Suing Saudi Arabia

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

Congress rejects Obama veto of 9/11 bill, in first override of presidency

So let me get this straight… We want to “sue” Saudi Arabia for 9/11… as in holding a sovereign state culpable for ‘harboring’ participants of the terrorist acts leading to the attacks…?

First off… My LARGEST gripe would be why they haven’t already been awarded sufficient damages. I can not imagine what red tape is standing between these families’ financial healing. Resources should have been made available through the countless funds and trusts set up during the 2000s. And what about the port authority compensations to the families? I’m just surprised that the families haven’t been taken care of. Having to extend the suits overseas seems to be a last result of a long battle with red tape.

Secondly… regarding sovereign immunity, I don’t even know where to start. Again, I am all for 9/11 families being rightly compensated for having lost & endured so much. To that end the United States has been responsible for many deaths abroad. Do we want to field lawsuits from ALL of the collateral damage caused in the drone strikes in Afghanistan…? Or the families in Iraq…? We are absolutely opening ourselves to a tough conversation with several frenemies & foes in the theatre of war. Also a part of this bill it could be said that soldiers could possibly come under legally fire… even personally.

Additionally, see… the our lawsuits are set up… you have to disclose things… LOTS of things. LOTS of state-sponsored secrets. And an immense amount of special forces operations will have to revealed in order to draw the conclusions necessary for culpability. This seems to be prime for compromise our interests abroad. And while solving a problem here at home, we’ll take a huge hit overseas.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a letter 9/27/16 to a senior member of Congress, said he’s sympathetic to the intent of the measure. But the legislation could lead to the public disclosure of American secrets and even undercut counterterrorism efforts by sowing mistrust among U.S. partners and allies, according to Carter.

And we could all do a better job holding Congress accountable. There are eve several First Responder bills pending in Congress that could also help avail the families. I just hate that we’ve been relegated to such an extreme measure.

I can’t speak to the venue of such proceedings but you can bet what’s to come will be unprecedented in scale.

If a president’s veto can be overridden, this FOR SURE has the strength to do it. This will get interesting.

P.S. Saudi Arabia… You know damn well you should have offered some sort of assistance before now.

A Case for Reparations

I think this is easily one of the more interesting legal conversations and certainly, at first glance, the most obvious.

Are African Americans due reparations? 

However, after careful though (and ignoring ignoring Italian television) I was forced to consider a pratical approach to repairing one of our nation’s greatest blemishes.

A grand, top-heavy settlement with seemingly 100% of the African American population simply seemed intangible in today’s political climate. It’s a practical impossibility that’d you’d have a government agency proactively open itself to reparations. So you won’t see any “new” legislation around it; regardless of the continued efforts of Congressman John Conyers (NY).

There are simply not enough votes and certainly too much conservatism to pay any real attention to the “past” in that way. The government isn’t designed for “favors”.

Though it is designed to respond to formal legal claims.

If (and I mean a big IF) some portion of the American population was interested in reparations there is a framework to persue.

Since slavery wasn’t illegal for a significant period of time, you’d need to seek formal damages for acts occurring after abolition – allowing some buffer for the nation to “learn how to pay ex-slaves”. The term reasonable is used frequently in law and it typically assumes even with a duty of care, a defendant gets a reasonable amount of time to correct actions. I believe expecting anything else would be ill advised by any counsel.

Given that buffer, you’d then build a timeline of bad behavior or “Disservice Period”. Damages having occurred during this time would then need to be tied to reckless and wanton conduct by a governing body, like a municipality or a surviving corporation with contractual ties to a municipality.

The thinking here is to challenge these entity’s willful and consistent maneuvering of the new laws of the time rather than acting to rectify in – you guessed it – a reasonable amount of time. Show how that maneuvering was designed to benefit the group in some way.

Now comes the fun part. You’d need to lose that case. Not purposefully of course. But it is highly unlikely, because of statutes oo limitation that you’d lost on first account. You’d need an appeal and to lose again in a higher court.

What you’re looking for is a precedent built on firm cause – serious, actionable and capricious cause. And trust me, that will take some time, there is definitely enough cause.

You could get heard on res ipsa loquitur alone given the evidence we see everyday. But ultimately you’d have to show clear damages, a direct violation of the constitution and an entity of some kind that directly performed both. A municipality (or corporation having ties to a municipality) would be an interesting start since they’re less agile and have public records on collusion.

Now again, here comes the hard part… you’d have to have to stomach to see it all the way through to the supreme court… like 4 or 5 years battles worth of stomach. It would indeed get ugly. It would indeed be polarizing. It would indeed, formally, divide the country.

Then you’re on your way to getting Justice Roberts to issue this statement… 

“Any surviving entity having directly benefitted from violations of the rights of freed men (as set forth in our constitution) must not be allowed to singly benefit from those violations and instead must produce just remunerations to those directly affected. It is not this court’s purpose or intention to bankrupt these entities but to provide the platform to set right these obvious inflictions.”

Justice Roberts of course hasn’t issued this statement but he does have a healthy legal appetite that, on several occasions, has angered both parties. Good for us, bad for convention.

Moderate compensation terms are sufficient. You don’t want to scare the courts into throwing out your case prima fascia. Precedent alone will provide the volume required for collective wins spread across several actions and several years. You want to open narrow doors – only suitable for proven damages – for a steady flow to undebatable restoration.

Funny though, Colin Powell gave practically, the most pointed comment on these types of set backs.

Perform.

It sounded a bit glib at first but honestly there’s nothing like simply out-performing EVERYone around you and achieving in the face of the obstacles in front of us. We hold the keys to judging what success and failure are in our own communities.

Then we rally those spoils. Rinse & repeat. I think we’re closer to another Black Wall Street than we think.

We’ve definitely got some groundwork to lay but the legal instruments above are certainly at our disposal.

This should be interesting.

So You Deserve “Slower” and “Lesser” Education?

Scalia: Some black students don't belong at elite colleges

Scalia: Some black students don’t belong at elite colleges

While I understand the need to play devil’s advocate during ruling, I have to think this exploration was rooted in at least some part of you that agreed with your line of questioning. I’m going to assume the words you’ve taken the time to impute into debate are at least similar to your own Justice Scalia.

There are those who contend that it does not benefit African-Americans to get them into the University of Texas where they do not do well, as opposed to having them go to a less-advanced school, a slower-track school where they do well…

That said, are we to believe that African American students do not even deserve the opportunity to succeed or fail at the best colleges? They probably won’t do well so why try…? They probably won’t do well so why would they attempt to enroll…? Is that the message that a Supreme Court justice uses his unencumbered literary prowess and historical briefs to purvey? Why try?

Surely you know my people better than that by now. We perform… at every level. And that they are somehow not suited to compete is a farce. I’m sorry but pursuing happiness happens to be one of the cornerstones of this nation. To “go after” what inspires you is – believed to be – what makes this country what it is. A justice would have to understand that, in his/her position, those words send staggering ripples throughout communities currently and diligently seeking better academic opportunities.

Gregory Garre Attorney for University of Texas @ Austin

Gregory Garre Attorney for University of Texas @ Austin

If you look at the academic performance of holistic minority admits vs. top 10% admits, over time, they fair better.

 

I can’t imagine spending my evening writing to a Supreme Court justice about the dangers of the sheer notion of calculative separation of a segment of students from the most valuable educations available. I can’t fathom lecturing an Associate Justice of the highest court on the idiocy of merely suggesting African American students have no place at faster-paced schools. It’s even more appalling that any current justice sits on a bench with a Yale education “Black”.

I can’t. I’m too busy trying to make heads or tales of this 2nd amendment confusion in the wake of San Bernardino than to be rehashing Brown v. Board with yo ass. I have neither the time nor the inclination to, again, make the case that separate but equal was not a good fit for a developed nation.

And before the scholarly break out the transcripts, I’m not sure I understand why one wouldn’t see the court’s time better spent lobbying for better education opportunities BEFORE high school so affirmative action would evolve past moot to obsolete.

For those wondering what Justice Thomas' thoughts are on the subject... in his defense... he was sleep during the proceedings.

The calls for Affirmative Action are still debatable but not dead. What I wholly agree with is Affirmative PROaction where there are smaller, targeted mandates that ensure an equal playing field in secondary schools and before. Thereby empowering all students with the same access to learning tools well before higher education is right around the corner. Don’t wait for special provisions to have to be applied. This almost guarantees conflict. Readiness is the key, not just access. Ensure adequate and equal public schooling is available for ALL students well before the time of higher education… well before the point of contention. That makes all Americans competitive for far more than just undergrad – how about the rest of the world is learning at a faster pace than our kids.

This notion that replacing hope for a better future with acquiescing to what someone else thinks you can do is unacceptable. If there are any potential college students reading this, take your asses to The Common Application and apply to a top school right now. Like RIGHT NOW.

And why are we discussing the students that have already been granted admission, who I personally know, have succeeded? Your ridiculous case is an obvious exercise of entitlement; not whether African American students can do the job once admitted.

What say you?

Assassination of The Pursuit

This tragic moment in “American” History has always bothered me to no end. It almost certainly stunted African American growth for many generations to come. How does a culture of citizens see any possibility of prosperity when the very symbol of progress, that they’d already, slaved to produce was so violently ripped away from them? How is it possible to feel positive about a future in a land where this is possible – with no vindication from anything resembling a justice system. How is your pursuit of happiness… protected?

It meant we could pour our financial & intellectual wealth into our own communities, see it destroyed and be offered no remunerations or support (dare I say no incentive) to rebuild.

Moments in time like this one and assassinations and supreme court decisions and countless others demonstrate, so clearly, this country’s societal immaturity throughout the decades. Such a disappointment that a land so vast in possibilities is constantly stagnated by fear and hatred.

I am saddened and confused every time I experience yet another recollection of these events where society simply has no answers for true justice. Delivering yet another skewed depiction of what it means to be free.

It’s a shame that a country with this much abundance and opportunity is so often reduced to putrid acts of bigotry and insipid decadence.

The United States could be much greater than even the fairy-tale history book your school district regurgitates year after year. We could have so much more if we would only free up the constipation that greed and racism so often leaves us with.

7 Steps to Protecting Our Sons

George Zimmerman Acquitted ~ CNN Video

George Zimmerman Acquitted ~ CNN Video

In the wake of the recent Florida acquittal of one citizen having taken the life of another I feel some next steps should be discussed. There is certainly an appetite for a discussion on how to keep our young Americans protected. Calls for a change in laws and behavior are in the air across the nation.

Also in the air – despondence. People are beginning to give up hope that the justice system is even concerned about repairing itself as our society evolves. The value of young Americans’ lives is in question. It needs to be addressed that a number of citizens don’t think their voices will be heard or quite simply – nothing will happen.  We can’t afford inaction. And we can’t afford to wait, so let’s start conversation about the way forward:

  1. Talk to your sons and tell them the threats of this world are real – and don’t always look like threats. Standing up for yourself always is very human. It’s a good thing to do so but how it’s done matters greatly. You never know what people have in their possession. And you never know people’s motives. Are you purposely being provoked? Recognize that some simply want to “get a rise” out of you so they can have a reason to react. Just remember if someone is provoking you, especially those in a position to protect you, they have an agenda. Manipulation in this way is poison on our society and rampant in policing our communities. Don’t be a victim.
  2. Neighborhood Watch

    Neighborhood Watch

    Where is the app for Neighborhood Watch personnel? We’re certainly at a point where the transparency of technology can aid in the monitoring of our communities. This is a simple and practical solve for both knowing your residents as well as the citizens devoted to crime prevention. In gated communities ALL residents are registered anyway. Why not extend these features to expected guests? Maintaining a running inventory of visitors is not a new concept and is already being used in other areas. Those charged with crime prevention should know this list well. This suggestion for neighborhood watch is to ensure they know their residents and their residents’ guests. In the event something happens, you’ve now empowered watchmen with the tools to stay informed.

  3. Know where your sons are at ALL times. Trayvon Martin’s father was unaware of his whereabouts for almost 12 hours after the shooting. Trayvon may very well have been the more responsible young man but no matter how “grown” our youth feel we have to stay in touch with them. It’s time-consuming and may feel burdensome but we simply have to keep tabs on our children – children meaning those in our immediate care. Yes – this could have happened to any parent but for that very reason we want to stay in close contact with our teenagers and be readily available to them when needed.
  4. Remove Section 2 (A) from Florida Law 776.041. It’s broad and essentially absolves provocateurs from being accountable for reasonable reactions from other citizens. All individuals who feel threatened in a real-world scenario should be protected by self-defense. However, creating the scenarios for which violence reasonably ensues should establish some order of intent. I can’t see all the freedoms and assumptions afforded to citizens being available to individuals who knowingly create dangerous situations. How others respond to an otherwise non-aggressive situation should be considered if & when these instances play out in court. Section 2 (A) provides too many luxuries to that of an aggressor.
  5. Minors without weapons should be excluded from Florida Law 776.041. Not just actions that rise to the level of imminent danger but only the use of deadly weapons should warrant the use of deadly force towards a minor especially WHEN one is themselves, the aggressor. We afford minors additional inherent protections against their own underdeveloped assessments in other instances – why not in physical altercations. We must also consider the actions of an aggressor just as complicated a set of circumstances for minors as their judgement in, say, sexual situations. These automatic protections should be levied here. Retrofitting a law would not service prior legal outcomes but we must consider all the ways we can protect youth and the Trayon Martin case offers us an example of a gap our children can unknowingly fall into
  6. Only 1 self-defense law should apply at a time – no 2 can apply. Combining these protections seems like bad practice. Remember, there are several lives at stake – not just that of the aggressor. That amounts to under-collateralized protection and almost promotes provoking attacks. It also promotes zero accountability. Does this mean good judgement no longer needs to be exercised? Or worse, that bad judgment is excused? The laws should not be in place to protect overzealous citizens in instances where their actions result in a death. This is dangerous and could lead to many fatal situations where the only witness to corroborate or counter these judgements will be unavailable for questioning.
  7. “Aggressor” must show just cause for approach AND be subject to legal exploration. This exposes ALL aggressor’s actions (including those leading up to an encounter) to explanation in a court of law. Jurors should have the opportunity to consider both “motivation” as well as motive when ruling. “Citizen” and “aggressors” can not mean the same thing. Zealous citizens cross a line and should accept a new standard and duty of behavior. Where we are today amounts to vigilante behavior.

I think these are practical considerations and can all be implemented in under 20 months. That may sound like a lot but it’s been almost that long since Trayvon Martin had his life stolen by George Zimmerman.

Can’t we get this done? Can’t we try?

A justice system without the justice is just… the system.

There are countless examples of a system that does not lean in the favor of minorities. It is more than obvious the courts alone can not keep our youth safe. In fact, the courts are not designed to – queue the prison industrial complex conversation. But more that it’s our job to own the protection of our children – with knowledge, fair representation in law enforcement and proper regulatory reforms.

I think there’s enough here for a spirited debate so let’s see where it takes us.

Thoughts?

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