Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Mumia Abu-Jamal Update: Here's What Happened Today in Court

New Hearing in the Case Set for March 27, 2018


By Noelle Hanrahan
 
A judge ordered District Attorney Larry Krasner to address his request to “find out what happened to the missing memo by taking action,” including a suggestion that they might depose the former ADA to get the answers.”
 
He noted that he would require a status conference on February 26, 2018, to hear details of their efforts. “I do not want to have another hearing in two months, and be in the same place. These questions need to be answered.”
 
Mumia Abu-Jamal, represented by Sam Spital of the NAACP and Judith Ritter, Professor at Widner University, was in court in Philadelphia challenging his criminal conviction. Common Pleas Court judge Leon Tucker opened court with a query to the DA about his order that the prosecution produce testimony regarding a missing letter by former DA Ron Castille. This evidence, or evidence of a similar nature, could be a key to Mumia’s criminal defense appeals being reinstated.
 
As many of you know, DA Krasner was sworn in this month. Representing his office, Tracey Cavanaugh (Interim Supervisor of the PCRA Unit) and Nancy Winkelman (Interim Supervisor of the Law Department) asked the Judge for a continuance, in order to allow the new DA and staff to review the 18 outstanding “Williams’ cases”, of which Mumia’s is one. They also asked for time because they are seeking to “formulate an office policy for their approach to these cases”. Certainly, a new approach would be welcome, given the intransigence of the previous office under now imprisoned former DA Seth Williams.
 
The U.S. Supreme Court precedent in William v. PA (2016) reversed the imposition of Terrence William’s death sentence because former DA Ron Castille failed to recuse himself when he was sitting on the PA Supreme Court.
 
The order addressing the missing memo has a history. Judge Leon Tucker ordered the DA to turn over any evidence of former PA Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille's "personal involvement" in Mumia Abu-Jamal's criminal appeals when he was District Attorney or an Assistant District Attorney. When they could not “find” any documents, Judge Tucker ordered that they deliver to his office the entire file of 31 boxes. Judge Tucker found a reference to a specific letter written by Castille, which the DA states now that they have lost. This action follows in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court admonishing the PA courts in the Williams case, for not recognizing that a judge must recuse themselves on cases they themselves actively prosecuted.
 
The parsing of concepts and words for the court revolve around "personal involvement". Was former DA and former PA Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron Castille a key shot-caller on Mumia’s case; was he “personally involved”? We know he personally signed years of briefs and appeals against Mumia.  We know that this was the most high profile case in the office.  And we know that information already released has Castille advocating to the then Governor Casey that the death penalty should be quickly imposed, especially for murders involving police officers as victims.
 
The question is simply, did District Attorney Ron Castille actively involve himself in decisions regarding Mumia’s case? And did he, as a PA Supreme Court Justice, review those very same decisions? And if so, was he professionally required to recuse himself, or could he remain unbiased regarding those decisions? Some courts have even stated that any appearance of bias requires recusal.
 

At stake is the reinstatement of over a decade of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeals. This action could lead to an order granting a new trial.  The legal path to freedom starts right here in the Common Pleas court chamber of Judge Leon Tucker.
 
Noelle Hanrahan is a private investigator and director of Prison Radio.

Trump Fans Threatened Psychiatrists Who Warned Trump Was Inciting Violence


The psychiatrists were told that it was simply too dangerous to proceed with a public talk about ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump.’

By Robert Silverman 

Two psychiatrists who warned that Donald Trump was inspiring violence had their point made, the hard way, when Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) abruptly canceled a planned public meeting with them at a senior center after receiving violent threats about the event.

According to Bandy X. Lee, an associate professor at Yale who was scheduled to speak at the event, Raskin informed her just 24 hours beforehand that it was off, because going forward would have posed “significant safety risks” to attendees.

“Sorry about tomorrow night—we’ve been getting so many threats,” Raskin said, according to Lee, the editor of The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump, a controversial collection of essays arguing that Trump’s affinity for violence represents a danger to the public, and a leading member of the National Coalition of Concerned Mental-Health Experts (full disclosure: the group’s members include Claire Silverman, a psychologist and this reporter’s mother) that’s raised public questions about Trump’s fitness for office.

Raskin has roused the ire of Trump supporters since he submitted a bill in April of last year calling for the creation of a committee to evaluate the president’s physical and mental fitness.

“Whenever my boss talks about the 25th Amendment, there will be an uptick in comments on social media, or phone calls, or emails, that contain either explicit threats or generally violent and hateful language,” Lauren Doney, Raskin’s communications director, told The Daily Beast, while confirming that Thursday’s event had been canceled. 

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Daily Beast

Nervous Republicans Fear They’ll Pay If Government Shuts Down


WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is confident that Democrats will take the blame if the government shuts down this weekend or Congress fails to find a fix to prevent DACA recipients from being deported. But Republicans on Capitol Hill aren't so sure.

Many of them fear that voters will fault the GOP after looking at Trump's decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, his past flirtation with letting federal funding expire and the fact that Republicans are in control of the White House, the Senate and the House.

"When there are shutdowns, our side usually takes the hit," said Republican Rep. Charlie Dent, who is retiring from the competitive Allentown, Penn.,-based district he's represented for nearly a dozen years.

"It will be difficult for us to deflect the blame — whether we deserve it or not," he added.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

The 5 Biggest Risks Facing the World in 2018


A survey from the World Economic Forum says global risks are on the rise, including dangers from geopolitical tensions and climate change.

Source: CBS News

McConnell: Senate Waiting on Trump to Strike Immigration Deal


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans in the Senate are waiting to learn President Trump's position on an immigration deal before moving forward with legislation. In response to a question from CBS News congressional correspondent Nancy Cordes, McConnell said he is "looking for something that President Trump supports, and he's not yet indicated what measure he's willing to sign."

Source: CBS News 

Tillerson Addresses North Korea Threat


Source: CBS News

Flake Slams Trump's Attacks on Press Freedom and Truth


Source: CBS News

Mayon Volcano Threat Sparks Mass Evacuation in Philippines


Catalonia Separatists Seek to Restore Exiled Leader Puigdemont


UN: More Than Half of Somalis Need Emergency Aid


Inside Story - Who Controls the Arms Trade?



Source: Al Jazeera English

Muslim Guardians of Jerusalem's Holy Sites


Hong Kong Activists Jailed Over 2014 'Umbrella' Protests


Syria: What Are the Latest Facts About the Ongoing Fight in Idleb?


Journalist Massim Nasr provides an update on the situation. 

Source: FRANCE 24 English

Poland Abortion Ban: Women Will Continue to Abort Illegally


Women across Poland took to the streets wearing black as a sign of mourning for their reproductive rights. Rights they say are under threat from the ruling conservative Law and Justice party. Last week the parliament tabled a proposal to increase access to abortions and also began work on legislation that would ban abortion of fetuses with severe deformities. Critics say it would amount to a near-total abortion ban in Poland, whose abortion laws are already among the most restrictive in Europe.

Bonus Report: Poland Protests for Right to Abort


Source: FRANCE 24 English

AG Schneiderman to Host Facebook Town Hall on Reproductive Rights

Click on the flier to increase its size. 


The following statement was issued by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. 

Next Monday, January 22nd will mark the 45th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Roe v. Wade.
 
I’ll be hosting a Town Hall live on Facebook to mark the anniversary and take your questions on my office’s work to protect New Yorkers’ reproductive rights.
 
During the town hall, I'll be sitting down with Andrea Miller, President of the National Institute for Reproductive Health and a longtime partner in the fight. Will you join us?
 
Click here to receive a reminder for the event.
 
Click here if you would like to submit a question in advance.

'The Campus Cure': An Important Book for Young Adults and Parents

Click on the image to increase its size.

 
The Campus Cure: A Parent’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellness for College Students is a first aid guide to your child’s emotional health, preparing you to handle the mental health problems and emotional ups and downs many young adults experience in college. With anecdotes and the latest scientific literature, this book will increase your awareness of common problems, pressures, and crises in college; illustrate how you can support your child and collaborate with campus resources; and provide stories of hope to parents who often feel alone and overwhelmed when their child experiences a mental health problem. While you have the passion to help your child, this book will provide you with the tools to guide your child toward health and happiness in the college years.

After decades as a psychiatrist working with college students, Dr. Marcia Morris took on a mission: to educate parents of high school and college students about the dramatic increase in mental health problems young adults experience, and the practical tools parents can use to help their children. Her 2015 New York Times article, “Dear Parent, Your Child Has Had a Psychotic Break” received widespread attention from both parents and mental health professionals. Her parenting articles have appeared in the Tampa Bay Times, The Conversation, the Gainesville Sun, and the Ocala Star Banner. She currently writes a Psychology Today parenting blog on “College Wellness: Promoting Happiness and Health in the College Years.”

Educating other psychiatrists about university mental health, Dr. Morris has written articles in psychiatry publications about suicide prevention, sexual assault, and medical student stress. In 2017, she presented talks at national meetings of the American Psychiatric Association, American College Counseling Association, and Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education on the role of parents in college mental health. Dr. Morris is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Florida College of Medicine and the Associate Program Director for Student Health Psychiatry. Dr. Morris received an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, a medical degree from Yale University, and psychiatry residency training at New York Hospital Cornell Medical Center. She is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of its College Mental Health Caucus.

Click here for additional information.

Source: Space Age America, Inc.

Cuomo and Schneiderman File Complaint, Act to Compel U.S. EPA to Protect State's Air Quality

 
Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today filed a complaint which seeks to compel the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to fulfill its mandatory duty under the federal Clean Air Act to curb ground-level ozone (or "smog") pollution that blows into New York from upwind states.

At least one in three New Yorkers breathe air with unhealthy levels of smog pollution, with some analyses placing it as high as two in three New Yorkers (approximately 12.7 million people). EPA studies demonstrate that pollution from upwind states contributes substantially to New York's dangerous smog problem. Specifically, New York is asking that EPA require sources in five states—Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia—do their fair share to address pollution impacting New York.

"New York is once again taking aggressive actions to not only push forward our nation leading energy goals, but also protect our state from harmful air pollution." Governor Cuomo said. "With this action, we are sending yet another clear message to the federal government that when our environment is threatened, New York will step up at every turn to protect our most vital resources for future generations."

"Millions of New Yorkers breathe unhealthy air due to smog pollution, much of which blows into New York from upwind states," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "Yet the Trump EPA continues to ignore its responsibilities under the Clean Air Act to reduce interstate smog pollution.  Since the Trump EPA refuses to follow the law, we're suing to protect the health of New Yorkers."

Click here for the full announcement.

Source: Press Office, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor Cuomo Delivers the FY 2019 Executive Budget Address


This video was published on YouTube on January 16. 

Source: NYGovCuomo

Mayor de Blasio Hosts Media Availability on Affordable Housing


Mayor de Blasio hosts media availability to discuss progress on building and protecting affordable housing and tenants across New York City.

Source: NYC Mayor's Office

Cuomo Budget Raises $1 Billion in New Taxes to Pay for Spending Plans



ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo wants to spend above the rate inflation for education and health care, but make cuts in other areas, all while raising more than $1 billion in new revenues.

That would mean tax hikes on health insurers and freezing breaks for New Yorkers enrolled in the STAR property tax program.

In a relatively somber budget address Tuesday that contained few new spending initiatives, Cuomo said the state faces challenging fiscal times, brought about by lower-than-expected tax revenues and federal funding cuts. That has driven at least a $4.4 billion hole in the 2018 budget, he said, although some legislators said he was exaggerating that figure.

"This year is going to be challenging, my friends,'' Cuomo said in a speech to an audience that included state lawmakers.

Cuomo's budget speech lacked the rhetorical flourishes of many of his past fiscal presentations. One lawmaker heckled him, while others booed and hissed when he discussed his education priorities.

Some lawmakers said Cuomo, angling to keep his name in the list of potential 2020 White House challengers, is intentionally overstating the size of the fiscal problems facing New York as a way to ride to a political victory when the budget is passed later this spring. Or, in the words of Mid-Hudson Valley Republican Sen. John Bonacic, it’s all part of an effort “to make him look presidential.”

Click here for the full article. 

Source: The Buffalo News (via Empire Report New York) 

NY State Department of Taxation and Finance Releases Report Outlining Options To Reform State Tax Law


At the direction of Governor Cuomo, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance today released a preliminary report to outline options for state tax reform in response to federal tax legislation. The report outlines a series of proposals for consideration and comment, including the potential to create additional opportunities for charitable contributions to New York State that would be deductible from federal adjusted gross income. The report also outlines potential proposals for maintaining deductibility by adopting an employer compensation expense tax, including the possibility of a voluntary employer opt-in system. Finally, the report discusses the option of add tax deductibility through a new statewide unincorporated business tax, among other options.
 
As New York launches this massive and complicated undertaking, the state will engage tax experts, both houses of the legislature, employers, and other stakeholders in a thorough and collaborative process to produce a proposal that promotes fairness for New York's taxpayers and safeguards the competitiveness of New York's economy.
 
View the report here.

Statement from Governor Andrew Cuomo

"The federal tax plan is a devastating and targeted attack on New Yorkers that threatens the economic competitiveness of our state. I thank the state Department of Taxation and Finance for their hard work and diligence in developing this report. With this blueprint as a foundation, we will work with experts, the Legislature, employers, taxpayers, and other stakeholders to develop and implement changes to the tax code that protect all New Yorkers. I will not stand by as partisan politics in Washington seeks to threaten the people of this state."  

Sources: New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the press office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

SUNY SA Statement on the FY 2019 Executive Budget Proposal




"Investing in public higher education in New York is an investment in the future of our great state. While we understand the financial burden placed on the state by the recent revisions to the federal tax code and spending cuts in Washington, New York’s budget should not be balanced on the backs of the 1.1 million students enrolled in SUNY and CUNY institutions.
 
"The 600,000 students of the State University of New York are encouraged by, and grateful for, the Governor’s continued commitment to initiatives held dear by SUNY students including the DREAM Act, food security, funding for Open Educational Resources, and the expansion of the Excelsior Scholarship. We look forward to working with him and advocating for the enactment of these provisions by the Legislature.
 
"We are disappointed by cuts to mental health services on campuses, the lack of a true maintenance of effort by the state in SUNY funding, and cuts to opportunity programs which help so many disadvantaged students in New York achieve a college education. We would like to see the Legislature restore funding for mental health services and opportunity programs, and push for a greater state commitment to SUNY through a true maintenance of effort."
 
The Student Assembly of the State University of New York (SUNY SA) is the recognized student government organization representing the nearly 600,000 students of the State University of New York. Comprised of student leaders elected by their peers from across SUNY’s 64 campuses, SUNY SA is committed to empowering students throughout the state, and ensuring the representation of its members on the state and national level, as well as throughout the SUNY system.
 
Source: SUNY SA

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

We Are Not The Terrorists: Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Speaks Out About Attacks on Movement


Source: Democracy Now!

Arizona Minister Eyes State Senate Seat


Environmental and Social Justice Activist Attempting 
to Get on the Ballot and Run as a Green Party Candidate

In October of 2013, Rev. John Aaron-Baumann appeared on The G-Man Interviews to discuss how he and a coalition Cottonwood ministers were attempting to help Melissa Lawson, a former resident of the state of Texas who relocated to Arizona in 2012. Shortly after her arrival, things immediately began to take a turn for the worse as result of her inability to find work. Lawson was thrust into poverty and forced to move into a dilapidated bus at a Cottonwood (AZ) junkyard without basic necessities. The stress and strain of the situation forced her to place her daughter in temporary foster care. 

"Without question, Melissa and others were facing a crisis in the Cottonwood community that was being ignored by the local media and elected officials at both levels of government when I appeared on your show," said Rev. Baumann. "I was proud to be among the contingent of ministers from the area that decided to go public in effort to help." 

Approximately 10 days after Rev. Baumann's episode was posted on YouTube, Catholic Charities intervened and helped Lawson obtain an apartment, and she regained full custody of her daughter shortly after.  

Additional information on Rev. Baumann is available via Facebook and Twitter

If you are registered as a member of the Green or Independent Party, you may support Rev. Baumann's bid here

Protecting Seniors: S.178 - The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act


 Sponsor: Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA] (Introduced 01/20/2017)
Committees: Senate - Judiciary | House - Judiciary; Energy and Commerce
Committee Reports: S. Rept. 115-9
Latest Action: 10/18/2017 Became Public Law No: 115-70.  (All Actions)

 

TITLE I--SUPPORTING FEDERAL CASES INVOLVING ELDER JUSTICE

(Sec. 101) This bill establishes requirements for the Department of Justice (DOJ) with respect to investigating and prosecuting elder abuse crimes and enforcing elder abuse laws. Specifically, DOJ must:
 
designate Elder Justice Coordinators in federal judicial districts and at DOJ, implement comprehensive training for Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, and establish a working group to provide policy advice.

The Executive Office for United States Attorneys must operate a resource group to assist prosecutors in pursuing elder abuse cases.

The Federal Trade Commission must designate an Elder Justice Coordinator within its Bureau of Consumer Protection.

TITLE II--IMPROVED DATA COLLECTION AND FEDERAL COORDINATION

(Sec. 201) DOJ must establish best practices for data collection on elder abuse.

(Sec. 202) DOJ must collect and publish data on elder abuse cases and investigations. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must provide for publication data on elder abuse cases referred to adult protective services.

TITLE III--ENHANCED VICTIM ASSISTANCE TO ELDER ABUSE SURVIVORS

(Sec. 301) This section expresses the sense of the Senate that: (1) elder abuse involves exploitation of potentially vulnerable individuals; (2) combatting elder abuse requires support for victims and prevention; and (3) the Senate supports a multipronged approach to prevent elder abuse, protect victims, and prosecute perpetrators of elder abuse crimes.

(Sec. 302) DOJ's Office for Victims of Crime must report to Congress on the nature, extent, and amount of funding under the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 for victims of crime who are elders.

Click here for additional information. 

Source: CONGRESS.gov

The Week Ahead in Washington


Roll Call White House correspondent John Bennett and Bloomberg Congressional reporter Arit John discuss the week ahead in Washington including the upcoming government funding deadline.

Click here for video. 

Source: C-SPAN

Jelani Cobb: ‘It's Impossible to Avoid the Conclusion That Donald Trump is Racist’


This report was broadcast on January 15.  

Source: PBS NewsHour

How 'black-ish' Unpacks Hard Topics with Humor and Nuance


This report was broadcast on January 15.

Source: PBS NewsHour

More Churches Are Opening Their Doors to Undocumented Immigrants Facing Deportation


This report was broadcast on January 15.

Source: PBS NewsHour

Hollywood & Race: The Long Walk Home (1990)


Two women, black and white, in 1955 Montgomery Alabama, must decide what they are going to do in response to the famous bus boycott lead by Martin Luther King.

Source: sonysloba

The Obama Presidential Center: Where We Are Now


One year ago, President and Mrs. Obama laid out their vision for the Obama Presidential Center: a living, working campus for citizenship that will inspire and empower visitors and residents to create change in their communities and the world. Now, we're taking a big step in realizing that vision by creating a cultural destination in Jackson Park and an economic engine for the South Side and City of Chicago.

This video was published on YouTube on January 12, 2018. 

Source: Obama Foundation 

Trailblazers in Black History: Harold Washington


Harold Lee Washington was an American lawyer and politician from the state of Illinois who was elected as the 41st Mayor of Chicago. Washington was noted as the first African–American to be elected as mayor of Chicago in February 1983

This video was published on YouTube on May 17, 2016. 

Source: Chicago Reader and Wikipedia

Prentiss, Mississippi Farmer Needs Votes In Order to Win Grant


A Prentiss, Miss. farmer needs votes in order to win a national grant from a program called "Cultivating Change."

Ozell White is a fifth generation farmer who grows watermelons and raises cattle. He wants to provide the area with fresh produce and meat without chemicals, WDAM reported.

White was named Small Farmer of the Year in 2014 by Alcorn State University. He said if he wins the grant, he will buy transportation and build a shed for processing watermelons and vegetables.

This is a yearly grant program put on by national produce distributor, Pro-Act, to benefit farmers who want to give back to their communities. The California-based distributor said after this contest, it will have "invested $200,000 in local farms from coast to coast."

Click here to for additional information. 

Source: Cultivating Change and WDAM

Army Hero Defiant After Surviving Brutal Gay Bashing Attack


 A Daily Beast Exclusive

‘There are assholes who [try] to stifle you, to quiet you down and show their dismay at who you are. Don’t allow these f---ing assholes to do that to you.’ 

 By Spencer Ackerman 

Charles William Davis II enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1999. He deployed to Bosnia in 2000, Iraq in 2004, and Afghanistan in 2007 and 2009. It took until his fifth deployment, back to Afghanistan in 2012, following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, that we was able to openly fight his country’s wars as a gay man.

Along the way, Davis proved his mettle. He earned three Bronze Stars for his exemplary service as a senior intelligence sergeant. But none of that mattered to his attackers, just before the New Year in El Paso, who just saw a gay man they wanted to punish for being unapologetically who he is.

Davis has the full-throated, unambiguous support of his entire chain of command, from his fellow senior enlisted soldiers to his commanding officer, and all the way up to division headquarters. But he can’t shake the awful suspicion that the men who gaybashed him are soldiers as well.

During the early morning hours of December 31, near the Fort Bliss base where First Sergeant Davis currently serves, Davis and a fellow soldier—a straight friend whom he identified only as Julio—were having drinks with friends at El Paso’s Rockin’ Cigar Bar & Grill. It was a normal Saturday night out that turned into an early Sunday morning. Davis made no secret of who he is: “I’m an openly gay guy. When I meet people, that’s the first thing I tell them, because I don’t want them to be taken aback.” No one at the bar gave them any trouble, and they stayed until last call.

After the bar closed up, Davis and Julio wandered into a nearby parking lot to wait for an Uber to take them back to Fort Bliss. They encountered four men—“I can’t really remember how it started,” Davis said—and it quickly got heated. “They started calling me ‘f**got,’” Davis said. Curse words flew quickly, with Davis telling them to “go the fuck along” while he and Julio wanted for their car. 

Click here for the full article.

21st Century Fascism: Trump Style -- Part II


In the first column in this series, fascism was defined as:

"A politico-economic system in which there is: total executive branch control of both the legislative and administrative powers of government; no independent judiciary; no Constitution that embodies the Rule of Law standing above the people who control the government; no inherent personal rights or liberties; a single national ideology that first demonizes and then criminalizes all political, religious, and ideological opposition to it; the massive and regular use of hate, fear, racial and religious prejudice, the Big Lie technique, mob psychology, mob actions and ultimately individual and collective violence, to achieve political and economic ends; a capitalist/corporate economy, with the economic ruling class' control of State power and thus, economic, fiscal, political, and regulatory policy and policies."

It was pointed out that this definition, and similar ones used by other authorities, is based primarily on what fascism looked like in the 20th century, in particular in Nazi German fascist Italy, Spain and Japan. The analysis then went on to the use of the concept of functional fascism, for the 21st century, for the United States. That is, there are certain features of classical fascism that do not exist, at least not yet, in the U.S. The Executive Branch does not have full control of all governmental functions. There is an independent judiciary. There is still a Constitution. There are still inherent personal rights and liberties. There is still not a single national ideology that criminalizes all opposition to it. 

BUT, the political party currently in power, and in particular its representative occupying the Office of the Presidency, certainly has made it clear that the reality concerning these features is in a state of flux. Trump has made it clear that he would like to have much more control of various governmental functions, particularly those of the Department of Justice, than he presently does have. He is forever issuing scathing, personal, attacks on judges and courts that make decisions that he doesn't like, e.g., a recent one on the status of DACA. The judges that he is appointing to the Federal Courts are selected and confirmed for their long-time adherence to the right-wing ideology of the private association which plays a major role in nominating them, the Federalist Society. This practice will play a major role down the road in limiting the Federal and state functions in the economic and environmental arenas, as well as in civil liberties and in such matters as the freedom of choice in the outcome of pregnancy. This President has shown that he is very much in favor of imposing upon large areas of civil society an ideology based on Christian Fundamentalism. And this particular President clearly reveals on a regular basis his predilection for authoritarian government.

As the Federal judiciary changes in nature, going evermore rightward in its politics (and oh yes, the judiciary is always a political animal), it will less and less function as it currently does, as a limit on the fascist aggrandizement of power by this President and the party he leads.

Click here for the full article. 

Source: OpEdNews

129 Anti-LGBTQ State Bills Were Introduced in 2017, New Report Says


by Julie Moreau

At least 129 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced across 30 states during the 2017 state legislative season, according to a new report published by LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Twelve of these bills — which range from adoption laws to “religious freedom” legislation — became law, the report noted.

“If an LGBTQ couple drove from Maine to California today, their legal rights and civil rights protections could change more than 20 times at state borders and city lines,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.

HRC’s annual “State Equality Index” reviews the previous year’s state legislation affecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community and assigns an LGBTQ-equality grade to each state.

Click here for the full article.

Source: NBC News

Serena Williams Shares Her Harrowing Childbirth Story


The tennis legend tell her story in hopes of raising awareness that black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.

New California Declares 'Independence' from Rest of State


Source: CBS News

Will a Fight Over New DACA Legislation Cause a Government Shutdown?


This report was broadcast on January 15. 

Source: CBS News