Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DNC Launches Broad Legal Attack On RNC Over Trump's 'Voter Fraud' Crusade

The Democratic National Committee has moved to enforce an order entered 35 years ago when the Republican National Committee created a so-called Ballot Security Task Force - which appeared first in Newark, NJ in the gubernatorial election. Prof. Rick Hasen recently drew attention to a longstanding consent order that restrains the RNC

The conservative Public Interest Legal Foundation recently issued a report titled `Alien Invasion in Virginia’.  But their investigation revealed only that “31 non-citizens had cast a total of 186 votes between 2005 and 2015”.  Recently Donald Trump has been urging his supporters to go to other polling places and watch out for fraud.  Whether organized or spontaneous such actions are dangerous to democracy.  We have an adequate system of bi-partisan poll watchers.

It has long been an article of faith for some that the Democratic Party engages in systematic surreptitious voter fraud.  "Vote early and often", "voting from the graveyard", "late reporting Chicago districts"  are old memes which may have had, at some point, a basis in fact.  The only truly systematic vote rigging was, of course, in the south where Black people were in fact denied the vote until the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Twenty-fourth amendment to the Constitution barring poll taxes effectively established voting rights for all citizens.

The voter fraud theme has often been a rallying cry for Republicans . It is the groundless basis for the many state voter ID laws making it harder for poor and minority citizens to vote.  Thirty five years ago during our gubernatorial election the Republican National Committee developed voter challenge lists and  organized a "National Ballot Security Task Force".  In Newark local firebrand Anthony Imperiale recruited off duty sheriff’ and police officers who wore identifying arm bands as they patrolled heavily minority voting places, where they had placed posters warning against voting fraud.
The Democratic National Committee filed suit against the Republican National Committee.  The late Federal District Judge Dickinson Debevoise issued a nationwide "consent decree" barring voter intimidation.  He retained jurisdiction and handled subsequent proceedings, modifying the order.  The  Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order and its continuing validity in 2010. In today’s bitter election atmosphere Donald Trump's repeated calls to his supporters to be on the lookout for voter fraud presents a risk far greater than did the RNC’s 1981 efforts.

DNC Launches Broad Legal Attack On RNC Over Trump's 'Voter Fraud' Crusade// Talking Points Memo


In a dramatic escalation of a long legal battle between the national Democratic and Republican parties – and in what is arguably a fitting culmination to the year of Donald Trump – the Democratic National Committee is asking a federal court to hold the Republican National Committee in contempt of court for allegedly violating a decades-old consent decree limiting so-called "ballot security" activities at poll places.

The Democrats' filing Wednesday, among other things, ask that the consent decree -- which is set to expire Dec. 17 -- be extended for another eight years. The DNC is also asking the court to block any coordination between Trump and the RNC as it relates to Election Day poll monitoring activities that many fear will amount to voter intimidation.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Slandering Heroes - China's Supreme People's Court Cites Precedents

Image result for lei feng
Reputation and rights of personhood get a lot of attention in China.  Heresy and blasphemy could land you at the stake during the Spanish Inquisition. Since   no gods are recognized in China today heroes stand in their stead.  But mockery of heroes has consequences. 

One so revered is Lei Feng -  a young do-gooder soldier in the People's Liberation Army who died in 1962.  Lei has become a mythic character,.  His generosity and diligence on behalf of others is held up as a model for all but especially for youth.  `Live like Lei Feng' is a message all Chinese Children learn.  Lei Feng Day is celebrated every year.  And everyone knows the catchy `live like Lei Feng' song. VIDEO
Five Heroes On Langya Mountain
Five Heroes of Mt. Langya
Image result for lei feng
Lei Feng
The indispensable Susan Finder has drawn my attention to a series of civil cases (see China Law Translate)- recently highlighted for didactic purposes by the Supreme Peoples Court.  It is captioned  "人民法院依法保护 狼牙山五壮士”等英雄人物人格权益典型案例   The People's Court, according to law protects  the Five Heroes of Mount Langya, etc. - Established cases involving  heroic persons' reputational rights and interests."  The cases illustrate the civil consequences of defaming persons of high reputation. 

But the consequences may be more than civil liability.  Beijing attorney Pu Zhiqiang since the Tian An Men 1989 protests has defended dissenters and provoked controversy on "sensitive" matters.  He was charged and convicted last year of "picking quarrels" via his posts on WeiBo - a public internet platform like Google + widely used in China. But according to China Real Time Report the charges included Pu's arrest for maligning the revered Lei Feng. 

Below is a rough "crowd-sourced"  translation of Pu's provocative post .
2、2013.6.8日12:03:17,账号9  “六十年来最大谎言之一是雷锋,他骗了我二十年!他主动迎合推手,日记都集体创作。每月七八块津贴能成百块捐,若非腐败便是只能是编,那年月饿死三千多万人,我六五年的人只照过一次相,他半夜不睡装逼闹鬼,躺被窝打手电学毛选,都有人照相!身后有数千张照片!北京公安真抓推手,去抓雷锋的推手吧。”
2) June 8, 2013: One of the biggest lies of the last 60 years is Lei Feng. He hoodwinked me for two decades, actively pandering to his promoters, his diaries a collective creation. A monthly allowance of seven or eight yuan and he’s making 100-yuan donations – either that’s fiction or there’s corruption involved. Back then 30 million died from starvation, people my age might have taken a single photograph, and yet when he’s up late at night studying Mao with a flashlight, there are people taking pictures! He left thousands of photos behind! Beijing police, if you want to arrest hidden forces, go arrest the hidden forces behind Lei Feng.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

RNC Warns Against Poll Watching, Citing Decades-Old Court Decree

RNC Warns Against Poll Watching, Citing Decades-Old Court Decree
Fearful that a decades-old court order blocking the Republican Party from engaging in certain Election Day activities could be extended for many more years, the RNC is warning its members not to engage in poll watching or any other so-called "ballot security" measures.
The RNC's concerns are heightened because of the vigilante poll watching GOP nominee Donald Trump has been calling for from the stump.
A lawyer for the Republican National Committee sent a letter on the issue Wednesday to RNC members, the Wall Street Journal reported. The letter cites a 1982 consent decree the RNC agreed to after Democrats sued it for activities at polling places that they said were aimed at suppressing the minority vote.
The letter, sent to members from RNC general counsel John Ryder, said that he wanted “remind you of the restrictions placed on the RNC by the consent decree,” according to the Wall Street Journal.

Donald Trump Is on a Presidential Death March We’ve Never Seen Before

"When a man whose entire candidacy and public standing is predicated on the myth that he is a winner has to face in every single moment a reminder that he is going to face one of the biggest, most humiliating losses in presidential history on the biggest stage imaginable, you better believe he will lash out. We cannot predict exactly the manner it will play out, but we have seen the embers already and they are ugly."

Donald Trump Is on a Presidential Death March We’ve Never Seen Before

by Tim Miller (former communications director for Jeb Bush)

Donald Trump is going to lose this election. His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is going to lose this election. Even if they would never admit it, they know Donald Trump will never be president. Trump and Conway are on the political death march. (This, to be clear for the Trump fans, is a political metaphor, not an actual death wish.)
This is the part of a losing campaign that exposes the true character of all those involved. So it should come as no shock that Donald Trump and his staff are failing this test in the most shameful and divisive manner imaginable.
Trump knows he’s on a death march, which is why he has reverted to his purest id over the past few days. Belittling women whom he is alleged to have sexually assaulted, concocting racist conspiracy theories about the global elites and minority communities rigging the election, and profferingbombastic lies about his opponent that he knows cable news can’t help but cover.
The death march is why Conway has begun to resurrect a time-honored practice: duplicitous political operatives throwing their boss under the bus to try to save face. In an attempt to preserve a lucrative fee on the public speaking circuit after the campaign, Conway has sent a series of tweets over the past week trying to position herself as both in on the joke with Saturday Night Live and the conscience on Trump’s shoulder trying to get him to behave. As a fellow anti-Trump conservative pointed out, Conway is officially playing the role of “punch clock villain.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Strongman in Waiting // Josh Marshall // TPM

Strongman in Waiting
by Josh Marshall //Talking Points Memo

...More important however were the statements Clinton and Chris Wallace provoked. The biggest one of course was his repeated refusal to accept the result of a democratic election. When Wallace first asked he said: "I will look at it at the time." When Wallace pressed him again he said: "I'll keep you in suspense, okay."
That kind of 'suspense" is precisely what makes democratic polities collapse. Vicious cycles of civic violence and violation of democratic norms have the pernicious of distorting and transforming the behavior of those who actually do believe in democratic institutions. They create a setting in which it becomes rational to take steps that undermine them further. If you really don't know if your opponent will accept the result of the election, you start taking steps to guard against what happens if he doesn't. You take steps to protect yourself, your political future, maybe your safety and property. This is the death spiral of democracies.
It is hard to weigh in the balance Trump's violations of our democratic order but this was a considerably greater violation than the pledge to jail Clinton if he becomes president, though that was as former Attorney General Michael Mukasey accurately put it, "a watershed." Yet they are both parts of the same civic cancer: politics through raw power and violence, as opposed to a combat of political forces, often unruly, mediated by the rule of law and respect for democratic institutions. The universal acceptance of those core rules allows everything that is vital in politics take to place. It's really that bad.

Local TX GOP Recruits Poll Watchers With Claim Of 'Voter Fraud' In Dem Areas

Local TX GOP Recruits Poll Watchers With Claim Of 'Voter Fraud' In Dem Areas


The local Republican Party in Tarrant County, Texas – which includes Fort Worth and is state's third most populous county – is being accused of egging on discriminatory voting practices with an email it sent calling for "poll watchers" for "Democrat-controlled polling locations." The email said the GOP wants workers "to make sure OUR VOTER ID LAW IS FOLLOWED," without noting that the Texas voter ID law was recently softened after an appeals court ruled it had racially discriminatory effects.

A voting rights advocacy group has sent a letter of complaint about the email to the Department of Justice.

The email from the Tarrant County Republican Party was titled
INSIDE***ALERT**" according to the complaint letter, and said that the party is "looking for Poll Watchers for Early Voting location sites and Election Day polling locations."

"We especially need poll watchers in Democrat-controlled polling locations. Voter ID is still required in Texas," the email, which is also available online, said. "We want to make sure OUR VOTER ID LAW IS FOLLOWED."

Donald Trump May Be Violating RNC Consent Decree Aimed at Voter Intimidation | Election Law Blog

If I were at the DNC I would move broaden the order to deter those who might follow Trmp's huffing and puffing about preventing voter fraud - a non-existent problem. - gwc
Donald Trump May Be Violating RNC Consent Decree Aimed at Voter Intimidation | Election Law Blog
by Prof. Rick Hasen (UC Irvine)

With Trump’s dangerous and irresponsible hyperventilating about voter fraud and cheating in Pennsylvania potentially costing him the election, it is probably no surprise, as reported by theWeekly Standard, that Trump is seeking “election observers” to stop “Crooked Hillary” from “rigging this election.”
However, there’s a longstanding consent decree that bars the RNC afrom engaging in such activities.  Here’s Tal Kopan and Josh Gerstein, reporting in 2013 on the RNC’s unsuccessful attempt to get the Supreme Court to lift the decree:
The Supreme Court on Monday declined the Republican National Committee’s request to lift a three-decade-old court order that limits the national GOP’s ability to challenge voters’ eligibility at the polls.
The case, Republican National Committee vs. Democratic National Committee, dealt with a consent decree issued in 1982 that prevents the RNC from engaging in some voter fraud prevention efforts without prior court consent. It specifically said the RNC could not engage in ballot security efforts (later defined in 1987 as “ballot integrity, ballot security or other efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud,” according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit opinion), especially in areas where racial or ethnic makeup could be considered a reason for the activities.
A response to claims of voter intimidation in minority areas in the 1970s and early 1980s, the decree allowed the RNC to continue “normal poll watching” operations while barring activities that could be aimed at voter suppression, though the RNC complained to the courts that the distinction was unclear and difficult to follow. The decree effectively put the national party on the sidelines as concern about voter fraud became more and more pronounced in GOP ranks in recent years and as states passed a series of voter-identification measures.
In deciding the case, which stems from a 2008 lawsuit brought by the DNC, the district court clarified ballot security efforts as “any program aimed at combating voter fraud by preventing potential voters from registering to vote or casting a ballot,” and upheld the consent decree while adding a Dec. 1, 2017, expiration date.
In the consent decree, “The RNC agreed that the RNC, its agents, servants, and employees would be bound by the Decree, ‘whether acting directly or indirectly through other party committees.” Does Trump count as the RNC’s agent in these circumstances?  They are certainly acting in concert, and it is plausible to argue that Trump and the RNC are agents of each other for purposes of this election. Also, the activity Trump is talking about engaging violate the consent decree?  One thing the consent decree says is that they must:
(e) refrain from undertaking any ballot security activities in polling places or election districts where the racial or ethnic composition of such districts is a factor in the decision to conduct, or the actual conduct of, such activities there and where a purpose or significant effect of such activities is to deter qualified voters from voting; and the conduct of such activities disproportionately in or directed toward districts that have a substantial proportion of racial or ethnic populations shall be considered relevant evidence of the existence of such a factor and purpose…

Litigation Funders Planning a New Role: Law Firm Ownership |

Litigation Funders Planning a New Role: Law Firm Ownership |

by Roy Strom

Finance has a long history of creative expansion. Financing lawsuits is proving to be no exception.
Since litigation finance hit the scene just a couple decades ago, the business has evolved from investing in single lawsuits to groups of claims to purchasing judgments at bankruptcy auctions, as Chicago-based Gerchen Keller Capital did earlier this year.
Now, some litigation finance firms are preparing for an even bigger change to their business model: Injecting cash directly into law firms in the form of an equity stake that isn’t tied to any specific case. Litigation funders Burford Capital and Woodsford Litigation Funding told they intend to invest in U.K.-based firms that are allowed to have nonlawyer owners, something that remains against professional ethics in the United States.
“We’re open to that and excited about that,” Burford’s chief investment officer, Jonathan Molot, said regarding investing in firms known in the U.K. as “alternative business structures.”
Not everyone agrees.
There is a segment of the lawsuit finance industry that believes taking ownership in law firms could put litigation funders at odds with the lawyers they seek to work with. Others argue that better-capitalized law firms may cannibalize the need for more traditional funding of individual or groups of lawsuits before the industry matures. And equity investments in law firms would require a change from the “underwriting” method litigation funders currently use to analyze the likely results of potential cases.
“I don’t think you’ll have nonlawyers just handing money to law firm management and saying, ‘We trust you,’ ” said a litigation funding executive who declined to be named.
The discussion comes on the heels of Burford’s announcement this month that it had formed its own law firm under the U.K.’salternative business structures (ABS) law. The firm, Molot said, is limited to a lawyer who will track down funds from litigants who try to dodge judgments that Burford’s investments have helped to win. Burford hired Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld counsel Tom Evans for the role, which it says represents “in-sourcing” an aspect of legal work that neither Burford nor the firms it funds typically specialize in.
Burford does not plan to hire lawyers to conduct its own case work, Molot said. The funder is wary to be seen as competing for legal work that it currently pays large law firms to handle, for fear of upsetting its relationships with those firms. Litigation funders typically rely on law firms to find many of the cases they ultimately invest in.
“That would never be our plan,” Molot said of creating a full-fledged ABS law firm.
For now, these concerns don’t affect law firms in the United States, where the American Bar Association still restricts nonlawyer ownership. The ABA asked for comments on potential rule changes in April, and Burford’s CEO, Christopher Bogart,responded in favor of expanding law firm ownership to nonlawyers. A change is not widely anticipated, and the ABA declined to expand ownership rules the last time it reviewed the subject, in 2011.
But there are plenty of U.S.-based litigation funders that do business in the U.K., and those financiers may see the opening of the country’s financial markets as an opportunity.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Can adjunct unions find a place in Catholic higher ed? - National Catholic Reporter

Can adjunct unions find a place in Catholic higher ed? - National Catholic Reporter: As contingent faculty piece together uncertain careers, some of their organizing efforts have met with success, while other schools resist on religious liberty grounds.

Oldest parish created by African-Americans celebrates 175 years - National Catholic Reporter

Oldest parish created by African-Americans celebrates 175 years - National Catholic Reporter: The Field Hospital: St. Augustine Church, a small church in New Orleans' Tremé neighborhood, hits its milestone Oct. 2.

One-issue obsession imperils credibility | National Catholic Reporter

Wrong again...U.S. Catholic bishops go for GOP even with Trump at the top. - gwc
Editorial: One-issue obsession imperils credibility | National Catholic Reporter

A rationale is being pushed by some bishops and priests, if diocesan papers, email traffic and other social media are any indication, to persuade Catholics to vote for the Republican presidential ticket.
It is never said so bluntly -- there are matters of church-and-state separation and nonprofit status to consider -- but the message is as clear as it has been for the past two or three decades. Abortion outweighs all other issues -- including immigration, poverty and care for the environment -- and when it comes to Roe v.Wade, Republicans talk the right talk. So for Catholics, the choice -- officially, at least -- is predetermined.
Things got a bit more complicated with release of the video footage in which Republican candidate Donald Trump gleefully describes in the crudest of terms how he forces himself on women. However, should bishops concede that the party's current offering does not fit in their moral compass, there is yet a final thread some will attempt to hang from, expressed in the headline: "In choosing presidents, we choose judges, too." That's the banner over a column by Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kan., in his newspaper, The Leaven.
What he says is true: Presidents appoint judges, most important of which are Supreme Court justices. Given the age of half of the current justices as well as recent congressional intransigence, it is almost certain that the next president will select at least one justice and probably will be called upon to nominate even more.
The concern -- Naumann is not alone in expressing it, he's just one of the more straightforward -- is that a Democrat selecting justices will spell doom for the few issues that seem to hold the tightest grip on those clerics who reduce politics to a narrow cultural litmus test and think the Supreme Court holds the solution.
Joy-of-the-Family-Guide.jpgExplore Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation on the family.Download our free study guide.

He and others should be careful what they wish for...

Covering the Panthers ~ NY Times

Fascination and Fear: Covering the Black Panthers

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Don’t Let Trump’s Toxic Masculinity Overshadow Hillary’s Historic Achievement | New Republic

Don’t Let Trump’s Toxic Masculinity Overshadow Hillary’s Historic Achievement | New Republic


There’s no sadder commentary about gender politics in America today than the fact that the likely election of the first female president has become a horrific display of toxic masculinity. Hillary Clinton is on the verge of shattering the biggest glass ceiling in American politics, yet her rival has made the race all about male privilege and excess. This is not an accident. It’s a product of political choices made not just by Donald Trump, but by the Republican Party that has made him its standard-bearer.

 Clinton’s challenge of the gender hierarchy in U.S. politics comes in the wake of President Barack Obama’s upending of its racial hierarchy. In Trump, the GOP is providing an answer to both Clinton and Obama in the form of a politician who is not just a white man, but an unabashed white man: a birther who boasts about grabbing women’s genitalia without consent. By making Trump the face of the party, the Republicans are saying, “Our answer to the diversity of the Democratic Party is a white man who knows how to keep women and racial minorities in their place.”

Why Republican voters are so apocalytpic - and angry

A few years ago the two sober fixtures of the Washington, D.C political scene, political scientists Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann wrote a book titled "It's even worse than it looks".  They demonstrated how the GOP had become a far right obstructionist party with no real interest in governing.  But even they probably underestimated how far off the rails the Republican Party would go.  And how far alienated  from their base the formal leaders would become, as clever histrionics like Rush Limbaugh's talk radio became the online truthiness hyperbole of Breitbart.  Now Steve Bannon - CEO of Breitbart runs the Trump campaign.

Illustrating the hyperbole is this recent post by a first cousin of mine:
I am still a registered Republican and of course I am voting for President Donald J. Trump. I voted for DJ Trump in the New York Primary. Of course the Conk Family, I love them very much but they are still in the same old rut(lemming)... They are blind to the facts that obama is destroying our nation. In this election we have to choose between a capitalistic- Constitutional(Trump)Party or a Socialist-Nazi(Hillary)Party, where all our freedoms are worn away and no jobs(no middle class). If she can't change the Constitution legally, she will change it by executive fiat.
What could he possibly be talking about?  Is there any policy adjustment on the left that could put a chink in the armor of someone with such an elaborate and groundless view of things?  How did this happen?

Josh Marshall, noting that the Republican Party has not won a majority in the past 30 years - except in the George W. Bush years explains on Talking Points Memo that
as the GOP electoral base has shrunk it has required increasingly apocalyptic arguments and more extravagant promises to activate that base to a sufficient intensity to win elections. But that comes at the cost of slowly degrading their own credibility by painting an escalating cast of horrors and dangers they're never able to solve and in most cases do not even logically address. Most of these promises are simply unrealizable - thus the focus on blocking things rather than pushing an agenda that can sustain popular support. That in turn is I think the root of the now almost total disconnect between GOP elites (the 'establishment') and the bulk of Republicans voters. Trumpers say they've been lied to by their leaders. And in a very real sense they have been.
One consequence is that conventional conservatives like Paul Ryan have already moved so far to the right that they are defenseless.  They cannot - or have not - escaped from the barrel that has now gone over the edge of the falls.  And, of course, the horrifying thing is that, proving the left's attacks on the new right as racist, Trump packs arenas with angry white voters.  There he indulges often extemporaneous flights of conspiracy mongering, and scarcely coded racist diatribes.  Below movement  NeoCon- and now Hillary backer Robert Kagan sets out his view of the GOP establishment's moral failures.


Why we shouldn’t forgive the Republicans who sold their souls - The Washington Post
by Robert Kagan
Of the remarkable things we have learned this election year, the most significant is that the current Republican Party is unfit to lead the country. It has failed the greatest test a political leader or party can face, and failed spectacularly. It has abandoned its principles out of a combination of cowardice and opportunism. It has worked to place in the White House the most dangerous threat to U.S. democracy since the Civil War. ...
These are the people we’re supposed to put in charge of the House and Senate for another two years? Whom we’re then supposed to rally behind in the battle for the White House in 2020? No. Not this group. We know too much. We know all we need to know.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

PrawfsBlawg: Academic Freedom in NYU-Shanghai versus NYU-NYC

PrawfsBlawg: Academic Freedom in NYU-Shanghai versus NYU-NYC
by Rick Hills
Last week, the GAO issued a report on academic freedom at campuses operated by American universities in China. The report has special interest for me, because I spend my Fall terms teaching undergraduate students at one such university (New York University-Shanghai), and I had been interviewed for the GAO report.

The GAO’s conclusions are consistent with my own experience teaching here at NYU-SH: NYU’s campus here in China fosters freedom of speech and thought just as effectively as the campus in Washington Square. My class on constitutional law provides a typical illustration. The course studies the U.S. Constitution with the goal of assessing whether and to what extent its text, precedents, and basic concepts (freedom of speech, separation of powers and judicial review, federalism) are relevant to China. Toward that end, the class is divided into two teams – the “Left Party” (左派)and the “Western Liberal Party” (西自由派) who are charged with trying to persuade or dissuade the chair of Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China (Zhongyang Zhengfawei, 中央政法委) to adopt an American constitutional practice. The two teams debated last week whether Article 105 of the Chinese Criminal Code prohibiting “subversion of state power” should be construed narrowly to exclude prosecutions of Chinese human rights lawyers. Thanks to NYU-Shanghai’s outstanding VPN, they had the same access to newspaper accounts of these arrests, detentions, and coerced confessions. The ensuing debate was no-holds-barred, with impassioned denunciations of censorship and prosecution vying with Leninist calls for protection of stability against “western outsiders.”

Friday, October 14, 2016

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Trump Warns Of Dark Conspiracy By Clinton, Media, And International Banks

Trump Warns Of Dark Conspiracy By Clinton, Media, And International Banks
...“The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure,” Trump continued. “We have seen this in the WikiLeaks documents in which Hillary Clinton meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty in order to enrich these global financial powers, her special interest friends, and her donors."
The crowd chanted “Lock her up!” in response. Trump said "she should be locked up.”
Trump called the media reporting on his personal life “horrible people.”

Greenhouse: GOP celebrates legislating from the bench

Let’s Legislate From the Supreme Court Bench

Jack Greenberg, Civil Rights Champion, Dies at 91 - The New York Times

Mr. Greenberg, second from left, in 1952 during the second trial of Walter Lee Irvin, third from left, who had been sentenced to death in a rape case. Thurgood Marshall is at the far right. CreditBettmann
Jack Greenberg, Civil Rights Champion, Dies at 91 - The New York Times

Jack Greenberg, a lawyer who became one of the nation’s most effective champions of the civil rights struggle, leading the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. for 23 years and using the law as a weapon in its fight for racial justice before the United States Supreme Court, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 91.

Mr. Greenberg was the last surviving member of a legendary civil rights legal team assembled by Thurgood Marshall, the founding director-counsel of the legal defense fund and later the first African-American Supreme Court justice.

When Mr. Marshall hired him as an assistant counsel in 1949, Mr. Greenberg was just 24 and the civil rights movement, too, was taking wing. A son of Jewish immigrants and a product of New York City, he had developed an abiding intolerance of injustice — some of it witnessed in the Navy — that propelled him into law and into Mr. Marshall’s sights.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Donald Trump’s Dangerous Vote Rigging Comments Follow Years of Republican Voter Fraud Hysteria

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It has long been an article of conservative faith that the "Democrat Party" engages in systematic surreptitious voter fraud.  "Vote early and often", "voting from the graveyard", "late reporting Chicago districts"  are old memes which may have had, at some point, a basis in fact.  The only truly systematic vote rigging was, of course, in the south where Black people were in fact denied the vote.
The voter fraud theme has been a rallying cry for Republicans - it is the groundless basis for the many state voter ID laws making it harder for poor and minorities to vote.  Thirty five years ago I was  involved in the protests against Newark's proto-Trump Anthony Imperiale a/k/a forty gun Tony.  He organized a "National Ballot Security Task Force" equipped with arm bands to patrol voting places.
The Democratic National Committee filed suit against the Republican Natonal Committee.  The late Federal District Judge Dickinson Debevoise issued a nationwide "consent decree" barring voter intimidation.  He retained jurisdiction and handled subsequent proceedings.  The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the order and its continuing validity in 2010. Donald Trump's repeated calls to his supporters to be on the lookout for voter fraud present a risk far greater than did the local bully Imperiale. I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop: for the DNC to go back to court to enjoin such "poll watching".  When it does Donald Trump will likely go ballistic: the federal courts are rigging the election, authorizing voter fraud, etc. As a tactical matter one wonders if a law suit is the right tactic to protect the voting.  But there is real danger.  The integrity of the vote is an essential element of democracy.  UC Irvine law professor Richard Hasen sounds the alarm.

Donald Trump’s Dangerous Vote Rigging Comments Follow Years of Republican Voter Fraud Hysteria
by Richard L. Hasen
Let’s start with what Trump has said and why it is so irresponsible. As I’ve written, one of the things we take for granted is that, even in tumultuous times when elections are hard-fought, the losers concede the election and embrace the process, even if things did not go well. That’s what Al Gore did after the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore. He did not call for demonstrations in the streets, which could have been destabilizing. In 2008, after great controversy over the Bush years, Obama v. McCain was very hard-fought, but we were able to come together again as a country.
Donald Trump threatens this peace by raising the prospect not only of sending his supporters, unsupervised, into polling places (likely in minority neighborhoods). This can lead to voter intimidation on election day. He has also backed off his earlier, somewhat ambiguous statement that he would support Hillary Clinton if she won. Now, speaking to the New York Times, he backed off even his qualified pledge to support Clinton if he loses, saying: “We’re going to have to see. We’re going to see what happens. We’re going to have to see.”
The message has resonated with his supporters. According to an AP-NORC poll:“Only about one-third of Republicans say they have a great deal or quite a bit of confidence that votes on Election Day will be counted fairly... Half the people who have a favorable opinion of the Republican nominee say they have little to no confidence in the integrity of the vote count.”
But this should be no surprise, because members of the fraudulent fraud squad have pushed this message for years, claiming that voter fraud is rampant, and that it inevitably helps Democrats. As I pointed out in my 2012 book, The Voting Wars, conservative flame thrower Michelle Malkin warned just before the 2010 election that voter fraud was rampant. But when Democrats faced a “thumping” at the polls, Malkin had nothing to say about fraud. And now she’s at it again, claiming non-citizens will steal the election in Colorado and elsewhere.

Lin Miranda on SNL

Nyt on Maspeth racism

In Queens, Seceding From the Homeless Crisis

Maspeth meeting

Monday, October 10, 2016

In first, Foreign Policy endorses Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

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Hillary Clinton for President of the United States | Foreign Policy
A Donald Trump presidency is among the greatest threats facing America, and the Republican standard-bearer is the worst major-party candidate for the job in U.S. history.

In the nearly half-century history of Foreign Policy, the editors of this publication have never endorsed a candidate for political office. We cherish and fiercely protect this publication’s independence and its reputation for objectivity, and we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation.
It is for all these reasons that FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States.
*** the areas in which we at FP specialize, he has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance of the most basic facts of international affairs, let alone the nuances so crucial to the responsibilities of diplomacy inherent in the U.S. president’s daily responsibilities. Trump has not only promoted the leadership of a tyrant and menace like Vladimir Putin, but he has welcomed Russian meddling in the current U.S. election. He has alternatively forgiven then defended Russia’s invasion of Crimea and employed advisors with close ties to the Russian president and his cronies. Trump has spoken so cavalierly about the use of nuclear weapons, including a repeated willingness to use them against terrorists, that it has become clear he understands little if anything about America's nuclear policies — not to mention the moral, legal, and human consequences of such actions. He hasembraced the use of torture and the violation of international law against it. He has suggested he would ignore America’s treaty obligations and would only conditionally support allies in need. He has repeatedly insulted Mexico and proposed policies that would inflame and damage one of America’s most vital trading relationships with that country.