Category - USA: Domestic Issues

University of Cincinnati Officer Indicted in Shooting Death of Samuel Dubose

New York Times, By Richard Pérez-Peña, July 29

A University of Cincinnati police officer was indicted Wednesday on a murder charge in what a prosecutor called “a senseless, asinine shooting” of an unarmed man during a minor traffic stop. Officials say it was the first time such a charge had been leveled against an officer in the county.

The Hamilton County prosecuting attorney, Joseph T. Deters, released a much anticipated video of the shooting of Samuel Dubose taken by the officer’s body camera that he described as crucial evidence that Mr. Dubose did not act aggressively or pose a threat to Officer Ray Tensing, and that Officer Tensing had lied about being dragged by Mr. Dubose’s car. A grand jury, Mr. Deters announced, indicted the officer on a murder charge, punishable by life in prison, and a voluntary manslaughter charge.

“It was a senseless, asinine shooting,” Mr. Deters said at a news conference, using stark terms to denounce the July 19 killing, the officer’s claims and the officer himself. “This doesn’t happen in the United States, OK?” he said. “This might happen in Afghanistan. People don’t get shot for a traffic stop.”

NYT Opinion; Charles Blow: The Shooting of Samuel Dubose

The Guardian: Officers at Sam DuBose scene involved in death of another unarmed black man

Flag dispute triggers clash at South Carolina capitol

Reuters, By Greg Lacour, July 18

Columbia, SC – At least five people were arrested on Saturday as white-supremacist and African-American groups clashed outside the South Carolina State House, where the Confederate battle flag was removed last week after a half-century, authorities said.

Beginning at noon, a Florida-based group called Black Educators for Justice demonstrated on the north side of the capitol. Tensions rose quickly when a column of about 50 white supremacists, many carrying Confederate flags and one a Nazi flag, marched toward the south steps of the capitol at 3:15 p.m.

Lines of state police separated them from a large crowd that jeered and booed. When the group reached the State House lawn, a scuffle broke out, and police moved in quickly to keep the fight from spreading.

While no further violence broke out, the atmosphere, on a day when temperatures neared 100 degrees, remained tense. Several times, police had to separate people shouting obscenities at one another.

RT: KKK face off against Black Panthers at Confederate flag protest in S. Carolina

Scott Walker Moves to Do Away With Workers’ Weekends

RH Reality Check, By Nina Liss-Schultz, July 15

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Sunday signed into law a $72.7 billion two-year state budget that kills the state’s living wage law and takes away workers’ right to a weekend.

Walker’s latest austerity measures came just hours before he officially became a contender for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Wisconsin law required that the state’s minimum wage “not be less than a living wage.” Last fall, workers filed a lawsuit arguing that the state’s $7.25 hourly minimum wage did not constitute a living wage. But Walker’s budget stripped the language “living wage” from the law, nullifying the court battle and making wage increases more difficult for people who work.

Walker, in his first interview since announcing his candidacy, challenged the mere existence of a minimum wage.

Deep Left Field: Jeb Bush Says Christians Should ‘Absolutely’ Be Allowed To Discriminate Against LGBT Americans

US News and World Report: Obama’s Donors Flocking To Sanders, Romney’s Going To Rubio

Politicus USA: Bernie Sanders Sets A New Record As 11,000 Show Up For Rally In Red State Arizona

The Washington Examiner: Ben Carson: Walking away from paid speaking commitments would be ‘unethical’

His most recent book’s sales quadrupled in the immediate weeks after launching his presidential campaign, and his personal financial disclosure shows he made more
than $4 million from delivering speeches across the country.

Jacobin: Worse Than Benghazi

Business Insider: Wall Street is picking its candidates in the 2016 presidential race — and 2 are already standing out

Daily Kos: UPDATE – New Legal Action Further Exposes Jeb Bush, Koch Brothers & Rick Scott GP Scandal

Texas Won’t Give Birth Certificates to Children of Undocumented Women

Houston Press, By Michael Barajas, July 16

State officials have refused to give an untold number of Texas-born children birth certificates due to their parents’ immigration status, according to a lawsuit that was filed earlier this year.

More than a dozen undocumented women have sued the Department of State Health Services, saying workers at vital statistics offices in the Rio Grande Valley refused to give them birth certificates because of insufficient records proving their identity. Many of the women had used the same documents – a so-called matricula issued by their consulate or a foreign passport without a current U.S. visa – to obtain birth certificates for other children born in Texas as recently as 2012.

The lawsuit, which was reported by the Texas Observer earlier this week, claims these children are being discriminated against because of a parent’s tenuous immigration status. Without official proof of the parent-child relationship, the children have been unable to enroll in school, have had difficulty obtaining medical care and other benefits they should be eligible to receive as U.S. citizens.


Children of Immigrants Denied Citizenship

The Texas Observer, By Melissa del Bosque, July 13

For nearly 150 years, the United States, under the 14th Amendment, has recognized people born here as citizens, regardless of whether their parents were citizens.

But Texas has other plans. In the last year, the state has refused to issue birth certificates to children who were born in Texas to undocumented parents. In May, four women filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Texas Department of State Health Services alleging constitutional discrimination and interference in the federal government’s authority over immigration.

Jennifer Harbury, a lawyer with Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, who is representing the women, said the deluge of birth certificate refusals began last winter. “I’ve never seen such a large number of women with this problem,” she says. “In the past someone might be turned away, but it was always resolved. This is something altogether new.”

According to the lawsuit, the women who requested birth certificates for their children in Cameron and Hidalgo counties were turned away because of insufficient proof of their identities. State law allows the use of a foreign ID if the mother lacks a Texas driver’s license or a U.S. passport.

But local officials, which issue birth certificates registered by the Texas Department of State Health Services Vital Statistics Unit, told the women they would no longer accept either the matricula consular, which is a photo ID issued by the Mexican Consulate to Mexican nationals living in the U.S., or a foreign passport without a current U.S. visa. Undocumented Central American women are also being turned away because they only have a passport without a U.S. visa. “They are locking out a huge chunk of the undocumented immigrant community,” says Harbury.

Latin Times: Texas Denies Birth Certificates To Children Of Undocumented Immigrants, June 2

US torture doctors could face charges after report alleges post-9/11 ‘collusion’

Leading group of psychologists faces a reckoning following repeated denials that its members were complicit in Bush administration-era torture.

The Guardian, By Spencer Ackerman, July 11

The largest association of psychologists in the United States is on the brink of a crisis, the Guardian has learned, after an independent review revealed that medical professionals lied and covered up their extensive involvement in post-9/11 torture. The revelation, puncturing years of denials, has already led to at least one leadership firing and creates the potential for loss of licenses and even prosecutions.

For more than a decade, the American Psychological Association (APA) has maintained that a strict code of ethics prohibits its more than 130,000 members to aid in the torture of detainees while simultaneously permitting involvement in military and intelligence interrogations. The group has rejected media reporting on psychologists’ complicity in torture; suppressed internal dissent from anti-torture doctors; cleared members of wrongdoing; and portrayed itself as a consistent ally against abuse.

Now, a voluminous independent review conducted by a former assistant US attorney, David Hoffman, undermines the APA’s denials in full – and vindicates the dissenters.

Sources with knowledge of the report and its consequences, who requested anonymity to discuss the findings before public release, expected a wave of firings and resignations across the leadership of an organization that Hoffman finds used its extensive institutional links to the CIA and US military to facilitate abusive interrogations.

The Guardian: US torture report: psychologists should no longer aid military, group says

Independent Review: APA ethics independent review: medical professionals and torture

House Republicans Sneak Sex-Ed Restriction Into ‘No Child Left Behind’ Rewrite

RH Reality Check, By Emily Crockett, July 8

The U.S. House voted Wednesday afternoon to pass a major education bill that includes a ban on funding for any sex education programs that “normalize teen sexual activity as an expected behavior.”

The Student Success Act (HR 5) is a Republican rewrite of No Child Left Behind, a controversial education initiative that was one of President George W. Bush’s key policy priorities.

If Abortion Were About Equality, Would Americans Like It Better?

It is—and that’s the problem.

The Nation, By Katha Pollitt, July 2

Would abortion rights be more secure today had Roe v. Wade been decided on the basis of women’s right to equality rather than privacy? Many smart people have thought so.

You can see why this is a tempting argument. Roe has been relentlessly attacked as confused, illogical, and poorly written, relying on a concept of privacy that is found nowhere in the Constitution (in Griswold v. Connecticut, the 1965 decision that struck down a state ban on birth-control use by married couples, Justice William O. Douglas famously located the right to privacy in the “penumbras” and “emanations” of various provisions, such as the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against self-incrimination). To conservatives, Roe is the very definition of judicial overreach. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if abortion rights could be reconstructed on more solid ground?

Jobs Report Disappoints, Participation Rate Falls to Lowest Since 1977

Bloomberg Business, By Sho Chandra, July 2

The U.S. labor market took one step forward and one back in June as job creation advanced while wages stagnated and the size of the labor force receded.

The addition of 223,000 jobs followed a 254,000 increase in the prior month that was less than previously estimated, a Labor Department report showed Thursday in Washington. The jobless rate fell to a seven-year low of 5.3 percent as more people left the workforce.

The figures indicate corporate managers are confident they can temper hiring and meet demand against a backdrop of stronger consumer spending and feeble overseas markets. At the same time, more moderate job gains may still be enough to reduce the unemployment rate, consistent with the Federal Reserve’s perceived timetable to raise borrowing costs by year-end.

“One month’s low number wouldn’t shake our optimism,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “The job market still has a ways to go but we’re making progress.”

Puerto Rico’s Governor Says Island’s Debts Are ‘Not Payable’

New York Times, By Michael Corkery & Mary Williams Walsh, June 28

Puerto Rico’s governor, saying he needs to pull the island out of a “death spiral,” has concluded that the commonwealth cannot pay its roughly $72 billion in debts, an admission that will probably have wide-reaching financial repercussions.

The governor, Alejandro García Padilla, and senior members of his staff said in an interview last week that they would probably seek significant concessions from as many as all of the island’s creditors, which could include deferring some debt payments for as long as five years or extending the timetable for repayment.

“The debt is not payable,” Mr. García Padilla said. “There is no other option. I would love to have an easier option. This is not politics, this is math.”

It is a startling admission from the governor of an island of 3.6 million people, which has piled on more municipal bond debt per capita than any American state.

Black Churches Are Burning Again in America

This week, there were fires in at least six predominantly African American churches. Arson at religious institutions has decreased significantly over the past two decades, but the symbolism remains haunting.

The Atlantic, By Emma Green, June 25

“What’s the church doing on fire?”

Jeanette Dudley, the associate pastor of God’s Power Church of Christ in Macon, Georgia, got a call a little after 5 a.m. on Wednesday, she told a local TV news station. Her tiny church of about a dozen members had been burned, probably beyond repair. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco got called in, which has been the standard procedure for church fires since the late 1960s. Investigators say they’ve ruled out possible causes like an electrical malfunction; most likely, this was arson.

The very same night, many miles away in North Carolina, another church burned: Briar Creek Road Baptist Church, which was set on fire some time around 1 a.m. Investigators have ruled it an act of arson, the AP reports; according to The Charlotte Observer, they haven’t yet determined whether it might be a hate crime.

Two other predominantly black churches have been the target of possible arson this week: Glover Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenville, South Carolina, which caught fire on Friday, and College Hill Seventh Day Adventist, which burned on Monday in Knoxville, Tennessee. Investigators in Knoxville told a local news station they believed it was an act of vandalism, although they aren’t investigating the incident as a hate crime. (There have also been at least three other cases of fires at churches this week. At Fruitland Presbyterian Church in Gibson County, Tennessee, and the Greater Miracle Temple Apostolic Holiness Church in Tallahassee, Florida. Officials suspect the blazes were caused by lightning and electrical wires, respectively, but investigations are still ongoing. A church that is not predominantly black—College Heights Baptist Church in Elyria, Ohio—was burned on Saturday morning. The fire appears to have been started in the sanctuary, and WKYC reports that the cause is still under investigation. The town’s fire and police departments did not immediately return calls for confirmation on Sunday.*)

SPLC: String of Nighttime Fires Hit Predominately Black Churches in Four Southern States
Buzzfeed: Arsonists Strike Black Churches Across The South

Gawker: Racist Idiots Hold Pro-Confederate Flag Rallies Across the South
Raw Story: League of South leader: John Wilkes Booth ‘took too long’ to assassinate ‘treasonous’ Lincoln

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