Getting a measles vaccination isn’t a personal choice – it’s a social responsibility | Robert Reich

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The core issue is the common good. Measles travels through the air – and if enough people opt out of vaccinations, they put everyone at a higher risk

I remember having measles as a kid. Believe me, it was no fun. Also, measles could cause birth defects if a pregnant women got infected. If you were elderly, measles could be fatal.

Eventually, after vaccinations became nearly universal in America, measles was declared eliminated from the US in 2000.

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Trump administration denies special help to Venezuelans seeking asylum

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Despite clarion calls for Venezuelan ‘freedom’ the US has resisted offering Temporary Protected Status to those fearing persecution

As Venezuela slumps further into crisis, White House officials from Donald Trump down have made repeated expressions of support for the country’s people.

But such comments stand in stark contrast to the meager help the US government is giving Venezuelans seeking refuge in the US.

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Donald Trump blames political correctness for Kentucky Derby chaos

Well bs is his specialty!

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  • Maximum Security disqualified as winner after stewards’ review
  • 65-1 outside Country House declared winner of race

Donald Trump has expressed his displeasure at the result of this year’s Kentucky Derby, blaming the chaos at the end of the race on political correctness.

An explanation of the historic inquiry ruling that disqualified Maximum Security, making Country House the @KentuckyDerby winner. pic.twitter.com/YZqqn4ucbJ

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غزة واضحيتها والفيسبوك وتضحياته

غزة واضحيتها والفيسبوك وتضحياته

مرة اخرى ، غزة تهز مضاجع راحتنا ونحن ننتظر الشهر الفضيل، لنصوم ونفطر ونتابع المسلسلات.

الصواريخ تقصف وتدمر وتقتل ، ونحن نتابع بين مشجع ومدين.

حقيقة واحدة بين فرق المشجعين والمنددين تجمعنا في وقت كل ما يتعلق بِنَا كشعب يتشتت في كل ما بقي منه من حياة وحياء. حقيقة حياة لا تزال تنبض باواصلنا بوجود مقاومة حقة لا تزال تدك نبض الاحتلال الغاصب ، وحياء انعدم من وجوهنا من حجب وتحذير في وقت نسينا اننا نعيش تحت احتلال يعتدي ليقتل وينسف ويدمر ، واقل ما يمكن فعله هو مقاومة ممكنة لمن كرس حياته من اجل كرامة لوطن لم يعد موجودا الا بنشيد وعلم ترافقه إعلام الفصائل في احسن أحواله وشعارات فيسبوك صارت الوطنية حتى فيها تهمة!

اهل غزة ليسوا ادرى بشعابها ، لان غزة وطن لنا ، ما يحصل بها يمسنا ، وما يجري على اَهلها من حصار وقتل ودمار لا يختلف الا بهوله الحالي ، فالعدو واحد وخطة التصفية العرقية للشعب الفلسطيني واحدة ولو تعددت اشكالها وتباينت أوقاتها وتغيرت طريقة الانتهاك والتصفية فيها. فنحن امام الاحتلال شعب واحد.

اسرائيل لا تقصف بالقدس ، على سبيل المثال- ولا تدك البيوت والعمارات عن بكرة ابيها ولا تقتل الآمنين لان اهل القدس اكثر أهمية او انهم أقل عنف وأكثر خنوع ، ولكن لان القدس محاصرة بحصار اشد يخنق الأنفاس لا الحركة، فاسرائيل لا تشكل فقط قوات احتلال تراهم بزي عسكري ، ولكنهم منتشرون على شكل شرطة وامن ومخابرات وقوات خاصة ومستعمرين ومتدينين، تفتح باب بيتك لتقف امام مستعمرة وتمر من بين شوارع صار حيك فيها طريقا لهم. اعتقالات وقمع وهدم للبيوت يقوم صاحب البيت بهدم ما بناه بيده. مخالفات وتهويد وفرض لطريقة حياة لا تخصنا من اجل لقمة عيش نظن اننا نملكها. ترحيل قصري وطوعي وتهجير.

يعتقلون أطفالنا وابنائنا وأزواجنا وأمهاتنا . ينكلون بشبابنا ، ويستخدموننا في احسن أحوالنا كعمال لخدماتهم وبناء مستعمراتهم ولنكون مقاولين في بناء شوارعهم ومعابرهم وجدران العزل التي تحاصرنا وتفصلنا وتقتلنا.

في الضفة الغربية من جنين الى الخليل، الاعتقالات شرسة والاجتياحات على مرأى العين وتنسيق الأمن ( الفلسطيني) والقتل علني والاغتيالات كالأفلام البوليسية حدث ولا حرج. بين مدخل المدينة والحي هناك حاجز وجدار ومستعمرة.

فغزة بالمحصلة ليست الا صورة مكبرة لبطش هدفه منذ اللحظة الاولى من الاحتلال هو التصفية العرقية لشعب واحد رغم فرقته التي دبت في أوصاله.

يفرقنا عن غزة استقلالها عند الحديث عن المقاومة. فالمقاومة في غزة تضخ دوما الدم من جديد في عروقنا التي صلبها التنسيق مع الاحتلال والعيش تحت بساطيره وحول جدرانه وسياجه العازل.

نبكي خسارة غزة من ابطال وضحايا . نحزن للخسارة المادية التي تتكرر في هدم وتدمير يحاولون دوما من خلاله قتل النفوس وهدم المعنويات . ولكن لان غزة بها عزة فلسطين ، فلا الهدم ولا القتل الا وسيلة اخرى للحياة .

نحن شعب في ما تبقى منا من احرار ، نريد وطنا بعدل وأرض هي لنا. نريد سلاما به سلم لنا . لا سلام خنوع وتطويع.

مسألة قوتهم العسكرية مقابل شح إمكانياتنا تبقى ما يبقينا اصحاب الحق في هذا الوجود . فصواريخ المقاومة كما حجر بيد طفل ابن سبع ربيع ، لها قوة تبيد بطش احتلال سيستمر بالقتل والتصفية .

المقاومة حق . والحق قوة .

ولتبقى غزة دائما رمز العزة لنا كشعب استكان في معظمه لتنسيق جعله خانع…. يخاف من الصاروخ الذي يرهب مضجع المغتصب ، ويدعي الخوف على الضحية ومان الاغتصاب صار طريقة حياة…

العزة للمقاومة بغزة.

ICE’s Attempt to Deport a Critic Was “Outrageous” and “Egregious,” Appeals Court Rules

When U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement attempted last year to deport Ravi Ragbir, an outspoken critic of the agency, it was motivated by a desire to retaliate against his criticism, according to a ruling by a panel of judges with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals released yesterday.

“Ragbir’s public expression of his criticism, and its prominence, played a significant role in the recent attempts to remove him,” the ruling says. “The government’s retaliation was egregious.”

The ruling, written by Judge Christopher Droney, constitutes a direct challenge to broad executive power over immigration issues. In the case, the administration contends that people facing deportation are not entitled to make constitutional claims. The 2nd Circuit’s rebuke of that position now sets up a potential Supreme Court showdown over whether Congress or the executive can prevent the courts from hearing such claims.

“It should outrage every American that our government would attempt to stifle important political dissent and advocacy for civil rights by deporting the government’s most prominent critics.”

Stanton Jones, one of the lawyers representing Ragbir, called yesterday’s ruling an important affirmation that the government cannot silence its critics through exile.

“It should outrage every American that our government would attempt to stifle important political dissent and advocacy for civil rights by deporting the government’s most prominent critics,” Jones said. “That is the type of behavior that we might expect from an autocratic foreign regime, but it’s not behavior that any of us should expect or accept from our government.”

Ragbir’s case is based on his allegations that when ICE attempted to deport him in January 2018, it was singling him out because of his political speech and the unflattering media attention that speech brought to the agency. When Ragbir, the leader of the New Sanctuary Coalition of New York City, attended a mandatory check-in at ICE’s New York Field Office in 2017, his supporters staged a large rally outside the Lower Manhattan office, and prominent local politicians accompanied him inside.

The protests evidently made an impression on ICE officials. A year later, Scott Mechkowski, then the deputy director of ICE’s New York office, told one of Ragbir’s lawyers, Alina Das, that he continued to feel “resentment” about the events surrounding Ragbir’s 2017 check-in, Das said in a sworn declaration.

In January 2018, Micah Busey, a clergy member supporting Ragbir who went to speak with the deputy ICE director, said Mechkowski complained about the publicity. “Nobody gets beat up in the news more than we do, every single day. It’s all over the place,” Mechkowski said, according to Busey’s sworn declaration. “How we’re the Nazi squad, we have no compassion.”

Then, according to Busey’s sworn declaration, Mechkowski went a step further, explicitly linking speech critical of the agency to ICE’s deportation decisions. Mechkowski’s statements mentioned Jean Montrevil, a colleague of Ragbir’s at the New Sanctuary Coalition who had been surprised by ICE officers outside his home and deported two days before Busey’s meeting with the ICE official. “The other day, Jean made some very harsh statements,” Mechkowski said, according to the declaration. “I’m like, ‘Jean, from me to you … you don’t want to make matters worse by saying things.’”

The 2nd Circuit’s decision reverses the lower court’s ruling in the Ragbir case based on the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. The district court judge in the case, Kevin Castel, ruled last May that even if ICE had decided to punish Ragbir for his political speech and silence him by prioritizing him for deportation, he had no legal claim because Congress has severely restricted the ability of people in deportation proceedings from raising legal challenges.

But this week, the 2nd Circuit ruled that making statements critical of the government, as Montrevil and Ragbir have, “implicates the apex of protection under the First Amendment.”

“Ragbir’s claim involves outrageous conduct. To allow this retaliatory conduct to proceed would broadly chill protected speech.”

The ruling acknowledged that a section of the 1996 law was expressly intended to prevent courts from considering the constitutional claims of people facing deportation, but held that that intent is itself unconstitutional, running afoul of the ancient and fundamental principle of habeas corpus, because people must have some judicial recourse when the government’s conduct is outrageous.

“Ragbir’s claim involves outrageous conduct,” according the ruling. “To allow this retaliatory conduct to proceed would broadly chill protected speech, among not only activists subject to final orders of deportation but also those citizens and other residents who would fear retaliation against others.”

A dissenting opinion in the 2nd Circuit, by Judge John Walker, agreed that ICE had retaliated against Ragbir, but didn’t believe the 2nd Circuit should reverse the district court’s ruling because “the government’s retaliation against Ragbir has ended and its taint has dissipated.” In his dissent, Walker also doubted whether the government’s treatment of Ragbir was “outrageous” and worried that the majority opinion might “become an open door” for claims that challenge the executive branch’s monopoly on deportation-related decisions.

Government lawyers had argued that courts should have no say in Ragbir’s fate. Since Ragbir is deportable, having received an order of removal in 2006 after being convicted of wire fraud and conspiracy, court interference would raise confusing questions: If Ragbir’s attempted 2018 deportation was unconstitutional retribution for his protected speech, how could the government ever perform its lawful function of deporting him without accusations that the process was compromised by political malice?

The 2nd Circuit left this conundrum to the district court, but noted that “at least for the near future, the taint of the unconstitutional conduct could preclude removal.” The majority opinion suggested a two-year reprieve might be appropriate. The court also extended an existing stay to prevent ICE from deporting Ragbir while his case proceeds.

The Office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District, which represented ICE in Ragbir’s case, declined to comment on the ruling. The government has 45 days to ask the 2nd Circuit to reconsider its ruling, and 90 days to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the case has been bounced back down to district court, where Ragbir’s lawyers are eager to begin discovery and learn more about how ICE came to decide to deport one of the most vocal critics of its power.

The post ICE’s Attempt to Deport a Critic Was “Outrageous” and “Egregious,” Appeals Court Rules appeared first on The Intercept.

Attorney General Barr Says ICE Has Power to Lock Up Asylum Seekers Without Hearings

The Constitution does not allow the government to lock people up without due process of law.

Today the ACLU, the ACLU of Washington, the American Immigration Council, and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project launched a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s latest assault on people who have come to the United States to seek refuge from persecution: jailing asylum seekers without even allowing a judge to decide if there’s any reason to lock them up. Attorney General William Barr’s recent decision in Matter of M-S- seeks to eliminate this basic form of due process and puts thousands of asylum seekers at risk of being wrongfully imprisoned. 

M-S- specifically applies to individuals who enter the United States without documents and are apprehended by the authorities soon after they cross the border. Under the immigration laws, those individuals can be deported immediately—unless an asylum officer finds, after an interview, that they have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture, meaning there is a “significant possibility” that they legally qualify for asylum. Asylum seekers who pass this screening will then move on to a hearing on their asylum claims in immigration court.

ICE has the authority to detain asylum seekers while these immigration court proceedings move forward. But the asylum seekers addressed in M-S- have, until now, had the right to a bond hearing where an immigration judge would decide if he or she posed a flight risk or danger to the community and should be locked up, or should instead be released from custody.

M-S- eviscerates that basic form of due process. If the decision is allowed to go into effect, asylum seekers will now be locked up without any hearing before a judge. Instead, they will be left only with the option of asking ICE for release through what’s known as the “parole process”—a process that courts have found to be a sham. If not stopped, M-S- could result in the detention of thousands of men and women who shouldn’t be behind bars.

The decision also puts asylum seekers who have already been released on bond in jeopardy. Our lead plaintiff, Yolany Padilla, is seeking asylum from violence and persecution in Honduras, with her 6-year-old son. An immigration judge ordered her release on an $8,000 bond. Under the Attorney General’s decision, Yolany now faces the risk of being redetained—and separated from her child—even though a judge found she poses no flight risk and no threat to anyone.

For more than a century, the Supreme Court has held that all persons who have entered the United States have due process rights, and the Court has emphasized that “[f]reedom from imprisonment . . . lies at the heart of the liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause of the Constitution. The bedrock form of due process against unlawful detention is a hearing, before a neutral adjudicator, to decide if the person should be locked up. M-S- violates that basic right.

The decision is also pointlessly cruel and irrational. It makes no sense to lock people up without even having a judge consider whether they should be detained—it simply guarantees that we will imprison people who don’t need to be imprisoned. That is especially true when it comes to asylum seekers. Studies confirm that asylum seekers pose no threat to public safety and are highly motivated to fight their cases and show up for court. And nothing about a hearing prevents detention in the rare case where someone does pose a risk: the judge can just deny release. 

But ultimately this isn’t about rational immigration policy or protecting public safety. The Trump administration always has made its real motives clear: it wants to deter immigrants from seeking refuge in the United States and punish people who apply for protection under our laws. But our Constitution does not allow the government to put people behind bars without due process of law.

NASA uncovers a 19-year fraud that caused failed missions

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  • An Oregon company provided falsified tests to a NASA rocket builder for almost two decades.
  • The company is now liable for $46 million in payments and the lab manager went to prison.
  • NASA can’t test every single component itself, making it important the supply chain is protected.

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An Oregon aluminum manufacturer has been defrauding NASA for almost twenty years, resulting in failed missions, announced the Department of Justice.

Sapa Profiles Inc. (SPI), now known as Hydro Extrusion Portland Inc., carried out a 19-year scam that included falsifying thousands of critical test documents, leading to the failed 2009 and 2011 launches of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory and Glory missions.

NASA Launch Services Program‘s multi-year investigation revealed that the malfunctions were caused by faulty aluminum. The launch vehicle “fairings” – specialized clamshell structures covering the mission satellites aboard the Taurus XL rocket – failed to separate due to the deficiency of the metal, provided by SPI.

The company’s employees routinely changed inconvenient numbers and violated test standards and specifications, doctoring the speeds of machines used in the testing and utilizing incorrect sample sizes. The wrong information about aluminum extrusions was then employed in the payload fairing rail “frangible joints” by Orbital Sciences Corporation, the rocket’s manufacturer.

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The company went as far as using other clients, some being contracted by the government, to provide misleading certifications.

SPI (Hydro Extrusion Portland) is now liable for $46 million in payments, a small price to pay if you consider the $700 million cost of the failed missions attributed to these aluminum defects. Jim Norman, director for Launch Services at NASA Headquarters in Washington, weighed in on the seriousness of the fraud, saying that NASA just can’t possibly test every single component and if suppliers are dishonest, missions could fail.

“In our case, the Taurus XLs that failed for the OCO and Glory missions resulted in the loss of more than $700 million, and years of people’s scientific work, ” explained Norman. “It is critical that we are able to trust our industry to produce, test and certify materials in accordance with the standards we require. In this case, our trust was severely violated.”

U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia, commenting for the DOJ, did not mince words either:

“For nearly two decades, SPI and its employees covered up substandard manufacturing processes by brazenly falsifying test results,” said Terwilliger. “They then provided the false test results to hundreds of customers across the country, all to increase corporate profits and obtain production-based bonuses.”

All criminal charges and civil claims against Sapa Profiles Inc. are being resolved with this arrangement. The testing lab supervisor, Dennis Balius, got three years of jail time for his role. The company has been suspended from doing business with the U.S. government since 2015.