Tag Archives: law

The New Jim Crow – Louisiana Makes It Illegal for Immigrants to Marry

If you are wondering about the sort of America the alt-right and Trumpazoids would put in place – look no further than Louisiana’s new Jim Crow Marriage law.

Louisiana isn’t letting immigrants get married

For an illustration of how cruel the country’s latest wave of nativism has grown, look to Louisiana.

Here, a little-noticed new state law has effectively made it illegal for thousands of refugees to get married.

It all started last year. Having lost the fight over gay marriage, the state’s religious right decided that the sacred institution of wedlock was once again under attack — this time, by devious immigrants. Undocumented workers and even terrorists had newly discovered they could exploit Louisiana’s marriage laws to gain citizenship, legislators claimed, leading to a supposed epidemic of “marriage fraud.”

The response? Make it more difficult for immigrants to get married, of course.

So, as of this year, any foreign-born person wanting to get married in Louisiana must produce both an unexpired visa (even though a federal court has ruled that marriage licenses cannot be denied based on immigration status), as well as, somewhat inexplicably, a birth certificate.

No birth certificate, no marriage, no excuses.

The law has indeed placed marriage off-limits to immigrants in the country illegally, as intended. But it’s hurt plenty of legal immigrants, too. Louisiana is home to thousands of refugees, predominantly Vietnamese and Laotians who received asylum in the 1970s and 1980s after fleeing war and communism in their homelands.

Today these Louisianans often have green cards and even U.S. citizenship, but no access to their original birth documents, if such documents even exist.

The law received little attention when it went into effect in January. Which means people such as Out Xanamane often learn about it only when they get turned away at the courthouse.

Xanamane was born in a village near Savannakhet, Laos, in 1975, the year the country fell to communism. Born at home, he never received a birth certificate.

He remembers little of his early childhood, except that there were bombs and land mines everywhere. In the decade before his birth, the U.S. military dropped 2 million tons of explosives on the tiny nation, making the country one of the most heavily bombed per capita in history.

Xanamane’s family arrived in Louisiana in 1986, after spending time in refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines. He has lived in the United States ever since and is now a U.S. permanent resident in the process of applying for citizenship.

It wasn’t until he got sick this summer that his lack of birth certificate was ever an issue.

In July, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, the same illness that claimed his brother’s life two years ago. The diagnosis meant a lot of changes for his family, the most pressing of which was he really, really needed the state to recognize his marriage.

Xanamane and his significant other, U.S.-born citizen Marilyn Cheng, were married in a Buddhist temple in 1997. But like many in the local Laotian community, they never sought an official marriage license, and never felt they needed to. They have called each other “husband” and “wife” for two decades, have four children and assumed they probably had a common-law marriage at the very least.

They didn’t; Louisiana doesn’t recognize common-law marriage.

The couple discovered this when Cheng’s employer, under whose health-insurance plan Xanamane was covered for the past two years, abruptly asked for a copy of their marriage license after bills for his cancer treatments came in. Suddenly all the marriage-related legal protections they’d taken for granted — health coverage, hospital visitation rights, Social Security survivor benefits — vanished.

Within days they went to the courthouse, armed with Xanamane’s green card, refugee documents and driver’s license. Twice they were turned away.

“They told me I have to go back to Laos and get my birth certificate,” said Xanamane, who has never returned to his country of birth. “But there isn’t any birth certificate there, either.”… Read the rest Here

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Posted by on October 11, 2016 in The New Jim Crow


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Scamming the System – Police Turn Off Body Cameras

Body cameras were supposed to be a big help in determining how situations between the Police and the public actually happened.

They would be – if the Cops didn’t turn them off.

Here is my solution –

  1. Any officer who doesn’t have his body camera turned on during a arrest or other citizen action unless there is a really good excuse…Should be immediately terminated from the force, and strongly considered for prosecution.
  2. Any video/sound, collected on a body camera, must be made Public within 90 days, if requested by an involved Citizen, his legal representative though a FOIA request.

Body Cameras Are Betraying Their Promise

They’re not transparent. They’re not independent. They’re not even turned on when they should be.

When they were introduced to the American public two years ago, police body-cameras seemed like they might help everyone. Police departments liked that body cams reduced the number of public complaints about officer behavior. Communities and protesters liked that they would introduce some transparency and accountability to an officer’s actions.

Today, research suggests that body cameras significantly reduce the number of public complaints about police. But recent events subvert the idea that the devices help or increase the power of regular people—that is, the policed. Instead of making officers more accountable and transparent to the public, body cameras may be making officers and departments more powerful than they were before.

This is happening across the country. And there are three trends that are repeating themselves over and over.

First, many officers are (either earnestly or conveniently) forgetting to activate their cameras when they’re supposed to. Take the case of Terrence Sterling, an unarmed 31-year-old black man who was fatally shot this month by local police officers in Washington, D.C., after his motorcycle crashed into their car. Contrary to District of Columbia policy, no officer at the scene activated their body camera until after the shooting. The city released footage of Sterling’s final moments this week—but that video begins more than a minute after shots were fired.

Also this week, The Washington Post revealed that an officer present at the shooting of Keith Scott, in Charlotte, North Carolina, did not activate his body camera when he should have. The officer only turned it on immediately after another officer at the scene shot Scott. Due to a feature of the camera that saves the 30 seconds of video prior to its activation, this meant that while the shots werecaptured on camera, the footage had no sound. (Dashboard-camera video released over the weekend seemed to show that Scott, a 43-year-old black man, had his hands by his side when another officer shot him four times and killed him.)

Or consult the case of Paul O’Neal, an unarmed 18-year-old black teenager who was shot and killed by a Chicago Police Department officer in late July. The officer’s body camera was also turned off during the shooting.

In case after case, police departments say officers did not have their body cameras activated when it counted. It can seem as though incidents where body-cam footage helped secure an indictment—such as in Marksville, Louisiana, last November, or as in Cincinnati last July—are more rare than the cases where they don’t.

These are breaches of protocol—incidents where events didn’t happen as the law would require. Often, these violations are never significantly punished. This is the second major threat to body-camera accountability: If there’s not significant discipline for officers who fail to follow local policies—as the officers failed in D.C., Chicago, and Charlotte—then it doesn’t matter what’s in the policy.

“Even if a department like Chicago has a great, green-check-mark policy, there are still lapses by officers,” said Harlan Yu, a technologist at Upturn, a civil-rights consulting firm. “In the Paul O’Neal shooting, cameras were on before, they appear to be on after, but then—oh well!—something happened” during the shooting itself.

“We see this in Chicago over and over in other areas—there are all sorts of stories about Chicago cops purposefully deactivating their dash cams, even though they’re required to use them and the city pays for them. But who is disciplining officers when they fail to follow the policies? If taxpayers are spending money on these cameras, they sure as hell better be working when a shooting happens,” he added.

The third threat is that many states have introduced or passed new laws that restrict public access to footage while preserving police access.

In October, North Carolina will enforce a new law that only allows courts, and not politicians, to release any body-camera footage. The law asks state judges to weigh various factors before releasing a video, including whether it is “necessary to advance a compelling public interest” and whether it would “create a serious threat to the fair, impartial, and orderly administration of justice.”

North Carolina is not the only state to restrict access to body-camera footage. The Urban Institute says that Illinois, Texas, South Carolina, and other states have all blocked the public’s access to it….Read the rest here



Posted by on October 5, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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BLM Activist Convicted of “Lynching”

Using a law to protect minorities against them…Not a single black person on the “jury”…Again.

What activist Jasmine Richards’s “lynching” conviction means for the Black Lives Matter movement

A court ruling in Pasadena, California, last week just set an unsettling precedent in the movement for black lives’ fight against police brutality.

Activist Jasmine Richards, a 28-year-old black woman and founder of Pasadena’s Black Lives Matter chapter, was convicted of felony lynching, a technical term in California penal code referring to “the taking by means of a riot of another person from the lawful custody of a peace officer.” Her sentencing is June 7.

On August 29, 2015, police responded to a 911 call after an altercation at a local park. The owner of a restaurant near the park told police an unidentified young black woman allegedly did not pay for her meal. Black Lives Matter supporters, including Richards, were already at the park after a peaceful protest earlier that day for Kendrec McDade, a 19-year-old unarmed black teenager who was killed by Pasadena police in 2012.

Video of the incident shows Black Lives Matter supporters, including Richards, run to the woman’s side as police attempt to arrest her. Richards was arrested two days later for trying to physically pull the woman away from police.

Richards was initially charged with inciting a riot, child endangerment, delaying and obstructing peace officers, and felony lynching. When the court announced the June 1 trial date, only the lynching charge remained.

Richards is not the first modern protester to be charged with lynching. Maile Hampton, a 20-year-old black woman, was arrested for “lynching” during a rally against police brutality in Sacramento in April 2015. Occupy Oakland activists Tiffany Tran and Alex Brown were charged in 2011, and Los Angeles Occupy activist Sergio Ballesteros was charged in 2012 for lynching while intervening in an arrest at the local Artwalk.

But in other cases, the charges were later dropped. Richards is the first African American convicted of “lynching” in the United States.

“Clearly this is a political prosecution,” Richards’s attorney, Nana Gyamfi, told Vox. “Its intention is to stop people from organizing, and from speaking out and challenging the system. There’s a political message that’s been sent by both the prosecutor and the police and, by conviction, the jury.”

The history behind California’s “lynching” law

Lynching typically refers to a violent Jim Crow–era tactic used to terrorize black communities. However, the language of California’s penal code does not speak to this history of racial violence specifically. It’s one of the reasons Gov. Jerry Brown removed the term from the state’s criminal code in July 2015 following Hampton’s arrest.

California’s anti-lynching law was enacted in 1933. That year, a vigilante mob of 10,000 people stormed a San Jose jail to seize Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes, two white men, who confessed to kidnapping and murdering of 22-year-old Brooke Hart, the son of a local storeowner. Tear gas did not stop the mob, and police guards were attacked.

After plucking them from the jail, the mob hung Thurmond and Holmes from trees in a nearby park. According to a 1933 report, Thurmond was “yanked to his doom in less time than it takes to tell it.”

No one was charged for Thurmond and Holmes’s deaths. Gov. James Rolph Jr. wasnationally criticized for condoning the vigilante violence. Still, Rolph signed an anti-lynching law, which was one of several passed by state lawmakers during that time.

The law was passed at a time when people were pressuring the federal government to intervene to stop vigilante lynchings of African Americans. In July 1922, the NAACP lobbied for a federal anti-lynching bill that was ultimately filibustered by the Senate. This would continue throughout the 1920s and ’30s. The last thorough national anti-lynching bill was introduced in 1937, and was similarly squashed. In fact, the Senate record was so bad that it approved a resolution in 2005 apologizing for its willful failure to act.

In the 1930s, California’s anti-lynching law was a sign of progress at a moment when the federal governmental failed to intervene.

Today, when activists like Richards are charged with “lynching,” this progressive law appears to be exploited to quell, not encourage, social change as it was originally intended….Read the Rest Here


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Posted by on June 6, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter


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US House Passes Anti-confederate Flag Bill

In a fine bit of election year electioneering, the US House has passed a bill limiting confederate flag displays…

The march against the Confederate flag continued Thursday — this time in Congress

A year after America suddenly and overwhelmingly began unraveling itself from the Confederate flag, here’s more evidence our relationship with it is ending.

On Thursday, the House of Representatives — including 84 Republicans — voted to make it illegal to drape or hoist the flag prominently in national veterans’ cemeteries, including over mass graves. Those who want to mark their ancestors’ spot with a Confederate flag could do so with a small one, but only on two days a year: Memorial Day and Confederates Memorial Day.

It’s unclear whether this new limitation on the Confederate flag is actually going to become law, since it hasn’t yet passed the Senate. But the House tends to be the more populist chamber of the two, and as such, a reflection of what the rest of America is thinking.

“Over 150 years ago, slavery was abolished,” said Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) who proposed the amendment. “Why in the year 2016 are we still condoning displays of this hateful symbol on our sacred national cemeteries?” The Hill’s Christina Marcos reports that no one spoke in opposition to it.

But many Republicans voted against it — 159, in fact — while about half as many (84) voted for it. And if Democrats have their way, the Confederate flag will be a campaign issue in the fall.

It’s no coincidence this comes after a racially motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C., nearly a year ago that killed nine black church members and spurred a shift in how Americans — and especially Southern Republican politicians — view the flag’s meaning. While acknowledging its symbolism of the South’s heritage, for the first time many prominent Republicans also acknowledged its ties to racism.

“That flag, while an integral part of our past, does not represent the future of our great state,” said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), who led the charge.


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Alabama Chief Justice Suspended

The 10 Commandments Judge is at it again! Now, he says he rejects same sex marriage as legal. Since that is already decided Federal Law, in the Supreme Court…

Judge is out of work. It is being decided whether that will be permanent and he will be dismissed from the Alabama Supreme Court entirely.

Alabama Chief Justice Moore suspended for rejecting legalization of same-sex marriage

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended on Friday for defying the legalization of marriage equality, reported.

Moore was suspended after the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission filed ethics charges against him. Moore will now be tried by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, and could be removed from the bench if found guilty.

The commission’s move was spurred by complaints by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which released a statement saying Moore had “disgraced” his position.

“He’s such a religious zealot, such an egomaniac that he thinks he doesn’t have to follow federal court rulings he disagrees with,” said the group’s president, Richard Cohen. “For the good of the state, he should be kicked out of office.”

Moore, who stated last year he would “not be bound” by the Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriages because they change the “organic law” of God, was dismissive of the accusations against him.

“The Judicial Inquiry Commission has no authority over the administrative orders of the chief justice of Alabama or the legal injunctions of the Alabama Supreme Court prohibiting probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses,” he said. “The Judicial Inquiry Commission has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations that support their agenda.”

The SPLC’s accusations, in part, concerned Moore’s February 2015 order instructing state probate judges not to follow the high court’s decision, as well as what it described as an undermining of public confidence in his office by doing so.

Moore also faced possible removal from his office in 2003, following his move to install a Ten Commandments monument inside the in the state judicial building. He later refused to follow a federal court order to remove it.


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DOJ Says NC Religious Freedom (Bathroom Law) Is Unconstiutional

DOJ has rejected the North Carolina anti-LGBT Law, and given the State 2 days to comply.

If the State does not comply, the Federal Government may immediately begin cutting off Federal funding, the first stage of which would be to cut off the $4.5 billion North Carolina gets in Educational money from the Federal Government. Besides that, the state would lose billions in Transportation funding, as well as funding from  Labor, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services.

Lastly Military spending:

  1. Nearly 110,000 active duty military personnel were assigned to units in North Carolina as of March 31, 2013
  2. Department of Defense contracting in FY 2012 totaled $3.4 billion
  3. The military supports 540,000 jobs in North Carolina, $30 billion in state personal income, and $48 billion in gross state product.
  4. 340,000 of military-supported jobs occur in the private sector.

This shidt is getting ready to hurt!

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory speaks at the Governor's Mansion in Raleigh last month. 

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory

North Carolina LGBT law violates the Civil Rights Act, feds say

North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2 breaks civil rights laws banning workplace discrimination based on sex, U.S. Justice Department officials said Wednesday.

The feds alerted Gov. Pat McCrory he has until Monday to address the violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2,” according to a letter obtained by The Charlotte Observer. DOJ officials said HB 2 is illegal under both the law’s workplace discrimination statutes and Title IX, which forbids discrimination in education based on gender.

The state law voided a Charlotte municipal ordinance allowing transgender people to use the restroom of the gender they identify with and prohibited other cities and counties from passing their own anti-discrimination statutes. HB 2 also restricts transgender people to the public bathrooms of the gender on their birth certificates. Protests by activists and businesses followed passage of the bill in March.

“The State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both you, in your official capacity, and the State are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance,” toward their civil rights, said the letter from DOJ Civil Rights Division principal deputy attorney general Vanita Gupta. The finding places hundreds of millions of dollars in federal education funds in jeopardy.



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Calling Out Stolen Valor

Good friend on mine in my early 20’s was a guy who was a Captain in some branch of the Military Police. He was usually in plain clothes when I saw him, and wouldn’t talk about what he actually did, but carried a real Government ID as verified by Military Guards on entry onto one of the local bases for lunch  at the Officer’s Club at one of the local bases. We were hitting the local clubs one night in a busy part of downtown trying to hit on the local “wildlife”, when he spotted a guy in Military Uniform walking down the street. I have never been in the Military, but knew enough about insignia’s to tell that the guy in question was part of the Old Guard, a spit and polish group who represent the Military at funerals and other honors at Arlington Cemetery. My friend shows his ID, calls the guy to attention, and proceeded to rip him a new one on the status of his uniform.

To an outsider it looks like BS, and my friends explanation of his actions really didn’t click in my mind until about year later when I did some work as a contractor at Fort Meyer, where the soldiers of the Old Guard are stationed, and a Cameron Station, a now defunct base nearby. The Old Guard represents the highest level of respect for the Military, and “spit and polish” in terms of presentation. On base, or off base, as long as they are in uniform – it has to be right.

This video hat popped up on YouTube brought me back to that. This young boy, running around in a uniform 3 sizes too large, missing most of the patches and other details trying to fool folks into believing he is a Major…

There is a YouTube channel devoted expressly to exposure of the folks who feel the need to impersonate members of the Military, and even to claim they have “won” various medals for Valor or Service. It is amazing.



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