Justice For All

Trump Blames ‘alt-left’ for Violence at White Supremacist Rally

by Melanie Schmitz – “I think there’s blame on both sides.” President Donald Trump on Tuesday condemned the counter-protesters who showed up at Saturday’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, stating that they had attacked the other group and were partially responsible for the violence that ensued. His comments drew swift criticism from those who saw the president’s remarks as an attempt to justify the initial rally, organized to protest the removal of a Confederate monument and unite white supremacists and Nazi-sympathizers behind a common cause. “What about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, ‘alt-right’? Do they have any semblance of guilt?” Trump said, during the televised news conference, which was originally intended to address infrastructure. “What about the fact that they came charging with clubs in their hands? Do they have any problem? I think they do.” Trump then claimed that the counter-protesters initiated the...

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We Should Have Followed Germany’s Example for Our Confederate Monuments

by kristenc – On Saturday, a white nationalist-Nazi-KKK rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned into a brawl between protesters and counter-protesters, and resulted in a brutal murder. Three days later, the country is still grappling with the effects of the protest, but it’s important to remember how it all began: with a ‘Unite the Right’ rally meant to defend a confederate monument that was slated for removal. This is something we as a nation need to most past, and we even have a clear model we should be following: Germany’s. After World War II, Germany had to grapple with something ugly in its history. The country chose to deal with the aftermath of the Nazi regime by banning all Nazi iconography, destroying Nazi statues and allowing remaining Nazi architecture to fall into ruins, with little more than a plaque warning visitors to avoid the dangerous, crumbling remains. In Germany, expressing Nazi ideology...

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Father Disowns Son In Powerful Open Letter After Learning He Marched In Charlottesville

by Amanda Froelich – Pearce Tefft publicly denounced his son’s discriminative behavior in an open letter you need to read. If you seek to make the world a better place, be compassionate, be humble, and do good. Such is a message millions of parents have shared with their children. A man named Pearce Tefft took the same care when raising his son, Peter Tefft. Unfortunately, Pearce no longer recognizes the same boy he raised. This was made evident when spotting him in the Unite the Right rally — a protest which occurred over the weekend and turned shockingly violent. As a result, Pearce made the hard decision to disown his son. “Peter Tefft, my son, is not welcome at our family gatherings any longer,” he wrote in a powerful open letter published on August 14th. In his hometown of Fargo, North Dakota, Peter has been labeled a “Nazi” by locals. This developed six months ago,...

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Tear Them Down

by Hunter – It’s long past time America rid itself of its monuments to Southern white supremacy. Nearly all were erected long after the war was over; few were intended purely as memorials for the band of terrorists that sought to split this nation in two over the right not only to buy, sell, breed, and kill fellow human beings as cash crop, but over the insistence that all the rest of the nation pass and maintain laws to help them do it. The rest arose as symbols of white dominance and power during the Jim Crow era. Monuments were erected in response to black Americans casting their rightful vote; monuments were erected in response to black Americans seeking to use the same doorways, and stairways, and fountains, and diners, and public places that they were barred from by southern law during the times when the rest of America found those...

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The Subtle Dogwhistle in Trump’s Belated Condemnation of White Supremacists

by Addy Baird – He’s still equivocating. President Donald Trump finally condemned by name members of the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists who rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend. But despite finally doing so two days after an anti-white supremacist protester was murdered, Trump’s statement still leaned into “all lives matter” rhetoric he used on Saturday. It took two days for Trump, who often criticized former President Barack Obama for not saying “radical Islamic terrorism,” to explicitly condemn white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the KKK. Trump said Monday those who cause violence in the name of racism “including the KKK, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups,” are “criminals and thugs.” It’s unclear who he was referring to by mentioning “other hate groups,” but many understood it as a veiled reference to anti-fascist groups and groups like Black Lives Matter. “To anyone who acted criminally in this weekend’s racist violence, you will be held fully...

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Bringing ‘Inconvenient’ Climate Change Information to Audiences Big and Small

by Jessica Wang – The Climate Reality Project is training a new army of activists to carry on and expand former Vice President Al Gore’s work on climate change. It’s been a decade since An Inconvenient Truth inserted climate change into the public consciousness and helped earn former Vice President Al Gore a 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in environmental activism. Now an even more impassioned Gore is back in An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, and the film follows him as he continues the fight for meaningful action and progressive policy on climate change. Directed by Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk, An Inconvenient Sequel also shows Gore and his organization – The Climate Reality Project – as it trains a new army of activists to carry on and expand the reach of his work. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps now numbers nearly 13,000 around the world. Filmmaker Jessica Wang talked with one of them —...

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Hiring the Formerly Incarcerated as a Business Model (VIDEO)

by Jessica Wang – Fair chance hiring gives businesses dedicated workers and the formerly incarcerated a chance to get beyond stereotypes. For nearly two decades, filmmaker Katie Galloway has documented and exposed the flaws in our country’s criminal justice system, with investigative documentaries ranging from a trio of award-winning films for PBS Frontline — Snitch, Requiem for Frank Lee Smith and The Case for Innocence — to the impact of the prison building boom on rural America in Prison Town, USA. Her latest documentary, The Return, examined the effects of California’s Proposition 36, when thousands of people serving life terms under California’s three-strikes law were released after the legislation was amended in 2012. Both aired on PBS’s POVdocumentary film series. Galloway recently collaborated with The Marshall Project on Hot Chicken, Fair Chance, which focuses on a Columbus, Ohio restaurant that practices “fair chance” hiring of formerly incarcerated men and women. Filmmaker Jessica Wang recently interviewed Galloway about her latest project for BillMoyers.com.   Jessica Wang: You’ve built...

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5 Immigration Reform Proposals that Americans Actually Support

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – The proposal takes data points from recent polls. An immigration reform bill that ensures the United States has the best and brightest foreign workers and also legalizes the current undocumented population in the United States has generally been a non-starter conversation since President Donald Trump took office. But major polls published after the president’s inauguration shows that’s exactly the kind of legislation that Americans could see themselves supporting. Last week, President Donald Trump backed a Senate Republican-led proposal that cuts legal immigration and significantly reduces the annual number of U.S. visas based on a strict definition of merit-based skills. Many voters would support components of the bill, as White House adviser Stephen Miller suggested, according to a recent Politico/Morning Consult poll published Wednesday. “Public support is so immense on this — if you just look at the polling data in many key battleground states across the country —...

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In Louisiana, a Private Company is Operating a Court-Approved Shakedown

by Brandon Buskey, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project – Imagine being arrested. You haven’t been convicted of a crime, but you are told you have to pay bail to be released. If you don’t have enough money to pay the full bail amount, you could pay a bail bondsman, who will keep 10 percent of your bail fee as profit. Either way, if you cannot afford to purchase your freedom, you stay in jail. But in East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, it’s worse than that. Here Judge Trudy White has for years been assigning people to a for-profit company, Rehabilitation Home Incarceration, to supervise the conditions of a person’s release — for a price. RHI then charges people who post bail a $525 fee simply to be released. And it doesn’t stop there. You then have to pay the company a monthly $225 “supervision” fee while awaiting trial. If you...

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Canada Builds Border Camp for Asylum Seekers Fleeing US

by Jessica Corbett – Hundreds of Haitians, fearful of deportation under President Donald Trump, have crossed the border to seek refugee status in Quebec. Canada’s military has troops assembling heated tents that will be capable of temporarily housing up to 500 asylum seekers who continue crossing into the country where it borders New York State. “Around 250 asylum seekers are arriving each day in Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s mainly French-speaking province of Quebec,” Reuters reported on Wednesday. A spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency told CBC-Radio Canada there are currently 700 people waiting to be processed, and although the wait time is two or three days, the asylum seekers do not have access to beds. Cynthia Lauf @cynthialauf Canada to set up border camp as number of asylum seekers swells http://www.reuters.com.convey.pro/l/GXZ6BJl  by #Reuters via @c0nvey 4:50 PM – Aug 9, 2017 To accommodate the new arrivals, “nearly 100 soldiers will be in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, across the border from Champlain, New York,...

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Salt Lake’s Dem Mayor Goes Undercover as a Homeless Man for Three Days. Pledges Vital Assistance

by Tevye – This story has a ‘Brubaker’ feel to it. It happened over four months ago, and until recently, was known by only a small handful of people. Last March, Democratic Mayor Ben McAdams put into play something he long felt compelled to do. Due to a state law, he had to select possible sites for three new homeless centers/shelters. Two for men and one for women and children. Regardless of the choices, it would prove highly unpopular in the neighborhoods. Each perspective area arose in fury at the idea. But it had to be done. He needed a more personal perspective. And it was this catalyst that solidified his decision. McAdams left work on a Friday with Patrick Reimherr, the Director of Government Affairs. They both wore three-day growth. No wallets, money, or I.D.’s  They were dressed in their oldest jeans, sneakers, sweatshirts and hoodies. Each had a small bag with some clothes, a blue tarp...

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DOJ’s Latest Move Confirms “Worst Fears” About Voting Rights

by Jessica Corbett – Department’s reversal on key case involving Ohio’s program to purge voter rolls sparks condemnation. Legal experts and voting rights advocates are raising alarms about a reversal in the Justice Department’s long-standing interpretation of a federal law that dictates when and how states can purge voters from their rolls. Regarding the pending Supreme Court case Husted v A. Philip Randolph Institute, President Donald Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus brief (pdf) in favor of Ohio’s voter-rolls maintenance program—which cancels registrations of those who do not update their registrations or vote over six years—a move that critics warn “opens the door for wide-scale unlawful purging of the voter registration rolls across our country.” “Just last summer, the Justice Department had affirmed in this same case, before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, its view that Ohio’s voter purge practices violated federal law,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil...

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An Anonymous Couple Donated $6.5 Million to Build a New Planned Parenthood Facility

by Jen Hayden – An anonymous (to the public) couple is stepping up to stand with Planned Parenthood in a big, big way. From City Pages: The Planned Parenthood clinic in Uptown Minneapolis is due for a makeover. And now it’s getting one, thanks to a massive donation to the regional branch of the women’s health care clinic. A recent $6.5 million donation will help pay for replacing the existing clinic with a “state of the art” facility, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota announced Monday morning. The donation came from “a very generous couple in this community.” Though the statement didn’t reveal their identities, regional president Sarah Stoesz described the pair as “fierce defenders of making sure women get the health care they need, no matter what.” Thank you to these anonymous fierce defenders of women’s health! It is the largest single donation to Planned Parenthood. More information on the...

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Clooney Foundation To Open 7 Schools For 3,000 Syrian Refugee Kids

By Amanda Froelich – The Clooney Foundation for Justice agreed to donate $2.25 million to build 7 public schools, which will educate approximately 3,000 refugee children in Lebanon. Thanks to actor George Clooney and his wife Amal, Syrian refugee children who have faced unimaginable hardship will soon receive an education. This is because the Clooney Foundation for Justice agreed to donate $2.25 million to build 7 public schools, which will educate approximately 3,000 refugee children in Lebanon. The donation was made as part of an educational campaign in partnership with Google and Unicef. The ultimate goal is to provide relief to children and their families during one of the most arduous humanitarian crises since WWII. The couple said in a statement to AP: “They have been victims of geography and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope. Our goal with this initiative is to help provide Syrian refugee children with an education and put them on a...

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Martin Shkreli Found Guilty on 3 of 8 Fraud Charges

by mconvente – Hot off the presses.  Martin Shkreli, the infamous “Pharma Bro” who raised the price of the generic medicine Daraprim, which his company owned the rights to, from $13.50/pill to $750/pill overnight, has been found guilty by a jury of his peers on three of eight securities fraud charges.  Shkreli faces up to 20 years in prison. From the New York Times: Martin Shkreli, accused of defrauding his hedge fund investors and a pharmaceutical company, was convicted on three of eight counts on Friday, after a five-week trial in the Federal District Court in Brooklyn. He faces as much as 20 years in prison. The conviction, even as a mixed verdict, was a shattering defeat for the divisive Mr. Shkreli, who said before the trial that he was “so innocent” that the judge, jury and prosecutors would apologize to him afterward. Mr. Shkreli was accused of securities and wire fraud related to two...

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NAACP Issues Travel Warning for Missouri

by E.A. Crunden – Following the passage of a new “Jim Crow bill”, people of color and minorities may be unsafe. People of color and other minorities have been warned not to visit the state of Missouri after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens signed a draconian bill into law that directly threatens minorities, advocates claim. In a sweeping advisory from June that began gaining traction on a national level last week, members of the NAACP voted to approve the travel warning, which was extended to people of color, women, and the queer community. The NAACP advised those groups that their civil rights may be violated while visiting the state. The organization also advised “extreme caution” to both travelers and minorities currently living in Missouri. Signed in June, SB43 requires workers claiming discrimination bias by employers to prove that bias was the clear reason for termination — something that is almost impossible to do. Employees are also blocked...

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Donald Trump vs. The Rule of Law

by Marjorie Cohn, Truthout | Report – One of the most sacred duties of the president of the United States is to enforce the laws. The Take Care Clause, in Article II, §3 of the Constitution, says the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Yet, six months after taking office, Donald Trump has demonstrated contempt for the rule of law. He has not only refused to enforce certain laws; he has become a serial lawbreaker himself and counseled others to violate the law. Trump is undermining Obamacare, which is currently the law of the land. He is advocating police brutality. Plus, he has illegally bombed Syria, killed large numbers of civilians in Iraq and Syria, instituted an unconstitutional Muslim Ban, violated the Emoluments Clause and obstructed justice. Each of these actions either violate or indicate an intention to violate the law. Sabotaging the Affordable Care Act The Affordable Care Act...

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Sweeping New Effort Aims to Protect Undocumented Immigrants

by E.A. Crunden Legislation unveiled Friday would be a big step toward shielding DACA recipients and immigrants who came to the United States as children. Amid harsh crackdowns by President Donald Trump’s administration, Democrats in Congress are introducing sweeping legislation to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. In an effort unveiled Friday, members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (among 117 original co-sponsors) introduced the American Hope Act, which would open a pathway to citizenship for “DREAMers” — young immigrants who arrived in the country before their 18th birthday and before December 31, 2016 who meet certain conditions. Under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative introduced by former President Barack Obama’s administration, DREAMers were granted temporary deportation relief. But Trump’s administration has targeted undocumented immigrants repeatedly, leaving many worried about the future. Addressing that fear, Representative Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) said, is at the heart of the...

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Justice Department Again Threatens to Snatch Federal Grants from Sanctuary Cities

by Scott Shackford – Hundreds of millions in crime and court funding at stake. The Trump administration keeps trying to punish sanctuary cities that don’t cooperate in enforcing federal immigration policy, even though the feds don’t have the authority to demand all that much. The latest news is that the Department of Justice will attempt to tie a federal crime fighting block grant fund to three demands. Cities or states that want to receive the money must do the following: Prove compliance with federal law that bars cities or states from restricting communications between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) about the immigration or citizenship status of a person in custody. Allow DHS officials access into any detention facility to determine the immigration status of any aliens being held. Give DHS 48 hours’ notice before a jail or prison releases a person when DHS has sent...

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Five Pro-Democracy Activists Sentenced for Disrupting the U.S. Supreme Court

by David Schwenk – In April of 2015, five pro-democracy activists stood up in the U.S. Supreme Court to denounce the justices for allowing unlimited sums of money to corrupt our politics. This action occurred on the one-year anniversary of the McCutcheon v. FEC ruling, in which the court ruled that the overall federal limit on individual campaign contributions violated the First Amendment. Coupled with the disastrous Citizens United decision, which gave corporations permission to spend unlimited amounts on ads and other political tools, these court rulings have silenced the majority of people while giving immense power to the moneyed elite to influence our government. Now more than two years since they rose one by one to admonish the court for tilting our elections in the favor of the wealthy, on Monday these activists appeared for sentencing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Originally facing sentences of 10–16 months in prison...

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