I met with Vice President Pence and White House Counsel Donald McGahn and asked specifically whether all U.S. attorneys would be fired at once,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said in a statement. “Mr. McGahn told me that the transition would be done in an orderly fashion to preserve continuity. Clearly this is not the case. I’m very concerned about the effect of this sudden and unexpected decision on federal law enforcement.”

The Trump administration indicated they would follow suit, but reversed course without warning. In fact, on a Thursday conference call with U.S. Attorneys, Sessions wished them “happy hunting!” with no indication that they would all be asked to resign the next day by midnight.

Trump’s conservative allies have increasingly called for him to rid the government bureaucracy of “enemies” they believe are secretly undermining his administration. In fact, on Sean Hannity’s Thursday evening show, he warned of “deep-state Obama holdovers embedded like barnacles in the federal bureaucracy” saying they are “hell-bent on destroying President Trump.” Hannity said “it’s time for the Trump administration to purge these saboteurs.”

The day before, Hannity pushed the theory that the CIA actually hacked Democrats’ emails during the election and framed Russia for it. Hannity has been giving Trump dozens of fawning interviews for years. He’s a big fan of the president, and Trump returns the favor, talking up and reportedly watching his show regularly.

How Sean Hannity Managed To Interview Trump 41 Times And Never Once Made News

Many U.S. Attorneys nominated by the Obama administration had already resigned, which is usual when the White House changes parties. But acting deputy attorney general Dana Boente called the remaining prosecutors to ask for their resignations. A White House official reportedly said Trump has not accepted the resignation of Boente, also the U.S. Attorney for the Easter District of Virginia; after acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by Trump in January’s “Monday night massacre” for not complying with enforcing the Muslim ban, Trump made Boente acting Attorney General.

That was the first time a president had fired an attorney general since Richard Nixon. The Trump administration also broke with precedent when it refused to extend the nation’s ambassadors the usual courtesy of staying at their posts a few weeks beyond Inauguration Day.

“The Attorney General has now asked the remaining 46 presidentially appointed U.S. attorneys to tender their resignations in order to ensure a uniform transition,” agency spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement on Friday.

The acting Attorney General stood up for the Constitution. So Trump fired her.

Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the state of New York with jurisdiction over Wall Street and the New York-based Trump organization, has been lauded by leaders on both sides of the aisle. Bharara stayed on the job after Trump won the election because Trump asked him to during a meeting in November. It was not initially clear whether Bharara had tendered his resignation like other U.S. Attorneys, or whether Trump would accept it if offered.

However on Saturday afternoon, CNN reported that sources confirmed Bharara would not resign as requested. A couple hours later, Bharara confirmed in a tweet that he had in fact been fired. [MORE]

Saturday
Mar112017

[your gov does not serve you] Software results in mistaken arrests, jail time? No fix needed, says judge

Artstechnica

A local judge has ruled against the Alameda County Public Defender’s demands to revise, and possibly even halt, usage of a flawed case management software that is in use here and in many other counties nationwide. 

As Ars reported in December 2016, the Alameda County Superior Court switched from a decades-old courtroom management software to a much more modern one on August 1, 2016. Known as Odyssey Court Manager, the new management software is made by Tyler Technologies.

However, since then, the public defender’s office has filed approximately 2,000 motions informing the court that, due to its reportedly imperfect software, many of its clients have been forced to serve unnecessary jail time, be improperly arrested, or even wrongly registered as sex offenders. As recently as this month, the Portland Press Herald reported that courts in Maine had recently hired Tyler amidst similar complaints nationwide.

In a 13-page ruling issued last week, which Ars was only made aware of on Thursday, Judge Morris Jacobson denied the public defender’s office's insistence that the court provide accurate records within 24 hours and accurately mark, by the end of the business day, whether someone should be arrested. If the court was unable to meet those requirements, Public Defender Brendon Woods argued, it should halt its use of Odyssey entirely and return to its old system.

Judge Jacobson noted that while a state law mandates that such court records be kept "forthwith," it does not specify that such records be processed within 24 hours but, rather, within an unspecified "reasonable" time.

As he wrote:

There is no authority to support the Public Defender’s demand that clerks input data related to court proceedings into case management systems used by other criminal justice agencies by the end of the business day or within 24 hours. However, as illustrated below, the court recognizes that clerks working in criminal departments have certain time-sensitive duties as it relates to the reporting and transmission of criminal case information to other criminal justice agencies. Significantly, none of the reporting requirements establish an end of business day or 24 hour deadline for the transmittal of such information.

Although the court recognizes that Odyssey has resulted in unlawful arrests and searches, clerical errors that affect a defendant's Fourth Amendment right to privacy will occur regardless of the case management system used by the court.

On Thursday afternoon, Woods told Ars that as soon as next week, his office would be proceeding on two legal fronts, including an appeal of the March 3 ruling.

"One is challenging the court’s decision, and one is an original writ of mandate, basically where we’re suing the court, and asking for injunctive relief," he said.

On Thursday afternoon, Woods told Ars that as soon as next week, his office would be proceeding on two legal fronts, including an appeal of the March 3 ruling.

"One is challenging the court’s decision, and one is an original writ of mandate, basically where we’re suing the court, and asking for injunctive relief," he said.

Alameda County Court Executive Officer Chad Finke, who oversaw the court’s transition to Odyssey, declined to respond to the specifics of the judge’s ruling but told Ars that instances of people being wrongly arrested "have largely been resolved, or possibly entirely been resolved."

 

Woods disputed the assessment that the problem had been "resolved" but acknowledged that the situation was improving. "I think [problems] have been reduced, but they are still occurring," he said. "And they are occurring at a higher rate than they did prior to Odyssey. It’s not as bad as it was the first three or four months when it started, but it’s still occurring."

Finke noted that due to budgetary constraints, the county is stuck with this new software, despite its admitted flaws. "I don't think there's been any significant change to the software, but operationally we have figured out ways to deploy our staff and prioritize their work," he said. "We have created a triage model, so that any information pertaining to warrants or incarceration is ultra high priority, and we're now developing backlogs in other places, which is fine—ideally we wouldn't have any backlog in data entry."

The court executive also noted that other counties have been able to alleviate similar problems simply by hiring more staff, but that is not possible for Alameda. "I think if that was an option for us, which it's not, we would explore that," Finke said. "I don't think the software is a great fit for our court."

Public Defender Woods also reiterated his call for Tyler Technologies to help. "I do put some sort of onus on Tyler to help fix it, and not just lip service," he said. "Not just technical support via a phone call, we need to get a bunch of bodies down here to fix it."

Saturday
Mar112017

Thieves in the Night, House GOP advanced Trumpcare at 4:30 in the morning

ThinkProgress

House Republicans’ plan to repeal and replace Obamacare took its first step forward in Congress early Thursday morning, as the House Ways and Means Committee advanced the legislation at 4:30 a.m.

After nearly 18 hours of debate during which Democratic lawmakers tried to slow down the process, the committee voted 23–16 in favor of the bill.

Leaders of the Republican Party unveiled their plan to undo Obamacare on Monday evening. Now, they’re trying to fast-track the legislation through Congress despite considerable controversy surrounding the bill — which will leave millions more people uninsured, raise costs for low-income Americans, provide tax giveaways to insurance CEOs, and potentially trigger a death spiral in the individual insurance market.

Two key committees worked through the night after beginning their markups of the bill on Wednesday morning. The Ways and Means Committee was the first to wrap up. Around 8:00 a.m., the Energy and Commerce Committee was still working — almost 24 hours after it started.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) celebrated the early morning advancement of the bill, thanking his colleagues for “their hard work and commitment to delivering on the President’s promise” to provide quality health care to all Americans.

In reality, House Republicans’ proposal breaks almost every health care promise that Trump made on the campaign trail. Rather than providing “great health care for a fraction of the price,” as Trump repeatedly pledged, the plan is projected to strip coverage from millions of Americans and provide far less financial assistance to low-income Americans.

Democrats on the committee criticized their Republicans colleagues for moving on the bill in the middle of the night.

“Here were are at almost 2 o’clock in the morning taking a vote when the American people have gone to sleep,” the leading Democrat on the committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA), said. [MORE]

Wednesday
Mar082017

40% of households in Philadelphia can't pay their water bill

Boing Boing

America is in the midst of an "invisible water crisis" as the post-war water infrastructure reaches the end of its duty-cycle and cash-strapped public utilities struggle to find the money to rebuild it. In cities like Philadelphia, Atlanta, Seattle, and Detroit, families increasingly find themselves in water debt, and in Detroit, 50,000 households have had their running water cut off because of delinquency.

The estimated bill for upgrading the end-of-lifed American urban water infrastructure is $1 trillion. Cities that have tried privatization as a means of pushing the bill onto investors have been shocked by the bills: in Atlanta, the private water provider charges $325.52 a month, which only qualifies as "affordable" if your household income tops $87K. 

For people already living in poverty — 40 percent of the population in Detroit — any increase in a water cost will strain a family’s finances, said Randy Block, director of the Michigan Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Network. He and others in the faith community are trying to raise money to help needy residents pay for water. He thinks water should be recognized as a human right in Michigan just as the United Nations General Assembly defined it in 2010. He likened the city shutting off water for delinquent customers to a war on poverty, and he believes similar skirmishes will play out across the country as income inequality grows.

“Detroit is the canary in a coal mine,” Block said.

Mark Fancher, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Michigan, said unaffordable water has been a “pretty massive problem” in Detroit for 10–15 years. The practical result of shut-offs, he said, is residents relocating. While there are hardship extensions for residents who have fallen behind on their bills but are also suffering from a serious medical condition, according to Fancher, the system could be a lot better: Residents often don’t know about it, or their applications are denied. Other times, they might receive bills for water they didn’t use or not get the bills at all, he said.

“The argument has been made that an affordability plan for the city of Detroit would be a really helpful thing for the struggling utility,” Fancher said. “Because even though people who take advantage of it may not be paying full market rate for water, they’ll be paying more than nothing, which will at least bring in some significant amount of money that right now they’re not getting at all.”

America’s Hidden Water Affordability Crisis [Ciara O’Rourke/Naked Capitalism]

Wednesday
Mar082017

Federal judge rejects request to temporarily stop construction of Dakota Access Pipeline

From [HERE] A federal judge has denied a motion brought by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes seeking a preliminary injunction against an easement needed to construct the Dakota Access Pipeline.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wrote in a court filing Tuesday that the tribe had waited too long to raise the religious concerns upon which the motion was based.

"At this point ... the [Army] Corps has granted the permits and easement, and DAPL's construction under Lake Oahe is days from completion," Boasberg wrote. "Rerouting the pipeline around Lake Oahe would be more costly and complicated than it would have been months or years ago, as doing so now requires not simply changing plans but abandoning part of a near-complete project and redoing the construction elsewhere."

The tribes and a number of environmental groups oppose the pipeline under construction by Energy Transfer Partners, in part, because they say it could pose a threat to their drinking water supply. The fight against the pipeline led to a months-long protest camp that drew opponents of the project from around the country.

The Army Corps of Engineers granted an easement clearing the way for the pipeline to run under Lake Oahe on Feb. 7. The motion that sought to block the easement argued "the mere existence of a crude oil pipeline under the waters of Lake Oahe [would] desecrate those waters," leaving them unsuitable for the tribe's religious ceremonies.

Leaders of the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux — the two tribes party to the motion — described the ruling as preliminary and said it did not hurt their larger effort to block construction of the pipeline on land they consider sacred. Two additional challenges to the easement that the tribes' lawyers consider grounds for summary judgement are waiting in the wings, though they will likely not be heard until April.

"Today's ruling does not hurt the strength of our legal arguments challenging the illegal easement approved by the Trump administration," Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, said in a statement. "While this preliminary ruling is disappointing, it's not surprising. It is very difficult to get an injunction in a case like this. The bigger legal battle is ahead — we stand strong."

Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline's principle parent company, could not immediately be reached for comment, but a weekly status report filed Monday by the company building the pipeline, Dakota Access, LLC, said it anticipated this portion of the pipeline will be ready to transport oil within the next two weeks.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has issued other challenges to the easement on different grounds.

In February, attorneys for the tribe said in court documents that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had committed to a full environmental impact statement and went back on its commitment after President Donald Trump issued a memorandum directing the Corps to "review and approve in an expedited manner" any approvals, easements or permits needed to complete the pipeline's construction.

They argue that because an environmental impact statement was never completed, the easement is illegal. Further, the tribe says its treaties must be considered before a permit is issued by a government agency.

"The Trump administration's issuance of the easement violates both of these legal requirements. If the pipeline goes into operation before then, it should not affect the legal proceeding," Jan Hasselman, one of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's attorneys, said in a statement. "If the judge rules that the permits are illegal, he can shut the pipeline operation down."