The Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a right to trial by jury, but a new report documents that in the U.S. criminal justice system, trials have become the rare exception, not the rule. “The Trial Penalty: The Sixth Amendment Right to Trial on the Verge of Extinction and How to Save It” was published in July by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (“NACDL”).
After running an historic campaign to be governor of Georgia, former House Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams addressed members of the media and her staff just before Georgia certified election results on Nov. 16. In her remarks, Abrams outlined the gross injustices Georgians faced when trying to cast their ballots during this election and launched Fair Fight Georgia. This new PAC will pursue accountability in Georgia’s elections and integrity in the process of maintaining our voting rolls.
President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi aptly reflect the true nature of the power brokers that he represents. Instead of the usual “Empire-speak” statements, hypocritically condemning Khashoggi’s murder, followed by a pep talk on the values of “democracy” and “freedom of speech,” Trump is basically saying, as the leader of one rogue state to another, that was the “worst cover up ever,” boys, and heads should roll.
On Feb. 12, 2018, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that there were 4.49 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Democratic Republic of Congo and 630,500 refugees in neighboring countries. The IDP population had nearly doubled in the previous year alone, mainly as a result of clashes and armed attacks. This week I spoke to Swiss Congolese historian and activist Bénédicte Kumbi Ndjoko about recent developments in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Bay View is the people’s microphone. It’s one of the few voices we have. It may not be a big microphone, like CNN or the New York Times. But we need as many small and medium sized mikes as we can get. The San Francisco Bay View should not be a dwindling institution. It should be an expanding one. An ever thriving one. The light and voice of the people should not be a flickering candlelight, but a raging fire. If this community watchdog loses its bark or is put to sleep, it will truly be open season on us and our communities.
When FBI director James Comey dropped a propaganda bomb that blew up the 2016 presidential election and probably changed how the U.S. will be governed for some time to come, he wasn’t acting for the Russians. Comey wasn’t acting as an individual rogue actor either. He was acting in the tried and true tradition of the FBI as a political police agency that uses its authority – legally, illegally and effectively – to intrude into the political processes of our country. One hallmark of what we like to think of as our great democracy is the separation of the police and military from our political processes.
Over the past few years, President Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, members of both houses of Congress and many other elected officials have expressed the need for criminal justice reform. Much concern has been raised regarding overly harsh penalties for low-level drug offenses and firearms violations. There is, however, one particularly egregious judicial injustice that has not made the headlines, perhaps because it primarily effects only poor African Americans.
Over the weekend the organization Friends of Victoire hosted an international webcast to strategize about how to free Rwandan political prisoner Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza. Ingabire has become an icon of freedom, democracy and peace since returning to Rwanda in 2010 to attempt to stand for the presidency against incumbent Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
Richmond residents, social justice advocates, elected officials and Chevron shareholders today announced a resolution being put forward at Chevron’s upcoming shareholders meeting that would prevent the company from dumping money into the political cycle. The resolution comes after Chevron spent more than $3 million to influence elections in Richmond – a small portion of the millions spent to influence elections at all levels across California and the country.
In January 2010, Rwandan opposition leader Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza returned from The Netherlands to Rwanda to attempt to run against sitting President Paul Kagame. She said she knew that she would be either assassinated or imprisoned, and she is now entering the fifth year of a 15-year prison sentence. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Marie Lyse Numuhoza, the founder of Friends of Victoire, a new organization created to fight for her freedom.
As a result of a dialogue, which included a phone conversation I had yesterday with President Obama, we have been able to make headway on some topics of mutual interest. The last three of the Cuban 5 have arrived today to our homeland, we have sent Alan Gross back to his country and we have agreed to renew diplomatic relations. But this in no way means that the heart of the matter has been solved. The blockade must cease.
Twenty years of local democracy in South Africa has been very cruel for Abahlali baseMjondolo and for millions of other poor people. It has been 20 years of hell in shacks. It has been 20 years of living like pigs in the mud. It has been 20 years of living with rats, floods, fire and rotting rubbish. For those of us who have stood up for our humanity, our reward has been lies, assault, torture, wrongful arrest, the destruction of our homes and even assassination.
In the summer of 1963, the KQED Film Unit invited author James Baldwin to investigate racism in San Francisco. Baldwin agreed to be filmed while he scrutinized the liberal, cosmopolitan image projected by the city. Before “Take This Hammer” was televised, KQED’s Board of Directors insisted that 15 minutes of footage had to be removed, which some felt portrayed race relations in an overly negative way.
Paul Kagame has been touring top American universities giving speeches about what he calls accomplishments of his reign: peace, human rights, democracy, development etc. This is vintage Kagame. He has the whole Rwandan population under lock and key, assassinates and imprisons dissenting voices, and then goes to the land of his benefactors to taunt the West as if to say, “I do what I want; you can go to hell!”
The child’s destination was a friend’s house on a bright sunny day. The child had a toy. But Andy Lopez Cruz didn’t see his friend that day. Andy will not ever see any of his friends again. For within 10 seconds, the cops had rolled up behind him, reported him as suspicious, called for backup and shot him seven times. He was shot twice in the back before he hit the ground; he got a chance to scream “Stop” once and then he died.
Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who last week completed a peace mission to Syria along with former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark and others, delivered the following address to the IBON Conference on Democracy, Self-Determination and Liberation of Peoples. The conference was held Sept. 23 at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium.
On Aug. 7, Paul Rusesabagina, president of the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation, sent an open letter to international political and civil society leaders asking them not to bother with the upcoming Rwandan parliamentary elections. The letter follows: Please ignore Rwanda. Parliamentary elections are coming up in Rwanda this September, and the world should ignore them.
In this country they sing, “God Bless America,” but they mean, “except if you live south of the border or in the hood or if you’re a person of color, a woman, poor or an activist for the common good.” Rock the vote and rock the boat by shopping locally! My Buy Black Wednesday Business of the Month is MG Enhancez Hair Shop.
It’s time for dialogue between Rwandan and Congolese people of like mind to finally end the 16-year war between our two armies and their various ancillary or surrogate militias. The vast majority of both of our people need democracy, political space, economic opportunity and a common share in their countries’ resource wealth.
On these days that mark the 2011 General Elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo, we call on all Congolese leaders of political parties, members of political parties, members of the armed forces and the police to demonstrate their respect for human rights, freedom of expression and choices as well as respect for the right of Congolese to live in peace and human security.
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