Sunday, May 26, 2019

The Trump administration’s 10 most dangerous actions concerning Iran

  President Donald Trump’s erratic Iran policy has left America more isolated and less safe. In his first week in office, he alienated Iranians by banning them from America. Then he ignored the warnings of the world, nuclear experts, and his own national security team to shred a functioning nuclear agreement. For all Iran’s continued destabilizing behavior, President Trump’s actions have made America the instigator of the current crisis in the eyes of the world. He has ratcheted up tensions with no plan for success.

  Even now, there remains a serious risk that Trump and his team will blunder into a preventable and unnecessary war. Trump’s clumsy attempts at diplomacy with Iran are likely to fail—just as they have with North Korea. The chaos is obvious, and productive results are nowhere to be seen.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Trump is lying about immigrant crime – and the research proves it

  Since he began campaigning, President Trump has demonized Latino immigrants as “criminals.” He has called them “rapists,” drug dealers, “animals” and “bad hombres” who “infest our country.”

  He has claimed that immigrant gang members “take a young, beautiful girl, 16, 15 and others and they slice them and dice them with a knife because they want them to go through excruciating pain before they die.”

  Along the border, he has claimed without any evidence at all, that “[w]omen are tied up, with duct tape on their faces, put in the backs of vans.”

  Trump deploys this dehumanizing language to justify his inhumane policies of caging children, shredding the asylum system in violation of the law, shattering families across America, incarcerating tens of thousands of law-abiding people in inhumane prisons, and more.

  But he is wrong.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea’s nukes

  From the start of the brouhaha that President Trump initiated against North Korea for refusing to destroy its nuclear weapons, I have consistently maintained that the communist regime would never rid itself of its nukes. Even when Trump suddenly did an about-face and fell in love with North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-Un and convinced himself that his new-found communist friend would “denuclearize,” I said it just wasn’t going to happen. I also said that there was zero chance that Kim would trade his nukes for Trump’s promise of beautiful condo projects along North Korean beaches.

  Why was I so certain that Kim would never let go of his nukes? Because he knows that his nukes are what is deterring U.S. officials, including Cold War anticommunist dead-enders like John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Elliott Abrams, from initiating a regime-change war against his regime.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Defending all of us by defending a free press

  Police raids in lieu of legal due process. Undercover surveillance on reporters because of their work. Street “sweeps” in which journalists are handcuffed and carted away to “headquarters.” The use of force as an alternative to courts and legal means.

  Such are the tactics of dictators, despots, and those for whom democratic ideals and the rule of law are expendable in the name of expediency, political gains, or a desire to avoid being held accountable to the public.

  Recent examples of these strong-arm methods have appeared here in our nation — and every citizen ought to hear his/her First Amendment threat alarm sounding.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Steve Flowers: Inside the Statehouse - Road rage and deer hunting bills take center stage in legislature

  Over 20 years ago when I was a legislator, the Alabama State Trooper assigned to my county asked if he could visit with me. “Of course,” I said. When he came, he had a somber look on his face. I thought maybe he had a serious personal problem or had lost a loved one.

  He began, “This may not sound like a major highway problem, but one of the things that causes a good many accidents and incidents on our roads is people driving slow in the left lane and not moving over.” I never pursued legislation to this effect. However, he made me aware of the need to remedy this problem.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2.2 million Americans are behind bars, and that’s more than the prison system can handle

  Sam was no stranger to arrest. Since becoming addicted to methamphetamine after moving to Hawaii for a chef position, he spent years bouncing between jails, rehabs, and the streets. But when his module caught fire during a riot at the Maui Community Correctional Facility, he found himself faced with an impossible choice: Go back inside the burning building or extend his sentence.

  The conditions that led to the riot were nothing new. MCCC was designed to hold 301 people, but at the time was packed with over 400. The jail has a history of chronic overcrowding; in 2016 the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii filed a complaint that named MCCC as the most “egregiously overcrowded” on the islands, to the point that it was unsafe. Among other issues, the report notes that it was common for three, four, or sometimes five people to be placed into cells designed for two, forcing them to sleep on the floor among roaches and rats, sometimes with their heads beneath the toilet.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Immigration tyranny and cruelty come home

  I can’t help but wonder if what has happened to Theresa Todd will cause conservative-leaning libertarians to abandon their support of immigration controls, the system of immigration central planning, cruelty, and tyranny that both conservatives and progressives have unfortunately foisted upon our land.

  Todd lives in West Texas. One night she was driving down a highway when she was flagged down by three young Central American migrants — Carlos, 22, his brother Francisco 20, and their sister Esmeralda, 18.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Setting the record straight: Real talk about immigration courts

  The Trump administration’s recent “fact sheet” on U.S. immigration proceedings excludes critical information about the immigration system and only serves to spread misinformation and distrust of immigrants and asylum seekers.

  The document, issued by the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review sparked former immigration judges and members of the Board of Immigration Appeals to object to such “political pandering” that makes a mockery of the agency’s obligation to ensure the full and fair resolution of immigration cases. The document’s claims have also been rebutted by advocates and the media. What’s more, at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Southeast Immigrant Freedom Initiative, our clients and attorneys have witnessed the routine abuses of a court system increasingly bent on deporting individuals rather than administering justice.

  Because Americans deserve the truth, here are some real facts about the immigration courts.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Craig Ford: Education and state retirees also deserve a pay raise

  Sometimes I feel like a broken record, but here we are once again. Another year, another budget, and another failure to provide our retirees with a cost-of-living pay raise.

  It’s becoming a disturbing tradition that every year I have to write about our legislature’s failure to treat our retirees with the respect they deserve. But for some reason, our state representatives and senators think that retirees only deserve the occasional, one-time bonus payments rather than a permanent cost-of-living pay increase.

Friday, May 17, 2019

It’s time to reform occupational licensing in Alabama

  Did you know that it’s against the law to braid hair, wash hair, or even plant flowers professionally in Alabama without a license?

  That’s because occupational licensing, originally meant to protect consumers, has gotten way out of hand. A video recently produced by the Alabama Policy Institute illustrates just how ridiculous it has become.

  Sure, licensing certain occupations is a good thing. We need to know our builders, physicians, attorneys, and those practicing many other specialized and potentially dangerous professions are being well regulated.