Biden signs order to ‘undo moral and national shame’ of family separations as Homeland Security chief sworn in | The Independent

According to the executive order, the task force will review “any other related policy, program, practice, or initiative resulting in the separation of children from their families” at the border. It covers a range of 20 January 2017 through 20 January 2021, the duration of Trump’s term.

Source: Biden signs order to ‘undo moral and national shame’ of family separations as Homeland Security chief sworn in | The Independent

Myanmar Military Blocks Internet During Coup



Click to expand Image

Myanmar Times newspaper with the headline ‘State of Emergency’ among other newspapers for sale are seen on display a day after the Myanmar’s military detained the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s president in a coup. 
© (Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

This is not the first time Myanmar’s military leaders have rounded up civilian leaders and taken power. But this time, bad old habits have come with new rights abuses.

Myanmar’s military began detaining senior government officials and activists across the country on February 1, seizing control of the government. Communication networks were shut down through the use of disruption techniques targeting cellular services and so-called “kill switches” to cut off internet traffic – tactics the government has already used in conflict-wracked Rakhine and Chin States. The shutdown across large swaths of the country for several hours —including throughout Naypyidaw, Yangon, Mandalay and Sagaing Regions, and Shan and Kachin States—raises serious concerns of more prolonged and dangerous military shutdowns in the future.

Under international human rights standards, internet-based restrictions must be necessary and proportionate. Blanket internet shutdowns are a form of collective punishment. They hinder access to information and communications needed for daily life, which is particularly vital during times of crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic. Shutdowns can also endanger lives in humanitarian crises, an acute concern in Myanmar where over 1 million people require some form of humanitarian assistance. Restrictions also provide cover for human rights abuses, and complicate efforts to document government violations.

Besides rescinding the state of emergency, recognizing the duly elected government, releasing all those arbitrarily detained and ending all unlawful deprivation of fundamental rights, the military authorities need to ensure access to information through the internet and mobile networks. Internet service providers should uphold their responsibilities under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which calls on companies to “[s]eek to prevent or mitigate adverse human rights impacts that are directly linked to their operations, products or services by their business relationships, even if they have not contributed to those impacts.” This means pushing back against unjustified internet shutdowns. Service providers should insist upon a legal basis for any shutdown order, interpret requests to cause the least intrusive restrictions, and restore access as soon as possible.

Governments around the world should take joint action in response to the coup to ensure the rights of Myanmar’s people are respected. Among the front burner issues should be their access to information through the internet and cellular services.

H.Res. 73: Providing the Sergeant-at-Arms with the authority to fine Members, Delegates, or the Resident Commissioner for failure to complete security screening for entrance to the House Chamber, and for other purposes.

Keep weapons off House Floor!


Legislation Coming Up: This resolution has been added to the House’s schedule for the coming week, according to the House Majority Leader. More information can be found at

Last Action: This resolution is in the first stage of the legislative process. It was introduced into Congress on February 1, 2021. It will typically be considered by committee next before it is possibly sent on to the House or Senate as a whole.

Georgia state senators drop multiple bills that would make it harder to vote after Democratic wins

Time for DOJ to monitor for voting rights violations…!


Republican state senators in Georgia filed a series of bills on Monday, several of which could make it more difficult to vote in the state.The proposals come after Democrats succeeded in the flipping the state blue…

Georgia GOP moves to reduce vote-by-mail

More Southern Fascism

By Ben Nadler | Associated Press

ATLANTA — Republicans in Georgia’s state Senate are moving quickly to limit who can vote and how after Democrats won the presidential election and two U.S. Senate runoffs in the once reliably red state.

Democrats say the GOP’s bills are unnecessary, politically motivated and will suppress legal votes.

Many of the proposals target absentee voting by mail after relentless false claims by former President Donald Trump and his allies — including some Republican state senators. State election officials have said unequivocally that there was no widespread fraud in voting by mail, or irregularities that could have changed November’s results.

The bills introduced Monday would restrict who can vote absentee by mail, require a photo ID for those who do vote absentee by mail, ban ballot drop boxes and block outside groups from sending out absentee ballot applications. Other proposals would end automatic voter registration when obtaining a driver’s license and ban new residents from voting in a runoff election.

Taken together, they represent a sweeping attempt by Republicans to tighten control over Georgia’s voting system.

Senate Bill 67 would require that a voter provide either their driver’s license number or personal ID card number or provide a photocopy of their ID when applying for an absentee ballot. That’s slightly more forgiving than a proposal introduced in the Senate last week that would require a person to provide photocopies of their ID, both when they apply for an absentee ballot and when they return it.

Senate Bill 71 would limit who is allowed to vote absentee by mail, a method currently available to any Georgian without needing an excuse. The bill would only allow absentee voting under particular circumstances, including for voters who are 75 or older, have a physical disability or will be absent from their precinct on the date of the election. The bill doesn’t mention global pandemics as a blanket excuse.

Broad, no-excuse absentee voting was introduced in Georgia by a Republican-controlled legislature in 2005. But Democrats cast nearly twice as many absentee ballots as Republicans in November’s election, with many voters avoiding the polls because of the risk of infection.

State Sen. Butch Miller, a Republican from Gainesville who is co-sponsoring the bills, did not immediately respond to a phone call or text message, or to a message left with his Senate office.Senate Republicans said in December that they would move to implement new voting legislation as soon as the 2021 session convened, responding to “the calls of millions of Georgians who have raised deep and heartfelt concerns” about November’s election results.

Some of the bills unveiled this week go even further than what they called for then, and Democrats slammed the proposals.

Sen. Nikki Merritt, a Democrat from Grayson, called them a “slate of voter suppression bills” during a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday.

“I see a desperate attempt by a party clinging to waning power, so out of touch and too lazy to pivot messaging to speak to a broader electorate,” Merritt said of Republicans.

Sen. Elena Parent, a Democrat from Atlanta, called the package of bills a “multi-headed monster” of voter suppression after President Joe Biden and U.S. Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won in free and fair elections.

“There is no evidence of fraud in the recent Georgia elections,” Parent tweeted. “Now, GA Senate Republicans introduced (a) bevy of bills to try to stop multi-racial, multi-age coalition that elected them from voting. Desperate & shameful.”

While some of the proposals seem likely to pass in some form, others could face headwinds even among fellow Republicans. House Speaker David Ralston said in January that he was not convinced of the need to end no-excuse absentee voting, for one.

More than 100 bills in 23 states focused on restricting voting

GrabOldPower to steal elections and deny vote to people of color

By Kelly Mena | CNN

State lawmakers across the US have filed more than 100 bills since the November election aimed at reforming election procedure and limiting voter access, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice.

In all, 28 states have introduced, pre-filed or are advancing 106 restrictive bills for the 2021 legislative session, a significant spike from just 35 bills in 15 states in 2020, according to the Brennan Center analysis. The majority of bills look to restrict or put limitations on how and who can vote by mail, while others look to impose photo ID laws and take a more aggressive voter purge policy, according to the report.

Their sponsors argue that the measures are necessary to restore confidence in and integrity to the voting process after it was marred by baseless allegations of voter fraud pushed by former President Donald Trump and other GOP officials, culminating with the deadly January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol.

Mail-in voting was dramatically expanded in 2020 because of the pandemic as election officials and lawmakers looked to balance public health precautions with the right to vote — and led to a dramatic shift in voter turnout, with Democrats disproportionately favoring mail-in or early voting options.

Though there has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud, Republicans nationally have made election law changes a priority this year.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel has said the party will be taking a “heavy role” in pushing for the election changes.

“It’s going to be done at the state level. I think a lot of these states are already looking at their state laws,” McDaniel said in an interview with Fox News on Monday.

Opponents of the measures say that they make the voting process less secure while also limiting voter participation.

“There are some politicians that are very concerned about the historic turnout that we saw in the 2020 election and are determined to put barriers in front of the ballot box to try and give themselves a job security play,” Myrna Pérez, director of voting rights and elections at Brennan, said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday.

“There are some politicians who are trying to manipulate the rules of the game so some people can participate and some people can’t,” Pérez added.

Rolling back ‘no excuse voting’

Among the states where Republicans are leading a charge against mail-in voting is Pennsylvania, where mail-in ballots sealed President Joe Biden’s victory over Trump. Lawmakers have offered three different proposals that look to eliminate so-called “no-excuse” mail voting legislation that passed in 2019 with a GOP-led legislature.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Jim Gregory, a Republican co-sponsor of one of the bills, previously told CNN that the goal is to restore “integrity and trust” in the voting process.

“The confusion that took place afterwards, and just the lack of faith in how things were run, is really affecting people’s belief and desire to want to vote again. That is especially true in my district,” he said.

In Arizona — another battleground state — that flipped to Democrats for only the second time in more than seven decades, Republicans have introduced legislation that would repeal the state’s permanent early voting list — which allows voters to automatically receive their ballots by mail for every election.

Lawmakers in Missouri are also looking to eliminate concerns about Covid-19 as an excuse for requesting absentee ballots, while a North Dakota bill would limit who can vote by absentee ballot.

Clamping down on applications and third-party involvement

Other states like New Jersey, Texas and Washington are considering bills that would limit who can send absentee ballot applications, or how widely they can go out.

In the lead-up to the November election, Texas in particular became the center of a fight over ballot mail-in ballots applications when Harris County, which includes the state’s largest city of Houston, was blocked from sending out applications to all voters amid legal fight with Republicans. The GOP argued that the applications should only go to voters qualified to vote by mail.

A slew of other bills being considered include measures that would restrict assistance to voters, would enhance witness requirements and would limit the options a voter has for returning their absentee ballot.

Requiring photo ID

Legislators in nearly a dozen states have introduced bills that would impose a photo ID requirement either for early in-person voting or voting by mail.

Proponents of photo ID requirements argue that it prevents voter fraud, although studies of recent elections show in-person voter fraud to be rare.

New Hampshire Republicans introduced a bill that would require voters to include a copy of their photo ID with their absentee ballot application and when returning their completed ballots.

Similar legislation was introduced on Monday in Georgia, where Republicans split with Trump to defend the November results but have since signed on to proposed reforms.

The Granite State is also considering a bill that would prevent the use of student IDs as identification for voting. Mississippi is weighing legislation that would prohibit the use of out of state drivers’ licenses.

Voter purges

GOP lawmakers are also focusing on voter roll maintenance, specifically looking to remove voters from rolls for inactivity.

An Arizona Republican legislator has introduced a bill that would remove voters who fail to vote in a four-year election cycle and fail to respond to a notice. Mississippi is considering a similar measure.

A New Hampshire bill would allow election officials to remove voters from rolls based on data provided by other sates, a practice that has been blocked by federal courts for violating the Nation Voter Registration Act.