Friday, July 31, 2020

RIP John Lewis

John Lewis's last words should inspire all of us. 

"Together, you can redeem the soul of our nation

 though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe."

Read the whole thing here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

John Yoo returns... and is advising Trump

Seems our famous torture lawyer-- the one who advised GW Bush on how to "legally" torture people is back to advising presidents on legally dubious (and immoral) prinicples...  Now professor Yoo -- yes for those who don't know it -- the morally corrupt (in my opinion) Yoo has tenture at Berkely law school. So it seems Yoo is advising our morally corrupt president on how to rule by decree--- because hey, following the actual law is cumbersome for the likes of criminals like Trump and Yoo is the perfect person for this job.
You can read more here and here.

The fact that Yoo is even in the position he is in is a failing of Obama (and of course Berkely law schhol) who decided to look forward... and not hold any of the torturers responsible.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...

Let's start with the good news:

A gangster in the White House

SCOTUS rules on Electoral College voting ... Sexual identity and civil rights ... Native-American reservations ... Dreamers ... Presidential tax records ... The power of theocrats and churches ... Some helpful rulings, others less so ... Justice Department habitually supporting Trump's personal battles in court ... Curious belief that a mentally unfit president could be reelected ... Maybe it is possible ... Roger Fitch reports from Washington 

The 2019 supreme court term has ended. Here's who won and who lost.

First the good news. 

"Faithless electors" can be punished; the decision was unanimous - dealing with situations where members of the Electoral College seek to defy the will of a state's voters. 

In a Louisiana case, the court ended non-unanimous jury verdicts in state felony trials. Linda Greenhouse was fascinated by the hidden agendas revealed in the individual opinions.

In Bostock, a majority supported a literal reading of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so as to cover sexual identity and orientation. The conservative Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch joined the court's liberals and wrote the opinion. The Atlantic recounts the fortuitous presence of the word "sex" in American anti-discrimination law.

Bostock will affect overtly discriminatory Health and Human Services regulations recently announced by Trump and under legal attack, but religious zealots hope to use their claims to circumvent the new ruling. Some observers suspect Gorsuch laid landmines in Bostock to further future conservative initiatives.

In Indian Country (as we say) there was the momentous McGirt decision, again featuring Justice Gorsuch, who affirmed the enduring validity of Native-American reservations covering vast areas of eastern Oklahoma.  

In the DACA decision (Trump v NAACP), Chief Justice Roberts joined the court's liberals in finding that the Trump administration's efforts to abolish President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals  failed, not because it couldn't be done, but because of the sloppy way it was attempted. 

Citing respect for precedent, the newly-fluid CJ also joined a liberal majority in June Medical Services v Russo, striking down a Louisiana abortion restriction almost identical to one found unconstitutional by a differently-composed court in 2016. 


Thursday, July 9, 2020

Trumps war against the International Criminal Court

I have been meaning to write about this for over a month but things keep getting in the way....All of the men at Guantanamo (past and present) are victims of US war crimes.

Bush jr pulled us out of the International court (ICC) as one of his first acts when he was "elected" back in 2000.  Obama ignored the issue when he could have reinstated the US (when he had a majority in both houses) and of course Trump would never recognize the ICC.

So it looked like the US was going to get away with its war crimes in Afghanistan. However, Afghanistan is a member of the ICC and when the prosecutor started to look into the war crimes it was with Afghanistan's blessings. 

So now the US can be held accountable for our war crimes in Afghanistan even if we have not signed on to recognize the court. Bad news for the US but good news for justice.

Of course the Trump administration is vehemently opposed to any scrutiny by the ICC -- the US believes it is not accountable to anyone, nevertheless the ICC. And so the bullying begins.....or I guess I should say, the bullying continues. 

More here

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Saturday, June 27, 2020

today's musical interlude... Now March!


h/o to Devin

Thursday, June 18, 2020

From Roger Fitch and our friends down under at Justinian...

It should have happened sooner. Behind the theatre, there is nothing innocent about Trump's flagrant deregulatory corruption and criminal mischief. The president is using the pandemic pretext to kill health and environmental regulations, even flout court orders, while ingratiating himself with supporters by funding church salaries, tormenting sexual minorities and reviving barbaric hunting practices.  

Every lever of government has been corruptly co-opted, and even alternative civil institutions of the Republican Party have been subverted: the Federalist Society has become a Trump tool rather than a vehicle for conservative legal sentiment. More here

Ransacking the republic has required the removal of inspectors general en masse. These "Stalinist" purges should be a national scandal; their purpose, other than revenge (the Intelligence IG who forwarded the Ukraine extortion whistleblower's account to congress) and punishment, is to forestall any investigations of the president, at least until after the election

The first high-level victim was the Office of Personnel Management chief; others followed, including Glenn Fine, the newly-named IG charged with oversight of disbursal of the corona virus appropriations, and the IGs for both Defence (also Glenn Fine) and the State Department

It's not just IGs being sacked, witness Rick Bright, an official who declined to recommend the dangerous anti-malarial drug Trump had been spruiking, along with other nostrums peddled by his mates

deVos: regulations to protect dodgy "educational" institutions 

For some of Trump's new placemen - who often have conflicts of interest - it's a prize: a mediocre Texas congressman, John Ratcliffe, was awarded Chief of Intelligence for obstructing Trump's impeachment

The president also believes in looking after grifters like himself. New regulations cobbled together by his odious Education Secretary Betsy deVos are designed to protect proprietors of unscrupulous "colleges" like Trump University from student actions and remedies. Congress overturned her regulations, but Trump vetoed the disallowance (more deVos skulduggery here).


Friday, June 12, 2020

Will Hollywood do a movie on Slahi?

It would be nice to get some of these stories in the mainstream. Maybe it will happen. read more here.

h/o to Robert.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Banksy speaks out...

Banksy’s latest piece of art

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

If you are silent you are part of the problem....

Yes, we can't all be civil rights lawyers but we can all raise our voices. If you can't join a peaceful march then try donating to organizations like NAACP  or Black Lives Matter.
Or put a sign in your window.
Do not sit on the sidelines.

Friday, May 29, 2020

IACHR Gitmo decision-- Link Fixed

Last month the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued an important decision concerning the complaint filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of fomer Guantanamo detainee Algerian DJamel Ameziane.

"This is the first decision ever made by a major regional Human Rights body regarding the human rights violations committed at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp and marks a historic victory for Mr. Ameziane and the rights of others detained at Guantanamo Bay to judicial reparations."

Read the entire report here.

h/o to Robert.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Memorial Day USA 2020 (con't)

Memorial Day weekend- USA 2020

I will always remember this time. A time when my country and the rest of the world were engulfed in a pandemic that will undoubtedly kill hundreds of thousands of people...maybe millions. Yes, I will remember that there were plenty of hero's. Some of the expected ones-- medical professionals and some of the unexpected, and maybe unwittingly ones, -- people working in the grocery stores, and liquor stores.
But what I will always remember about this time is how my president lied and pushed false cures, before going out to play golf. I will remember how people went out to spread the virus without a care in the world for anyone else's health or safety. I will remember people walking around with automatic weapons demanding the right to freely infect others. I will remember stores refusing to allow people in who ARE wearing masks.
I will remember just how ugly this time was.