Category Archives: Justice

Authoritarian Tea-Publicans criminalize protests

News from 2014: Protesting on the streets of Moscow — or any other part of Russia, for that matter — will now not only cost a pretty penny, but also could land you behind bars, after Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday signed a law into effect criminalizing street protests. Meanwhile in Russia, Putin passes law against protests.

News from today: Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened. Arizona Senate votes to seize assets of those who plan, participate in protests that turn violent.

That’s right, our authoritarian Tea-Publican legislature has taken a page from the autocratic Vladimir Putin and criminalized protests — despite protections for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States — because someone watched Minority Report (2002) — in which a “Pre-crime” law enforcement unit predicts crimes beforehand and the guilty are punished before the crime has ever been committed — and thought, “hey, why don’t we do that?

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports:

Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened.

SB1142 expands the state’s racketeering laws, now aimed at organized crime, to also include rioting. And it redefines what constitutes rioting to include actions that result in damage to the property of others.

But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association — and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated. And what’s worse, said Sen. Steve Farley, D-Tucson, is that the person who may have broken a window, triggering the claim there was a riot, might actually not be a member of the group but someone from the other side.

Continue reading

Deportation Nation: DHS memos outline Trump’s ‘Deportation Force’

Donald Trump promised voters he would do a lot of things “on day one” in office, but of course he was lying and failed to do so. On his first day in office, Trump broke 34 promises. One of these promises was the one to the nativist and racist anti-immigrant white voters who put him over the top:

“These international gangs of thugs and drug cartels will be, I promise you from the first day in office, the first thing I’m going to do, the first piece of paper I’m going to sign is we are going to get rid of these people day one,” Trump said on the campaign trail in August 2016. In October 2015, Trump said about Obama’s immigration deferred action executive action initiatives, “the first minute in office I will countersign and revoke those executive orders.” He vowed to move 2 million “criminal aliens” out of the country “my first hour in office,” in August 2016. The following month, Trump said he would “give a mandate to everybody, including the local police,” to get the “bad ones” out of the country, also in the first hour.

Didn’t happen. But after stumbling and bumbling through his first month in office, the Trump “Deportation Force” has arrived, and it is as bad as anticipated. New Trump Deportation Rules Allow Far More Expulsions:

President Trump has directed his administration to enforce the nation’s immigration laws more aggressively, unleashing the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.

Documents released on Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by undocumented immigrants; strip such immigrants of privacy protections; enlist local police officers as enforcers; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.

The new enforcement policies put into practice language that Mr. Trump used on the campaign trail, vastly expanding the definition of “criminal aliens” and warning that such unauthorized immigrants “routinely victimize Americans,” disregard the “rule of law and pose a threat” to people in communities across the United States.

Despite those assertions in the new documents, research shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans.

Continue reading

Latest on Trump-Putin campaign investigations

The always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief Donald J. Trump publicly insists that he has no ties to Russia (while refusing to release his tax records and business records for public scrutiny which likely demonstrate otherwise).

You’re always  asking me about the Russians. I don’t know nothin’ about no Russians!

We know this is bullshit, as David Leonhardt reminds us at the New York Times. Trump’s Russia Motives:

The mystery at the core of the Trump-Russia story is motive.

President Trump certainly seems to have a strange case of Russophilia. He has surrounded himself with aides who have Russian ties. Those aides were talking to Russian agents during the campaign, and some are now pushing a dubious peace deal in Ukraine. Trump recently went so far as to equate the United States and Vladimir Putin’s murderous regime.

But why?

Continue reading

Intelligence agencies have intercepted calls between the Trump campaign and Russian Intelligence officials

The intelligence agencies continue leaking to the media about the unprecedented level of contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials that they are investigating. The New York Times reported overnight that Trump Campaign Aides Had Repeated Contacts With Russian Intelligence:

Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

Continue reading

The Kremlin’s handler for Trump, Michael Flynn resigns under pressure

National Security Advisor and former commentator for Russia Today (RT), retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, resigned on Monday evening. Michael Flynn Resigns as National Security Adviser:

Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, resigned on Monday night after it was revealed that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence and other top White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States.

Mr. Flynn, who served in the job for less than a month, said he had given “incomplete information” regarding a telephone call he had with the ambassador in late December about American sanctions against Russia, weeks before President Trump’s inauguration. Mr. Flynn previously had denied that he had any substantive conversations with Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak, and Mr. Pence repeated that claim in television interviews as recently as this month.

But on Monday, a former administration official said the Justice Department warned the White House last month that Mr. Flynn had not been fully forthright about his conversations with the ambassador. As a result, the Justice Department feared that Mr. Flynn could be vulnerable to blackmail by Moscow.

Wait, the White House sat on this hoping that no one would notice until someone leaked the information to the media last week? “It’s not the crime, it’s the coverup.”

In his resignation letter, which the White House emailed to reporters, Mr. Flynn said he had held numerous calls with foreign officials during the transition. “Unfortunately, because of the fast pace of events, I inadvertently briefed the vice president-elect and others with incomplete information regarding my phone calls with the Russian ambassador,” he wrote. “I have sincerely apologized to the president and the vice president, and they have accepted my apology.”

“I am tendering my resignation, honored to have served our nation and the American people in such a distinguished way,” Mr. Flynn wrote.

Continue reading

Stephen Miller’s Outsized Radical Influence: A Threat We Should Have Seen Coming

My son-in-law just reminded me that Stephen Miller, a co-author of Trump’s unconstitutional and racist ban on Muslims entering America, was John Shadegg’s press secretary during my race against him. Which makes for perhaps the easiest exercise in dot connecting ever. Dots we should have connected years ago.

Although under-reported by the media, Shadegg was a raging Islamaphobe. I learned this about midway through the campaign, when he used his two-minute speech at the annual AIPAC breakfast in 2008 to tout two books: Knowing the Enemy and America Alone. Later that day, a Google search revealed that Shadegg was pimping those books every chance he got. Although I was inundated with reading material related to the campaign, I felt compelled to read them.

I’m glad I did. I could never have known who I was running against without doing so. I never understood, however, that he was under the spell of a 23 year-old monster. Continue reading