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ACLU Statement On Bill To Expand Police Violence

Olympia, Washington - Today, the Washington State Senate passed Senate Bill 5919, a bill that expands law enforcement’s ability to use physical force. Enoka Herat, police practices and immigration counsel at the ACLU of Washington, had the following statement: “It’s disappointing to see the Senate rush through a bill that will harm communities, particularly the communities of color and people with disabilities this Legislature made a commitment to protect when it passed more than a dozen bills last year aimed at reform and accountability in policing. The effectiveness of those bills is indicated by data showing a 62% decrease in police killings since their enactment last year.

The Rule Of Law Must Finally Evolve Into The Rule Of Justice

Many politicians, academics, media pundits are wont of invoking the “rule of law”, a “rules-based international order”, “values diplomacy” etc.  But what do all these benevolent-sounding slogans actually mean in practice?  Who makes the rules, who interprets them, who enforces them?  What transparency and accountability accompany these noble pledges? In a very real sense, we already have a “rules based international order” in the form of the UN Charter and its “supremacy clause”, article 103 of which grants it priority over all other treaties and agreements.  The norms established in the Charter are rational, but effective enforcement mechanisms are yet to be created. We also have humanistic “values” that should guide diplomacy and peace-making – including the principle “pacta sunt servanda” (treaties must be implemented, art. 26 of the Vienna Convention on the law of treaties). 

Who Actually Owns Corporations, Anyway?

According to elementary students of economics and Wall Street financiers alike, the answer to this question is as simple as it is intuitive: the shareholders. The standard narrative goes like this: a share is a “piece of a company.” Accordingly, the holders of those shares are the company’s collective owners. Shareholder ownership explains why an army of retail investors coordinating trades on Reddit could claim they “owned a piece” of the struggling video game retailer GameStop and why Warren Buffet is as certain he “owns” companies as varied as GEICO and Dairy Queen as less wealthy Americans are certain they own the gadgets in their kitchen.

Law Requires Biden To Cancel Oil Lease Sale To Prevent Climate Harm

Washington — Conservation groups submitted formal comments today urging cancelation of February’s federal oil and gas lease auctions, saying the Biden administration is legally required to prevent harm from the leasing program’s greenhouse gas emissions, not just disclose it. “The Biden administration must do more than simply talk about climate change, it has a duty to take action on a scale and with a sense of urgency that the climate crisis demands,” said Kyle Tisdel, attorney and Climate & Energy Program director with Western Environmental Law Center. “The ongoing sale and development of federal oil and gas is not only inconsistent with climate science, but a breach of the moral obligation we have to current and future generations.”

A Plea To Make Widespread Environmental Damage An International Crime

The campaign to make ecocide an international crime took center stage in the Hague on Tuesday as Bangladesh, Samoa and Vanuatu advocated criminalizing environmental destruction during a virtual forum at the annual meeting of the International Criminal Court’s 123 member nations. The forum, attended by more than 1,300 individual participants, represented a collective cry for justice from three of the world’s most climate vulnerable countries. It came less than a month after they and other developing nations pressed their claims at the United Nations climate talks in Glasgow for greater resiliency and adaptation funding from the industrialized world, but came away largely unsatisfied.

Tribes File Briefs Defending Indian Child Welfare Act

In the briefs, the tribes call on the court to reject the petitioners’ latest attempts to overturn the Indian Child Welfare Act, which fundamentally misrepresent the law and the facts on tribal sovereignty and congressional powers to allege “race discrimination” where it does not exist. The tribes demonstrate that the Indian Child Welfare Act’s placement preferences fall “well within Congress’s broad powers over Indian affairs and classify based on tribal political affiliation, not race,” and that both the Brackeens and the state of Texas lack standing to pursue their claims.

England And Wales’s Police Bill Threatens Anyone With A Cause

Just over a year ago, disturbing reports began trickling out: the British government was preparing an attack on the right to protest in England and Wales. The right through which we won many of the things we take for granted today – from voting rights to marriage equality – which allows all of us to stand up against injustice. Now we know the government is taking a sledgehammer to this right, smashing everyone’s ability to stand up to power. In February, we at Liberty obtained proof that a bill was coming that intended to retain lockdown-like restrictions on our protest rights. Throughout the pandemic, we warned that “crisis is the ground on which long-term erosion of our rights and freedoms are often seeded”.

SCOTUS Upholds Oklahoma’s McGirt Decision: Governor And Big Oil Lose

On Monday, November 29, anti-Indigenous Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt’s futile attempts to undermine and destroy tribal sovereignty through legal avenues ended for good when the US Supreme Court refused his request to reexamine their 2020 McGirt ruling. That decision declared that Oklahoma rightfully remains Indian Territory for criminal jurisdiction, and ever since, Governor Kevin Stitt and his pro-oil “Commission on Cooperative Sovereignty” have fought desperately to overturn it in every legal space available. Chaired by Devon Energy CEO’s Larry Nichols, the commission also includes Continental Resources’ Harold Hamm, pipeline giant Williams Companies’ Alan Armstrong, as well as a litany of fossil fuel industry lobbyists and executives dead set on destroying Oklahoma’s land, air, and water.

Indian Government Forced To Withdraw Farm Laws

After fighting for almost a year, farmers in India finally won a victory against the three farms laws enacted by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government last year. Prime minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday, November 19, that the three laws would be repealed and all legal processes related to the matter will be completed during the upcoming session of parliament.

Tulalip Fishermen To Appear In Skagit Court Monday

I am a Tulalip Tribal member, Treaty fishermen, and elected member of the Tulalip Board of Directors. My Indian name from my father’s side is Wanbdi Wan Wanna Kinyan, which in English means “Eagle Who Takes Flight.” For the last six years, Anthony Paul and I have been the target of a racially motivated criminal investigation and prosecution by the State of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). But we are not the real target. The State’s real target is Tulalip Treaty rights. The real target is our way of life. On Monday, October 25, 2021 at 9 AM, we will appear in Skagit County Superior Court in Mt. Vernon to defend our existence. Please stand with us. It was my childhood dream to become a Tribal fish buyer and to start a business that would allow Tulalip fishermen to not be ripped off any longer by non-tribal fish buyers and wholesalers.

Journalist Targeted For Reporting On Police Working For A Pipeline Company

"For the first time in nearly three years, I woke up a few months ago without felony charges hanging over my head. I’m an investigative journalist and I’d been arrested twice in 2018, both times for allegedly trespassing on what’s known as “critical infrastructure,” a felony under a then-new Louisiana law that — at the urging of the oil and gas industry — redefined pipelines and their construction sites as critical infrastructure."

ALEC Leaders Boast About Anti-Abortion, Anti-Trans Bills

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a pay-to-play network of conservative state lawmakers and business lobbyists that writes model legislation, claims that it no longer works on social policy. But videos of ALEC-led events, obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), tell a very different story. At the 40th anniversary meeting of the Council for National Policy (CNP) in May, ALEC leaders boasted about their extensive efforts to advance state legislation to severely restrict access to abortion and limit the rights of trans students, as well as voter suppression bills. CNP is a secretive network of far-right Christian political figures and donors that works behind the scenes to influence Washington. “We’ve had a history of working on other issues like gun rights and social issues and things like that, which has not ended well for ALEC,” said CEO Lisa Nelson at a “Saving American Through the States” action session at the group’s meeting.

Most States Have Cut Back Public Health Powers Amid Pandemic

Republican legislators in more than half of U.S. states, spurred on by voters angry about lockdowns and mask mandates, are taking away the powers that state and local officials use to protect the public against infectious diseases. A Kaiser Health News review of hundreds of pieces of legislation found that, in all 50 states, legislators have proposed bills to curb such public health powers since the COVID-19 pandemic began. While some governors vetoed bills that passed, at least 26 states pushed through laws that permanently weaken government authority to protect public health. In three additional states, an executive order, ballot initiative or state Supreme Court ruling limited long-held public health powers. More bills are pending in a handful of states whose legislatures are still in session.

Judge Blocks Sale Of Historic African Cemetery

A Montgomery County Circuit Court ruled Wednesday, September 1st, 2021, that Montgomery County may not sell the land that includes the historic Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda, Maryland. Judge Karla Smith issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) forbidding the sale of the cemetery, currently owned by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission (HOC.) This ruling is seen as historic because of the rarity of communities prevailing in court over multi-million-dollar corporations and government agencies. The sale of the cemetery took place without a hearing or public notice, essentially under the cover of darkness. The next step is a hearing on a preliminary injunction which will be held Sept. 27th, 2021.

California Attempts To Rein In Exploitation Of Truck Drivers

Like many truck drivers delivering goods from the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to big retailers throughout Southern California, Juan Carlos Giraldo has a contract job, and it looks decent at first glance. His primary employer, Container Connection, pays a flat fee of $300 for a round trip from a port to a Walmart warehouse in Mira Loma. With no traffic or wait times, the trip takes four hours, which means Giraldo can make 10 round trips a week. In the best case scenario, he earns $3,000. But the best case scenario usually doesn’t happen. Long waits at the port are routine, because his dispatcher doesn’t let him know when a shipment is ready to load. If Walmart doesn’t have an empty container ready to bring to the port, he earns half of his round-trip fee: $150. As a contract worker, Giraldo is responsible for insurance on the company truck and goods, which is $180 per week.
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