Sunday Facepalm: Guns & Death Edition.

Image credit: STILLFX.

The NRA is all fired up by Donny’s sucking up. They really didn’t expect the Tiny Tyrant to win, and hadn’t planned on having a new target, as they were completely focused on Clinton. They’ve had to do a bit of scrambling to identify a new enemy, and as the Tiny Tyrant is doing such a good job of shoving his head up the NRA arse, they’re supporting him in the ‘enemy’ department.

But with President Trump’s win — unexpected even for many here at the NRA’s annual meeting — the group had to reorient itself around a new target able to drive just as much anger in its millions of members.

ISIS or other international threats may have been easy marks. But judging by the rhetoric used by NRA leaders and President Trump in Atlanta this week, the gun lobby has set its sights elsewhere: the media.

“It’s up to us to speak up against the three most dangerous voices in America: academic elites, political elites, and media elites. These are America’s greatest domestic threats” LaPierre told thousands of NRA members on Friday at the group’s Leadership Forum, explaining that the media is trying to destroy Trump and his administration.

When do we get to talk about dangerously obsessed gun fondler elites? I’d like to have that discussion.

“Leftists media elites deliberately deceive and spin and twist the truth to grow their anti-American agenda,” he said. Later he asked: “When did the media stop being journalists and start becoming PR flacks for the destruction of our country?”

Taking it a step further, LaPierre told his members that the job of the NRA is to give “the media the big fat black eye it so often richly deserves.” Dana Loesch, a conservative media personality and NRA spokesperson, later used similarly incendiary language in a video segment, saying gun owners need to “fight this violence of lies with a clenched fist of truth.” And Chris Cox, the group’s chief lobbyist, claimed that the media “drew their knives from the very beginning” and led a “vicious” attack against Trump.

The line drew huge applause from the audience, and a mention of CNN later in the event led NRA members to take to their feet chanting “CNN sucks.”

Oh great, the aging white dudes think they are playing war. Did they not get the memo that guns are passé? Donny has nukes!

The NRA spent more than $30 million last year to elect Trump — more than three times the amount it spent on Mitt Romney’s campaign — and the investment paid off. Speaking on Friday as the first sitting president to address the NRA in over three decades, Trump confirmed his commitment to upholding the group’s agenda.

When it comes to attacking the press, the NRA appears ready to do Trump’s bidding. And its members are ready to fall in line.

[…]

With similar thinking coming from the Trump administration in Washington, that kind of language could translate into policy when it comes to freedom of the press. Chief of Staff Reince Priebus told ABC News Sunday that the president is open to considering changing the constitution so that he could sue journalists for unfavorable coverage.

Well, didn’t take the Tiny Tyrant long to focus on the merits of fascism once again. Speaking of, the Tiny Tyrant is all a gush over his new bestest buddy ever, Rodrigo Duterte. Donny really, truly admires Duterte’s war on drugs. Yeah, we’re very fucked here.

Full stories at Think Progress: NRA, Duterte, Suing Journalists.

Copwatch Premieres At Tribeca Film Festival.

Copwatch Documentary still.

Copwatch will be premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, April 23rd to April 28th, if you can grab a ticket and watch!

Copwatch is the true story of We Copwatch, an organization whose mission is to film police activity as a non-violent form of protest and deterrent to police brutality. Around the country, a network of regular people take up cameras to bear witness to police actions and hold law enforcement to accountability. Director Camilla Hall profiles several We Copwatch members, including a young California dad who’s found direction in this activism, and Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed Eric Garner’s fatal Staten Island arrest in the devastating video that has galvanized protestors and activists nationwide. And yet Orta is the only person involved in these incidents who has seen the inside of a jail cell. In her powerful directorial debut, Hall crafts an intriguing and incredibly timely profile of citizen-journalist-activists who are seeking to disrupt the ever-present challenge of police violence.

—Opal Bennett

If you’re unaware of We Copwatch, please become aware, and if you haven’t supported We Copwatch, please consider doing so now. You can get a snazzy T-shirt or hoodie!

China, Russia Chasing U.S. Carrier.

USS Carl Vinson. (Jo Jung-ho/Yonhap via AP, File).

China and Russia aren’t too happy with the Tiny Tyrant’s tough toddler obsession with nuclear weapons, nor his increasing instability without a first thought, let alone a second. They have dispatched intelligence gathering ships to dog the U.S. Carrier. I’m grateful for their intervention, such as it is at this time. I have not been this scared of nuclear war since I was a child. As nuclear tensions de-escalated through much of my lifetime, I had hoped to make it through the rest of life without having to worry about being crispy crittered or dying a slow death in nuclear winter. Now we have a maniac in the white house who is nursing a 30 year obsession with nuclear weapons with an itchy trigger finger.

China and Russia have dispatched intelligence-gathering vessels from their navies to chase the USS Carl Vinson nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, which is heading toward waters near the Korean Peninsula, multiple sources of the Japanese government revealed to The Yomiuri Shimbun.

It appears that both countries aim to probe the movements of the United States, which is showing a stance of not excluding military action against North Korea. The Self-Defense Forces are strengthening warning and surveillance activities in the waters and airspace around the area, according to the sources.

The aircraft carrier strike group, composed of the Carl Vinson at its core with guided-missile destroyers and other vessels, is understood to be around the East China Sea and heading north toward waters near the Korean Peninsula.

China and Russia, which prioritize stability in the Korean Peninsula, showed concern over the tough U.S. stance, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the issue should be resolved peacefully through political and diplomatic efforts.

The dispatch of the intelligence-gathering vessels appears to be partly aimed at sending a warning signal to the United States.

Full story here.

Killer Cop: “It’s a lynch mob!” “I’m the victim!”

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby (Photo: Tulsa PD).

Tulsa police officer Betty Shelby (Photo: Tulsa PD).

Remember Betty Jo? She’s the cop who murdered Terence Crutcher, who had his hands up. I’ve posted three times prior about this case: one, two, three. The third post was about her first attempt at a defense, “auditory exclusion”, claiming she was so stressed, she went temporarily deaf, and didn’t hear back up arrive. There were many problems with that so-called defense, not the least of which is how she missed the taser dot on Mr. Crutcher, aimed by her back up. Now Ms. Shelby has shown up on 60 minutes, where she woefully claimed that she was the victim, and she’s had a lynch mob after her.

In an interview with 60 Minutes aired Sunday night, Betty Jo Shelby both insists that her killing of Terence Crutcher was justified and portrays herself as the real victim in this saga. After a video snippet of protesters calling for her resignation, Shelby likens the Tulsa community’s accountability demands to “a lynch mob.”

“My situation was no different than — I don’t know whether I should say this — than a lynch mob coming after me. And I had those very threats,” said Shelby.

Lynch mobs kill people. Betty Shelby still has a job. She faces at most four years in prison in the statistically unlikely event that a jury decides her killing of Crutcher was unlawful manslaughter rather than justifiable police action.

It is unusual for someone accused of manslaughter to go on national TV to discuss specifics of a case before a jury has heard it. Potential jurors will now likely have seen both raw videos of Shelby killing Crutcher, and CBS’ tight repackaging of the Shelby team’s narrative of what the videos do and do not show.

This is beyond disgusting. It’s bad enough to have a bigoted, homicidal cop roaming about, and it’s already clear there won’t be justice for Terence Crutcher in this case. The charge is manslaughter, and even if convicted, which is doubtful, the maximum sentence is four years. That’s not much for gunning a person down in cold blood.

Shelby insists that implicit racial bias played no role in her decision-making that day.

[…]

She agreed with Whitaker that Crutcher’s death was “avoidable” but ultimately lays the blame on the dead man.

“If he would have communicated with me, if he would’ve just done as I asked him to do we would not be here,” Shelby said.

Right. Shelby isn’t a bigot at all, and Terence Crutcher is dead because Terence Crutcher. The depth of racism white people in uStates carry around is deep and ever present, and it’s past time that everyone else keeps turning a blind eye to it. That said, I have no faith the jury in this case will do the right thing.

Full story at Think Progress.

Police Escalation: Lethal Drones.

Drone in sky (Shutterstock).

Drone in sky (Shutterstock).

Legislators in Connecticut are very close to legalizing the use of weaponized drones by cops. I’m sure if this passes, it will get picked up from state to state, allowing cops to become even more lethal towards the citizens of uStates.

Connecticut lawmakers are pushing a bill that would legalize the use of armed drones for police officers. The state’s judiciary committee approved a bill on Thursday titled, “An Act Concerning the Use and Regulation of Drones” that would ban weaponized drones for use by anyone except for police officers, according to Gizmodo.

The bill would allow police officers to use drones armed with tear gas, incendiary devices, explosives, and “remote deadly weapons.” If the bill is signed, it would go into effect in October, 2017.

In its original form, the bill did not include a provision to allow police to equip drones with arms. Rather, as David McGuire, the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut tells Raw Story, “The underlying bill was strong because it only authorized police to use drones with a warrant for surveillance.”

The original bill required officers to obtain a warrant before surveilling individuals suspected of a crime, and would require police to report annually how they used drones. “It protected privacy and free speech rights,” said McGuire.

The added provision, McGuire said, “turned a bill that was about protecting peoples’ rights into a bill that violates peoples’ civil rights by allowing use of force.”

McGuire tells me, “We have been struggling with the issue of militarization of police — this [bill] would be escalating that in a serious and unprecedented way.”

“This amendment would send a terrible message to over-policed and victimized communities,” McGuire said. He added that the last few years have been spent working to rebuild community trust in law enforcement.

If the bill passes with the added amendment, Connecticut would be the first state in the country allowing police to use drones with lethal weapons. “I think you would see more use of force,” said McGuire.

No kidding. Cops adore all their lethal toys, and they’ll love this one, too.

But he remains positive that the bill can go back to its original intent.

Why in the fuckety fuck would you think that? I’ll lay money this won’t go back to original intent, and I’d bet that even restricted to surveillance, they would be misused, every day in every way.

Full story here.

Homicidal Cop, Good. Whistleblower, Bad.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

A short while back, I posted about the history of the cop who murdered Eric Garner. It was an ugly history, one which was ignored in keeping Daniel Pantaleo employed. That employment continues, but the  person who disclosed that hidden history? No, they are no longer employed.

The release of previously secret disciplinary records of the NYPD officer that killed Eric Garner is stirring controversy in New York City, reinvigorating a heated debate among activists and city officials over transparency and police accountability.

On Tuesday, ThinkProgress published the disciplinary records of Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD officer who used a prohibited chokehold against Garner in 2014. The records — which were previously hidden from the public — originated from the Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB), the independent city agency that fields complaints about officer misconduct. They were leaked to ThinkProgress from an anonymous source who was discovered by the agency and forced to resign.

The news also forced the CCRB to formally confirm that the documents are real.

The CCRB’s actions triggered indignation from Cynthia Conti-Cook, a lawyer at the Legal Aid Society’s Special Litigation Unit. The group is currently involved in lawsuits to obtain disciplinary records from both the CCRB and the NYPD.

“When there is more political will to fire a whistleblower than an officer who killed an unarmed man, it sends a message about the Mayor’s capacity to act quickly and therefore simultaneously sends a message about his lack of political will to hold police like Pantaleo…accountable for misconduct,” she said, referring to the fact that Pantaleo remains employed by the NYPD, and received a raise last year.

I could not possibly agree more. This is shocking behaviour. Well, it should be shocking. I’m afraid we have all become much too inured, and given the increasingly open shite supremacist feeling in uStates, there tends to be little more than an ennui laden shrug over such heinous actions.

Civil rights groups and several city officials were also outraged by the content of the documents, which showed that Pantaleo had 7 complaints and 4 substantiated allegations years before his encounter with Garner—far more than the overwhelming majority of his fellow NYPD officers, according to CCRB data. The revelations also raised questions about whether Pantaleo was properly disciplined, as the documents showed that the NYPD repeatedly enacted lesser penalties than those recommended by the CCRB.

Gwen Carr, Garner’s mother, said that earlier review of the records could have saved her son’s life.

“Someone should have taken a look at his record a long time ago,” Carr told the New York Daily News. “If they had done that maybe my son would still be alive.”

That’s assuming that anyone looking at Pantaleo’s record would have actually done something about it, which is more than questionable. Cop shops all over the country simply don’t have a problem with bigoted, homicidal cops, nor do they seem to be overly concerned about dead brown people. It seems the only time they do care is if they end up in the public spotlight, and even then, the result is rarely justice.

Think Progress has the full story.

The Hidden History of A Homicidal Cop.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo holds Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold. CREDIT: YouTube/New York Daily News.

The cop who murdered Eric Garner is still employed. As of last year, his salary was $119,996 , a 14% increase over what he was making when he murdered Garner. A person could get ideas about that. I certainly have number of ideas, none of them painting cops in a good light. Think Progress has gotten an exclusive look at hidden documents which highlight Pantaleo’s past behaviour as a cop, and it’s not a good record in any way. The article is long and in-depth, so head on over for a read.

Now, documents obtained exclusively by ThinkProgress indicate that Pantaleo, who is still employed by the NPYD, had a history of breaking the rules. These records are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit, and the city refuses to release them.

Before he put Garner in the chokehold, the records show, he had seven disciplinary complaints and 14 individual allegations lodged against him. Four of those allegations were substantiated by an independent review board.

Neither Pantaleo nor the NYPD responded to Think Progress requests for comment.

EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTS: The disturbing secret history of the NYPD officer who killed Eric Garner.

This Is My Body.

1 MA7XcJEmVWHKbOPof9j8yA

This Is My Body. A figure stands in the middle of the image with arms outstretched. A red headband covers the forehead and long, loosely braided dark hair, parted in the middle. White streams down the face, and the eyes are red and swollen. The body has a bleeding wound on its side, a hole in each palm, and three rubber bullet wounds. Dark figures with riot gear border the figure to the right, while water from a vehicle cannon shoots down at the figure. (Art done by Joann Lee Kim).

Joann Lee Kim has a stunning body of work, do yourself a favour and wander over for a long look. I came across Ms. Kim’s work at The Establishment, specifically an article by Dae Shik Kim Hawkins Jr., about the days when 500 ministers descended on the NoDapl camp. I was there for that, and talked to several of the ministers. The ones I spoke with all seemed rather dazed and overcome by everything happening at the camps. The particular perspective of the article is an interesting one, and quite important, I think: Christianity Is Co-opting The Justice Movement. It’s an excellent article. Solidarity is more important than ever, as is making sure that solidarity is intersectional and inclusive. When it comes to christian involvement in major social justice fights, particularly indigenous ones, it is very important that attention is seriously paid to the colonial roots and colonial mindset which still rules most peoples’ thinking and actions, especially those of churches.

Have a read, highly recommended. And when you’re done, have a look around at the rest of The Establishment, a lot of good writing going on there.

“Not One Negro Was Harmed.”

Members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) during a 2010 march to the Phoenix Federal building (John Kittelsrud/Flickr).

Members of the National Socialist Movement (Neo-Nazis) during a 2010 march to the Phoenix Federal building (John Kittelsrud/Flickr).

White supremacists are outraged after a couple was sentenced to 20 years in prison for displaying a Confederate flag and making “terroristic threats” to black people who were attending a child’s birthday party in Georgia in 2015.

The defendants, Jose Torres and Kayla Norton, who were convicted last month, also “pulled out a shotgun and threatened to kill people at [the] party, including children,” according to Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner.

White supremacist groups have responded to the sentencing online in Facebook posts and petitions in protest of the conviction, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reports. James Oliver, a member of the country’s largest neo-Nazi organization, the National Socialist Movement (NSM), made a video over the weekend about the sentencing, though it appears to have been removed. The NSM is rooted in the original American Nazi Party.

According to SPLC’s report, Oliver argued in his video, “20 years for f*cking freedom of speech … for name calling … some high school, middle school, kindergarten bullsh*t.” Oliver was reportedly joined in the video by former Klansmen John Girton, who said, “Not one negro was harmed. However, one of them did get their feelings hurt by the use of the n-word.”

I just don’t have words. It’s a rare thing to see justice done anymore, especially when the victims are not white.

White supremacists also threatened Douglas Circuit Judge William Beau McClain, and circulated a petition demanding that the conviction “be overturned or at least reduced dramatically.” A Facebook user named Branden Young commented on Girton’s post, writing, “Something needs [to be] done about judges like this.”

Right. So now it’s time to threaten and harass anyone who does see justice done. And maybe worse than that. People often speculate that current events may devolve into a civil war here in uStates, but I think that’s the wrong way to look at things. We’re already in the middle of a war.

Full story here.

The Dynamics of the Regime.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

President Donald Trump greets visitors touring the White House in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Evan Vucci.

The Trump administration’s agenda has started to solidify a month and a half after his inauguration. ThinkProgress checked in with scholars on authoritarianism to see how that agenda it’s taking shape. For people who have devoted their lives to studying anti-democratic movements, recent White House actions are more disturbing than ever.

[…] Trump’s language has spread not just to the media, but to supporters in politics. Take a recent tweet from Rep. Steve King (R-IA) where he claimed leakers needed to be ‘purged’:

@RealDonaldTrump needs to purge Leftists from executive branch before disloyal, illegal & treasonist acts sink us.

Cas Mudde, an associate professor at the University of Georgia, and author of Populism, A Very Short Introduction: This is a great example of how the U.S. far right has become emboldened and more visible. Steve King has been a radical right voice in the U.S. House of Representatives for years and years. He started normalizing radical right politicians from Europe years ago, with Louis Gohmert and Michele Bachmann, meeting, among others, with [Dutch right-wing nationalist] Geert Wilders in 2015 and 2016, with [French right-wing nationalist] Marine Le Pen in 2016 and 2017, and with [German right-wing nationalist] Frauke Petry in 2016.

While the meetings were public, King seemed aware he was part of a fringe within the GOP that supported these parties. Now, as one can see in this tweet, King clearly feels Trump is on the same page. Like David Duke and other long-standing U.S. far right activists and politicians, they believe their time is now, and they call upon Trump to do what they have only dreamed off in the past decades. It again shows that Trump is not “alien” to the GOP. Not only does the majority of the GOP base support him, and most of his “controversial” policies, but many GOP members of Congress, particularly in the House, were always closer to him than to Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell.

This goes for all the Religious Reich, right wing pundits, and far right conspiracy theorists, too. They finally have the audience they have craved, with a power to back it up. There might be a minor disagreement here or there, but they will continue to back the Regime in order to get things they have dreamed about for decades.

Berman: It’s one thing to say leakers are bad or government employees shouldn’t be leaking classified information, but these kinds of terms or concepts — purging, enemies — are very dangerous. Again it’s a sign of no longer seeing yourself as a national community engaged with fellow citizens, but in a zero sum struggle going on here — and people opposed to you are not just different politically but enemies. It makes democracy impossible to function and a social consensus impossible to achieve.

Trump’s power is in his rhetoric — and not just policy — which is incredibly divisive. He’s creating problems, and the rhetoric itself makes it impossible to do what democracy requires: compromise and consensus.

Ben Ghiat: The tone of King’s Tweet — get them before they can wreck us — conveys this cornered feeling — and what might transpire.

Trump’s policies are messages aimed at the people of the United States. They say what kind of country, society, and culture his administration wants.

This one sentence ^ is one that apologists for Trump supporters need to take on board, stat. Most Trump supporters are not dismayed, they are happy with the way things are going. They are filled with bile and rage, bloated with a sense of entitlement, and they want other people to suffer.

Berman: The revised ban … claims to be something that keeps terrorists out of the U.S., even though there is empirically no evidence that it does that. But it speaks to his base and says, “Look, I did what I promised.”

[On undocumented immigrants] Trump is saying, “I’m enforcing the law.” Which is technically true, but he’s doing it in a way that is speaking to his base and breaking up families, which is very, very cruel. He’s doubling down, and it’s very attractive to a lot of people. It’s very powerful for lots of people who think politicians make promises they don’t keep.

Yes. Yes, it is. Anyone who takes 10 minutes here or there to read comments following the slightest criticism of the Regime will see just how much Trump supporters are in love with this.

I think what’s most worrying to me is the divisiveness that Trump is using to whip up his base and solidify support among true believers. He’s not winning anybody on the other side, and this is really problematic. Rolling back Obamacare is bad and banning people is a bad thing. It’s not entirely different from what we expected from other conservatives, but it’s really proven to be way, way, way different than with other candidates. And way more dangerous for democracy is this rhetoric, alternative facts, and inability to reach compromises with the other side of aisle. It’s truly pernicious, and what he’s managed in a couple months is really frightening.

Ben Ghiat: The separation of families and the further empowerment of ICE are unnecessary, cruel, and intimidating — and that is exactly their point. Causing human suffering and demoralization was built into this administration and emphasized in Trump’s dark inaugural address. They also show allies their commitment to the agenda of state racism. I see the setting up of immigrants as targets to be deported as part of a racist population management scheme which has [Chief Strategist Steve] Bannon as its mastermind, but plenty of help from the GOP.

We really aren’t all that far from concentration camps. A lot of people on the left insist this is hyperbole, no, it wouldn’t ever get that bad, checks and balances, all that. Well, all that hasn’t worked at all so far, has it? A lot people on the left said it could never reach the point it has, insisting on their rose-coloured glasses. “It won’t come to that.” It has come to that, and it’s going to get worse.

Mudde: As should have been clear to anyone watching President Trump’s joint session speech, he hasn’t changed. Yes, he read a speech from the teleprompter without going on rants, but every time he talked about the need to come together and not divide the nation, he pointed his hand in the direction of the Democrats. Moreover, despite the pandering to congressional Republicans — in terms of deregulation and overturning Obama legislation, particularly Obamacare — let there be no mistake that this was a Bannon-[Stephen] Miller speech.

The only topic of discussion after the speech, at least for liberals, should have been VOICE, i.e. the new federal program for Victims of Immigrant Crime Enforcement that he announced. This is an incredible example of nativist politics, distinguishing victims not on the basis of the crime or damage they have suffered, but the ethnicity/legal status of the perpetrator. It obviously serves the purpose to identify “immigrants” — not just undocumented ones — with crime and crime with immigrants.

The fact that self-appointed liberal spokesmen like Van Jones and Bill Maher hailed this speech for its presidentialism shows just how shallow and self-centered their opposition is. He didn’t go after “us,” so it was a good speech. In other words, for me, the main story of the last week was not anything Trump did, but the deep desire among conservatives and liberals to normalize Trump.

The sheer amount of people intent on normalising Trump and the Regime is terrifying in and of itself. I understand the desire, the constant onslaught of corruption and evil is difficult to deal with. Heads get filled with anxiety and depression, shoulders hunched and knotted with the weight of stress. There comes a point where the desire to just sink into denial is overwhelmingly welcome. Regardless, we can’t afford ourselves the narcotic of normalisation, we must all stand, as firm and bright torches blazing in the dark, lighting the way we must go.

Full story at Think Progress.

Facebook, Oh, What The Fuck?

facebook_reactions

Everyone knows Facebook’s incredibly fucked up policies concerning nudity, and it looks like they’ve dropped the ball yet again. Since 2015, Marines have been uploading illicit images of fellow Marines who happen to be women, inviting all manner of commentary, and it’s not pretty. I do realize all the fallout here doesn’t belong on FB, but a share of it does. As for the rest, Jesus Fuck, the military, what an unbelievable mess it is.

The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating hundreds of Marines who used social media to solicit and share hundreds — possibly thousands — of naked photographs of women service members and veterans.

Since Jan. 30, more than two dozen women – many on active duty, including officers and enlisted service members – have been identified by their rank, full name and military duty station in photographs posted and linked to from a private Facebook page.

In one instance, a woman corporal in uniform was followed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina by a fellow Marine, who surreptitiously photographed her as she picked up her gear. Those photographs were posted online in the Facebook group “Marines United,” which has nearly 30,000 followers, drawing dozens of obscene comments.

One member of the Facebook group suggested the service member sneaking the photos should “take her out back and pound her out.” Others suggested more than vaginal sex. “And butthole. And throat. And ears. Both of them. Video it though… for science.”

Senior officials with Headquarters Marine Corps have verified that incident as well as the distribution of photographs of other active duty and veteran women through the page and links out to a Google Drive.

The photo sharing began less than a month after the first Marine infantry unit was assigned women on Jan. 5 and underscores ongoing problems of sexual harassment within the military ranks and could hurt recruitment of women. Officials within the Defense Department confirmed it also puts service members at risk for blackmail and jeopardizes national security.

The activity on the Marines United page was uncovered by The War Horse, a nonprofit news organization run by Marine veteran Thomas Brennan. Within a day of Brennan contacting the Marine Corps headquarters on Jan. 30, social media accounts behind the sharing had been deleted by Facebook and Google at the Corps’ request and a formal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has been launched.

However, it is clear that the actions taken so far have not fully stopped the activity: photos of the woman followed at Camp Lejeune were posted on Marines United on Feb. 16, more than two weeks after the linking accounts had been shut down. The Marine who shot those photos has been discharged from active duty, Marine Corps officials confirmed.

“We need to be brutally honest with ourselves and each other: This behavior hurts fellow Marines, family members, and civilians. It is a direct attack on our ethos and legacy,” Sgt. Major Ronald L. Green, the most senior enlisted Marine on active duty wrote in an email response. “It is inconsistent with our core values, and it impedes our ability to perform our mission.

The service is deeply concerned about the damage the incident could do to the Marines, according to a document provided to generals yesterday warning them of the upcoming story.

Yes, I imagine they are deeply concerned, but as usual, they are not at all concerned with the right things. Perhaps a bit less focus on creating killing machines, and a bit more on being a decent human being, for fuck’s sake. Apparently, a good many of your recruits need to be taught that either being a rapist or encouraging rape is wrong.

…The War Horse submitted multiple requests for additional comment to the Secretary of Defense and Commandant of the Marine Corps. Both declined to comment on specifics of the situation, citing the ongoing investigation.

However, in his email, Green added additional perspective, repeatedly denouncing the “degrading and demeaning behavior” of Marines United members and encouraging Marines — and all service members — to be “a voice of change” for the better.

“As Marines, as human beings, you should be angry by the actions of a few,” Green wrote. “Ultimately we must take a look in the mirror and decide whether we are part of the problem or the solution.

“…We need to realize that silence is consent — do not be silent.”

Yes, it would be nice to see the military address the rampant rape culture infesting it, but it seems all that happens every time there’s an inconvenient spotlight on such behaviour, is lip service. Time to step up, don’t you think? What happened to the standard you walk past is the standard you accept?

The full story is here, and much worse than the excerpts included 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.

“Things Have Changed.”

C52a2AiXEAAdaDT

The Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC) is a U.S.-based white supremacist group that was founded in 1985 as a spinoff of the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and 1960s that fought school desegregation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The group’s mission states an opposition to “all efforts to mix the races of mankind,” and was described by the Atlantic as the “largest white-supremacist group in the nation.” The group has also been active in Canada and was cited in Dylann Roof’s manifesto, the white supremacist behind the 2015 Charleston church massacre.

This week, one of the buildings at Concordia that was targeted by the bomb threat is scheduled to hold an Islamic Awareness Week between Monday and Thursday.

The email from the Council of Conservative Citizens of Canada included threats to “detonate once per day, a small artisanal amateur explosive devices,” targeting two floors of the Hall building and one floor of the Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts building, both of which were evacuated on Wednesday morning.

The specific locations were described in the email as “where Muslims hang out,” and the sender clarified that the bombs are “not meant to kill anybody. The only aim is to injure some Muslim students.” According to Global News, the email demands a halt of “religious activities of all kinds on campus.”

Full story here. I don’t have anything. At all. Just an enormous headache and desire to go to another universe entirely.