Social law – Kenaf Society Sun, 15 May 2022 11:37:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Social law – Kenaf Society 32 32 Questions and answers on the law | Trump versus Twitter, a conflict that deserves closer examination | Columns Sun, 15 May 2022 11:15:00 +0000

Can a private company be sued for a First Amendment free speech violation if it restricts the speech of another private party?

Yes, but the plaintiff must prove that the party who committed the offense was acting for the government.

Donald Trump raised the issue when he and other plaintiffs sued Twitter when the social network permanently suspended Trump’s account on January 8, 2021 after his supporters stormed the Capitol two days earlier. In the company’s announcement, Twitter specifically cited two of Trump’s tweets which it said were “highly likely to encourage and inspire people to replicate the criminal acts that took place on the US Capitol” on January 6.

Trump claimed the ban was a violation of his First Amendment rights under the federal Constitution.

But wait, the First Amendment is a constitutional obligation owed by the government to private citizens, not by a private party to another citizen. This is precisely what the judge in the Trump case decided when he dismissed the lawsuit.

There is an exception so that a private party is not subject to First Amendment violations against another party. This is where the private party acts as a government entity. This doctrine provides that, in certain situations, governmental authority dominates an activity to such an extent that its participants must be deemed to act with the authority of the government and, therefore, be subject to constitutional restrictions.

Private entities are presumed to act as such, and maintaining the boundary between the private sphere and the public sphere, with all the consequent constitutional obligations, is of great importance. Proving that a private party was acting on behalf of the government is therefore considered by the courts to be a difficult legal route. The judge in the Trump case concluded that Trump’s legal plow was too dull to bite. Trump alleged no facts convincing the judge that Twitter was acting as a government entity when he terminated his account.

There were no allegations that Twitter was forced or threatened by any government agency or actors to terminate Trump’s account, the kind of facts the courts have found where the state acts through parties private. Trump essentially made a flippant allegation that Democrats and Trump’s political opponents in Congress were conspiring with Twitter to ban him.

Trump also asked the judge to declare unconstitutional the federal Communications Decency Act, which states that online service providers such as Twitter cannot be held responsible for content posted by users. The judge rejected this claim because Trump had no legal standing (legal prejudice) to challenge the act

Trump could not show that Twitter “would not have de-platformed the plaintiff” without CDA legal immunity for content.

The judge allowed Trump to edit his claims to add factual allegations that Twitter was a state actor, but warned it would be doubtful he could.

Many Republican-controlled state legislatures have recently passed laws prohibiting their elementary schools from teaching certain topics concerning race in the United States.

Expect First Amendment challenges from teachers or districts to such laws. These are clearly state actions, and the benefits of these legal challenges are, unlike Trump’s, likely to be extremely sharp.

Brett Kepley is an attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Aid Inc. Send your questions to The Law Q&A, 302 N. First St., Champaign, IL 61820.

China sets up local law enforcement militias to bolster ‘maintenance of stability’ — Radio Free Asia Fri, 13 May 2022 17:35:22 +0000

Judicial authorities across China are setting up ‘people’s legal struggle militias’ to aid law enforcement, recruiting lawyers aged 18 to 45 who are ‘in good physical condition’, according to official notices posted online. .

A notice issued by justice bureaus in Shanghai, Guangdong, Hubei and other places said militias would be formed to support “our online forces”.

“Plans are underway to set up a legal fighting militia and report to the municipal government’s armed forces department before the end of May,” the notice said.

“We recruit… lawyers or paralegals from law firms in the city. Recruitment criteria: Aged 18 to 45, in good physical condition. [Ruling] Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members, preferably veterans, he said.

Chinese criminal lawyer Mo Shaoping said he had never heard of “legal wrestling” in his career.

“It sounds like a made-up expression; I’ve never heard it before,” Mo told RFA. “I haven’t seen any definition of ‘legal fight’ in any legal dictionary.”

News commentator Zha Jianguo said that the use of the word “struggle”, which has its roots in the political “struggle sessions” of the post-1949 era and the puppet courts of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976 ), suggested moving away from the rule of law and the legal process.

“It means a kind of intense conflict and tension between people,” Zha said. “It’s a neologism, which means that they want to fight, but to use the law as a weapon, but without any precise legal basis.”

“It’s about hiding artificial ‘struggles’…under a legal veneer.”

An angry Chinese man (striped T-shirt) is heckled in Beijing by a plainclothes militiaman (facing the camera) as he tries to unroll and stick his handwritten sign or dazibao on the ‘dazibao wall’ in front of the Committee municipal revolutionary in Beijing, July 23, 1974. Credit: AFP

Dangerous indicator

Political scientist Guo Wenhao said the creation of militias is a dangerous indicator of what is to come, now that the power to “enforce the law” has been delegated beyond government departments and law enforcement agencies. law.

China has empowered local officials at the township, village and ward levels to enforce the law under an amended law on administrative penalties that came into effect in July 2021as well as the operation of a very extensive “network management” social control system in rural and urban areas.

“[Officials at] township, village and district [level] will be provided with administrative law enforcement powers … while existing law enforcement powers and resources will be integrated,” according to a high-level opinion paper from April, but not published by the state news agency Xinhua before 11 July.

The government will be based on a “grid” management system, a system of social control that dates back to imperial times and that will allow authorities to control citizens’ lives even more tightly, according to the opinion paper jointly released by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. (CPC) of the country’s central committee and State Council.

According to guidelines sent out in 2018, the grid system divides neighborhoods into a grid pattern with 15 to 20 households per square, with each grid having a dedicated monitor who reports residents’ affairs to local committees.

Neighborhood committees in China have long been responsible for monitoring the activities of ordinary people in urban areas, but the network management system is accelerating the ability of officials even in rural areas to monitor what they do, say and think. local populations.

“Now that law enforcement power has been delegated to townships and sub-districts, and institutions without any legal knowledge or law enforcement powers have been given the power to enforce the law, there is there will be widespread abuse of this law enforcement power,” Guo said.

“And such phenomena tend to intensify.”

Cultural Revolution Application Style

He said the militias suggest that China is indeed moving towards a style of Cultural Revolution enforcement where the government no longer has a monopoly on political violence.

“I feel like a completely absurd system has emerged, outside of the traditional personnel structures,” Guo said.

“The government allows them to do bad things, then they can deny [doing them].”

Gansu scholar Zhang Ping said the militias will be under the command of local government militias, similar to the grassroots militias of the Cultural Revolution.

“Granting the militia a lot of law enforcement power is equivalent to having an armed reserve outside the army and police, with greater freedom than the police or the armed police,” Zhang told RFA. .

“It’s to prevent a so-called popular uprising…it’s a matter of social control.”

A version of the directive issued by authorities in the city of Pingliang, Gansu, on April 28 said the plan was aimed at “strengthening the maintenance of wartime stability”, a nationwide system of surveillance and coercion that aims to stop protests and petitions before they happen.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP, a leader in securities fraud law Wed, 11 May 2022 18:00:00 +0000

LOS ANGELES, May 11, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP (“GPM”), a leading national shareholder rights law firm, is continuing its investigation on behalf of Dentsply Sirona Inc. ( “Dentsply” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: XRAY) investors regarding possible violations by the Company of federal securities laws.

If you have suffered a loss on your Dentsply investments or would like to inquire about possible lawsuits to recover your loss under federal securities laws, you may submit your contact information at cases/dentsply-sirona-inc-1/. You may also contact Charles H. Linehan of GPM at 310-201-9150, toll-free at 888-773-9224, or by email at to learn more about your rights.

On April 19, 2022, Dentsply said the company’s chief executive had been terminated, effective immediately, and that he “will cease to be a member of the company’s board of directors.”

On this news, Dentsply stock fell $6.52, or 13.4%, to close at $42.20 per share on April 19, 2022, hurting investors.

Then, on May 10, 2022, the company said it could not timely file its first quarter 2022 quarterly report due to an “internal investigation into allegations regarding certain financial reporting matters.” Specifically, the investigation focused on “the company’s use of incentives to sell products to distributors during the third and fourth quarters of 2021 and whether those incentives were properly accounted for and whether the impact of those sales was properly disclosed”.

On this news, Dentsply stock fell 10% in intraday trading on May 10, 2022, further hurting investors.

Follow us for updates on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

Notice of denunciation: Individuals with nonpublic information regarding Dentsply should consider their options for assisting the investigation or taking advantage of the SEC’s Whistleblower Program. Under this program, whistleblowers who provide original information can receive rewards of up to 30% of any successful recovery made by the SEC. For more information, call Charles H. Linehan at 310-201-9150 or 888-773-9224 or email

About GPM
Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP is a leading law firm representing investors and consumers in securities litigation and other complex class actions. ISS Securities Class Action Services has consistently ranked GPM in its annual SCAS Top 50 report. In 2018, GPM was ranked among the top five law firms for the number of securities class action settlements and among the top six law firms for the full amount of the settlements. With four offices across the country, nearly 40 GPM attorneys have won groundbreaking decisions and recovered billions of dollars for investors and consumers in securities, antitrust, consumer and employment class action lawsuits. GPM attorneys have handled cases covering a wide range of corporate misconduct, including cases involving financial restatements, internal control weaknesses, earnings management, fraudulent earnings advice and forward-looking statements, audit misconduct, insider trading, violations of FDA regulations, actions resulting in FDA and DOJ investigations, and many other forms of corporate misconduct. GPM’s attorneys have worked on securities matters involving nearly every industry and sector of the capital markets, including energy, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, real estate and REITs, financials, insurance, information technology, healthcare, biotechnology, cryptocurrency, medical devices. , and much more. GPM’s past successes have been widely covered by major industry news and publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, Reutersthe Associated press, Barrons, Investor’s Business Daily, Forbesand Money.

This press release may be considered attorney advertising in certain jurisdictions under applicable law and ethics rules.

Glancy Prongay & Murray LLP, Los Angeles
Charles H. Linehan, 310-201-9150 or 888-773-9224
1925 Century Park East, Suite 2100
Los Angeles, California 90067

]]> Despite law, Nepal fails to ensure representation of Dalit women in neighborhoods Tue, 10 May 2022 01:52:51 +0000

When Prabha Pariyar was approached with a proposal to run as a parishioner, she had no idea.

“I spoke with senior members of the community. Then some CPN-UML leaders also contacted me,” said Prabha, 43. “Then I thought the post could be a platform for me to raise issues in our community.

She was lined up as a member of Kathmandu Metropolitan City Ward 27. As no candidacy was filed against her, she won the post unopposed long before the election.

“I have now also accepted membership in the party,” said Prabha, who previously worked for a non-governmental organization.

Nepal is holding local elections on May 13. The Local Elections Act 2017 made it mandatory that out of the five people elected in each ward, one of them should be a Dalit woman. This means that 6,743 female Dalit representatives are to be elected from 753 local units across the country. Prabha is one of them.

Despite the law, however, only 6,620 Dalit women will be elected ward members in the upcoming elections, as there are no candidates for 123 wards. The legally mandated number could also not be reached in the last local elections held in 2017. As many as 176 seats reserved for Dalit women as parish members remained vacant.

Political parties used the excuse that they could not find Dalit women candidates.

Dalit rights activists, however, say there are multiple factors – from the discriminatory mindset of leaders to the unwillingness of political parties – that have become obstacles to the election of members of the Dalit neighborhood. in the legally mandated number.

According to Pradip Pariyar, a Dalit rights activist, the prevalent patriarchal mentality among political party leaders and their discriminatory approach continue to hinder the advancement of Dalit women.

“Instead of implementing the constitutional provision of inclusion, they [political leaders] have the mentality of looking for loopholes so they can reduce seats for disadvantaged communities,” Pradip said. “They seem to be the least embarrassed to implement the constitution they drafted.”

The Samata Foundation, headed by Pariyar, had organized provincial campaigns before candidacies were filed for the local elections. According to Pradip, political parties had pledged to field as many Dalit candidates as possible for leadership positions in local bodies.

“It is surprising that not only one political party, but all political forces are reluctant to field Dalit candidates,” Pradip said.

According to the 2011 census, Dalits make up 13.8% of the total population of Nepal.

Article 42 (1) of the Constitution states that socially backward women, Dalits, indigenous peoples, indigenous nationalities, Madhesi, Tharu, minorities, disabled people, marginalized communities, Muslims, classes backward, gender and sexual minorities, youth, farmers, workers, oppressed or citizens of backward areas and indigent Khas Arya have the right to participate in state bodies based on the principle of inclusiveness .

When Nepal held its first local elections in 20 years in 2017, around 41% of those elected were women. No less than 6,567 Dalit women were elected for 6,743 vacant positions. This was hailed as a big step towards women’s participation.

Although 176 ward seats reserved for Dalit women remained vacant, political parties were expected to strive to elect the 6,743 female Dalit members.

Durga Sob, a Dalit rights activist who has worked for decades for the upliftment of Dalit women through various social organizations, joined politics a few years ago, hoping that the political platform could help her raise the voice more strongly.

“But I realized that the political parties are not committed to the spirit of the legal and constitutional provisions,” said Sob, former chairperson of the Dalit Feminist Organization and now core member of the Janata Samajbadi party. “If Dalit women have been elected in the past and will be re-elected, it is because of mandatory legal provisions, not because the political parties really want it.

Most Nepalese political parties are led by men from the so-called upper caste.

Article 24 of the constitution mentions exclusively the right to untouchability and discrimination. Its clause 1 states that no one shall be subjected to any form of untouchability or discrimination in private and public places because of their origin, caste, tribe, community, profession, occupation or of his physical condition. Clause 5 states that any act of untouchability and discrimination in any form committed in violation of this article shall be punished by law as a serious social offence, and the victim of such act shall have the right to obtain compensation in accordance with the law.

There is also a specific law in the country – the Caste Discrimination and Untouchability (Offence and Punishment) Act 2011 – which protects the rights of Dalits.

Despite the constitutional provisions and the law, however, few politicians seem determined to ensure their implementation.

As a representative case, consider a remark by a senior Nepalese Congress leader in 2017, made before the local elections at the time. Addressing a meeting of the then Legislative Assembly in April 2017, Arzu Rana Deuba had called for the mandatory provision to send Dalit women to each ward of the 753 local units to be removed as it will not be possible to find Dalit women leaders in every neighborhood.

She had also called for the President’s decision to amend the Local Elections Act 2017, which requires parties to nominate a Dalit woman as a member in each ward. Central Congressman Arzu is also the wife of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

According to Bhim Bishwokarma, Researcher and Executive Director of Jagaran Media Centre, who advocates for the elimination of caste-based discrimination and the creation of a more equitable, inclusive and secular society through media mobilization, Nepali society continues to regard Dalits as second-class citizens. .

“Dalit women are not deployed in certain neighborhoods because there is a kind of fear among the so-called upper caste people that they have to show respect to Dalits if elected,” Bhim said. “Discrimination based on caste continues despite the law prohibiting it. Although it is difficult for Dalit women to secure seats, they continue to face discrimination once elected.

According to Dalit rights activists, some of the reasons for the non-appointment of Dalit women who are members of the neighborhood are that they are not affiliated with political parties, their names are not on the electoral roll and they encounter difficulties in obtaining citizenship certificates.

Dalit political party leaders admit that they have not paid enough attention to the issue of inclusion and appointments of Dalit women in the numbers prescribed by law.

“It took five years for parties to learn to avoid a similar mistake after 176 Dalit women members in wards were not elected in 2017. But this time too, there will not be 123 Dalit women members,” said Chhabilal Bishwakarma, a secretary. of the UML.

Rights activists argue that positive measures are essential to ensure the participation and space of the marginalized in state bodies.

“Despite the law, the parties do not present candidates. Now it has become imperative to amend the constitution to mention the provision,” said Pariyar of the Samata Foundation. “I don’t think political leaders take the issue of inclusion seriously. Hundreds of neighborhoods will remain without female Dalit members unless mandated by the constitution.

The beautiful seaside town where locals are fighting to change the law to stop wealthy Londoners from buying so many second homes Sun, 08 May 2022 06:00:00 +0000

Residents of St Ives are fighting tooth and nail to prevent wealthy Londoners from buying second homes in the idyllic Cornish seaside town. Its popularity has long meant that visiting in summer can be a hellish experience, with congested streets and throngs of tourists, but the influx of wealthy landlords could pose an even greater threat.

The pretty town is adored for its fishermen’s houses around a picturesque little harbor where brightly painted boats rest on the sand at low tide. Sandy beaches, museums and galleries, famous art schools and a diverse and well-established food scene make it the tourist magnet it is today.

However, the tourism boon has become an addiction, with annual expenditure of £85m. Around 540,000 day-trippers and over 220,000 overnight tourists visit St Ives each year, with the tourism industry supporting around 2,800 jobs in the area, or almost one in four people who live there.

READ MORE: Beautiful seaside town where angry locals rage over Londoners turning homes into ‘Chelsea-on-Sea’

St Ives City Council is campaigning for a limit on Airbnb like in Amsterdam or Barcelona

This, in turn, created its own set of problems. In the last couple of years everything has come to a head and the locals, whose price is out of their own town so that what little housing there is left can make way for vacation rentals and second homes, in have enough.

“Sometimes the townspeople feel like they’re just agents in a theme park,” said Stefan Harkon, St Ives RNLI lifeguard for many years and one of the driving forces behind the new skatepark. which was built last year and is already famous for its unique looping Hepworth Vortex. “We work in a neighborhood but we can’t live there.”

“We have a town where the wealthy come on holiday, while in parts of St Ives more than a third of children are living below the subsistence level,” said Camilla Dixon, co-founder of campaign group First Not Second. Homes, mentioned. “It has a detrimental effect. We depleted our public housing stock when it was sold in the 1980s. Because land values ​​rose, developers grabbed land and banked land to earn more money. That means real social housing development is overpriced.”

As there is little new land available and nowhere to buy, this has also led to rental prices rising – or worse – in families being evicted by landlords who want to take advantage of holidaymakers instead.

The problem of second homes in St Ives is so acute that in 2016 residents voted to ban new build from being second homes, with 83% in favor. According to Rightmove, average house prices in the city are now £440,000, more than 17 times the median annual income of someone in Cornwall. Homes for sale in the town, particularly those on the harbor side, regularly appear for sale with prices up to £1million.

Camilla Dixon of First Not Second Homes in St Ives, Cornwall, pictured on Thursday April 28.
Camilla Dixon campaigns to stop land grabbers pricing in real social housing development

St Ives also faces a shortage of rentals; in 2021, while there were over 1,000 properties in the city available for short-term vacation rentals, there was only one long-term home available for rent. How can most of those living in some of the poorer areas like Penbeagle afford to stay a week at Sunset House, the former council house demolished to make way for a £6million house overlooking the Porthmeor beach and now let to holidaymakers for £7,000 a week?

Andrew George, the former Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, now Cornwall Councilor for Ludgvan, Madron, Gulval and Heamoor agreed. “The worsening inequality and severe housing injustice is illustrated by observing how communities like St Ives have changed dramatically over the past few decades. In the early 90s we used to cover all the houses in “Downalong” as much as we did the rest of the city. There were second homes and second homes then, but they were in the minority. It’s not worth doing the same nowadays The town has changed so much that many parts of St Ives are now a dormitory with very few local families residing there.

Town Clerk Louise Dwelly said: “The council tax level is decreasing as there are more second homes which do not pay tax as they are registered as businesses. This means that the operation of the city ​​is more expensive for the people who live here as it is spread over fewer people.We are also advocating for the law to be changed for a city tax.

Current Tory MP Derek Thomas recently lobbied his colleagues in Whitehall for the law to be changed to solve Cornwall’s housing crisis by making long-term rentals more attractive to landlords than holiday rentals. Speaking during a debate on affordable housing in Devon and Cornwall, held in Parliament, he said: “The situation is urgent at the moment. I have so many constituents who are in dire straits and it takes a quick and effective response that provides a secure home for life.

“We are losing these valuable homes, which people are taking advantage of because of legislation that applies to private owners but doesn’t necessarily apply to vacation rentals. I don’t think that’s a level playing field.”

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]]> law professor Elise Boddie: segregation is ‘the epicenter of racial injustice’ | Rutgers University Fri, 06 May 2022 18:35:15 +0000

Law professor Elise Boddie, who teaches at Rutgers-Newark, is founder and director of The Inclusion Project (TIP), which works to promote systemic equity in public education. Since 2017, she has worked with civic organizations, students, religious leaders, educators, and researchers to desegregate the state’s public schools. She is also advising plaintiffs’ attorney in a lawsuit challenging segregation in New Jersey, which is among the worst in the nation. More than 270,000 black and Latino students attend schools that are more than 90 percent non-white, according to state data. Plaintiffs include the Latino Action Network, the New Jersey Chapter of the NAACP and the United Methodist Church. Unlike landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education, which were brought in federal court to strike down intentional segregation, this litigation is one of the few desegregation suits at the US state level. It challenges the “de facto segregation” in public schools, which is the product of intentionally discriminatory policies of the past decades, such as redlining, which has led to disinvestment in black communities.

Below, Boddie talks about the history and impact of school segregation in New Jersey and elsewhere.

How does school segregation affect children from all backgrounds?

Children in racially segregated Black and Latino schools tend to have fewer educational resources. For example, they are more likely to be in overcrowded classrooms, to be taught by more substitute teachers, and to have less access to AP classes. These inequalities have systemic effects. It is more difficult for them to go to university, which affects their employment opportunities and, eventually, the types of resources they will have throughout their lives.

School segregation is the epicenter of racial injustice, not only because of its material consequences – such as how it leads to systemic underfunding of urban schools – but also because it conditions people to be suspicious, distrustful and resentful of those who are different. We often think of school segregation as an issue facing black and Latino children. But segregation also hurts white children. We’ve known that for some time. For example, a brief filed by white social scientists in Brown v. The Supreme Court’s Board of Education in 1954 concluded that segregation leads white children to overestimate their abilities compared to black children. When white kids are isolated from black kids, they don’t see their talents and possibilities. Segregation also encourages children to “other” those outside their social environment, which can lead to racial hostility. This idea did not start with Brown. A segregation case filed against Boston public schools in the 1840s by Charles Sumner (who was later elected to the U.S. Senate and became a radical opponent of slavery) claimed that white students growing up in a segregated environment “are nurtured by caste feelings.” The same is true today.

How is school segregation in New Jersey related to residential segregation?

From the 1930s to 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was passed, the federal government denied mortgage insurance to anyone who wanted to buy a home in a black neighborhood. This racist political decision led to decades of public and private disinvestment in black communities, including in New Jersey. As a result, blacks could not accumulate wealth to the same degree as whites who lived in neighborhoods with many public and private resources, including high performing public schools. This inequity persists to this day: low-income black people who would prefer to live elsewhere often do not have that option because they lack the resources to move. Whites, relatively speaking, have more intergenerational wealth, which gives them more mobility and more neighborhood choices. Exclusionary zoning compounds the problem because it limits the availability of affordable housing in affluent communities that tend to be predominantly white. Another problem is that a significant portion of school funding comes from property taxes. So if you are in a low wealth area, you have low wealth schools. When you have a state law – like we do in New Jersey – that requires kids to go to school in the segregated neighborhoods where they live, that often means they will attend segregated schools.

How to make desegregation work?

We can decouple schools and residences by allowing students to attend schools outside their zoning, in particular by creating regional schools. Another option is to create magnet schools with different academic specialties to attract students. For example, this may include schools specializing in the teaching of languages, sciences and/or the arts. We also need to think about how to design schools for equity, including ensuring that the curriculum is not only strong, but also reflects students’ experiences. Doing all of this requires the right kind of leadership. Therefore, we need highly motivated and committed superintendents, principals and teachers. We also need to ensure that historically marginalized communities have a seat at the table and play a central role in designing and building these school systems.

How has your own experience as a student shaped your perspective?

I have been in schools that have done integration well and in schools that have not done it well. I went to kindergarten in Los Angeles, where I was bused to a school I loved. I don’t remember anything about the bus rides; all I remember is school. When I was older, I went to school in a suburb of Houston, Texas. There were about 1,000 students in the school, but only a handful of black children. This is not integration; it is symbolism, which is harmful to children. We must be careful to avoid the same pitfalls.

Access to Abortion in the Pacific Northwest Won’t Change Unless State Law Does Wed, 04 May 2022 23:35:00 +0000

The leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft decision reversing Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood signals an impending seismic shift in the nation’s legal landscape. But in the Pacific Northwest, the ruling, even if it becomes law, will make little difference to abortion access.

“As an organization, our fundamental mission is to recognize that human life begins at the time of fertilization, said Lois Anderson, executive director of Oregon Right to Life, which advocates for stricter regulations on fertilization. abortion. “This unique human life deserves protection and law. But practically…I don’t see that there would be a significant impact right away for Oregon and for Oregonians.

Because access to reproductive health in Oregon is governed by laws enacted by the state legislature, rather than a court’s interpretation of the state constitution, a sudden change in those policies are unlikely, said Alison Gash, an associate professor of political science at Oregon State University. .

“I suspect the Oregon Supreme Court would argue that their understanding of the state’s constitutional mandate is that it would protect a person’s right to choose to have an abortion,” said Gash, who studies law and social policy. “But that becomes largely pointless if the state’s legislative commitments continue to stay on the books.”

With a solid Democratic majority in the Legislature and a recent redistricting, but guaranteeing it will stay that way, even the election of a Republican governor is unlikely to change state laws. Oregon state law, updated in 2017, allows late-term abortion, requires private medical insurance and state Medicaid to cover abortion, and codifies the right to gender-affirming care, among other safeguards.

Access to reproductive care in Washington is equally broad and guaranteed by law. Anyone seeking an abortion in their state would be “welcome” and “safe,” Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday at a reproductive rights rally in Seattle.

Both states are already destinations for people from more restrictive states who have access to all the resources necessary to travel to receive abortion care. Reproductive rights advocates expect those numbers to rise if the leaked ruling becomes law, particularly because Idaho’s law banning most abortions after six weeks would go into effect. Idaho law also allows civil suits against people who perform abortions or assist someone to have an abortion.

“It could be charged to people who might be…providing travel to and from where access is available in other states and that’s unfortunately something that we know is going to have a chilling effect and lead to confusion mass,” said Christel Allen, the executive. director of Pro-Choice Oregon, which advocates for legal protections for reproductive health care.

“Access Deserts”

Wyoming and Utah are also expected to enact tougher laws, or even outright bans, if the decision disclosed Monday becomes law.

That would mean up to 320,000 women of childbearing age could soon turn to Oregon as the closest place to access an abortion, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a health advocacy research and policy organization. reproductive. The increase for Washington could be 100%. New unrestricted fund for reproductive health equity in Oregon sets aside $15 million to cover costs for abortion providers and patients without insurance coverage or traveling from out of state .

Despite the region’s status as a place where reproductive choices are largely protected, Allen said not everyone in Oregon and Washington has equal access to abortion care.

For example, Oregon law requires private insurance to pay for the abortion, but allows religion-based health care plans to withhold payment for the procedure. A prime example is the coverage offered by the Providence health care system, which has Catholic roots. Providers with close ties to religions that consider abortion to be morally wrong also cannot be coerced into offering abortions.

“And so we have access deserts in the state of Oregon, because there are often monopolies [where a] The religious hospital owns all the other small clinics in town,” Allen said. “That’s the situation we have in Hood River. This is the situation we have in many places on the coast.

Parts of eastern Oregon are also underserved by medical providers willing to offer abortions. Only one family planning clinic currently operates east of the Cascades, and St. Adolphus, which provides much of the hospital-like services in the area, does not offer abortions. Oregonians enrolled in federal health insurance plans, including many federal employees, those covered by Veterans Affairs and those enrolled in the Indian Health Service, also do not have insurance coverage for abortion.

Rachel Brodeur, a member of the Tlingit tribe, told a crowd in Bend this week that federal services are already severely limiting access to abortion care for Native Americans.

Rachel Broduer, a member of the Tlingit tribe, told a mostly white crowd gathered in Bend on Tuesday to protest the leaked decision that she never had easy access to abortion because she gets her health care through the Indian Health Service.

“The same people who worry about losing access to something have no idea it’s something I never had access to,” Broduer said through a megaphone. “While we have this momentum, while we’re talking about it, can you please, please bring us with you?”

Future of regional abortion laws

For their part, Oregonians have shown little interest in changing the region’s policies. In 2014, 63% of Oregon adults said they thought abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to a poll by the Pew Research Center, a nonprofit think tank. partisan. In the same poll, 60% of Washingtonians polled said abolition should be legal in all or most cases. The center doesn’t have more recent state data, but nationally the percentage of people who think abortion should be legal has risen from 55% in 2014 to 59% in 2021.

A sizable minority in both states still believe that abortion is wrong and should be banned altogether. Anderson of Right to Life Oregon sees the likely direction of the US Supreme Court as a welcome change in the country’s legal framework.

“I think the most important outcome of this decision may be, ‘Let’s bring this discussion and these decisions to their rightful place, which is in our states and with our elected officials who have the closest relationship with us,'” said Anderson. “This is the right place to discuss and make decisions regarding these laws.”

Given the current political makeup of the state legislature, court rulings in Oregon will likely continue to lead to policies like those currently in place.

Salami McConneha from Camas, Washington uses her body to voice her position on abortion rights.  McConneha was one of hundreds of people gathered in downtown Portland to protest a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion saying they would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade on Tuesday, May 3 2022.

Salami McConneha from Camas, Washington uses her body to voice her position on abortion rights. McConneha was one of hundreds of people gathered in downtown Portland to protest a leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion saying they would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade on Tuesday, May 3 2022.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To learn more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

IntelBrief: Attacks on Police and Law Enforcement Are Not Getting Enough Attention Tue, 03 May 2022 07:08:16 +0000 Intelbrief / IntelBrief: Attacks on Police and Law Enforcement Are Not Getting Enough Attention

Photo by: NDZ/STAR MAX/IPx

Bottom line in front

  • In 2021, there was a 59% increase since 2020 in the number of American police officers killed on duty, with 73 police officers intentionally killed.
  • More than 55 police officers were shot and killed in 2021, a significant increase from previous years.
  • Death by gunfire afflicts American society, with 45,222 people killed in 2020 (including homicides, suicides and accidents).
  • In 2021, Americans purchased 19.9 million guns; in 2020, they bought 22.8 million.

On average in 2021, one on-duty police officer was murdered every five days in the United States, with a total of 73 police officers intentionally killed by perpetrators last year. This number represents a 59% increase from 2020. The total is the highest since 2001, a year that included police officers killed in the September 11 terrorist attacks in which 72 police officers were killed in a single day. Excluding 2001, 2021 saw the highest number of intentional police killings in the United States since 1995, when 74 police officers were murdered. During an interview with CBS’ 60 Minutes aired April 24, 2022, FBI Director Christopher Wray said, “Violence against law enforcement in this country is one of the greatest phenomena that, I think, does not attract enough attention”. He went on to add that the deliberate targeting of police officers was on the increase and that “wearing the badge shouldn’t make you a target”. Of the 73 officers killed, 25 were killed in “unprovoked attacks”, such as ambushes. In cases where a political motive is suspected, the attacks spanned the ideological spectrum from far left to far right and raise the question of whether they should be classified as domestic terrorism.

The rise in police killings is part of a rise in murders in the United States in recent years. In 2020, the total number of murders increased by 29%, with nearly 5,000 more people killed than the previous year. But it’s not just murders that have increased, but rather all gun deaths. That same year, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 45,222 Americans died from gunshot wounds, whether by homicide, suicide, accidental or undetermined. This is a 13.5% increase from 2019. Of these total deaths, the number of firearm deaths in 2020 increased by 33.4% from 2019, while suicides increased. increased by 1.1% over the same period. Guns account for the majority of murders in the United States, not just of police officers, but of all victims. And for the first time, firearms are the leading cause of death among children and adolescents (ages 1 to 19), surpassing road accidents.

While there were many possible causes for the rise in killings, including often vague mention of the social impacts of COVID-19, the central role of firearms – and ease of access – in the violence military and gun deaths in the United States is too often inexplicable. absent from the discussion. Only in the United States are guns assumed to have little to do with gun violence and death, despite the fact that the number of guns in America has reached unprecedented levels. previous. In 2021, Americans brought in 19.9 million firearms, the second-highest total on record, according to Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting. The highest total, 22.8 million, was the previous year, 2020. Both numbers are up alongside a substantial increase in depression, anxiety and mental health issues, as well as substance abuse and spikes in domestic violence, especially during the pandemic.

Fears of societal unrest from COVID-19 and worries about legislation that will restrict access to firearms have been mentioned as possible drivers of the record increase in gun sales in the United States. pandemic leading to societal anarchy, creates a feedback loop. The net result is inevitably more guns leading to more gun violence, followed by more calls for more guns to counter rising gun crimes. In addition, the increase in the number of firearms increases the risks of accidents and abuse, most often associated with incidents involving children. There is no chance of new federal gun control or restrictions in the foreseeable future given the political polarization, and in many states gun restrictions are being dismantled. States such as Georgia and Texas have passed “constitutional carry” laws that abolish the requirement to obtain a license and registration to carry a concealed firearm in public. The effect of these laws on the safety of police officers and all Americans will be seen for years to come and will likely drive this already disturbing trend to continue for the foreseeable future.

Southern Poverty Law Center lists 2 LI-based groups as anti-government Sun, 01 May 2022 13:46:32 +0000

Two Long Island groups have been identified as anti-government organizations by a nonprofit that tracks racism, xenophobia and far-right militias in the United States.

Long Island Mutual Assistance Group, based in Nassau, and Long Island Loud Majority, based in Suffolk, were among 488 “extreme anti-government groups” active in 2021, according to a report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Alabama. The legal center has published an annual report on hate and anti-government groups since the 1990s, based on group publications, citizen and news reports, law enforcement agencies, sources in the field and publications on the Internet.

Leaders of the groups disputed descriptions of the legal center of their organizations. L’Assistance Mutuelle describes its members as “service-minded citizens”; Loud Majority supporters are patriots “tired of seeing their freedoms eroded by an ever-expanding government,” according to its website.

The list does not imply that the groups engage in criminal activity, but is intended to draw public attention to groups whose activities the legal center says are undemocratic.

What there is to know

  • Two groups from Long Island have been named to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual list of anti-government organizations. The nonprofit watchdog said the groups were peddling conspiracies and believed the federal government was tyrannical.
  • Group leaders rejected the anti-government label. They defend their activities as legal and patriotic.
  • A leader for one of the groups, Long Island Loud Majority said it helps secure votes for GOP candidates, including Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Rep. Lee Zeldin.

The legal center classifies anti-government groups separately from hate groups. Anti-government groups tend to be motivated by the belief that the government is tyrannical and can peddle conspiracy theories, the center said. Hate groups target people based on characteristics such as race, religion and gender identity.

The number of anti-government groups peaked in the 2010s, but “a conspiratorial and permanently questionable view of government was pervasive” last year, according to the legal center report. An FBI spokesperson did not comment specifically on the groups, but said in an email that the agency does not initiate investigations based on the exercise of First Amendment rights.

Co-founder of Loud Majority: “We are not anarchists”

Loud Majority is “more political in its interests and involvement,” said Rachel Carroll Rivas, a researcher at the law center.

He made “what we would call threats of political violence around issues of vaccines, masking, COVID restrictions,” she said. There are “also anti-LGBTQ activities and targeting students and schools around issues of education and inclusive communities.” These concerns reflect what the legal center said was a widespread shift from similar groups after the Jan. 6 uprising in Washington, D.C., to local politics focused on COVID-19 protocols and school curricula.

Loud Majority co-founder Shawn Farash, 31, of West Babylon, took issue with the legal center’s characterization of his organization: “We are not anarchists, we are not revolutionaries, we are certainly not violent, he told Newsday.

In an email, Suffolk Police said the department was aware of 18 events held by the group since September 2020, with no reported criminal activity.

Loud Majority was formed in 2020, the year Farash used Facebook to organize a Copiague-Shirley convoy in support of then-President Donald Trump.

The group then mobilized parents around the problems of school masking. “Because we stayed vocal…they chose to capitulate to us,” he said in a podcast last June after the state lifted an order requiring masking in schools.

Asked about the group’s membership numbers, Farash recited social media stats. His social media presence includes a TikTok account where his 285,000 followers can watch his impressions of Trump and a Twitter account with 84,000 followers. On this platform, he compared the behavior of the superintendent of Smithtown schools to that of Stalin, reflected on the ‘tyranny’ of hidden mandates and made repeated false claims that the 2020 election was ‘stolen’. . In recent weeks, he has tweeted about the “sex hoax”, calling several prominent transgender women “always men”.

During a podcast following a school board meeting in Manhasset earlier this year, Farash called an all-gender restroom sign he saw at one of the district’s schools “horrifying and “disgusting… Your country’s life is at stake.”

Farash said he believed there were similarities between the Manhasset School District’s gender equity forum and steps taken in “Soviet Communist Russia” to undermine nuclear families. He didn’t know “if there were any real card-carrying communists pulling the strings” in the schools, he said, but “I do know a communist was in charge of the CIA.” He said he was referring to former CIA Director John Brennan. PolitiFact, an independent fact-checking website, assessed this claim in 2018 and found it to be false.

Farash’s politics and business are intertwined. He makes a living as a “content creator,” he said, and sells sound clips of himself impersonating Trump, as well as pro-Trump and anti-Biden merchandise, including mugs. and sweatshirts on his website. Loud Majority US is a limited liability company registered at his address, but Farash said his income — from merchandise sold on the Loud Majority website, podcast sponsorships and donations — goes to operations and is not income. personal income.

Self-described as part of a “militia coalition”

Mutual Assistance, which was also on last year’s list of anti-government groups, was formed in 2018 or earlier, Rivas said. The group maintains a website on which it describes itself as part of a “militia coalition” ready to respond in the event of “conflict” or “disaster” if the authorities were overwhelmed.

Rivas said some of the 24 to 36 members of the group had expressed an interest in self-defense patrols on the US border with Mexico several years ago.

Band member Andrew Poliakoff did not agree to an interview with Newsday, but wrote to Newsday in an email from a mutual assistance account that “although members are free to have their own feelings, the group is not anti-government or its members.We are a constitutional group that believes in civil rights and individual liberty.

The Mutual Assistance website describes its membership as including military, law enforcement, fire/EMS, nurses, and teachers.

“These groups deliberately recruit from people who are in leadership positions, and that lends credibility to their extremist ideas,” Rivas said.

Poliakoff also wrote in an e-mail: “We are a relatively small local group, which, as I said, does not contain a hierarchical structure, whose members are ready to help other members and the community during “an emergency, such as a natural disaster. The group is not involved in politics and has never had any of its members arrested for any illegal or anti-government activity.”

Suffolk Police had no interaction with Mutual Assistance, the department said. Nassau police did not respond to a request for comment.

Divided opinions on groups

State Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills), who criticized Farash’s podcast comments earlier this year, said in an email that she welcomes Loud Majority’s listing.

“Extremist groups thrive when they can spout their hatred and conspiracy theories unchecked by those who fear confrontation, or those who cowardly align themselves with these groups for political gain,” she wrote. Groups as such “cynically claim to defend freedom and our Constitution while dishonoring our American values ​​and undermining our democratic institutions.”

In September, Loud Majority organized a protest against Stony Brook University’s vaccine mandate with the conservative group Turning Point USA. Photographs on the group’s Twitter feed show the group’s founders at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Loud Majority uses these events to network and access “a unique demographic that has rallied around patriotic ideals on the college campus,” Farash said. “What they’re getting from us is access to New York, which everyone thought was a lost cause.”

Loud Majority endorsed Smithtown School and Library Board nominees Nassau County Supervisor Bruce Blakeman and Rep. Lee Zeldin, both Republicans, and posted photos on its Facebook account of the men smiling alongside of Farash and others wearing Loud Majority sweatshirts. State Republicans named Zeldin their gubernatorial representative.

Rivas said Loud Majority members are “getting closer to politicians to show power and look bigger. We, however, are concerned about the group’s growth over the past year and hope that New – Yorkers will carefully consider what they are being asked to support and get involved in this group.”

Zeldin (R-Shirley), in an email, said, “These reports are intended to serve the biased political agenda of the SPLC and should not be taken seriously. Confusing someone who is pro-freedom and pro-freedom with the title of anti-government is…dangerously un-American.”

A spokesperson for Blakeman did not respond to a request for comment.

Backlash from DHS Anti-Misinformation Committee shows how US law is falling behind the issue Fri, 29 Apr 2022 21:10:29 +0000

The rapid response to a new federal anti-disinformation council shows how quickly misconceptions can spread and also how slowly changing federal law is hampering efforts to counter them.

On Wednesday, Department of Homeland Security leaders announced the formation of a Disinformation Governance Council to counter harmful misinformation specifically targeting migrants. Such misinformation has “helped fuel sudden surges on the U.S. southern border in recent years,” according to an AP article about the new council.

Some were quick to complain. “Rather than protecting our border or the American homeland, you have chosen to make surveillance of American speech your priority. This new council is almost certainly unconstitutional and should be disbanded immediately, wrote Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, who last year encouraged rioters on the U.S. Capitol.

Of course, nothing in the statements of DHS or other officials suggests that the new council will suppress constitutionally protected speech.

But the question of what the board is allowed to say is a bit more ambiguous. US law broadly authorizes the federal government to inform the public about public safety, the law itself, etc. But other laws prohibit the government from engaging in anything that might be called influence operations aimed at the American people.

These activities are governed by the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which essentially authorizes the State Department to engage in influence operations aimed at a foreign audience, but the law (and a later “modernization” of the law) expressly prohibits the state from attempting anything similar aimed at domestic populations.

But does that prohibit DHS from doing so? To some extent, the question is open because the 20-year-old department never tried.

“The DOD accomplishes information-based military objectives. Each of the departments can deal with public affairs, i.e. informing the American public, not influencing them, then the Department of State can deal with public diplomacy, which is influencing the foreign public . Where is DHS? Obvious absence. said Michael Lumpkin, a former Navy SEAL and Department of Defense official who established the State Department’s Global Engagement Center to counter foreign disinformation operations.

According to one interpretation of the law, since it is illegal for the State Department to conduct national influence campaigns, it is also illegal for DHS. Another is that because DHS is not explicitly named in the Smith-Mundt Act, which predates it by decades, it is free to conduct influence operations.

This ambiguity could damage the credibility of the new DHS board of directors, and thus cripple it from the start. If a new administration takes over with radically different views than the current one, who may perceive different limits on government discourse and even a different definition of basic facts.

The regulation of government messaging is of concern to all political parties. In 2019, the appointment of Michael Pack to head the US Agency for Global Media at the State Department prompted a similar response from Trump critics. “We must strengthen laws to impose disclosure requirements for government messages to prevent the use of secret domestic propaganda to shape American public opinion,” wrote Raya Koreh of the Brennan Center in The hill. “A healthy democracy depends on the public’s ability to hold government to account for its messages, and government news must be unequivocally recognizable for what it is.”

But while there may be a need for new legislation to better define the guardrails of government discourse, it’s hard to imagine a bipartisan consensus on how to write such a law.

“My feeling is that the Hill [meaning Capitol Hill] run away from that because it’s a slippery slope,” Lumpkin said. “We just haven’t seen a champion who says, ‘Okay, we need to modernize, you know, things. [like government speech] for social media for the world,” because it’s really complicated.