Friday, June 23, 2017

Last Call For Immigration Nation

While Trump's executive order on punishing sanctuary cities by withholding tens of billions in federal law enforcement grant money remains tied up in the courts, House Republicans are moving forward to try to put the regime's immigration crackdown actions into federal law.

House Republicans are preparing to take up a pair of bills next week that crack down on illegal immigration, according to leadership sources, in a bid to carry out President Donald Trump's promise of tougher enforcement. 
One of the bills to see a floor vote, dubbed Kate's Law, boosts penalties for immigrants who try to re-enter the United States after being deported. It is named after Kate Steinle, a young woman who was shot and killed in San Francisco by an immigrant who had been deported repeatedly yet returned. Trump frequently discussed the killing on the campaign trail last year.

The second is legislation that goes after so-called sanctuary cities — localities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities, including by refusing to hold an immigrant in jail longer just so federal officials can pick him or her up to be deported. Sanctuary cities, usually liberal jurisdictions such as New York, have also been a major Trump target. 
The "No Sanctuaries for Criminals Act" would toughen penalties for sanctuary cities in multiple ways. For example, it would require that cities and counties comply with orders from federal immigration officials, such as "detainers" that keep immigrants in jail so they can be picked up for deportation. It would also bar Homeland Security and Justice Department grants from sanctuary cities that don't comply.

No shocker here, especially since the reasoning behind the judiciary holding up Trump's sanctuary city punishment order was the legal argument that he was exceeding his authority under the laws Congress has passed.  Simple solution: pass laws that give Trump the authority to do just that and render the argument moot.

Of course getting such a measure through the Senate may be a different matter, but for now, this is just the latest salvo in a a long, long battle.

Black Lives Still Matter, Con't

As widely expected here in Cincinnati, the retrial of Sam DuBose's killer has resulted in a second mistrial declaration as jurors were unable to reach a verdict for the charges against former UC police officer Ray Tensing.

For a second time, a jury has been unable to agree on whether Ray Tensing was justified when he fatally shot Sam DuBose during a traffic stop. 
Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Leslie Ghiz on Friday shortly after 2 p.m. declared a mistrial, after the jury of nine women and three men said they could not agree on verdicts for either murder or voluntary manslaughter. 
"We are almost evenly split regarding our votes," the jurors wrote to Ghiz. 
Tensing’s first trial last year also ended with the jury deadlocked. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters must now decide whether to seek a third trial. 
Jurors deliberated more than 30 hours over five days. They asked three questions during that time, court officials said. 
The last question came Friday morning, when the jury told Ghiz they were unable to reach a unanimous decision on either count. “How should we proceed?” they asked.
Ghiz called them into the courtroom and ordered them to continue deliberating, saying, “Hopefully you’re able to resolve your deadlock.” 
Jurors couldn’t resolve that deadlock in a case involving the 2015 fatal shooting of DuBose, an unarmed African-American man who tried to drive away from a traffic stop. Tensing, then a 25-year-old University of Cincinnati police officer, said he feared for his life after his arm became trapped inside DuBose’s car.

At this point I would expect County Prosecutor Joe Deters to pack it in and not seek a retrial.  It's pretty obvious that Tensing will never be convicted, as 99% of police officers charged with killings simply skate on the "feared for my life" defense.

If the victim isn't white it seems, police can kill with impunity.

But black lives matter.  I will never stop believing in that, or stop saying it, even if I'm the only one.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

Today's major Trump/Russia story comes courtesy of the Washington Post, who has put together a comprehensive timeline of Moscow's interference in America's 2016 elections that involves multiple major scoop stories.  First, the basics: We know Vladimir Putin himself ordered an assault on the vulnerable US election system in order to help elect Donald Trump.

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race. 
But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump
At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.
But at the highest levels of government, among those responsible for managing the crisis, the first moment of true foreboding about Russia’s intentions arrived with that CIA intelligence. 
The material was so sensitive that CIA Director John Brennan kept it out of the President’s Daily Brief, concerned that even that restricted report’s distribution was too broad. The CIA package came with instructions that it be returned immediately after it was read. To guard against leaks, subsequent meetings in the Situation Room followed the same protocols as planning sessions for the Osama bin Laden raid. 
It took time for other parts of the intelligence community to endorse the CIA’s view. Only in the administration’s final weeks in office did it tell the public, in a declassified report, what officials had learned from Brennan in August — that Putin was working to elect Trump
Over that five-month interval, the Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could “crater” the Russian economy. 
But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package combining measures that had been drawn up to punish Russia for other issues — expulsions of 35 diplomats and the closure of two Russian compounds — with economic sanctions so narrowly targeted that even those who helped design them describe their impact as largely symbolic. 
Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability. 
In political terms, Russia’s interference was the crime of the century, an unprecedented and largely successful destabilizing attack on American democracy. It was a case that took almost no time to solve, traced to the Kremlin through cyber-forensics and intelligence on Putin’s involvement. And yet, because of the divergent ways Obama and Trump have handled the matter, Moscow appears unlikely to face proportionate consequences.

President Obama chose to trust the American people to do the right thing.  Despite all the evidence against Trump, America failed Obama, and we failed ourselves.  It's easy to say Obama should have done more, should have revealed Trump's perfidy months before, should have shown the country that Putin wanted chaos.  You can make the argument that doing so could have gotten Putin exactly the results he wanted.

But what you cannot argue is that in the end, sixty million plus people thought Donald Trump would make a good president.  It is those voters who truly failed us, and who did the real work of destroying our democracy beyond anything Putin could have possibly dreamed.

Trump voters helped destroy this country.  Period.  This was a brazen, full-blown assault on our country, and we had a fifth column a mile-high, and right now our lawmakers are happily deciding how many millions of us will lose health care coverage so that the richest of us can get even more tax breaks.  And they enabled this.

We've seen the enemy, as the old Pogo adage goes.  They are us.


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