Monthly Archives: September 2014

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The GDR was not a rogue state – Die DDR war kein Unrechtsstaat

It is Sunday. I am sitting on my couch and read German newspapers online. In the online edition of DIE ZEIT I am reading an article about coalition negotiations between the Green Party, the SPD and The Left Party. There was a state election last weekend in Thueringen/Germany. Because the people in Germany have no direct vote, the political parties in Germany are trying to figure out what they want to do with the peoples vote. Germany is an indirect democracy, which

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Petition Askes For White House To Declare Copblock And Others ‘Domestic Terrorists’

In what I’m sure is a huge coincidence, a petition at We the People was submitted Sept. 19th asking for the government to label “Copblock.org” (and any variation) members as “domestic terrorists.” [h/t Police State USA] This seems to follow news of Austin police officer Justin Berry’s designation of these organizations as “domestic extremists” far too closely to be just some sort of random happening — more or less within five days of the information first being exposed. Here’s the

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Cops in hot water after videos catch them shooting, beating people

One officer shot an innocent motorist during traffic stop; another beat a homeless woman. The South Carolina incident.       A South Carolina highway trooper was charged Wednesday over accusations of assault and battery in connection to the unprovoked shooting of a motorist pulled over for a seatbelt violation—an incident that was videotaped by the officer’s dashcam.   And on the same day South Carolina patrolman Sean Groubert, 31, was charged with wrongful shooting, California officials agreed to pay a

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Law Enforcement Freaks Out Over Apple & Google’s Decision To Encrypt Phone Info By Default

Last week, we noted that it was good news to see both Apple and Google highlight plans to encrypt certain phone information by default on new versions of their mobile operating systems, making that information no longer obtainable by those companies and, by extension, governments and law enforcement showing up with warrants and court orders. Having giant tech companies competing on how well they protect your privacy? That’s new… and awesome. Except, of course, if you’re law enforcement. In those

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“Anchor Babies” in the News: The Pregnancy Path to U.S. Citizenship

Every law seems to have unintended consequences. The original intent of granting citizenship to every baby born on U.S. soil (done within the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution) was to avoid creating an underclass, particularly among people who were brought to the U.S. as slaves. (Congress was responding to the infamous Dred Scott decision of 1857, in which the U.S.  Supreme Court denied citizenship rights to freed slaves.) Now, however, a cottage industry has seemingly developed to assist people

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Why Give Birth in the U.S. When a Surrogate Can Do It For You?!

It was only a matter of time, really. First, there was “birth tourism,” in which people from around the world who are interested in gaining a foothold in the U.S. arrange to enter as tourists and have a child here — their own little U.S. citizen “anchor baby.” Now, some parents are avoiding that nerve-wracking plane ride while pregnant, and simply arranging to have surrogate women in the U.S. give birth and cede their parental rights to them. For real.

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When Lawyers for the Other Side Reveal Your Immigration Status

Lawyers tend to take very seriously their duty to keep their own client’s confidential information — otherwise known as secrets — to themselves. But guess what: They get a little fuzzier on the question of whether that duty extends to the clients on the other side of a case, for example in a divorce or other civil case, or in a criminal case. And in a particularly ugly example of how this can play out, the State of Washington’s Latino/a

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Want to Know Who’s Actually Getting DACA Approval?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) just published its first-ever report summarizing the “Characteristics of Individuals Requesting and Approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).” The report supplies demographic information about people who requested DACA between August 2012 to September 2013 and were approved by January 2014, in these categories:  age range gender country of birth marital status state of residence Citizens of Mexico are, to no one’s surprise, the largest pool of applicants by far, followed by El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

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Need to Find a Relative Arrested by Immigration? See Online Detainee Locator

Sometimes what’s going in in the headlines becomes all too personal. That’s what happened for me recently, when a friend called to say that her cleaning woman from El Salvador was in a panic, having received word that her sisters had been arrested by immigration authorities after crossing the border into Texas. They’re apparently part of the flood of young people fleeing countries beset by violence, attempting to cross the Mexican border into the United States. The first question then becomes,

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Los Angeles Attorney Faces Suspension For Fake Photoshops With Dozens Of Celebrities

This is part of my “Why Attorneys are Scumbags” series Los Angeles attorney has been recommended for a six-month suspension for posting digitally doctored photos to her official website. The case concerns Svitlana Sangary, who for two years featured dozens of realistic images of her posing at parties with the likes of President Obama, the Clintons, vice president Joe Biden, former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Nick Lachey on her site. (The link to the page has since been removed,

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