Tag Archives: Illegal

The New Jim Crow – Unconstitutional and Illegal Bail Systems

Below is a map of “Economic Opportunity” broken into the MSAs in each state. Economic Opportunity is the measure of how likely it is for someone born in the lowest income and social class to be able to rise. Or to put it another way – the lower the Economic Opportunity, greater the chance that a poor person’s child will also be poor, and their children and their children.

Notice that isolated red spot right around ST. Louis, Mo – and including Ferguson?

Which areas have the highest populations on welfare and disability?

Just for fun, let’s look at the states with or without minimum wage laws…

Tell you Something?

Political Corruption Level in States – (Provided by London School of Economics)

State Incarceration Rates –

Which gets us the The New Jim Crow – Virtual Debtors Prisons and Bail Bond Extortion

How Civil Rights Groups Are Unraveling Illegal Bail Schemes That Fill Jails With Poor People

Like the majority of the nearly 750,000 people stuck in local jails across the United States, Rebecca Snow was not held in the Ascension Parish jail in central Louisiana because she had been convicted of a crime. The 33-year-old mother of three, who was charged with two nonviolent misdemeanors in late August, simply could not afford to post bail.

If Snow had the $289 set for each charge, she could have gone home to her family instead of sitting in jail. Many others arrested in the parish are able to post bail and go home, but Snow didn’t have the extra cash: She relies on public assistance and is indigent, according to a civil rights complaint filed against the parish’s sheriff and top judge.

The US Supreme Court and the Justice Department have both said that incarcerating someone solely because they can’t afford to post cash bail is unconstitutional, but that was the policy in Ascension Parish until just a few weeks ago.

Ascension sheriff deputies would set bail during booking using a court-issued “schedule” that matched the alleged offense with a generic bail amount, and some arrestees waited days before seeing a judge who could hear a motion to reduce it, according to the complaint. No individual factors such as prior record or employment were considered, and even those arrested for minor crimes like traffic violations were not released without posting bail.

In early September, civil rights attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the bail scheme, with Snow as the lead plaintiff. A settlement was reached within weeks. Now those arrested for misdemeanors in Ascension Parish are released on their own recognizance unless they are charged with assault, drunk driving or a list of other crimes that generally involve putting other people in danger. A judge must promptly set an individualized bail for those who are jailed.

“[The defendants] don’t really have any arguments,” said Alec Karakatsanis, a cofounder of Equal Justice Under Law, which worked with civil rights lawyers from southern Louisiana to challenge Ascension’s bail policy. “It’s a terrible policy in addition to being illegal. It’s expensive and it ruins people’s lives and it devastates them.”

Nationally, jails have twice the admission rate of state and federal prisons, and 62 percent of those locked up have not been convicted of any crime and are legally presumed innocent, according to the Vera Institute of Justice. Three out of four people in jail are being held on nonviolent traffic, drug, property or public order charges. In most jurisdictions, poor people facing minor charges are forced to stay in jail or plead guilty to get out while those who have money on hand often go free.

Using the Constitution to Force Local Reforms

Since January, Karakatsanis and local partners have filed lawsuits challenging secured money bail programs in seven cities across the South, and so far defendants in six cities quickly settled and agreed to end the practice of requiring bail for nonviolent misdemeanors. The first lawsuit, filed against the City of Clanton, Alabama, attracted a statement of interest from the Justice Department declaring that jailing people solely because of their poverty violates the US Constitution’s equal protection clause and is simply “bad public policy.”

Suing individual officials and jurisdictions has proved to be an effective tactic for civil rights advocates who argue that many of the nation’s 3,000 jails have become modern-day debtors’ prisons. Attorneys like Karakatsanis are going from county to county to shut down illegal secured money bail and court fine collection schemesthat fill courthouse coffers and keep private collection companies and bail bondsmen in business while poor defendants, who often cannot afford child care or to miss even a day of work, are caged without being convicted.

“We are going from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and asking them to change, and if they don’t, we certainly sue them,” Karakatsanis told Truthout. He added that his group would be filing more lawsuits across the country.

By definition, bail is not a fine or a form of punishment. The purpose of bail is, in theory, to ensure that arrestees show up to court. If you are jailed and a bail is set, you may wait there for weeks, months or even years for your trial to start – or you can post bail, which will be refunded when you appear before a judge. In some parts of the country, if you don’t have the money, you can hire a bail bonds agent to post bail for a fee, usually at 10 percent of the bail amount. You don’t get that money back even if you are found not guilty. (In the few states that have outlawed for-profit bail bond agents, a secured bond may sometimes be paid at 10 percent of the set amount as well.)

Money bail tips the scales of justice in favor of those who have cash on hand. For arrestees who can’t afford to put money down on their own freedom, jail makes it much more difficult to escape the deep maze of the criminal legal system. The Vera Institute reports that even spending as few as two days in jail can reduce economic viability, promote future criminal behavior, degrade personal health and increase the chance that a defendant is incarcerated if found guilty.

Pretrial incarceration also increases the likelihood that people will take a plea deal, and some people plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit just to go home and avoid losing their jobs and contact with friends and family. That’s one reason why activists in Massachusetts, New York City and Chicago have organized community bail funds to free low-income people from jail. Since bail money is generally returned once defendants appear in court, these grassroots bail funds can extend the benefits of a recyclable resource to many people who would otherwise be left to defend themselves from a position of incarceration….Read the Rest Here

Still wonder why it is so hard to get that Economic Opportunity in some places?

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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in The New Jim Crow


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Trumped…The Hispanic Vote

Last Presidential election only about 48% of the eligible Hispanic voters in this country turned out to vote. Something between 71-73% voted for President Obama.

Due in no small part to the anti-immigrant vitriol and racism of Trump and other Republican candidates – this group, “Latino VIctory Project”, aims to rectify that situation. Hopefully other Hispanic groups in the country (Latino and Hispanic mean different things, although all Latinos are also Hispanic – the reverse is not true).


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Posted by on September 22, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life


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Bill O’Reilly vs Jorge Ramos

What happens when a fake journalist tries to argue with a real one. Jorge puts the windbag in his place on immigration…

As Jorge points out, the who brouhaha coming from the right has a lot more to do with the fact the folks coming here from the South are brown skinned…Than illegal.


Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Faux News, The New Jim Crow


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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)


Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Black Conservatives, Stupid Republican Tricks


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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. Read the rest of this entry »


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Racism Will Make You Stupid

In another of those Racism Making People Stupid Moments (the last one was Rush Limbaugh defending the violent criminal gang, LRA), yet another Republican lets his racism against President Obama get in the way of common sense…

Accornero, apparently is upset about “illegel” immigrants. Small problem with “Acornhead’s” logic though – more illegal immigrants have been deported under Obama than during Bush. Indeed, the number has risen each year during the Obama Administration, and by some counts, President Obama has deported more illegal aliens in 3 years than Bush did during the entire 8 years of his stolen Presidency.

The next problem with “Acornhead’s” logic is that “illegal” immigrants aren’t exactly our “enemy”. As in any group of people there are some illegal immigrants who are criminals, or commit criminal acts – but they aren’t here to kill the fatted calf (they are not as stupid as conservatives!)…

They are here to make money, the old fashioned way…

By working for it.

Suddenly, at least in the eyes of the froth-mouth right wing – anybody who wants a job and wants to do honest work for a living is “Public Enemy #1”, “traitors”, a “mob”. When the working folks of this country become the enemy…

I think we know who the real traitors are.

Harry Accornero, New Hampshire GOP Lawmaker, Accuses President Obama Of Treason

A Republican New Hampshire state lawmaker is calling for the formation of a commission to bring charges of treason against President Obama.

Harry Accornero (R-Laconia) sent an email to every New Hampshire state representative stating that President Obama “has crossed the line, and under Article III section 3 of our Constitution is guilty of treason by giving aid and comfort to the enemy and attempting to overthrow our government from within.”

“I am formally asking you to bring a commission of treason against Mr. Barack Husain [sic] Obama,” wrote Accornero in the email, posted by Blue Hampshire and obtained by The Huffington Post. “We have a President who allows our borders to be violated by illegals of any country while we are at war. He allows them work permits, access to our services and when apprehended by law enforcement refuses to have them jailed or deported.”

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Accornero said he had to act on the injustices he feels the Obama administration is performing.

“I’ve been contemplating this for awhile and just been getting fed up with what’s going on in Washington and what the president is doing to our country,” he said. “I wrote a few letters into the local paper and I sent it to Congressman [Frank] Guinta and it just falls on deaf ears.”…


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Did Faux News Also Tap Phones in America? New Allegations…

The real question about the Rupert Murdoch media empire is whether the News of the World phone hacking scandal was a “one off” crime by a few bad folks…

Or whether it was the sort of illicit activity supported and promoted throughout the media empire by the senior management.

This report is about claims by a former Faux News Executive who claims that Faux News secretly financed, organized, and operated the same sort of back room secret operation committing illicit and illegal invasions of personal privacy through phone tapping, hacking, and other nefarious methods.

Of course about now, you have to figure most of the staff of this operation are on fast flights to Siberia for extended “vacations”…

But there still should be enough tracks here for sophisticated cyber-sleuths to check the veracity of the accusations.

Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News ran ‘black ops’ department, former executive claims

Dan Cooper, who helped launch Fox News as managing editor in 1996, said that a “brain room” carried out “counter intelligence” on the channel’s enemies from its New York headquarters.

He was threatened after it found out he spoke to a reporter, he claimed.

Another former senior executive said the channel ran a spying network on staff, reading their emails and making them “feel they were being watched”.

The channel, which has come under pressure amid allegations that outlets owned by Mr Murdoch might have attempted to hack the voicemail messages of September 11 victims, firmly denies all the allegations.

Mr Cooper, who left Fox News soon after its launch, provided a quote for a 1997 article about Roger Ailes, Fox News’s president, by the journalist David Brock in New York magazine.

The quote was not going to be attributed to him, but he alleges that before the article was published, Mr Cooper’s agent received a telephone call from Mr Ailes threatening to withdraw Fox’s business from all his clients.

“There are only two possible ways Ailes found out,” Mr Cooper said. “Either Brock told him or they got hold of Brock’s phone records and saw I spoke to him.”

He first alleged that the records were obtained by researchers in the “brain room” in 2005 in an article on his website about the launch of the channel.

“Most people thought it was simply the research department of Fox News,” he wrote. “I knew it also housed a counter intelligence and black ops office. So accessing phone records was easy pie.”

Mr Cooper said yesterday that he helped to design the high-security unit. “It was staffed by 15 researchers and had a guard at the door. No one working there would engage in conversation.”…

Another former Fox News senior executive, who did not wish to be named, said staff were forced to operate under conditions reminiscent of “Russia at the height of the Soviet era”.

“There is a paranoid atmosphere and they feel they are being watched,” said the former executive. “I have no doubt they are spying on emails to ensure no one is leaking to outside media.

“There is a unit of spies that reports up to the boss about who was talking to whom. A lot of people are scared that they’re going to get sidelined or even that they’re going to get killed.”…


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Posted by on July 21, 2011 in Faux News


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