Anti-pipeline activists and film-makers face prison, raising fears for free press

GR: The first tests of our constitution have begun. Will law prevail or will Trump’s handlers, the oligarchs achieve total control? Contests are for liberty and nature. Both, especially nature have lost inch by inch, but the days of incremental change are over. Now, we achieve all or we have nothing.

Where are our champions? Oh, right, I forgot, they are forming separate camps competing for recognition as being the most pure, having the most followers, and raising the most money. Aargh!

Steve Liptay faces trespassing and aiding and abetting charges in Minnesota. Photograph: Courtesy of Steve Liptay

“Climate change activists and film-makers who documented their anti-pipeline demonstrations are facing criminal charges and hefty prison sentences, with cases across the US that have raised concerns about press intimidation and the targeting of peaceful protesters.

“The slew of upcoming trials, beginning Monday in Washington state, stem from a series of coordinated actions on 11 October 2016 aimed at shutting down oil sands pipelines. Nine criminal cases include several filed against film-makers and live-streamers who recorded protesters closing the emergency valves on pipelines, but did not directly participate in the disruptions.

Lindsey Grayzel. Photograph: Ben Grayzel

“These activists are responding to a climate emergency,” said Steve Liptay, a film-maker facing trespassing and aiding and abetting charges in Minnesota, where he documented protesters shutting down two Enbridge pipelines. “As media, we have to tell their stories.”

“The court cases – also in North Dakota, Minnesota and Montana – come at a time of increasing anxiety for journalists and activists surrounding the arrest and aggressive prosecution of reporters and protesters critical of US government and powerful corporations.

“During protests of Donald Trump’s inauguration in Washington DC, at least six journalists and film-makers were charged with felony rioting offenses, which could result in 10 years in prison. One case was later dropped. Lawmakers in multiple states have also recently pursued new laws aimed at restricting protests and making it easier for police to target demonstrators.

“The October #ShutItDown protests were organized in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fight against the Dakota Access pipeline. Those demonstrations have also led to serious criminal charges, including a case against radio host Amy Goodman, which a judge eventually rejected.” –Sam Levin (More: Anti-pipeline activists and film-makers face prison, raising fears for free press | World news | The Guardian).

Here’s some more news of the day:

  1. “Trump’s Order Blocks Immigrants at Airports, Stoking Fear Around Globe,” The New York Times, January 28, 2017
    https://act.moveon.org/go/7888?t=7&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe
  2. “Trump Is Reportedly Considering Reopening CIA “Black Site” Prisons,” Mother Jones, January 25, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7889?t=9&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  3. “Donald Trump and the Order of the Pipelines,” The Atlantic, January 25, 2017
    https://act.moveon.org/go/7890?t=11&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  4. “How Republicans came to support Trump’s wall,” CNN, January 28, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7891?t=13&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  5. “Trump is at war with science and knowledge, and that should terrify you,” Los Angeles Times, January 26, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7892?t=15&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  6. “On Day Two, Trump prayed, met the CIA and attacked the press,” CNN, January 21, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7893?t=17&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  7. “Senate committee approves Tillerson for secretary of state,” CNN, January 23, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7894?t=19&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  8. “Democrats delay vote on Sessions nomination,” The Hill, January 24, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7895?t=21&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  9. “First Health Care Repeal Deadline Missed by Congress,” Roll Call, January 27, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7896?t=23&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  10. “The Democratic Base Is Marching Right Past Its Leaders,” The Huffington Post, January 26, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7897?t=25&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  11. “Trying to get a message to Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake? Good luck,” The Arizona Republic, January 24, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7814?t=27&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

  12. “GOP Congressman Leaves Meeting Early After Constituents Want to Talk Obamacare Repeal,” Time, January 15, 2017
    http://act.moveon.org/go/7819?t=29&akid=177187.22844931.y42Boe

Platform Addition for the Justice Democrats

Justice Democrats Platform Omission

Monarch butterfly at Coldwater Farm.

Monarch butterfly at Coldwater Farm.

I agree with the 20 items included in the Justice Democrats platform. My concerns for nature conservation lead me to suggest an addition.

Defend natural systems from damaging uses. The Earth’s reserves of fertile soil, dense forest, fresh water, and wild animals and fish are declining. Overuse driven by commercial exploitation and by simple need is stripping the lands and seas of life. Biodiversity is declining and ecosystems are collapsing. For the benefit of humanity and all other living creatures, we must insist on proper land use. We must insist that national land management agencies in all nations are empowered to monitor, repair, and regulate the use of the land, water, and life without which human life would be impossible.

A Monumental Legacy | Obama’s National Monuments

GR:  National Monuments provide imperfect protection to water and wildlife, but they are better than leaving lands entirely under standard Bureau of Land Misuse policies. The new administration members are already talking about privatizing Indian reservations. They will probably try to open the monuments to their corporate friends too. Preserving monuments will be one more battle we face in 2017. But there are only thousands of them–we are millions.

Photo:  Browns Canyon National Monument, Colorado (Bob Wick, BLM)

“President Obama has accomplished a lot in eight years. Beyond reviving the economy and cutting unemployment, his legacy includes major environmental feats such as reducing air pollution, boosting clean energy and making the U.S. a global leader in fighting climate change.

“It also includes many smaller moves that add up to something pretty big: the creation and expansion of national monuments. These are federally protected areas that feature “objects of historic or scientific interest,” and can be established directly by Congress or the president.

“Obama has designated 26 national monuments during his tenure, more than any other president, and also substantially expanded three others.

“A haze of uncertainty now hangs over many of Obama’s executive orders, including those 29 national monuments. Congress has “clear authority” to abolish or shrink monuments, according to a 2016 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), and presidents can modify sites set aside by their predecessors. Still, the CRS adds, they may have trouble repealing them outright:

“No President has ever abolished or revoked a national monument proclamation, so the existence or scope of any such authority has not been tested in courts. However, some legal analyses since at least the 1930s have concluded that the Antiquities Act, by its terms, does not authorize the President to repeal proclamations, and that the President also lacks implied authority to do so.”

“To highlight what’s at stake, here are photos and facts about each of the 26 national monuments created by Obama — plus the three existing sites he expanded. Click through the images and scan the details for a reminder of why these places are worth protecting.” –Mother Nature News (Continue reading:  A monumental legacy | Obama’s national monuments are a big deal)

Kinder Morgan pipeline: Canadians intensify huge opposition to expansion

GR:  Efforts to deal with the climate and biodiversity emergencies we have created may depend primarily on civil disobedience. Here’s a link for signing on to support the one below.

“Opponents of a contentious Canadian pipeline project are preparing for a lengthy, multifaceted battle that will see thousands take to the country’s streets, courts and legislatures to contest the government’s recent approval of the project.

“Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced on Tuesday that the Liberal government had cleared the way for Kinder Morgan’s C$6.8bn Trans Mountain Expansion project. Designed to transport Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to international markets via Vancouver’s harbour, the project will expand an existing pipeline to nearly triple capacity on the artery to 890,000 barrels a day.

“But the decision will run into a roar of opposition, said grand chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs. “The marches and rallies will intensify. It will become more litigious, it will become more political and the battle will continue.”

“More than 14,000 people have so far signed his organisation’s pledge to halt the project, driven by concerns over environmental risks, First Nations rights and the fight against climate change.

“Other actions are also being planned, from a public interest group that has signed up hundreds of volunteers to canvass signatures for citizen-drafted legislation to block the pipeline to a group that is working to train its members on how best to physically block construction.

“Let’s be clear,” said Caitlyn Vernon of the Sierra Club of British Columbia. “Prime minister Trudeau has picked a fight with British Columbians by approving Kinder Morgan – and it starts now. The Kinder Morgan pipeline will not be built. Not on our watch.” –Ashifa Kassam (continue reading:  Kinder Morgan pipeline: Canadians intensify huge opposition to expansion | World news | The Guardian