Thursday, July 25, 2019

Last Call For An Eye For An Eye

After a nearly 20-year moratorium on federal death penalty executions, the Trump regime is starting them back up, because the cruelty is the point.

Attorney General Bill Barr announced Thursday the federal government will be resuming capital punishment.

In the announcement, the U.S. Department of Justice said the decision was made related to "five death-row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, the most vulnerable in our society -- children and the elderly."

The DOJ further added that Barr had asked Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to "schedule to executions" of those five individuals.

"The Justice Department upholds the rule of law -- and we owe it to the victims and their families to carry forward the sentence imposed by our justice system," Barr said in the announcement.
(MORE: New Hampshire bans the death penalty after lawmakers override governor's veto )

According to the Justice Department, the inmates to be executed include a member of a white supremacist group who murdered a family of three and threw them into the Illinois Bayou in Arkansas in 1999. Another is a man who stabbed to death a 63-year-old grandmother and forced her granddaughter to sit next to her dead body on a "30 to 40-mile drive" before then murdering her as well.

DOJ says all executions will take place at U.S. Penitentiary Terre Haute, Indiana.

States have been arguing over the death penaly, with several having moved to stop the practice in recent years.  The federal government had stopped too in 2003, arguably the only humane thing Dubya did in his eight years, and that moratorium continued through the Obama administration.

And then, Bill Barr came along.

Funny, I remember all the 2020 Democratic candidates and civil rights activists and criminal justice experts who told me Donald Trump was going to do the right thing on prison reform.


Russian To Judgment, Con't

One piece of new information that Robert Mueller did provide yesterday was the fact that the Russians are still, right now, attacking US election security in order to sow chaos and damage the country. 

The biggest takeaway from Robert Mueller's appearances on Capitol Hill is not that Donald Trump may have obstructed justice, although that's what most people continue to argue about. 
It's that Russians are still interfering in US elections. 
"They're doing it as we sit here," Mueller told lawmakers of Russian interference. Earlier he'd said how that aspect of his investigation has been underplayed will have a long-term effect on the US. 
In his report, the former special counsel disclosed that Russian hackers compromised local election systems of two Florida counties in 2016, a development later confirmed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, although he said no votes were changed. And while Mueller did not bring conspiracy charges, it's been well documented that Russians in 2016 were doing their best to help Trump, not Clinton, win. 
Yet despite Mueller's testimony, the special counsel report and alarming statements from elsewhere in Washington, public urgency on addressing Russian interference for the 2020 election appears lacking.

After Mueller's testimony, Senate Democrats tried to get House measures passed that would strengthen cybersecurity measures protecting US elections.

Republicans blocked them all.  Again.

Democrats cited Mueller as they tried to get consent on Wednesday evening to pass their bills.

"Mr. Mueller's testimony should serve as a warning to every member of this body about what could happen in 2020, literally in our next elections," said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

He added that "unfortunately, in the nearly three years since we uncovered Russia's attack on our democracy, this body has not held a single vote on stand-alone legislation to protect our elections."

Warner tried to get consent to pass the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections Act by unanimous consent. Under Warner's bill, campaign officials would have to report contacts with foreign nationals who are trying to make campaign donations or coordinate with the campaign to the Federal Election Commission, which would in turn notify the FBI.

"If a foreign adversary tries to offer assistance to your campaign, your response should not be 'thank you.' Your response should be a moral obligation to tell the FBI," he said.

But Hyde-Smith objected to passing his legislation. Sen. Marsha Blackburn(R-Tenn.) similarly blocked the legislation in June, arguing that it was overly broad.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) tried to get consent to pass similar legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers.

"It differs in some technical aspects [from the Warner bill] … but it is the same idea because it codifies into law what is already a moral duty, a patriotic duty and basic common sense," Blumenthal said.

Hyde-Smith also objected to Blumenthal's bill.

She objected a third time when Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tried to get consent to pass legislation he crafted with Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that would allow the Senate Sergeant at Arms to provide voluntary cybersecurity assistance for personal accounts and devices of senators and staff.

"I don't see how anyone can consider what I have proposed to be a partisan issue," Wyden said.

Democrats still haven't figured out that Republicans want elections to be vulnerable so Trump can win.  There's no other explanation.

They know he will lose without Russia rigging the election.

Do we understand the stakes now?

Deportation Nation, Con't

The Trump regime's latest plan to stop essentially all refugees and asylum-seekers from entering the country has been blocked by a federal judge as the fight almost certainly heads for a SCOTUS showdown later this year.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar in California issued the preliminary injunction blocking the new asylum restrictions Wednesday afternoon, just hours after a hearing where he grilled a government attorney over the new sweeping change to asylum policy.
The policy, announced by the Trump administration last week, would broadly end asylum eligibility for migrants who pass through another country on their journey to the United States' southern border with Mexico but do not attempt to seek the protection in those other countries first.

During a hearing Wednesday morning in San Francisco, Department of Justice lawyer Scott Stewart defended the new interim rule as “lawful” and “appropriately issued.” The government has said the rule is needed to “address the urgent, ongoing crisis” at the border.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Center for Constitutional Rights have challenged the policy, saying it violates domestic and international law and the right of migrants to seek asylum in the U.S.

“The court recognized, as it did with the first asylum ban, that the Trump administration was attempting an unlawful end run around asylum protections enacted by Congress,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said after the ruling.

During the hearing, Tigar questioned the ability of countries like Mexico and Guatemala to adequately deal with and process asylum-seekers.

“There’s some pretty tough stuff in there,” said Tigar.

Tigar added that in Mexico, while “applications are up dramatically” there was no indication that Mexico would be able to handle the volume of asylum-seekers and process all of their claims.

The judge added that neither in the rule nor in the government’s administrative record was he able to find a “scintilla of evidence” about the adequacy of the asylum system in Guatemala.

Again, the Trump regime's plan is to start mass deportations and dumping millions of people into Guatemala arbitrarily, some of them almost certainly will be US citizens born in the US, but nobody will care and they will be disappeared anyway.

For now, the plan is being blocked, but the Trump regime will almost certainly want expedited rulings on this when SCOTUS's term begins in October.  They want that deportation train rolling in time for the 2020 campaign.


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