DAPL Approval Illegal, Judge Finds.

Trump on DAPL. © Marty Two Bulls.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying oil since June 1.

“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

A status conference will be held next week, according to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, which is representing the tribes in this case. Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builders, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately. ”

Indian Country Today has the full story.

Where there’s the smallest good news, there’s always bad news, and in this case, it comes in the form of Zinke:

“I think, talking to tribes, they’re very happy,” Zinke said of his proposal, adding that he “talked to all parties, and they’re pretty happy and willing to work with us.”

But this is not so, according to tribal representatives. In a June 12 press call hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said the tribe’s leaders have “maintained a consistent position that they support the monument designation.

“If there is any happiness,” Branch said,” it’s probably that the monument remains intact as of now.

“I think [the ‘happy’ characterization] is probably just a characterization coming from Trump,” Branch added.

Natalie Landreth, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund who represents the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes on Bears Ears issues, said during the Udall call that the proclamation that set up Bears Ears as a national monument had already formed a structure in which five tribes, known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, work together to co-manage the monument.

“It’s unclear exactly what the secretary is suggesting, so until we know more details about what he’s talking about, it’s difficult to have a view on it,” Landreth said. “Our initial reaction on behalf of the three tribes we represent is that this was really a cynical effort to distract Indian country from the devastating blow of reducing the size of the monument.”

Landreth said that some of her impacted tribal clients told her as of June 12 that Zinke had not been in touch with them on this matter.

“We don’t know who he’s talking to and what they may have said,” Landreth said.

Full story here.

A Smithsonian Noose and Lynching Threats.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Facebook).

Yet another noose has been found at The Smithsonian, this time on the floor of an exhibition about segregation.

A noose, a symbol of racial lynching, was found on Wednesday on the floor of an exhibit about segregation at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., Smithsonian Institution officials said.

[…]

“The Smithsonian family stands together in condemning this act of hatred and intolerance, especially repugnant in a museum that affirms and celebrates the American values of inclusion and diversity,” the institution’s secretary, David Skorton, told the staff in an internal email. “We will not be intimidated.”

Full story here.

Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor has been forced to cancel portions of her book tour, thanks to coverage from Fox News, who painted her as an evil anti-Trump person.

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor delivered the commencement address last month at Hampshire College, and Fox News aired a portion of the 20-minute speech Sunday that called attention to her criticism of President Donald Trump, reported The Stranger.

Taylor, a Princeton University professor of African-American studies, described the president as a “racist, sexist, megalomaniac,” and the Fox News report suggested that she was encouraging activists to lawlessly thwart the Trump agenda.

After the report on her “Anti-POTUS tirade” aired, Taylor said she has received more than 50 hateful and threatening emails — some of which were issued with such specificity that she canceled portions of a tour to promote her new book, “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.”

“Shortly after the Fox story and video were published, my work email was inundated with vile and violent statements. I have been repeatedly called ‘n****r,’ ‘b*tch,’ ‘c*nt,’ ‘dyke,’ ‘she-male,’ and ‘coon’ — a clear reminder that racial violence is closely aligned with gender and sexual violence,” Taylor said. “I have been threatened with lynching and having the bullet from a .44 Magnum put in my head.”

She accused the conservative network of airing the report in an attempt to silence her and other Trump critics.

“I am not a newsworthy person,” Taylor said. “Fox did not run this story because it was ‘news,’ but to incite and unleash the mob-like mentality of its fringe audience, anticipating that they would respond with a deluge of hate-filled emails — or worse. The threat of violence, whether it is implied or acted on, is intended to intimidate and to silence.”

This awful reactionary shite on the part of conservatives everywhere is seriously out of hand. Not long ago, PZ had a post up which included a terrifying view of how the GOP thinks, and they think that liberal people are so darn scary, it justifies hiring Three Percenters and Oath Keepers and the like to protect them, because us evil liberals think they are Nazis. Yes, well…if you’re willing to embrace white supremacist ideology and hire Nazis, you should probably expect that sort of thing. People are being murdered; threats are amping up; hate crimes are again spiking. We must carry on fighting, more than ever before.

“Their side uses the threat of violence and intimidation because they cannot compete in the field of politics, ideas, and organizing,” she said. “The true strength of our side has not yet been expressed in its size and breadth, and so they believe they are winning. We have to change this dynamic and begin to build a massive movement against racism, sexism, and bigotry in this country. I remain undaunted in my commitment to that project.”

I stand with Professor Taylor. The right insists that liberals are horrible, violent people, because we do things like criticise, and protest. Oh yes, there are those vicious letter writing campaigns, too. There’s a hell of a lot of projection on the Right Reich’s side, and they are willing to embrace actual violence along with Nazism.

Full story here.

“…they should be LYNCHED!”

CREDIT: screengrab.

One Karl Oliver, a rethuglican representative, has made an open, unapologetic statement about the removal of monuments to slavery. Specifically, he wrote:

“The destruction of these monuments, erected in the loving memory of our family and fellow Southern Americans, is both heinous and horrific. If the, and I use this term extremely loosely, ‘leadership’ of Louisiana wishes to, in a Nazi-ish fashion, burn books or destroy historical monuments of OUR HISTORY, they should be LYNCHED! Let it be known, I will do all in my power to prevent this from happening in our State.”

I haven’t heard one thing about these statues being destroyed. Removed from the public square, yes. The state could always put them up for auction, so hateful bigots like Oliver and his pals who approved his statement, could fork over serious money for them, and plant them in their backyard, where they could continue to worship hatred, bigotry, and slavery. The money could go for education, so we end up with fewer ignoramuses of Oliver’s type.

As Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, there is a difference between the memory of history, and the reverence of it, and that sentence says all that is needed. These monuments, like the confederate flag, are not a type of aide-mémoire to history; they are a paean to horrible, blood-soaked, hate-fueled times in our recent past. And while we should certainly remember such times and actions, to remind of us of how easily we hate, and how easily we are willing to kill for that hate, that’s not, and never was, the purpose of these monuments. They were created to have some sort of victory; to bolster a sense of self-righteousness in the fight to keep the right of owning other humans.

Not only do I think it’s past time for these types of monuments to go quietly away, I also think the confederate flag, that handy American version of the swastika, should go as well. People such as Karl Oliver need to walk off into the sunset as well, being little more than bags of puffed up, vitriolic bigotry. We don’t need you anymore, either.

Think Progress has the full story.

Kicking Kirchmeier.

Oceti Sakowin Camp. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

There’s a petition, and yes, I know people get petition tired, but please click on over and sign this one, to remove the murder-minded and incompetent Kirchmeier from his position as Sheriff of Morton County. Kirchmeier took a brutal stance from the beginning, and as some of you will recall from the Standing Rock posts, he spread misinformation and outright lies from the beginning, and never stopped telling lies, either. He used all the climate justice warriors as an excuse to spend outrageous amounts of money on military equipment, so he could play a latter day Custer, obviously hoping for better results. In the end, his unholy alliance with the oil companies worked out just fine for him, giving him equipment to oppress and harm, all while lining his pockets. Please help out by adding your name to the petition.
 
Remove Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.

The Dept. of Just Us: Cease and Desist!

Volunteer lawyers wait at the international arrival area for travelers detained at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on Friday, March 10, 2017. (AP Photo / Charles Rex Arbogast).

The Department of Justice is now insisting that lawyers helping immigrants shut down, and stop offering their services, because helping people, well, that’s a bad thing to do. This all hangs on a technicality, but one which is being exploited by the DOJ to remove legal help which is already scant on the ground for immigration matters. Immigrants do not have the right to legal representation here, which means that legal teams reaching out and offering help are doing it on their own time and dime. This is a devastating attack, yet another one which undermines one of those supposedly great pillars of America. It’s also outright white nationalism.

While the country has been fixated on President Trump’s firings, leaks and outbursts involving the Department of Justice, that agency has itself been stealthily attacking our democracy by telling good lawyers to stop representing people. Four weeks ago, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP)—a respected nonprofit in Seattle that represents immigrants in deportation proceedings—received a “cease and desist” letter from the DOJ threatening disciplinary action. The letter demanded that NWIRP drop representation of its clients and close down its asylum advisory program. The reason: a technicality, perversely applied. NWIRP is accused of breaking a rule that was put in place to protect people from lawyers or “notarios” who take their money and then drop their case.

Last week, NWIRP filed a lawsuit to defend itself against the DoJ’s order. What’s at stake extends far beyond NWIRP and the 5,000 people it serves every year. The outcome of this legal battle will profoundly impact access to legal representation for the tens of thousands of immigrants who apply for asylum in the United States every year and the hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants whose cases are currently in front of an immigration judge.

Before I explain more, let’s step back for the context: You have no right to counsel in immigration proceedings. If you are not a citizen—or if the government merely alleges you aren’t—you can be taken from your home, jailed, and permanently deported without ever seeing a lawyer. This is perfectly legal. It happened to more than a million people under the Obama administration, which vastly expanded the machinery of deportation. (If you want this to be an “Obama was good, Trump is bad” story, sorry to disappoint.)

[…]

When lawyers rushed to airports this winter to protect our friends, our neighbors, and our Constitution, people cheered. The Trump administration took offense, and now those lawyers are in their cross hairs. The president is taking a sledgehammer to the pillars of our government: the FBI, the Justice Department, the federal courts. America, we are under attack.

The full story is here.

Sheriff David Clarke Gets His Trump Appointment.

Sheriff David Clarke Jr. CREDIT: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.

I’m sure that Dave Clarke is just giddy over being appointed to homeland security. For the rest of us, it’s a walking, talking, nightmare. No one could possibly be less qualified than Clarke, whose hatred knows no bounds. Many times over, this man should have been tried for his crimes, and if there was any justice, he’d be sitting in a prison cell for the rest of his life.  He’s in the midst of a prison deaths scandal right now, but apparently, that doesn’t matter, anymore than his previous crimes. This is just the tip of the Clarke iceberg:

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “pitchforks and torches,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Via RWW, click on over for the full story.

Also see: Why Sheriff Clarke will be a disaster in his new job, according to his predecessor: ‘Just plain awful’.

Pigs Will Fly 2.

Artist’s rendering – Flying Pigs on Parade over the Chicago River.

Last night, I posted about Flying Pigs on Parade, a great art project, and one which needs help from people! Marcus gave me another reason to spread the word:

Enjoy, and please, if you can, donate to Flying Pigs on Parade, so that pigs will fly in front of Trump everywhere.

Women Helping Women / SASS.

https://womenhelp.org/

While the fate of the Fuck You No Healthcare Plan is not certain yet, one thing is more than clear: whether or not the senate squashes this monstrosity, it will be women and other people who can get pregnant who will end up being hurt the most. In spite of the fact that abortion is legal in uStates, the reality is the opposite for a majority of women. For many women, being able to obtain a termination within draconian time limits has been made impossible, and there are many efforts to make sure that women cannot access early abortion pills, either. The FDA updated its protocol on mifepristone last year, increasing its eligibility of use from 49 days’ gestation to 70 days’, but my state, nDakota, along with Ohio and Texas, refuse to comply, adhering to the old protocol as a means to prevent women from using it. Many states have outlawed the use to telemedicine in regard to mifepristone, which is yet another nail on autonomy’s coffin when it comes to those of us who live rural. Tom Price, who doesn’t much believe in contraception anyway, and denies the fact that women need help to obtain it, so he refuses to cover it, is elated with the latest move, and that is very bad news indeed, for all women who use contraception.

When I was younger, I thought that the days of the Jane Collective were long past, that such networks would not ever be needed again. I certainly felt that way when I obtained an abortion in 1975. At that time, no one cared about my private medical decisions, or the private medical decisions of others. It took many years for the anti-choice brigade to whip up a proper frenzy, but they managed it, and here we are, back in an age of necessary collectives.

A Dutch Collective, Women Helping Women is active, providing help with Self-Managed Abortion; Safe and Supported (SASS). If you find yourself in trouble, please, please, do things safely. There are people who can help you, so take advantage of that, and remember you are not alone.

WHW has an emphasis on privacy, it’s clandestine, and you cannot be traced, which is necessary because women are being prosecuted for inducing abortions.

While the Trump administration didn’t invent anti-choice ideology or policies, it is unapologeticallylaying the groundwork for an unprecedented attack on reproductive rights and the women who seek abortion care. And although anti-choice legislators have historically focused on restricting surgical abortion, medical abortion is very much in their crosshairs, too.

“While people in the U.S. have been self-inducing abortion with pills safely, effectively and privately, they do so under the looming threat of arrest and prosecution, or detention and deportation,” said Jill Adams, Chief Strategist at the Self-Induced Abortion (SIA) Legal Team at Berkeley Law. “Not because self-induced abortion is per se illegal, but because rogue prosecutors have been manipulating and misapplying laws in a modern day witch-hunt.”

According to the SIA Legal Team, there are 17 known arrests or convictions in connection with self-induced abortion. “This threat looms most heavily over communities of color, immigrants, and people living in poverty who already face some of the highest obstacles to reproductive healthcare access and over policing of their communities,” said Adams.

Think Progress has the full story.

Sigh. Speaking of:

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad on Friday signed into law a 20-week abortion ban that faces a legal challenge in the Midwestern state’s supreme court.

The law, passed by Iowa’s Republican-controlled House and Senate last month, bans abortions once a pregnancy reaches 20 weeks and stipulates a three-day waiting period before women can undergo any abortion.

The law does not make exceptions for instances of rape or incest but does allow for abortions if the mother’s life or health is at risk.

Full story here.

“It did not meet our core values,” (Updated.)

CREDIT: Twitter.

Cops brazenly gun down 15 year old Jordan Edwards, and now that their lies have been exposed, we get “it did not meet our core values.” How about you arrest and charge the murderous piece of shit cop who decided a 15 year old just had to die? The fact that you haven’t says plenty to me about your so called “core values”.

Think Progress has the full story. My mood is definitely not better.

UPDATE: The murderer has been fired, but not charged, and not arrested. Full story here.

NC: Judge Smacks Republicans, Hard.

North Carolina Judge Douglas McCullough. Image courtesy of Loiacono Literary Agency.

North Carolina rethuglicans are once again trying to use dirty tricks in an attempt to nullify Gov. Cooper’s authority. One republican judge refused to play along, and went for an ethical play of his own, which certainly paints the rest of the rethugs in a very ugly light indeed.

In a dramatic response to a power-grab by Republicans in the North Carolina legislature, a Republican judge resigned today to circumvent efforts to strip power from the Democratic governor.

The Charlotte Observer reports that following today’s surprise resignation by Republican Judge J. Douglas McCullough, Democrat John Arrowood was sworn in.

[…]

North Carolina has a mandatory retirement age for judges. To prevent the Democratic Party governor from appointing replacements for Court of Appeals judges nearing forced retirement, the Republican Legislature passed a bill to shrink the size of the court from 15 to 12 judges — thereby denying the Democrat of three scheduled appointments.

The legislation was vetoed on Friday, but a successful veto override was expected later tonight.

However, before the legislature could vote to override Governor Cooper’s veto of House Bill 239, Judge McCullough resigned 36 days prior to his forced retirement. This allowed the appointment of Judge Arrowood at 9:45 a.m. this morning.

“I did not want my legacy to be the elimination of a seat and the impairment of a court that I have served on,” Judge McCullough explained.

Newly sworn-in Judge John Arrowood is the first openly gay member of the North Carolina Court of Appeals.

A standing ovation for Judge McCullough, a man of integrity and ethics. You deserve a resounding thank you from all over, and if they were capable of it, the rest of the republicans should be damned ashamed of themselves. If all republicans were like you, Sir, I would not have a problem with them.

Via Raw Story.