Oh Fuck. Can’t be happy for 3 minutes.

Shutterstock.

Shutterstock.

Oh, the joys of living in nDakota. Or sDakota, for that matter. I loathe republicans. Their constant embrace of utter stupidity, it’s, oh, here:

North Dakotans will no longer need a permit to carry a concealed weapon after Republican Governor Doug Burgum signed legislation lifting restrictions, a victory for gun rights advocates that came a week after South Dakota’s governor vetoed a similar bill.

The law, which takes effect on Aug. 1, mandates that gun owners only need a North Dakota driver’s license or state identification card for at least a year before they can carry a concealed firearm in public.

The measure, signed late on Thursday, was approved by the Republican-controlled legislature despite concerns over public safety if the state made it easier to carry hidden weapons. Advocates framed the issue in terms of the constitutional right to bear arms.

“North Dakota has a rich heritage of hunting and a culture of deep respect for firearm safety,” Burgum said. “As a hunter and gun owner myself, I strongly support gun rights for law-abiding citizens.”

Yeah, because everyone knows you go deer hunting with a fuckin’ handgun. Not enough fuck, just not enough. nDakota isn’t exactly a hotbed of crime, so there’s no supposed justification there, either. There’s such a “culture of deep respect” that bigoted white dudes think it’s funny to drink, get in their truck full of guns, and go threaten Indians and other brown people with them. Yeah, respect my ass. Godsdamn gun fondlers, you love those things so much, go fuck one. I won’t be feeling better, being surrounded by a fucktonne of people who are also very bigoted, and not prone to cool thinking things out, being able to hide guns all over. Also, this is a state where all manner of knives are legal, but it is illegal to conceal one, so yes, if you have a little bitty pocket knife, in your pocket, that’s illegal. But guns? Yeefuckinghaw. Well, at least the hospitals will be doing more business. And the funeral homes. I have to get out of here.

Full story here.

Norway’s Storebrand Goes NoDAPL.

NorSR

© C. Ford. All rights reserved.

More and more efforts are directed at divestment, and Norway’s largest private investor has decided to go No DAPL.

The largest private investor in Norway has pulled out of three companies connected to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) because of the conflict at Standing Rock.

Storebrand, an Oslo-based financial-services company that specializes in sustainable, socially conscious investing, has sold off nearly $35 million worth of shares in Phillips 66, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, and Enbridge, the company announced on March 1.

“Storebrand has made the decision to withdraw all investments from the controversial Dakota Access pipeline, including positions in the North American companies Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Enbridge Inc. and Phillips 66,” said Storebrand in a statement on March 1.

“Our conclusion is that these are poor long-term investments, both for our pension customer and from a sustainability point of view,” the company said.

Storebrand had investments of $11.5 million in Philips 66, $7 million in Marathon Petroleum Corp. and $16.2 million in Enbridge Inc., for a total of $34.8 million, said the company. According to its website, it has been in operation since 1767 and was managing pension funds since 1917, pre-dating Norway’s social security system by 50 years.

“There is too much uncertainty, for us as an investor, as to whether there has been a good process that ensures the rights of all parties in the conflict,” said Matthew Smith, Head of Sustainable Investments. “There has been involvement by the United Nations, by President Obama, and President Trump. Caught in the middle are the people directly impacted by the pipeline.”

[…]

Storebrand tried numerous tactics to enact change, Smith said in the statement, but none of them worked.

“Generally, it is our belief that we can have a more positive effect on companies and situations by using our position as an owner to effect change. We have successfully done so on many occasions, but it doesn’t always work,” Smith said. “Storebrand has been in direct contact with the companies, and has worked with international groups of investors. Our most recent initiative is an investor letter, representing 137 investors with $653 billion assets under management, that encourages involved banks that have lent money to the project to use their position and influence to engender positive change and a reconsideration the routing of the pipeline.”

Storebrand was forced to conclude that “active ownership is not going to deliver a better outcome,” he said. “We do hope that this can give a final indication to the involved companies to reconsider the routing of the pipeline.”

The investor joins a growing number of companies and entities that have pulled funds from Wells Fargo and other banks that are financing DAPL, ranging from the City of Seattle to individual account holders. Others, such as New York City, have put DAPL banks on notice.

The decision was not easy, Smith told The Guardian.

“Divestment is a last resort,” he said. “When you divest from companies, you give up your possibility to influence companies to come to a better solution.”

Full story at ICMN.

This Is Our Land.

Water Protectors Leave Oceti Sakowin Reluctantly.

‘Absolutely False’: No Contact From Trump Administration, Archambault Says.

marty-two-bulls-cartoon-dapl-020717
NODAPL; The Last Stand © Marty Two Bulls.
 
marty-two-bulls-cartoon-dapl-020117_WEB
No DAPL; Beware the Early Thaw © Marty Two Bulls.

Deadly Silence.

Adam Purinton. CREDIT: mugshot via Toronto Star.

Adam Purinton. CREDIT: mugshot via Toronto Star.

Yet another incident of racially motivated, domestic terrorism has been met with a deafening silence from the Tiny Tyrant. In the Splintered States of White Nationalism, our president willfully ignores every instance of white nationalism, white supremacy, racism, Islamaphobia, and refuses to face the fact that domestic terrorism is by far the greatest threat to uStates citizens. This happens when you install a white supremacist, Nazi cabinet in the highest offices, people who have no problem whatsoever with domestic terrorism, as long as it doesn’t accidentally take out any white people.

The racially motivated violence in Kansas comes amid an explosion of hate incidents since the election.

[…]

Trump has established a pattern of trying to capitalize on incidents that reinforce his Islamophobia and fear-mongering about “inner cities,” while ignoring violence perpetrated by white supremacists. He has still not publicly denounced a January 29 mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City that left six dead and was reportedly perpetrated by a white nationalist, anti-immigrant fan of his. Instead, days later, he tweeted about an attack in Paris that left one person with minor injuries.

Research indicates a person in America is far more likely to be killed by a right-wing extremist or white supremacist — like the one who allegedly opened fire on Wednesday night in Kansas — than a Muslim terrorist. But three days after the Quebec City mosque shooting, news broke that the Trump administration wants a federal counter-terrorism program to stop focusing on violent white supremacists and any other extremist groups not comprised of Muslims.

Via Think Progress.

Oh, Those Pro-Protesters, At It…Wait.

Credit: YouTube.

Credit: YouTube.

It’s not protesters causing trouble, it’s a cop. Again. In this case, there’s a 13 year old who is damn lucky to be alive. Let’s see what caused this shining example of “to protect and serve” to boil over, shall we?

Protests erupted in Anaheim, California on Wednesday after an off-duty LAPD officer dragged a 13-year-old boy across his yard, pulled a gun on the boy’s friends, and pulled the trigger.

According to an eyewitness, the confrontation began after a young girl walked across the lawn of an off-duty officer, who responded by calling her a “cunt.” Thirteen-year-old Christian Dorscht reportedly tried to defend the girl.

Cellphone video then shows the unnamed cop grabbing and pulling Dorscht by the arm. As a group of young people wearing backpacks looks on, the officer drags Dorscht for a few yards. Moments later, three boys rush the officer, pushing him into nearby bushes to free Dorscht. Seemingly uninjured, the cop gathers himself and drags the 13-year-old through the shrubs. After one boy tries to punch him, the officer reaches into his waistband and pulls out his gun. Everyone backs away, but the officer fires anyway. Nobody was struck by the bullet.

Oh, well, a kid cut across his lawn. Yes, that’s such an extraordinarily unusual and heinous action! There’s no such thing as the cliche of an adult, generally an old curmudgeon, shaking their fist and yelling “damn kids, get off my lawn!” Obviously, such a horrible act forced this upstanding officer to spit “cunt” at her, and what on earth was a 13 year old boy thinking, trying to defend her? Goodness, such awful behaviour, oh my yes.

Approximately 300 protesters —including young people — gathered in the streets Wednesday night, as news of the incident spread. They reportedly blocked major avenues and intersections in Anaheim, home of Disneyland, and some protesters marched to the unnamed officer’s house. People yelled “Whose streets, our streets” and “Hands up, don’t shoot” as they marched, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Some of the demonstrators threw rocks at police observing the fray, while a few people banged on the doors of the officer’s home. Riot police were eventually called to block off protesters.

Oh, I’m sure that just completely justified calling in riot cops. Having been face to face with riot cops more than once, I can say that no, protests don’t justify their presence in any way. You have a bunch of hyped-up authoritarians swaddled in battle armor, just itching to use all those nifty, lethal toys.

So, what happened to the key players, like the cop, who was an adult, at least technically, who called a young girl a cunt, assaulted a 13 year old boy, and pulled his gun and fired? Oh, nothing much, but those evil, meddling kids?

Dorscht, who sustained a line of bruises on his neck, was arrested and brought to the Orange County Juvenile Hall for battery and making criminal threats against the officer. A 15-year-old involved in the initial confrontation was also arrested for assault and battery.

According to Anaheim Police Sgt. Daron Wyatt, the officer was not arrested but was removed from the field for three days. The LAPD is currently investigating the matter.

Oh, I’m sure they are “investigating”, if that means getting stories straight, shuffling paperwork, and purging evidence. In the meantime, two victims have been dumped into the maw of the SoCal juvenile justice system, which is a remarkably ugly one, as these systems go. As for those wicked protesters, 24 of them, including 6 minors, were arrested and charged for resisting arrest, battery, and refusing to disperse. Remember, cops are the good guys!

Via Think Progress.

Arizona Goes for Full Protest Suppression.

Women's March on Washington (Photo: Sarah Burris/RawStory).

Women’s March on Washington (Photo: Sarah Burris/RawStory).

The myth of professional protesters continues to be spread by rethugs, and Arizona rethugs have passed legislation which would allow the cops to seize the assets of anyone who attended a protest which turned violent in any way, along with the power to arrest those who planned the protest, although they did not commit any violent acts. The rethugs are extremely unhappy with The Resistance, and are doing everything they can to shut it down. We are all going to have to stiffen our spines and our resolve, and refuse to back down in the face of blatant rights violations.

The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate has passed a bill that would let law enforcement officials seize the assets of people who participate in protests that turn violent — even if those people had nothing to do with any violent incidents.

[…]

The bill would allow police to seize assets of anyone who attended a peaceful protest that happened to turn violent, and it also gives cops the power to arrest people who planned the events, even if they did not personally commit violence.

State Sen. John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), who supported the bill, explained to the Arizona Capital Times that it’s aimed at curtailing the activities of “professional protest” groups whose goal is to start riots and damage private property.

“You now have a situation where you have full-time, almost professional agent-provocateurs that attempt to create public disorder,” said Kavanagh, a former police officer.

Bald-faced fucking liar. :spits: I’d like to see this flaming asshole address all the violence at Black Lives Matter protests, as the violence was all perpetrated by cops. I’d like to see this asspimple address the overwhelming violence committed by cops against all those at Standing Rock. Fuck you, Kavanagh. People are marching and protesting and protecting because it’s the only recourse we have. It’s not like we can look to our government for help.

Via Raw Story.

Homeland Security: Department of Lies.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks at news conference as cars enter the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on February 10. CREDIT: AP Photo/Denis Poroy.

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly speaks at news conference as cars enter the United States from Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on February 10. CREDIT: AP Photo/Denis Poroy.

Homeland Security, also known as the department of official lies and bullshit, is now spewing out lies about all those awful aliens. The manipulation is so blatant as to be pointless, outside of the Cult of Trump. Look at that photo, the choice of location! That’s a location I know very well, having been across it and back more times than I could ever count. One thing is sure – most all those cars lining up to head back into SoCal contain U.S. citizens. Mexico is a very popular place. I get the idea behind having the press conference there was to scare idiots though, “oooh, looky, an unsecured border! Hordes of aliens could come pouring in!” The bullshit is deep enough to choke on.

A Department of Homeland Security memo authored by Secretary John Kelly asserts that “criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents.”

The memo, entitled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest,” creates a new federal office meant to work with those victims.

“Accordingly, I am establishing the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office within the Office of the Director of ICE, which will create a programmatic liaison between ICE and the known victims of crimes committed by removable aliens,” Kelly writes. “To that end, I direct the Director of ICE to immediately reallocate any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens to the new VOICE Office, and to immediately terminate the provision of such outreach or advocacy services to illegal aliens.”

Sigh. Bullshit is not strong enough. Lies is not strong enough. This is not based on any factual information whatsoever. Immigrants, legal or illegal are less likely to commit crimes, particularly so in the case of people who are illegal. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why. Way back when, I worked with a whole lot of people who were illegal, and they were law abiding to the core. One thing they did not want was the attention of cops. What this new “office” will do is give hateful bigots the equivalent of a wet dream, allowing for a brand new level of harassment.

Data indicates undocumented immigrants are no more likely to commit crimes than American citizens, and are actually less likely to be criminals in some cases.

The literature is summarized in a 2015 Cato Institute report entitled, “Immigration and Crime — What the Research Says.” Here are some key findings from studies cited in the report.

— One study found that “roughly 1.6 percent of immigrant males 18–39 are incarcerated, compared to 3.3 percent of the native-born.” The study found the disparity in census data spanning three decades — from 1980 to 2010.

— Another found that the phased rollout of the Secure Communities (S-COMM) immigration enforcement program didn’t reduce crime in affected communities. S-COMM “led to no meaningful reduction in the FBI index crime rate,” researchers found. If undocumented immigrants were more likely to commit criminal acts, you’d expect to see crime rates decrease as undocumented immigrants were removed from communities. That wasn’t the case.

— Another study “looked at 159 cities at three dates between 1980 and 2000 and found that crime rates and levels of immigration are not correlated,” the CATO report says, summarizing the findings.

— Another “looked at a sample of 150 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) and found that levels of recent immigration had a statistically significant negative effect on homicide rates but no effect on property crime rates.” Yet another study found that an influx of immigrants is actually correlated with decreases in homicide and robbery rates.

— A study that looked looked at 103 different MSAs from 1994–2004 found that “the weight of the evidence suggests that immigration is not associated with increased levels of crime. To the extent that a relationship does exist, research often finds a negative effect of immigration on levels of crime, in general, and on homicide in particular.”

Last month, Richard Pérez-Peña of the New York Times alluded to some of the aforementioned research, writing, “several studies, over many years, have concluded that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than people born in the United States. And experts say the available evidence does not support the idea that undocumented immigrants commit a disproportionate share of crime.” Pérez-Peña’s report is entitled, “Contrary to Trump’s Claims, Immigrants Are Less Likely to Commit Crimes.”

While citizens don’t have reason to fear undocumented immigrants more than they would any other person, the two memos distributed by Homeland Security on Tuesday makes gives undocumented immigrants good reason to by fearful of anyone with a badge.

Oh yes. There will be much more reason to fear. As if non-white people didn’t already need to be scared to death of cops.

As ThinkProgress covered in another post, Kelly’s memos detail “an implementation plan to hire thousands more immigration officials, make more criminal offenses punishable by deportation, allow local law enforcement officials to carry out federal immigration duties, and make it easier to prevent entry to asylum-seeking children who show up at the southern U.S. border.”

Oh good, even more reason to fear cops! Neatly buried under all the fear-mongering is the ginormous waste of money this will be.

Full story at Think Progress.

Shoot A Black Man, Get Hired By Trump.

Dontrell Stephens via Miami Hearld video.

Dontrell Stephens via Miami Hearld video.

A Palm Beach County Sheriff’s sergeant who shot and paralyzed an unarmed black man in 2013 has been assigned to oversee security for President Donald Trump when he visits his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

According to the Miami Herald, Sgt. Adams Lin has been assigned to work with the Secret Service overseeing security at Palm Beach International Airport including watching Air Force One.

[…]

A spokesperson for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s office confirmed that Lin, who has been promoted since the shooting, is assigned to the Trump detail, calling it a “local issue.”

In 2013 Lin shot Stephens who had been riding a bike when the then deputy attempted to cite him for a traffic infraction. According to Lin, he “feared for his life” when he saw something in Stephens’s hand which turned out to be a cell phone.

Lin shot Stephens four times in the back paralyzing him from the waist down.

While the PBSO ruled the shooting justified a federal grand jury disagreed in 2016, finding Lin had violated Stephens’ civil rights by using excessive force and awarding him more than $24 million.

Really couldn’t be much more black and white, could it? Trump obviously doesn’t have a problem with murderous cops, as long as they are trying to murder people of colour. The Tiny Dictator might manage to object if someone white was shot. I can’t imagine Mr. Stephens being unaffected by this, or all his loved ones. It’s outrageous to hire a coward of a cop, who did his best to commit murder.

Via Raw Story.

Environmentally Safe Bullets.

Sunset at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona (photo by Yumacool/Wikimedia).

Sunset at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona (photo by Yumacool/Wikimedia).

What does it say about your country when the military finally wakes up to just how much they are polluting and poisoning the ground with bullets? When the land itself suffers and dies, and leaves wildlife no refuge? Nothing good, to be sure. Rather than perhaps shooting a whole lot less, the military is looking into seeded, biodegradable training bullets. I can’t say doing this is wrong, but I can barely express just how fucking wrong it is that there is a need for this at all.

At proving grounds and training ranges across the planet, hundreds of thousands of US Army bullets litter the landscape. Difficult to remove, and a groundwater and soil hazard as they corrode, this discarded metal is an environmental concern. In November, the Department of Defense (DoD) posted a call for proposals titled “Biodegradable Composites with Embedded Seeds for Training Ammunition” through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) federal program.

DoD specifically cites “low velocity 40mm grenades; 60mm, 81mm, and 120mm mortars; shoulder launched munitions; 120mm tank rounds; and 155mm artillery rounds” as needing biodegradable substitutes, adding that the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory has “demonstrated bioengineered seeds that can be embedded into the biodegradable composites and that will not germinate until they have been in the ground for several months.”

Bullets that contain seeds might seem like a silly design challenge, but ecological destruction by the military is serious. A 2014 article by Alexander Nazaryan for Newsweek noted that the “US Department of Defense is one of the world’s worst polluters,” with “4,127 installations spread across 19 million acres of American soil,” including over 140 Superfund sites. And this problem of tactical waste extends beyond the military. A 2004 report from Virginia Tech reported that there were “20 million metric tons of lead bullets fired in the United States in the 20th century,” with results including large amounts of lead discovered in trees near shooting ranges. Currently, Providence, Rhode Island, is planning to spend a million dollars to extract lead bullets and other fragments from a police shooting range located a few hundred feet from a reservoir.

[…]

Read more about the “Biodegradable Composites with Embedded Seeds for Training Ammunition” call for proposals at SBIR. Proposals are open through February 8.

Hyperallergic has the full story.

Ubiquitous Nazis.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images.

Photo: John Moore/Getty Images.

Nazis, nazis everywhere. Under every rock, and we are all on extremely rocky ground right now. I skimmed an article about this the other day, but I wasn’t in a state to pay much attention. I’m not feeling much better now that I have paid attention. I don’t think it’s been any sort of secret that policing often attracts less than ideal personalities for the job; nor that many cops are bigoted as all hells. Given all the murders committed by cops every year, most of them against people of colour, handily demonstrate the bigotry and reliance on stereotypes which afflict way too many cops. This is an old, old story, as old as policing itself, and it’s a rare cop shop which truly tries to combat vicious and dangerous bigotry, and where cops with a conscience will stand up and speak out. Unfortunately, the news is worse. Nazis. Nazis who do need a stinking badge, and rely on that badge to recruit.

White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. A striking reference to that conclusion, notable for its confidence and the policy prescriptions that accompany it, appears in a classified FBI Counterterrorism Policy Guide from April 2015, obtained by The Intercept. The guide, which details the process by which the FBI enters individuals on a terrorism watchlist, the Known or Suspected Terrorist File, notes that “domestic terrorism investigations focused on militia extremists, white supremacist extremists, and sovereign citizen extremists often have identified active links to law enforcement officers,” and explains in some detail how bureau policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account.

Although these right-wing extremists have posed a growing threat for years, federal investigators have been reluctant to publicly address that threat or to point out the movement’s longstanding strategy of infiltrating the law enforcement community.

No centralized recruitment process or set of national standards exists for the 18,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States, many of which have deep historical connections to racist ideologies. As a result, state and local police as well as sheriff’s departments present ample opportunities for white supremacists and other right-wing extremists looking to expand their power base.

That last is such a massive problem, and always has been – the one way to clean up policing is for there to be strict standards, recruitment and otherwise, across the board. None of the individual states doing their own thing anymore. Yeah, I know, ‘merica, land of the stubborn asshole of “independence”. That’s gotten us nowhere except in the bottom of hole, with out of control authoritarian fantasists playing with military gear.

In a heavily redacted version of an October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment, the agency raised the alarm over white supremacist groups’ “historical” interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” The effort, the memo noted, “can lead to investigative breaches and can jeopardize the safety of law enforcement sources or personnel.” The memo also states that law enforcement had recently become aware of the term “ghost skins,” used among white supremacists to describe “those who avoid overt displays of their beliefs to blend into society and covertly advance white supremacist causes.” In at least one case, the FBI learned of a skinhead group encouraging ghost skins to seek employment with law enforcement agencies in order to warn crews of any investigations.

Ghost skins. Regardless of the silly name, I expect most of us have known at least one person who avoids overt displays in public and around people they don’t know, but in private settings allows their bigotry to rage. I grew up with one, and I’ve known too many more.

Reforming police, as it turns out, is a lot harder than reforming the military, because of the decentralized way in which the thousands of police departments across the country operate, the historical affinity of certain police departments with the same racial ideologies espoused by extremists, and an even broader reluctance to do much about it.

“If you look at the history of law enforcement in the United States, it is a history of white supremacy, to put it bluntly,” said Simi, citing the origin of U.S. policing in the slave patrols of the 18th and 19th centuries. “More recently, just going back 50 years, law enforcement, particularly in the South, was filled with Klan members.”

Norm Stamper, a former chief of the Seattle Police Department and vocal advocate for police reform, told The Intercept that white supremacy was not simply a matter of history. “There are police agencies throughout the South and beyond that come from that tradition,” he said. “To think that that kind of thinking has dissolved somehow is myopic at best.”

Stamper said he had fired officers who expressed racist views, but added, “It’s not likely to happen in most police departments, because many of those departments come from a tradition of saying the officer is entitled to his or her opinions.”

When you stop and look, and start paying attention, the sheer magnitude of instances protecting white supremacists is overwhelming. In the States, the nazis still have “good guy” status, putting white, male, christian, and hetero on a pedestal, shot through with the poisonous ideology of superiority.

“This is a fundamental problem in this country: We simply do not take this flexible, and forgiving, and exceptionally understanding approach for combating any other form of terrorism,” said Jones. “Anybody who’s on social media advocating support for ISIS can be criminally charged with very little effort.”

“For some reason, we have stepped away from the threat of domestic terrorism and right-wing extremism,” Jones continued. “The only way we can reconcile this kind of behavior is if we accept the possibility that the ideology that permeates white nationalists and white supremacists is something that many in our federal and law enforcement communities understand and may be in sympathy with.”

That sympathy might just be reflected by the election of a president who was endorsed and celebrated by the KKK, and who has been reluctant to disassociate himself from individuals espousing white supremacist views.

We are years beyond stepping away from the threat of domestic and right-wing terrorism. Too many Americans are intent on erasing the very idea of home grown terrorists. Unlike other countries, America has dealt with one major outside terrorist event, and yes, it was awful. It was also 15 years ago. In that 15 years, pretty much everything has been done in the worst possible way, and the refusal to deal with our rising nazi problem, and the problem of out of control cops continues to not only plague us, but to make every single one of us very unsafe, every day. We need to stop being afraid to face the truth.

The full, in-depth article is at The Intercept.

Silencing Dissent.

Demonstrators holds banners and signs as they protest during a march in downtown Washington in opposition of President-elect Donald Trump, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana.

Demonstrators holds banners and signs as they protest during a march in downtown Washington in opposition of President-elect Donald Trump, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana.

As people critical of President Trump’s Muslim ban flocked to airports this weekend to show their support for immigrants and refugees, one major airport decided to crack down on protesters.

Denver International Airport (DIA) began enforcing a rule on Sunday that requires anyone interested in demonstrating to submit an application seven days in advance. The regulation was challenged by protesters, including one who recorded a video criticizing Denver Police Commander Tony Lopez for violating his First Amendment rights.

There’s more about the Denver situation at the link.

But the movement toward limiting protesters’ free speech rights is not confined to the terminals of DIA. In anticipation of an active protest movement during Trump’s administration, multiple Republican-controlled states are currently pushing for legislation that would discourage and even criminalize nonviolent, public demonstrations.

In Minnesota, a billpassed a Republican-controlled committee last week that would allow cities to sue protesters in order to collect money to pay police forces required at the demonstration. Lawmakers drafted the legislation in response to massive Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in the state after a police officer shot and killed Philando Castile.

This sounds very much like what happened here in nDakota and the water protectors. People will get bilked for money, and I’d put odds on that money being used the way it was here, to purchase military toys for cop shops. All the better to threaten you with, my dear. Being able to sue anyone who protests will have the very chilling effect of shutting down effective protests, because too many people will not be willing to face such a consequence; most people can’t afford to face such a consequence. Allowing a lawsuit against people for exercising their constitutional rights, does that sound like a democracy to you? Speaking of picking pockets…

And in Michigan, Republican lawmakers are attacking both unions and protesters by pushing legislation that would increase fines against picketers to $1,000 per person per day of a picket and $10,000 per day for an organization or union involved in the picket. The bill passed the state House of Representatives in December, but was set aside by the Senate.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that will be an end to such legislation though, it won’t be.

Taking a different tactic, four other states are considering anti-protest laws that would target demonstrators who protest on the streets, according to The Intercept. The bills have all been introduced in the last few months as responses to high-profile protests by Black Lives Matter activists and opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline that shut down highways.

The Intercept summarized the bills that Republican lawmakers have proposed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Washington, and Iowa:

In North Dakota, for instance, Republicans introduced a bill last week that would allow motorists to run over and kill any protester obstructing a highway as long as a driver does so accidentally. In Minnesota, a bill introduced by Republicans last week seeks to dramatically stiffen fines for freeway protests and would allow prosecutors to seek a full year of jail time for protesters blocking a highway. Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests that are deemed “economic terrorism” … And in Iowa a Republican lawmaker has pledged to introduce legislation to crack down on highway protests.

“This is a marked uptick in bills that would criminalize or penalize protected speech and protest, and every person should be alarmed at that trend,” she said, calling the bills unconstitutional. “We should also be alarmed by the attitude they betray, which is that when Americans get out into the streets and make their voices heard — recently, in record numbers — their elected representatives’ response is not to listen to those concerns but to attempt to silence and criminalize them.”

“That goes against the very fabric of our constitutional democracy, and legislators introducing these bills should be ashamed,” she added. “To try to silence those who are speaking up right now is a betrayal of American values.”

Yes, they should be ashamed, but they aren’t. That’s because there is no democracy anymore. Gone, vanished, set on fire and up in smoke. Silence people, quash dissent, order compliance. If you can’t see where we are headed, it’s because you refuse to see.

Full article at Think Progress. Mano Singham has a post up about the revival of an old quash favourite: COINTELPRO. Oh, such bad news.

NO DAPL Roundup.

Malia Obama (Pinterest)

Malia Obama (Pinterest)

Malia Obama has chosen to stand with Standing Rock.

A group of 100 people gathered in Park City to protest the revival of the project by new U.S. President Donald Trump. Despite freezing temperatures and heavy snowfall, Malia Obama joined the protester who were holding up signs that read: “Exist. Resist. Rise.” and “Impeach corporate control,” according to the Daily Mail.

Along with protesting the construction of the pipeline, which will disturb sacred grounds and introduce contaminants into the local water supply, the group was protesting the festival sponsorship by Chase Bank, which is invested in the pipeline. The rally was held in front of the Chase Sapphire on Main lounge.

Courtesy MSNBC via YouTube.

Courtesy MSNBC via YouTube.

Chairman Archambault on MSNBC: ‘President Is Circumventing Federal Law’.

Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II was more surprised at the rapidity with which Donald Trump signed presidential memoranda purporting to speed up the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) and reinstate the Keystone XL pipeline than he was by the act itself.

“We were prepared for President Trump take a run at everything we have accomplished in the last two years,” Archambault told Tamron Hall on MSNBC on Wednesday January 25, the day after Trump signed a Presidential Memorandum attempting to move DAPL along. “This nation better start bracing itself for what’s to come if in the first four days we’re witnessing him using an executive order to circumvent federal laws. It’s not right, and it’s something we better get ready for. I was disappointed that it came this soon, because we had worked so hard for the last two years.”

The tribe wants closer study of the pipeline’s potential effects on water supply, sacred sites and treaty rights, he said, and Trump is trying to do an end run around such statutes as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“The troubling thing is that this president is circumventing federal law,” Archambault said. “We have Treaty rights, we have water rights with our Winter’s Doctrine, we have NEPA.”

The Keystone XL Pipeline Will Create Just 35 Permanent Jobs. Don’t Believe the Lies.

For those who still insist fossil fuels are the future, the Trump administration represents a new day for some old ideas. In an early sign of things to come, the president showed his faith in big oil when he signed documents Tuesday pressuring federal agencies to support construction of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines. Each of these projects faced enormous protests and was put on hold by the Obama administration because of legitimate environmental and due process concerns.

Congressional Republicans frequently howled at far less heavy-handed exercises of executive power under the previous administration. Today, they applaud Trump’s move on the mistaken premise that these pipelines are good investments. Not only will these projects not create long-lasting jobs – as CNBC, not exactly an anti-corporate mouthpiece, has noted: “Pipelines do not require much labor to operate in the long term” – they will further delay the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy our economy needs and the American people demand.

Standing Rock Chairman Archambault Sends Strong Letter to Trump.

Editor’s note: Reaction was swift and strong when President Donald Trump signed a series of Presidential Memoranda and Executive Orders designed to move the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) forward and revive the Keystone XL pipeline. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe responded immediately, and on January 25 Standing Rock Chairman Archambault wrote a letter to Trump explaining the legal constraints, the support that the Environmental Impact Statement and the tribe have, and the need for a leader-to-leader meeting. The full text is below.

DAPL Profiteers Steal Marty Two Bulls Designs.

You’ve probably seen and shared at least one of the many brilliant political cartoons by Marty Two Bulls at some point in time. Marty Two Bulls—an artist from the Oglala Lakota Nation—has been drawing political cartoons with great success for many years. His work has long been a staple on the pages of ICTMN. He’s known for bringing clever humor and hilarious imagery to hot, controversial issues: most recently the anti-DAPL movement in Standing Rock.

But now, you might see his work in places it shouldn’t be: dozens of t-shirt sellers who are hoping to make a buck from the #NoDAPL campaigns have ripped off Marty Two Bulls designs and been using them to sell t-shirts of their own with no credit, profit, or acknowledgement offered to the artist. Now, Two Bulls has taken the matter into his own hands. In addition to filing dozens of reports to stop production of the rip-offs, he has decided to sell t-shirts of his own.

The design thieves are mostly from overseas with no connection to Native country.
“So far I caught over 20,” Two Bulls said, “I go online, I search terms like #NoDAPL and Water is Life on Facebook, and there they are.”

Marty is an amazingly talented artist, and one of the best political cartoonists in the world, he’s brilliant. Please, if you want to show support for Standing Rock, take the time to make sure your item is coming from the actual artist. Most artists aren’t rolling in money, and this theft hurts, one more than one level. Marty is trying to do something for his people, and if you want to help, and like his artwork, please buy from Marty Two Bulls.