Tag Archives: Department of Homeland Security

Judge repeatedly attacked by Trump rules in favor of his ‘big beautiful wall’

Presidential comments on pending cases in court can have an improper influence on the tribunal. This is most acute in military courts where the commander-in-chief can be seen as placing his thumb on the scales of justice. See, Military Judge: Obama’s Comments On Military Sex Abuse An “Undue Command Influence; Trump’s comments about Bergdahl ‘disturbing,’ judge says.

This improper influence on the tribunal can also extend to cases pending in the federal courts. Presidential comments on pending Supreme Court decisions.

Which brings me to this incident from the 2016 election. Trump Attacks a ‘Mexican’ U.S. Federal Judge:

The presumptive Republican nominee for president devoted almost a quarter of his hour-long rally in San Diego on Friday night to criticizing Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is currently presiding over a class-action lawsuit against the real-estate businessman for his role in Trump University.

During his disjointed remarks at the rally, Trump invoked Curiel’s ethnicity, said the judge should recuse himself from the trial, called for an investigation into him, described him as “negative” and a “hater,” insisted on a summary dismissal of the case, complained about being “railroaded by a legal system,” and asserted he would win the trial.

* * *

Mr. Trump also told the audience, which had previously chanted the Republican standard-bearer’s signature “build that wall” mantra in reference to Mr. Trump’s proposed wall along the Mexican border, that Judge Curiel is “Mexican.”

Judge Curiel’s parents were immigrants from Mexico, but he was born in Indiana. He is a U.S. citizen. Trump’s comments led to accusations of racism, including from Republicans.

Continue reading

Who Is Homeland Security Watching? Off-the-grid Fertilizer Plant vs On-the-Grid Citizenry

by Pamela Powers Hannley

Last week was an outrageous news week for our country with the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, the explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant on Wednesday, and the shoutout, manhunt, killing, and capture of the bomber brothers at the end of the week. Whew.

This Monday on MSNBC, Chris Hayes offered an interesting look back at these events. (Video link below.) During the week of the bombings, there was continuous coverage of the "terrorist attack" in Boston and continuous pundit chatter about terrorism, but relatively little coverage of the chemical plant explosion in West, Texas.

Apparently, workplace casualties caused by corporate neglect and lack of government oversight are not as sexy as pressure cooker bombers, even though, as Hayes pointed out, people are far more likely to be killed on the job than in a terror attack. Citing 2000-2010 data, Hayes reported that in that 10-year period, there were 3033 deaths from terrorist attacks, 60,394 workplace deaths, and 335,609 firearm deaths.

Given these statistics, it is ironic (and somewhat sad) to see what Congress has chosen to regulate. Not firearms and not workplace safety. They are working on further immigration regulations and further militarization of the border– just in case some of those Mexican laborers might be terrorists.

In a stunning omission of oversight, Hayes also reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)– the same group that found the two Boston bombers in a matter of days– didn't know the fertilizer plant in Texas existed! (Don't they know about Google Earth?)

Quoting Reuters, Hayes further reported that the plant had "1300 times the amount of amonium nitrate fertilizer that would normally alert DHS" and "100 times more than the Oklahoma City bombing."

So, who is DHS watching? Us. They're watching real people– not corporate people. 

Watch Chris Hayes here: Willfully off the Grid