Sing It With Me Now: And… “Say A Lil’ Prayer…”

August 16, 2018 - Leave a Response

What a queen — and diva — and. . . treasure:

I will miss her. Travel well; travel light Ms. Franklin. Smile. . . . you know who you are.



Updated WHO Ebola Outbreak Figures, As DNC ZEBOV Ring Vaccination Program Rolls Out…

August 15, 2018 - Leave a Response

While the use of the Merck experimental vaccine is highly encouraging for a quick arrest of this second outbreak in the DRC in 2018 alone, we must be mindful that this could easily hop continents.

As a world health concern, we need to be ready — the latest from WHO:

. . . .Since our last situation report on 7 August 2018 (External Situation Report 1), 14 additional confirmed EVD cases and seven deaths have been reported. As of 12 August 2018, a total of 57 EVD cases, including 41 deaths have been reported.

Of the 57 cases, 30 have been laboratory confirmed and 27 remain probable. Of the 41 deaths, 14 occurred in confirmed cases. Eight healthcare workers (7 confirmed, 1 probable) have been affected, of which one has died. Six health zones in two provinces have reported confirmed and probable EVD cases, including Beni, Butembo, Oicha, Mabalako, and Musienene in North-Kivu Province, and Mandima in Ituri Province (Figure 1). An additional 58 suspected cases are currently pending laboratory testing to confirm or exclude EVD.

As of 11 August, a total of 990 contacts are under surveillance in Mabalako (790), Beni (141) and Mandima (59) health zones. Of these, 129 are healthcare workers in Mabalako (72) and Beni (57) health zones. On 11 August 2018, 940 (95%) contacts were successfully followed up. . . .

Be excellent to one another — as we are all we’ve got. I’m in court, rest of day.


Judge Sullivan’s Scheduling Orders In DC District Court — Re Rights Of Asylum Seekers, Against 45, AG Sessions, and Sec’y. Nielsen…

August 14, 2018 - One Response

The able Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled yesterday (whilst I was traveling), that the Trump Administration must completely explain (effectively under oath) the circumstances which led to the apparent wilful violation of his crystal clear order to keep asylum seekers in status quo until hearings on the merits of their claims could be set, and they could have time to confer meaningfully with their counsel.

The court has ordered ICE and HS to produce a complete record of the agencies’ respective actions over the last few weeks as to Carmen and the other DC asylum seekers. That record, in turn, will then be the basis for future additional lawsuits against the government, alleging Bivens‘ type actions, and will serve as powerful proof of monetary damages, in these same suit(s). [The Cheeto is once again wasting our taxpayer funds.] Here is that order in full (several others were also entered yesterday — each containing intensely private information as to the circumstances suffered by the asylum seekers — but those are rightly shielded from general public review):


In view of the [27] parties’ joint status report on scheduling, defendants [Trump, Nielsen, Sessions, et al.] shall serve the administrative record and index on the parties by no later than August 17, 2018. The plaintiffs shall complete their review of the administrative record and provide correspondence to the defendants raising any concerns by no later than August 22, 2018. The parties shall attempt to resolve record disputes amongst themselves by no later than August 24, 2018. If the parties resolve the record disputes amongst themselves, the parties are ordered to submit a joint schedule proposal for further proceedings by no later than August 27, 2018.

If the parties are unable to resolve any record disputes, the parties shall adhere to the following schedule for resolution of any disputes by the Court: Any motion to complete/compel/supplement shall be filed by no later than August 29, 2018; any response/opposition shall be filed by no later than September 4, 2018; and any reply shall be filed by no later than September 6, 2018.

One week after either an order resolving all administrative record disputes or the parties resolution of any administrative record concerns themselves, whichever is later, defendants shall file the certified list of the contents of the administrative record with the Court.

The defendants [Trump, Nielsen, Sessions, et al.] shall provide a complete copy of the administrative record, with certified list, to the Court on flash drive(s) or DVD(s).

The Court will schedule further proceedings in this matter following the production of the administrative record and resolution of any disputes regarding the administrative record.

Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 8/13/2018. . . .

Now you know. Off to Wrigley Field and a Cubs v. Brewers slugfest, at 1:20! Perfect weather for it as well. . . .


DACA Was Fully Reinstated Nationwide, Last Week, While I Was In The Rockies…

August 10, 2018 - Leave a Response

While we wait to see whether Sec’y. Nielsen and AG Sessions will be held in contempt (in the US District Court for DC) later today by the capable Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, I will begin to “catch up” — on the important victories won by the NAACP, and the ACLU, whilst I was off-grid, last week — in the migrant rights arena.

Chief among these is Judge Bates’ thoughtful decision completely reinstating DACA, based largely on Ms. Nielsen’s refusal to seriously weigh the important reliance interests at stake in her decision. People who had relied on a governmental promise, and changed the entire arc of their lives were suddenly dumped into the street. That, the jurisprudence of the fourteenth amendment will not countenance. We are not. . . Russia.

And so, here is the full 25 page opinion as a PDF file — and a bit of the meat of it:

. . . .Although this time around the Nielsen Memo at least “acknowledge[s] how heavily DACA beneficiaries had come to rely on” the program, id., it does little more than that. Instead of considering DACA’s benefits to DACA recipients and to society at large, see Pls.’ Opp’n at 19–20, Secretary Nielsen simply states that “the asserted reliance interests” are outweighed by DACA’s “questionable legality . . . and the other reasons for ending the policy,” and then goes on to suggest that she should not even have to consider those interests. See id. (asserting that “issues of reliance would be best considered by Congress”). However, it is not up to Secretary Nielsen — or even to this Court — to decide what she should or should not consider when reversing agency policy. Rather, the requirements are set by the APA, as interpreted by the Supreme Court: “When an agency changes its existing position, it . . . must . . . be cognizant that longstanding policies may have ‘engendered serious reliance interests that must be taken into account.’” Encino Motorcars, LLC v. Navarro, 136 S. Ct. 2117, 2125–26 (2016).

Like the Duke Memo, the Nielsen Memo demonstrates no true cognizance of the serious reliance interests at issue here — indeed, it does not even identify what those interests are. “It would be arbitrary and capricious to ignore such matters,” Perez v. Mortg. Bankers Ass’n, 135 S. Ct. 1199, 1209 (2015) (citation omitted), and it is so here. Nor, given the inadequacy of the Nielsen Memo’s explanation of why DACA is unlawful, can the Court accept as sufficient its bare determination that any reliance interests are outweighed by “the questionable legality of the DACA policy and the other” fatally intertwined reasons listed in the memo. Nielsen Memo at 3. Because the Nielsen Memo fails to provide an adequate justification for the decision to rescind DACA — much less the “more substantial justification” that the APA requires when an agency’s “prior policy has engendered serious reliance interests,” Perez, 135 S. Ct. at 1209—the Court sees no reason to change its earlier determination that DACA’s rescission was arbitrary and capricious. . . .

Now you know. Onward — with three more migrant human rights decisions to cover, after the Parker Solar probe mission (named for a living U of C astrophysicist) lifts off, tomorrow.

On Sunday and Monday, we will be busy moving an adult son’s apartment — and finishing his post op details, but will get to those cases in due course. Tuesday is a delicious hooky day — with an afternoon Cubs game in the friendly confines, meeting long time chums.


[U] In Which AG Sessions And Sec’y. Nielsen Are BOTH Threatened With A Contempt Of Court Jailing, Personally, In DC

August 9, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATED @ 5 PM EDT 08.10.2018: The able judge has ordered a full Monday morning report, as to how exactly it came to be that there was an attempted thwarting — of his earlier explicit order:

“. . . .MINUTE ORDER directing defendants to file a comprehensive report to the Court explaining the circumstances surrounding the removal of plaintiffs on the morning of August 9, 2018, notwithstanding the representations from the attorney for the defendants that the government would not remove the plaintiffs prior to 11:59 pm that day. The report shall be supported by declarations of appropriate officials. Defendants shall file the report by no later than 5:00 pm August 13, 2018. Signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on 8/10/2018. . . .” This my friends is an invitation to go to jail, if one word of it is less than 100 per cent truthful. [End, updated portion.]

It is not just every day that the US Attorney General ignores an explicit order of a sitting US federal District Court Judge, in a life or death case.

But it happened today; and the able Judge Emmet G. Sullivan just ordered a US transport plane. . . turned around — in mid-air. He will decide later what else to do about Beauregard’s insolence. Here’s the three page order, and the operative bit:

. . . .[The Trump administration lawyers] specifically represented to the Court that “Carmen” and her daughter would not be removed prior to that time. Based on that representation, the Court set an expedited briefing schedule to be completed by 1:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2018, and set a hearing on the motion for that same morning.

After hearing argument on the emergency motion, and following a Court recess, Plaintiffs’ counsel informed the Court that, despite the representations made by Defendants, Plaintiffs “Carmen” and her daughter had been removed from their place of detention and could be in the process of being removed from the United States. In an email to this Court’s Courtroom Deputy following the hearing, government counsel confirmed that “Carmen” and her daughter were, in fact, on an airplane while the Court was hearing argument on Plaintiffs’ Emergency Motion.

Upon learning in open Court that “Carmen” and her daughter had been removed from their place of detention and could be in the process of being removed from the country, the Court issued an oral Order requiring the Defendants to return “Carmen” and her daughter to the United States FORTHWITH.

The Court informed government counsel that it would neither tolerate nor excuse any delay with compliance with this Order. The Court also stated that it would enter a written Order memorializing its oral Order. . . .

FURTHER ORDERED that in the event that the Defendants do not fully comply with this Order, Defendants Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, III; Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen M. Nielsen; U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Director Lee Francis Cissna; and Executive Office of Immigration Review Director James McHenry, preferably accompanied by their attorneys, shall be ORDERED to appear in Court to SHOW CAUSE why they should not be held in CONTEMPT OF COURT. . . .

It is hard to imagine a more feckless, inept and reckless set of scallywags. Donald Trump leads from the bottom, as to all his troops. Ugly.


Via A Surrogate, Martin Shkreli Writes A Vapid Life Science Blog… From His Prison Digs.

August 8, 2018 - Leave a Response

And, since it crosses wires with the BeiGene story we’ve followed here for going on three years, I’ll offer this, tonight:

This is a bit of a detour, but yesterday (or the day before), Marty wrote again about BeiGene, the China based I/O darling of late. But Marty thinks it is going to crater.

I think he’s mistaken — or if it does, it won’t be for the reason Marty posits. That is, it won’t be because Merck crushes it with the rival I/O behemoth Keytruda, inside China.

Since Marty’s experience (meager as it is) has been exclusively inside the warped US markets — he frankly doesn’t understand that, in large portions of the rest of the globe (as to life sciences, in particular) — and especially as to revolutionary new, cutting edge treatments, the art of business is not conducted as… a zero sum game.

Let’s hear Marty out; then I’ll explain, and clear it up:

. . . .Opdivo and Keytruda are approved in China. CStone and countless others are in pivotal trials. AstraZeneca has a long history in China and you can bet will register Imfinzi there. I’m not sure what Roche’s or Pfizer’s ambitions are, but they also do strong business in China and have globally registered PD-1s. So there are at least 6 PD-1 mabs I can name off the top of my head that are China-approved or likely to be that do not come from Beigene [sic]. But Beigene [sic] has a very large market capitalization. This will not persist. I have not seen something like this in a long time. . . .

Or… ever. Because Marty has no. frame. of. reference.

He’s a child in this arena, applying his “lessons learned” from one country only, with no reason to do so. Okay — let’s get the basics out of the way (though these are clearly unknown, to Marty):

Given that a course of treatment with immuno-oncology biologics costs nearly $100,000 inside China, it is available only for the Party elites, and their relatives, and the billionaires. It is not for the 1.4 billion or so other, ordinary, folk. And it likely will never be.

In China, then, two things are going to happen: (1) there is going to be an effort made, to make sure most market participants get some of the pie, on a new treatment (given the vast amounts of China’s Party Elite money already at risk); and (2) there is going to be a strong regulatory preference (easily seen by the discerning eye) for… local businesses (i.e., inside China).

Merck itself smartly partnered with BeiGene four years ago, in founding it — having seen decades of this effect. Merck is no longer a huge shareholder of BeiGene (after several selling shareholder rounds), but its DNA is all over the company, in its executive ranks, and processes, in country.

So — you should think of what Marty sees as cut throat competition… more as… “co-op-tetion”. Not really “competition”, in the Darwinian sense of a US market.

Why? because, by regulatory fiat, China’s FDA will be sure that BeiGene does just fine. And Merck will help it — as that is smart in-country business.

Most of these cancer treatments will occur on a lushly tropical and opulently developed resort island for elites, in the South China Sea. There will be lots of money for all the companies.

Marty cannot see that the whole world doesn’t work in quite (or remotely) the same ways the US and parts of EU do.

So don’t trust him — about BeiGene. He. Is. Clueless.



While I Was Away…

August 7, 2018 - Leave a Response

There were at least four important federal court decisions — on migrants and asylum seekers — in favor of human rights, and repudiating Trump’s unconstitutional hate.

It’s quite a busy first day back — so be patient, but know I will get to all of it. In addition, dosing has begun in Africa, in the DRC, for Merck’s highly effective Ebola vaccine rings. Onward!


“The Fire, Next Time”: 26 Probable New Ebola Cases; 20 New Fatalities Emerge, In The DRC

August 1, 2018 - One Response

Very difficult news, just one week after the last all clear. I expect more Merck manufactured jabs are headed there, already.

Here is the latest, from the New York Times reporting, just now:

. . . .The Ebola virus has struck again in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has struck at least 26 people, the country’s Health Ministry reported Wednesday, just a week after officials announced the end of an Ebola outbreak 1,550 miles away.

The latest outbreak was the 10th time that Ebola. . . has menaced the Democratic Republic of Congo, a sprawling Central African country about twice the size of Texas. The virus, which causes fevers and fatal hemorrhaging, first appeared in the country in 1976.

The health minister, Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, said in a statement that the authorities in North Kivu Province had notified his ministry on Saturday of 26 suspected cases of Ebola, including the 20 deaths. Samples from the six survivors were analyzed on Tuesday in Kinshasa, the capital, and four tested positive for the virus. . . .

Please take care of one another. After all, we are all. . . we have.


More “Dirty Tricks” By The Trump Administration “Crisis Actors” — In Denouement Of Immigrant Kidnapping Cases…

July 31, 2018 - Leave a Response

To be clear (and refresh the narrative here), about thirty days ago, both the able Judges Sabraw and Gee ordered the Trump Crisis ActorsTM to stop using a form which deceptively implied to migrant families that they must agree to deportation in order to be given their children “back”. [I’ll omit some minor details about the TROs bouncing back and forth from one coast to the other, in the federal District Court-houses, for brevity.]

It seems the Trump Crisis Actors now argue that the revised version of the prohibited form gives them that same right. That is simply a lie. And the judges in San Diego, Los Angeles and DC will soon say so — but in the mean-time, the Trump ICE agents are trying to con migrants into agreeing to deportation. Here is the overnight ACLU letter briefing in full (and the PDf of it):

. . . .It appears that the Government intends to argue, in this Court and before Judge Friedman, that the election forms signed by Ms. L. parents not only preclude a stay, but also, remarkably, waive substantive asylum rights for both the parents and children. See Gov’t TRO Opp., M.M.M. v. Sessions, Dkt. 15, at 5. Plaintiffs believe that is an incorrect reading of the scope of the election form approved by this Court and would raise profound questions under domestic and international asylum laws. Most particularly, it would allow the Government to accomplish precisely what this Court said it would not allow: conditioning reunification on giving up asylum rights. We therefore write to ensure that anything this Court might say in its stay ruling about the election forms does not unnecessarily prejudge or preclude the type of relief sought before Judge Friedman by the Ms. L. children. Plaintiffs also believe that there is currently no reason why transfer to this Court is necessary.

As the Court is aware, the form was created in a very specific context. The government was using a different form that suggested to parents that they needed to waive their right to contest removal in order to obtain reunification. The current form approved by the Court was adopted to dispel that impression, and nothing more. Indeed, if parents were forced to sign the forms before reunification and could be removed immediately upon reunification, it would mean that the parents, in order to be reunified, would have to give up challenges to their removal orders and waive their children’s asylum rights as well.

But until pro bono counsel can consult with the families as a group, there will be no way of knowing what options the family retains. See Manning Declaration, Ex. 59, ¶ 5-7 (filed July 28) (noting how asylum process works in the absence of family separation). In short, the Government upended the normal asylum process by separating families. It must now give the families it harmed the opportunity to seek the relief they would have been entitled to seek had they never been separated.

And it should not be able to deny Class Members the consultation necessary to understand these options, especially given how individualized asylum cases are. Accordingly, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court not offer a view on the scope of the election form in ruling on the stay. Addressing that issue is not necessary to resolve the stay motion; indeed, Plaintiffs’ current stay motion does not ask this Court to determine what procedural or substantive rights either parents or especially children are entitled to.

Alternatively, the Court can defer ruling on the stay motion at this point given the Government’s agreement not to remove children or their parents until Judge Friedman hears argument on the stay request in M.M.M. At a minimum, Plaintiffs respectfully request the opportunity to file a brief further explaining their view of the election form. Plaintiffs would also request that the Court permit amicus briefs by national asylum groups and leading academics to explain the danger of reading the form as precluding any opportunity for the child to apply for asylum or for the parent to exercise his or her right to a joint CFI hearing or some other remedy that would have been available had the families not been separated. . . .

As I close this morning’s installment, I will note that Cheat-o-lini last night tweeted out (as excrement!) the one sentence praising the HHS/ICE reunification work, from Judge Gee, and omitted the 32 additional pages of criticism — of the unlawfulness he personally has enmbarked upon. Trump then claimed he has done “more than any prior president” — to reunify migrant families. Good lord.

That is only true insofar as no other president committed his ongoing crimes against (well-settled) US law (Flores, et al. v. Meese, et al.), and against basic humanity — in kidnapping babies (as he is wont — now, over 2,600 children).

Onward — despite this lying, inhumane. . . pile of dung.


[U, X2] Children Kidnapped: A Monday Update — A Raft Of On-Deadline Reports Due, From Trump Lawyer Chad Readler…

July 30, 2018 - Leave a Response

UPDATE @ 6 PM EDT: About an hour north in LA, just now, the able Judge Dolly Gee has published her full supporting opinion (a 32 page PDF), granting the bulk of the requests of the ACLU and other pro bono lawyers the right to stop Trump from breaching the Flores agreement. Thus here are a few of the high points:

“. . .Plaintiffs contend that RTCs violate the Flores Agreement because they do not comport with its definition of “licensed programs.” See Reply at 11–13. They also contend that Defendants have violated the Flores Agreement by placing Class Members in RTCs, staff-secure facilities, and secure facilities without adequate notice or an opportunity to be heard, and that the criteria for such placements do not comport with the Flores Agreement. . . .

Accordingly, the Court ORDERS Defendants to transfer all Class Members out of Shiloh RTC unless a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist has determined or determines that a particular Class Member poses a risk of harm to self or others. . . . Defendants are further ORDERED to cease employing at Shiloh RTC any security measures that are not necessary for the protection of minors or others, such as the denial of access to drinking water.

Additionally, the Court ORDERS Defendants to permit Class Members at Shiloh RTC to “talk privately on the phone, as permitted by the house rules and regulations. . . .”

[T]he Court [also] ORDERS Defendants to comply with all Texas child welfare laws and regulations governing the administration of psychotropic medications to Class Members. . . .

[End final update for Monday evening. Do go read the full 32 page opinion.]

Here is the able Judge Sabraw’s two page order from late Friday night, in San Diego, after the last status hearing. As it details, 45’s Mis-administration owes the pro bono lawyers a series of reports as early as this morning. There will be another written status report by 3 PM PDT on Wednesday, and another status report hearing on Thursday. [I almost certainly will be off grid for the entirety of those developments, however — so read the local LA/SD papers.]

As a more substantive reset, though — here early on Monday — I want to line out why seven days are needed, after reunification. The below comes from the ACLU’s latest position seeking such a “counsel consultation window” (as a four page PDF):

. . . .[T]he Court asked Plaintiffs’ counsel what decisions reunited families must now make, for which they need time to consult with each other and receive legal advice. As the attached declarations illustrate, Class Members who have final removal orders must choose between at least three options:

1. The child may request his or her own Credible Fear Interview — an option that would have been available to the family had it not been separated. If the child passes the Credible Fear Interview, under existing ICE procedures, the entire family will be placed in normal removal proceedings together under Section 240 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. See Decl. of Stephen Manning, Ex. 59, ¶ 5-7.

2. The parent may seek reconsideration of his or her own credible fear denial. If reconsideration is denied, the parent may be able to file a habeas petition to challenge the credible fear denial in federal court. As Plaintiffs explained at argument, the Ninth Circuit has a case pending that addresses federal jurisdiction over challenges to credible fear denials. See Thuraissigiam v. DHS, No. 18-55313 (9th Cir. argued May 17, 2018).

3. If the parent is ultimately going to be removed, the family must decide whether the child will remain in the country to pursue the child’s own immigration claims, or be removed with the parent. That decision turns on a number of factors, including the nature of the relief available to the child, and the circumstances in which the child will be living in the United States. See Govindaiah Decl., Ex. 40, ¶ 9 (July 16, 2018) (discussing substantive claims that children may raise). . . .

[UPDATED 07.30.2018 @ 4 PM EDT Order:]. . . In the August 2, 2018 Status Report, Counsel shall include their respective plans for reuniting parents that have been removed from the United States and parents that have been released to the interior but have yet to be located. . . .

In the August 2, 2018 Status Report, Defense Counsel [Trump Administration] shall also address whether they object to production of A-files of the parents identified above to Plaintiffs on a rolling basis. . . .

Dated: July 30, 2018

/s/ Judge Dana M. Sabraw, USDC SD CA. . . .

Now you know — this will likely be the most important series of legal decisions each of these families will make in their lifetimes. All while some alt-right pundits complain bitterly that the Obamas were seen. . . dancing at a Jay-Z concert in DC over the weekend (throwback to mid-October 2012, and a long ago Jay-Z concert date I missed, in Brooklyn!). . . yet the CURRENT occupant of 1600 Penn goes. . . golfing, while children are locked in cages. Cages that same Cheat-o-lini created, as unlawful political point seeking — from his xenophobic “base“.

A private citizen (out of office for almost a year and three quarters) who’d already done MORE than his part for God and Country — is in the wrong(?!) — for dancing, on a Saturday night, but the CURRENT architect of ongoing crimes against humanity is a hero(?), for going golfing on taxpayers’ dime, and time? Do I have that right, Mr. Bannon?

Irony. It’s for. . . me. Onward.