U.S. Politics

Trump proposes stripping citizenship from political protesters

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

THINK PROGRESS

This is how autocracy happens.

Its a scene that is likely to prove quite familiar during a Trump presidency, Americans woke up Tuesday to discover that the incoming president took to Twitter to expose his ignorance of or disregard for the Constitution.

Criminalizing flag burning is unconstitutional, at least when the flag is burned as a political statement. As the Supreme Court explained in Texas v. Johnson, “if there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Moreover, there is no indication “either in the text of the Constitution or in our cases interpreting it . . . that a separate juridical category exists for the American flag alone.” If someone chooses to express a political message through flag burning, even if that message is contempt towards the United States, the Constitution protects that speech.

Justice Antonin Scalia, who Trump has held up as a model for his Supreme Court nominee, was in the majority in Johnson.

But even setting aside Trump’s unconstitutional call to criminalize flag burning, which became a staple of American conservative politics long before Trump emerged as a presidential candidate, Trump is calling for something even more extraordinary. He wants to strip citizenship — and with it, voting rights — from political dissidents. Federal law does permit Americans to lose their citizenship after “committing any act of treason against, or attempting by force to overthrow, or bearing arms against, the United States,” but flag burning is a far cry from treason or armed rebellion. It is a political statement, and democracy depends on the free expression of political ideas.

The president-elect of the United States has proposed stripping a political protester’s very status as an American. In the process, he would take away that person’s ability to vote — and thus to vote for someone other than Donald Trump. Today, Trump proposes this consequence for a very specific category of speech that most Americans view as odious. But once a person’s voting rights can be made contingent upon their beliefs, or their silence, then elections become increasingly meaningless.

 

U.S. Politics

2,000 veterans plan to be a ‘human shield’ for the North Dakota Pipeline activists

Native Americans march to the site of a sacred burial ground that was disturbed by bulldozers building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), near the encampment where hundreds of people have gathered to join the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's protest of the oil pipeline slated to cross the nearby Missouri River, September 4, 2016 near Cannon Ball, North Dakota.  .Protestors were attacked by dogs and sprayed with an eye and respiratory irritant yesterday when they arrived at the site to protest after learning of the bulldozing work. / AFP / ROBYN BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

No justice. No Peace | attribution: AFP/GETTY Images

DAILY KOS

As more and more signs point towards the government trying to strong-arm Dakota Access Pipeline protectors and activists in the coming days, a movement called Veterans Stand for Standing Rock plan on lending their help and their bodies.

As many as 2,000 veterans planned to gather next week at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to serve as “human shields” for protesters who have for months clashed with the police over the construction of an oil pipeline, organizers said.

[…]

The veterans’ plan coincides with an announcement on Tuesday by law enforcement officials that they would begin blocking supplies, including food, from entering the main protest camp after an evacuation order from the governor, according to Reuters. But protesters have vowed to stay put.

The veterans’ efforts also coincide with the Army Corps of Engineers plans to close off access to the movement’s campsite by creating the Orwellian-named “free speech zone.”

“Yeah, good luck with that,” Michael A. Wood Jr., an founder of the veterans’ event, said in an interview.

Wood Jr. helped to organize the event and was bowled over when, in asking for 500 veterans sign up, he found himself having to cap the event at 2,000. The veterans participating want the U.S. government to reveal what it is really about. Are they going to continue totalitarian and violently oppressive tactics or are they going to recognize that the citizens did not and still do not agree with this pipeline plan?

By Walter Einenkel

U.S. Politics

Here’s Donald Trump’s tweet where he says if he were President he would screw everyone but himself

I guess you’re my “friend.” – Getty Images

Let me be perfectly clear here, IMO this TWISTED, DEMENTED, SOCIOPATH has no business holding the highest office in the land. (ks)

DAILY KOS

Donald Trump has not even been given the electoral votes that would officially make him our next President yet but he is already going about using his new position to pressure foreign leaders to enrich his personal business interests. Considering that this is a man who has a voting base impervious to “facts” or “evidence” or “reality,” it is hard to imagine that they care much about anything but lighting the world on fire. Back in 2014, when Donald Trump was still more joke than nightmare human being, he responded as he loves to do to someone asking him not to run for President.

It  was probably the positive responses from his followers that gave him the idea that he didn’t need to compromise he could just be the enormous narcissistic dick all the way through until election day. One thing to note here: Donald Trump doesn’t actually have “friends.” This means everybody is screwed.

By Walter Einenkel

U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 29, 2016

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Trump picks Rep. Tom Price as HHS secretary
President-elect Donald Trump has picked Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), an orthopedic surgeon and loud critic of the Affordable Care Act, to be secretary of health and human services. In a statement, Trump called Price the “ideal choice” because he is a “tireless problem solver and the go-to expert on healthcare policy.” Price, chair of the House Budget Committee, has helped draft several bills to replace the ACA. While campaigning, Trump said he would repeal and replace ObamaCare, but following a meeting with President Obama after the election, Trump said he would instead keep some of the elements of the law, and amend it rather than scrapping it.

Source: The Washington Post, Talking Points Memo

2. Plane carrying Brazilian soccer team crashes in Colombia, killing at least 75
A chartered plane carrying 81 people, including a Brazilian soccer team, crashed near Medellin, Colombia, killing at least 75 people, Colombian authorities said Tuesday. The team, Chapecoense from southern Brazil, was flying from Bolivia to play in the final of the Copa Sudamericana tournament. The plane’s crew declared an emergency at 10 p.m. due to an electrical failure as it approached Medellin. “What was supposed to be a celebration has turned into a tragedy,” Medellin Mayor Federico Gutierrez said.

Source: The New York Times

3. Wisconsin officials agree to start presidential vote recount
Wisconsin electoral officials agreed on Monday to start a recount of the presidential election, starting Thursday. Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who raised millions to pay for recounts in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, still sued the Wisconsin Elections Commission because it did not require counties to review the votes by hand. State law requires officials to conduct a recount as long as a candidate agrees to pay the estimated $3.5 million cost. President-elect Donald Trump narrowly beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the all three key swing states. Experts say it is highly unlikely any discrepancies in the vote would change the result.

Source: USA Today

4. Trump’s search for secretary of state heats up
President-elect Donald Trump is meeting with Mitt Romney on Tuesday as the search for a secretary of state heats up. Trump already met once with Romney, the GOP’s 2012 presidential nominee and a harsh Trump critic during the 2016 campaign. Some Trump allies, including top aide and former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, have publicly objected to Romney as a cabinet pick. Trump also reportedly is strongly considering former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani and retired Gen. David Petraeus, who met with Trump on Monday. Trump also will talk Tuesday with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas), and Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser under George W. Bush.

Source: Politico, CNN

5. 11 injured in Ohio State attack
A man rammed his vehicle into pedestrians at Ohio State University in Columbus on Monday, then got out and slashed students with a butcher knife. Eleven people were injured, one of them critically. A university police officer fatally shot the suspect, identified by police as Ohio State student Abdul Razak Ali Artan. In an August interview with the Lantern student newspaper, Artan said he felt “kind of scared” arriving on the vast campus, partly because he felt that Muslims had been unfairly portrayed in the media. “This place is huge and I don’t even know where to pray,” he said. “I wanted to pray in the open, but I was kind of scared with everything going on in the media.”

Source: Columbus Dispatch, USA Today

6. Trump threatens to reverse Cuba opening
President-elect Donald Trump on Monday said he would “terminate” the Obama administration’s effort to restore U.S. relations with Cuba if the communist-run Caribbean island does not agree to a “better deal for the Cuban people, the Cuban/American people and the U.S. as a whole.” The comments, which Trump made via Twitter, came three days after the death of Fidel Castro, who took power in a revolution and ruled for half a century before handing power to his brother, Raul, in 2006. President Obama and Raul Castro announced two years ago that the two countries were working toward normalizing relations frozen during the Cold War.

Source: The New York Times

7. Dylann Roof will represent himself in church massacre trial
A federal judge on Monday granted a motion allowing Dylann Roof, the white man accused of murdering nine black Charleston churchgoers, to act as his own lawyer in his trial. Jury selection resumed after the judge announced the ruling. The trial had been delayed for a psychiatric evaluation that concluded that Roof, a self-described white supremacist, was fit to stand trial. He also faces hate crime charges, and could face the death penalty. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel had told Roof that he could benefit from the legal expertise of his lawyers.

Source: USA Today

8. Tennessee wildfire forces evacuation of Dollywood and other tourist spots
Authorities in eastern Tennessee on Monday issued mandatory evacuation orders for cabins at Dollywood, and several tourist towns, due to wildfires in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A representative for Dolly Parton’s Dollywood said late Monday that no fire had been reported inside the park but there was fire on a ridge nearby. Police in Gatlinburg went door to door in some neighborhoods urging people to evacuate voluntarily before rising winds helped fires spread and forced local fire officials to issue a mandatory evacuation order for parts of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and other tourist areas. The wildfires have injured one person and burned more than 100 homes.

Source: ABC News, WSBTV.com

9. South Korea’s scandal-plagued president offers to resign
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, facing possible impeachment over an influence-peddling scandal, said Tuesday that she would resign if lawmakers arrange the details. The main opposition Democratic Party rejected the offer as a stalling tactic, and said it would proceed with its plan to introduce an impeachment motion in parliament as early as Friday. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rallying in Seoul every Saturday for weeks, calling for Park to quit. Even some allies have urged her to “honorably” step down.

Source: The Associated Press

10. Cyber Monday sets online sales record
Online sales rose by more than expected on Cyber Monday, jumping by 10.2 percent over a year ago to hit a record $3.39 billion, according to Adobe Digital Insights. Earlier estimates had forecast a slightly lower total, $3.36 billion. Analysts had expected web sales to suffer due to decisions by many stores to start offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts days before Thanksgiving, instead of starting the day after, to kick off holiday shopping early. That strategy helped push Black Friday online sales up by 22 percent to $3.34 billion, which was a record until Cyber Monday came around and narrowly beat it.

Source: Reuters, CNET