Monday, July 25, 2016

Corporations Getting Into The Child Welfare Game: Featuring Nike

It looks like Nike has jumped on the child welfare bandwagon...in the proper fashion.

Any other corporations ready to come aboard?

Critique, I shall!

Rock on!
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DNC Convention Drama Update: FBI Director Comey Has Another Headache

Remember, I am only the messenger.

Poor baby.
FBI Director James Comey, "Ugh, Not again".
Contrary to public ignorance, this entire presidential race is about child welfare, or rather the final leg of implementing the privatization scheme to access the Social Security Trust Fund.

James Comey, FBI director is more than likely not a happy camper right now.

Since the public has taken an interest into the DNC convention, here are the latest updates:




The FBI is now investigating the so-called "Russian hacking" of the DNC.

If the Russians can hack the DNC, logic would present itself that it hacked into other, "unsecured, non-encrypted" servers or even the RNC?

(FYI:  Rumor in the cyberverse has it, the hack was in-house.)

And now, the plot thickens.  Marcia Fudge was. according to her own words, hand picked by the Clinton campaign weeks ago.



(FYI, rumor in the cyberverse has it Donna Brazile is Chelsea Clinton's godmother.)

  Donna Brazile Out, Marcia Fudge In. Third DNC Chair In 8 Hours
You can’t make this stuff up. The Democratic National Convention has now announced its 3rd chairperson in the last 8 hours. According to Wikileaks.org and confirmed by CNN:

Earlier today, Debbie Wasserman Shultz was outed as the DNC Chairwoman on the eve of the convention after a weekend that saw her entire office and staff exposed in an embarrassing email dump of the Democratic National Committee, exposing a concerted effort to fraudulently hand the nomination to Hillary Clinton by conspiring to derail any hopes of Bernie Sanders securing the nomination. This lead to Debbie Wasserman Shultz immediately being hired as a chair of the Clinton Campaign.

Shortly after the Wasserman Shultz resignation, CNN released Donna Brazile from her CNN contract so she could fulfill the duties as the DNC Chairperson on an interim basis for the convention in Philadelphia.She was expected to be interim Chairperson until after the elections in November.

This lasted about 30 minutes, then all hell broke loose as numerous websites, this one included, published scathing articles showing that Brazile was as deeply involved in the fraudulent activities as Wasserman Shultz was. You can read the Brazile emails here. She called Bernie Sanders “stupid” and threatened to “cuss out his staff”.

Well, Bernie apparently still has some power left and apparently now has used it to force Brazile out and the Democrats have now named a 3rd chairperson.
Marcia Fudge has now been named as the new interim chair.

Stay tuned...

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Sunday, July 24, 2016

Bringing Them To Heel: The Residuals Of The Peculiar Institution

This is a work by the artist known as Chill EB.

Instead of whips and chains, we now use chemical constraints, which are billed to Medicaid, whether needed or not.

The industry of child welfare is a perfect example of what happens when there is no regulation.

Sure, there are a few, minuscule unenforceable rules on the books to make it look legitimate, but, in essence, child welfare functions with certain immunities.

I am quite sure there are only a handful of individuals who have witnessed an honor roll child being drugged to the point of palliative care, where, if one complains of the beatings and rapes which ensued, parental rights would be terminated and the child would linger in the state of care until the age out, to live a life on the streets.

If there is be a better way, first and foremost, define better.

 

Psycho/pharma spends billions of dollars a year marketing mental 'disorders' & drugs for kids- proper terminology is child abuse propaganda -- yet these drugs are documented by international drug regulatory agencies to cause mania, psychosis, hallucinations, suicide, violence, homicidal ideation, heart attack, stroke and death. What's more, they are being prescribed for psychiatric disorders that are simply a checklist of behaviors. Get the facts here http://www.cchrint.org/psychiatric-disorders/

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The Privatization Of Child Welfare: The Democratic Ticket

This is a snapshot of things to come under a Clinton presidency:  Child Welfare 2.0.

The current discussions to change child welfare funding #HackFosterCare is pushing for predictive models.

How can you predict behavior.  You cannot.  But you can make it lucrative enough that people do not question.

Child poverty is a crime on the books as the "failure to provide for the necessary needs of the child".

This is Tim Kaine's wife who works in child welfare:

This is why child welfare has been excluded from the DNC platform:  they already have a plan and thy name is privatization.

Kaine's crime-busting past may hurt Clinton's outreach to blacks

Democrat Hillary Clinton's pick of Tim Kaine as her vice presidential running mate could hamper her efforts to reach out to African-American voters because of Kaine's past embrace of crime-fighting strategies that have driven up the U.S. prison population and are unpopular in the black community.

The now-defunct Project Exile that Kaine backed was so unusual it was championed by Republicans and Democrats alike and by both the top U.S. gun lobby group and gun-control advocates. But the federal program launched in 1997 in Richmond, Virginia, was also criticized at the time as a racially biased initiative that condemned young black men to lengthy prison terms.

Clinton has come under fire herself from black activists for her past support for tough-on-crime policies of the 1990s now blamed for a surge in U.S. prison population and heightened tensions between law enforcement and black communities.
One of her fundraisers got disrupted earlier this year by activists who asked her to “apologize for mass incarceration.”

Clinton named Kaine as her running mate late on Friday, making what is considered a safe choice for her battle against Republican presidential rival Donald Trump.

As Richmond mayor from 1998 to 2001, Kaine, 58, was a vocal supporter of Project Exile, crediting it with reducing the city's murder rate.

Its goal was to literally live up to its name by making illegal gun possession a federal, not a state, crime, which allowed prosecutors to send convicted felons, most of them black, to a distant federal penitentiary for at least five years.

Sam Sinyangwe, co-founder of Campaign Zero, a group focused on curtailing police violence, said Kaine's choice could exacerbate Clinton's problems rallying support of African-Americans, particularly younger people.

"To select somebody like (Kaine) is not a sign of good leadership potential in a president," Sinyangwe said.

Nicole Lee, a civil-rights lawyer and activist in Washington, D.C. who is African-American, also expressed concern.

“Project Exile broke black families," she said. "This is not a benign thing to be for. These measures were not used against white kids in the suburbs with guns, they were used against black kids in the cities.”

DRAMATIC TIMES
To defeat Trump in the Nov. 8 presidential election, Clinton needs high turnout among blacks and other minority voters to offset Trump's popularity among white voters.

During the 1990s, she supported tough-on-crime initiatives backed by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, but now vows to "end the era of mass incarceration."

Her campaign is trying to walk a political tightrope after the killings of two black men by police and the shooting deaths of police officers in Texas and Louisiana. She has offered support for the Black Lives Matter movement, while also strongly condemning the killings of police officers.

Officials who were in Richmond during Kaine's mayoral tenure believe the community, ravaged by the crack-cocaine epidemic and an escalating murder rate, had to take dramatic steps. Amy Dudley, a spokeswoman in Kaine's Senate office, said the senator stood by the program, believing that it reduced gun violence.

Jerry Oliver, the police chief at the time and an African-American, said the program focused on black communities out of necessity. “We had to be where the problems were,” he said.

The National Rifle Association, the nation’s biggest gun lobby, was an early proponent of Project Exile as was the gun-control advocacy group Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
As Richmond's first white mayor in more than a decade, Kaine was widely credited for helping to bridge racial divisions in the city, but Project Exile drew fire from defense lawyers and community advocates who argued that the program unfairly targeted African-Americans.

Kevin Ring, vice president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, a Washington advocacy group lobbying against federal sentencing minimums, said that Kaine, like Clinton, will have to demonstrate to black voters that he has "evolved" on the issue.

"There are some that will be bothered. There will be questions," Ring said.

Kaine supports legislation that would roll back some mandatory minimum federal sentences and give judges more discretion, although his office says he still supports firm sentences for illegal gun possession. Kaine's backing of Project Exile also makes him odd bedfellows with Trump, who has made law and order a central theme of his candidacy. Trump has called for the program's revival and his campaign website said it was "tremendous."

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Guccifer 2,0 Leaks Show Donald Trump On DNC Payroll Since April 2016

Guccifer 2.0 has released the second batch of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to Wikileaks.

Donald J. Trump was found to be listed on payroll for the DNC since April 2016 under in-kind contributions.

The link will open in Excel.

https://t.co/BQF4x6p9Ay

Go to the bottom tab for In-Kind Contributions.


All I am doing is reporting...sitting back....eating my popcorn.

Now, I am justified in my statement that Trump trolled the RNC.

Ain't karma grande?

Whistleblowers deserve much more respect.

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The Superpredator Mentality: We Treat Our Children In Poverty Like Animals, Too

The U.S. Child Welfare System treats children in the exact same manner as adult prisoners.

This includes juvenile justice, foster care and residential facilities.

Children under the care of the state grow up to reflect how they were raised.

The cycle is generational.

Therefore, in order to end generational poverty, we must give civil rights to children.

We can start by including child welfare in criminal justice reform, because poverty is considered a crime.
 

 Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Friday, July 22, 2016

CONYERS Applauds Court Decision To Block Michigan Ban On Straight Party Ticket Voting


Detroit, MI – Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) released the following statement after a U.S. District Court Judge signed an injunction to prohibit the enforcement of Michigan law P.A. 268, which bans straight-ticket voting:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“I applaud Judge Gershwin Drain’s decision to strike down the ban on straight party voting in Michigan. If allowed to take effect, this law would have made voting in Michigan burdensome for many of the citizens of Michigan, and would have further infringed upon minority voters’ access to the ballot box.

“More than 50 years after the passage of the landmark Voting Rights Act, it’s shameful that our Republican controlled state legislature would pass a law that has the potential to disenfranchise voters and impede their right to have their voices heard. Instead of making it more difficult to vote, we should be working to strengthen and protect this fundamental right for all. I am glad the court did just that, by upholding our straight-ticket voting system.”




Debbie Williams of Families & Children Justice Presents The First Annual Award Affair, July 23, 2016


The Host of The Families & Children Justice Show, Debbie Williams, is extending a special invitation to the public to come and engage in the issues of justice for families and children.

Debbie Williams has been more than  just an advocate for social justice, she is a powerful catalyst in elevating the voices of those who seek equality and justice with her weekly television and radio shows on WHPR.

What many do not know is that I consider her to be pivotal in, forcefully, integrating the issues of child welfare into the political arena of Michigan, of which continues to be ignored.

When no one would listen, when our elected officials, including official candidates and religious leaders, would turn their noses up at the ills of child poverty before slamming the doors in the faces of parents and caregivers bemoaning the stripping of their civil rights, Debbie Williams, in her humble being, continued the fight to get someone to pay attention to the silent voices of children and families.


Her tenacity has paid off.

If you are running for elected office in 2016, or even further out, I implore you to, not just show up for a photo op or a quick distribution of campaign kicker cards, I expect your campaign to make a charitable contribution to her organization, Family & Children Justice so that she may be able to continue bringing awareness to a segment of the population which has been ignored and silenced in the most egregious ways.

You may contact to support Debbie Williams:


313-828-4061

She came out of her own pocket to put this together,

It is free.

Families & Children's Justice

Oh, and by the way, I am supposed to be making a public appearance.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, July 21, 2016

House Members Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Whistleblower Protections for Federal Contractors


Washington, DC—Today, Reps. John Conyers, Jr., Ranking Member of the House Committee on Judiciary, Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Jason Chaffetz, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, Stephen F. Lynch, and Hakeem Jeffries, introduced H. R. 5920, the Whistleblower Protections for Contractors Act, to expand whistleblower protections to additional federal contractors and grantees.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Whistleblowers are the front line of defense against waste, fraud, and abuse," the Members said. "The employees who work on federal contracts and grants see firsthand when taxpayer money is being wasted, and they must be protected against retaliation when they blow the whistle on wrongdoing.  This bill makes such protections permanent and ensures more employees are covered.”

H.R. 5920 is a companion bill to S. 795, introduced by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) and cosponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), and gives subgrantees and personal services contractors the same whistleblower protections currently given to contractors, grant recipients, and subcontractors. This bill also makes existing protections permanent for civilian contractors and grantees.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CONYERS RELEASES NEW “RECORD OF PROGRESS” REPORT



Congressman John Conyers, Jr.: A Record of Progress:  A Summary of Legislative and Related Accomplishments, 1965-Present

Detroit, MI - Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (MI-13) today released an updated version of  “A Record of Progress:  A Summary of Legislation and Related Accomplishments,” a 154-page report detailing his more than 50 years of public service on behalf of the people of Michigan. Congressman Conyers is the Dean of the U.S. Congress, founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and first African-American Chair of the House Judiciary Committee. Congressman Conyers has helped secure hundreds of millions of dollars of funding for the Detroit area during his legislative career, including more than $850 million in grants and appropriated funding since 1993, and more than $300 million in the current Congress.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“It is my absolute privilege to serve the people of Michigan,” said Congressman Conyers. “I am fortunate to have been able to help pass legislation, procure funding, and take actions – both this Congress as well as in prior years – benefitting many important and worthy causes in the 13th District.  These include the Hardest Hit Fund, helping to save the IRS office in Detroit this Congress, and working to bring the first Patent and Trademark satellite office to Detroit in 2012.  I recognize that much work remains to be done, and I look forward to continuing to fight for jobs, justice and peace.”

Over the course of his career, Congressman Conyers has been responsible for more than 100 bills, amendments and resolutions that have been signed into law. These include: the Martin Luther King Holiday Act, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the Alcoholic Beverage Labeling Act, and Reauthorizations of the Voting Rights Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

This Congress, as the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Conyers was the lead Democrat in enacting the USA Freedom Act, which ends bulk data collection; the lead Judiciary Democrat in enacting the Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act, which authorizes grants for opioid abuse; and is the lead Democrat seeking to reform our criminal justice system, including limiting mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders.  He is also continuing his long-term efforts to examine the causes and incidents of police misconduct – which efforts led to passage of Congressman Conyers’ landmark Pattern and Practice legislation in 1994 and his reintroduction of the Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act this Congress, which is presently the subject of bipartisan discussions.  

Overall, Congressman Conyers has introduced more than 50 bills and resolutions this Congress, many of which are aimed at helping Detroit and Michigan, including updating the Voting Rights Act, responding to the abuses of Michigan’s emergency manager law, repairing our crumbling water infrastructure, and ensuring healthcare and jobs for all. He has also cosponsored and advocated for key gun safety legislation. 
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CONYERS: Justice Deferred: Our Work is Far From Done

By John Conyers

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
In 1968, the world watched as America imploded. Our descent into the Vietnam War and the continuing struggles for civil rights drew stark contrasts for American voters. At the very moment that we needed visionary leadership on these issues, two of our greatest voices for peace and justice—Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy—were struck down.  There was civil unrest on the streets and protests on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. When the smoke cleared, a president was elected who would magnify our divisions and ultimately resign in disgrace.

Many are drawing comparisons between 1968 and the present. We have a presidential candidate who suggests rounding up millions for deportation and wants to ban Muslims from the America Dream. We face daily reminders of injustices that we hoped we had overcome – growing fear about the state of race relations and violence in the streets that leaves young Black men dead and officers gunned down.

There is, however, one important difference between today and the 1960s: the confidence of progress. Our nation and the Black community have made tremendous progress since I was first elected to Congress in 1965. We defeated Jim Crow, opening a path for economic and political opportunity. America has twice elected an African American to the presidency. Black voices and the Black narrative are as influential and as powerful as they have ever been in every facet of our society.

I like to think my friend, Dr. King, is looking down with pride at how far we, as a people, have come.
As the former chairman and now Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Committee, I have dedicated my service to jobs, justice and peace. After decades of community complaints about police brutality, I chaired hearings in Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Dallas, which helped build the record for passage of landmark legislation like the 1994 “Pattern and Practice” statute, which gives the Department of Justice the authority to investigate law enforcement discrimination and abuse in cities like Ferguson and Baltimore. 

The loss of lives in Baton Rouge, suburban St. Paul and Dallas has left the nation in shock, as seemingly every day the media brings us news of violence borne of hate and intolerance. Modern technology and the advent of social media have made us all witnesses, just like the marches in Selma and Birmingham, making it impossible to dismiss them as fiction or someone else’s problem. We live these injustices first hand. When you see a man die before your eyes on camera, civilian or police officer, it changes your perception of humanity and invokes a response.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

CONYERS Speaks At 107th NAACP Anniversary Conference On Policing Strategies Working Group



"Yesterday I spoke at the 107th anniversary conference of the NAACP. I discussed current negotiations of my Law Enforcement Trust and Integrity Act as well as the recently formed bipartisan Congressional working group on policing strategies. I'm glad to have participated in a such an important conversation on strengthening community and police relations. This is an issue that requires an ongoing unified effort." said Conyers.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Michigan 13th Congressional Candidate John Conyers (U.S. Rep., D-MI) In His Own Words

Click below to hear the full WDET 101.9 FM Detroit Public Radio interview of John Conyers with quinn klinefelter



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BIPARTISAN POLICING STRATEGIES WORKING GROUP HOLDS FIRST MEETING


Washington, D.C.  – The bipartisan working group on policing strategies – announced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) – met to discuss the issues of the use of excessive force by police, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues.

Also attending the working group meeting were Reverend Doctor DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, and Deborah A. Ramirez, the Executive Director for Partnering for Prevention and Community Safety Initiative and Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law.

Ranking Member Conyers and Chairman Goodlatte released the following statement after the meeting:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“The first meeting of the bipartisan working group on policing strategies was a productive start to the important national conversation on what can be done to improve the relationship between police officers and their local communities, end excessive use of force, strengthen police accountability, and prevent attacks on law enforcement.

“Members agreed to use the coming weeks to engage with their constituents, including law enforcement, religious and other community leaders, area youth, as well as mothers and fathers who have lost children to violent crime, on these issues and reiterated their commitment to finding ways to rebuild the trust between local law enforcement and the citizens they are sworn to protect and serve. We expect the task force will be holding future meetings in the coming weeks and months as well.”

Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers are leading the working group.  Members of the working group are: Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Will Hurd (R-Texas), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.).

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Michigan Governor Rick Snyder Uses State Police For Campaign Purposes

Michigan State Police GOP Campaign Staff


Well, well, well.  Look at what we have here!
Governor Rick Snyder is sending 100 Michigan State Troopers to assist in the GOP Convention in Ohio.

Now, let us examine this phenomenon:

First you have major corporations pulling support of the Republican convention.

Then, you have a slew of elected Republicans boycotting the convention.

The Ohio Governor Kasich refuses to honor Ohio police union request to implement a temporary open carry ban for the convention.

Of course, any good Michigan GOP gubernatorial candidate would definitely show up to speak, like Attorney General Bill Schuette.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley was not so bold to speak at the convention, but he and Governor Rick Snyder popped into Ohio to support the delegation.

Here we have identified a series of plausible factors, ruling out any situations of emergencies, to justify the sharing of resources.

I am calling this a blatant partisan use of taxpayer dollars and public resources for political campaign purposes.

Kasich is just as culpable.

The optics have Rick Snyder endorsing Donald Trump.

So, where are "The Elected Ones"?

Out campaigning, oblivious to what is actually going on in Michigan, as usual.

LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Tens of thousands of people will be getting ready to head to Cleveland next week for the Republican Convention, and more than 100 Michigan State Troopers are gearing up as well.

The agency has deployed troopers to other states in the past, mainly for recovery efforts in natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy, under the Emergency Management Assistance Compact. But this assignment is a unique one.

This is the first time the Michigan State police will be assisting at a political convention and they’ll be going with a mission, to help cover crowd control and security.

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

Guns, RNC and CPS in Ohio: Waiting For The First Dead Kid



Cleveland police union asks for suspension of 'open carry' in wake of Baton Rouge, ahead of RNC


This is a picture of children playing 40 feet away from the "RNC Convention Gun Advocates", for lack of a better descriptive.

So where are all the child protection, concerned advocates?

Where is Ohio CPS?

But wait...

Ohio's Governor John Kaisch denied the request.

So, if Congress refuses to allow the CDC to study gun violence, then why not have local police jurisdictions do it?

Local police can have their commissioners take the lead, partner with universities, or even better, how about partnering with the largest 501c3 to request funding to study gun violence?  (Snarky snicker)

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Why Children Do Not Receive Equal Treatment Under The Law


Q:  Why is it nothing ever happens to those individuals in child welfare who assault and fail to protect children in the care of a state?


A:  Children have no civil rights and the child welfare system is too big to fail.

Stevenson, Alabama, Police Chief Convicted of Civil Rights Offenses for Assaulting and Failing to Protect Arrestee

The Justice Department announced today that a federal jury convicted the Chief of Police of Stevenson, Alabama, Daniel Winters, 56, of two counts of deprivation of civil rights under color of law: one count for beating an arrestee, identified as D.F., and one count for failing to protect the victim from harm.  
According to evidence presented at trial, on March 22, 2015, Winters and a civilian friend went to a residence to investigate suspicions that property had been stolen from the friend’s business and was located at the residence.  Upon arrival, Winters and his friend entered the residence without a search warrant and encountered the victim, D.F.  Winters and his friend then began to beat D.F.  The beating moved outside where Winters and his friend continued to strike and kick the victim in front of the residence.  Over the course of approximately five minutes, Winters not only participated in the beating, but stood by watching his friend beat D.F. and did nothing to stop it.   A passing motorist called 911 to report the beating.  D.F. was left bloody with wounds to his face, chest and back and was taken to the jail at the Stevenson Police Department.  While at the jail, D.F. began to spit up blood.  A jailor requested Winters’ permission to call an ambulance, but Winters refused the request.  Eventually, the jailor received permission from another supervisor and D.F. was transported to a hospital where he received medical attention.
“This police chief abused his authority, broke the law and violated the public trust,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “When law enforcement leaders engage in egregious, unlawful conduct – as this defendant did here – they do a disservice to the thousands of hard-working officers who perform their difficult, demanding jobs each day with integrity and distinction.”
“Civil rights enforcement is a priority of our office and the trial team on this case did an excellent job of putting the evidence together and presenting it to the jury,” said U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance of the Northern District of Alabama. 
Winters faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for the civil rights charges.  Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 27, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Madeline H. Haikala of the Northern District of Alabama.
This case is being investigated by the FBI and Alabama’s State Bureau of Investigation.  The matter is being prosecuted by Deputy Chief Laura Hodge of the Northern District of Alabama and Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.


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Friday, July 15, 2016

Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr. for the Hearing on “S. 2040, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” Before the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Without question, the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks deserve our sympathy and our help.  And, our Committee has worked to enact into law measures that attempt to provide some relief to these victims.

As we consider S. 2040, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” however, we must keep in mind that this legislation is written in general terms and we should consider its impact beyond one case, however compelling that case may be.

Among other things, S. 2040 amends the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976 to create a new exception to the Act’s general grant of foreign sovereign immunity.  The exception would apply to claims arising from physical injury as a result of an act of international terrorism in the United States as well as to a tortious act of a foreign state or its official, employee, or agent acting within his or her official capacity, regardless of where the tortious act took place.

The House has not previously held a hearing on this proposal and neither chamber has held a hearing on this particular version of the legislation, so I approach this measure with an open mind.

That being said, there are three overarching points that should inform our discussion today.

To begin with, the purpose of sovereign immunity is to ensure that disputes among nations are ultimately resolved through diplomatic efforts rather than litigation.

Customary international law provided absolute immunity for states in the courts of other states.

Nevertheless, in the last century, many countries, including the United States, came to realize that it was unfair to provide immunity in cases where countries were engaged in non-sovereign activities, such as ordinary commerce.
           
For this reason, countries began recognizing certain limited exceptions to sovereign immunity.

The Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act codified the customary law of sovereign immunity recognized by the United States at the time of the Act’s enactment in 1976, including certain exceptions to sovereign immunity. 

The Act also removed the need for, and the ability of, the State Department to make case-by-case determinations of whether a foreign state defendant was entitled to sovereign immunity and left such determinations to courts as a matter of statutory interpretation, which, in theory, de-politicized such determinations.

In light of this history, we should consider what impact changing the scope of exceptions to sovereign immunity may have on U.S. interests.

The Administration, some allied nations, and others have raised the concern that enactment of S. 2040 may lead to retaliation by other countries against the United States given the breadth of our interests and the expansive reach of our global activities.

For example, they contend, a country like Afghanistan or Pakistan, under a future hostile regime, may enact legislation abrogating sovereign immunity to allow suits against the U.S., U.S. officials, or even U.S. military personnel in response to drone strikes or other activities in their countries.

The bill’s supporters, on the other hand, argue that the already-existing exceptions to sovereign immunity, including the current state-sponsored terrorism exception, and the prior understanding of the tort exception that this bill purports to restore, have not resulted in any meaningful retaliation against the U.S.

Finally, we should consider the impact that this measure may have on our Nation’s counterterrorism efforts.

The bill’s proponents argue that it will enhance such efforts by raising the prospect of depriving terrorists of resources and deterring future terrorism financing.

On the other hand, others say that it will hamper cooperation from other countries because they may become more reluctant to share sensitive intelligence in light of the greater risk that such information may be revealed in litigation.

While this bill and the underlying litigation that spawned it arose from an emotionally searing event, I hope that we can be both respectful and clear-eyed as we consider the arguments to be presented by our distinguished witnesses.

Accordingly, I look forward to a substantive and engaging debate and I thank the witnesses for sharing their thoughts on these important issues.

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House Judiciary Committee Approves Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Crime Among Youth


The bill is part of the House Judiciary Committee’s criminal justice reform initiative

Washington, D.C. – As part of the House Judiciary Committee’s bipartisan criminal justice reform initiative, the Committee today approved by voice vote a bill to reauthorize a federal grant program targeted at reducing crime among youth.  

The Tiffany Joslyn Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act(H.R. 68), authored by Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), reauthorizes the Justice Department’s Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG) program at $25 million from Fiscal Year 2017 through Fiscal Year 2021 and offsets this authorization so that there is no additional cost to taxpayers. The bill strengthens the JABG program to further reduce youth crime and contains a robust accountability and oversight mechanism to ensure taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and appropriately. The bill is named after Tiffany Joslyn, who served as the Deputy Chief Counsel of the Crime Subcommittee and was tragically killed in a car crash earlier this year.

Created in 2002, the JABG program authorizes the Attorney General to provide competitive grants to states, tribes, and units of local government to strengthen their juvenile justice systems and foster accountability within their juvenile populations by holding juveniles responsible for their actions and reducing criminal behavior. Under the JABG program funds can be used for over a dozen purposes, including implementing graduated sanctions for juveniles; building or operating juvenile correction or detention facilities; supporting prosecutorial initiatives aimed at curbing drug use, violence, and gangs; accountability-based school safety initiatives; establishing juvenile drug courts; and addressing school safety, such as bullying and cyberbullying prevention.

Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-Mich.) praised today’s approval of the bill in the statements below.

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Ranking Member Conyers: “The Juvenile Accountability Block Grant program is an important part of the comprehensive effort to help states improve and operate their juvenile justice systems. It has long had a history of bipartisan support and deserves to be reauthorized this Congress. I am also pleased that the Committee renamed the bill in honor of our former counsel, Tiffany Joslyn, who tragically passed away four months ago.  She was dedicated to reforming our juvenile justice system and it is fitting that she be so honored.  As we remain dedicated to the causes she championed, I will continue to work with my colleagues on additional measures to reform the ways we respond to offenses committed by young people.”

Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee: “I am pleased that the Judiciary Committee has marked up H.R. 68, the Tiffany Joslyn Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act, and passed it out of Committee for its adoption hopefully by the full House of Representatives. Bullying is a massive issue in our nation’s schools. The National Center for Educational Studies reports show that 14 percent of 12- to 18-year-olds surveyed report being victims of direct or indirect bullying. 1 out of 4 kids is bullied.  Bullying is not just in a schoolyard anymore; it is a crisis that’s taking over our nation. Gone are the days that children can come home and seek solace and escape from their bullies; technological advances have made it easy for young people to be tormented on social networks at any time from any place. They are never out of harm’s reach. This needs to end. Americans children should be protected, and no child should be persecuted for exercising their American right to be themselves. It is time for us to come to a conclusive solution to America’s bullying crisis. My bill, H.R. 68, the Tiffany Joslyn Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act, provides the solution that we need. H.R. 68 calls for the reauthorization of the Juvenile Accountability Block Grants, adds a purpose area to provide for grant funding to States for programs that address bullying, cyberbullying prevention, and gang prevention and intervention in addition to expressing a Sense of Congress on the importance of best practices.”

Chairman Goodlatte: “Our children are our nation’s future and we must take steps to reduce crime among youth. It is in our country’s interest to see juvenile offenders leave behind a life of criminality and become productive citizens. I thank Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Jackson Lee for her passion and work on this important issue. We also remember Tiffany Joslyn and her dedication to seeing our nation’s youth succeed in life. I look forward to continuing the Committee’s work on criminal justice reform so that we can move these bills to the House floor for consideration.”


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CONYERS and Goodlatte Announce Working Group on Policing Strategies


Washington, D.C.  – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)  today announced the establishment of a working group to examine police accountability, aggression towards law enforcement, and public safety concerns related to these issues. The bipartisan working group will hold a series of roundtables, starting with a private roundtable in Washington, D.C., to candidly discuss the issues fueling excessive force used by law enforcement and attacks against police officers and will invite outside leaders on this issue to meet with the working group.

Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers issued the statement below on the formation of this working group:

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
“Our nation’s conscience has been rocked by a series of tragic events that has resulted in the loss of too many lives. Most recently, five Dallas police officers were murdered in cold blood last week, and two men were fatally shot by law enforcement in Baton Rouge and St. Paul. We mourn the loss of all of these lives and want to see an end to this violence.

“It’s clear that more must be done to end excessive use of force, strengthen police accountability, prevent violent attacks on law enforcement and improve the relationship between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. These issues are not going to be solved overnight and they won’t be solved by Congress alone. Our goal in creating this working group is to discuss these issues candidly with each another so that we can begin to find common ground on these matters of national importance.” 

Chairman Goodlatte and Ranking Member Conyers will lead the working group. Members of the working group are: Representatives Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Doug Collins (R-Ga.), Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Susan Brooks (R-Ind.), Will Hurd (R-Texas), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), and Robin Kelly (D-Ill.).

The first private roundtable will be held on Thursday, July 14, 2016. The working group has invited Reverend Doctor DeForest B. Suares, Jr., the Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, and Deborah A. Ramirez, the Executive Director for Partnering for Prevention and Community Safety Initiative and Professor of Law at Northeastern University School of Law, to participate.

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Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr. for the Markup of H.R. 68, the “Juvenile Accountability Block Grant Reauthorization and Bullying Prevention and Intervention Act”


Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Mr. Chairman, I support H.R. 68, which would reauthorize and update the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant program.  This program is an important part of the comprehensive effort to help states improve and operate their juvenile justice systems. 

I commend my colleague, Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Crime, for her work on this important bill and for her steadfast work to reform the ways our criminal justice and juvenile justice systems treat young offenders. 

In the late 1990s, fears about the prospects of a wave of juvenile crime – which turned out to be unfounded – inspired some legislators to call for harsher penalties for juvenile offenders. 

Instead, this Committee, on a bipartisan basis, worked to develop a program to help states take a more measured approach.

That was the genesis of the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant program, as it was originally named, which was enacted in 1997.   

This program encourages the use of accountability models that hold juveniles responsible for their behavior by imposing consequences commensurate with the seriousness of the offense and the youth’s prior criminal history. 

In other words, it is fairer – and more effective from the standpoint of public safety – to not impose an overly-harsh and disproportionate sentence on a young offender who has little or no history of prior offenses. 

That is why this Committee has a history of bipartisan support for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant program. 
           
Although the authorization for the program expired several years ago, it deserves to be reauthorized and our continued support as one of the ways the federal government provides assistance and guidance to states on their juvenile justice systems. 

This program fits within a framework of other initiatives targeting specific issues in order to support these systems and safeguard the rights of young offenders.

And there are other steps that we must take, even as we work to reauthorize this worthy program today. 

To that end, I remain committed to working with the Chairman and my colleagues on the Committee to strengthen our common interest in ensuring appropriate treatment of young offenders.

H.R. 68 is an important contribution to achieving that critical goal.  
           
Accordingly, I ask my colleagues to join me in supporting this bill and I yield back the balance of my time.

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Statement of the Honorable John Conyers, Jr. “Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice”

Dean of the U.S. House
of Representatives
John Conyers, Jr.
Thank you, Madam Attorney General, for being with us today. 

The news of the past few days has been full of questions about violence, civil rights, and the safety of our police officers—and I want you to know that we take seriously the burden of each of these questions on your office.

It will not have escaped your attention that we are in the middle of election season.  You may also know that there are just three working days left until we break for the summer—and, really, not much more time after that until the Congress ends.

Elections are about choices.  And a short working schedule is about setting priorities.

As you are no doubt aware, one of this Committee’s top legislative priorities is criminal justice reform.  We have already found consensus on a range of such issues, including sentencing, prison, and asset forfeiture reform. 

The Chairman and I also stand on the precipice of an agreement on policing reform legislation.  Given the events of the past week, the need for this measure has never been more urgent.

Questions about the use of lethal force by police are not new, but the nation is newly engaged in the issue after Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, North Charleston, and Baltimore. 

Over the past week, we saw the same sad themes play out in Baton Rouge and Minnesota—as well as in the horrific killing of five police officers in Dallas.

I believe it is more critical than ever that we reach a final agreement on police accountability and standards. 

At a time when African Americans are 30% more likely than whites to be pulled over while driving, more than three times more likely to have their car searched, and more than twice as likely to be shot by the police, it is imperative that we restore public faith in our criminal justice system. 

We must finish this work, for both the communities that feel so much anguish this week, and for the officers who patrol our streets every day.  It is my sincere hope that we consider this matter before we adjourn.

Unfortunately, there are many other areas where we have not been able to advance bipartisan initiatives.

I would like to tell you that we are prepared to have a substantive discussion about the manner in which we will restore Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  The preclearance mechanism was used for decades by your Department to restore a sense of fairness in jurisdictions that have known prejudice for generations.  Since it was struck down, we have seen at least 17 states enact measures designed to restrict access to the ballot box.
           
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced that would have restored this vital tool long before voting began this year. But Mr. Sensenbrenner’s legislation sits untouched.

I would also like to tell you that we are prepared to address the scourge of gun violence in this country. 

The events last week in Baton Rouge, in Minnesota, and in Dallas—and the anger and sadness felt in communities across the nation—are what one commentator aptly called “the horrific, predictable result of a widely armed citizenry.”

This epidemic claims nearly 33,000 individuals every year.  It infects our churches, our schools, and our homes.  It places our police officers into the direct line of fire.  It makes our citizens afraid.

But we have not held a single hearing on this topic —not when 26 children and teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook, not when our colleague was shot in Phoenix, and not when the body count reached 49 in Orlando.

Last month, every Democratic member of this Committee wrote to Chairman Goodlatte with a list of specific policy proposals to address this violence.  To date, we have received no response. 

I would also like to tell you, Madam Attorney General, that we have an answer for the millions of undocumented immigrants who came here in search of a better life, but who are forced to live in the shadows. 

Some of us have put a great deal of effort into antagonizing and vilifying that community—but this Committee has offered very few solutions acknowledging that these families are here to stay. 

But elections are about choices, Madam Attorney General.  There are only three working days left this month—and then we adjourn for seven weeks. 

How will my colleagues on the other side of the aisle choose to fill that time?  Today, apparently, Secretary Hillary Clinton’s email takes precedence over gun violence and civil rights.
           
Let us be clear: the criminal investigation is closed.  There was no intentional wrongdoing.  Director Comey—whose reputation for independence and integrity is unquestioned—has explained his reasoning in great detail. 

If any of my colleagues are not yet convinced, it is because they do not want to be convinced.  And in their zeal to call Secretary Clinton a liar or a criminal—despite the facts and despite the law—I fear they will have missed an opportunity to engage with you on more worthy subjects.

We may also spend time today talking about the alleged wrongdoings of Commissioner Koskinen of the Internal Revenue Service.  Some of my colleagues want to use one of the remaining working days before the break to move his impeachment directly to the House floor. 

In many ways, this gesture is totally meaningless.  There is bipartisan consensus that the Commissioner’s critics have not proved their case, and there is virtually no chance of a conviction in the Senate.

But I believe that the rush to impeachment, although ineffectual, would set a dangerous precedent for the Congress and the American people. 

Once we cross this line, we write a new rule: whatever the merits of the charges, the House may impeach an official without due process—without the right to counsel, without the right to present evidence to this Committee, and without the right question the evidence presented against him.

Elections are about choices, Madam Attorney General, and here is the choice we face as the clock runs down on the 114th Congress:

We can spend the few days that remain on conspiracy theories and political sniping that does little for our constituents but drive them further apart from their neighbors.

Or we can attempt to solve even one of the long list of problems that face this country today.

We should choose to do the work we were sent here to do—or the public is right to choose somebody else to do it.

I look forward to our conversation today, Attorney General Lynch.  I thank the Chairman, and I yield back.

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