Tuesday: Change of Pace

I need a break — a change of pace after the last several day’s nonstop doom-and-gloom observing what has become an American version of the Day of the Dead. Add the nauseating bullshit misogynist circus piling on the “church faint” by a post-menopausal woman wearing too much clothing in humid weather while recovering from pneumonia. It’s unrelenting ridiculousness which can only be broken by the injection of dark humor.

I like this young director Almog Avidan Antonir’s body of short works, including this little zombie love story. Looking forward whatever he might have next up his sleeve.

The Dakotas

  • Lawmaker unintentionally makes armed law enforcement drones legal in North Dakota (Independent-UK) — Way to go, dude. Legislator submitted a bill to outlaw armed drones; wretched police union got to the bill with revisions and now law enforcement can use drones armed with non-lethal force. North Dakota is now the first state in the U.S. to legalize armed drones. Want to bet law enforcement is already preparing to use this technology against pipeline protesters?
  • South Dakota Yankton Sioux filed suit against U.S. government over pipeline (Indian Country Today) — While media focused attention on North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Yankton Sioux in South Dakota filed against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Though the planned pipeline runs through tribal treaty lands, the government did not complete an environmental study or a consult with the affected tribe — same complaint in South as in North Dakota. The pipeline company, Energy Transfer, did not use tribe members to identify any challenges during planning of the pipeline route.
  • Trespass charges against journalist Goodman blows off First Amendment and Justice Dept. (Committee to Protect Journalists) — CPJ’s Carlos Lauria said the warrant issued for Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman is “a transparent attempt to intimidate reporters” covering the NoDAPL protests. Morton County’s warrant ignores Justice Dept’s joint statement with Interior Dept halting pipeline construction, in which the departments said, “we fully support the rights of all Americans to assemble and speak freely. …” Goodman clearly identified herself as a reporter.
  • Oil producers whine about pipeline delays interfering with cheap oil (Fortune) — These guys are just not catching the cluestick. It may take shareholder activism to wake these morons up about the end of fossil fuels and a need for entirely new business models instead of forcing oil pipelines through.
  • Standing Rock: a new civil rights movement? (Guardian) — Op-ed looks at the birth of a new movement where environmental and civil rights activism join forces to protect indigenous people and Missouri River — the longest river in the continental U.S.

Flint Water Crisis

  • Former state epidemiologist not talking about possible plea deal (MLive.com) — Corinne Miller, now retired, was arraigned in August on felony misconduct and misdemeanor neglect of duty. Miller suppressed action on children’s blood lead levels and told Michigan Dept of Health and Human Services employees to delete emails related to the blood lead data.
  • Water bill moves forward in Senate (The Hill) — Emergency funding for Flint and its lead-contaminated water system closer to passing as part of a $9.4 billion bill for water-related infrastructure and clean drinking water. The bill also includes assistance for Louisiana’s flood recovery. Money for Flint’s aid may be paid by cutting the Energy Dept’s Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing Technology loan program.
  • Water filters still needed by Flint residents through end of year, possibly longer (Detroit Free Press) — There’s no clear end to the water crisis, even though funding may soon be available. Thresholds for lead levels have not yet been agreed upon by state and federal officials. The amount of damage to the city’s water system continues to complicate recovery efforts.

Still Picking on Volkswagen

  • VW engineer plead guilty to conspiracy, wire fraud and violating Clean Air Act (Jurist.org) — The record of engineer James Robert Liang’s June indictment was unsealed on Friday, revealing he and co-conspirators designed, implemented, and lied about emissions controls technology which evaded emissions standards. One interesting bit of new information is the involvement of an unnamed third-party engineering company partially owned by Volkswagen, referred to in the indictment as “Company A.”
  • Awkward: Liang to be sentenced during North American International Auto Show (Detroit News) — Four months from now, smack in the middle press week for Detroit’s 2017 NAIAS, VW engineer Liang will be sentence in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan. This op-ed notes Liang’s plea hints at a much-larger conspiracy in VW pursued by investigators. Somebody had to sign off on this design, at a minimum. And somebody had to tell Bosch what and how to make the non-compliant electronic controls units.

Longread: Rakoff on Fiss and rights under a War on Terror
United States District Judge Jed S. Rakoff looks at a collection of essays by legal scholar Owen Fiss, written over the last 13 years while the U.S. the so-called “War on Terror.”


12 replies
  1. bevin says:

    It is one of the least amusing ironies of the neo-liberal tyranny under which we live that while 99% of Trade Unions are impotent and useless the police Unions-everywhere- get anything that they want.

    • wayoutwest says:

      Police unions are not worker organizations but paramilitary guilds, serving government and business interests as much as their own.

      I just learned it was the International Union of Operating Engineers who hired the thugs with dogs to repel the Indian invasion in ND while LEO watched. They now also have the ND National Guard at their disposal to counter this uprising which appears to be growing not retreating.

      I don’t think reporters have any constitutional right to trespass onto private property to do their work and the right to assembly and speak freely only applies to public spaces no matter how the CPJ interprets a government boilerplate statement.

  2. rugger9 says:

    Interesting comment, bevin. We have our local SCPD union rep threaten to not work Niner games unless the team disciplined Kaepernick for exercising his First Amendment rights. Given what I’ve seen at sports events over the years (not just football) going on while the anthem is playing the only reason it’s in the news at all is because Colin honestly said why he’s kneeling and not getting beer, getting taped, flirting with some perceived hottie a couple of rows down, etc., and has accepted the blowback like a man.
    No news this AM regarding whether the moonlighting cops walked away, but I doubt this will gain traction since there’s significant money for them. It’s also turned into a campaign issue for the elected chief of SCPD since one of the union reps is trying to replace the current chief. Both sides have legitimate mud to sling.
    On the Flint front: In CA we have Kesterson NWR and Kettleman City as the archetype for environmental redlining, but if Ms. Miller did destroy evidence like a good GOPer this situation might be ugly enough to actually get pursued. The question for me is when she will offer up a bigger fish such as Snyder.

  3. rugger9 says:

    On the Dakotas, I was wondering whether the pipeline did cross reservation land, which does make the Sioux position stronger than most. If the treaty terms are violated, the Sioux don’t have to cooperate since the USG considered them sovereign enough for an individual treaty with the tribe. It would depend upon the specifics, but I am quite certain they have lawyers up to the task of determining whether NAFTA, et al. applies to the Sioux since the tribe did not sign for it, or whether the USA in charge of tribal foreign policy. While this point may seem silly, it is related to the reason Keystone XL was set up as it was (note that TransCanada is trying to use NAFTA’s ISDS provisions to force XL through, something TPP would make worse), because a First Nations group in Canada prevented routing the pipeline to the BC coast (IIRC at Prince Rupert) by citing treaty obligations.

  4. Rayne says:

    rugger9 (12:21) — It’s really important to grasp the Sioux’s position on the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. The U.S. has consistently failed to honor the terms of the original treaty and its exercise of its colonialist understanding after the Battle of Little Bighorn persists in erasure of the Sioux and their claims upon the Dakotas. I can’t even be certain the article I’ve linked does a fair job because it’s not written by Sioux but by a publicly-funded, U.S. government-mandated news outlet.

    Please keep in mind when you refer to “reservation land” this is a concept shaped by non-Sioux and may not match the original intent of the 1868 treaty. Further, the pipeline puts a major watersource at risk — as I noted in a previous post, the pipeline was perceived as too risky for Bismarck ND’s municipal water supply. But it’s not risky for the Sioux? The bias here is too obvious.

    And of course the conflict over what constitutes U.S. private property and Sioux tribal lands under the 1868 treaty means exercise of free speech by journalists on any lands inside that area legitimate as reporting on conflicts inside the disputed area is essential to both U.S. and sovereign tribes’ interests.

    • rugger9 says:

      Well, if the 1868 treaty is still in force, then the Sioux have every right to say no because of the terms agreed to by Sherman. The intent is clear, and the 1980 ruling reinforced the ownership of the Sioux. I also am glad you caught the willingness to sacrifice the Sioux but not Bismarck (the ND capital, that’s why, really) in endangering aquifers. One wonders how much fracking has already been done in the area, which would make the aquifer point less defensible since (if frackers were already there) the water would be crap anyway.

    • wayoutwest says:

      This insurgency isn’t about land ownership and even access to tribal land is often by invitation only. Another unusual thing about some of this land is that it was part of an allotment system where Lakota individuals hold private land outside of tribal control and some of them have gotten wealthy from their private oil leases. I don’t know if this site is one of those allotments but it is possible.

      The Standing Rock Tribe can invite anyone they please onto their land but I doubt they have any authority to invite anyone onto private land even if it is owned by a tribal member.

      Our system is set up to protect private property and the demonstrators, reporters and others who trespass should be prepared to face the consequences of their actions not try to hide behind some imagined right. The demonstrators seem to have accepted this reality while the do-gooders are whining about being treated the same as everyone else.

      • P J Evans says:

        The point is that they’re also arresting people who are there as reporters, and are identifying themselves as such. Which is a violation of the 1st Amendment. (The cops in Ferguson did that also. It didn’t go over well there, either.)

        • wayoutwest says:

          The arrests of reporters on public streets in Ferguson was a clear violation of the 1st Amendment although there is some debate about who is a reporter. I doubt that because a reporter is chasing a story they have a super right that allows then to trespass wherever they please. Even the police cannot violate private property without warrants or special circumstances.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      What you said. I would add that the US government is in violation of all its treaties with native Americans. In most cases, the violation are intentional, begin with the commencement of the treaties, and continue through today.

  5. lefty665 says:

    Hillary is all about bad judgement, and that doesn’t have anything to do with gender. This time it’s failing to take time to recouparate from disease and, according to you, failure to dress for the weather. Just two more in an unrelieved string of bad judgements that go back decades. How would you like to have her making nuclear or war decisions like this? Oh wait, she has, for the Iraq AUMF in the Senate. That went really well didn’t it?
    Colin Powell had it right: “Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris.”
    Heard a joke the other day – Hillary & Donald are in a small boat in the middle of the ocean, who wins? America wins. Don’t vote for bad judgement, corruption or dingbat adhockery. Change begins in 2016, and it has nothing to do with gender.
    ps, camping in the UP and Superior is amazing.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      If Hillary gardened the way she campaigns politically, her garden would be in fall and wintry colors year round.

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