Suit Against Preventive Detention Moves Forward
A federal judge ruled that plaintiffs attempting to overturn preventive detention without trial showed a “likelihood to prevail” in their suit. Former New York Times correspondent Chris Hedges, one of the plaintiffs, said the law would allow “anyone to be swept up” by government “acts of extraordinary rendition on American soil against American citizens.” Daniel Ellsberg, of Pentagon Papers fame, said the legislation has already had a chilling effect on reporters and activists, like himself, who don’t want to wind up in a “black hole.”
Father’s Day NYC March Against Stop-and-Frisk
Opponents of New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices plan a Father’s Day protest march. A new study of the nearly 700,000 individual stops, last year, shows that “wherever people of color are,” in the city, “they’re going to be stopped by police,” said Candis Tolliver, of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Slain Prisoner’s Family Files Complaint
The family of John Carter, who died last month when guards at the Rockview, Pennsylvania state prison entered his solitary confinement cell firing pepper-spray and electric shock weapons, is seeking criminal charges against prison staff. Brete Grote, of the Human Rights Coalition, said “We’ve documented hundreds upon hundreds of human rights violations, many amounting to torture, in well over a dozen Pennsylvania prisons over the last five years.”
Report on Prison Sexual Abuse
A new study b the U.S. Justice Department shows about one in ten prison inmates is sexually assaulted during his or her term of confinement. Lovisa Stannow, executive director of Just Detention International, said the survey was more accurate than previous studies because it was conducted on former prisoners “who are no longer living with the active and acute fear of retaliation” by guards or inmates.
Housing Settlement Money Diverted
Troubled home owners expected that a $25 billion settlement between state attorneys general and the nation’s top banks would provide some relief from imminent foreclosure. But at least 29 of the states plan to divert at least some of their share of the money to non-housing uses. Arizona wants to spend much of it on prisons. “It’s an awful idea, and I think it’s unlawful,” said Tim Hogan, executive director of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest. Alan Jenkins, executive director of Opportunity Agenda, in New York City, said the settlement funds were “intended to address a specific harm: an insult to the American dream and a violation of our belief in equal opportunity for all.
New Voter Bill
Democrats in the U.S. House have introduced a Voter Empowerment Act designed to “modernize voter registration,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, of the Brennan Center for Justice. The Brennan Center helped develop parts of the legislation, such as eliminating “voter caging” – the purging of voter rolls of people whose mail is undeliverable.
Robin Hood Tax
Protesters mobilized by National People’s Action and the National Domestic Workers Alliance marched to the suburban, Washington DC home of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, demanding a financial transaction tax on Wall Street trading. National People’s Action spokesperson Mary Moreno said the so-called “Robin Hood tax” would “generate a lot of revenue” to fund needed social programs.
“Death March” in Benton Harbor
Veteran activist Rev. Edward Pinkney blames the giant Whirlpool corporation’s jobs outsourcing policies for shrinking the population of mostly Black Benton Harbor, Michigan, down from 30,000 to less than 10,000 in recent years. Pinkney will lead a “death march” through the local PGA-affiliated golf course, this week, featuring a coffin filled with the names of dead or displaced citizens. A sign will declare, “Whirlpool Commits Genocide.”
It’s Expensive to be Poor
Gary Rivlin, author of Broke USA, said the added costs of poverty, such as check cashing fees and appliance rentals, amount to about $2,500 a year for a typical working poor household. The extra costs represent a “poverty tax.”
U.S. Veers Right as World Goes Left
Dr. Gerald Horne, professor of history and African American studies at the University of Houston, said “the world is moving to the left, but the U.S. is not.” Horne spoke on host Norman Richmond’s Saturday Morning Show, on Regent Radio, in Toronto, Canada. While Europe rebels against austerity, U.S. courts have drifted rightward and could conceivably rule that the remnants of America’s social safety net are unconstitutional.