Friday, August 17, 2018

Last Call For Russian To Judgment, Con't

There's very little doubt now that both Republican US senators in my state are deeply involved in the Trump regime's Russia malfeasance, Mitch McConnell because of his role of protecting Trump as GOP Senate majority leader, and Rand Paul as proxy for Russia's powerful oligrarchs in the Senate.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says he will ask President Trump this weekend to lift sanctions against top Russian officials so they can visit the United States later this year.

Paul said members of both bodies of Russia's legislature had agreed to come to the United States to continue talks after the GOP senator visited Moscow earlier this month.

"They have both agreed to come to Washington in the fall for further meetings. That's a good thing. The downside is the chairman of each of the committees is banned from coming to the United States because of sanctions," Paul told Fox News's Laura Ingraham. 
He added that to overcome the blockade he will ask the president, when they talk this weekend, to "take people off the list who are in the legislature."

Paul didn't specify who specifically he would ask be removed from U.S. sanctions lists.

But Paul met with Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs, during his trip to Moscow. Kosachev was targeted during a new wave of sanctions announced earlier this year.

Paul's trip to Moscow raised eyebrows in Washington, where many of his colleagues have been skeptical of Trump's warmer stance toward Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Spokesmen for both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told The Hill last week that they had not invited, and we're not discussing inviting, their Russian counterparts to visit the Capitol

Kosachev indicated earlier this month that Moscow would be interested in organizing a meeting between members of the Russian legislature and their U.S. counterparts.

Paul and his Ron father have been deep into Russian "useful idiot" damage to the US for years, unlike Trump's overweening greed, for Paul it's ideology.  Even McConnell thinks this is a bad idea, removing sanctions on Russia's legislative leaders, all installed by or members of Putin's circle of oligarchs, is foiling exactly the "hit them in the wallet" damage that Congress insisted on Trump doing.

Rand Paul doing this under the cover of "diplomacy" is atrocious.  Both of my Senators need to go, but neither one is up for reelection this year unfortunately, and KY Dems have all kinds of problems putting together any sort of real challenge anyway (see Conway, Jack, and Grimes, Alison).

Russia has both my senators in their grip.  That terrifies me as an American and as a Kentuckian.

It's About Suppression, Con't

The prospect of states becoming purple has caused Republicans to go insane and push massive Jim Crow-style laws, voter identification scams, intimidation tactics, and disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of black voters over the last four years. It's happened in Ohio, it's happened in Alabama, it's happened in Wisconsin, it's happened in North Carolina, it's happened in Mississippi, and it's happened in multiple other GOP-controlled states

When President Obama reminded Democrats that this was going on and that the way to fight this was registration and exercising that right to vote, we ignored him and had the lowest midterm turnout in generations in 2014, and one of the lowest turnouts for a presidential election in 2016.

Now Jim Crow has returned to Georgia in the Trump era just in time to prevent the nation's first black woman as Governor.

Civil rights advocates are objecting to a proposal to close about 75 percent of polling locations in a predominantly black south Georgia county.

The Randolph County elections board is scheduled to meet Thursday to discuss a proposal that would eliminate seven of nine polling locations in the county, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. Included in the proposed closures is Cuthbert Middle School where nearly 97 percent of voters are black.

"There is strong evidence that this was done with intent to make it harder for African Americans," ACLU of Georgia attorney Sean Young said. The ACLU has sent a letter to the elections board demanding that the polling places remain open and has filed open records requests for information about the proposal to close the polling places.

County elections board members did not immediately respond Wednesday to a phone message seeking comment on the proposal.

Young and others from the ACLU plan to attend the elections board meeting Thursday.

According to the latest census figures, Randolph County's population is more than 61 percent of black, double the statewide percentage.

The median household income for the county was $30,358 in 2016, compared to $51,037 in the rest of the state. Nearly one-third of the county's residents live below the poverty line, compared to about 16 percent statewide, according to U.S. Census figures.

It is Republicans who say we have to cut polling precincts, but always in blue counties with large numbers of black and brown voters.  It is Republicans who say we must have strict voter ID laws to stop non-existent voter fraud that happens to disenfranchise black and brown voters. It's Republicans who say we have to end early voting in order to "save local governments money" after cutting state voting budgets and preventing black and brown working-class voters from casting votes on days other than Tuesday.

This is voter suppression.  It's working better than the GOP could have ever hoped.

Deportation Nation, Con't

Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to remove as much judicial oversight and due process as he can from deportation proceedings in order to speed up the Trump regime's inevitable mass deportation scenario.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Thursday sought to speed up the deportation of illegal immigrants, telling immigration judges they should only postpone cases in removal proceedings “for good cause shown.”

Sessions, in an interim order that was criticized by some lawyers, said the “good-cause” standard “limits the discretion of immigration judges and prohibits them from granting continuances for any reason or no reason at all.”

Unlike the federal judiciary system, U.S. immigration courts fall under the Department of Justice and the attorney general can intervene. Sessions, a Republican former U.S. Senator appointed by President Donald Trump, has been unusually active in this practice compared to his predecessors.

Sessions has led efforts by the Trump administration to crack down on illegal immigration, including a “zero tolerance” policy that separated immigrant parents from their children while they were in U.S. detention. Trump abandoned the separation policy in June under political pressure.

Critical in showing “good cause” is whether a person is likely to succeed in efforts to remain in the United States, either by appealing for asylum or receiving some form of visa or work permit, Sessions said on Thursday.

Stephen Kang, an attorney with the ACLU immigrants rights project, described Sessions’ order as “troubling” and one of a series that “has moved in the direction of restricting due process rights for individuals who are in removal proceedings.”

Kang said Sessions seemed to portray immigrants seeking more time to prepare their cases as trying to “game the system and avoid deportation.”

Kang said removal proceedings were complex and people needed time “both to get lawyers to ensure that their due process rights are protected and time just to make sure their cases get a fair hearing.”

Sessions doesn't want fair hearings or due process or any of that.  He wants deportations of people deemed undesirable by the Trump regime.  And if you think for a second that this will be limited to just "illegal immigrants" you haven't been paying attention to the regime's stated plans this year to remove due process, end legal immigration, denaturalize immigrant citizens and revoke their citizenship, discharging immigrants who served this country to earn citizenship, turn ICE and the Border Patrol into intelligence agencies, sue states and cities over sanctuary laws, turn the 2020 Census into a tool to hunt the undocumented and harm blue states with large immigrant populations, separate immigrant children from their parents and keeping them in detention camps, all but end refugee settlement programs, and revoke green cards for those who get on social safety programs.

It will not be long before the regime starts applying these tactics to citizens of the US who are critics. We cheerfully call them "dissidents" in other countries, people locked up by autocratic regimes for "crimes against the government".  We're not that far away from having our own dissidents rounded up here in America.  As I said two months ago, we're at a hard six, heading for seven in the ten statges of genocide.


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