A close look at John Boalt's legacy, the Chinese Exclusion Act. Attorney and Lecturer Charles Reichmann will address the history of Berkeley Law's complicity in anti-Chinese racism.

Monday September 25, 12:45 - 2:00 pm
Philip Selznick Seminar Room
2240 Piedmont Avenue, Berkeley

Ex-CIA chief Michael Morell resigned from his position as a senior fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government Thursday, in protest of Chelsea Manning's short lived appointment as a Visiting Fellow; current CIA director Mike Pompeo canceled his scheduled talk. 

Chelsea says "Good." 

"Harvard has shown exactly what [marginalized communities on college campuses] are up against," opined John Judis at New Republic. "The real chilling effect on free speech comes from those with actual power, who receive funding from sources like the military, tech giants, and anti-regulation billionaires like the Koch brothers."

Controversial visitors come to campus all the time, don't they? And isn't it the conventional wisdom that their rights must be defended at all costs, no matter how unpopular their ideas or past behavior may be? Well, that may be the case when those who visit are right-wing provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulos or Ann Coulter and those who protest their visits are minority or leftist students. But apparently it's not the case when the visitor is on the left and when it's the spies who are protesting. So, no sooner than one could say "whistleblower," in an act of mind-boggling spinelessness Harvard reneged on its offer. -- academeblog.org author Hank Reichman 

A 2015 report by Vice News on the most militarized universities in America ranks Harvard number 32 on the list of 100 schools receiving a combined $3 billion in national security research and development funding.

Hate Speech Isn't Free

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Defense of white privilege costs the disadvantaged dearly. Ask someone who's been there. American "free speech" law protects people against physical harm -- and tolerates unlimited emotional harm. Victims of hate speech suffer as much as or more than victims of hate crime argues Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum.

The liberal defense of fascists' "rights" does a lot of harm. UC Berkeley's new chancellor Carol Christ leads the pack of misguided academics enabling the advance of fascist agenda at universities across the country. "We urge you to think very carefully about the lives you are risking in giving white supremacists an even larger platform than they already have," concludes a letter to Christ initiated by members of the Berkeley Anthropology Department. The chancellor's "free speech year" premiers with the promotion of right-wing talk show host Ben Shapiro, followed by the return of infamous bigot-provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, whose appearance bumps the previously scheduled Annual Distinguished Lecture by Dr. Anna Tsing, Professor of Anthropology at UC Santa Cruz. 

Provision of a platform is not the same thing as free speech, writes The Guardian columnist Owen Jones, "however much it is falsely and disingenuously portrayed as such. If someone refuses to lend you a megaphone, they are not infringing your right to say what you believe: they are simply not offering you their own resources to amplify your views to a broader audience." 

There is no perfect protest. "Those standing on the sidelines of the current racial-justice movement, waiting for a pristine or flawless exercise of righteous protest, will have a long wait," observe Michael McBride, Traci Blackmon, Frank Reid and Barbara Williams Skinner. "Our concern at this moment is with our moderate brothers and sisters who voice support for the cause of racial justice but simultaneously cling to paralyzingly unrealistic standards when it comes to what protest should look like."

I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councilor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 1963 "Letter From Birmingham Jail"

Many mainstream media outlets have bought into Mr. Trump's "both sides" narrative of right- and left-wing extremism while ignoring the injustices that inspired the protests in the first place. 

"Rather than critique from afar," conclude the clergy members, "come out of your homes, follow those who are closest to the pain, and help us to redeem this country, and yourselves, in the process."

Get organized for November 4, the national day to come out in the streets and don't leave until the Trump/Pence regime is gone! 

Next Refuse Fascism meeting this Wednesday September 6, 7 PM, Omni Commons, 4779 Shattuck Avenue, Oakland 
There are limits to hate speech -- such as speech that is "inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action," ruled the Supreme Court in Brandenburg vs. Ohio.

The Berkeley Patriot event does just that. "We know that his [Milo Yiannopoulos] presence is going to likely create a confrontation," says Mayor Jesse Arreguin. Conservative provocateurs "bear responsibility for inciting a violent environment." 

"So let's stop the pretending that this is about free speech," concludes East Bay columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. "Because what we're looking at is an invitation to violence."

23xp-letter1-master768.jpgIn February 1976, Edward R. Fields, a grand dragon in the Ku Klux Klan, released then state attorneys general Baxley's "kiss my ass" response. Four decades later, Mr. Baxley's example serves as inspiration for "all who seek to equivocate in times of moral crisis." Less than two weeks since a man drove a car into a crowd of counterprotesters at a rally of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, Baxley provides inspiration for "all who seek to equivocate in times of moral crisis." 

"There are times in the life of a nation, or a president, or a state attorney general, when one is called upon to respond directly to the voice of hate," conclude the former attorney generals. 

"Anybody that espouses that rhetoric and that doctrine is not just expressing a difference of opinion -- they're advocating the most horrific acts that you can imagine towards innocent people," says Mr. Baxley. "It just cannot be tolerated in a just society, or else you get something like you had in Nazi Germany. You just can't allow that to take root."

"Bill drew the line," says former Maine attorney general James E. Tierney. "We wanted to give his courageous act voice at a time when the country needs to hear that there are courageous voices."

The American Political Science Association (APSA) has engaged UC Berkeley torture advocate John Yoo for two sessions of its 2017 Quest for Legitimacy:  

The Future of the Judiciary
Thursday August 31, 10:00 to 11:30am
Hilton San Francisco Union Square 
California Room
Westin St. Francis
335 Powell Street, San Francisco

Checks on Executive Power in the Age of Obama and Trump
Friday September 1, 4:00 to 5:30pm
Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Colonial Ballroom 
Westin St. Francis
335 Powell Street, San Francisco

Conference attendees are invited to join FireJohnYoo.net and friends in protest of APSA accommodation for U.S. torture policy. We will meet up an hour in advance of each roundtable event listed above -- 9:00am and 3:00pm respectively, at the central Dewey Monument (column topped with statue of Nike) in Union Square -- to make signs and distribute ribbons and fliers. We'll then cross Powell Street to tableau orange jumpsuited representatives for Guantanamo prisoners at the hotel entrance.

"There can be no justification for giving a platform to someone who participated in the actual authorization of torture, a shameful and morally unacceptable practice and a crime under both domestic and international law," charged detractors in 2011. "We protest the decision to invite John Yoo to speak at the APSA conference as an affront to the standards of our profession and of humanity." Apparently on the deaf ears of colleagues. Because why else would the APSA lend credence to a war criminal? Torture Professor John Yoo belongs in prison. 

Berkeley Law School harbors a War Criminal. APSA gives him a platform. We say NO! Not In Our Name! Indict, Prosecute, Disbar John Yoo!

A lawyer for the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has embraced complicity in sheltering John Yoo. 

In contradiction of previous declarations against the 'Torture Professor', Dean Erwin Chemerinsky now says "I have very high regard for John Yoo as a scholar and as a teacher... I look forward to being his colleague."

The new dean expressed his priorities: Raising money, and continuing to attract "top faculty and students." Presumably those willing to close their eyes to the Federal Torture Act.

Shame on John Yoo.

Shame on the University of California.

Shame on Lawyers who put Career above the Law.
UC Law School representative John Yoo unleashed the 'unitary executive' theory enabling false imprisonment, unreasonable search and seizure, and deployment of military personnel for domestic police actions. "Yoo even defended the legal right of a president to torture children," charges Laura Hankin at Romper. "He's part of the reason that the United States went to war in Afghanistan, and that Bush was able to open the ethically-dubious detention center in Guantanamo Bay. And when it came to President Barack Obama, Yoo supported his problematic use of drone strikes."

"TRUE AMERICAN HERO"? Yeah, if you accept the notion that a system based on racial entitlement was ever great.
What goes down comes round in a nasty sequel to human rights abuse by your government. Former head of U.S. Southern Command, United States Marine Corps general John Kelly was responsible for all U.S. military activities in South and Central America, including Guantánamo. Kelly shares the current administration's determination to keep the prison open, to "load it up with some bad dudes," as Trump puts it.

"Presiding over a population of detainees not charged or convicted of crimes, over whom he had maximum custodial control, Kelly treated them with brutality," the Center for Constitutional Rights said. "His response to the detainees' peaceful hunger strike in 2013 was punitive force-feeding, solitary confinement, and rubber bullets. Furthermore, he sabotaged efforts by the Obama administration to resettle detainees, consistently undermining the will of his commander in chief."

General Kelly was rewarded for his efforts with U.S. Senate confirmation to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on January 20, 2017. The willful collaboration of Congress to the program of false imprisonment cultured under pretext of U.S. exception to international law has expanded under the Trump/Pence administration. As head of Homeland Security, Kelly "would be responsible for implementing some of Trump's most controversial policy pledges, including mass deportations, curtailing immigration from some Muslim majority countries, and enhanced security at the southern border," warned the Guardian at the time.

Kelly's "spectacular job" at the helm of DHS -- especially the massive increase in immigration arrests -- rewards his loyalty to Trump's nationalist agenda with appointment to the influential position of White House Chief of Staff. The former general is expected to bring "order" to an embattled presidency. Not everyone applauds. "By putting Gen John Kelly in charge, Pres Trump is militarizing the White House & putting our executive branch in the hands of an extremist," twittered California Representative Barbara Lee.

images-1.jpgFormer Bush Justice Department Official splits hairs in defense of Trump Jr's Russian lawyer meeting. Shameless? Hypocritical? You bet.

"Unfortunately, while Trump may not know or care about the legal precedents behind his actions, his lawyers surely do, and you can be sure they'll be citing Yoo's work on the unitary executive theory," notes political blogger Heather Digby Parton. "No one could have predicted that Trump, of all people, would become president, but that's exactly why the cumbersome checks and balances were put in place to begin with."

"Worse, a majority of Trump supporters don't believe the meeting occurred. This is an example of just what we're up against. Fortunately, we have the agency to counter denial of the crimes of our government:

Refuse Fascism Organizing Meeting
Thursday July 20, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts
2868 Mission Street, San Francisco

Hundreds, in several major cities, took to the streets and raised a unified demand: THE TRUMP/PENCE REGIME MUST GO! This signifies something new. An organized force proposing a bold plan to demand that an entire regime be removed from power because it is fascist and what that would mean for the future of humanity and the planet. Everyone who stepped out July 15th should know we have put this demand, the stand and organization of RefuseFascism.org on the map.
There are plenty of 'bad guys' complicit in the criminal actions of the Trump administration. More are likely to be exposed. But until then, people living in the United States share responsibility to acknowledge the horrors perpetrated in their name, and demonstrate determined resistance to the cruel and brutal future advanced by America's executioner-in-chief.

"Assault on truth has been slowly building for years. It took the election of Donald Trump to make frighteningly clear the civic consequences of living in a world in which the truth is not respected," blogs Bill Scheinman. "But a community denial of truth -- which is what we can call it when millions of people, on the political left and right, choose to believe patent falsehoods -- this community denial of truth can only happen if we, as individuals, are also denying the simple, basic truths of our own lives."

The Trump/Pence regime not only subverts the separation of powers, the separation of Church and State, and calls for a new nuclear arms race; it demonizes the press and substitutes "alternative facts" for scientific reality. 

Dr. James Waller, Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, explains that "what makes perpetrators of genocide and mass killing different is the group dynamic. Any type of group amplifies a situation, either for bad or for good. Individual killers in these groups believe that killing itself is wrong but it is a worse wrong to not kill. That subtle difference may be the key element in what separates the mentality of "them" and "us." 

Dr. Waller also points out that perpetrators have a very high sense of morality "BUT their morality goes in the opposite direction of ours. For the perpetrator, the victim means nothing to them morally speaking, but for us, we will empathize for the victim and with the victim's loved ones. Perpetrators are able to reconfigure their mindsets, justifying their actions."

The process of 'normalization' attending these crimes, enhanced by codification into law by ruling parties, plus the bombardment of justification by news media, threatens to make monsters of us all -- if we let it. Say NO! The Trump/Pense Regime Must Go! 

Only political organizing and popular mobilization can overturn a Muslim Ban.

"The glorification of lawyers and the courts that took place in the immediate aftermath of the ban was misguided," says Shamas. "This mistaken response was prominent among protesters, academics, journalists and perhaps most predictably, lawyers. And as the struggle moved from the streets and airport terminals to the courts, politicians stopped paying attention. In enabling them to look away, we have done a disservice to those we seek to help."

The reward of amnesty to perpetrators of state-sponsored discrimination and false imprisonment by the U.S. Supreme Court last week serves the interests of a ruling class determined to preserve the status quo of a thoroughly rotten system of exploitation. We must not be fooled by appeals to faith in a 'balance of powers' construct to 'check' the advances of fascism in America. 

"The Trump/Pence Regime will not be bound by the rule of law and the Courts cannot be relied on to stop them," say the folks at RefuseFascism.org. "It is on us - on the masses of people, in our millions who hate and fear what this regime is doing - to stand up and say NO!"

Stay tuned for local protest against the reintroduction of the Muslim Ban. And share your plans for national protest, July 15th. Statement here.  
trump-sessions.jpg"Military coups aren't the most likely model for destroying democratic institutions," argues University of Chicago Law professor Aziz Huq. "One lesson is that the road away from democracy is rarely characterized by overt violations of the formal rule of law. To the contrary, the contemporary path away from democracy under the rule of law typically relies on actions within the law." 

The process is known as democratic backsliding, says Alexandra Rosenmann at AlterNet.org.

Central among these legal measures is the early disabling of internal monitors of governmental illegality by the aggressive exercise of (legal) personnel powers. Often, there are related changes to the designs of institutions, which might be brought about through legislation, Professor Huq explained. "Ironically, the law is deployed to undermine legality and the rule of law more generally."

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