Monday, February 12, 2018

Last Call For Anybody And Everybody's Packing

Last night CBS's 60 Minutes sounded the alarm on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, which would allow anyone with a concealed carry license in one state to use it anywhere in America.

Of all the political and cultural issues that divide red states from blue ones, none is more volatile than guns and who can carry them. 
Conservative rural states like Arizona and West Virginia allow almost anyone to carry a loaded firearm in public, while in urban states and big cities, it can be a felony. 
But a piece of legislation quietly churning its way through Congress may change all that by making gun permits more like driver's licenses, transportable across state lines. If you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon in your home state, you would be allowed to carry it in all of them. 
The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act has already sailed through the House of Representatives and has the full support of President Trump. It has roughly 40 co-sponsors in the Senate where a showdown is shaping up between the gun lobby and law enforcement over states' rights and the second amendment. 
This is the handgun counter at Van's Sporting Goods outside Jackson, Mississippi, a state with the fourth highest gun fatality rate in the country and some of the weakest gun laws. 
Pretty much anyone 18 years of age and not a convicted felon can carry one of these concealed weapons here in their pocket, their pants or their purse for self-defense against muggers, carjackers and other assailants. 
If the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act becomes law, they'll be able to carry them legally across state lines and onto the streets of any city in America.

The GOP and the gun lobby are hoping enough Senate Dems in red states will defect and get this past a filibuster.  There's a very good chance that this will happen and that this will soon become law. 

We'll see.

That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

As I told you Saturday, Rachel Brand, the number 3 at the DoJ tendered her resignation over the weekend.  I told you what it meant then:

Trump can search more carefully for somebody willing to fire Mueller now with Brand gone, that is if he doesn't already have somebody in mind. My guess is that Brand was asked if she would do it, or knew that she very soon would be, and decided to leave rather than be a part of it. Her departure is a thundering alarm that Trump is moving sooner rather than later on this.

Turns out I was exactly right.

The Justice Department's No. 3 attorney had been unhappy with her job for months before the department announced her departure on Friday, according to multiple sources close to Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.
Brand grew frustrated by vacancies at the department and feared she would be asked to oversee the Russia investigation, the sources said
She will be leaving the Justice Department in the coming weeks to take a position with Walmart as the company's executive vice president of global governance and corporate secretary, a job change that had been in the works for some time, the sources said.

Imagine that.  Of course, the only way she would have been asked to oversee the Russian investigation into Trump was if Rod Rosenstein, the number 2 at DoJ and the man who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller, was either recused or fired.

As far back as last fall, Brand had expressed to friends that she felt overwhelmed and unsupported in her job, especially as many key positions under her jurisdiction had still not been filled with permanent, Senate-confirmed officials. 
Four of the 13 divisions overseen by the associate attorney general remain unfilled, including the civil rights division and the civil division, over one year into the Trump administration.

This is important too, as currently the Trump DoJ basically has no civil rights division, and no intention of prosecuting federal civil rights cases.  At all.  Regardless of the outcome of Mueller's probe, the damage Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions have already done to civil rights in America is incalculable.

But that kind of obvious disdain for the law brings us back to the real reason Brand left: Trump's obstruction of justice continues daily.

Putting Them On ICE

The Trump regime continues its reign of terror towards the immigrant community in the US as the number of ICE non-criminal deportation arrests since Trump took office now number well into the tens of thousands.

A week after he won the election, President Trump promised that his administration would round up millions of immigrant gang members and drug dealers. And after he took office, arrests by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers surged 40 percent.

Officials at the agency commonly known as ICE praise Trump for putting teeth back into immigration enforcement, and they say their agency continues to prioritize national security threats and violent criminals, much as the Obama administration did.

But as ICE officers get wider latitude to determine whom they detain, the biggest jump in arrests has been of immigrants with no criminal convictions. The agency made 37,734 “noncriminal” arrests in the government’s 2017 fiscal year, more than twice the number in the previous year. The category includes suspects facing possible charges as well as those without criminal records.

Critics say ICE is increasingly grabbing at the lowest-hanging fruit of deportation-eligible immigrants to meet the president’s unrealistic goals, replacing a targeted system with a scattershot approach aimed at boosting the agency’s enforcement statistics.

ICE has not carried out mass roundups or major workplace raids under Trump, but nearly every week brings a contentious new arrest

The Washington Post noticed that too.  If ICE really wanted the maximum number of deportees, they would start with raiding workplaces.  They don't do that.  It's a bug, not a feature.  They look the other way on migrant farms and meat-packing plants because they are told to do so, so they target individuals instead.

We do hear stories of long-time residents of this country being rolled up by ICE and held for immediate deportation proceedings, mothers, doctors, respected businessmen, community figures, and activists.  But we're now going on 40,000 such arrests and there are so many stories that we'll never hear. 

A Virginia mother was sent back to El Salvador in June after her 11 years in the United States unraveled because of a traffic stop. A Connecticut man with an American-born wife and children and no criminal record was deported to Guatemala last week. And an immigration activist in New York, Ravi Ragbir, was detained in January in a case that brought ICE a scathing rebukefrom a federal judge.

It ought not to be — and it has never before been — that those who have lived without incident in this country for years are subjected to treatment we associate with regimes we revile as unjust,” said U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest, reading her opinion in court before ordering ICE to release Ragbir.

“We are not that country,” she said

All apologies Judge Forrest, but we are very much "this country", a country that gave into hatred and bigotry like it has time and time again over its 400 year history as a colony and country, a country founded on slavery and pain, a country that elected a racist, white supremacist demagogue.

Yet again.

Immigrants whose only crime was living in the country illegally were largely left alone during the latter years of the Obama administration. But that policy has been scrapped.

Those facing deportation who show up for periodic “check-ins” with ICE to appeal for more time in the United States can no longer be confident that good behavior will spare them from detention. Once-routine appointments now can end with the immigrants in handcuffs.

More broadly, the Trump administration has given street-level ICE officers and field directors greater latitude to determine whom they arrest and under what conditions, breaking with the more selective enforcement approach of President Barack Obama’s second term.

Trump officials have likened this to taking “the shackles off,” and they say morale at ICE is up because its officers have regained the authority to detain anyone they suspect of being in the country illegally.

Officers are detaining suspects in courthouses more often, and ICE teams no longer shy from taking additional people into custody when they knock on doors to arrest a targeted person.

What are we supposed to do?” said Matthew Albence, the top official in the agency’s immigration enforcement division, who described the administration’s goal as simply restoring the rule of law. If ICE fails to uphold its duties to enforce immigration laws, he added, “then the system has no integrity.”

Small government, non-intrusive federalism, "drown it in a bathtub" types sure like ICE, don't they?  Republicans sure like government's jackbooted thugs when they are doing their bidding to rid the country of those deemed undesirable.

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