Statues topple and a Catholic church burns as California reckons with its Spanish colonial past : The Conversation


Statues of the Spanish missionary Junípero Serra have been toppled by protesters in LA, San Francisco and Sacramento. Californians are questioning whether Serra was a saint or a colonizer – or both.

Source: Statues topple and a Catholic church burns as California reckons with its Spanish colonial past : The Conversation

Trump wages coast-to-coast legal battle to keep tax returns hidden : NBC News


The effort to obtain President Donald Trump’s tax returns is heating up as the president and his administration battle coast to coast to prevent them from falling into hostile hands and potentially being made public.

In New York, the president seeks to prevent Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance from obtaining his tax information as part of an investigation into the pre-election payoffs to women who alleged affairs with Trump. In Washington, D.C., the president is trying to prevent the House Oversight Committee from obtaining his financial records while also seeking to block the House Ways and Means Committee from utilizing a new New York law designed to give the panel access to Trump’s state tax returns should the Treasury Department refuse to turn them over (another battle that is playing out in court.)

And in California, he’s battling a new state law aimed at having him make public the returns in order to appear on a primary ballot. Those cases don’t include the various Emoluments Clause-related suits currently going through the federal system, which could lead to the president’s returns being disclosed through discovery.

Trump’s employing a wide range of legal arguments to prevent his returns from being disclosed. Among them is the argument that authorities can’t investigate a sitting president for anything — even if he shoots someone in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York City, and that immunity provides blanket cover for his business, his family members and his business associates. Then, there is the argument that Congress can’t investigate a sitting president unless it has a legitimate legislative purpose — even then, if that probe is not part of an impeachment, it is not legitimate.

And should a state force Trump to release his taxes in order to appear on a primary ballot, or provide Congress with his state returns, they would be violating his First Amendment rights. Additionally, providing the returns would be an undue burden on the president, significantly hampering his ability to do his job, he’s argued.

“Underlying the president’s defense in most of the information-seeking cases is an argument that a president is immune from being investigated while in office,” Walter Dellinger, a Duke University law professor who served as acting solicitor general under former President Bill Clinton, told NBC News. “That argument permeates most of the cases as a linchpin. I expect that argument to be thoroughly rejected by the courts, including by justices appointed by President Trump.”

 

Source: Trump wages coast-to-coast legal battle to keep tax returns hidden : NBC News

To defend his immigration agenda, Trump points to ‘riots’ that don’t exist | MSNBC


What kind of president makes up “riots” in his own country?

At a campaign rally in Nevada, President Donald Trump claimed Californians are “rioting” against “sanctuary cities” – a statement yet to be supported by evidence.

After deriding Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.) on her immigration policies at a rally in Elko, Trump told the crowd he thought Nevadans didn’t care for sanctuary cities, and that Californians didn’t like them either. Trump spoke in support of Sen. Dean Heller, Rosen’s Republican opponent in the upcoming midterm election.

“They’re rioting now,” Trump said of Californians. “They want to get out of their sanctuary cities.”

In context, “they” referred to Golden State residents who agree with the White House on so-called “sanctuary cities.”

In other words, after weeks of Trump rhetoric about dangerous Democratic “mobs,” the president believes it’s his supporters who’ve taken to the streets, violently lashing out at communities in California that disagree with the White House about immigration.

In reality, of course, the riots don’t exist. The debate over so-called “sanctuary cities” is real, but enraged conservatives rioting in California appear to be limited to the president’s imagination.

As spokesperson for California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) told the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale, “Trump and truth have long had a troubled relationship. These comments, frankly, don’t merit a response.”

All of this comes six months after the president said via Twitter, “There is a Revolution going on in California. Soooo many Sanctuary areas want OUT of this ridiculous, crime infested & breeding concept. Jerry Brown is trying to back out of the National Guard at the Border, but the people of the State are not happy. Want Security & Safety NOW!”

There’s no “revolution” underway in California, either.

 

Source: To defend his immigration agenda, Trump points to ‘riots’ that don’t exist | MSNBC

‘Apocalyptic threat’: dire climate report raises fears for California’s future | Environment | The Guardian


California’s summer of deadly wildfires and dangerous heatwaves will soon be the new normal if nothing is done to stop climate change, a report released on Monday warns.

City heatwaves could lead to two to three times as many deaths by 2050, the report says. By 2100, without a reduction in emissions, the state could see a 77% increase in the average area burned by wildfires. The report also warns of erosion of up to 67% of its famous coastline, up to an 8.8F rise in average maximum temperatures, and billions of dollars in damages.

“These findings are profoundly serious and will continue to guide us as we confront the apocalyptic threat of irreversible climate change,” said the state’s governor, Jerry Brown, in a tweet about the report, the fourth statewide climate change assessment released since 2006.

Rising temperatures could lead to up to 11,300 additional deaths in 2050, the report says, and the overall number of days marked by extreme heat will “increase exponentially in many areas”.

The effects of those extreme heat days will probably weigh most heavily on the state’s most vulnerable residents, including the more than 100,000 people who are homeless in California, many of whom live on the streets without reliable access to fans, air conditioners, or running water.

“The 2006 heatwave killed over 600 people, resulted in 16,000 emergency department visits, and led to nearly $5.4bn in damages,” the assessment reports. “The human cost of these events is already immense, but research suggests that mortality risk for those 65 or older could increase tenfold by the 2090s because of climate change.”

 

Source: ‘Apocalyptic threat’: dire climate report raises fears for California’s future | Environment | The Guardian

Trump court battle imperils Senate Dems, House GOP | TheHill


The debate over the Supreme Court is raising the issue of abortion and reproductive rights to a level of prominence that hasn’t been seen in years, creating an unpredictable and dangerous environment for incumbents in the midterm elections.

Democrats say the prospect that the Senate will confirm a nominee who could overturn the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion will bring an army of Democrats to the polls — to the detriment of Republicans, particularly in the House.

“Our biggest ally here is their own rhetoric because they’re not trying to finesse this in anyway. They’re clear about their agenda,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake.

“There’s no question it mobilizes more our side,” Lake added. “There are a lot more millennial women than born-again Christians who need to be mobilized.”

Republicans are just as confident that the issue will mobilize their own grass roots, which backed President Trump in 2016 partly because of his promises on Supreme Court nominees.

“If you look at the way Trump won in 2016, a big part of that was energizing the evangelical base that didn’t turn out in 2008 and 2012,” said a Senate Republican pollster.

“The groups that turn out at the lowest numbers are noncollege educated white males and evangelicals. A Supreme Court nomination fight is like injecting fuel into the enthusiasm level of that base,” the pollster said.

It’s possible that both sides could be right, with the battle helping Republicans keep their Senate majority but potentially hurting them in the fight over the House.

 

Source: Trump court battle imperils Senate Dems, House GOP | TheHill

The American Court Ruling against Holocaust Denial


Beastrabban\'s Weblog

In my article on Saturday reviewing the book Genocide: A Critical Bibliographic Review, edited by Israel W. Charny (London: Mansell Publishing 1991) I mentioned that amongst its contents, the chapter on Holocaust Denial has a passage describing how a Neo-Nazi rag in America was successfully sued over the issue of the existence of the Holocaust. The rag stated it never happened, and challenged people to prove that it had. One man did, and when the magazine refused to pay out the sum it had promised to pay, took them to court. The judge ruled in his favour, and stated that it was more than adequately demonstrated that the Shoah was historical fact. Here’s the passage:

Verdict of an American Judge on the Offer to pay $50,000 for Proof that the Nazis Gassed Jews

In the United States, the Institute for Historical Review offered to pay fifty thousand dollars to…

View original post 390 more words

Jimmy Dore: Stop and Search Policing Now Shown to Be Rubbish


Persecute the innocent and eventually the innocent will want their revenge. By profiling you are demonising an entire race, religion or culture.

In every race, religion or culture there will be a minority who will not conform to what society expects for a variety of reasons, ignorance of the said rules or laws, a persecution complex, contempt for others, bullying, etc. Many of these persons could need educating or counseling to ascertain reasons for their behaviour and some a form of punishment. For we are in an assumed civilised society and should care for our fellow beings and show them respect and understanding in order that they may reflect on what they are doing.

But first we require an equalised society in that the controlling powerful forces, such as Government, police, media, etc. do not castigate, vilify or victimise sections of the community to further increase resentment and exclusion.

Beastrabban\'s Weblog

This is another fascinating piece from the American comedian Jimmy Dore, who turns up regularly on The Young Turks internet show. In this video he discusses an article in one of the New York Papers, reporting a study that has shown ‘broken windows’ policing to be complete rubbish. ‘Broken windows’ policing is the name given to the police strategy of prosecuting people for minor offences – what are called ‘quality of life’ offences, like graffiti, riding your bike on the pavement and so on, in the expectation that cracking down on minor crimes will lead to a drop in major felonies. It includes ‘stop and frisk’ – what over here is called ‘stop and search’ – in which people are stopped and searched at random by the rozzers.

The ‘broken windows’ strategy takes its name from an official experiment, in which a car was left in the road with its…

View original post 469 more words

The US is stopping British citizens going on holiday – we can’t look the other way | Stella Creasy | Opinion | The Guardian


US national security Counter-terrorism policy California UK security and counter-terrorism Islam Religion Air transport

Source: The US is stopping British citizens going on holiday – we can’t look the other way | Stella Creasy | Opinion | The Guardian

Opinion: Shouts of vaccine opponents drown out rational arguments


Original post from The Sacramento Bee

‘………BY MARCOS BRETON  MBRETON@SACBEE.COM

It’s a shouting match dominated with bullies who make threats, scream about personal beliefs and fill your voice mail with angry phone calls.

Richard Pan – the Sacramento state senator and doctor – is getting a steady dose of such vitriol amid the hottest political fight in California. He strikes a solitary figure in sensible glasses as he gets pummeled every day in the public square.

Pan has people on his side in the fight to immunize as many children against measles and other infectious diseases as possible. But Pan’s support is expressed rationally, scientifically.

His bill, SB 277, would eliminate personal-belief exemptions that allow parents to avoid vaccinating their children, and would require that children be vaccinated before attending private or public schools. Supporters include the state PTA, California public health officers, the California Medical Association and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The counties of Yolo, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Marin and Los Angeles support this bill, as do the Pasadena Public Health Department, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, the American Nurses Association and the San Francisco Unified School District.

There are many more, but you get the point.

None of these groups has demonstrated support by invoking the Holocaust or their “God-given” rights. It doesn’t appear that any of Pan’s supporters have threatened people on the other side. But Pan requires extra security now thanks to threats against him as he lobbies for 277 while it teeters on the verge of being shot down by irrational fears about vaccinations.

Pan’s fellow legislators have begun to buckle. Suddenly, it’s about making sure that those who object to immunizations are not barred from public education.

If that becomes the excuse to undermine the undeniable science that children should be vaccinated to prevent the spread of disease, then it would be refreshing to hear legislators admit that they caved because they were scared.

A myth debunked by science – that vaccines cause autism – has already killed attempts to bolster vaccinations in Oregon and Washington.

“Members just received a lot of calls and emails from the public – some were their constituents and some were from all over the state and the country – just very adamant that they didn’t like it,” said Washington state Rep. June Robinson, a Democrat, to Jeremy B. White of The Sacramento Bee. “I think it changed the vote, quite frankly, for some members who thought they would vote for it and changed their mind. I think people were swayed by the constant barrage of communication.”

What kind of communication?

“They tend to bully, use hyperbolic language,” Pan said. “They’ll call and call and call. Some guy from Texas keeps calling us.”

One Facebook posting compared Pan to a Nazi; another suggested he should be hung with a noose.

Who could forget Robert Kennedy Jr. comparing the rise in autism – which he blames on vaccines – to a holocaust during a speech at the state Capitol?

Kennedy apologized, but the tone has been set. A 1997 British study that linked vaccinations and autism has long been debunked by the scientific community, which finds no link at all. The idea nonetheless persists.

Many people spoke against SB 277 at the Capitol last week. Their reasons were often steeped in fear or in the idea that they could hold themselves separate from a broader community.

The issue that may scuttle SB 277 is the prospect, as expressed by some legislators, that kids would be forced into inadequate home schooling if their parents or guardians refused to immunize them. If a workable compromise can’t be reached – if a mob mentality scares enough legislators to embrace a no vote as an opposed to a compromise – then those who shout the loudest will have won.

There are reasonable people in Sacramento who feel Pan is orchestrating a self-serving overreach. The most recent – and highly publicized measles outbreak – wasn’t at a school but at Disneyland. So why dictate that school kids only gain admission to schools by getting vaccinations first?

Those who ask that question aren’t paying attention.

After being on the wane a decade ago, measles is coming back. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, measles exploded with 668 cases in the U.S. in 2014. There have been more than 150 so far in 2015, according to the CDC. Most of these are in California. Most of them occurred in people who had not been vaccinated.

It’s not just measles. The Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that clusters of unvaccinated people were one of several factors that led to the worst outbreak of whooping cough in California in 2010 – worse than any year since 1947.

“Why do we have to wait for someone to die?” Pan said on Friday. “One in five people who contract measles are hospitalized. This is not a benign disease.”

Pan said he is drawing a line at schools because it is where children cross paths and if you are allowing the pool of unvaccinated children to grow, you are creating more chances for more outbreaks among the unvaccinated.

“If you have a baby under the age of 1, that child cannot be immunized,” Pan said. “If your child has cancer or lupus, that child cannot be immunized. These are people that depend on everyone else being (immunized).”

In some respects, Pan knows he being outgunned by strident voices citing anecdotal evidence that vaccines are dangerous. Pan is appealing to supporters to speak up for increased vaccinations. But supporters of SB 277 are not vehement – and vehemence is carrying the day.

“We need to protect all children; that’s what this is about,” Pan said. “God help us if someone gets permanent disability or dies because a minority made choices based on misinformation. Shame on us.”………….’