Warren aims to end most of the 1994 crime bill
- Warren also spells out specific breaks with the Trump administration, including a promise to end the Justice Department directive requiring federal prosecutors to seek maximum prison terms.
- Significant parts of the proposal would require legislative action, but Warren also talks about using her Justice Department to influence policing tactics and reduce prison terms.
- In another departure from the current administration's policies, Warren's proposal would triple funding for the Office of Civil Rights and, in a reversal from the current Justice Department guidance, seek to reestablish the use of consent decree investigations -- which the Department of Justice under former President Barack Obama often used to assert federal influence on police departments acting in violation of constitutional standards.
- Warren argues that the "hierarchical process at DOJ results in relatively few and conservative clemency recommendations," and proposes creating an independent board with direct access to the White House.
Bernie Sanders wants to completely ban cops using facial recognition tech from firms like Amazon
- Bernie Sanders has included banning the use of facial recognition by police forces in a new criminal justice reform plan published on Sunday.
- Facial recognition systems such as Amazon's Rekognition software are already starting to be deployed by some US law enforcement.
- A pair of researchers published a paper in January which concluded Rekognition showed higher error rates for women and people with darker skin tones.
- Amazon Web Services' general manager of artificial intelligence Dr. Matt Wood pushed back against the paper, calling it "misleading" because, among other things, the researchers used an outdated version of the software.
- Apart from any inherent flaws in the software, numerous reports have emerged of police forces struggling to use Rekognition properly.
- A Gizmodo report from January revealed police in Washington County were not adhering to Amazon's guidelines on using the software's confidence ratings (i.e. a percentage it gives on the certainty of a match).
Chinese state media broadcast a rap remix of Trump telling people to let China deal with the Hong Kong protests, in a cringeworthy attempt to undermine activists
- Chinese state media broadcast a remix of Donald Trump telling people to avoid condemning China's activities in Hong Kong, in the form of a music video by Chinese rappers designed to undermine the protest movement.
- Trump's comments are almost identical to the Chinese government's official stance on the Hong Kong protests, which it considers an internal matter which governments and rights organizations should not comment on.
- Last week the UN Human Rights Office accused Hong Kong's police of excessive harshness in dealing with the protesters.
- The rap echoes news last week that at least 10 pop stars from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, had pledged their allegiance to Beijing and the one-China policy.
- On August 12, Beijing strongly condemned the protests, accusing "radical Hong Kong protesters" of engaging in "deranged" acts of violence.
Opinion: Justice for Eric Garner? Not even close
- Instead, the authorities deferred to a state grand jury (which returned no indictment against Pantaleo) and then waited for the long-shot possibility of a federal Department of Justice civil rights prosecution against Pantaleo, which never happened.
- Mayor de Blasio meanwhile remained stubbornly silent about the case, refusing to even express an opinion about whether Pantaleo should remain on the force, for fear of prejudicing the outcome of an internal departmental trial.
- The New York Times reported that the NYPD's Civilian Complaint Review Board received more than 1,000 complaints about the use of chokeholds between 2009 and 2013, but called for the punishment of only nine officers.
- If the NYPD and Mayor de Blasio had taken a serious, forceful and pro-active stance against the illegal use of chokeholds, Pantaleo would have been fired long ago.
Planned Parenthood drops federal funding over abortion-referral restriction
- Washington (CNN) - Planned Parenthood announced Monday it will drop federal funding over the Trump administration's rule blocking the reproductive rights organization from talking to patients about abortion services.
- The Department of Health and Human Services rule would prohibit taxpayer-funded family planning clinics from discussing abortion with patients or referring patients to abortion providers.
- Planned Parenthood covers 40% of Title X's patients and has been involved with the program since it began, according to the organization.
- The Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday denied the organization's request to reverse its order allowing the Trump administration's Title X abortion clinic-referral restriction to go into effect, in a blow for abortion rights activists.
- The decision comes in the month after the reproductive rights organization ousted its president, Dr. Leana Wen, who spent less than a year on the job.
Donald Trump's gun control reversal should surprise exactly no one
- Trump's responses Sunday on how hard -- if at all -- he will push Congress when it returns on passing some sort of further gun control laws are a drastic step back from what he was saying even earlier this month.
- Within days -- and after a private meeting with the NRA -- Trump began shuffling away from that position.
- That certainly feels like the path Trump is headed down again.
- He comes out hot and hard for some sort of real gun control measure in the wake of these all-too-common tragedies and then, when the political realities of Senate Republicans' skepticism and the NRA's influence hit home, he starts to change his tune.
- And yet, all signs point to Trump actively backing away from rocking the gun rights boat in any real way in the coming months.
The Trump administration just told the Supreme Court that it's legal to fire workers for being transgender
- The Trump administration outlined in a court filing on Friday why it believes transgender discrimination is legal in the workplace under federal law — a broad setback in LGBTQ rights since the Obama administration.
- The 1964 Civil Rights Act states that employers also can't discriminate based on sex, race, color, religion, and national origin.
- The Justice Department under the Trump administration, is arguing that workplace discrimination based on sex does not apply to transgender workers.
- The filing is related to an upcoming Supreme Court case involving a transgender funeral worker Aimee Stephens who was fired from her position after announcing her transition.
- Per the Justice Department's brief, the word "sex" solely refers to the biological sex of an individual.
US teenager pleads for Trump to help free his mother from Egyptian jail
- Egyptian authorities have reportedly charged Desouky, an art teacher and single mother, with "administering Facebook pages that aim to shake the grandeur of the state," according to Mohamed Soltan, the leader of the Washington-based human rights organization The Freedom Initiative.
- Last week, Human Rights Watch and The Freedom Initiative urged Egyptian officials to investigate the reported suicide attempt of another Egyptian American, Khaled Hassan.
- Hassan, a limousine driver who had been living in New York, was detained in secret and forcibly disappeared for four months starting in January 2018, according to Human Rights Watch.
- In a statement in October 2018, Egyptian authorities denied Hassan's allegations of torture, rape and enforced disappearance, according to Human Rights Watch.
- Trump has been less vocal about the Egyptian president's human rights abuses, instead heaping praise on Sisi in April when he hosted the Egyptian leader at the White House.