The Felon Voter

Crystal Mason, resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas, has been sentenced to five years in prison for casting an illegal ballot in the 2016 election.

An election worker assisted Mason in filling out a good-faith provisional ballot after Mason discovered her name was not on the voter roll.

Although Mason was convicted of felony tax fraud, she claims that she was not informed of the suspension of her right to vote, despite reportedly having signed a document disclosing that information.

In the state of Texas, voting illegally is a second-degree felony charge with a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. Mason’s case was prosecuted in Tarrant County, which saw a Mexican national sentenced to eight years in prison over illegal voting charges last year.

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The Death of DACA?

The President of the United States has once again called upon the Senate to invoke the “nuclear option” in order to pass stricter immigration laws targeting DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients.

The “nuclear option” would allow a simple majority vote, rather than the mandated three-fifths, to pass legislation.

In an unhinged, uninformed, prejudicial tweet-storm that began on Easter Sunday, also the third day of Passover, showed just how ill-informed our president is on the topic of immigration policy.

In a ridiculous conflation, the president blamed DACA policy for an incoming caravan of Central American asylum-seekers, saying “everyone wants to get on the DACA bandwagon.”

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The March of Return

Protests at the border between Gaza and Israel have resulted in at least 18 Palestinian deaths by Israeli military forces.

UPDATE 04/16/2018 11:36 AM PST: Palestinian protesters gathered along the border with Israel for the third Friday in a row in the ongoing “March of Return” protest. Thirty Palestinians were injured Friday, and Israeli soldiers have killed at least 34 Palestinians since the protests began on March 30.

The protest was planned to coincide with Palestinian Land Day, which marks the anniversary of the confiscation of Palestinian land by the Israeli government in 1976. It is being called the March of Return. Continue reading

UPDATE: Shutting it Down

Autopsy results show that Stephon Clark was shot seven times in the back, challenging claims made by the Sacramento Police Department that Clark was facing officers and approaching them at the time of his death.

Out of the 20 rounds fired, a total of eight bullets entered Clark’s body.

UPDATE 04/03/2018 03:28 PM PST: Lawmakers and the family of Stephon Clark have proposed that California become the first state to heavily restrict when officers are allowed to fire their weapons. The proposed legislation would change the standard for firing one’s weapon from “reasonable force” to “necessary force.” American Civil Liberties Union legislative advocate Lizzie Buchen said that the change would mean law enforcement could only shoot if “there were no other reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force.”

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A Clear and Present Danger

In a landmark decision that may change the course of future climate litigation, a Massachusetts judge has ruled in favor of 13 climate activists.

The judge ruled that the potential threat posed by the Spectra Energy fracked-gas pipeline to both the environment and to residents’ health legally necessitated the protesters’ acts of civil disobedience.

This is huge.

True, the protesters were unfortunately unable to prevent the pipeline from becoming operational, so why am I making such a fuss? Why is this such a big deal?

Because this is the first time that a judge has recognized the that the continued development of fossil fuel infrastructure poses a direct threat to both community health as well as to the overall well-being of the environment.

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The Citizenship Question

The current president of the United States is attempting to manipulate the national census by adding a citizenship question.

If successful, this will effectively turn the census into a tool for voter suppression.

UPDATE: 04/03/2018 03:41 PM PST: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading the charge in a multi-state lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Bureau of the Census. The state of New York is joined by 16 other states, the District of Columbia, and six cities throughout the U.S.

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Shutting It Down

On March 18, just six days before the worldwide #MarchForOurLives, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was shot 20 times while holding a cell phone.

Authorities claim that it appeared as though Clark was holding a gun. He leaves behind two children.

On the evening of March 18, authorities in Sacramento, California were hunting down a car-robbery suspect and were directed via helicopter patrol to the backyard of Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother.

There, they encountered Clark, and shouted, “Put your hands up – gun!” before releasing a hailstorm of bullets.

The officers then waited approximately five minutes before approaching Clark to administer medical attention, and proceeded to handcuff his dead body.

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Captains of Industrial Warfare

John Bolton has been appointed to replace Henry McMaster as this administration’s third national security advisor.

And it is safe to say that many a left-leaning activist and more than a few centrists (even a handful of right-wingers) are pressing the proverbial panic button.First of all, who is this guy? With alarming headlines circulating such as, “It’s time to panic now,” you may be confused if you’ve never heard the name before.

With a career rooted in the Reagan administration and influential positions in both Bush administrations, Bolton’s self-proclaimed “happiest moment” was his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2002 during his tenure as ambassador to the United Nations.

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The Voice of the Nation

On March 24, 2018 the people of the United States of America rediscovered their collective power and took their first steps as a nation towards understanding the power of silence.

According to the Times, as many as 800,000 people gathered in Washington, D.C. to protest gun violence and to advocate for stricter gun control policy, and satellite protests were held in all 50 states throughout the country.

For the first time in years, the people of this country displayed something that looks quite a bit like solidarity — perhaps even the precursor of unity.

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Enough is Enough

On December 14, 2012, a 20-year-old man entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and proceeded to shoot and kill 20 children between the ages of six and seven years old, as well as 6 adult staff members.

The nation echoed the demand, “Never again.”

Since that day, 7,000 children have been killed by guns in the U.S. and our government has done nothing to stop it.

It is no secret that the National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most influential lobbying groups in the U.S. when it comes to policy surrounding gun control, gun violence, and research into gun-related deaths and issues.

Since 2013, immediately following the tragic shooting in Newtown, the NRA has actively, and until recently, successfully combated all efforts on the part of the federal government to fund research into gun violence.

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