Justice For All

Cities, States Seek to Protect Immigrants’ Data from Federal Officials

by Jen Fifield – In the face of stepped-up deportation efforts, many unauthorized immigrants worry that state and local programs that are designed to help them could instead be used by federal agents to identify and expel them from the country. About a dozen states have created special driver’s license programs for people who can’t prove U.S. citizenship, and more than a dozen cities have started identification programs so that unauthorized immigrants and others can complete tasks such as opening bank accounts, enrolling their children in school and receiving government services. Under the programs, most of which were created in the last five years, state and local government agencies have reviewed and perhaps retained millions of documents with personal information about the applicants, such as their names, addresses and foreign identification numbers. Although there has always been a risk that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) could request the documents, immigration...

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SPLC Sues Nazi Website ‘The Daily Stormer’ For Terrorizing Jewish Woman By Internet Trolls

by ursulafaw – The Nazi movement in this country, since the election of Donald Trump, has gotten completely out of hand. The Southern Poverty Law Center, along with its Montana co-counsel, filed suit in federal court Tuesday against Andrew Anglin,  founder of a major neo-Nazi website, “The Daily Stormer,” for orchestrating a vicious online  harassment campaign that has relentlessly terrorized a Jewish woman and her family with anti-Semitic threats and messages, via an army of online trolls. The harassment of this family is beyond belief and it is sick. Take a look: Thanks for demonstrating why your race needs to be collectively ovened. You have no idea what you are doing, six million are only the beginning. We are going to keep track of you for the rest of your life. You will be driven to the brink of suicide & We will be there to take pleasure in your pain...

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This Earth Day, Defeating Trump is Job One

by Libero Della Piana – This Earth Day, we face a climate threat greater than ever before. And he lives in the White House. On the campaign trail, President Donald Trump consistently mocked climate science and promised to gut policies protecting our communities, natural resources and the environment. He called climate change “a hoax” invented by the Chinese government. In and out of office, Trump has been consistently at odds with scientific evidence and consensus on climate change. His is also at odds with public opinion, which increasingly acknowledges and understands the threat of global climate crisis. Despite its failures to advance a legislative agenda, the Trump Administration has successfully used executive orders, rule changes in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies, and the use of the Congressional Review Act to undo crucial protections of air, water and the environment. Trump’s greatest achievement thus far may very well be turning...

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Massachusetts: 21,000 Drug Cases Could be Dismissed

Ex-police chemist falsified tests, which could lead to the ‘largest dismissal of criminal convictions in US history’. More than 21,000 convicted drug offenders in Massachusetts may have their cases dismissed because a former police chemist tampered with evidence and falsified tests. If the cases are thrown out, the event would mark the largest dismissal of criminal convictions in US history, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Massachusetts. The state’s highest court had ordered district attorneys in seven counties to produce lists by Tuesday indicating how many of approximately 24,000 cases involving Annie Dookhan they would be unable or unwilling to prosecute if the defendants were granted new trials. The cases would be formally dismissed by court action, expected Thursday, the ACLU said. “Today is a major victory for justice and fairness, and for thousands of people in the commonwealth who were unfairly convicted of drug offences,” Matthew Segal,...

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Bill O’Reilly’s Lawyer Blames ‘Brutal Campaign of Character Assassination’ for His Plight

by Aaron Rupar – The scorched-earth statement comes as Fox News reportedly prepares to cut ties. As numerous reports swirl that Fox News is preparing to cut ties with Bill O’Reilly before he returns from his “vacation,” his attorney signaled that cable news’ top-rated host won’t go down before he scorches the earth behind him. In a statement released Tuesday evening, Marc E. Kasowitz wrote that his client “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.” O’Reilly, who has spent months battling a wave of sexual harassment allegations, was hit with a fresh harassment claim on Tuesday — the same day a group of protesters delivered 480,000 petitions calling for O’Reilly’s termination to Fox News headquarters. His attorney’s reference to former U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy (R-WI), whose name has become synonymous with making unfounded accusations, hearkens back to the words President Donald Trump used last month...

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5 Questions the Trump Administration Needs to Answer About the Border Wall

by Jenny Rowland and Philip E. Wolgin – In the U.S.-Mexico border region, an area that stretches nearly 2,000 miles, decisions about border security affect the daily lives of roughly 12 million people. The United States already has 653 miles of border fencing, and much of the rest of the border is comprised of the Rio Grande or located in some of the country’s most inhospitable locations, where a wall would be impractical and unnecessary. In addition to fencing, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, uses an array of surveillance and technology to monitor the border in real time. Yet both as a candidate and as president, Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the construction of a “big, fat, beautiful wall” along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. The administration recently concluded a request for proposals from firms to construct the wall, and it has already started to send out notices...

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This Court Ruling may have Been More Important than the Federal Halt to the Arkansas Executions

by Christian Dem in NC – By now, you know that a federal judge in Little Rock called a halt to Arkansas’ execution marathon. But that may not have been the most important ruling issued in this affair. A day earlier, a state court judge rapped the state Department of Correction hard for tricking a drug distributor into selling it one of the drugs it used in its lethal injection cocktail. Arkansas uses three drugs to carry out executions. Midazolam is intended to sedate the inmate, vecuronium bromide stops his breathing, and potassium chloride stops his heart. While most of the current furor over lethal injections centers around questions about whether midazolam will really knock someone out, Arkansas is under fire for how it obtained its supply of vecuronium bromide from McKesson. Vecuronium bromide is made by Pfizer. As I noted at Liberal America, that drug is one of several Pfizer now monitors all...

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Sanders and Perez to Launch Nationwide ‘Come Together & Fight Back’ Tour

by Nadia Prupis – ‘At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans.’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Tom Perez will kick off a multi-state tour in Maine on Monday, where they are expected to outline the progressive plan to strengthen the party, bolster grassroots activism, and resist President Donald Trump. “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multi-national corporations, and the top 1 percent,” Sanders and Perez said in a joint statement. The circuit is officially named the “Come Together and Fight Back” tour. Sanders won Maine’s presidential caucuses by nearly two-thirds when he ran in the 2016 primaries against Hillary Clinton. The tour is expected to take him and Perez through Maine,...

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DHS Secretary John Kelly: A Single DUI Could Lead to Deportation Proceedings

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – During an interview on Sunday’s Meet the Press with host Chuck Todd, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly affirmed that the Trump administration will aggressively convict immigrants as criminals and deport people previously deemed as non-priorities under the Obama administration. Now, even a single conviction for driving under the influence could be considered a serious enough offense that triggers the deportation proceeding, Kelly said in response to Todd’s question to “define a criminal.” SEC. JOHN KELLY: It is fair to say that the definition of criminal has not changed, but where on the spectrum of criminality we operate has changed. CHUCK TODD: So can you give me an example of somebody that wasn’t deported before that you’re deporting now? SEC. JOHN KELLY: Well, someone, as an example, with multiple DUIs. Even a single DUI, depending on other aspects, would get you into the...

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Israeli Government Is Petrified of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement

by Mark Karlin, Truthout | Interview – The following is an interview with Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace and the editor of On Antisemitism: Solidarity and the Struggle for Justice. Mark Karlin: How is the charge of antisemitism used to smear critics of the Israeli government and its ignoble policies toward Palestinians? Rebecca Vilkomerson: As Tony Lerman’s contribution to the On Antisemitism book explores, Israel and its advocates have worked hard to portray criticism of the state of Israel as the “new antisemitism.” However, using the charge of antisemitism to shut down legitimate criticism of Israeli policies diminishes the meaning of the term and makes it harder to combat the real thing. In our advocacy work for Palestinian rights, we must always be vigilant for cases of real antisemitism directed against Jewish people — as opposed to protest against the Israeli state — just as...

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Dept of Ed Hires Anti-Civil Rights Crusader to Protect Student’s Nonexistent Civil Rights

by Steven Singer – Candice Jackson is a victim of oppression. When she was attending Stanford University in the mid-1990s, a minority calculus tutoring group refused to help her because she was white. Sure she could probably afford to pay for private tutoring, but it was the point of the  thing. She came from a family where both parents ran medical practices. Her dad, Dr. Rick Jackson, even unsuccessfully ran for Congress. You know – just like black families redlined into the ghetto and struggling to find work because of their African-sounding names. Why shouldn’t the limited amount of tutoring spaces serve her as well as people from traditionally less privileged backgrounds? White lives matter, ya’ll. “I am especially disappointed that the University encourages these and other discriminatory programs,” she wrote in the Stanford Review. “We need to allow each person to define his or her own achievements instead of assuming...

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Drug Makers Join Lawsuit Against Arkansas’ “Conveyor Belt” of Executions

by Nika Knight – “The companies are understandably appalled at the prospect of their medicines being used in America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era.” As Arkansas moves forward with its brutal plan to execute seven prisoners within 11 days, the makers of the drugs Arkansas plans to use to put the prisoners to death have joined a lawsuit to stop the “conveyor belt of death.” Pharmaceutical manufacturers develop drugs to save and improve lives, and the companies are understandably appalled at the prospect of their medicines being used in America’s largest mass execution since the civil rights era,” said Maya Foa, director of the human rights organization Reprieve, in a statement. In their brief (pdf) filed Thursday, the companies Fresenius Kabi and West-Ward argue that “he use of their medicines for lethal injections violates contractual supply-chain controls that the Manufacturers have implemented” and “he use of their medicines...

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Anti-Defamation League Offers to Teach Spicer About the Holocaust

by Ned Resnikoff – In an open letter, the group says they can do a training at his convenience. The premier U.S. organization dedicated to fighting anti-Semitism has offered to clear up any lingering confusion White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer might have over what occurred during the Holocaust. Earlier this week, Spicer said during a White House press briefing that Adolf Hitler never used chemical weapons against “his own people.” When stunned reporters pointed out that Hitler’s regime slaughtered Jews en masse using lethal gas, Spicer amended his remarks to acknowledge Nazi Germany’s use of “Holocaust centers” — a strange, apparently novel euphemism for the death camps. In an open letter to Sean Spicer, the Anti-Defamation League offered to conduct a Holocaust education training “at your convenience for you, your staff, and anyone at the White House who may need to learn more about the Holocaust.” Kyle Griffin ✔@kylegriffin1 .@ADL_National has sent...

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Malala Yousafzai Made an Honorary Canadian Citizen

by Jillian Kestler-D’Amours – The advocate for girls’ right to education worldwide is only the sixth person to ever receive the symbolic title. Ottawa, Canada – Pakistani human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has become only the sixth person, and the youngest, to ever receive honorary Canadian citizenship. Canada bestowed the title on Yousafzai, 19, during an honorary citizenship ceremony in Ottawa on Wednesday. “I’m humbled to accept honorary citizenship of your country,” she said in the House of Commons, where she received several standing ovations from parliamentarians and members of the public that packed the gallery. Malala and Satyarthi receive joint Nobel “While I will always be a proud Pashtun and a proud citizen of Pakistan, I’m grateful to be an honorary member of your nation of heroes,” Yousafzai said. “Though I still require a visa, but that’s another discussion,” she added, with a laugh. Yousafzai...

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‘F-ing Horrifying’: Sessions Outlines Immigration Crackdown in ‘Trump Era’

by Deirdre Fulton – Meanwhile, Trump appoints immigration hardliners to key agency posts. In “the Trump era,” as Attorney General Jeff Sessions called it on Tuesday, immigration officials will undertake a harsh crackdown on undocumented migrants—a campaign one veteran federal prosecutor described as “fucking horrifying.” In his speech at a border port of entry in Nogales, Arizona, “he nation’s top law enforcement official outlined a series of changes that he said mark the start of a new push to rid American cities and the border of what he described as ‘filth’ brought on by drug cartels and criminal organizations,” the Associated Press reported. “This is a new era,” the immigration hardliner told Customs and Border Protection personnel. “This is the Trump era. The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws, and the catch-and-release practices of old are over.” Mother Jones reported: In his remarks, Sessions said nonviolent immigrants...

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China, Iran, Saudi Arabia Executed the Most People in 2016

Number of executions drop worldwide, Amnesty International says, attributing decrease mainly to fewer hangings in Iran. The number of executions worldwide dropped by 37 percent in 2016 compared to the year before, mainly because Iran hanged fewer people, Amnesty International said in its 2016 global review of the death penalty published on Tuesday. China executed more people than all other countries in the world put together, Amnesty said. But it is difficult to get a clear number as Beijing classifies most information related to the death penalty as “state secrets”. It is estimated to be in the 1,000’s each year. “China wants to be a leader on the world stage, but when it comes to the death penalty it is leading in the worst possible way – executing more people annually than any other country in the world,” said Salil Shetty, secretary-general of Amnesty International. “The Chinese government has...

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Maryland Will Protect Planned Parenthood from Congress’ Efforts to Defund it

by Tara Culp-Ressler – It’s the first state to pass a law that will reimburse Planned Parenthood if Congress cuts its federal funding. Maryland has become the first state in the country to enact a law that will protect Planned Parenthood from federal cuts by using state dollars to reimburse the organization’s clinics for its services. The new state law, which was enacted on Thursday, does not have the explicit support of Gov. Larry Hogan (R). It was one of 15 bills that the governor allowed to move forward this week without his signature; they became law because he also did not take action to veto them. The bill reallocates $2 million from the state’s Medicaid budget and $700,000 from its general fund to help cover the cost of providing family planning services at Planned Parenthood’s nine Maryland clinics. Those funds would kick in if the federal government, in an effort to...

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With Gorsuch Sworn In as Supreme Court Justice, a New Conservative Era Begins

by Deirdre Fulton – Neil Gorsuch could immediately make an impact on cases dealing with religious freedom, gun rights, and immigration. After a bruising Senate confirmation battle, former federal judge Neil Gorsuch was sworn in Monday as the 113th Supreme Court justice, restoring a 5-4 conservative balance to the nation’s high court. Chief Justice John Roberts administered the constitutional oath at 9:00am in a private ceremony; later Monday, Justice Anthony Kennedy—for whom Gorsuch formerly clerked—will ask his new colleague to take a second oath in a public ceremony at the White House. Watch below: Gorsuch “is widely expected to shift the ideological balance of the court to the right,” wrote Lydia Wheeler for The Hill, “with his views seen as mostly in line with the man he is replacing: the late Justice Antonin Scalia.” However, she continued, “some court watchers say Gorsuch may be even more conservative than Scalia, his mentor...

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Six States Leading the Charge on Second-Chance Policies

by Eliza Schultz and Rebecca Vallas – Bipartisan criminal justice reform efforts in Congress may be on ice for now, but red, blue, and purple states alike are moving full speed ahead with their own reforms. In particular, state policymakers are leading the way when it comes to second-chance policies. These measures give people with criminal records a fair shot at making a decent living and providing for their families—a recipe for cutting poverty, boosting public safety, and saving taxpayer dollars through reduced recidivism. Following decades of mass incarceration and overcriminalization, as many as 1 in 3 Americans now have some type of criminal record. Having even a minor record—such as a misdemeanor or even an arrest that never led to conviction—can stand in the way of getting a job, securing stable housing, and more. As a result, millions of people with records face bleak prospects for moving on with...

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Court Slams Policy Banning Gay Foster Parents: Indistinguishable From a Sign Reading “Whites Only”

by First Amendment – Strong words from Nebraska’s Supreme Court affirming a Judge’s 2015 ruling striking down discriminatory policy against prospective Gay foster parents. Of course, Nebraska’s Republican Attorney General’s Office was appealing the initial 2015 ruling. Republicans couldn’t explain why they were appealing it, if they weren’t seeking to reinstate the policy. Let me answer that for them, they wanted to reinstate it. They are always seeking to infringe on the rights of Americans. The Judge also upheld that the state has to pay plaintiffs’ legal fees. The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office defending discriminatory policy cost Nebraska taxpayers $174,000. The policy that was akin to a discriminatory “White’s Only” sign. Great victory for equal rights! apnews.com/… OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska Supreme Court says a former state policy banning same-sex couples from serving as foster parents or adopting wards of the state was akin to hanging a “Whites Only” sign on a hiring-office door. The court on Friday ruled that a...

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Federal Judge Just Gave Attorney General Jeff Sessions A Huge Fuck You

by April Hamlin – A federal judge just proudly gave Jeff Sessions the middle finger by approving Baltimore’s police reforms even after the attorney general had voiced his opposition. The Justice Department began investigating the Baltimore Police Department in 2014 after news reports that they had paid out millions to settle upwards of 100 lawsuits over police brutality and misconduct. Following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015, the investigation intensified. The DOJ, which was still under former President Obama at the time, found widespread unconstitutional and discriminatory practices. Mother Jones reports: “Earlier this week, Sessions ordered a review of all consent decrees between police departments and the Justice Department. Department lawyers asked the US district court in Baltimore to put off approving the consent decree for at least 30 days so the new administration could review it.” “I have grave concerns that some provisions of this decree will reduce the lawful powers...

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Like Father Like Daughter: Ivanka Trump’s Failed Planned Parenthood ‘Outreach’

by Joan McCarter – You can’t run a government like a business. You can’t expect someone with no policy experience to be able to translate “deal-making” to governing. The Trump regime is demonstrating, though, that you can expect inexperienced business people to completely fuck up when they try to venture into policy. Case in point, Ivanka Trump toddling off in secret to make nice with Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, not understanding that PP would then be pissed off when her father betrayed them. Their under-the-radar meeting—a rarity between a well-known Democratic activist and a close adviser to a Republican president—has not been previously reported.“The purpose of the meeting, from Cecile’s point of view, was to make sure that Ivanka fully understood what Planned Parenthood does, how it is funded, and why it would be a terrible idea for Planned Parenthood to be removed from being able to see Medicaid patients,” said...

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Six Weeks Later, Trump Refuses to Denounce Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theorists

by Nika Knight – Six weeks after Newtown school board asked President Donald Trump to denounce Alex Jones and his conspiracy theory about deadly 2012 school shooting, the president remains silent. President Donald Trump has remained silent about his relationship with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, refusing to denounce the right-wing radio show host who has used his popular platform InfoWars to push the theory that the deadly 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newton, Conn., was a vast government plot to enact stricter gun control laws. Trump’s silence comes despite a letter sent by the Newton School Board six weeks ago requesting that the president publicly denounce Jones and the conspiracy theory that has resulted in stalking, death threats, and harassment of victims’ families, the Hartford Courant reported Tuesday. “We are asking you to intervene to try to stop Jones and other hoaxers like him,” the board wrote in its...

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The Supreme Court Decision to Protect People with Intellectually Disabilities from Execution Was Long Overdue

by Brian Stull – \In 2002, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Atkins v. Virginia that the government could no longer execute people with an intellectual disability, then called “mental retardation,” because the practice violated the Eighth Amendment. Texas skirted the ruling by creating wholly unscientific criteria to determine intellectual disability, based on, of all things, the fictional character Lennie from Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. A new ruling last week by the court in Moore v. Texas should put an end to that and other unscientific measures states have used to execute people with intellectual disabilities. This is a victory. But as with many victories in modern Supreme Court jurisprudence, they come after many defeats that saw a great human toll. I think of my executed client, Robert Ladd. He had an IQ of 67, and had been identified by the Texas Youth Commission as “fairly obviously” intellectually disabled. As...

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US Ends Funding for United Nations Population Fund

UN Population Fund rejects state department’s claim that agency backs “coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation”. The state department has announced it is ending US funding for the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), the international body’s agency focused on family planning as well as maternal and child health in more than 150 countries. The state department said it was withholding $32.5 in funding for the fiscal year of 2017 because the UNFPA “supports, or participates in the management of, a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilisation”. The cut marks US President Donald Trump’s first move to curtail funding for the United Nations and is likely to raise further questions about how deep those cuts will eventually go throughout the organisation, where the United States is the top donor. It comes after Trump in January reinstated the so-called Mexico City Policy that withholds US funding for international organisations that perform...

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Jeff Sessions Moves to Freeze Barack Obama’s Legacy on Police Accountability

by Alan Pyke – Accountability for abusive and racist police conduct is now at the whim of Sessions. After months of hints, Attorney General Jeff Sessions unveiled the first concrete action to roll back Obama-era oversight of local police forces on Monday. Sessions’ team will review each of the 14 active legal agreements between the federal government and city police departments, known as “consent decrees,” with an eye to tweaking the hard-won deals to fit the new administration’s more militant approach to law enforcement. As part of that review, civil rights lawyers from the Justice Department also asked the judge in charge of enforcing a consent decree in Baltimore to delay the next hearing on that agreement indefinitely. Baltimore’s deal, the product of nearly two years of investigation, consultation, and broad community engagement, was the final consent decree completed before President Donald Trump was sworn in. Sessions’ memo announcing the review...

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UN: Americans’ Right to Protest is in Grave Danger Under Trump

by Common Dreams staff – At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attacks the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president. At least 19 U.S. states have introduced bills that attacks the right to protest since Donald Trump’s election as president, an “alarming and undemocratic” trend, U.N. human rights investigators said this week. Maina Kiai and David Kaye, independent U.N. experts on freedom of peaceful assembly and expression respectively, are calling on lawmakers in the United States to stop the “alarming” trend of “undemocratic” anti-protest bills designed to criminalize or impede the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression. “The trend also threatens to jeopardize one of the United States’ constitutional pillars: free speech,” they said in a statement, calling for action to reverse such legislation. “From the Black Lives Matter movement, to the environmental and Native American movements in opposition to the Dakota Access oil...

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Russia’s New Protest Generation (VIDEO)

by Roman Dobrokhotov – In Russia a new generation of discontented youth has come of age. Last Sunday mass demonstrations took place in almost 100 Russian cities. They were the biggest since the 2011-2012 protest wave, called the “snow revolution”. But if the last time election fraud was what provoked the people’s anger, this time it was an investigation into Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev’s alleged corruption practices. The investigation was conducted by the Anti-Corruption Foundation headed by Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition figure who has announced his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections. Russian police detain hundreds at anti-corruption demonstrations Just a few months ago, no one would have believed that a corruption investigation could provoke mass protests across the country. Not expecting such a massive turnout, the authorities tried to stop the protesters from gathering. State media and law enforcement warned against going out into the streets,...

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Inside the Rotten Repeal of HB2

by Lindsay Gibbs – HB2 is dead, but its anti-LGBT legacy lives on in North Carolina. On Thursday, the North Carolina Senate voted 35–12 to repeal House Bill 2, the anti-LGBT legislation that most notably banned transgender individuals from using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity. Hours later, after a rousing debate, the House of Representatives also confirmed the repeal by 70–48; hours later, it landed on Gov. Roy Cooper’s (D) desk, and the simple stroke of a pen, the controversial legislation that had cost North Carolina millions of dollars, made it one of the most anti-LGBT states in the country, and directly led to the demise of Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, was dead at long last. But notably, none of the legislators or advocacy groups that had been fighting for the bill’s repeal for over a year were celebrating. “It’s a disappointing day,” Rep. Price Harrison (D) told ThinkProgress....

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Sanctuary Cities ‘Stand Resolute’ in Face of Threatened Funding Cut-Off

by Nadia Prupis – Officials from country’s largest urban centers strategized on sheltering undocumented immigrants after White House announced plan to withhold federal aid. Sanctuary cities are refusing to back down in the face of the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration, which was codified on Monday after Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened to cut off funding for states and cities that shelter undocumented residents. Officials from many of those jurisdictions met in New York on Tuesday to discuss how to fight the plan—the second consecutive day of brainstorming from leaders of some of the country’s biggest urban centers, as Reuters noted. The strategy session brought in attendees from California, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington state, Wisconsin, and elsewhere. It was preceded by the Center for Popular Democracy (CPD), a left-leaning advocacy group, releasing a guide and toolkit on protecting undocumented immigrants. The blueprint, published last week, aims to help local-level policymakers “create...

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DOJ to Crack Down on Sanctuary Cities by Denying and Clawing Back Federal Grants

by Zack Ford – At Monday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer turned the podium over to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced a plan to cut Office of Justice Programs grants to sanctuary cities — those that choose not to turn over undocumented immigrants to federal officials for deportation. “Today I’m urging states and local jurisdictions to comply with these federal laws, including 8 U.S. Code § 1373,” Sessions explained. That law states that no government entity can restrict sharing information with the Immigration and Naturalization Service regarding individuals’ citizenship or immigration status. “Moreover, the Department of Justice will require that jurisdictions seeking or applying for Department of Justice grants to certify compliance with 1373 as a condition of receiving those awards.” Not complying with 1373, Sessions warned, could “result in withholding grants, termination of grants, and disbarment or ineligibility for future grants.” He added that the Department of Justice...

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‘We’re Just Getting Started’: Trumpcare Slain, Resistance Eyes Next Battles

by Jon Queally – Spectacular failure of Republicans to pass Trumpcare is time to ‘double-down’ on resistance, not gloat. While President Donald Trump on Saturday used a single tweet to tell the American people both “Do not worry!” and “Obamacare will explode,” the Trump resistance movement was being urged not to gloat over Friday’s “epic failure” of the Republicans’ attempt to pass their ‘slash and burn’ healthcare law but instead focus on organizing for the crucial battles ahead. Acknowledging their defeat on healthcare (while fecklessly trying to blame Democrats), Trump and his team on Friday said they would now place their focus on passing a controversial budget package and moving ahead with a major tax reform plan. And with the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch still unattained, the president’s opponents—both in Congress and in the streets—were balancing their elation over Friday’s healthcare outcome with acknowledgement that much hard work...

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James Jackson Charged with Murdering Timothy Caughman (VIDEO)

Baltimore resident with ‘intent to kill as many black men as he could’ plunged sword into 66-year-old Timothy Caughman. A white supremacist who stabbed a 66-year-old black man to death with a sword in New York has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime. James Harris Jackson, who killed Timothy Caughman on Monday, was charged on Thursday after he told police that he had hated black men for at least 10 years. “His intent was to kill as many black men here in New York as he could,” prosecutor Joan Illuzzi said as the 28-year-old was arraigned. “The defendant was motivated purely by hatred.” Caughman was bent over a rubbish bin around the corner from his home, gathering bottles, when Jackson plunged a two-foot sword into his chest and back and walked off, prosecutors said. A bleeding Caughman staggered into a police station and later died at a hospital....

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Leading Opponent of LGBT Civil Rights to Lead Civil Rights Office

by Ian Millhiser – Earlier this week, according to a statement by several progressive groups*, President Donald Trump appointed Roger Severino, a leading anti-LGBT activist, to lead the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Civil Rights. In doing so, Trump potentially gives Severino an opportunity to dismantle civil rights protections he criticized as a staffer at the conservative Heritage Foundation. Although Severino apparently was appointed without a formal announcement, his bio page at Heritage now states that he “is no longer a staff member at The Heritage Foundation.” In 2016, for example, Severino co-authored a Heritage report criticizing proposed Obama administration rules preventing discrimination against transgender patients within the health care system. Protecting trans people against such discrimination, Severino warned, would “penalize medical professionals and health care organizations that, as a matter of faith, moral conviction, or professional medical judgment, believe that maleness and femaleness are biological realities to...

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US Ditches Human Rights Hearing in ‘Unprecedented Show of Disrespect’

by Nadia Prupis – ACLU had planned to drill officials on immigration, DAPL, and Muslim ban, but representatives from various departments never showed. The U.S. failed to show up to a human rights hearing in an “unprecedented show of disrespect to the international community,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Tuesday. In a surprise move, the government ditched a hearing with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), an arm of the Organization of American States, where the ACLU had planned to drill officials on the Trump administration’s crackdown on immigration; its ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries; and the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), among other issues. The civil rights group had filed an emergency request for the meeting in February, after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that banned travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries. That order, as well as its follow-up mandate, issued last month, have since...

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Climate Kids Demand Feds Turn Over ‘Wayne Tracker’ (aka Rex Tillerson) Emails

by Andrea Germanos – “When looking for evidence of a cover-up, emails from Rex Tillerson’s pseudonym about climate change are just the kind of evidence the court needs to see.” Lawyers representing youth in a landmark climate lawsuit are demanding to see the emails Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent using the alias “Wayne Tracker” while serving as CEO of ExxonMobil. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office made the claim of the email alias last week in a court filing as part of its investigation into the oil giant’s climate cover-up. The filing said Tillerson used the “Tracker” account to discuss climate change and other matters from at least 2008-2015. In the youths’ case, as Common Dreams wrote, the 21 “co-plaintiffs argue that by failing to act on climate change, the U.S. government has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights and their rights to vital public trust resources.” Their legal...

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An Orgy of Unnecessary Cruelty

by Robert Reich – The theme that unites all of Trump’s initiatives so far is their unnecessary cruelty. 1. His new budget comes down especially hard on the poor – imposing unprecedented cuts in low-income housing, job training, food assistance, legal services, help to distressed rural communities, nutrition for new mothers and their infants, funds to keep poor families warm, even “meals on wheels.” These cuts come at a time when more American families are in poverty than ever before, including 1 in 5 children. Why is Trump doing this? To pay for the biggest hike in military spending since the 1980s. Yet the U.S. already spends more on its military than the next 7 biggest military budgets put together. 2. His plan to repeal and “replace” the Affordable Care Act will cause 14 million Americans to lose their health insurance next year, and 24 million by 2026. Why is Trump doing...

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New York Attorney General Hires Attorney to go After Trump Full Time

by Mark Sumner – While Donald Trump is busy live-tweeting fresh outbreaks of paranoia to the intelligence committee hearing, he might want to check out the other news. New York state’s attorney general, to date one of the most vocal antagonists of President Donald Trump, is preparing to escalate his office’s litigation against the president’s administration. New York AG Eric Schneiderman isn’t just a ‘vocal antagonist’ of Trump, he’s the guy who brought Trump to heel over Trump University. The guy who caught multiple violations at the Trump Foundation. The guy kos declared one of the most important resistance leaders over the next four years. Schneiderman joined in the case against Trump’s Muslim ban, and it’s not all he has in mind. In addition to challenging White House policies in court, Mr. Schneiderman’s office is expected to explore whether it has any standing to pursue cases that hinge on the Constitution’s emoluments clause, according to people familiar...

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No Charges for Florida Prison Guards who Allegedly Locked Mentally Ill Black Man in Scalding Shower

by Natasha Geiling – Darren Rainey, a schizophrenic man serving time for cocaine possession, died in 2012. In June of 2012, 50-year old Darren Rainey, a schizophrenic man serving time for cocaine possession, died in the Dade Correctional Institution. According to prison witnesses and civil rights groups, Rainey died after guards locked him in a shower for two hours with water at 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Nurses who examined Rainey said that he had burns over 90 percent of his body — and that his skin fell off at the touch. According to an autopsy report released in January by the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner, Rainey died from “complications of schizophrenia, heart disease and ‘confinement’ in the shower.” On Friday, more than four years after Rainey’s death, the office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle stated that they would not be seeking charges against the four correctional officers allegedly involved in Rainey’s death. “The shower...

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Department of Justice to Appeal Maryland Ruling Against Muslim Ban 2.0

by Nadia Prupis – ‘We look forward to defending this careful and well-reasoned decision in the appeals court,’ said ACLU’s Omar Jadwat. The Trump administration on Friday filed papers to appeal a ruling that blocked the president’s revised travel ban, setting up a new legal showdown over the executive order that opponents have called “Muslim ban 2.0.” Attorneys for the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed federal papers in Maryland, one of the two states that issued rulings against President Donald Trump’s executive order this week. Judges in that state and Hawaii both found that the memo, which blocks entry to the U.S. for travelers from six majority-Muslim countries, was unconstitutional and violated the religious freedom clause of the First Amendment. The DOJ only appealed Maryland’s decision. Had the department challenged the ruling in Hawaii, the appeal would have gone to the same San Francisco court that rejected the original version of...

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Trump, Ryan Budgets will Kill More Americans Per Year than all Muslim Extremist Attacks Combined

by Hunter – Meals on Wheels. How far do you have to get down the scale of ideological depravity before your pen lands on Meals on Wheels as the thing you need to get rid of to buy those last two more Tomahawk cruise missiles that will finally make America a super-duper-dominant world power again. That’s only one part of the Trump budget that directly targets the poorest Americans, of course. It also cuts home heating assistance, so those same seniors will have a chance to freeze to death before starving. It takes an axe to EPA efforts to clean up pollution, which will have a disproportionate effect on the air and water of those neighborhoods surrounding those worst polluters. While that will likely result in an uptick in everything from childhood asthma to cancer, the Trump budget also slashes medical research funding in an apparent effort to ensure nobody does...

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Public Support for Modern-Day Jails is Remarkably Low

by Carimah Townes – Very few people believe jail should be punitive. Approximately 12 million people are held in jail each year in the United States. The majority of them are nonviolent offenders and people detained for their inability to pay bail. But as the country braces for President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ crackdown on crime, few Americans agree with how jails are being used. According to a new poll conducted by Zogby and released by the MacArthur Foundation on Thursday, the public widely favors alternatives to jail. Out of 3,007 people surveyed across the country, 62 percent of respondents support rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders instead of locking them up to prevent future crimes or using jail as a form of punishment. About 75 percent preferred rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders with mental illness. The poll also found that few Americans support pretrial detention for people who can’t afford bail....

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The Unfixable Problem with Trump’s Muslim Ban

by Ian Millhiser – If you’re going to flout the Constitution, don’t brag about it. Wednesday evening, a federal judge in Hawaii temporarily halted President Trump’s latest attempt to keep many foreign nationals from six predominantly Muslim nations from entering the United States. Judge Derrick Watson’s temporary restraining order is the first chapter in a long saga of litigation that is likely to end at the Supreme Court. Should Judge Watson’s reasoning be embraced by higher courts, however, it is far from clear that Trump can fix the fundamental error Watson identifies with Trump’s efforts to keep many Muslims out of the United States. If you plan to unconstitutionally target a group of people because of their faith, it’s a good idea not to run around the country announcing this fact. Trump lawyer’s, as Watson notes, relied heavily on the fact that Trump’s executive order restricting travel from six Muslim nations is...

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UN Report: Israel has Established an ‘Apartheid Regime’

by Ben White – Report breaks new ground on the UN’s examination of the situation in occupied Palestine by using the word ‘apartheid’. A new United Nations report accuses Israel of having established “an apartheid regime that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole”. The publication comes amid renewed debate about whether, through its settlement policy and rejection of Palestinian self-determination, the Israeli government is creating – or even has already created – a de facto “one-state”, which critics warn would constitute a form of apartheid. It urged governments to “support boycott, divestment and sanctions activities and respond positively to calls for such initiatives”. The report – Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid – was commissioned and published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and launched in Beirut. John Reynolds, a lecturer in law at the National University of Ireland,...

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Judge Temporarily Halts Trump’s Revised Muslim Ban Hours Before it Goes into Effect

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – “Nothing of substance has changed.” A Hawaii judge ordered a temporary restraining order on President Donald Trump’s revised Muslim ban on Wednesday, just hours before it was set to go into effect. The ban, which is a revised version of a similar executive order Trump signed just one week into office, suspends all refugee resettlement for 120 days and blocks the entry of nationals from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for at least 90 days. It also limits the number of refugees the United States will accept in 2017 to 50,000–60,000 less than originally planned under Obama. The ban was set to take effect at 12:01 a.m. U.S. District Judge Derrick K. Watson heard Hawaii’s case, which the state filed by itself. The state argued that the ban violates the First Amendment’s establishment, as it is essentially a Muslim ban, and it also hurts...

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IOM: 525 Refugees Die at Sea in First Few Weeks of 2017

by Anealla Safdar – Number of drowned in Mediterranean from January to early March higher than last year, raising alarm among rights groups. More refugees have died in the Mediterranean over the first nine weeks of this year compared with the same period in 2016, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). From January 1 to March 9, at least 521 people drowned while attempting to cross the treacherous sea compared with 471 in the same period a year ago. At least another four refugees died on Friday, bringing the 2017 death toll to 525 people, according to IOM. The figures raised alarm on Tuesday among human rights organisations, which have repeatedly called for safer passages. The rising deaths came as the number of people making the dangerous crossing from Libya more than doubled, with 13,439 arriving in Italy compared with 5,273 a year earlier. IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo...

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What do States Owe People Who are Wrongfully Convicted?

by Scott Rodd – In April 2000, 23-year-old Floyd Bledsoe sat in an Oskaloosa, Kansas, courtroom awaiting the verdict in his first-degree murder trial in the death of his 14-year-old sister-in-law, Zetta “Camille” Arfmann. Throughout the trial, he maintained his innocence. But the jury entered the courtroom and declared him guilty. Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison plus 16 years, but doubts about his involvement in the murder lingered. The crime scene yielded little physical evidence, and Bledsoe’s brother, Tom, 25, had originally confessed to the murder before recanting and pinning the crime on Floyd. After years of fruitless court challenges, Bledsoe was vindicated in a gut-wrenching twist: In 2015, Tom Bledsoe confessed to the murder in a suicide note before asphyxiating himself. Within a month, a judge vacated Bledsoe’s conviction and he was released from prison. The day of his release, Bledsoe recalls, was a mixture of...

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Tortured and Wrongly Held at Guantánamo for 14 Years, Abdul Zahir Now Has Freedom, but No Justice

by Adam Hudson, Truthout | Report – Before Barack Obama left office, he released 10 detainees from Guantánamo to Oman. Among them was Abdul Zahir, a 45-year-old man from Afghanistan. Zahir was detained at Guantánamo for 14 years, even though the US government later admitted that he was wrongfully held. He was mistaken for another man who shared his nickname, Abdul Bari. Zahir’s story exemplifies the cruelty of Guantánamo and the policies of indefinite detention and torture, which will, in all likelihood, continue with Trump as president. “I want to leave behind the bad things that happened to me while I have been imprisoned. I want to focus on the positive things ahead of me, seeing my family again, studying at university and perhaps being able to help others,” Zahir said, according a press release provided by his lawyers before he left Guantánamo. Zahir has three sons and speaks Arabic, Pashto and some Urdu,...

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The Tell-Tale Tweet

by Propane Jane – On March 12, 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivered his first fireside chat to the American public. He was sworn in only eight days prior, but the scope of the crisis that greeted him necessitated a swift yet steady display of leadership to calm the anxieties of a nation in turmoil and despair. His first week in office had been besieged by a rash of bank withdrawals and closings, followed by a four day bank shutdown, then hasty passage of the Emergency Banking Act to restore confidence to an economic system in free fall. The stated purpose of Roosevelt’s unprecedented radio address was to explicitly inform the public “what has been done in the last few days, why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be,” and to practically beg panicked Americans to stop withdrawing their money from the gravely anemic banks. Miraculously, the public...

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CBO: Trumpcare Would Wipe Out Coverage for 24 Million People

by Nadia Prupis – Highly-anticipated report on GOP’s Obamacare replacement plan finds 14 million people would lose coverage in the first two years alone. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Monday released its score of the GOP’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, projecting that 14 million people would lose coverage by 2018 if the Republican bill is implemented. That number would rise to 24 million by 2026. Additionally, the plan would lead to higher deductibles and other cost-sharing payments. In short, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Twitter, “The Republican healthcare plan: less healthcare for you, bigger salaries for healthcare CEOs. Republican priorities!” Bernie Sanders  ✔@SenSanders The Republican health care plan: less health care for you, bigger salaries for health care CEOs. Republican priorities! 4:01 PM – 13 Mar 2017 Opponents of the Republican plan, known as the American Healthcare Act (AHCA), were eagerly awaiting...

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The “Freedom Cities” Campaign: Resistance Through Progress at the Local Level

by Ronald Newman – On Saturday night, people at more than 2,200 events around the nation tuned in for the inaugural event of People Power, a new platform harnessing nationwide grassroots resistance to the Trump administration’s assault on our Constitution and our values. At the event, we announced “Freedom Cities,” a campaign that provides a concrete plan for the People Power team to play offense in cities and towns across the country. WATCH THE RECORDING Even before “Freedom Cities,” our grassroots activism has borne fruit, as evidenced by the incredible protests around the country that brought defeat to President Trump’s first attempt to ban Muslims and refugees. We will resist with equal strength Muslim Ban 2.0, along with any other unconstitutional and un-American policies that flow from the White House. While we resist, however, we must also play offense, and work to paint a picture of the type of country we...

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US Attorney in New York Fired After Refusing Trump’s Abrupt Request to Resign

by Deirdre Fulton – The Trump administration demanded the resignation of 46 U.S. attorneys on Friday afternoon, with little warning. Manhattan federal prosecutor Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, was fired Saturday after refusing to comply with the Trump administration’s request to resign, according to the New York Times. Bharara’s firing adds another layer of controversy to the episode, which was already raising eyebrows—and in some cases, ire. Preet Bharara  ✔@PreetBharara I did not resign. Moments ago I was fired. Being the US Attorney in SDNY will forever be the greatest honor of my professional life. 2:29 PM – 11 Mar 2017 Embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked for the resignations of 46 U.S. attorneys on Friday, “igniting anger from officials who say they were given no warning about their dismissals,” as CNN reported. “It is common for administrations to ask holdovers to step down, but what is less common...

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Unfairness in Class Action: A New Attack on Civil Rights

by Rebecca Buckwalter-Poza – President Donald Trump’s budget proposal may eliminate the single greatest funder of civil legal aid in the United States, the Legal Services Corporation—a long-standing goal of Vice President Mike Pence. At the same time, Congress is working to block Americans from seeking justice on their own with the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017. This bill was drafted to address an imaginary problem; if it passes, it will have very real, devastating consequences. For those who face systemic corporate abuses and failures of government, class action lawsuits are a critical tool for seeking justice. Through a class action, a few people or organizations can represent a larger group that has been harmed in a lawsuit against the perpetrator to seek a remedy, whether a change in practices or monetary damages. Actions that aim to force actors to change their behavior—for example, to follow the law...

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Muhammad Ali’s Family Takes to Capitol Hill to Oppose Trump’s ‘Insulting’ Muslim Ban

by Lindsay Gibbs – “Someone needs to turn the humanity switch on.” Last month, Muhammad Ali Jr. and Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the son and ex-wife of the late Muhammad Ali, were detained by immigration officers for several hours at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on their way back from Jamaica and questioned explicitly about their religion. On Thursday afternoon, the devout Muslims — both of whom are U.S. citizens and had all the proper documentation with them while traveling — spoke about this experience at a House of Representatives forum on Capitol Hill. “I was so violated,” Camacho-Ali, the second wife of the boxing legend and mother of four of his children, said. “This is not acceptable. I’ve never felt this uncomfortable being in this country.” The mother and son had no qualms tying their experience directly to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, the executive order — now in its second iteration — banning nationals from several majority-Muslim countries and preventing all...

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Decades of Exoneration Stats Show Blacks More Likely to Be Wrongfully Convicted

by Scott Shackford – Everything from official misconduct to bad eyewitness identifications to false confessions played roles. National Registry of Exonerations America saw another record year for the number of prisoners being exonerated, according to the National Registry of Exonerations, a project of University of California Irvine Newkirk Center for Science & Society, University of Michigan Law School, and Michigan State University College of Law. For 2016, 166 people were exonerated of crimes and released from prison, 52 of them for murder. Of all the exonerations, 70 cases involved official misconduct of some sort, and in 74 of the cases, convictions came from guilty pleas. And in 94 cases (also a record) it turned out that no actual crime occurred at all. These were mostly drug cases but also some child sex abuse cases. Most famously, the San Antonio Four, four women convicted in 1998 in a fabricated satanic child sex abuse...

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More States Sue to Block “Muslim Ban By Another Name”

by Nadia Prupis – “It’s my expectation that we will continue to prevail, and certainly my expectation that the president will continue to respect the decision of the court.” At least three more states are suing President Donald Trump over his new travel ban, as Washington state—whose legal action suspended the original executive order—said Thursday that it would renew its request to block the revised one. Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson said both Oregon and New York are joining his state’s legal challenge to the new order, which blocks travelers from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days, and blocks refugees for 120. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also said that Minnesota would be taking part in the lawsuit. Ferguson said the court will decide whether the new ban, which affects travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, exempting current visa holders, is similar enough...

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LGBT Community Centers See Wave of Vandalism Across the Country

by Zack Ford – It’s part of the broader wave of hate that has spread across the country since the election. Over the past two months, various LGBT centers have been targeted with vandalism. Fortunately, the attacks on these important resource spaces and gathering places have not resulted in anyone being hurt, but the damage is real. The latest pair of incidents took place this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center. Shortly after midnight Monday morning, a white four-door truck drove past the center and fired multiple shots across the front door and windows of the center. Tulsa police recovered 13 pellets, but fortunately they did not penetrate the reinforced glass. It was the first time in the center’s 12-year history that it was targeted for a serious act of vandalism. Monday afternoon, a man then entered the Equality Center and began yelling at the staff,...

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When the Supreme Court Stopped a Government-Led Attack on Freedom of the Press

by Damon Root – Revisiting a landmark First Amendment case.   In 1934 the Louisiana legislature passed a law requiring all newspapers, magazines, and periodicals with a circulation of 20,000 or more to pay an annual licensing tax of 2 percent on all gross receipts “for the privilege of engaging in such business in this State.” Ostensibly justified as just another run-of-the-mill tax, the measure’s true purpose was plain for all to see. The governor at that time was the notorious populist demagogue Huey P. Long, also known as the “Kingfish.” The Long administration was famously rife with corruption and criminality and the state’s biggest newspapers just happened to be some of the governor’s most outspoken critics. So the Kingfish told his allies in the legislature to use the state’s vast taxing powers to harass and punish his enemies in the press. The American Press Company, along with eight other newspaper...

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Rejecting GOP Ploy, Planned Parenthood Says Women’s Right to Choose is “Non-Negotiable”

by Lauren McCauley – House GOP’s plan cuts off federal funding for abortion providers, effectively destroying access to affordable women’s healthcare services. Women’s healthcare providers are readying for a fight. Refusing to back down from its commitment to women’s choice, Planned Parenthood is now at risk of losing nearly 40 percent of its funding—and is calling for a massive mobilization to resist the attack on women’s health. Ahead of the official release of House Republicans’ the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on Monday evening—which guts funding for any healthcare organization that “provides for abortions”—Planned Parenthood reportedly rejected an offer from the White House to stop terminating pregnancies in exchange for the group to continue receiving federal funds for other essential services. “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept,” said Dawn Laguens, executive vice president of the Planned...

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We’ll See You in Court, 2.0: Once a Muslim Ban, Still a Muslim Ban

by David Cole – If a Muslim Ban is cleaned up to exclude Iraq, exempt lawful permanent residents and other current visa holders, is it still a Muslim ban? That’s the question presented by President Donald Trump’s decision to replace his original executive order, enjoined by the courts, with a new one. The administration’s decision to abandon the old order is wise — every judge but one who had reviewed it found it raised grave constitutional concerns. The new order will be less catastrophic in its roll-out than the first, both because it exempts those who already have visas and because it will not go into effect until March 16. But it’s still religious discrimination in the pretextual guise of national security. And it’s still unconstitutional. As I’ve written before, Donald Trump has repeatedly made crystal clear his intent to ban Muslims from entering the United States. As a candidate, he repeatedly stated...

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A 16-Year-Old Canadian Girl is Behind Professional Bigot Milo Yiannopoulos’ Downfall

by wagatwe – Remember how Milo Yiannopoulos’ career seemingly exploded into flames in the span of a week? It felt like a long time ago, but the last straw — his resignation from Breitbart as their senior editor — was only 10 days ago. Bananas, right? Well, the story gets even better when you find out how this call came about. Turns out there’s a 16-year-old Canadian high school student who was the brains behind the extremely efficient operation. Vox caught up with this girl, whom they refer to as Julia, to learn why and how she did it. The teen describes herself as “very socially liberal” yet more conservative on economic and foreign policy issues. So why did she target Milo? Well, this is what she told Vox: “I see Milo as this embodiment of the awfulness you see over the past few years with the general tilt of millennial conservatism. It’s diverged from this traditional...

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Trump Signs Muslim Ban 2.0

by Adrienne Mahsa Varkiani – Here’s all you need to know. On Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning nationals from six Muslim-majority countries and halting all refugee resettlement. The order comes a little over a month after Trump first signed a similar ban, which has since faced multiple legal challenges. Under the new order, nationals of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will not be able to obtain visas to the United States for 90 days. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will determine whether the governments of the targeted countries are providing enough information about their nationals who wish to enter the United States, and reassess whether they should stay banned after the first 90 days. The order also suspends all refugee resettlement for 120 days, while the DHS reviews “screening procedures to ensure refugees admitted in the future do not pose a security risk to...

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Large Majorities See Checks and Balances, Right to Protest as Essential for Democracy

77% say it would be ‘too risky’ to give presidents more power Large majorities of the public, Republicans and Democrats alike, say open and fair elections and a system of governmental checks and balances are essential to maintaining a strong democracy in the United States. However, there is less consensus about the importance of other aspects of a strong democracy – notably, the freedom of news organizations to criticize political leaders. The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Feb. 7-12 among 1,503 adults, finds that 89% say fair and open national elections are very important to maintaining a strong democracy, while 83% say the same about a system of checks and balances dividing power between the president, Congress and the courts. As in past surveys, most also view the right to nonviolent protest (79%) and protecting the rights of those with unpopular views (74%) as very important components of...

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Building “Feminism for the 99 Percent,” Women’s Strike Will Take Many Forms

by Deirdre Fulton – ‘March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement.’ Whether by walking off the job or boycotting “unseen” labor, women and allies around the world next week will stand up and speak out to say: Women’s rights are human rights. Coinciding with International Women’s Day, the March 8 day of action is being promoted in solidarity by those who organized January’s Women’s March as well as a grassroots movement known as the International Women’s Strike (IWS). While both groups acknowledge that the election of President Donald Trump makes their call more urgent, their overlapping visions look beyond one administration—and reach further back into the past. “March 8th will be the beginning of a new international feminist movement that organizes resistance not just against Trump and his misogynist policies, but also against the conditions that produced Trump, namely the decades long economic inequality, racial, and...

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Trump Regime Literally Phones it in on Human Rights Report

by Mark Sumner – The release of the annual report on human rights by the US State Department is an event watched around the world. The report, which represents information on human rights collected by US embassies and consulates, is closely studied by governments, non-profits, and businesses. It is presented each year by the Secretary of State. Or, when an emergency keeps the secretary away, by a senior State Department official. Except this year. This year, not only did Rex Tillerson blow off the report, here’s the level of treatment the report on human rights was given under Trump. Nor did any senior State Department official make on-camera comments that are typically watched around the world, including by officials in authoritarian countries where abuses are singled out in the report. Instead, a senior administration official talked to reporters by phone and only on the condition of anonymity. “The report speaks for...

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Leaked Doc Puts “Stake in the Heart” of Trump’s Travel Ban Rationale (VIDEO)

by Lauren McCauley – MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow revealed a telling internal document which proves that extreme vetting is ‘bull-pucky’. In a major scoop said to put a “stake in the heart of the Muslim ban,” MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow reported Thursday evening on a new leaked Department of Homeland Security (DHS) analysis which essentially shreds the Trump administration’s rationale for banning travel from seven Muslim-majority nations. The document, prepared by DHS’ internal intelligence agency, the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, concludes that the majority of foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists were radicalized several years after their entry into the U.S.. Following the “unbelievably chaotic rollout,” as Maddow put it, of President Donald Trump’s travel ban—which was subsequently and roundly rejected by the U.S. court system—the White House has repeatedly sworn that a replacement plan was in the works, with an eventual release planned for Wednesday. “Well now, it’s Thursday,” Maddow quipped. “Where’s the...

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Women Who Rely on Planned Parenthood are Fighting Back

by Kira Lerner – A leaked GOP bill would strip its clinics of Medicaid funding. From a distance, the bright pink signs and smiling young women enjoying the early signs of spring outside the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning might have seemed like a celebration. But the occasion was far from it. With Congress ready to introduce legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act — potentially defunding Planned Parenthood and blocking tax credits for abortion providers along with it — the largest women’s health organization is in full fight mode. After hitting Republican lawmakers in their home districts during last week’s recess, the battle now moves to the U.S. Capitol. On Friday, a draft of the GOP’s proposed Obamacare replacement leaked to reporters. In addition to repealing Obama’s signature health care legislation, the bill would strip Planned Parenthood of hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid reimbursements and eliminate tax credits from insurance providers who cover...

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Recusal is not Enough for Jeff Sessions

by Ian Millhiser – Justice demands a special prosecutor. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday afternoon that he would recuse himself from further investigations into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. This announcement follows revelations that he met twice with Russia’s ambassador while he was a Trump campaign surrogate, and then falsely testified that he “did not have communications with the Russians.” Recusal is step towards ensuring a fair and open investigation into Trump and his closest advisers’ Russian ties, but it is not itself sufficient to eliminate the conflicts of interest that anyone involved with this investigation will necessarily face. Sessions is no longer just an ally and a subordinate to Donald Trump, he is now a likely target of the investigation. He potentially faces criminal charges. Every single employee of the Justice Department, moreover, is subordinate to Sessions. Even if Sessions is technically recused from the Russia investigation,...

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Indivisible? Meet the Activists Doing the Job the Democratic Party Has Failed to Do

by John Knefel, Truthout | Report – The United States has now entered month two of Donald Trump’s presidency, and the opposition to his administration is strong and growing. The past week has produced too many town hall protests to catalog, many of which have resulted in blistering criticisms of Republican elected officials, as well as of some Democrats. For now, the common enemy of Trump has served as a rallying cry and unifying force for a popular front, but the divisions in the big-tent, left-of-center coalition highlighted by the Democratic primary still exist and are in fact deepening, as the race for the head of the Democratic National Committee showed. At the center of many of these town hall protests, often incorrectly dubbed a progressive answer to the Tea Party, is a group called Indivisible. It is less an organization than a network of local organizations, many of...

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Trump Administration Confirms Plans to Drop Key Claim Against Texas Voter ID

by JIM MALEWITZ – The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011. The U.S. Department of Justice confirmed Monday it plans to ditch its longstanding position that Texas lawmakers purposefully discriminated against minority voters by passing the nation’s strictest voter identification law in 2011. The move comes one day before a federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments on that high-stakes voting rights question, and it highlights yet another instance in which President Donald Trump has dramatically departed from the path of his predecessor. Former President Obama’s Justice Department originally teamed up with civil rights groups against Texas throughout the long-winding legal battle over the ID law, known as Senate Bill 14. But on Monday, lawyers for U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told parties that they were...

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The ACLU’s Next Endeavor: Organizing the People’s Power to Resist

by Faiz Shakir – In the weeks following President Donald Trump’s inauguration, we have seen the harms that his policies cause people around the world and the danger his actions represent for our civil liberties. Trump’s use of executive power has prompted the protest and defiance of millions, echoing the voices of many who know that our basic American values are being tested by our president. The ACLU will continue to defend our basic freedoms and hold this administration accountable for every unlawful or unconstitutional measure they propose. We will use the courts as one avenue to aggressively advance our agenda, but we cannot do it alone. That is why the ACLU is launching a major new grassroots mobilization platform, PeoplePower.org, in response to the growing number of people who believe that Trump’s actions cannot go unchallenged. We’ve hired a group of digital organizers who have worked with activist groups, the White House,...

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Where We are Now: George W. Bush’s Defends the Constitution to Rebuke Trump (VIDEO)

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – During an interview on Today, former President George W. Bush responded to President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban and recent criticisms of the media by speaking in support of religious freedom and the free press. “I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush told host Matt Lauer, weighing in on a question about whether the media should be considered “enemies of America,” as Trump said during his speech at CPAC last Friday. “We need an independent media to hold people like me into account,” Bush said. “Power can be addictive and it can be corrosive. It’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power, whether it be here or elsewhere.” Bush explained that he spent “a lot of time” trying to convince Russian President Vladimir Putin “to accept the notion of an independent press. And, it’s kind of hard...

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Philadelphia Muslims and Jews ‘Unite Against Hatred’ After Cemetery Attack

by Nadia Prupis – Muslim activists rally to donate funds, assist in cleanup after Jewish grave site in Pennsylvania desecrated. Muslim activists rallied again to help repair another Jewish cemetery vandalized over the weekend, this time in Pennsylvania, where at least 100 gravestones were toppled. The president of the Philadelphia chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA visited the Mount Carmel Cemetery in the northeast part of the city on Sunday and expressed solidarity and condolences to local Jewish leaders. “We are deeply troubled by these rising and ongoing attacks on our Jewish sisters and brothers, and members from our Philadelphia chapter are in route to assist in clean up,” said Dr. Nasim Rehmatullah, the group’s national vice president. “We call upon all Americans to stand united against this hatred and extremism.” The incident was reported on Sunday after a man visiting the cemetery found that three of his relatives’ headstones...

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Egyptian-Born, French Holocaust Scholar Detained and Threatened with Deportation

by Carimah Townes – He was “mistakenly detained” for 10 hours. An Egyptian-born French historian was scheduled to speak at a Texas A&M symposium last week, but he nearly missed the event because customs agents “mistakenly detained” him for 10 hours at a Houston airport — and threatened to deport him immediately. Henry Rousso, a World War II scholar and member of the National Center for Scientific Research was grabbed and detained at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport on Wednesday, following a long flight from Paris. He was reportedly brought to an interrogation room for a “random check” after he was pulled aside by immigration officials without an explanation. According to his own account of what happened, Rousso was questioned about his travel documents and accused of flying to the United States to work on an illegal visa, before he was interrogated about his family, subjected to a body search, and forced to take...

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Indiana is Going Hard Against Abortion This Week

by Maureen Shaw – These measures are extreme, even for Indiana. Indiana is gunning for abortion rights this week. Within a span of two days, Indiana’s House revived its “abortion reversal” bill, and a Senate panel advanced a restrictive bill aimed at curbing minors’ access to abortion care. Even for Indiana, which has a draconian anti-choice record, these measures are extreme in their disregard for women’s health and privacy. On Tuesday, the House Public Policy Committee approved H.B. 1128, which requires, among other things, that “a pregnant woman be informed orally and in writing before an abortion obtained through an abortion inducing drug that the abortion may be possibly reversed.” Last week, the committee approved a similar bill, but was met with resistance by some House Republicans, who cited concerns about a provision requiring abortion providers to perform an ultrasound to determine a fetus’ gestational age. This provision was struck from Tuesday’s...

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