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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"


Deeper than Atlantis

Study finds significant racial disparities in police treatment during San Jose vehicle stops


Black drivers in San Jose are almost three times as likely to be curb-sat than white drivers and nine times more likely to be interviewed after a vehicle stop, according to a study released Friday by the Center for Law and Human Behavior at the University of Texas at El Paso.

The Police Department responded positively to the study, saying in a statement that the analysis showed “fewer racial disparities than expected.”

Hispanics were shown to be over three times more likely than whites to be interviewed after a vehicle stop and about twice as likely to be stopped compared to their overall representation.

Blacks and Hispanics were about twice as likely as whites to be searched during a vehicle stop and more than twice as likely to receive a criminal citation, despite that Hispanics, like Asians, were less likely than whites to be found carrying contraband.

Hispanics were more than twice as likely than whites to be handcuffed during a pedestrian stop, and more likely than white pedestrians to be stopped at all.

Black and Asian pedestrians were both stopped less frequently than whites, and less often than would be expected given their representation among violent crime suspects reported to police.

Michael Smith, a UTEP criminologist and former police officer, led the study of vehicle and pedestrian stop data recorded between September 2013 and March 2016 after San Jose police contracted with UTEP to conduct the study last year.

In the study, Smith recommends that police identify racially disparate stop patterns by individual officers and address them early, explaining that racial profiling is often driven by the practice of a relatively small number of officers in the department.

Researchers on the study also recommend that the department adopt evidence-based training for improving police-citizen interactions and disseminate better information about crime patterns as they intersect with

race in the city.

Smith is quoted in the police statement as saying that the department has “no apparent cultural issues,” despite the disparities published in his analysis.


Rep. Jeffries says Bannon 'is a stone cold racist'


Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said Friday that any meeting between the Congressional Black Caucus and President Donald Trump should not include senior adviser Steve Bannon — because he's "a stone cold racist and a white supremacist sympathizer."

"We're looking forward to an open dialogue, but Steve Bannon should not be in the room," Jeffries said on MSNBC Friday afternoon.

Asked why Bannon ought not participate, Jeffries said: "Well listen he's a stone cold racist and a white supremacist sympathizer. It'd be hard for me to participate in any meeting with Steve Bannon that normalizes his presence in the White House."

The former Breitbart News leader's inclusion in the Trump administration has drawn strong opposition from minority groups and Democrats alike, and many have leveled charges of racism against him. [MORE]


Snyder's Civil Rights Commission says ‘Systemic racism’ at root of Flint water crisis [but it doesn't say Snyder is part of the racism]


“Systemic racism” going back decades is at the core of problems that caused a lead-contaminated water crisis in the majority black city of Flint, according to a Michigan Civil Rights Commission report issued Friday.

The report says the commission did not unearth any civil rights law violations and that nobody “intended to poison Flint.” But the 130-page report based on the testimony of more than 100 residents, experts and government and community leaders at public hearings and other meetings last year concludes that decisions would have been different had they concerned the state’s wealthier, predominantly white communities.

“We are not suggesting that those making decisions related to this crisis were racists … (but the) disparate response is the result of systemic racism that was built into the foundation and growth of Flint, its industry and suburban area,” the report says. “Would the Flint water crisis have been allowed to happen in Birmingham, Ann Arbor or East Grand Rapids? We believe the answer is no, and that the vestiges of segregation and discrimination found in Flint made it a unique target. The lack of political clout left the residents with nowhere to turn, no way to have their voices heard.”

To save money while under state control, the impoverished city with a 57 percent black population used water from the Flint River for 18 months without treating it to prevent pipe corrosion. As a result, the water caused lead to leach from old pipes and into homes.

Elevated levels of lead, a neurotoxin, were detected in children, and 12 people died in a Legionnaires’ outbreak that has been linked to the improperly treated water. Flint’s overall lead level no longer exceeds the federal limit but authorities still require residents to use faucet filters provided by the state.

Michigan has allocated roughly $250 million toward resolving the disaster. Thirteen current or former government officials have been criminally charged in the crisis, including two emergency managers who were appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to run Flint.

The commission’s report notes the local, state and federal action to help Flint that began in late 2015 but criticized the timing, noting that by that time residents “had been reporting heavily discolored and bad tasting water for well over a year.”

“Even after some tests showed there was a problem, decision makers questioned the tests, not the water,” the report said.

The commission’s findings build on a report released last year by a bipartisan task force created by Snyder that determined the crisis was a case of “environmental injustice.” This week, Snyder announced the members of a new Environmental Justice Work Group aimed at improving state guidelines and policy regarding environmental and health hazards.

Snyder spokeswoman Anna Heaton said the governor “takes the reporting of each of these panels very seriously, and appreciates the public input that was shared.”

The commission recommends replacing or amending the state’s emergency manager law to analyze the root causes of a community’s financial problems and allow for more local representation and oversight. The bipartisan task force and others also recommended changes to the law in the wake of the water crisis, but none has been made.

Flint resident Claire McClinton said she’s grateful for the efforts but finds the report “underwhelming.” She said the emergency manager law needs to be abolished, the Army Corps of Engineers should replace the old pipes, and Medicare needs to be made available to “all impacted residents.”

“It didn’t match the severity of the situation we’re in,” said McClinton, who attended the previous public hearings as well as Friday’s meeting where commissioners presented the report. “I think they talked themselves into being timid.”

The commission, created by the Michigan Constitution, is directed to investigate allegations of discrimination. If it finds violations, it can order the violator to stop and take corrective action. That order can be appealed to circuit court. The commission pledges “to be more resolute” in its role in “giving greater voice” to residents to prevent such crises from happening again.

Commission Co-chairman Agustin Arbulu said he seeks stronger civil rights laws that deal with “disparate impacts” on communities like Flint. He encouraged residents to file claims with the commission as well as federal agencies.

The commission first conducted hearings in Flint 50 years ago to investigate problems associated with urban renewal, particularly access to decent housing. The 1966 probe found a “rigidly segregated” city with people living in “squalid conditions.”


Its Impossible to Provide Service to People You Have Contempt For: Education Dept. misspells name of NAACP co-founder in tweet 

The WashPost

It’s not just the White House that seems to have a problem with spelling. Someone at the U.S. Education Department, now led by Secretary Betsy DeVos, does, too.

At 8:45 on Sunday morning, the department’s official Twitter account misspelled the name of W.E.B. Du Bois, a black sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and co-founder of the NAACP, the oldest civil rights organization in the United States. Du Bois was misspelled as DeBois — an error that might be understandable from a young student, but the U.S. Education Department?

Hours after the tweet was posted — and after the error was lampooned by a number of people on Twitter, it was corrected, with an apology:

Post updated – our deepest apologizes for the earlier typo. — US Dept of Education (@usedgov) February 12, 2017

The department fixed that tweet quickly, changing “apologizes” for “apologies.”

It wasn’t the first embarrassing spelling error of the young Trump administration. A recent White House list of 78 terrorist attacks that it said the media had deliberately “underreported” was riddled with errors, explained by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank like this:

The list didn’t expose anything new about terrorist attacks, but it did reveal a previously underreported assault by the Trump administration on the conventions of written English.


Seattle Judge Declines ACLU Request to Halt City and State Seizures of Homeless People's Belongings

From [HERE] After a hearing Monday in which the judge was openly skeptical of their case, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has lost its first effort to change the way the city and state clear homeless encampments and trash homeless people's belongings in the process.

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez issued a written ruling today denying the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order restricting the ability of the City of Seattle and Washington State Department of Transportation to trash people's belongings without a robust process for notifying them and storing these belongings.


The restraining order request was part of an ongoing lawsuit over the city's sweeps of homeless encampments. The ACLU has argued that by not doing a good enough job storing homeless people's personal belongings after sweeps, the city and state are violating their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

In his decision today, Martinez wrote that the ACLU failed to prove that allowing the city to continue sweeping homeless encampments as it has been doing would cause irreparable harm. While he emphasized that his decision is "preliminary," the judge also expressed skepticism about the ACLU's claims that the city and WSDOT are violating homeless people's constitutional rights.

"While sympathetic to the circumstances in which these Plaintiffs find themselves," Martinez wrote, "the Court ultimately concludes that on this record Plaintiffs have not satisfied their burden to show a high likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claims at this time."


After the hearing Monday, Todd Williams, a lawyer who argued on behalf of the ACLU and the homeless plaintiffs, said the ACLU would continue the lawsuit regardless of the outcome on the restraining order.

In arguments to the court, the city and WSDOT have defended their existing practices for clearing encampments, promising they store people's belongings and offer a way to get those belongings back.

The ACLU and other advocacy groups have disputed those claims, arguing that not only are the city's policies for clearing encampments insufficient but that the city and state often don't follow their own policies in the first place. According to the ACLU, city records show that from January 2015 through early April 2016, the city participated in 733 encampment sweeps but only stored belongings 55 times


"Even if rules were perfectly constitutional," Williams told the court Monday, "it's not clear the city and state will actually follow those rules."

Matthew Segal, a lawyer representing the city, disputed the ACLU's numbers in court Monday.

"The City of Seattle is not a recalcitrant city. The city is not denying… that persons have rights to property," Segal told the judge. "We’re not saying that just because you’re trespassing, you have absolutely no rights. We’re saying we’re trying to balance the important issues the city must undertake and balance every day." (Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and the mayor's counsel, Ian Warner, were in the courtroom but didn't argue before the judge.)

Judge Martinez was openly friendly to the city's case in court, prefacing one question to the city about its sweeps policies with, "I know you're trying to address the problem and come up with rules and regulations that would make sense for everyone." At another point, he said of people camping near roadways, "When I drive in town... I've seen people doing things that might very well put them in danger and put traveling motorists in danger as well."

During discussion of the ACLU's argument, Martinez questioned how realistic it is to expect city and state workers to be able to differentiate between homeless people's personal belongings and trash. Martinez told Williams that homeless people who are "suffering mental illness [and] drug use" could be "commingling" their personal belongings and trash. "And you want to put that responsibility [for separating trash and important belongings] on the defendants here?" the judge asked.

While today's decision affects only the ACLU's request for a temporary restraining order and the case will continue, it is also a sign of just how difficult this case will be for the ACLU to win. A date has not yet been set for the next hearing in the case.


San Francisco to offer free higher education at Community College


Criminalization & Trump's ICE Raids on Non-Whites: Two Immigrant Rights Organizers Facing Deportation Speak Out


In Real Bowling Green Massacre, a White Supremacist Planned Attack Against African Americans & Jews


Surviving Death Row - Witness


White House canceled ICE immigration meeting with Hispanic Caucus & Offer "Bullshit" Reason

From [HERE] and [HEREA meeting between members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and the country's top immigration enforcement officer was canceled at the behest of Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and the White House, according to House Democrats.

The closed-door meeting, scheduled for Tuesday following a series of high-profile immigration raids, was canceled at the last minute.

"I will confirm that in my conversation with [Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas] Holman, he made it clear to me that this decision came from higher up and I believe I’m accurately reflecting his statement when he said, ‘Kelly and the White House,’" said Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), chairwoman of the CHC.

CHC members and other Democrats with a special interest in immigration were expected to ask Holman to produce specific data about people detained in ICE raids over the past two weeks, including why they were prioritized for removal.

A representative for ICE told The Hill the meeting had been canceled because the attendance had nearly tripled in size, forcing ICE to contact House leadership to coordinate a bipartisan meeting. But Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) didn't buy that explanation. 

"Bullshit," said Napolitano.

Democrats at a press conference held to address the cancellation all agreed there is no House rule that requires meetings with administration officials of a certain size be cleared by leadership. 

"Unless it's a new Trump rule," said Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.)

Lujan Grisham said Holman had confirmed to her that ICE reached out to House leadership to request the bipartisan meeting, tentatively scheduled for later this week.

Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Gillian Christensen later confirmed the decision to postpone the meeting had been taken because of the growing number of attendants. 

“ICE leadership agreed to meet with six Democratic Members of Congress who signed a request on Friday, February 10, with the purpose of updating them on ICE’s recent enforcement operations.  Because the attendees list grew substantially, DHS reached out to the House leadership staff to arrange a bipartisan, in-depth briefing, which the Speaker’s office arranged and scheduled for Thursday of this week.  ICE looks forward to sharing information on its enforcement operations and how they are humanely and professionally enforcing U.S. immigration law,” said Christensen


Still, Democrats said they were "more than disappointed" by the decision to cancel Tuesday's meeting, which they saw as an opportunity to provide clarity to immigrant constituencies in panic over the changes in immigration enforcement.


"It’s disappointing that we’re having this press conference. We hoped to have a press conference to express further clarification as to what ICE is doing," said Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, "and instead we’re left in the lurch here and I’m being told they want to have a bipartisan meeting."


Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), long a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform, warned that the Trump administration's aggressive immigration tactics would eventually backfire.


"It is really immoral to divide and destroy families, especially to make cheap, cowardly, political points at the expense of those families. Yeah, you lost in court, but you’re going to lose in the most important court, the court of public opinion," said Gutierrez.


Rep. Nannette Diaz-Barragan (D-Calif.) said ICE agents in her Los Angeles-area district confirmed to her people who had not committed crimes had been arrested.


"I want answers because my constituents in particular are getting picked up," said Diaz-Barragan.


Trump's executive orders on immigration expanded the definition of criminality for immigration cases and the rules for considering an immigrant a deportation priority.


"The definition in the executive order broadens the concept of crime in an amazing way," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.).


"If you did an act that would be considered a crime, you would be a target for enforcement. Well, what does that mean?"


Lujan Grisham said the group wasn't opposed to a larger, bipartisan meeting, but a meeting with the enforcement agencies directly targeting its constituency was the CHC's right.


"The request to have the meeting was to get real information, data about who was apprehended, who were the targets, where and confirm that information with our constituents for several reasons, but not the least of which is to make sure we’re following the law, that we’re clear people are getting due process, that they know their rights and in effect that we’re not causing, which we are, fear and panic in our communities," she said. 


Racist Suspect Bimbo Kellyanne Conway’s Tweet Is Another Gift To The White Nationalist Media



Kellyanne Conway, who serves as one of President Donald Trump’s main media surrogates, tweeted -- and subsequently deleted -- a Valentine’s Day message to a white nationalist Twitter account that has posted anti-Semitic and racist messages. Conway’s message is yet another example of the Trump team sending a nod to its supporters in white nationalist media.

As Media Matters has documented, Trump and his advisers have engaged in a disturbing courtship with the racist white nationalist movement. They have repeatedly retweeted white supremacist messages and accounts, such as “WhiteGenocideTM”; surrogates have directly courted white nationalists by giving interviews to white nationalist media outlets; and Trump’s team gave press credentials to a “pro-white” radio host to cover a rally. Trump has also appointed officials who are popular among members of the movement, including senior adviser Stephen Bannon.

The courtship has had its desired effect with white nationalist media: They have heavily defended Trump and his policies and harassed journalists who have questioned the president. White nationalist writers have also cited Trump and his team’s Twitter messages -- whether later deleted or not -- as a signal that the administration agrees with white nationalist policies.

The account @TrumpTrainNoBrk tweeted at Conway on February 14: “Your strength & resiliency in face of vile hatred, bigotry, & sexism of the unhinged Left is a daily inspiration! Love you!” In a since-deleted tweet, Conway responded:

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Conway implied she didn't send the tweet, claiming she didn’t “know who had access to my account. ... Let me see who sent this.” She added, “I denounce whoever it is. It will be immediately deleted. Everybody makes mistakes.”

The account’s white nationalist orientation is clear from just a cursory glance. The account has a cartoon frog next to its name. The frog represents Pepe, which has become the mascot for white nationalists and anti-Semites. The account's bio also says "#WhiteIdentity." As the Southern Poverty Law Center noted, members of the racist “alt-right” movement have been claiming “that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces using ‘political correctness’ and ‘social justice’ to undermine white people and ‘their’ civilization.”

@TrumpTrainNoBrk responded to a BuzzFeed reporter noting that Conway had just retweeted “a white nationalist” by writing, “#WhiteIdentity is a right, not bigotry, despite how much Marxists like you hate it.”

@TrumpTrainNoBrk has repeatedly tweeted or retweeted white nationalist themes about Jewish people, African-Americans, and “white genocide.” The account claimed: “By far the angriest, most aggressive tweets I get are from low-IQ black women... I wonder why?” and wrote that it posts “black on white violent crime stats” so African-Americans “will stop murder/raping us.”


Justice Department delivers CIA ‘Torture Report’ to federal court

Miami Herald

The Trump administration said on Friday it delivered to a federal court vault in Washington, D.C., a Justice Department copy of the so-called Senate Torture Report on the CIA’s secret prison network during the George W. Bush administration.

The Obama administration had balked at turning over a copy to any court.

But Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler, who joined the Justice Department on Jan. 30 from the Jones Day firm, notified the court that “the government deposited for the Court Information Security Officers (CISOs) for secure storage a complete and unredacted electronic copy of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Committee Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.”

The damning 6,700-page report documents abuses in the CIA program that waterboarded some captives, rectally abused others and held at least 119 foreign prisoners out of reach of the International Red Cross or attorneys during the Bush administration.

Lawyers at the Guantánamo war court had wanted military judges to obtain and preserve copies of the report for use in the Sept. 11 and USS Cole death-penalty cases of six men who spent years in the CIA prisons called Black Sites. The chief judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, refused but eventually ordered the Pentagon to safeguard one of its copies.

MORE NEWS: Quick, 9/11 lawyers argue, preserve Senate ‘Torture Report’ before Trump takes office

So attorneys turned to the federal court, where judges handling the mostly dormant unlawful detention cases of two Guantánamo captives — Abd al Rahim al Nashiri and Zayn al Abdeen Mohammed al Hussein, known as Abu Zubaydah — ordered a copy sent to their safe.

At issue had been concerns that, once the Democrats who created the report in 2014 lost control of the Senate, the Republican Senate Intelligence Committee chair, Richard Burr of North Carolina, would scoop up and make disappear copies that his predecessor, Dianne Feinstein of California, had distributed to select departments during the Obama administration. [MORE]


Private prison companies Owned by Whites likely to be big beneficiaries of Trump's plan to detain more Non-White Immigrants


When John Chavez peers through chain link and razor wire into the vast tent city that once housed one of the nation’s most notorious prisons for immigrants, he does not see a failed experiment. 

Two years ago, inmates set fire to the sprawling complex in protest of poor medical conditions, slashing holes in their tents and forcing the government to shut it down. Yet many people in this struggling south Texas county— like Chavez, who once worked as a security guard at the privately run prison — have high hopes the abandoned detention center will reopen.

“If Trump is going to crack down on immigrants, we’re going to have to process them somehow,” the stocky 55-year-old said as he stood outside the empty shell of his old workplace. “Maybe there’s a shot I could get my job back.”

Stocks for private prison companies have surged in the two weeks since President Trump signed an executive order calling for expansion of immigrant detention facilities at or near the border with Mexico, specifically authorizing the use of private contractors “to construct, operate, or control facilities” in what is expected to be a substantial ramp-up of the massive detention system that thrived under the Obama administration.

With the number of immigrant detainees already at historic levels, critics warn that rapidly expanding prisons will only exacerbate squalid living conditions and substandard medical care. The big beneficiaries, they say, will be stockholders and executives of for-profit prison companies.

Carl Takei, a staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, predicts “an enormous boondoggle for the private prison industry.”

“The immigration system already lacks rigorous oversight and transparency,” he said, “and now there’s this perfect storm — a push to rapidly expand the system, a lack of existing oversight and the profit motive driving these companies.”

Private companies provide immigrant detention at a lower cost: about $144 per inmate a day, versus $184 in federally run Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities. Immigrant attorneys and human rights groups have long argued the profit motive spurs private companies to cut corners and cram inmates into shoddy and overcrowded facilities.

For critics, Raymondville’s Willacy County Correctional Center is Exhibit A in the case against private detention centers. Not long before it was forced to close in 2015, the ACLU dubbed it a “physical symbol of everything that is wrong with enriching the private prison industry and criminalizing immigration.”

Officials in Willacy County are still banking on being a place to lock up immigrants, even though the county has filed a lawsuit against the private company whose “abysmal management,” it claims, caused inmates to riot.

“Everybody here wants it back because they need jobs,” Eliberto “Beto” Guerra, a Democratic Willacy County commissioner, said of the facility. “It means security for a lot of families.”

Well-paid jobs are scarce in Raymondville, a Rio Grande Valley hub of cotton and sugarcane fields whose main street is dominated by loan stores and pawn shops. More than a third of Willacy County residents live below the poverty line.

The idea for an immigrant detention center was born 15 years ago, when a large construction company approached local officials with a pitch to revitalize their economy: borrow $65 million from the public debt markets to build prisons.

In 2006, as President George W. Bush pushed to crack down on illegal immigration, the county hired a Texas construction company to build the detention center on a cotton field on the outskirts of town. It then contracted with a Utah-based company, Management & Training Corp., to run the complex.

This has become a common arrangement. As ICE detention has exploded in recent years — reaching more than 41,000 beds last November — about 65% of ICE detainees are now held in facilities operated by private, for-profit contractors.

As Joe Alexandre, Raymondville’s former mayor, remembers it, county officials were assured they would earn more than they needed to recoup their multimillion-dollar investment.

Built in just a few months, the sprawling complex, dubbed Tent City, could hold 2,000 inmates and was the largest immigrant detention camp in the country. Ten huge tent domes, made of Kevlar stretched over metal frames, were erected over concrete pads. Each oval tent held 200 men or women, with no partitions dividing the toilets or showers.

Almost immediately, there were problems. Inmates complained of rotten food, unsanitary conditions, poor medical care and limited access to the law library and telephones. [MORE]


Court Refuses to Reinstate Trump's Muslim Ban, Says "No Evidence" of Attacks from 7 Listed Countries

Democracy Now

In a major victory for civil rights advocates, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously refused to reinstate Donald Trump’s executive order that banned people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States and sparked nationwide protests. The judges ruled that the administration "has pointed to no evidence that any alien from any of the countries named in the order has perpetrated a terrorist attack in the United States." Trump has vowed to appeal the case, possibly to the U.S. Supreme Court. We get reaction from Vincent Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. "It is the veracity of the administration that is at stake," Warren says.


U.S. court curbs solitary for Pennsylvania inmates no longer facing execution


A federal appeals court on Thursday said Pennsylvania prisons cannot keep housing inmates in solitary confinement on death row after their death sentences had been vacated, without meaningful reviews of whether such conditions remained necessary.

The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said the inmates have a constitutional due process right against such confinement, unless it was required for security and safety reasons, and could be justified on a case-by-case basis.

"Inmates in solitary confinement on death row without active death sentences face the perils of extreme isolation and are at risk of erroneous deprivation of their liberty," Circuit Judge Theodore McKee wrote for a three-judge panel.

"Accordingly, they have a clearly established due process right under the Fourteenth Amendment to avoid unnecessary and unexamined solitary confinement on death row," he said.

The appeals court nonetheless agreed with two lower court judges that prison officials who were sued over the old policy deserved qualified immunity, because they interpreted that policy reasonably and might not have known it was suspect.

Thursday's decision arose from lawsuits by Craig Williams and Shawn Walker, respectively convicted of first-degree murders in 1988 and 1992.

They each sought damages for having spent several years in solitary confinement after their death sentences had been vacated, but before they were resentenced to life in prison.

The office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, which defended the prison officials, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

James Bilsborrow, a lawyer for Williams and Walker, in an interview said that despite the qualified immunity finding, the decision "should give prisons pause before confining inmates in solitary confinement indefinitely."

Many critics of solitary confinement fault what the appeals court called its "dehumanizing effect," quoting a 2015 opinion from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

The more conservative Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in a separate 2015 opinion with regard to solitary confinement that "years on end of near-total isolation exact a terrible price," and the judiciary might eventually consider "whether workable alternative systems for long-term confinement exist."

McKee said solitary confinement can trigger "devastating psychological consequences," and side effects such as anxiety, depression, panic and suicidal thoughts.

He said Williams and Walker were kept in their cells at least 22 hours a day, and when allowed out Williams was often put in a locked cage while Walker faced invasive strip searches.

Pennsylvania argued that such treatment fell within the "normal range" of permissible conditions, and was no more harsh than what similar inmates faced.

The cases are Williams v. Secretary Pennsylvania Department of Corrections et al, 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 14-1469; and Walker v. Farnan et al in the same court, No. 15-1390. 


Florida Legislature Taking Steps to Resume Death Penalty Cases


With death penalty cases grinding to a halt across the state, the Florida Legislature is finally taking its first - and probably only steps - to fix the law so prosecutors can resume cases once again.

]Legislators are moving ahead with a measure that would require a unanimous jury verdict in cases where the death penalty is being sought.

Just a year ago legislators rejected the idea, but the state Supreme Court last October struck down a 2016 law that said the death penalty could be imposed after a 10-2 jury vote.

A Senate panel on Monday approved a bill requiring a unanimous jury verdict and a similar measure is being considered in the state House. The legislation could be among the first bills passed and sent to Gov. Rick Scott when the session officially kicks off in March. [MORE]


A bill requiring the government to obtain a warrant to search your email just flew through the House


A bill set to update online privacy laws dating back three decades just cruised through the House by unanimous vote for the second time. The bipartisan bill known as the Email Privacy Act (H.R. 387), introduced by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis and Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder, would require the government to seek a warrant in order to access the email of American citizens.

As it stands, ambiguity surrounding the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) — a law passed in 1986 — lets the government exercise warrantless searches if emails are more than 180 days old and live on third-party servers.

Last year, the same bill passed in the House before stalling out in the Senate, partly at the hands of Trump-appointed attorney general and then Senator Jeff Sessions from Alabama. Last June, Sessions proposed an amendment to the reinvented ECPA that would create exceptions for “emergency disclosures.” That surveillance-friendly loophole was just one of the tweaks that caused the bill to stall out before it could come to a vote.

Following the vote, Google Director of Law Enforcement and Information Security Richard Salgado issued a statement praising the House and urging the Senate to seize the “historic opportunity” for reform:

“The Email Privacy Act updates the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) to require the government to obtain a warrant before it can compel companies like Google to disclose the content of users’ communications. Since 2010, Google has testified before Congress four times in support of this reform, which will protect all users, and we are proud of our efforts…

This Act will fix a constitutional flaw in ECPA, which currently purports to allow the government to compel a provider to disclose email contents in some cases without a warrant, in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Email Privacy Act ensures that the content of our emails are protected in the same way that the Fourth Amendment protects the items we store in our homes.

This is consistent with the practice around the country already and what the Constitution requires; the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded in 2010 that ECPA is unconstitutional to the extent it permits the government to compel a service provider to disclose to the government a user’s electronic communications content without a warrant. Today’s vote demonstrates that this conviction is widely shared.”

In a statement on the bill, the ACLU’s Neema Singh Guliani also commended the House for once again passing the Email Privacy Act and implored the Senate to do the same:


“Last year, this bills’ progress was derailed by Senate efforts to water down its provisions and attach amendments that would have weakened Americans’ privacy. We urge the Senate to not repeat past mistakes; instead it should act quickly to pass legislation that ensures that Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights are protected in the digital age.”

With Sessions out of the way, the Email Privacy Act may find less friction in the Senate — but in 2017’s uncertain political climate, that doesn’t exactly have digital privacy advocates resting easy.


Racist Treasurer Mandel backs bill to ban sanctuary cities, hold officials criminally liable


Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel today backed a proposed state law to ban "sanctuary cities" in Ohio and hold municipal officials criminally and civilly liable for crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

Mandel said he supports legislation to be introduced by a fellow Republican, freshman state Rep. Candice Keller of Middletown.

"This is about protecting parents and protecting kids here in Ohio," Mandel said in a telephone conference call this morning. "I believe we must have zero tolerance policy when the safety of our kids are at stake."

The bill would prohibit cities from sheltering refugees and immigrants who may be in the country illegally.

Mandel, who again is seeking the Republican U.S. Senate nomination in 2018 to run against incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown, singled out Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, both Democrats, as targets of the legislation.

"They are putting families at risk," Mandel said. "What they're doing is playing partisan politics and this is a non-partisan issue."

Columbus has not declared itself a sanctuary city, but has said it would not use resources to enforce efforts to expel immigrants.

Mandel accused Ginther and Cranley of "totally ignoring" incidents in Europe causes by terrorists and "sticking their head in the sand."

Cranley issued a statement in response to Mandel, saying, "Josh Mandel continues to falsely declare Cincinnati is violating federal laws — that is a blatant lie. We have not and will not violate federal laws. Mandel's proposal is a straw man for his political ambitions, demonizing refugees fleeing oppression in the process. We are standing with refugees and disagreeing with President Trump's executive orders, which is our First Amendment right to do. Mandel's attempt to jail people who disagree with the president is an outrageous attack on the First Amendment."

The proposal, which has not been introduced in the General Assembly, would make city officials criminally liable if a crime was committed by an undocumented immigrant. The crimes that would trigger a violation were not specified.

Officials could be charged with a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a fine up to $5,000. A public official could he held personally liable for up to $1 million in damages if a person is injured by an immigrant.

Information provided by Mandel said the law would prohibit "any local jurisdiction from adopting or implementing a law, ordinance, rule, policy, or plan or taking any action that limits or prohibits an elected official, employee, or law enforcement officer from communicating or cooperating with an appropriate public official, employee, or law enforcement officer of the federal government concerning the immigration status of an individual residing in the state."

It would also prohibit "any local jurisdiction from deliberately obstructing immigration enforcement, restricting interaction with federal immigration agencies, or shielding illegal aliens from detection."

Mandel, who said recently that Cincinnati would become a sanctuary city "over our dead body," has repeatedly lashed out at "radical Islamic terrorists."

It is the first bill to be introduced by Keller, who was elected last fall.

She blamed immigrants and their "culture" for committing crimes, including assaults and rape, and bringing in "sexually transmitted diseases."

"My phone has been ringing off the hook with constituents in my district who are concerned about this," she said.

She said refugee resettlement is "not about humanitarianism, but about importing "cheap labor" and violence.

Kent Scarrett, executive director of the Ohio Municipal League, said he had not seen the Mandel-Keller proposal. However, he said it would "almost certainly be an encroachment on the home rule powers granted to cities by the Ohio Constitution." [MORE]


Ohio governor postpones executions amid challenge to lethal injection procedure


Ohio Governor John Kasich [official website] on Friday put on hold [press release] eight executions after a magistrate for the US District Court of the Southern District of Ohio [official website] on Wednesday refused to lift a stay [JURIST reports] on the first three of Ohio's scheduled executions. Ohio has since appealed the stay, initiated by death row inmates, to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit [official website], which is unlikely to issue its ruling before February 15th, the next scheduled execution date. Kasich said in a press statement:

While Ohio is confident its appeal will ultimately be successful given the United State Supreme Court [official website] decision in Glossip v. Gross [SCOTUSblog materials], the appellate court's scheduling will not allow the matter to be resolved in time to allow the state to move forward with its current execution dates. Accordingly, these delays are necessary to allow the judicial process to come to a full resolution, and ensure that the state can move forward with the executions.

Judge Michael Merz's grant of stay was premised on his finding that "use of midazolam as the first drug in Ohio's present three-drug protocol will create a 'substantial risk of serious harm' or an 'objectively intolerable risk of harm.'" Ohio's position is that the three-drug combination does not violate the Constitution [JURIST report] and that it should be allowed to go ahead with the executions. A revised schedule for the executions has been listed on the governor's website. There are currently 140 people on death row [NPR report] in Ohio.

Numerous states have switched to the three-drug protocol, which uses midazolam as a sedative before administering a second drug to paralyze and stop breathing and a third drug to stop the heart. In December the Mississippi Supreme Court allowed a challenge [JURIST report] to the use of the sedative. Also that month an inmate in Alabama coughed and struggled to breathe for 13 minutes [JURIST report] during the administration of midazolam, which death penalty opponents called an "avoidable disaster." In November the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a case involving the 2014 botched execution [JURIST reports] of Clayton Lockett, a death row inmate in Oklahoma.


These smart TVs were apparently spying on their owners


The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that Vizio used 11 million televisions to spy on its customers. The television maker agreed to pay $2.2 million to settle a case with the FTC and the New Jersey attorney general's office after the agencies accused it of secretly collecting — and selling — data about its customers' locations, demographics and viewing habits.

With the advent of “smart” appliances, customers and consumer advocates have raised concerns about whether the devices could be sending sensitive information back to their manufacturers. The FTC says the Vizio case shows how a television or other appliance might be telling companies more than their owners are willing to share.

“Before a company pulls up a chair next to you and starts taking careful notes on everything you watch (and then shares it with its partners), it should ask if that’s O.K. with you,” Kevin Moriarty, an attorney with the FTC's Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, wrote in a blog post. “Vizio wasn’t doing that, and the FTC stepped in.” [MORE]

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