‘Just-Us’ System

Kavanaugh’s Confirmation Isn’t Democracy. It’s A Judicial Coup

  By Richard Wolffe The Guardian (10/6/18) Brett Kavanaugh is the symptom, not the cause, of our sickness. He is the nasal congestion snorted out by the politics that have plagued us for the best part of three decades. If we’re ever going to recover our health and sanity, we need to start with the correct diagnosis. For all the justified outrage about sexual assault, involving allegations that Kavanaugh denied, the new supreme court justice represents an even bigger lie than his mindless fabrications about “ralphing” and “boofing”. He can blame his weak stomach if he likes; the rest of us are…

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Brett Kavanaugh Teaches America How To Be A Real Dude

All-American Role Model… ***** Saturday Night Live: Kavanaugh Hearing Cold Open “Now usually I am an optimist. I’m a keg-is-half-full kinda’ guy.”   Saturday Night Live (9/29/18) Judge Brett Kavanaugh (Matt Damon) takes questions from Senators Chuck Grassley (Alex Moffat), Dianne Feinstein (Cecily Strong), Amy Klobuchar (Rachel Dratch), Thom Tillis (Mikey Day), Cory Booker (Chris Redd), John Kennedy (Kyle Mooney), Sheldon Whitehouse (Pete Davidson), Lindsey Graham (Kate McKinnon) and prosecutor Rachel Mitchell (Aidy Bryant). Link to 13-Minute Video


What To Do When ― Not If ― Roe Vanishes

  (Editor’s Note: And be clear, choice isn’t the only target. Once Roe has been smothered the ‘Christian’ right will begin pushing to get rid of contraceptives. That will impact every woman of child-bearing age. — Mark L. Taylor) By Robin Marty The HuffPost (6/27/18) Like many reproductive rights activists, I was horrified ― but sadly, not terribly surprised ― by the news that “moderate” swing vote Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring from the Supreme Court. Though he was often unreliable, Kennedy was the one slim ray of hope for a continuing federal right to a legal abortion now that…


Truly Orwellian: Abusive Secret Federal Prisons You’ve Never Heard Of Before Are Designed To Silence Political Dissent

  Environmental activists included in the count. TED Talk (11/9/15) Investigative journalist Will Potter is the only reporter who has been inside a Communications Management Unit, or CMU, within a US prison. These units were opened secretly, and radically alter how prisoners are treated — even preventing them from hugging their children. Potter, a TED Fellow, shows us who is imprisoned here, and how the government is trying to keep them hidden. “The message was clear,” he says. “Don’t talk about this place.” Link to 15-Minute Video (Commoner Call photo by Mark L. taylor, 2018. Open source and free for…


Secret FBI Program Now Jailing Activists For Speaking Out Against Police Brutality On Facebook

  By Jay Syrmopoulos Activist Post (5/11/18) Dallas, TX – When militarized FBI agents clad in tactical gear raided the home of Rakem Balogun in December 2017—forcing him and his 15-year-old son outside in their underwear on the cold and windy night as agents ransacked his residence—he thought it had to be a mistake. In an exclusive report by The Guardian, Balogun explains that he was stunned to later learn that he was under investigation for “domestic terrorism” and had been under law enforcement surveillance for years. Incredibly, Balogun’s arrest and the FBI raid on his home were partially due to a simple, and constitutionally protected,…


If You Want To Kill Dangerous Drug Dealers, Start With Big Pharma

By Domenica Ghanem OtherWords (4/4/18) At a recent rally in New Hampshire, Donald Trump called for the death penalty for drug traffickers as part of a plan to combat the opioid epidemic in the United States. At a Pennsylvania rally a few weeks earlier, he called for the same. Now his administration is taking steps toward making this proposal a reality. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on March 21 asking prosecutors to pursue capital punishment for drug traffickers — a power he has thanks to legislation passed under President Bill Clinton. Time and again, these punitive policies have proven ineffective…


Baltimore Cops Kept Toy Guns To Plant Just In Case They Shot An Unarmed Person

  By Michael Harriot The Root (1/30/18) In April 2016, a 13-year-old boy was shot by officers of the Baltimore Police Department. The boy ran when faced with the police, so they gave chase. During the chase, the police spotted the boy holding a gun, and when he turned, they shot the teenager. The youngster wasn’t critically injured, and it seemed like an open-and-shut case of a justifiable use of force. Now people are wondering. The Baltimore Police Department is currently in court over one of the biggest scandals in the history of American law enforcement. The corruption case is replete…


Ssssh! Jeff Sessions’ Dept. Of Justice Charged A White Supremacist With Terrorism … And Kept It Quiet

  (Editor’s Note: Just imagine how Trump, Jeff Sessions and the Rethuglicans — and the mainstream media — would have handled this if this right wing wack-job had been a member of Black Lives Matter or a Muslm. – Mark L. Taylor) By Ryan J. Reilly The HuffPost (1/8/18) WASHINGTON ― Usually, when the FBI arrests a terrorist and the Justice Department charges them, it’s a big deal. Combatting terrorism is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities, and terror cases are a great way for federal prosecutors and agents to make names and build careers. The press and the…


The Most Important Privacy Case To Come Before The Supreme Court In A Generation

  By Trevor Timm The Guardian (11/30/17) If you care about privacy, whether it’s online or on your smartphone, the coming weeks will define the scope of privacy rights for Americans for the next decade or more. Two issues – whether the police can track on our cellphone location 24/7 without a warrant, and the potential to curtail some of the NSA’s most controversial powers to spying on Americans – will be decided by Congress and the US supreme court, and it’s hard to overstate their significance. On Wednesday, the US supreme court heard a landmark cellphone privacy case called United…


Trump May Be A Bumbling Fool In Most Ways But He Is Radically Distorting The Federal Judiciary

  By Tom Ashbrook On Point (11/15/17) President Trump is remaking the federal bench. Naming judges in record numbers. Some called unqualified. We dive in. The U.S. Supreme Court hears the tip-top cases, but federal appeals courts rule on many more. Thousands. They shape American life. And at that tier of the federal judiciary, President Donald Trump is pushing through appointees at a rate not seen in half a century. Deeply conservative, quite young appointees with lifetime appointments as judges. Some with deeply disputed qualifications. It may be his deepest stamp. This hour, On Point: The fast, deep Trump stamp…


Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III Gives An Appropriate Salute To His “Just-Us” Department

(U.S. ‘Just-Us’ Dept. Photo.) By Aaro Rupar ThinkProgress (11/9/17) On Wednesday, the Justice Department shared photos of Attorney General Jeff Sessions welcoming new U.S. Attorneys in a tweet that was regrettable for reasons that go beyond Sessions’ arm angle. Of the 27 people visible in the photos, just one is a woman. [And only one African American. – Ed.] The gender disparity in the photos isn’t a fluke — it reflects how few women Trump has nominated to serve as the country’s top federal prosectors. In mid-September, CNN reported that just one of the 42 U.S. attorneys Trump had nominated to that…


The Only One Punished Since Eric Garner’s Killing Is The Citizen-Journalist Who Recorded It

Ramsey Orta Can’t Breathe By Josmar Trujillo Fair & Accuracy in Reporting (11/8/17)   When we went to a New York state prison to visit Ramsey Orta, the young man who filmed a police officer choking Eric Garner to death on a Staten Island sidewalk in 2014, we didn’t even make it past the metal detectors. Last year, members of El Grito de Sunset Park, an NYC-based group that organizes patrols to film cops on the street, as Ramsey did, drove with me a few hours north to Fishkill prison, where Ramsey was being held. We called ahead to confirm…


Discrimination Is The Big Winner In The Justice Department’s New Religious Guidelines

  By Heather L. Weaver ACLU (10/6/17) The Department of Justice today [10/6] issued religious-liberty guidelines for all federal agencies, and anyone who values equality for all and the separation of church and state should be deeply disturbed by the message the guidelines send. Purporting to interpret religious-liberty protections in federal law, the guidance — a 25-page memo sent to all executive branch departments — doubles down on a distorted understanding of religious freedom. Not only does it allow discrimination in the name of religion, it also treats the separation of church and state as a mere afterthought. One of the most…


Face Of The State: D.C. Cops Used Jailhouse ‘Rape As Punishment’ After Inauguration Day Mass Arrests, ACLU Lawsuit Says

By Andy Pyke ThinkProgress (6/22/17) When black-clad marchers began smashing windows in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day, the city’s police force — reputedly the best in the country at upholding protesters’ rights during disruptive demonstrations — went nuclear. Officers quickly deployed pepper spray, tear gas, and crowd-control grenades of various types. The Metropolitan Police Department opted to “kettle” everyone on the streets nearby the initial anarchist-driven property destruction, something it does not, by reputation, make a habit of doing during protests. The mass round-up swept the “Antifa” rowdy types together with many peaceful protesters, journalists, and volunteer legal observers who turn out in bright…


A May Day Call: When Corporations Don’t Take Precautions To Avert Workplace Deaths Executives Must Go To Prison

  By Leo Gerard, President of United Steel Workers AlterNet (4/24/17) Every 12 days, a member of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), or one of their non-union co-workers, is killed on the job. Every 12 days. And it’s been that way for years. These are horrible deaths. Workers are crushed by massive machinery. They drown in vats of chemicals. They’re poisoned by toxic gas, burned by molten metal. The company pays a meaningless fine. Nothing changes. And another worker is killed 11 days later. Of course, it’s not just members of the USW. Nationally, at all workplaces, one employee…


Bought & Paid For: Wisconsin State Supreme Court Legalizes Bribery Of The Courts

By Dennis Brault The Commoner Call (4/24/17) Yes, indeed, the Wisconsin Supreme Court just ruled that your First Amendment right to free speech would be impinged if you couldn’t bribe …err… support with cash, Wisconsin judges. This should come as no surprise, as our state supreme court is the most expensively purchased court in state history. They are, like so many politicians, nothing more than employees of the far right wing Ayn Randian corporate groups funding their campaigns. The free speech, which isn’t free if it costs money, argument can be fixed by amending the United State Constitution to state…