Supreme Court Nominee, Lack of Independent Judiciary

Nel's New Day

Republicans said last year that no Democratic president would ever put a justice on the Supreme Court, starting with their refusal to vet President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, nominated almost one year before the end of the president’s term. Today Donald Trump (DT) drew attention away from his Muslim ban on entering the U.S. by his appointment for this position.Supreme Court nominees can be filibustered unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) changes the rule to a simple majority.

DT’s nominee: Neil Gorsuch, 49, judge on the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals covering six Western states; the son of perhaps the most corrupt head of the Environmental Protection Agency in its history; attends Episcopalian church; appointed by George W. Bush in 2006; would be the most conservative judge on the court except for Clarence Thomas; opposes assisted suicide, legal in six states, because “human life is intrinsically valuable”; sided with Hobby Lobby in…

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The Statue of Liberty is an Egyptian Woman

Civil Rights Advocacy

photograph of the face of the Statue of Liberty The Statue of Liberty, aka “Lady Liberty” or “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Photo Courtesy of Microsoft Word.

In light of Trump’s ban on refugees and immigrants from Muslim countries, I thought you might be interested to know that Lady Liberty is actually an Egyptian (i.e., Muslim) woman.

Here are some highlights about Lady Liberty.

  • The Statue of Liberty was designed by Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Eiffel) and Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi
  • It was originally intended to be erected in Port Said at the entrance to the Suez Canal, but the Egyptian government felt it was too expensive a project.
  • According to Edward Berenson, author of Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story, Bartholdi’s concept was that of a “gigantic female fellah, or Arab peasant.”
  • After Egypt had rejected the statue, Bartholdi’s statue of the female peasant morphed into “a colossal goddess.”
  • She was presented to the United States by France…

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Women scientists: “We’re not backing down, and we’re not going away”

nasa-women

It started as a group text message among four friends from graduate school about new kids, puppies, and jobs. You know, the successes and struggles that are the building blocks of everyday life.

In the wake of the election, the discussion changed. While everyday life continued, the four friends — all women working in the climate and ecology fields — faced a new reality. Their discussions turned into an email chain, which grew to include a group of women, until finally it spawned a pledge of inclusivity in science and the need for reason in politics that’s now been signed by more than 14,000 women in science.

The group, dubbed 500 Women Scientists, was created in response to President Trump and his anti-science, anti-women comments. Its pledge vows to protect the scientific enterprise from his attacks as well as “build a more inclusive society and scientific enterprise.”

Cross-posted from Climate Central

What to Do This Week of Jan 29, 2017: Actions for Democrats, Independents, & Republicans of Conscience

Civil Rights Advocacy

black sign with a flag at the top. Underneath the flag are the words, "Democracy is Dissent."

As promised, I am once again reblogging Jennifer Hofman’s weekly “To Do” list.  This week’s actions focus on

  • opposing the religious discrimination and immigration executive order signed by Trump on Friday.
  • opposing the cabinet nominations of Betsy DeVos, Jeff Sessions, Steve Mnuchin, Rex Tillerson, and Tom Price
  • supporting free speech rights to assemble and protest as guaranteed under the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution
  • supporting access to health care for all
  • supporting planet earth’s water and endangered species
  • supporting full statehood rights for the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico

And on an aside note, Jennifer positively notes that the White House petition for Trump to release his tax records that I urged all of my readers to sign onto a little over a week ago has now received more signatures than any other petition ever posted on the WhiteHouse.gov website. As of 4:50 pm…

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Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright Speaks Out

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the executive order on immigration and refugees that the President signed on Friday. It bans Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days, cuts in half the number of refugees we can admit, and halts all travel from certain Muslim-majority countries.

I felt I had no choice but to speak out against it in the strongest possible terms.

This is a cruel measure that represents a stark departure from America’s core values. We have a proud tradition of sheltering those fleeing violence and persecution, and have always been the world leader in refugee resettlement. As a refugee myself who fled the communist takeover of Czechoslovakia, I personally benefited from this country’s generosity and its tradition of openness. This order would end that tradition, and discriminate against those fleeing a brutal civil war in Syria.

There is no data to support the idea that refugees pose a threat. This policy is based on fear, not facts. The refugee vetting process is robust and thorough. It already consists of over 20 steps, ensuring that refugees are vetted more intensively than any other category of traveler.

The process typically takes 18-24 months, and is conducted while they are still overseas. I am concerned that this order’s attempts at “extreme vetting” will effectively halt our ability to accept anyone at all. When the administration makes wild claims about Syrian refugees pouring over our borders, they are relying on alternative facts — or as I like to call it, fiction.

The truth is that America can simultaneously protect the security of our borders and our citizens and maintain our country’s long tradition of welcoming those who have nowhere else to turn. These goals are not mutually exclusive. Indeed, they are the obligation of a country built by immigrants.

Refugees should not be viewed as a burden or as potential terrorists. They have already made great contributions to our national life. Syrian refugees are learning English, getting good jobs, buying homes, and starting businesses. In other words, they are doing what other generations of refugees — including my own — did. And I have no doubt that, if given the opportunity, they will become an essential part of our American fabric.

By targeting Muslim-majority countries for immigration bans and by expressing a clear preference for refugees who are religious minorities, there’s no question this order is biased against Muslims. And when one faith is targeted, it puts us all at risk.

I will never forget sailing into New York Harbor for the first time and seeing the Statue of Liberty when I came here as a child. It proclaims “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” There is no fine print on the Statue of Liberty, and today she is weeping.

This executive order does not reflect American values. If you agree, make your voice heard now.

https://my.ofa.us/Stand-Up-For-American-Values

Thanks,

Madeleine Albright
Former Secretary of State

Protesters Gather over Muslim Ban

Nel's New Day

protest-boston-copley-squareThe women’s march was only a week ago, and now thousands of protesters, such as the ones in Boston’s Copley Square above, have gathered in opposition to President Donald Trump’s (PDT) ban on Muslims coming into the United States. PDT’s order, written by white supremacist Steve Bannon, bars all refugees from entering the U.S. for 120 days and all Muslims from seven Middle East countries for 90 days. Although PDT staffer Reince Priebus denied on Meet the Press that the ban is also on legal U.S. residents who hold green cards, these people have also been retained. The order states that they will need a case-by-case waiver to enter the country. Especially notable about the order is that is poorly written and was not vetted by any legal members of the PDT administration.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, Archbishop of Chicago, called the ban “a dark moment in U.S. history,” citing…

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