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Ferguson Updates

Ferguson was fairly calm Tuesday night, with most people peacefully protesting.

AG Eric Holder arrives in Ferguson today. Here is his letter to the people of Ferguson.

Gov. Nixon said the county prosecutor will stay on the case for now, rejecting calls for a special prosecutor. (the St. Louis County Circuit Court grand jury is scheduled to commence hearing testimony today.)

I won't be online much today, so you can use this thread for all Michael Brown/Ferguson related topics.

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Grand Jury to Begin Investigation of Michael Brown Killing

After a night of more unrest in Ferguson, a few shootings (reportedly not by police) and at least 30 arrests, officials are calling for calm.

A grand jury is scheduled to begin hearing evidence in the shooting death of Michael Brown tomorrow.

President Obama has dispatched AG Eric Holder to Ferguson. DOJ is conducting its own civil rights investigation. [More....]

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Ferguson: Gov. Nixon Calls in National Guard

Tin Soldiers and Nixon Coming... The curfew is over but the National Guard is on its way.

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Michael Brown Autopsy by Dr. Baden Released

Dr. Michael Baden, hired by Michael Brown family lawyer Benjamin Crump, has released his autopsy findings. Baden waived his fee and Crump paid his travel expenses.

AG Eric Holder has said the Brown family asked the Justice Department to conduct another autopsy. That's a lot of autopsy requests.

Baden says Brown was shot at least six times, although only 3 bullets were recovered from the body. He said he was shot in the head, the eye, and the arm. [More...]

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Another Night of Curfew in Ferguson

Ferguson, Missouri is under a second night of curfew.

Attorney General Eric Holder ordered a third autopsy for Michael Brown, at the request of his family. The Washington Post says:

Holder’s announcement, coming one day after revelations that additional FBI agents had been dispatched to Ferguson, was the latest signal that the federal civil rights investigation of Brown’s death is escalating. The federal probe is running parallel to the state investigation, and federal officials had said they were deferring to state officials.

MO Gov. Jay Nixon took the airwaves today and among other things, criticized the release of the alleged robbery video, saying he hadn't known about it.

Highway Patrol officer Ron Johnson spoke at a rally today and addressing Brown's parents, said "I am sorry. I wear this uniform and I should say that I am sorry.”

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Missouri Gov. Declares State Emergency in Ferguson

The Governor of Missouri has declared a state of emergency in Ferguson. A curfew is in effect until further notice.

The police brought this on themselves. They have bungled every opportunity to resolve public frustration. They are a walking public relations disaster, choosing the wrong path at every turn.

Today, the Justice Department said they asked the police not to release the security camera video from the alleged theft at Ferguson's Wine and Market. [More...]

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Restrain Police, Restrain Their Acquisition of War Weaponry

This version is set to a compelling series of images from the protests and response of the National Guard at Kent State in 1969.

Things haven't changed. They've gotten worse. Radley Balko, author of “Overkill: The Rise of the Warrior Cop:The Militarization of America's Police Forces" testified before Congress in 2007 that swat team raids were up 1500% in the past two decades. [More...]

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Violence in Ferguson, Police Throw Smoke Bombs in Street

Police fired tear gas, smoke bombs and rubber bullets in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri.

The situation became more tense after nightfall, with police ordering people to go home and then using smoke bombs and later tear gas after some people threw Molotov cocktails and other things at them.

Here's an AP photo. Here's a live-streamed video of the lead up to the police actions and the aftermath. From the video, it was the police who advanced first, on a crowd that seems peaceful, and had their hands in the air while they chanted "Hands up, don't shoot."

Not on the video, there is a photo of some protesters trying to light a molotov cocktail (unsuccessfully, according to the caption) and another of a protester throwing a burning tear gas canister back at police (In other words, the police threw first.)Here's a photo of an empty tear gas canister picked up at the scene. [More....]

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House Passes Bill to Speed Deportations, End Obama Relief to Dreamers

The House of Representatives Friday passed a new version of the Republican's border bill that will unconscionably speed up deportations of child migrants. The House also passed a separate bill, intended to appease TX Sen. Ted Cruz and the radical right arm of the party, that reverses much of President Obama's executive order granting temporary relief to Dreamers, children who arrived the United States years ago with undocumented parents. Obama's order created a two year deferral on deportation for many of these children. [More...]

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CIA Director John Brennan Admits CIA Spied on Senate Staffers

With the declassified version of the Inspector General's report outlining the CIA's unauthorized intrusion into U.S. Senate staffers' computers on the horizon, CIA director John Brennan admitted today the agency spied on Senate members. He also apologized. [More...]

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U.S. Judge Approves Search Warrant for Entire Gmail Account

U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Gabriel Gorenstein in the Southern District of New York has approved a search warrant request for the entire contents of an unnamed person's Gmail account, with no restrictions. Federal prosecutors requested the warrant in a money laundering investigation.

The decision is contrary to earlier rulings by Magistrate Judges in Kansas and Washington, DC. I have uploaded the opinion here. [More...]

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New Report on Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Terror Cases

The Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law School has released a new report, Illusion of Justice, Human Rights Abuses in U.S. Terrorism cases.

The 212 page report examines 27 terror cases from start to finish.

[S]ince the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, DC, the United States government has failed to meet its international legal obligations with respect to its investigations and prosecutions of terrorism suspects, as well as its treatment of terrorism suspects in custody.

One of the big problems is of course the FBI's overuse of terror stings. Here are the major concerns, according to the study: [More...]

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9th Circuit Overturns AZ Ban on Drivers Licenses for Dreamers

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed a lower court's refusal to grant a preliminary injunction against Arizona's ban on issuing driver's licenses to Dreamers who have been granted permission under President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (background here) to remain in the U.S. and avoid deportation for up to two years.

The opinion is here. It says the Dreamers are likely to prevail on an equal protection challenge to the ban, and will suffer irreparable harm if the injunction isn't granted. It ordered the Arizona Department of Transportation to provide licenses to those in that program.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, 642,685 young people have been approved for the program since 2012, including 20,000 from Arizona. (statistics here.)

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Nobody could have predicted that 'religious liberty' accommodations would lead to Hobby Lobby

Due to the entirely predictable turmoil in Iraq, we are now cursed with Iraq Debacle cheerleaders "explaining" how it was all President Obama's fault. In a similar vein of chutzpah, E.J.Dionne has deccided that the Hobby Lobby decision was also President Obama's fault:

Itís unfortunate that the Obama administrationís initial, parsimonious exemption for religious groups helped ignite the firestorm that led to Hobby Lobby. It might consider this lesson as it moves, rightly, to issue an executive order to ban discrimination against LGBT people by government contractors. Iíve long believed that anti-gay behavior is both illiberal and, if I may, un-Christian.

Oh really? It was the Obama Administration's fault that its overly generous "accommodation" in violation of the Establishment Clause that led to Hobby Lobby? It was Obamas fault that his compromise was rejected out of hand by the Manichean forces intent on eliminating women's privacy rights? What a load of crap. Indeed, E.J. Dionne has been full of it from Day 1 on this. In my post, Dionne Breaks Faith With Progressive Values, I predicted that the accommodation Dionne argued for would absolutely lead to Hobby Lobby:

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Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board Releases Report

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has released a 191 page report on the electronic surveillance program operated under FISA's Section 702. (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008.) The full report is here.

In response to the requests from Congress and the President, the Board began a comprehensive study of the two NSA programs. The Board held public hearings and met with the Intelligence Community and the Department of Justice, White House, and congressional committee staff, privacy and civil liberties advocates, academics, trade associations, and technology and communications companies.

The report "examines the collection of electronic communications under Section 702, and provides analysis and recommendations regarding the program’s implementation." It finds two areas of concern: [More....]

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