Archive | Class War

So remember when the Kochs denied they were funding all those groups?

Charles Koch - Caricature

Not so much now:

Billionaire Charles Koch is consolidating the array of conservative advocacy groups financed by his donor network, merging all the organizations into the main political arm, Americans for Prosperity, officials announced Friday.

Network leaders cast the surprising move as a way to operate more efficiently and better coordinate their organizing reach on the ground, which has increasingly become the focus of the operation. The change means that three smaller groups that target Latinos, veterans and millennials will now operate as part of AFP. The leaders of the LIBRE Initiative, Concerned Veterans for America and Generation Opportunity are all expected to remain in place, but will be running their organizations as branded projects under the AFP banner.

[…] The network’s financing of various advocacy groups began when the operation was far more low-profile, seeking to shield the role the Kochs and other donors played in its financing. In early 2014, when The Washington Post and Center for Responsive Politics used tax filings to map out the maze of groups financed by the network, officials declined to confirm how the organizations were connected. But in the years since, the network has taken a more public posture, inviting reporters to attend its twice-a-year donor seminars.

Scott Walker’s dark money runs deep

The Koch Brothers walking their dog, Scotty.

Two years ago, prosecutors investigating Scott Walker for illegal campaigning, alleged that he was the center of a “criminal scheme”: Prosecutors allege that Gov. Scott Walker was at the center of an effort to illegally coordinate fundraising among conservative groups to help his campaign and those of Republican senators fend off recall elections during 2011 and… Continue Reading →

Court rules searches cannot be made based on someone’s residency

Let there be Peace among us

Huh. I didn’t even know this was still being done:

On Tuesday August 23, 2016 the Tenth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that police officers and law enforcement cannot stop and search out-of-state individuals based on where they live or what state license plate they have. The judges, in Denver, Colorado, voted two-to-one based on the case of Colorado resident Peter Vasquez.

Vasquez was pulled over by Kansas police who decided to search his vehicle. He had been driving alone during the night on Interstate 70, and the cops used his Colorado license plate to justify them searching through his car. The cops also justified their search by saying that the state of Colorado is a “drug source” where marijuana can be legally purchased.

The justices on the Tenth Circuit rejected these justifications because they are essentially another way for people to be discriminated against. Except for this time, instead of using a person’s gender, sexual orientation, or race, you are doing it based on the state where they live. Circuit Judge Carlos Lucero wrote in his opinion that: “It is time to abandon the pretense that state citizenship is a permissible basis upon which to justify the detention and search of out-of-state motorists.”

This ruling by the court means that Vasquez’s civil case can be reinstated. He was seeking damages from the two police officers for crossing the boundaries set by the Fourth Amendment. The Fourth Amendment is of course famous for its protections against unreasonable searches.

Vasquez, who turned 37 years old this year, feels vindicated by this decision because it backs up his belief that “police officers shouldn’t be able to do whatever they want” just because they have a badge or a job that yields significant power.
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Appeals court stays execution of Texas inmate who didn’t kill anyone

Ohio State Reformatory

In 1996, 22-year-old Jeffrey Wood was convicted with his friend Daniel Reneau in the shooting death of a store clerk in Texas, while the two allegedly attempted to steal a safe from the station where the clerk worked.

Reneau was executed in 2002, but Wood, seen as an accomplice because he waited in a truck in the gas station’s parking lot during the time of the crime, was not immediately put to death.

On August 19, 2016, after over 20 years in prison, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has stayed Wood’s death sentence in a 7-2 decision, claiming that Wood was not the person that actually pulled the trigger. Wood was originally scheduled to die by lethal injection on Wednesday, August 24.

Wood’s case garnered significant publicity leading up to the Appeals Court decision. Texas State Representative Jeff Leach (R-Plano), a well-known conservative in the area, spearheaded the movement to get Wood’s death sentence commuted.
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How poverty changes the brain

Varal 001

Close The video tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Pakistan who at 15 survived being shot in the head by the Taliban while riding a bus in 2012. “I want to get my education, and I want to become a doctor,” she says, adding that the Taliban throw acid on… Continue Reading →

Trump’s new ad is the worst general election ‘dog whistle’ in nearly 30 years

Trump's Stance On Undocumented Immigrants

Donald Trump’s last stand is – like everything Trump has done since he birthered his way into conservative politics – all about winning over white people. Even his recent, sour attempts to win over black voters by trafficking in offensive racial stereotypes to white audiences in white suburbs are about getting the 62 percent or so… Continue Reading →

Maine’s wingnut governor breaks the law

Gov. LaPage, Freeport Flag Ladies and Susan Collins

Paul LaPage, uberwingnut, is a loose cannon who looks for any excuse to cut benefits to poor people:

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage has pounced on the recent unsealing of court documents showing an Iranian refugee who resettled in Maine and later joined the terror group ISIS.

But the governor’s eagerness to use Adnan Fazeli’s radicalization here to rail against welfare benefits for refugees may have led him to run afoul of a federal law designed to protect the identities of welfare recipients and their families.

State officials have not confirmed that Fazeli, or his family, received welfare benefits when he lived in Maine between 2009 and 2013. According to federal laws governing food stamps and cash assistance, they’re not supposed to.

“It’s concerning if that was indeed reported by Maine officials because federal law is clear that people’s confidentiality should be protected,” said Robyn Merrill, director for Maine Equal Justice Partners, an advocacy group for low-income Mainers

Merrill’s concerns were raised by a report in the Boston Herald in which Maine state officials are quoted as saying that Fazeli, and his family, received cash and food stamp benefits.

Those benefits, known also as SNAP and TANF, are federal programs, funded mostly with federal tax dollars. According to federal rules, the identities of benefit recipients are confidential — only law enforcement, immigration officials and state administrators are allowed to know who receives the benefits.

Those same officials, according to the law, “must adequately protect the information against unauthorized disclosure.”

The Herald story also contained an interview with LePage, who told the newspaper that the Fazeli case prompted him to order a review of all benefit programs for refugees.

Merrill said that Fazeli’s radicalization here is concerning, but she worries about the LePage administration’s zeal to politicize it.

“It seems as though this one particular circumstance is really being exploited and used as justification to deny help to a whole group of people,” she said.

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