Another Gun Lynching in Florida?

That Florida SYG Lynch law is having the intended effect…

That Assad guy over in Syria needs to pass one of these laws. Then he’d have the cons screaming to support genocide.

Now, I have no idea what the ethnicities or races are of the individuals involved are – but this is the result of conservative gun mania empowering murderers.

Back in the days when people called murder what it is

 

Florida Man Claims Self-Defense After Hopping A Fence To Shoot, Kill 21-Year-Old In A Hoodie

On Thursday, an Orlando man shot and killed a 21-year-old who was fleeing his yard. He didn’t appear to be stealing anything, according to witness accounts. He didn’t appear to be threatening anybody. But Claudius Smith said he feared he was a burglar, followed him over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex, where he shot him after he said he felt threatened, according to a confession documented in an Orlando Police Department report. Smith even said he feared victim Ricardo Sanes was armed “because his pants were falling down” and his hands were in his hoodie pockets, according to a report obtained by the Orlando Sentinel.

Now, questions are emerging about whether Smith will also invoke the state’s Stand Your Ground law, which gained notoriety over the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, shot in a Florida residential development while wearing a hoodie. Law enforcement officials don’t seem to believe Stand Your Ground applies. Smith has already been charged with second-degree murder. But that doesn’t stop a judge from granting Stand Your Ground immunity later. In one of the most recent Florida court decisions on Stand Your Ground, an appeals court granted Stand Your Ground immunity to a man who went to his car to get a gun before the fatal incident.

According to statements by Smith’s girlfriend, Angela Kemraj, to police, the incident started when she saw a man in the yard on surveillance cameras and reported it to Smith. She said they saw the individual in dark clothes and a hoodie leaving their yard without anything in his hands, and climbing over the fence to a neighboring apartment complex. Smith then left the apartment and climbed over the fence. Two minutes later, Kemraj said she heard gunshots. Soon after, Smith came back to the apartment and said Sanes tried to rob him, without mentioning the shooting. During initial police questioning, Smith later denied knowledge about the shooting, and only later confessed, claiming he shot in self-defense.

Tea Party Southern Myth vs 12 Years a Slave

Like the Holocaust Deniers scattered around the world in anti-Semitic clusters, America has its own peculiar breed of Denier of the unconscionable – The advocates of the Southern Myth.

Recognizing what they were doing as slavers was morally unconscionable from a Judeo Christian basis, the slavers sought absolution through first, perverting their religion to justify slavery, and second by attaching themselves to Chivalrous traditions creating a “Genteel” societal veneer. Indeed, in my State of Virginia Thomas Jefferson’s University, UVa – adopted the Cavalier as the school symbol. That wasn’t just because most slaveholders were Crown Loyalists during the Revolutionary War. Attaching themselves to the English Cavaliers was an attempt to gloss over, and add class to an evil society. No different than the Drug Lords of recent vintage using their ill gotten gains to project an image of respectability.

Post Civil War, this shifted into manufacturing a society’s existence under slavery which never existed. The brutality visited upon the slaves to force them to obey, which included torture, systematic rape of women and children, and murder became the “Good Old Days” of a slightly decadent but otherwise genteel society. The Civil War became the “War of the States” supporting the fiction that each and every Southern State’s Secession Articles didn’t list slavery as the “States Right” they were fighting for. These same stawarts brought America Segregation and Jim Crow.

The modern incarnation of this “Southern psychosis” is the Tea Party, the grandchild of the Second Klan of the 20′s, American Nazi Party of the 40′s, and Dixiecrats  of the 50′s and 60′s. Absorbing the Republican matra of blaming the victim. Like their poor, landless ancestors who marched off to be maimed and killed to [protect the rights of wealthy slave owners, today's conservative confederate malcontents support the rights of the elite right who have eviscerated the American Dream, sold their jobs overseas,  and near destroyed the American Middle Class since Raygun. All under the banner of maintaining their fictitious racial superiority. It is OK with the modern Tea Bagger to take Food Stamps away from the poor, using much the same justification of the rapist that the "bitch deserved it". It is OK to harass the poor, even though the economic condition of many Tea Parties would place them among the "white trash" - because in a country which has legislatively discriminated, at the Tea Bagger's ancestors demand,  against minorities for generation - a higher percentage of minorities are poor. Despite class mythology, the only reason many of these white Tea Baggers aren't scions of society has nothing to do with discrimination - and everything to do with their own personal, generational failures. no one has held them back, except their own ignorance and racism.

In front of the White House after disgracing th WII Memorial

Tea Party and ’12 Years a Slave’

“Twelve Years a Slave,” a movie based on the 1853 autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was kidnapped into slavery in 1841, is a powerful antidote to the Tea Party’s poisonous nostalgia for the era of “states’ rights” and “nullificationism,” which became code words for protecting the “liberty” of Southern whites to own African-Americans.

The movie, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor as Northup, reveals how lofty phrases about “freedom” often meant their opposite as Southern politicians developed an Orwellian skill for weaving noble-sounding “principles” into a cloak for covering up the unjustifiable.

And, for too many generations, it worked. Americans have romanticized the antebellum South, seeing it through the rosy haze of “Gone with the Wind” or learning from school history books that most slave-owners were kindly and paternalistic masters. Even today many Americans tell themselves that slavery wasn’t all that bad. To burnish their pride in the never-to-be-criticized USA, they whitewash one of the nation’s greatest crimes, the enslavement of millions of people based on the color of their skin. Continue reading

85 Years For Stalking Wife

The American Justice System is a joke.

Admittedly this guy needed to go to jail… But 85 Years?

You can’t get that for Murder in most states.

And after the George Zimmerman trial – you are under less of a risk to go to jail at all committing murder of black children.

Pr. George’s man who used social media to stalk ex-wife sentenced to 85 years

A Hyattsville man accused of posing as his ex-wife online and posting ads soliciting sex from strangers was sentenced Thursday to 85 years in prison.

Michael A. Johnson II created a Craigslist ad with abhorrent titles advertising sex from his ex-wife, according to court papers. The ads attracted about 50 men to the woman’s house, including some who tried to break in, the records said.

“It’s hard to imagine doing this to someone you once loved,” Prince George’s County Circuit Judge Maureen M. Lamasney said in court.

The case is among several nationwide in which people have been accused of stealing their victim’s online persona and postingInternet ads offering sex.

The woman told The Washington Post in a recent interview that she resorted to buying a shotgun and staying up all night pointing it at the door. She said she found several fake profiles in her name on sites including Facebook and the pornography aggregator XTube. One of the ads offered up her three children for sex and included their photos.

“This wasn’t just a case of him sending e-mails,” the woman said in court. “He changed my life and my children’s lives forever.”

“We felt like refugees in our own home, no one should have to live like that,” added the woman, who asked not to be identified for fear of continued harassment.

The woman obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband after he assaulted her in 2011, wrapping his hands around her neck, court papers say. After that incident, the cyber-terror began in earnest.

Johnson was convicted in June of more than 70 counts, including stalking, reckless endangerment and violations of a protective order.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Republican Feel Good Law

In 2005, in response to a guy claiming to have won the Congressional Medal of Honor, who had not – the Rethugs passed a “feel good” law banning all such future false claims. This was a perfect exercise in making a lot of noise for the plastic patriot set, making a law to punish a minuscule population instead of Minorities. Of course – folks who have never read the Constitution don’t know how it works – so as usual, the Retugs overstepped their bounds.

Supreme Court strikes down Stolen Valor Act

The Supreme Court today struck down the Stolen Valor Actthat made it illegal to falsely claim to be the recipient of military honors and decorations, SCOTUSblog.com reports.

The court found that the statute violates the First Amendment.

The decision, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, says the law, as written, “seeks to control and suppress all false statements on this one subject in almost limitless times and settings without regard to whether the lie was made for the purpose of material gain.”

Kennedy writes that permitting the government to decree this kind of speech as a criminal offense “would endorse government authority to compile a list of subjects about which false statements are punishable.”

He notes, however, that Congress might be able to rewrite the law “to achieve the government’s objective in less burdensome ways.”

The New Jim Crow – And Exoneration

The common depiction of Justice with a blindfold wasn’t meant as a cover for willful blindness to innocence. To date, 873 people convicted of crimes in our “Justice” system, and in at least one provable case executed have been exonerated. They just didn’t do the crime they were convicted of doing. Some interesting statistics about that -

50 Percent of Those Exonerated in National Registry are Black

The University of the Michigan Law School and the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law have partnered to launch a National Registry of Exonerations that keeps an up to date list of all known exonerations in the United States since 1989. The group’s inaugural report released this week reveals 50 percent of false convictions are of black defendants.

The National Registry of Exoneration documents include 891 exonerations with summaries of the cases and searchable data on each. Their latest report focuses on the 873 exonerations that were entered in the Registry as of March 1, 2012.

Below are key findings from the Center’s study of the 873 exonerated defendants as printed in the report:

  • 93% are men, 7% women;
  • 50% are black, 38% white, 11% Hispanic and 2% Native American or Asian;
  • 37% were exonerated with the help of DNA evidence; 63% without DNA; as a group, they spent more than 10,000 years in prison – an average of more than 11 years each.
  • Since 2000, exonerations have averaged 52 a year – one a week – 40% of which include DNA evidence.
  • The 873 exonerations are mostly rape and murder cases, but the data also include
    many more exonerations for other crimes than previously known.

For all exonerations, the most common causal factors that contributed to the underlying false convictions are perjury or false accusation (51%), mistaken eyewitness identification (43%) and official misconduct (42%) – followed by false or misleading forensic evidence (24%) and false confession (16%).

Of course, 873 is only a small portion of the convictions for crime we see in any year – much less over 30 years. And the fact that 50% of the folks who were exonerated in a system where 50% of the convicted are black, doesn’t necessarily prove racial bias when considered on its own. The vast majority of criminal convictions in the US are for minor drug offenses with major incarceration times. Those are not disprovable by DNA.

What it does mean is, considering the shoestring budget of groups seeking Justice meaning that only the most egregious cases of injustice are pursued, and the fact that States throw the legal kitchen sink at the legal teams seeking exoneration in order to avoid the exoneration and likely cost of a lawsuit for wrongful conviction… The number of wrongful convictions is probably much, much, much higher.

Shotgun Wedding…Quebec Style

May maternal grandfather was married twice. The first time in a literal “Shotgun Wedding”, when a local Minister showed up at his door with shotgun and pregnant daughter in tow…

To encourage him to do the right thing. Family rumor has it that within a few hours of the arrival of the Minister, the time required to gather a few witnesses, and a very short guest list – the happy couple was married by his own hand.

The marriage didn’t last, they were divorced several years later after the birth of two children – and he eventually married my Maternal Grandmother.

Like any less than positive event reflecting on the character of a family member – this was hidden as a family secret for years. Leading to the invention of several salacious scenarios where he was seeing the two women at the same time, or wasn’t divorced from the first when he married the second, making lots of fun for those family members who enjoy scandal. Marriage and divorce records prove it didn’t happen that way – but what the hey!

I live in a “Common Law” state – you live with someone for 7 years and you are married by law.

In Quebec, Canada – a recent court decision may result in the largest virtual shotgun wedding in history.

I Don’t! - How a bizarre legal case involving a mysterious billionaire could force 1.2 million Canadians to be married, against their will.

Somewhere in North America, there is a place where little girls don’t give the slightest thought to what kind of wedding dress they’ll wear one day. A place where young men have never heard the expression: “why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?”—because the milk is always free. A place where no one asks an unmarried couple expecting a baby if they’re getting hitched.

This place is the province of Quebec. The French language spoken here is no guarantee for romance. Couples are practical, and lovers treasure their individuality. Quebec has become one of the least marrying places in the world, thanks to the institution known as “de facto spouses,” But now, thanks to a bizarre legal case entangling a Quebec billionaire and his de facto spouse ,  the freedom to un-marry is under threat. More than 1 million Quebecois in this kind of relationship may soon be automatically married by the state, against their will.

De facto spouses are defined by Quebec’s law as two people who have been living together for a year or more without being married and who check the “couple” box on their income tax statement form. Quebec’s lawmakers have deliberately chosen not to give de facto couples the same rights and responsibilities that married couples have under the Law of Quebec, to preserve the freedom of choice. Upon the termination of a relationship, “no matter how long cohabitation has lasted, de facto spouses have no legal support obligation to each other, even if one spouse is in need and the other has a high income.” Quebec is the only province in Canada where spousal support payments are not recognized by law for de facto spouses.

Other countries also recognize the status of common-law couples, including France and the Scandinavian nations. In the United States, common law marriage is a legal status in a minority of states.

The very religious province of Quebec traditionally perceived de facto spouses as a threat to the social order. But the “Quiet Revolution” starting in the 1960s led to a radical rejection of the church, a decline in religious weddings, and a reform of the Family Law that introduced the notion of de facto unions in 1979. The status gained more recognition during the ’80s and ’90s, mostly thanks to lobbying by gay rights advocates.

The institution has become wildly popular in Quebec, for gays and straights. Anastonishing 34.6 percent of all Quebec couples are de facto couples, and one half of couples under 40 are not married. A full 60 percent of Quebec children are born out of wedlock. ( – More -)

History Shows Conservative Objections to Obamacare… Have no Clothes.

This is an absolutely brutal puncturing of the Republican/conservative balloon about Obamacare being un-Constitutional …

What this points out is that the conservative objection to Obamacare isn’t really about the Constitution. The 5 thugs in robes could give a damn about the “Original Intent” of the founders – and are on a path to force the country into a quasi-fascism.

A number of the FOunders, and signatories to the Constitution supported mandates... Including George Washington

Originalist Sin

The five conservative justices on the Supreme Court—Thomas, Alito, Scalia, Roberts and Kennedy—cloak themselves in the myth that they are somehow channeling the wisdom and understanding of the Founding Fathers, the original intent that guided the drafting of the Constitution.  I believe the premise of their argument is itself suspect: It is not clear to me how much weight should be given  to non-textually based intent that is practically impossible to discern more than 200 years later. Most of the issues over which there is constitutional dispute today could not even have been envisioned when the document was drafted.

Even so, it would be an even better response to the conservative wing’s claim of perceived understanding of original intent to be able to refute their claims by showing them to be historically and indisputably wrong.  So once again let’s venture into the world of the health care debate.   The consensus view is that existing Commerce Clause doctrine clearly authorizes the type of mandate passed in the act—see in particular the affirmance of the statute by ultraconservative Judge Silberman of the D.C. Circuit Court.

Nonetheless, those opposing the bill insist that an individual mandate has never been done and the framers would simply not permit such an encroachment on liberty and freedom.

Some spectacular historical reporting by Professor Einer Elhauge of Harvard Law School in the New Republic thoroughly rebut the argument. He has found three mandate equivalents passed into law by the early Congresses—in which a significant number of founders served—and reports that these bills were signed into law by none other than Presidents George Washington and John Adams. As Founders go, one might consider them pretty senior in the hierarchy.  Their acts can probably be relied upon to give us a reasonable idea what the Founders intended to be the scope of congressional and governmental power.

Amazingly, the examples of individual mandates passed by the founders are so directly applicable that the claim that original intent precludes affirming the heath care act should become almost laughable:

  • In 1790, a Congress including 20 Founders passed a law requiring that ship owners buy medical insurance for their seamen. Washington signed it into law.
  • In 1792, another law signed by Washington required that all able-bodied men buy a firearm. (So much for the argument that Congress can’t force us to participate in commerce.)
  • And in 1798, a Congress with five framers passed a law requiring that all seamen buy hospital insurance for themselves. Adams signed this legislation.

In aggregate, these laws show that the Founders and the Congress of the time were willing to force all of us to participate in a particular act of commence and were comfortable requiring both the owner of a business and the individual employee to buy insurance in order to assure that health costs would be covered at a societal level.  That is a pretty complete rebuttal to all the claims being made by the originalists as they relate to the health care act.

But what is so powerful about these historical finds is not just that they rebut the specific argument about original intent as applied to the health care act. This history lays bare the ahistorical nature of the justices’ claims at another and deeper level. For the types of bill passed in 1790, 1792, and 1798 show the Founders to have been doing exactly what congress did especially well in the era of FDR—–experimenting with solutions and approaches to resolving social issues in ways that made government part of creative problem solving.

These examples show the fallacy and the false rigidity that the originalists seek to impose on our government. In their effort to cabin and restrain the government—their ideology of the moment—they seek to have the benefit of the claim that the founders shared such a limited approach to governing.  In fact, the approach to governing that these acts demonstrate is more nuanced and thoughtful.  As with so many of the claims of the originalists, a slight understanding of the true history shows that the originalists’ view is mere ideology being imposed on a false understanding of history.

I’m categorizing this post under “The New Jim Crow”, because the lack of health care results in the deaths of tens of thousands of black babies due to lack of pre-natal or post-natal care in the first year of life…

Every year in the United States.

Put in any other terms – the lack of Health Care i the US is genocide.

Rep, Gwen Moore Makes It Real in Speech for Violence Against Woman Act

Rep Gwen Moore recounts her own history of sexual abuse in floor speech in support of approval of Violence Against Women Act. Why does she have to do something that painful to force Republicans to do right?

Gwen Moore, Wisconsin Congresswoman, Recounts Her Rape Ordeal In House Floor Speech

As part of her floor speech pushing to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on Wednesday, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisc.) told the story of her own history of being sexually assaulted during her childhood and then raped as a young woman.

“Violence against women is as American as apple pie,” she told colleagues. “I know, not only as a legislator, but from personal experience. Domestic violence has been a thread throughout my personal life, up to and including being a child repeatedly sexually assaulted, up to and including being an adult who’s been raped.”

The VAWA has been met with some resistance from Republicans. The bill would renew grants to U.S. domestic violence prevention and survivor support programs, would increase availability of legal assistance to victims and would extend assistance to battered undocumented immigrants and same-sex couples.

The House Judiciary Committee’s lack of support for the bill, Moore said, brought up terrible memories for her “of having boys sit in a locker room and sort of bet that I, the egg-head, couldn’t be had,” she said.

“And then the appointed boy, when he saw that I wasn’t going to be so willing, completed a date-rape and then took my underwear to display it to the rest of the boys,” she continued. “I mean, this is what American women are facing.”

Since Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have not allowed Democrats to bring up the VAWA as a standalone bill, Democrats tried to attach it to the vote on the GOP budget proposal on Wednesday afternoon. But Republicans voted unanimously to end debate on the budget bill before Democrats could do so.

While some Senate Republicans have pledged their support for reauthorizing the VAWA, others said the bill touches on too many controversial subjects, which distract from the bill’s purpose of protecting battered women. For instance, that it creates avenues for battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas and extends domestic violence protections to same-sex couples makes it tough for some conservatives to support.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), who opposed the latest version last month in the judiciary committee, told The New York Times that he thinks Democrats have politicized the bill on purpose to make the GOP look anti-women.

“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” he said. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support, that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”

No Nookie for the Bedroom Gestapo

Dayam! This should have the effect of clearing a lot of right wing minds. This Republican even relates his experience in proverbially “sleeping on the couch” as a result of the recent Virginia anti-abortion bill which would require women to undergo vaginal ultrasound before getting an abortion.

Virginia Lawmaker: Ultrasound Flap Cost Me Nookie

We’ll hope this is the last word on Virginia’stransvaginal ultrasound controversy for a long time. GOP delegate Dave Albo took to the floor of the state House to describe how it caused him to miss out on a romantic night with his wife, reports the Huffington Post. (See the video.) Albo described how he was trying to put the moves on his wife—he even played the cheesy “mood music” for his fellow legislators—when a news show came on with a segment about the controversy.

Albo’s own name was mentioned, and they watched the entire thing. “The show’s over, and [my wife] looks at me, and she goes, ‘I gotta go to bed.’” Referring to a Democratic lawmaker who appeared on the show, Albo joked, “So if the gentleman’s plan was to make sure there is one less Republican in this world, he did.” Albo eventually wrote the compromise language that gives women the option of refusing the procedure, notes ABC NewsLess »

Lighting a Fire – Personhood Bills

The newest group legislation pushed by Republicans across the state legislatures is called Personhood. It is a direct attack on Abortion, by declaring a fetus a person at the moment of conception.

The pushback against this legislation nationwide is just beginning to gain steam… But in Virginia it seems to have gone from zero to 900 MPH in just a few days…

Think maybe Gov McDonnell may be looking at the end of those future political ambitions.

Opposition mounts to Va. personhood bill

A petition opposing two abortion-related bills winding through the Virginia legislature is spreading like “wildfire.” In just over 24 hours, 17,000 people have signed the measure that says the Virginia government is conducting a “war on women.”

The petition is organized by ProgressVA. Most of the signatories say they are Virginia residents and most are women, and the message they give is clear: The government is overstepping its bounds.

“This war on women has got to stop,” the petition reads. “Virginia may be the butt of jokes for late night comedians, but the bills coming out of the General Assembly this year are no laughing matter.”

Catherine from Richmond wrote next to her name: “I say to you men in the Virginia legislature – Leave our bodies alone. This is not your place; this is not your right. What you’re doing is immoral.”

The online petition through signon.org has been spreading quickly, largely through social media. (In the thirty minutes it took me to write this story, 300 additional people added their name.)

“We’re absolutely pleased and frankly a little overwhelmed,” with petition response, Anna Scholl, Executive Director of ProgressVA, said. “It’s been spreading like wildfire.”

The petition is addressed to The Virginia State Senate, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and Governor Bob McDonnell as they are instrumental in the future of these bills. (McDonnell is considered a rising star in the Republican Party. He has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate.)

The Virginia House of Delegates passed HB 1, also known as the “personhood” bill, this week. It defines a fertilized egg as a person, and according to the legislation, “provides that unborn children at every stage of development enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities available to other persons, citizens, and residents of the Commonwealth.”

Virginia would be the first state in the nation to define a fetus – and a fertilized egg – as a person. It passed the General Assembly and the Senate could take it up as early as this week, if it chooses.

The second bill petitioners object to is HB 462, which requires a woman receive a transvaginal ultrasound before an abortion. Both bodies of the legislature have passed this measure and only needs Republican Gov. McDonnell’s signature before it becomes law.

Scholl says they will continue to spread the word and hope to deliver the petitions as early as this week.

“These recent policies turn my stomach. I believe in fiscal conservatism. Stop mixing it with my personal rights,” Lisa Schroeer of Charlottesville, Virginia wrote.

Truth in Dating – DOJ Looking At Lying on Websites as a Crime

Well… there goes the 5000 under 50 something women on E-Harmony and match – and most of the guys with those fancy jobs and fancy wheels!

The Department of Justice is now saying that lying on personal sites, like the dating sites or Facebook…

Could be a crime.

So much for that “About Average” body type classification on those dating sites!

Athletic and Fit, Driving a Mercedes... Not.

DOJ: Fibbing on web sites should be a crime

The U.S. Department of Justice is defending computer hacking laws that make it a crime to use a fake name on Facebook or lie about your weight in an online dating profile.

In a statement obtained by CNET that’s scheduled to be delivered tomorrow, the Justice Department argues that it must be able to prosecute violations of Web sites’ often-ignored, always-unintelligible “terms of service” policies.

The law must allow “prosecutions based upon a violation of terms of service or similar contractual agreement with an employer or provider,” Richard Downing, the Justice Department’s deputy computer crime chief, will tell the U.S. Congress tomorrow.

Scaling back that law “would make it difficult or impossible to deter and address serious insider threats through prosecution,” and jeopardize prosecutions involving identity theft, misuse of government databases, and privacy invasions, according to Downing.

The law in question, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, has been used by the Justice Department to prosecute a woman, Lori Drew, who used a fake MySpace account to verbally attack a 13-year old girl who then committed suicide. Because MySpace’s terms of service prohibit impersonation, Drew was convicted of violating the CFAA. Her conviction was later thrown out.

What makes this possible is a section of the CFAA that was never intended to be used that way: ageneral-purpose prohibition on any computer-based act that “exceeds authorized access.” To the Justice Department, this means that a Web site’s terms of service define what’s “authorized” or not, and ignoring them can turn you into a felon.

On the other hand, because millions of Americans likely violate terms of service agreements every day, you’d have a lot of company.

A letter (PDF) sent to the Senate in August by a left-right coalition including the ACLU, Americans for Tax Reform, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and FreedomWorks warns of precisely that. “If a person assumes a fictitious identity at a party, there is no federal crime,” the letter says. “Yet if they assume that same identity on a social network that prohibits pseudonyms, there may again be a CFAA violation. This is a gross misuse of the law.”

Orin Kerr, a former Justice Department computer crime prosecutor who’s now a professor of law at George Washington University, says the government’s arguments are weak.

Kerr, who is also testifying tomorrow before a House Judiciary subcommittee, told CNET today that:

The Justice Department claims to have an interest in enforcing Terms of Use and computer use policies under the CFAA, but its examples mostly consist of cases in which the conduct described has already been criminalized by statutes other than the CFAA. Further, my proposed statutory fix (see the second proposal in my testimony) would preserve the government’s ability to prosecute the remaining cases DOJ mentions while not raising the civil liberties problems of the current statute…

More Trouble for the “Sperminator” – Herman Cain

"Cornbread" is Cain's Self Appointed Nickname

Right on the tail of the Cain sexual harassment story, comes the Cain…

Campaign Finance debacle.

Moving money between a charity and a political campaign is definitely illegal, a big no-no – and should result in prosecution.

But the thing that caught my eye was near the bottom of the article – where it is reported that Cain paid $100,000 to speak to a black conservative organization. In the strange world of black conservative front organizations – “Cornbread“, didn’t get paid to speak as you would normally expect…. Cornbread had to pay a black conservative group $100,000 to listen to him!

Herman Cain campaign’s financial ties to Wisconsin charity questioned

Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, whose candidacy is under siege followingsexual harassment allegations, also faces new questions about financial ties between his fledgling campaign and a private charity launched by two of his top aides.

Citing interviews and internal financial documents, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reportsthat a Wisconsin tax-exempt charity called Prosperity USA footed the bill for about $40,000 worth of iPads, chartered jet services and other expenses as Cain’s campaign got off the ground this year.

Expenses totaling $37,372 are listed in the group’s financial records as “due from FOH,” or Friends of Herman Cain, the name of his campaign committee. It is not clear whether Cain repaid the alleged debts, which are not listed in his personal or campaign disclosures.

Such payments are forbidden under federal tax and election laws, because nonprofit charities are not allowed to participate or donate money or services to political campaigns, according to election-law experts.

“It looks like a law school exam on potential campaign-finance violations,” said Lawrence H. Norton of Womble Carlyle, former general counsel at the Federal Election Commission. “Many of these payments would be prohibited contributions under federal election law.”

Prosperity USA was founded by Mark Block, Cain’s chief of staff, and Linda Hansen, deputy chief of staff. Block launched Prosperity USA and a related group after he had headed the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a tea party-aligned organization based in Washington.

Looks Like the Cornbread is Getting Burnt

Block said Monday that the campaign has requested an independent investigation of the allegations. He did not provide further details.

“As with any suggestions of this type, we have asked outside counsel to investigate the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s suggestions and may comment, if appropriate, when that review is completed,” Block wrote in an e-mail…

Cain began taking donations for his then-quixotic presidential campaign in January. Bank records cited by the Journal Sentinel show Prosperity USA paid for $15,000 for a trip to Atlanta, $17,000 for chartered flights and $5,000 for travel and meeting costs in Iowa, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Louisiana. The newspaper also said the Cain campaign was billed $3,700 for iPads purchased Jan. 4.

Records obtained by the Milwaukee newspaper also appeared to show a $100,000 payment to the Congress on Racial Equality, a conservative black group, shortly before Cain served as the keynote speaker at the group’s annual dinner, the newspaper said. The expense was apparently covered by $150,000 worth of loans to Prosperity USA by unidentified supporters, the report said…

"You welcome to stop by anytime, Cornbread. Just bring more money!" (Herman Cain and Niger Innis)

Marco Rubio…An Illegal Alien?

This gets very interesting after the “birther” controversy over President Obama. Seems that Marco Rubio may not be a legally born American – and at best would be an “Anchor Baby” in the words of Jan Brewer, Arizona’s Governor.

Even more significant, much of Rubios story about his parents fleeing Castro’s takeover of Cuba turns out to be an outright lie, with his parents having immigrated to the US 2 1/2 years BEFORE Castro seized power. Indeed, when Rubio’s parents left Cuba, Castro wasn’t even in Cuba – he was in Mexico trying to raise money for his revolution.

Marco Rubio’s compelling family story embellishes facts, documents show

During his rise to political prominence, Sen. Marco Rubio frequently repeated a compelling version of his family’s history that had special resonance in South Florida. He was the “son of exiles,” he told audiences, Cuban Americans forced off their beloved island after “a thug,” Fidel Castro, took power.

But a review of documents — including naturalization papers and other official records — reveals that the Florida Republican’s account embellishes the facts. The documents show that Rubio’s parents came to the United States and were admitted for permanent residence more than 21 / years before Castro’s forces overthrew the Cuban government and took power on New Year’s Day 1959.

The supposed flight of Rubio’s parents has been at the core of the young senator’s political identity, both before and after his stunning tea-party-propelled victory in last year’s Senate election. Rubio — now considered a prospective 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate and a possible future presidential contender — mentions his parents in the second sentence of the official biography on his Senate Web site. It says that Mario and Oriales Rubio “came to America following Fidel Castro’s takeover.” And the 40-year-old senator with the boyish smile and prom-king good looks has drawn on the power of that claim to entrance audiences captivated by the rhetorical skills of one of the more dynamic stump speakers in modern American politics. Continue reading

Racial Profiling Bill in Senate

Racial profiling as a law enforcement tool has been discredited in just about every study – but it continues anyway…

Of course I doubt this bill has a prayer of making it through the Republican majority House.

Senate Introduces Legislation to Ban Racial Profiling

Yesterday, the Senate introduced a bill that would ban the use of racial profiling by law enforcement.

The End Racial Profiling Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin, D. Md., would forbid any law enforcement agency in the United States from “relying, to any degree, on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion…except when there is trustworthy information, relevant to the locality and timeframe, that links a person of a particular race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion to an identified criminal incident or scheme.” The bill also requires law enforcement agencies to collect data on routine and spontaneous investigatory activities and authorizes the Department of Justice to provide funds for training on the proper and improper use of race, ethnicity, national origin and religion in policing.
Civil rights groups have long supported legislation banning racial profiling based not only on its discriminatory nature but on the fact that it simply doesn’t work and wastes precious law enforcement resources.

“Racial profiling robs people of their dignity, undermines the integrity of our criminal justice system, and instills fear and distrust among members of targeted communities,” said Nancy Zirkin, executive vice president of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “We know from experience that this is the wrong approach. Racial profiling makes us all less safe, by distracting law enforcement from the pursuit of individuals who pose serious threats to security.”

Research has consistently found that despite its ineffectiveness racial profiling is pervasive. A September 2010 Rights Working Group report, which was based on six public hearings held around the country, found that the use of racial profiling is pervasive. And a June 2009 report by Rights Working Group and the American Civil Liberties Union found that African-American and Latino drivers are more than twice as likely to be stopped, searched, or arrested by law enforcement officers as White drivers.

In March, The Leadership Conference released a report that documents how the consensus to end racial profiling has evaporated since 9/11, and how the use of racial profiling has expanded in the context of counterterrorism; fighting drug trafficking and other “street-level” crimes; and in efforts to enforce immigration laws, and called on Congress to pass ERPA.

The Importance of Anita Hill

Anita Hill has a new book out – and it’s getting some pretty good reviews. Patricia J. Williams is a Law Professor at Columbia University, and what she has to say about the importance of Anita Hill travails at the Clarence Thomas hearings really clarifies a lot of what Hill meant to other professional women…

Anita Hill

The Legacy of Anita Hill, Then and Now

Sad fact: there are few women of my generation who don’t have what is known as our “Anita story.” Mine occurred in 1980. I was five years out of law school and had decided to shift my career from practice to teaching. I was walking down a long hallway at the Association of American Law Schools meat market for new hires. There were two men behind me who were joking about the excellent shape of my legs and the unusually well-defined musculature of my lower quadrants. (Did I mention that it was a very, very long hallway?) At the end of that eternal passage was my appointed interview room. I escaped into it, only to be followed by the two. They, as it turned out, were doing the hiring.

Life was like that sometimes, I thought. And so I went through all the proper motions of expressing how much my fine ideas could contribute to their faculty, pretending that nothing had happened.

I didn’t stop pretending nothing had happened until 1991, when Anita Hill testified to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the unwanted office approaches of her boss, then-chair of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Clarence Thomas. I remember how still and dignified she was at the center of that howling hurricane of mockery, meanness and machismo. It was like some psychedelic cross between The Crucible and The Wizard of Oz, with its swirling fantasies of witchcraft, conspiracy theories and mad satyric orgies. I remember everyone from Orrin Hatch to Rush Limbaugh dismissing anything that “might have happened” as “bedroom politics,” even though Hill’s allegations centered on misbehavior in the boardroom, not the bedroom, and even though those allegations implicated precisely Thomas’s public ethics as the chief enforcement officer of sexual harassment laws. “He said, she said” entered the national vocabulary. So did “They just don’t get it.”

Anita Hill graduated from Yale Law School in 1980. The percentage of women in law schools was 38 percent—in contrast to the approximately
50 percent it is today. Back in those times there were so few women among the legal professoriate that many law schools didn’t even have women’s bathrooms. And as for women of color—there were only five or six of us teaching in the entire United States.

If the percentages of women in all professions improved over the next decade or so, the ability to speak up and speak out was often constrained by fear of losing status, ruining one’s career. It was the shockingly abysmal treatment of Anita Hill by the United States Senate that changed all that. Women were mobilized in a way unseen since the time of the suffragettes. EMILY’s List took off, as well as hundreds of networks for women’s political empowerment. Twenty years later, if some men’s behavior has not changed as much as one might have hoped, the collective women’s response has undergone seismic change. It’s not “nothing” anymore.

Patricia J. Williams

Anita Hill remains an icon to whom subsequent generations are rightfully indebted. At the same time, she has not remained trapped by her own symbolism or frozen in time. It is sometimes forgotten that she is a respected scholar of contract jurisprudence, commercial law and education policy. She is a prolific author, publishing numerous law review articles, essays, editorials and books. Today, Hill is a professor of social policy, law and women’s studies at Brandeis University. Much of her most recent research has been on the housing market, and her most recent book, published this month, is Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home.

It is ironic that the full substance of Hill’s remarkable intellectual presence remains so overshadowed by those fleeting, if powerful, moments of her Senate testimony. If the larger accomplishments of her life aren’t quite as iconic as that confrontation with Clarence Thomas, they nonetheless merit attention by feminists and scholars alike. To begin with, Hill is a remarkably elegant and accessible writer. For those who wish to apprehend the gravitas of her intelligence and dignity, Reimagining Equality would be a good place to start…(more)

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