Monthly Archives: August 2008

Douglas Kmiec on Why Obama is the Candidate of Catholic Values

With everything going on (not least watching Gustav bear down on New Orleans), I forget to link to this extraordinarily thoughtful set of written replies to questions by Douglas W. Kmiec which appeared in the New York Times yesterday: Beliefs – For Ex-G.O.P. Official, Obama Is Candidate of Catholic Values.

Prof. Kmiec holds a chair at Pepperdine. I wonder what his Dean, a guy by the name of Kenneth Starr, makes of his reasoning.

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 1 Comment

Twin Cities: Will the Courts Step In?

Latest news via blogger Lindsay Beyerstein:

The second is pretty slashdotted, so I'll repeat it here:

The 6 activists arrested during police raids in advance of the Republican National Convention are being held without charge by the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office, the Minnesota Independent reports.

The arrestees are being held on probable cause holds. These holds give the authorities 36 hours to charge them or let them go. Holds are typically used to give investigators more time to gather evidence before filing formal charges.

Holds allow police to charge first and ask questions later. Sometimes that's a good thing. Arrest opportunities are unpredictable. A suspect could slip away in the time it takes to turn a solid suspicion into sufficient evidence to file charges. A probable cause hold buys the police some time to dot the i's and cross the t's.

However, it doesn't take a genius to see how the power to detain people without charge can be abused. For example, unethical police officers have been known to use frivolous holds as quickie jail terms. Piss off the police, spend 3 days in jail—no trial required.

In Minnesota, a probable cause hold can be issued by an officer without review by a judge or a prosecutor. The 36-hour window doesn't include weekends and holidays. So the protesters arrested over the long weekend could be locked up until Wednesday.

The National Lawyers Guild is asking a judge to review these detentions in the hopes of getting the arrestees out sooner.

Imagine if the police could hold these protesters as long as they wanted.

The United States is holding suspects without charge at Guantanamo—many of whom were apprehended without anything approaching probable cause. Of course, Bush administration asserts the right to put off their trials forever.

Scenarios like these illustrate why habeas corpus is vital to the rule of law.

Other resources:

Locals write about events in the Twin Cities (interactive online issues forums):

Posted in Civil Liberties | 2 Comments

Wasserman-Schultz Watch

Daily Kos: FL-18: DWS Undermines Taddeo to Florida Delegates


I agree with “DavidNYC” at Kos: “Call Debbie Wasserman Schultz's campaign office at (202) 741-7154 and ask her to do as Rep. Meek has done: make a sizable donation to the Taddeo campaign and solicit her network for more contributions.”

At least DWS has come around on the other races in this area. It shows pressure works. Let's apply some more.

Posted in Politics: FL-18 | Comments Off on Wasserman-Schultz Watch

More On Twin Cities – Developing

Here's another account, with a statement from the National Lawyer's Guild:

National Lawyers Guild dondemns fabrications of Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher and preventative detention arrests
National Lawyers Guild Press Release

The Minnesota Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild condemns the coordinated raids carried out by Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher against citizens planning to engage in demonstrations at the Republican National Convention.

The primary prop used by Sheriff Fletcher in his afternoon press conference, where he displayed items seized in three early morning raids conducted in south Minneapolis, were three buckets of alleged urine. As shown by inventory sheets left by law enforcement, these buckets were seized at 2301 23rd Avenue South in Minneapolis, MN. Two buckets contain grey water and were being used to flush toilets, to conserve water, in the upstairs bathroom. Both were identified in the inventory as “unidentified liquid.” The third bucket, as shown by inventory sheets, was seized from illegal apartment over a garage in the rear. This apartment has been occupied for several years by a person unconnected to the house occupants or the RNC. No bathroom was in the illegal apartment and urine was collected in a bucket. This was listed as “unidentified yellow liquid” in the inventory sheets.

Bruce Nestor, chapter President of the Minnesota National Lawyers Guild, was present at both locations during the execution of the search warrants. “Police seized political literature, cellphones, computers, cameras, personal diaries, and many common household items such as paint, rope, and roofing nails. These items are present in almost any home in south Minneapolis and are not evidence of a crime,” said Nestor. “Seizing boxes of political literature shows the motive of these raids was political. Sheriff Fletcher has staged a publicity stunt, violated constitutional rights, and misrepresented what was seized during the raids,” he said. Another raid was carried out the evening before on a political meeting hall in St. Paul. Inventory sheets for that raid show that no contraband items were taken. Literature, computers, maps of St. Paul, and banners were the vast majority of the items seized.

In addition, during the raids, four persons were arrested without arrest warrants or formal charges. They are being held on probable cause holds for “Conspiracy to Commit Riot,” which will allow their detention until Wednesday, September 3, 2008, at noon. Two other persons were also arrested without warrants, off the streets of Minneapolis, one after she addressed a mass rally of over 200 people at Powderhorn Park. “Conspiracy to commit riot was the charge used against the Chicago 8 after the police riots in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention,” said Heidi Boghosian, Executive Director the National Lawyers Guild. “Guild attorneys defended those charged in 1968 and we will do so again now.”

Posted in Civil Liberties | 9 Comments

Something Very Bad is Happening in the Twin Cities

Early reports are flooding in of what sound – at first blush – as police state tactics designed to disrupt and intimidate anyone who authorities think might be protesting — peacefully — at the Republican National Convention.

Some of these accounts are from reputable sources, including both lawyers who were called in to help clients only to be arrrested an handcuffed, and from a group called Founders of I-Witness, which specializes in filming police behavior and that was at the 2004 GOP Convention and took film that cost New York Police seven figures in settlements. Their account is chilling: Armed police surrounded their house and held them hostage for hours while waiting for a warrant to enter.

The house where I-Witness Video is staying in St. Paul has been surrounded by police. We have locked all the doors. We have been told that if we leave we will be detained. One of our people who was caught outside is being detained in handcuffs in front of the house. The police say that they are waiting to get a search warrant. More than a dozen police are wielding firearms, including one St. Paul officer with a long gun, which someone told me is an M-16.

The first thing you do is silence the witnesses. Police are also detaining reporters.

“Food Not Bombs” — so far as I know a peaceful group — was also raided. Jane Hampsher of firedoglake has an account and links to a video..

See Glenn Greenwald for more, with updates.

I believe some people got quite upset when similar tactics were used recently in China to prevent demonstrations at the Olympics.

Posted in Civil Liberties | 4 Comments

MoveOn Does Palin Political Action: Democracy in Action has lots to say, including these bullet points:

  • She was elected Alaska‘s governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She’s doesn’t think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She’s solidly in line with John McCain’s “Big Oil first” energy policy. She’s pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won’t be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6


1. “Sarah Palin,” Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. “McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate,” NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. “Sarah Palin, Buchananite,” The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. “‘Creation science’ enters the race,” Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. “Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science,” Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. “McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy,” Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

“Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past,” League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

“Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor,” The Times of London, May 23, 2008

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 5 Comments