Category Archives: Civil Rights

Federal judge rejects request to modify Flores Settlement Agreement

A federal judge in Los Angeles dealt the Trump administration another significant blow on Monday by rejecting its attempt to indefinitely detain immigrant children caught crossing the border illegally with their parents (in the decades-old Flores case). Judge rejects Trump administration bid to indefinitely detain immigrant children with parents:

U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee issued an   order lambasting the Justice Department for its request to modify the 1997 [Flores] settlement agreement that set rules for how the government can deal with immigrant children in its custody. Calling President Trump’s executive order on immigrants “ill-considered,” the judge accused the administration of attempting to shift blame to the courts for a crisis of Congress’ and the president’s making.

Gee’s order came as Justice Department attorneys told a federal judge in San Diego [Ms. L. v. ICE] they would miss Tuesday’s deadline for authorities to reunite parents and children younger than 5 who were forcibly separated at the border.

Just over half the 102 children identified by the government will be reunited by Tuesday’s deadline, the attorneys told U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, who had previously ordered the reunifications in response to a legal action brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The rest includes children whose parents were already deported, have criminal records and are unfit to care for them, Justice Department attorneys said. In the case of one 3-year-old boy, they said, authorities couldn’t find any parental records.

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The Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins gambit – leave the GOP

Democrats have mounted a campaign against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee by targeting two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the mythical moderate from Maine, Susan Collins.

If our lives depends on Susan Collins, we’re fucked. Remember how she traded her vote on the GOP tax cut for corporations and plutocrats for her bills to secure subsidies for Obamacare health insurance plans in the federal budget? Yeah, she totally got played by Mitch McConnell — or did she? Was it all just a charade to maintain her mythical moderate persona? — her bills were not included in the federal budget.

And on Saturday, the Trump administration halted billions of dollars in annual payments required under the law to even out the cost to insurers whose customers need expensive medical services. Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments.  Another epic failure by the mythical moderate from Maine. Thanks for nothing, lady.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos asks the pointed question, Once again we have to ask: is Susan Collins a liar, or just stupid?

Republican Sen. Susan Collins is steadfastly playing dumb about whether or not she’ll vote for a Supreme Court nominee from the current occupier of the Oval Office. She’s relying, apparently, on the misguided belief that her constituents are stupid.

“I think I’ve made it pretty clear,” she told MSNBC Wednesday, “that if a nominee has demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade and has said that they are not going to abide by that long-standing precedent, that I could not support that nominee.” And what everybody is that Trump is working off of a pre-approved list on which every potential nominee has been screened for their adherence to extreme right-wing ideology, including hostility to abortion. Collins is continuing to try to pretend that if the nominee hasn’t said it out loud, they won’t do it.

Here’s the thing: no Supreme Court nominee has ever said out loud that they would not abide by any long-standing precedent, but especially Roe. Because they wouldn’t get confirmed that way. And the far right knows that. They rely upon the stealth of their nominees. Despite past performance, Collins isn’t so stupid that she doesn’t know that very well.

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Putting America Last: The Historic Failure of Walls

Historically, walls separating nations do not work as well as intended over the long term. Photo of Gaza/Israel boundary courtesy of the New York Times.

Walls delineating boundaries between nations or barriers for defense have stood since the dawn of human history. Wall Street in Manhattan, for example, received its name because Dutch settlers erected a walled defense against the Native American tribes they had wronged with unprovoked genocidal type raids.

If one wants to visit Christopher Columbus’s house in Genoa Italy, not far from it is the old city walls of Genoa, which is now surrounded by modern buildings. Everyone has heard of the Great Wall of China, the walls of Jericho and Troy, and the Berlin Wall. All of these barriers were created for either defense, to keep people out, or to keep people in. What does history tell us about these walls?

It tells us that while walls may be necessary to preserve boundaries and prevent invasion, they are not foolproof and eventually doomed, thanks to human ingenuity, to failure.

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“The Blue Wave Starts Here” as Maricopa County Democrats Gather at the Summer Convention

Photo courtesy of Maricopa County Democratic Party

About 700 excited and enthusiastic Democratic activists, including many candidates, precinct captains, and Legislative District chairpersons, filled the auditorium at the Performing Arts Center of Horizon High School in Paradise Valley on June 30 to attend the Summer Convention of the Maricopa Democratic Party.

They heard speakers including the County Party Leadership, Maricopa County State Representatives Kelli Butler and Mitzi Epstein, House Representative Ruben Gallego, the three Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates (Farley, Fryer, and Garcia), Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, and Guest Speaker Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.

Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Steven Slugocki speaking at June 30 Maricopa County Summer Convention; photo courtesy of Maricopa County Democratic Party.

The gathered assemblage conveyed an optimistic mood, cheering when Maricopa County Party Leader Steven Slugocki proclaimed that the “Blue Wave starts here” in the “largest Battleground County.”

He happily reported that the Democratic Party has surged in growth since 2016, citing examples of the quadrupling in the number of Precinct Captains in some Legislative Districts (with LD 18, for example exploding with 254 of which I have to disclose I am one) and legislative offices.

Slugocki also relayed that there has been a surge in the number of candidates. In 2014, the Democrats recruited 55 people to run and there were some positions where Republicans ran unopposed, today there are 75 people running and all legislative offices are being contested. LD 23 was singled out for being the district that gathered the most ballot signatures and LD 12 for the most voter registrations.

Read: LD 23 State House Candidate Eric Kurland sees 2018 as a Referendum on Public Education.

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LD 12 Democratic Candidate Joe Bisaccia sees the 2018 Election as “A Campaign about the Future Versus the Preserving the Past.”

LD 12 Democratic State House Candidate Joseph Bisaccia

Over coffee and ice water at the Old Town Gilbert café Bergies Coffee, energetic and idealistic Democratic State House Clean Election Candidate Joe Bisaccia outlined his vision for how he would represent LD 12 if he won one of the two State House seats this November.

Bisaccia is one of many educators, inspired by the poor educational policies advanced by the reactionary Republican State Legislature along with the teacher-led Red for Ed Movement, who want to lead a pro-education campaign all the way to State House.

Arizona LD 12 includes parts or all of Gilbert, Queen Creek, and San Tan Valley. Eddie Farnsworth and Travis Grantham now represent the district in the State House. Mr. Bisaccia is one of three Democratic Candidates (the others being Lynsey Robinson and DJ Rothans) running to take one of those House seats. This is a great example of Democratic enthusiasm this election year because Democrats have not fielded candidates in the State House Race for this Legislative District in two out of the last three elections.

Bisaccia sees this race as “a campaign about the future versus the preserving the past” and is running on the issues of education, technology, jobs, and tax reform to advance a pragmatic liberal progressive agenda.

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Republicans complete their epic fail on immigration bills

In other news … Republicans completed their epic fail to pretend to pass an immigration bill on Wednesday when the GOP compromise bill on immigration failed in a worse-than-expected 121-300 vote, effectively ending a months-long GOP drama that had put the caucus’s internal politics on display.

Arizona delegation: Yeah: McSally; Nay: Biggs, Gallego, Gosar, Grijalva, Lesko, O’Halleran, Schweikert, Sinema.

The Hill reports, House rejects second GOP immigration bill:

The measure won far fewer GOP votes than a more hard-line measure rejected last week in a 193-231 vote.

Only 121 Republicans backed it, compared to 193 for the earlier measure. Two Republicans did not cast votes on Wednesday, while 112 Republicans voted against it.

Votes on the bill were twice postponed to give Republicans more time to win support for the measure, which was opposed by Democrats.

But conservatives never really warmed to it, and President Trump put down the effort on Twitter, at one point saying that Republicans should stop wasting their time since the bill was seen as dead on arrival in the Senate.

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