Justice For All

Judge Rules Black Lives Matter Cannot be Sued by Police Officer and Fox News is not Happy About it

by Kelly Macias – The widespread anger and outrage this week incited by Donald Trump’s comments on the NFL protests has once again shown how hypocritical and racist so many Americans are. Americans, Republicans in particular, are all for free speech but when black people exercise it, it sends some of them into a violent frenzy.  It doesn’t matter who is doing the protesting, whether its black athletes or ordinary black citizens—they find any excuse to paint black protest as a danger to safety and democracy. This is especially true if violence occurs at a protest. Recently, a police officer in Baton Rouge tried to sue Black Lives Matter for injuries he sustained during a protest against police brutality in July 2016.  Along with suing DeRay Mckesson, an activist who attended the rally, the officer claimed that Black Lives Matter and Mckesson were responsible for inciting the violence that caused him harm. On Thursday, a federal judge ruled that the officer cannot sue...

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Illinois Governor Reverses Course, Will Expand Abortion Access for Low-income Residents

by Addy Baird – It’s been a surprisingly successful week for reproductive rights. It’s been a surprisingly successful week for reproductive rights activists, after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) said Thursday he would sign into law a bill that would expand taxpayer-subsidized abortions for those covered by Medicaid and state employee insurance. In April, Rauner said he would veto the bill, but reversed course after meeting with activist groups both for and against the legislation. “I believe that a woman living with limited financial means should not be put in the position where she has to choose something different than a woman of higher income would be able to choose,” Rauner said at a press conference Thursday. “I also believe that no woman should be forced to make a different decision than another woman would make purely based on her income.” Signing the bill is a politically fraught move for the...

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The Shady Case That Put a Nashville Man in Prison for Over 20 years

by Aviva Shen – Witnesses say police threatened them into lying about a murder they never saw. Marquise Harris was leaving his family’s apartment one morning in 1992 to catch the school bus when a police officer stopped him outside his door. His parents had already left for work, but Nashville homicide detective Bill Pridemore asked the 13-year-old to talk in private. According to Harris, the detective wanted him to say he had seen another teenager, Cyrus Wilson, shoot a man outside his bedroom window. Harris said he didn’t know anything about the alleged altercation. “Then the detective grabbed my left arm and asked me in a loud tone, do I want to spend the rest of my life in prison for someone else’s mistake,” Harris recounted in a handwritten affidavit earlier this year. Pridemore told him he had enough evidence to arrest Harris as an accessory to murder if he...

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Mission Accomplished: Study Shows GOP-Backed Voter ID Laws Work to Suppress Turnout

by Jon Queally – “It’s certainly possible that there were enough voters deterred that it flipped the election,” says lead author study about 2016 voting in Wisconsin. Highlighting the effectiveness of such laws to decrease voter turnout, a new study out of Wisconsin shows that somewhere between 16,000 and 23,000 people did not vote in the state’s 2016 November elections due to a newly-imposed restrictive voter ID law passed in the state by the Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Scott Walker. “Gov. Walker and his co-conspirators ought to be ashamed of what they have done.” —Analiese Eicher, One Wisconsin According to the Urban Milwaukee: Thousands and thousands of legal voters in Wisconsin were prevented from casting a ballot in the November 2016 election because of the state’s strict voter ID law, according to a study of registered voters conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison Professor Ken Mayer. The study was based on a survey...

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Georgetown Students, Faculty Take a Knee to Protest Sessions’ Hypocrisy on Free Speech

by KIRA LERNER & JOSHUA EATON – “We have questions for Jeff Sessions.” Georgetown Law students and faculty gathered on the campus Tuesday to protest a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he blasted college campuses that he said have allowed political correctness to erode free speech. The school did not allow many of the students and faculty at Tuesday’s protest to attend the invite-only speech. “The concept of free speech is to invite both people who dissent and people who disagree,” Imani Waweru, a third-year law student and attorney general of Georgetown’s Black Law Students Association, told ThinkProgress. “The obvious message here is that those who dissent are not invited.” Georgetown’s Center for the Constitution, led by conservative professor Randy Barnett, organized Sessions’ speech. Students and faculty said they took issue with the fact that they had just one day’s notice that the controversial attorney general would speak. The issue of...

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‘Our Momentum Is Unstoppable’: Workers Celebrate as Target Announces $15 Minimum Wage

by Jake Johnson – “Never underestimate the power of organizing.” In what is being described as a huge victory for the tens of thousands of workers across the country who have for years organized, rallied, and gone on strike for higher wages, Target on Monday announced that it plans to raise the company-wide minimum hourly wage to $11 by next month and $15 by 2020. “Five years ago, when 200 New York City fast-food workers first walked off the job for $15 an hour and union rights, nobody gave us a shot. Since then, we’ve spread this movement to every corner of the country and beyond fast-food. We did what they said we couldn’t: we won. We won in the states, in the cities, with the big politicians and with the big corporations,” Steven Suffridge, a Minneapolis McDonald’s Worker and Fight for $15 organizer, wrote in an email reacting to the news. “And...

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Republicans’ New Immigration Bill is so Ridiculous That it Could Take 15 Years to Become a Citizen

by Esther Yu Hsi Lee – “These are kids who literally do not have a home anywhere.” Three Republican senators have introduced an immigration bill that grants a 15-year pathway to citizenship for some undocumented immigrants brought to the country as children. It also prevents those immigrants from sponsoring their family members for legalization. Under the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers Employment Education and Defending our nation (or SUCCEED) Act — coauthored by Republican Sens. James Lankford (OK), Thom Tillis (NC), and Orrin Hatch (UT) — undocumented immigrants would be allowed to get on an eventual pathway to citizenship if they fulfill several years of criteria. For its most basic qualification, applicants must have arrived in the country before the age of 16 and before June 15, 2012. “These are kids who literally do not have a home anywhere,” Lankford said during the press conference announcing the bill on Monday. That June...

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If You Haven’t Seen Dan Rather on Trump and the NFL Protests Yet, You Really Should

by xaxnar – It’s going viral, the Facebook post Dan Rather put up about Trump and the protests being carried out in the NFL and elsewhere. It’s one of the most damning dissections of what Trump is doing that I’ve seen. Here’s the post in its entirety: It’s football Sunday, and I have a pit in my stomach, and a sickening sense of deja vu. Who knows what the day will bring? I do know the source of my disquiet. It is the stench of bigotry as a demagogue stirs the potent cauldron of racial division. I want to say, this is so unnecessary. We have so many other things we should be worrying about. But of course now this is real, and it must be called out. This is an age when no one can be neutral. To remain silent in the face of race-baiting is to be complicit. And I have...

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The Return of Criminal Justice Reform

by C.J. Ciaramella – Congress failed to pass a bill reforming mandatory minimums last year; now two senators want to try again. Two senators announced on Wednesday that they will reintroduce a bipartisan bill to overhaul federal sentencing guidelines. The legislation failed to pass Congress last year, much to the disappointment of criminal justice reform groups. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, originally introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) and Dick Durbin (D-Il.) in 2015, would reduce the mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines for repeat drug offenders without serious violent felonies and would broaden the “safety valve” exception to federal mandatory minimum sentences. It would also add new mandatory minimum sentences for interstate domestic abuse and for providing support for terrorists, while strengthening penalties for certain other crimes. Grassley and Durbin say they will reintroduce the bill this year, although they did not say when. “While the political landscape in Washington has changed, the same...

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‘Racist, Fascist, White Supremacist’: Former NFL Star Chris Kluwe Scorches Trump Over His Attacks on Athletes

by Shannon Barber – Donald Trump is facing seriously fierce blowback for his attacks on black athletes who choose to protest racism and police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem before games. Everyone from owners to players to players to former players are giving Trump a big middle finger during  games on Sunday, and former NFL star Chris Kluwe didn’t stay out of the fray. During an interview with CNN host Fredricka Whitfield, Kluwe, who believes he was blacklisted in the league for speaking out for LGBTQ rights, did not hold back. First, Whitfield asked: “This display of kneeling at the national anthem on a football field started a year ago with 49er’s Kaepernick and now has evolved into something else or perhaps has blossomed into the same thing but in a bigger way. Chris, what statement do you see NFL teams, owners, coaches making when they kneel, touch, lock arms...

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The Americans with Disabilities Act Is Under Threat

by Kristin Miller – There’s no entity in charge of ensuring that businesses comply with the ADA. The optics were bad enough when disabled Americans were being dragged out of capital buildings as they protested potential loss of benefits in the first two iterations of Republican health care bills. For the protestors it was all about Medicaid. The Senate bill did away with Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion which would drop millions of low-income Americans from the rolls. And the bill completely changed the way Medicaid is financed — getting rid of open-ended funding and moving toward a “per-capita” system. The new Graham-Cassidy bill under consideration needs to be voted on within the next week to get an easy pass with just 51 votes. Like its predecessors, it also halts Medicaid expansion and turns Medicaid dollars over to the states to determine spending. But disability advocates have even more reason to be distressed by the...

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Watch the Stunning Contrast Between How Trump and Obama Talk About Colin Kaepernick

by Ryan Koronowski – Sometimes a year is a lifetime. The gaping chasm between the approach of the 44th and 45th presidents is hard to miss. But sometimes it’s easy to forget how different things were just a year ago. If you need a refresher, just listen to the two presidents discuss Colin Kaepernick. Donald Trump built his campaign by exploiting racial grievances and has continued this approach as president. At a rally in Alabama Friday night, Trump veered into an extended rant on the NFL, criticizing Colin Kaepernick and other players, nearly all African-American, who have taken a knee during the national anthem. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He is fired. He’s fired!,’” Trump said. He pantomimed the owners firing the players, pretending he was actually pointing his finger and...

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The Silent Terrorism on Our Doorsteps

by Christian Christensen – Why aren’t mass killings related to domestic violence given the same media attention as Islamic terrorism? Let’s begin with two questions. Can you name the location of the two most deadly US mass shootings of 2017? And, can you identify what the two events had in common? The answers? The Sept. 10 killing of eight in Plano, Texas, and the May 27 killing of eight in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. The link? Both were acts of domestic violence. Were the mass murders covered by portions of the US media? Yes. Were they given the same level and intensity of coverage as instances of national and international ”terrorism” with far fewer, or even no, fatalities? No. Not even close. In fact, many people in the US could be forgiven for not having heard of what happened in Plano or Bogue Chitto, let alone that these were instances of domestic violence. It...

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A Gay Swedish Antifascist Spent a Year Undercover With White Supremacists. Here’s What He Found

by Luke Barnes – One wants Adolf Hitler on European banknotes by 2050. During an extensive undercover investigation of the far right by openly gay Swedish anti-fascist activist, white nationalists bragged about their connections with the White House and said their movement would end with “concentration camps and expulsion and war.” Patrik Hermansson, 25, spent a year pretending he was writing a Master’s thesis about the suppression of right-wing free speech. Working undercover for British advocacy group Hope Not Hate, his investigation took him from Sweden to London to Washington D.C. and finally Charlottesville. “I presented myself as a political refugee from the left-wing dictatorship of Sweden,” Hermansson told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter. “I talked about no-go-zones. That Sweden was collapsing under mass immigration. Many fascists worship Viking-Sweden, the idea of clean white race and a pure, original masculinity.” One of Hermansson’s most interesting encounters during his time undercover was with Jason Reza Jorjani,...

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Trump’s Tax Plan Is Indefensible

by Ken Morris, Truthout | Op-Ed – When President Trump agreed with Democrats on a debt limit increase, there began talk about a new era of cooperation. For those foolish enough to fall for such claptrap, just wait until the tax reform train comes barreling in later this year. And make no mistake, Trump and the GOP have made it clear (for decades) that “reform” really means cuts for the wealthy. When it comes to making the super-rich super-richer, there is no negotiation. And who exactly is advocating massive reduction in top-end marginal tax rates (MTR), a policy with dubious and arguably non-existent benefits? As for Trump, after years of attacking China over currency manipulation, early in his presidency he reportedly asked National Security Adviser Mike Flynn about the economic impact of a strong US dollar. Soon-to-be-fired Ex-General Flynn had no answer since, like Trump, he has no understanding of...

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Trump Aide Reportedly Suppressed Study Proving Refugees Contributed $63 Billion More Than They Cost

by Jen Hayden – Stephen Miller, Trump’s top white nationalist advisor in the White House, reportedly rejected a study proving refugees contribute significantly more to U.S. revenue than they cost. From the New York Times: Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House to provide a rationale for reducing the number of refugees allowed into the United States next year, rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost. The draft report, which was obtained by The New York Times, contradicts a central argument made by advocates of deep cuts in refugee totals as President Trump faces an Oct. 1 deadline to decide on an allowable number. The issue has sparked intense debate within his administration as opponents of the program, led by Mr. Trump’s chief policy adviser, Stephen Miller, assert that continuing to...

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‘I’ll Tell You One Goddamned Thing for Sure. I’m Not Staying at a Motel 6 From Now On.’

by Katherine Mangu-Ward – Is the discount hotel chain ratting out undocumented immigrants to ICE? Are two Motel 6 locations in Phoenix routinely sending in leads to immigration agents when they suspect guests of being undocumented? While an investigation by the Phoenix New Times was unable to get confirmation from Motel 6 headquarters, employees at the motels in question said that collaboration with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is standard practice: “We send a report every morning to ICE—all the names of everybody that comes in,” a front-desk clerk told the New Times. “Every morning at about 5 o’clock, we do the audit and we push a button and it sends it to ICE.” What’s more, court documents show that “between February and August, ICE agents made at least 20 arrests at Motel 6s, showing up roughly every two weeks” while there was a distinct lack of “records indicating that ICE conducted arrests at other...

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The Trump Administration Plans to End a Refugee Program for Children

by Marcelo Rochabrun – Minors from violence-plagued El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will no longer be permitted to reunite with their parents in the United States. The Trump administration plans to stop accepting refugee applications from children with U.S.-based parents from three violence-riddled Central American countries — El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala — according to the summary of a presentation the State Department made recently to refugee organizations. The decision to end the Central American Minors program, which began in 2014 and is the only refugee program aimed at helping people from that region, could put hundreds of families split between two countries in a delicate situation. The children will no longer be able to come legally to the U.S. Of course, they can still attempt to cross without authorization and then either request asylum or try to navigate the border region without being detained or injured — just the kind...

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How Bad Could Things Get?

by Todd Gitlin – The late ‘60s and early ‘70s were crazy, but we’re looking wilder. “This country is going so far to the right you’re not going to recognize it.” Those memorable words were uttered by Richard Nixon’s Attorney General, John Mitchell, who proved to be off by almost 50 years. But he and other Nixon cronies, however premature in their timetables, were establishing precedents for today’s worst case scenarios. We have to ask: Which elements of the state-sponsored violence of the ’60s and early ’70s are ready for revival and renewal? What new wrinkles in constitutional crisis might be in the works? Just how far to the right — or the left — will we go? RELATED: DEMOCRACY & GOVERNMENT On taking office in 1969, Mitchell had declared that he was “first and foremost a law-enforcement officer.” The extent of the law-breaking — including murders — that that he and...

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How Segregated America Made Trump Inevitable

by Donald Earl Collins – Racial and social segregation has built Trump’s electorate and the dominant white narrative it subscribes to. Let there be no doubt. US President Donald Trump is a mercurial, inept, me-first racist. In recent weeks, Trump has thrown in with Charlottesville’s white supremacists and pardoned known anti-immigrant xenophobe Joe Arpaio. Trump has pursued an agenda of rescinding more and more of President Barack Obama’s executive orders, including the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), potentially leading to the deportation of undocumented immigrants who were children when they came to the US. Trump’s behaviour isn’t unprecedented. His racist, incompetent, and callously narcissistic performance as president shares similarities with that of Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, James Buchanan, Woodrow Wilson, and Richard Nixon. And although he continues to follow the lead of some of America’s most racist and inept presidents, he continues to retain many of his supporters. WATCH: Trump’s DACA decision leaves many dreams in limbo (2:26) Millions of supposedly...

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