The Supreme Court is on the verge of a fascist majority for decades
Demonstrate Saturday July 7, 12:00 noon
San Francisco Federal Building
7th Street at Mission

In upholding the Muslim Ban, the Supreme Court ignored international law, writes professor emerita (Thomas Jefferson School of Law) Marjorie Cohn. The Supreme Court's opinion in Trump v. Hawaii violates two U.S.-signed treaties prohibiting government discrimination on the basis of religion or national origin: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

"The Supreme Court appears determined to be complicit in U.S. human rights violations and cannot be relied upon as a check on the Executive Branch," opined Aaron Fellmeth, professor at Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law. 

unnamed.pngPresident Trump's third travel ban affects more than 150 million people, roughly 95 percent of them Muslim. His "Proclamation" on September 24, 2017 restricts travel by most citizens of Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia and North Korea; prohibits Syria and North Korea visas; requires additional security checks to those already in place; and forbids Venezuelan government officials and their families from traveling to the United States.

In her dessenting opinion to Trump v. Hawaii, Justice Sonya Sotomayor quoted a Trump adviser who said "When [Donald Trump] first announced it, he said, 'Muslim ban.'" She also listed Trump's declarations that "Islam hates us," "we're having problems with Muslims coming into the country," and "Muslims do not respect us at all." 

"Taking all the relevant evidence together," Sotomayor found "a reasonable observer would conclude that the Proclamation was driven primarily by anti-Muslim animus, rather than by the Government's asserted national security justifications." Whether "the most abhorrent effects of this case" can be mitigated remains to be seen, warns Cohn. 

"Trump/Pence regime's 'Make America Great Again' is a 21st century fascist program of Manifest Destiny - 'America First' - wrapped in the flag and Mike Pence's Bible taken literally, with a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia," reads RefuseFascism.org's call to action

On July 7: Join Refuse Fascism, mobilize your organization or your friends and neighbors and take to the streets across the country to raise the demand: This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

It will take more than a "moderate" on the Supreme Court Bench to reverse the reactionary direction of American society under Donald Trump's authoritarian rule - not that such appointment is practicable. The ideological chemistry of the court will not change with Justice Kennedy's replacement; Trump's selection is expected to render dissenting opinion null and void. We can't rely on remedy from within the system that codified Islamophobia into law. 

029901-kennedy-062818-1.jpgThe "good old days" of the Reagan administration that fostered a program of white supremacy, misogyny, and xenophobia were anything but; it was the court of public opinion that stymied some of the grossest threats to women's autonomy and gay rights. And we can learn much from civil disobedience tactics employed in the historic struggle for racial justice. But social advancements of the period prove tenuous at best.

Old forms of discrimination have been recast. Barack Obama's election was celebrated as a "triumph over race." President Trump's first Supreme Court appointee (Neil Gorsuch) wasted no time in challenging the benefits associated with same-sex marriage, and joined Justice Kennedy's recent ruling in favor of the Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Families seeking asylum from the ravages of U.S. imperialism are torn asunder in the home of The New Colossus ("Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free"). Asian Americans know instinctively what is at stake, says independent journalist Emil Guillermo, and how Trump's travel ban "went right to the core of the basic freedoms we hold dear in a democracy, like the freedom of speech and religion. The travel ban prejudges groups of innocent people from specific countries and makes them enemies of America.... It's the same way that America justified the incarceration of more than 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II."

"Millions of us hate what is being done," writes Revolution Newspaper contributor Sunsara Taylor. "We must stop squandering our power, our voices, and our ability to change history - we must get out of our comfort zones, out of dead-ends of official politics, and into the streets." 

On July 7th: Join with Refuse Fascism, mobilize your organization or your friends and neighbors and take to the streets across the country to raise the demand:  This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

World Can't Wait is happy to forward an important endorsement of RefuseFascism.org by research scientist Curtis Johnson, who can't wait to drive out the Trump/Pence regime: 

"Time is short and fascism is gaining ground. Millions deeply hate what is going on. Many more could be swung to more active opposition if those who do recognize the dangers and refuse to accept them join with each other and generate a movement to force Trump and Pence from power."

IMG_1758.jpgComing off the enthusiastic reception to the "In the Name of Humanity, We Refuse to Accept a Fascist America," message in the SF Pride Resistance Contingent yesterday,  we urge all of you to contribute to the campaign (Refuse Fascism) in the forefront of World Can't Wait's mission to Stop the Crimes of Your Government

Sign & spread the 2018 Call to Action from RefuseFascism.org and donate to fund this movement.


Join us for the Day of Action at West County Detention Facility, Tuesday June 26:

5555 Giant Hwy, Richmond. Action begins at 7:00AM. Vigil until 7:00PM. Press conference/rally at 12NOON with members of the Richmond City Council and representatives of local organizations.

Van shuttle from the Richmond BART Station (east side) begins at approximately 8:30AM and will continue throughout the day, twice an hour. Note that AC Transit #71 also runs from BART to the jail about every 30 minutes.


El Cerrito Shows Up to Abolish ICE - End Detention, Thursday June 28:

7000 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito. Action starts at 6:00PM. 

BRING YOUR SIGN - BRING A NOISE MAKER - BRING A FRIEND
BE PART OF A HUMAN BILLBOARD ... BE PART OF HISTORY
We CAN abolish ICE! say organizers.


Be a part of Bay Area Sister Protests to the Families Belong Together March on Washington DC, Saturday June 30:

Multiple venues include Kids Standing Up for Kids! Rally in OaklandLet Our People Go! in Richmond, and a Rally & March for Immigrant Rights in San Francisco. Refuse Fascism will participate in some or all of these protests. Help us plan for these events tomorrow, Tuesday June 26. Click on links for details.

We find ourselves in a moment ripe with potential to End the Nightmare of the Trump/Pence Regime; we must not dawdle with misapprehension of party agenda. "The Democrats -- who refuse to call out the fascist threat and mainly still advise people to channel their outrage into voting in the midterms -- have neither the will nor the audacity to lead people to stop the direction the U.S. is headed in," warns Johnson. "They are a ruling-class party more fearful of upheaval by millions of people than of fascism." Without "significant and massive mobilization in the streets, this regime would recoup and roll on."

"We Pledge that we will not stand aside while there is still a chance to stop a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself," says RefuseFascism.org. "Join us. Let's stand together with conviction and courage, overcoming fear and uncertainty, to struggle with all we've got to demand: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go.

media_0220790eda194c8eab1e645f1e4523d1-DMID1-5f5z6omyi-435x360.jpg"I wanted my story to serve as a cautionary tale of what our country could devolve into if Mr. Trump's immigration policies were fully realized," comments Daniel Olivas.  "But now this is our reality: Sons and daughters are being ripped from their parents' arms -- in some cases, literally -- and detention centers are filled with frightened children. In immigrant communities, the fear is palpable, with parents asking themselves if they should risk taking their children to school, or going to work or reporting a crime, lest they become vulnerable to a sweep by immigration agents."

The President retreated, somewhat, from his "zero-tolerance" policy today due to mass public outrage over family separation blackmail to force funding for his Great Wall. "The thought that any state would seek to deter parents by inflicting such abuse on children is unconscionable," said a top UN human rights official. But Trump's executive order to end child kidnapping will do little to alleviate the terror of migrant familes over the last few weeks. Allowing children to suffer in their parents' arms is no antidote to the depraved indifference to human rights asylum seekers face. 

Disdain for human rights is one of the defining characteristics of fascist regimes. But human rights law alone is unlikely to protect democratic institutions from a fascist take-over, says Lecturer in Law Eva Nanopoulos; "we are far from immune from the atrocities of the early twentieth century." She urges the necessity to build alternative strategies of resistance. 

RefuseFascism.org  recognizes that the Trump/Pence Nightmare Must End and invites you to join with thousands of people who have left the confines of their comfort zones to stand together in an unprecedented, sustained resistance to a regime that imperils humanity and the earth itself.

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!

 

DfnWRI3UEAEcCQf.jpgThe rapidly growing number of children forcibly separated from their migrant families under U.S. "zero tolerance" border crossing policy includes 1,469 children imprisoned in an old Walmart outside of Brownsville, Texas. The Trump/Pence administration has begun moving them to a tent city in the desert outside El Paso.

Photo of first thing children see entering Casa Padre> 

Targeted kidnapping of children by state agents is nothing short of torture, with potentially long-term consequences. American Academy of Pediatrics president Colleen Kraft says the toxic stress of separation from trusted caregivers or parents inflicts serious damage to children, especially those under 5 years old, disrupting brain development and raising levels of flight-or-fight hormones, and increasing the potential for future health problems like chronic heart disease and substance abuse.

"Every great fascist catastrophe in history has seen a moment on the eve of the final calamity when it could have all been thwarted," writes Truthout columnist William Rivers Pitt. "This is that moment, right now, on Father's Day. Here, now, they must be stopped, or there will be no stopping them." 

Last week's unanimous vote against war with Iran was good news, largely ignored by the press. Many questioned the veracity of the story. It's up to us to substantiate Congressional admonition for peace with demonstrations of resistance to U.S. military intervention. Let's work to create the kind of political situation that forces an end to the Trump/Pence war on humanity. 

50554_2255459890_5654_n.jpgThe House amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 5515) revokes statutory authorization to go to war with Iran, reports Truthout contributor Marjorie Cohn. Passage represents an important move by Congress to reassert its authority to declare war. But it fails to address War Powers Resolution loopholes contained in the 1973 Act; the president can still launch an attack under ambiguous circumstances: "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces," or when there is "specific statutory authorization," like Trump's targeted killing rules for hunting suspected terrorists.

"Although the Ellison amendment states that no statute authorizes the use of U.S. armed forces in Iran, it does not prohibit the expenditure of money to attack Iran," adds Cohn. "Nor does it proscribe the use of sanctions against Iran (Journalist Fariba Pajooh testifies to the human cost here)."  We must remain vigilant against backdoors to war such policies provide, warns National Iranian American Council (NIAC) Action director Jamal Abdi. 

"This amendment sends a powerful message that the American people and Members of Congress do not want a war with Iran. Today, Congress acted to reclaim its authority over the use of military force," said amendment author Keith Ellison in a press release. Whether the message from American people gets heard depends on you

UPDATE: Haspel Confirmed

merlin_137904927_0e01a2e2-20a8-4941-b196-42a0f570db68-jumbo.jpgThe Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to support Gina Haspel's nomination for CIA director Wednesday. Haspel's defense of torture practices she facilitated at a CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 -- that they were "legal" at the time -- disqualifies her from assuming the role of CIA director, argues professor emerita Marjorie Cohn. Failure to condemn the rescinded opinions of John Yoo invites a repetition of the brutality the professor authorized. Haspel provides little assurance that she wouldn't, like former vice president Dick Cheney says, "do it again."  

"No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture," the Convention Against Torture states unequivocally.

Cohn finds Haspel's moral compass "elusive." In her non-responsive replies to whether she would follow presidential orders, in particular to authorize waterboarding, the nominee channeled John Yoo's deflection on the subject of executive entitlement to crush the testicles of detainee children: "I do not believe the president would ask me to do that." 

Congress may elect to find torture "legal," but they can't make it moral. Shame on Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, and their approving constituency.

So much for the Democratic Party's commitment to human rights. 

It's Up to Us to Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime. And All Their Sponsors!  

The U.S. "War on Terror" has always been about persecuting Muslims, torture being the modus operandi of a cruel system of institutionalized Islamophobia. The nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency confirmed what we already knew: political impunity thrives in an authoritarian environment. And blaming the subjects of abuse endears you to white supremacists.

images.jpg"Torture haunts U.S. politics like a ghost... hidden, repressed, denied and lied about," says sociology professor Lisa Hajjar. Secrecy, unaccountability, and lies conspire to suppress public protest of its use. President Obama's aversion to prosecution of the officials responsible for ghastly crimes undermined the power of international law -- and enabled the resurrection of torture policy by Donald Trump. Obama's executive order ending the use of John Yoo-approved "enhanced interrogation techniques" failed to abandon the use of extraordinary rendition, whereby suspected terrorists were sent to black sites, including the notorious facility in Thailand ruled with depraved indifference to human life. 

"Because of U.S. exceptionalism, or the idea that we are a country without flaws, any deviation from our idealistic notions of who we are is treated as just that -- a deviation," writes Dr. Maha Hilal, Co-Director of Justice for Muslims. An estimated 3.45 million Muslims in the U.S. are "living in a climate of hostility," reports National Geographic, "their faith distorted by violent extremists on one end and an anti-Muslim movement on the other."    

Don't count on Congress to disqualify CIA director nominee Haspel for her role in the spy agency's torture program. Without sustained nonviolent protests in the streets, creating the kind of political situation in which Trump/Pence appointees are removed from power is met, "Bloody Gina" will be promoted next week with accolades for her "service." In the name of her victims, we say NO to torture and the system that employs its use.   

"The retreat of the US's most infamous white nationalist didn't happen on its own," charges Maximillian Alvarez, co-founder of the Ann Arbor chapter of the Campus Antifascist Network. "It didn't happen because people just ignored the imminent threat of 'alt-right' bile and fascist violence. And it didn't happen because administrators at Michigan State University somehow outsmarted all the white supremacists who showed up to East Lansing on March 5. It happened because, on that day, and for months prior, campus and community organizers resisted."

University administrators' entreaties to just "ignore" the Traditionalist Worker Party -- and hope for the best -- only emboldens the white supremacists and neo-fascists invading American college campuses, says Alvarez. The Michigan universities that chose to "play the sly card" with Spencer's demands endangered communities they're supposed to serve. And catalyzed the necessary response by collective grassroots groups who share commitments to "equality, justice and protecting thy neighbor."

"Perhaps it is because of the threat that these coalitions pose to the top-down administrative power structure at universities that many administrators are rushing to co-opt and pass off community organizing victories as their own," concludes the author, prodding campus communities "to provide for themselves what university and municipal authorities won't."

"If we understand and come to grips with the character of the problem we face, we can find and work on the solution," offers RefuseFascism.org. In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America. 

As Friday the 13th -- the day Trump was expected to fire special counsel Robert Mueller or deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein -- goes dark in DC, impeachment sponsors should not despair. There is more than one way to depose a despot.

"Impeachments take time: months, if not longer -- even with an enthusiastic Congress," notes Georgetown University's Rosa Brooks, weighing options to dump Trump. "And when you have a lunatic controlling the nuclear codes, even a few months seems like a perilously long time to wait. How long will it take before Trump decides that 'you're fired' is a phrase that should also apply to nuclear missiles? (Aimed, perhaps, at Mexico?)"

Whether today's US military strike on Syria was launched to distract attention from special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in Trump's election is a matter of speculation. But it effectively did just that -- for the moment.

Professor Brooks considers other possibilities for regime change; a favorable outcome to the November 2020 presidential election, should any semblance of democracy remain from the trials of intervening years. Or an appeal to Vice President Mike Pence's ambitions, should Trump cabinet members be inclined to oust their boss and replace him with his vice president. An even more unlikely projection: a military coup -- "or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders."

But she misses a fifth possible course of action, a move exemplified early into the Trump administration by acting attorney general Sally Yates: the refusal of millions of people across this country to follow his command.  

Yates cautions against accepting Trump's presidency as a new normal, saying it's up to the public to ensure that does not happen. "We can't control what President Trump does, but we can control how we respond to it. I get that's it's exhausting, the onslaught on a daily basis of things that are not normal," she said. "It's calling him out, it's making sure that we don't normalize it; we make sure that we plant a flag about who we are as a country and we hold on to that and make sure no one takes that away from us."

It's possible to imagine a new construct of American ethics, freed of the exploitation foundational to capitalist imperialism. To borrow from the new Call to Action by RefuseFascism.org:

Imagine tens of thousands beginning in several cities and towns, with marches, candlelight vigils, rallies - students, religious communities, immigrants, everyone with a heart for humanity in the streets and not backing down - growing from thousands to hundreds of thousands and eventually millions. Our actions will reflect the values of respect for all of humanity and the world we want - in stark contrast to the hate and bigotry of the Trump/Pence fascist regime. The whole world will take heart. 

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
This Nightmare Must End: The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go!

pict0055-thumb-275x366-1504.jpgA California Law Review debate about the treatment of detainees during wartime will likely include discussion of the torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Prison Camp, where 800 years of Habeas Corpus law -- the right to know why you are being held captive by the State -- came undone.

The Symposium on Habeas Corpus in Wartime will take place at Berkeley Law in Booth Auditorium on April 6, 2018 from 9:00am to 4:00pm with a reception to follow. For speakers and event details, visit bit.ly/habeaswartime#HabeasWartime. 

Should constitutional law be applied to U.S. wars of aggression? What happens when you don't deal with the crime of indefinite detention? University of Texas panelist Stephen Vladeck advocates closing Gitmo (good) but he, and others, are prepared to subject "Forever Prisoners" to Obama-era Periodic Review Boards. True "closure" of the detention camp can only be accomplished with a determination to charge or release all inhabitants. 

"Closing Guantánamo the right way requires ending indefinite detention without charge or trial; transferring detainees who have been cleared for transfer; and trying detainees for whom there is evidence of wrongdoing in our federal criminal courts here in the U.S.," asserts the ACLU. "If a prosecutor cannot put together a case against a detainee, there is no reason that person should continue to be imprisoned."

"The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," wrote Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky in The House of the Dead. The cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment -- torture -- inflicted on disfranchised subjects, from Pelican Bay in California to Bagram, Afghanistan, must not only end; the presumption of American immunity to international law must be repudiated. Dismantling of U.S. torture camps can't wait. And that is up to us.

United States of Denial

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stateofdenial.jpgFrom the American "foundational atrocity" of slavery to the ascendance of German Nazification in the 1930s, a refusal of collective responsibility hindered a national reckoning for state-sponsored terror. It also enabled the forced displacement of millions of "undesirables," a policy now embraced by President Trump, along with the hideous programs advocated by his new cabinet-designates: preemptive war and torture, both war crimes.

The impunity afforded Trump's coterie of badass advisors facilitates the normalization of reactionary policies that threaten humanity and imperil the earth itself, notes Michael Canavan at medium.com

What if we had seen CIA operators perp-walked, lawyers disbarred, generals forced into disgraced retirement? What if journalists who uncritically passed on sham intelligence found themselves unemployable? What if W. and Cheney actually couldn't visit Europe for fear of justice in the Hague? Would that have failed to turn the country towards repentance? Would that have shaken the endowed chairs of the war's most unashamed defenders? Would John Yoo be teaching at Berkeley?

"What year is it?!" exclaims Canavan, "how were these monsters [Gina Haspel and John Bolton] even in a position to show their faces in polite society, much less achieve high office?" Decades of US imperium demand the kind of public contrition and retribution manifest in massive, sustained resistance to illegitimate government.

The challenge has never been greater. The nightmare of a Fascist America must end. The Trump/Pence Regime Must Go! 

graveyard.jpgThose who perpetrated the Iraq War are still at large, we are reminded by Attytood blogger Will Bunch. "The good people who made a few tiny mistakes back in those crazy post-9/11 times [haven't] turned over a new leaf."

How did America get to this state of amnesia?

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel allies say she has learned from her mistakes (torture of Cat's Eye detainees). George W. Bush's Iraq War cheerleader John Bolton insists he's not that guy anymore. The former president channels his "inner Rembrandt" to rehabilitate his image by painting portraits of military veterans. Barack Obama turned a blind-eye to prosecution for war crimes in the interest of partisan harmony.

A boundless faith in American exceptionalism--the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation that "loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law"--doesn't help to acknowledge the dearth of accountability for crimes of government in our name. Nor does the "collegiality among elites who all went to the same overpriced universities--people who could never acknowledge that the guy at the next table at the Capital Grille who looks just like them might have committed war crimes." 

The 20th century philosopher George Santayana wrote "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." In this sense America truly is exceptional, concludes Bunch. We, in our time, cannot ignore the lessons of history. That which we will not resist and mobilize to stop, we will learn--or be forced--to accept.

We must not reassure ourselves that a form of radical authoritarian nationalism seen in 1930s Germany couldn't happen here. 

"The different strains of fascist demagogues and movements in this country see in Trump and Pence their 'last chance' to achieve their reactionary program," says the Call to Action by RefuseFascism.org. "They will not listen to facts or reason; they have already and will continue to change rules and manipulate elections, and they will not give up...

"We must confront the reality that the world as we have known it is being torn asunder. This requires getting out of our comfort zones and not allowing our differences to stand in the way of rising together in an unprecedented, unrelenting mass struggle to confront the danger of a Trump/Pence fascist America." Sign up here.

Few people have paid a professional price for involvement in America's torture program, notes Rogue Justice author Karen Greenberg. John Yoo, the author of the infamous 2002 memos declaring torture legal, remains a tenured professor at Berkeley. Steven Bradbury, who authorized "enhanced" interrogation techniques, now serves as General Counsel of the United States Department of Transportation. Disgraced Attorney General Alberto Gonzales eventually landed a job as Dean of Belmont University College of Law, in Nashville, Tennessee, where he currently teaches Constitutional Law. Former Bush and Obama administrators found senior posts in business and academia (universities, think tanks, foundations, corporations, law firms) and serve to arbiter public opinion on the crimes of the Trump/Pence regime.  

gina-haspel-mgn.jpgThe President's selection of Haspel for CIA director "is a slap in the face to those who embrace the rule of law," says Greenberg. It "was not a casual gesture. It reveals a stubborn defiance of civilized norms about permissability of torture, and builds upon the indefensible secrecy that still surrounds the program." But it could prompt a public reckoning with the nominee's administration of one of the most notorious of the CIA's "black sites," in Thailand, known as Detention Site Green, where the most brutal interrogations of two suspected al-Qaeda operatives, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri took place. 

"Bloody Gina" also played a role in destroying videotaped evidence of what occurred at that site. Former CIA counterterrorism officer John Kiriakou recounts the torture: "They waterboarded Abu Zubaida 83 times. They later subjected him to sleep deprivation; they kept him locked in a large dog cage for weeks at a time; they locked him in a coffin-size box and, knowing that he had an irrational fear of insects, put bugs in it with him."  

The confirmation hearings for Trump's CIA pick should prompt an examination and unequivocal repudiation of torture policies uncovered by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into the CIA's post-9/11 program of detention. "We must condemn the deceptions that have been visited upon the American people," says Greenberg. "Only when the details are made public will the country be able to accept responsibility for what happened, to declare it wrong, and in so doing to move forward -- decisively away from torture."

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