Native American Activists Call for Global Mass Mobilizations as Army Plans to Approve Dakota Access Pipeline
Puerto Rico governor approves statehood referendum Allowing voters a choice between statehood and independence/free association
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló [official website, in Spanish], on Friday approved [press release, in Spanish] a law [text, PDF, in Spanish] to hold nonbinding referendum that would allow the US territory to vote on statehood. The referendum, to be held in June, will allow the voters to choose between statehood and independence/free association. Those in support of Puerto Rican statehood believe approving statehood could help the country restructure its $70 billion in public debt and stave off further federal austerity measures. Functionally, if approved, Puerto Rican statehood would allow the state to receive $10 billion in federal funds per year, as well as allowing government agencies and municipalities to file for bankruptcy. Rosselló called the vote "a civil rights issue" and said the US will have to "respond to the demands of 3.5 million citizens seeking an absolute democracy." Though a US territory currently, Puerto Rico's citizenry are denied many of the benefits provided to citizens in US states, including equal access to Social Security and Medicare, despite paying taxes for these services. In addition, Puerto Rico's representatives in Congress are only allowed to vote in a House committee meeting in which their representatives are a member.
For several years, Puerto Rico has been facing a severe financial, economic and social crisis. The territory has been suffering from a massive recession [BBC report] since 2006. Currently, the island is no longer able to service its public debt of around $71.5 billion. The Puerto Rican legislature passed a bill [JURIST report] in April that would allow the island territory to enter into a state of fiscal emergency and begin the negotiation process toward a one-year debt moratorium. However, the Puerto Rico Electronic Power Authority, a major player in the economic crisis, reached a deal [Bloomberg report] to restructure its debt in December. This deal is the first of many restructuring plans to alleviate the government's debt. Last February the Puerto Rico Legislature passed a bill [text, PDF, in Spanish] that would restructure the island's debt, which was then estimated to be $9 billion [JURIST report].
"Despite presidential misconceptions, Frederick Douglass is dead. But he continues to inspire people around the world"
By Amy Goodman
The good news is that President Donald Trump opened Black History Month by mentioning the renowned abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The bad news is, he doesn’t seem to realize he’s dead.
“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice,” Trump said at his “African-American History Month Listening Session,” which he hosted at the White House.
Whether it was a misstatement or genuine ignorance of who Frederick Douglass was, or, perhaps, one of Trump’s “alternative facts,” is not clear. What is clear is that the spirit of resistance for which Frederick Douglass is best remembered is alive and well, and is directed squarely against the Trump administration.
Frederick Douglass was born in either 1817 or 1818. As he wrote in his bestselling 1845 autobiography, “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave,” he wasn’t sure which was the year of his birth, since “by far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant.”
Despite the uncertainty, the life of Frederick Douglass is well-documented, from the violence he suffered as a slave, to his courageous resistance, to his escape to the North and work as an abolitionist leader and orator.
He died on Feb. 20, 1895, at the age of 77.
Protests against Donald Trump have been raging since his inauguration. Outside the ceremony itself, scores of people were arrested. A contingent of Black Lives Matter activists successfully blockaded an inauguration security checkpoint.
The next day, one of President Trump’s first public acts was to denounce the indisputable fact that crowds at Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration dwarfed attendance at Trump’s. Then, later that day, insult to Trump’s ego only worsened, as attendance at the historic Women’s March on Washington was at least three times larger than at his inauguration the day before.
Throughout Trump’s first week in office, protests continued, with disruptions of the ongoing confirmation hearings for his many controversial cabinet picks, to emergency mobilizations against a flurry of executive orders and memoranda intended to revive and expedite the building of both the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines.
On Friday, Trump issued an executive order, “Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States,” popularly known as Trump’s “Muslim ban.” The order prohibits entry to the U.S. of all refugees, and further excludes travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Customs agents began detaining people at airports almost immediately, provoking demonstrations at airports from coast to coast. By Saturday night, U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn issued a nationwide stay against the executive order. Soon after, federal judges in California, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington followed with similar rulings.
Despite presidential misconceptions, Frederick Douglass is dead. But he continues to inspire people around the world. Douglass worked against oppression as an early practitioner of intersectional organizing, fighting slavery, but also advocating for women’s rights, and for liberation struggles outside the U.S.
“If there is no struggle there is no progress,” he said in 1857. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
From [HERE] As Milwaukee County Sheriff and SNAG David Clarke has seen his national profile increase, his standing back at home has plummeted. [SNAGs - $nitch-ass Negroes Aiding Governments. 2) COINTEL-BROs. 3) Smile Negro And Grin - while I put it in. 'SNAGs are coin-operated, sniggering negroes on the stroll who support the psychopathological dominant minority elite European global racist-supremacist mindset and Agenda along with its narcissistic projections and population control objectives (genocide and eugenics). Dr. Blynd asks, "It's easy to heckle and hyde, but why do we seem to always let self-hating sucker-perpetrating- Negroes electric slide? '[MORE]
According to a new survey by Public Policy Polling, the outspoken law enforcement chief is extremely unpopular with voters in Milwaukee County and has essentially no path to victory if he seeks reelection next year. Per the poll, only 31% of the voters in the county approve of the job he’s doing, compared to 62% who disapprove.
PPP also found that 65% feel that Clarke has had a negative impact on the county’s image with only 29% thinking he’s helped give the area a positive image. The outspoken sheriff has found himself in the news on a regular basis, whether it be from his social media posts, comments made on cable news interviews, or for allegedly detaining a traveler for shaking his head at him.
Clarke, who is a Democrat despite saying he wants to choke those in the party, has virtually zero chance at this point of winning a Democratic primary. Among Democratic voters, only 13% said they’d support Clarke in the primary while 82% would back anyone other than the current sheriff.
Now, Clarke could run as a Republican and likely win that primary as 78% of those who voted for President Donald Trump approve of the job he’s done. However, that still leaves him no real way to win the election due to the makeup of the county. PPP found that 62% of those surveyed vote in Democratic primaries compared to only 27% in Republican ones. Also, 64% of respondents voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election and only 30% approve of Trump.
Teens behind racist graffiti sentenced to visit Holocaust Museum, read books by black and Jewish authors
When five boys spray-painted a historic black school in Ashburn, Va., with swastikas, “WHITE POWER” and vulgar images, they were motivated more by teenage naivete than by racial hatred, a Loudoun County prosecutor concluded.
Three of the boys are minorities themselves, and one also marked the walls with “BROWN POWER.” None had previous troubles with the law.
So Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Alex Rueda prepared an unusual sentence recommendation meant to educate them on the meaning of hate speech in the hope that they come to understand the effect their behavior had on the community.
The boys, who are all 16 or 17, have been sentenced to read books from a list that includes works by prominent black, Jewish and Afghan authors, write a research paper on hate speech, go to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and listen to an interview with a former student of the Ashburn Colored School, which they defaced. The school taught Loudoun County’s black children from 1892 until the 1950s, a period during which they were barred from attending school with white students.
The five teens pleaded guilty this week to destruction of property and unlawful entry before Judge Avelina Jacob in Loudoun County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court.
Yesterday, President Trump turned his egregious campaign rhetoric into reality by declaring on national television that torture “absolutely works.” This outrageous statement came amongst reports that his administration is preparing to sign an executive order that could pave the way for a return to large-scale, systemic torture and expanded indefinite detention at Guantánamo. Here are five things you should know:
1. Torture and enforced disappearance are against the law. Period.
Some reports say that the executive order could initiate a review of detention and interrogation policies and lift bans on secret detention in CIA “black sites.” But this executive order would not and cannot change the fact that torture is abhorrent, it is barbaric and inhumane, and it is still unlawful.
The world’s governments recognized this in the aftermath of the atrocities of the World War II. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, enshrined the right to be free from torture and other cruelty. Legally binding international agreements, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Convention Against Torture, and the Geneva Conventions make this prohibition explicit.
Torture is also explicitly banned by domestic U.S. law. In 2015, the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 sponsored by Senators John McCain and Dianne Feinstein that strengthened the ban on torture and other ill-treatment. The provision, by codifying the Army Field Manual on Human Intelligence Collector Operations as the standard for national security interrogations across the government, reaffirmed the ban on many specific forms of torture and ill-treatment. This includes waterboarding, forced nudity and other sexual abuse, hooding, mock executions, deprivation of food, water or medical care, beatings and “other forms of physical pain.”
This provision extended the Detainee Treatment Act, passed by Congress in 2005 by a vote of 90–9, which banned the Department of Defense from using techniques not authorized by the Army Field Manual, and also banned across government agencies the use of cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment or punishment.
It’s really very simple: torture is a crime. And no executive order can change that.
2. Returning to “black sites” would re-open one of the worst chapters in U.S. history.
We’ve seen these horrors before. From 2002 to 2008, the CIA rounded up and “disappeared” more than 100 men, some taken from their home in the middle of the day, blindfolded and shackled on a plane, and taken to a place they’d never seen before.
In CIA-run “black sites” all over the world, many or all were subjected to some of the most degrading treatment imaginable. There’s been much talk about waterboarding, without much description of what it really is.
Malcolm Nance, combat veteran and former chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School, described it this way: “Unless you have been strapped down to the board, have endured the agonizing feeling of the water overpowering your gag reflex, and then feel your throat open and allow pint after pint of water to involuntarily fill your lungs, you will not know the meaning of the word.”
He told Congress: “Waterboarding is slow-motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of blackout and expiration — usually the person goes into hysterics on the board…When done right it is controlled death.”
In addition to the excruciating simulation of drowning, the CIA inflicted numerous other cruelties: forced rectal feeding and forced nudity to humiliate and exert control, painful shackling in “stress positions,” sensory and sleep deprivation, and mock executions.
At least one individual — Gul Rahman — died after being subjected to this cruel treatment in CIA custody. He froze to death while chained partially nude to a concrete floor.
Secret detention and torture replace the rule of law with terror. To re-open these unconscionable practices would rupture the United States’ purported legal and moral foundations. If the Trump administration attempts to return the U.S. to torture, we are all at risk.
3. Adding more people to Guantánamo will violate human rights and won’t bring justice for acts of terror.
It has been more than fifteen years since the first individuals arrived at Guantánamo to be indefinitely detained without charge or fair trial in the name of national security. There are 41 people still there, and most are still facing no charges. Guantánamo has become an international symbol of torture and other abuses, and has damaged U.S. credibility on security and human rights across the globe.
The Trump administration should be finding ways to close the doors, instead of opening the floodgates. Adding more people to Guantánamo could create a parallel system of detention without charge or fair trial where hundreds more could languish until they die.
There still has been no justice for the crime against humanity committed on 9/11, in large part because the U.S. government decided to pursue prosecutions not through fair trials, but through flawed military commissions at Guantánamo. Those “trials” drag on without resolution, now under a third presidency. Repeating those same mistakes will only yield the same results — acts of terror should be swiftly investigated and prosecuted through fair trials in federal courts. Rounding up and indefinitely detaining more people will only further violate human rights and delay real justice and security.
4. President Trump’s cabinet nominees already acknowledged that torture is unlawful and promised to refuse orders to bring it back.
Many of President Trump’s cabinet nominees have already faced tough questioning from the Senate, and were explicitly asked about torture. Every nominee asked acknowledged that torture was unlawful, and pledged to abide by the law.
These promises must now become more than empty words. Mike Pompeo, as CIA Director, must refuse any orders to re-start black sites or engage in torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Jeff Sessions, if confirmed as Attorney General, must ensure that the Justice Department does not write “permission slips” to get around legal prohibitions against torture and secret detention. General Mattis must ensure that the Army Field Manual not be re-written to include torture and other cruel treatment as optional “techniques.”
This is the moment when rhetoric will be tested. It is crucial that Congress, the media and the public aggressively hold each nominee to account, and ensure that the promises they made under oath translate into decisive action to prevent a return to torture.
5. The United States should lead the world with human rights, not participate in a race to the bottom.
Instead of leading global efforts to eradicate torture and preserve human rights, the United States chose to let fear win by carrying out secret detention, torture, indefinite detention, and other abuses in the name of security. These decisions gave other countries the excuse to engage in their own human rights abuses, and destroyed U.S. credibility in holding other governments to account. Guantánamo continues to serve as a physical symbol of torture and other abuses, and damages diplomatic efforts.
By re-opening and expanding the failed policies that have fueled human rights violations, the Trump administration would do unspeakable damage not only to the lives immediately affected, but to the global infrastructure that protects human rights for all. The same rights that we all possess by virtue of our shared humanity are at risk when the rights of some are violated.
Today’s executive order is a step backward, but it is only the beginning of the fight. Enforced disappearances, torture, and indefinite detention were unlawful when they were enacted immediately after 9/11 and remain unlawful today. These executive orders can’t and don’t change that.
Read our coalition letter to President Trump, urging him to reject torture and close Guantánamo.
The Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] advanced the nomination of Jeff Sessions [materials] for US attorney general on Wednesday. All 11 Republicans on the committee backed Sessions' nomination, while all nine Democrats opposed him. It is estimated the full Senate could vote on the nomination as early as next week.
A group of UN human rights experts on Wednesday said the executive order on immigration signed by US President Donald Trump [official website] breaches international human rights obligations [press release]. The order [text], signed last Friday, bars all nationals from the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the US for the next 90 days. The UN experts said the order violates the principles of non-refoulement [UNHCR opinion], the practice of not forcing refugees or asylum seekers to return to a country in which they face persecution, and non-discrimination based on race, nationality or religion. According to the experts:
In the midst of the world's greatest migration crisis since World War II, this is a significant setback for those who are obviously in need of international protection. The US must live up to its international obligations and provide protection for those fleeing persecution and conflicts.
An estimated 50,000 refugees are unable to enter the US due to the order.
Researchers from the University of Virginia and the University of Utah are conducting a study on eyewitness misidentification that will aim to inform improved suspect identification procedures to better avoid wrongful convictions, according to CBS19 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
With help from a grant from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, researchers will consult with police, judges, defense attorneys, lawmakers and experts to discuss ways to improve eyewitness identification procedures like suspect lineups, jury instructions and expert testimony. The Innocence Project will advise the researchers in the study.
Eyewitness misidentification is the greatest contributing factor to wrongful convictions proven by DNA testing, playing a role in more than 70 percent of convictions overturned through DNA testing nationwide.
“Because memories can be unreliable, and law enforcement procedures for conducting eyewitness identification are not standardized, we need to find solid, multidisciplinary research-based ways to reduce the risk and instance of misidentification,” Karen Kafadar, principal investigator of the study and Professor of Statistics at UVA, told CBS.
“Current science offers few practicable solutions for how to improve the accuracy. With our approach, we hope to make recommendations for police departments, attorneys and judges that will improve that accuracy for the good of society and the criminal justice system.”
In recent years, more research around eyewitness identification has emerged. In 2014, the National Academy of Sciences released a landmark report evaluating the scientific research on memory and eyewitness identification. Professor Thomas Albright of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies chaired that study. In a TED Talk in November, Albright spoke about the unreliability of eyewitness identifications, citing the case of California Innocence Project client Uriah Courtney as an example. Courtney was convicted of a kidnapping and rape in 2006 after the victim and a witness both misidentified him as the perpetrator. In 2013, DNA testing excluded Courtney and matched to another man who matched the description made by the victim and eyewitness.
Watch Professor Albright’s TED Talk here.
Learn more about eyewitness misidentification here.
Rep Barbara Lee says: "Steve Bannon should be removed from his permanent position on the National Security Council immediately"
From [HERE] Congresswoman Barbara Lee and leadership of the Congressional Quad-Caucus – which is composed of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), and the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) – sent a letter to President Donald Trump calling for the immediate removal of Steve Bannon, a white nationalist, from his permanent position on the National Security Council (NSC).
Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Congressional Quad-Caucus leadership released the following statements upon release of the letter.
Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13):
“By placing Steve Bannon – a man who has promoted the alt-right and white nationalism – at the center of our nation’s most senior diplomatic and intelligence council, President Trump has placed our national security in grave danger. Steve Bannon should be removed from his permanent position on the National Security Council immediately. There is no place for such inexperience and bigotry at the center of America’s national security apparatus.”
CAPAC Chairwoman Judy Chu (CA-27):
“In the first days of Trump’s presidency, all of our worst fears about Steve Bannon as a supporter of white nationalism have been confirmed. Under his influence, Donald Trump has said he would prioritize Christians over Muslims in his travel ban while flirting with – then doubling down on – Holocaust denial. Now, the elevation of the man who proudly gave a platform to the alt-right to the National Security Council risks politicizing this critical institution. The safety and security of the United States must be paramount to partisan politics. Steve Bannon lacks relevant experience and instead brings a divisive political agenda that is not fit at the core of our national security apparatus. I join my colleagues in calling on President Trump to remove Steve Bannon from a permanent position on the National Security Council and to prioritize expertise and experience in our national security.”
CHC Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01):
“President Trump’s decision to demote the roles of the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the National Security Council and instead place Stephen Bannon on the Council is unacceptable and calls into question the judgment and motives of the Trump administration. Mr. Bannon is a political operative complicit in peddling white supremacist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic and misogynistic narratives. Mr. Bannon completely lacks the experience necessary to give an objective and informed opinion on global threats and his position on the NSC is a risk to our national security.”
Forty percent of registered voters support impeaching President Trump, according to a poll released Thursday from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling (PPP).
Nearly half of voters, 48 percent, are opposed to impeaching Trump, and 12 percent remain unsure, according to the poll.
Pollsters also found that a majority of voters, 52 percent, would prefer former President Obama in his old role rather than Trump; 43 percent prefer Trump, and 5 percent are uncertain.
“Usually a newly elected president is at the peak of their popularity and enjoying their honeymoon after taking office,” PPP President Dean Debnam said in a statement.
PPP polling found that 49 percent of voters disapprove of Trump’s performance since his inauguration on Jan. 20 and 47 percent approve.
Overall impressions of Trump remain negative, according to the poll, with 52 percent viewing him unfavorably and 45 percent viewing him favorably.
A number of major protests have punctuated the first two weeks of Trump's presidency, including over women's issues and Trump's order last week denying U.S. entry to travelers and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries.
Democrats and civil rights organizations have hammered Trump’s move as unconstitutional and biased against Muslims. Trump has dismissed those criticisms, arguing that the order is crucial for protecting the nation from terrorism.
Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) on Wednesday said Congress should mull impeaching Trump if he orders federal agencies to ignore a judge’s ruling halting parts of that order.
“There should be a resolution of censure,” he told BuzzFeed. "And if he does it again, there should be articles of impeachment.”
The PPP survey of 725 registered voters was conducted via phone and online interviews Jan. 30–31. It has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
During Attorney Waiver Hearing, Markeith Loyd Says Jail Has Denied Him Showers & Prevented Him From Talking to His Family
Loyd speaks at 8:44. [MORE]
If President Donald Trump wants a good gauge of how much voter fraud he will find if he launches a federal investigation, one of his campaign advisers, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, is a good person to ask.
Kobach, you might remember, became a national hero among conservatives by championing restrictions on voting, with the avowed purpose of battling the scourge of voter fraud. During Trump's presidential transition, he was photographed meeting Trump while holding a document listing plans to bar foreigners and deal with "criminal aliens." Illegal immigration and voter fraud are intimately linked in conservative mythology, where dusky undocumented immigrants are forever handing election victories to Democrats by voting illegally.
Kobach is a smart lawyer and a skillful salesman. "Voter fraud is a well-documented reality in American elections," he wrote in the Wall Street Journal after becoming Kansas's secretary of state in 2011.
In the essay, Kobach cited a 2010 state representative race in Kansas City, Missouri, that was "stolen" when one candidate allegedly received more than 50 votes illegally cast by Somali citizens.
In his own state of Kansas, Kobach continued, 221 incidents of voter fraud were reported between 1997 and 2010. And even as a newbie in his office, he wrote, he had already found 67 aliens illegally registered to vote. The total number, he said, "will likely be in the hundreds."
A stolen election. Hundreds of incidents of voter fraud. And 67 aliens. Kobach claimed he had the proof. Yet there were some nagging little words -- alleged, reported.
How was the allegation of illegal Somali votes resolved? According to the Kansas City Star, suits were filed claiming illegal voting by Somalis, but no proof could be found.
What about the 221 instances of reported voter fraud? As it happened, Kansans reported more sightings of UFOs between 1997 and 2010 than instances of voter fraud -- people report all sorts of things -- even though more than 10 million votes were cast in that period in statewide elections alone.
And, of course, Kobach's final point -- that aliens had registered to vote -- is the ultimate tell. Why is Kobach talking about registration when the crime is fraudulent voting? Could it be that he had no evidence of fraudulent votes at all?
Kobach's Wall Street Journal essay was hardly an anomaly. Running for office in 2010, he said ballots were being cast by Kansas voters who were actually dead. He even named one politically active corpse, Alfred K. Brewer. But Brewer vehemently denied the charge -- at least the part about being dead.
Kobach had a good thing going, misleading conservatives eager to believe his spiel, along with others too busy to check the fine points of shifty language. But then he made a costly error. He asked the Kansas Legislature to give him the power to investigate and prosecute the rampant voter fraud that he kept claiming was taking place. In 2015, he was granted his wish.
"His powers are pretty broad," e-mailed Micah Kubic, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas. "He can investigate at will, and prosecute 'voting crime' (not just fraud, per se) at will."
I asked Kobach's office for his voting fraud record. An aide sent me an Excel spreadsheet of his charges and prosecutions. He's had eight cases in Kansas since 2015, and six convictions. His first four convictions all involved American citizens age 60 or over, including a 77-year-old.
The paltry results in Kansas are no surprise. In a nationwide study released in 2014, law professor Justin Levitt found 31 credible cases -- cases, not convictions -- of in-person voter fraud in a pool of 1 billion votes cast nationally. The George W. Bush administration conducted an aggressive voter-fraud investigation that concluded in 2007 with little to show for the effort.
"So is Kobach chastened by his failings?" asked the Kansas City Star. "Heck, no. He recently doubled down on his ugly and unsubstantiated attacks on immigrants while defending voter ID laws."
If Trump is foolish enough to pursue a federal investigation of voter fraud to soothe his hurt feelings about losing the popular vote, he will face the same reality that exposed Kobach. "His record on prosecutions is dismal," noted Kubic of the ACLU.
Smart Republicans understand that voter fraud is a political slogan, not a pervasive problem. That's why Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell demurred when asked whether Trump should embark on a goose chase of his own. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he has seen "no evidence" that fraud influenced the election.
Trump lacks their political discipline or grasp of reality. And there is good reason to fear that any investigation ordered by Trump would merely be a pretext for further vote-suppression efforts. But perhaps Kobach will convince the president that actually investigating fraud is a bad idea, since it will only serve to expose a very different kind of fraud.
Before interim Attorney General Sally Yates was promptly dismissed Monday night, she received national applause for refusing to enforce President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban. “At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the executive order is consistent with these responsibilities, nor am I convinced that the executive order is lawful,” she wrote to her Department of Justice colleagues on Monday.
It’s hard to say whether or not Yates knew she’d be dumped for her defiance, but her bold action showcased a trend that’s becoming more evident by the day: women are leading the resistance against Trump.
What’s even more striking is that women of color are front and center in the opposition movement. As the fight against the 45th President enters its second week, here are some of those women:
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Waters neither supported Trump during his campaign — she called him a “liar and a trickster” last September — nor kept her criticism to herself after his election.
During an MSNBC interview in December, she said she had “no intention in pretending everything is alright” and would “fight him every inch of the way” as a member of the Financial Services Committee. She said she wouldn’t go to the White House if Trump called, and vowed to “show the American people that they too cannot trust him.”
Waters was one of several Congressional leaders who refused to attend Trump’s inauguration.
In her capacity as a sitting member of the Congressional Black Caucus, she promised to fight Trump’s attorney general nominee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), because of his racist track record. And on Tuesday, Waters also announced a bill to demand that Trump be investigated for his dealings with Russia. [MORE]
A day after President Trump issued a sweeping and almost certainly illegal executive order Friday afternoon allowing immigration officers to refuse entry to people from seven Muslim-majority countries—even if they are carrying valid visas, have green cards, are dual citizens, or are refugees—a federal judge in Brooklyn Saturday night imposed a stay on nationwide deportations under the order. [MORE]
NAACP President and CEO Cornell William Brooks issued the following statement in response to multiple executive orders issued in the first week of the Trump Administration, including orders banning refugees, targeting visitors from Muslim countries and detaining people with legal permits to visit, live and work in the United States:
“President Trump’s recent executive orders indicate a callous disregard for civil liberties and the basic values of a nation born of immigrants. The President’s decision to sever funding for sanctuary communities places our nation on slippery slope fueled more by paranoia than fact.
Not only are immigrant sanctuary communities contributing solidly to local economies, but they have significantly less crime than other communities. In the initial actions of this new administration, we see are seeing a clear pattern that threatens our communities and our democracy.
There is a direct link between fostering an unnecessary enmity between police and immigrant communities and nationalizing “stop and frisk” policies, while building walls of exclusion and seeking to name Senator Jeff Sessions, an enemy of both police accountability and the vote, as attorney general.
When we connect these dots, we realize the collective threat posed to our democracy and the need to unite.”
The remarks were part of a joint statement on the Trump presidency’s impact on communities of color issued by the NAACP and 11 other civil and human rights groups in conjunction with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.