Monthly Archives: November 2016

Texas Finalizes ‘Callous’ Rule on Burial or Cremation of Fetal Remains

‘Forcing a woman to pay for a burial after she ends a pregnancy or experiences a miscarriage is not just absurd—it is an unnecessary burden and an intrusion on her personal beliefs’

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-29-2016

"The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people's private healthcare decisions," said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. (Photo: Do512/flickr/cc)

“The state agency has once again ignored the concerns of the medical community and thousands of Texans by playing politics with people’s private healthcare decisions,” said Heather Busby, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. (Photo: Do512/flickr/cc)

As of December 19, Texas healthcare providers will be required to bury or cremate embryonic and fetal tissue that results from abortions or miscarriages at their facilities.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) finalized the new regulation on Monday, inviting a legal challenge from reproductive rights advocates, who strongly oppose the rule on the grounds that it has no medical or safety benefits, would be costly to implement, and could exacerbate what for some women is already a difficult experience. Continue reading

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The curious case of a Turkish judiciary in a state of emergency

There is strong evidence to conclude that Turkey has gone beyond what is necessary or proportionate.

By Emre Turkut. Published 11-16-2016 by openDemocracy

Cizre. Photo: Has Avrat/Twitter

Cizre. Photo: Has Avrat/Twitter

Yet again, another state of emergency is eating away at the already fragile foundations of a country’s rule of law. Not surprisingly, that country is Turkey.

Since the bloody and violent attempted military coup on 15 July 2016, Turkish state authorities have taken unprecedented measures, purportedly to restore normalcy in the country. In many ways, however, those measures could almost be characterized as a counter-coup, a purge bordering on crimes against humanity. Continue reading

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ND Governor steps up evacuation orders at Standing Rock

Earlier this evening, Governor Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota signed an executive order calling for the immediate evacuation of the protesters at Standing Rock. In it, he said that the mandatory evacuation would remain in effect even if the Army Corps of Engineers changes the routing of the pipeline.

This takes place a week before veterans from all over the country arrive on December 4th to stand in solidarity with the water protectors. The sheer disregard for the rights of the Standing Rock and their supporters is mindboggling, to put it mildly.

Below is the text of the order. Note the disclaimer at the bottom of the Free Speech Area map about the accuracy of the map:

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#NoDAPL

 

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US Government invalidates position in desperation to evict Standing Rock protestors

Pitted against 3 government agencies, the water protectors at Standing Rock brace for even harsher treatment

Written by Carol Benedict

Photo: @zap seattle/Twitter

Photo: @zap seattle/Twitter

There are three separate agencies involved in the stand-off at Standing Rock. Each of these agencies has mounted their own defenses to try to force the completion of a pipe line that does not have the full permitting and authorization required by law. Energy Transfer Partners and Dakota Access Pipe Line are both operating against a direct order of President Obama’s to stop within 20 miles of the lake and have stated they do not intend to stop until this pipeline is completed.

Earlier in the controversy, DAPL hired private security forces from outside the state of North Dakota. They arrived with attack dogs and other means of attacking the protesters, but had no permits or authorization within the state. DAPL allowed them to operate anyway, deciding that they could operate outside the law.

On November 25, the US Army Corps of Engineers sent a letter to the tribes at Sacred Stone Camp, informing them that as of December 5, their presence would be subject to prosecution. The reasons behind this decision was the escalating violence at the action site, even though the violence is coming only from the law enforcement authorities.

The US government has maintained that the land in question is federal land: public land they are authorized to control under their jurisdiction.

The water protectors believe this same spot of land was granted them in an 1851 treaty and they have never ceded that land.

Morton County officials have also sought the assistance from the US Border Patrol (a branch of the Department of Homeland Security) in the militarized police presence at the Standing Rock encampments. To date, the tactics used against the protesters include water cannons, grenades, rubber bullets and other means of crowd control usually deployed in urban settings. Their actions have caused enough concern that the United Nations is now investigating these actions as human rights violations.

Morton County and the state of North Dakota have effectively removed all arguments from the Army Corps of Engineers claim of federal land by involving the US Border Patrol.

US Border Control can only be activated within 100 miles of what is recognized as a border to another country or sovereign nation. By involving Border Patrol, the state and county are both officially recognizing the sovereignty rights of the water protectors, yet feel empowered to evict them from their own land under this premise.

In order for supporters to come to the Sacred Stone encampments, they must agree to bringing no weapons, alcohol or drugs of any kind. The camp, now at over 400 people, lives in prayer and peace with conversations between tribes, between generations and between indigenous and non-indigenous people. These are Americans, who believe they have as much a right to clean water and land rights as you and I.

Think about it.

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Standing Rock: A Moment of Clarity for Progressive Activists

By Rev. Billy Talen. Published 11-26-2016 by Common Dreams

"The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight," writes Talen. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

“The force that upsets entrenched power the most is this compassionate living, this community in plain sight,” writes Talen. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

Earth-force meets money-force at Standing Rock. I’m so relieved I’m here. It scares me to think that I might have missed this.

We get up at dawn. Four hundred people walk slowly in a light snow to the river by the camp. A teacher is talking. His headdress is a crisscrossing of long, narrow feathers. He is of the Havasupai, the people who live by the blue-green waterfalls at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. He calls out across the river. “Water is life! Take me! My heart beats with you!”

It’s cold at 7am. The children don’t seem cold though. They run around in the mud and ice. There are 80 tribes here. Some say many more. As we stand on the shore with a slow drum beating, the people shout “water” in many languages.  Continue reading

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Warning of Global Havoc as Possible Arctic ‘Tipping Points’ Pile Up

The signals ‘are getting louder,’ says scientist involved in new comprehensive Arctic study

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-25-2016

The village of Kulusuk in Greenland. (Photo: Ville Miettinen/flickr/cc)

The village of Kulusuk in Greenland. (Photo: Ville Miettinen/flickr/cc)

What is happening in the Arctic will not stay in the Arctic.

In an ominous (though not hopeless) report published Friday, researchers warn that as many as 19 various ‘tipping points’ could be triggered by the increasingly warm temperatures in the world’s northern polar region.

The Arctic Resilience Report, produced under the auspices of the Arctic Council by an international team of researchers from multiple institutes and universities, is the first comprehensive assessment of its kind, looking at the unique region from a combined social and ecological perspective. By surveying and synthesizing a large body of previous research on how both communities and natural systems are responding to global warming, the report offers a worrying conclusion. Continue reading

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From Across the Country, Gifts of Tiny Houses Arrive for Standing Rock

How five large trees in remote Oregon ended up as winter housing for water protectors, including their first newborn baby.

By . Published 11-23-2016 by YES! Magazine

A volunteer paints the side of one of the cabins reassembled at the Standing Rock encampment from southwestern Oregon. Photo by Roger Peet.

A volunteer paints the side of one of the cabins reassembled at the Standing Rock encampment from southwestern Oregon. Photo by Roger Peet.

Eleven days ago, when Matt Musselwhite pulled into an encampment at Cannon Ball, North Dakota, in a 5-ton flatbed truck, he had no idea how he would unload the three tiny houses he had just hauled 1,500 miles from southwestern Oregon. Almost immediately volunteers emerged from the throngs of mostly Native Americans. Within hours, teams of 10 people were starting to assemble the first of the 144-square-foot wood structures while circulating free food and coffee.

“This feels like a new America I want to be a part of,” said Musselwhite, 41, a carpenter and woodworker based in a rural community tucked into the mountains that cross the Oregon-California border. Continue reading

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Which Part of the 1930s Did You Not Get? Americans Finally Learn To Cooperate On A National Suicide Project

What you assist… you will become

By David Michael Green. Published 11-23-2016 by Common Dreams

 

Americans have, in recent years, managed to secure for themselves a false and therefore undeserved reputation as a people so politically polarized that we can’t agree on even the simplest things anymore.  That seems to me a bit unfair.

True, red-staters are puzzled by the concerns of those in blue states, and sometimes you can hear them mutter: “Y’all say ‘gun homicide’, ‘teen pregnancy’, ‘infant mortality’ and ‘morbid obesity’ as if those were bad things!”

While those in the blue states have yet to appreciate the culinary joys of a deep-fried Snickers bar and a Coke for breakfast, or the many laudatory human virtues invoked by the flying of the Confederate flag. Continue reading

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Turkey Looks to Join Russia-China Alliance, Snubbing the US and Europe

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 11-22-2016 by The Anti-Media

Photo: Emre Uslu/Twitter

Photo: Emre Uslu/Twitter

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently said Turkey does not need to join the European Union “at all costs.” Instead, he is looking to become part of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a Eurasian political, economic, and military bloc originally founded in Shanghai by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

Although Turkey is a member of NATO, 11 years of negotiations aimed at the country’s entrance into the E.U. have almost fallen flat. A proposal for Turkey to take a certain number of refugees from Europe with hopes this would lead to E.U. membership failed earlier this year. Continue reading

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Police Blast #NoDAPL Activists With Water Cannons in Sub-Freezing Temps

“Water cannons. Rubber bullets. Mace. Flash grenades. It’s an army vs. unarmed people who only want to protect their water and graves”

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-21-2016

Water protectors stand tall and remain peaceful while law enforcement soaks them with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. (Photo: Tara Houska/Twitter)

Water protectors stand tall and remain peaceful while law enforcement soaks them with water cannons in below-freezing temperatures. (Photo: Tara Houska/Twitter)

Law enforcement unleashed percussion grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannons in sub-freezing temperatures on peaceful water protectors battling the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota late Sunday.

An activist’s drone captured the onslaught:

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And Native American news outlet lastrealindians.com showed the scene from the ground, with water protectors peacefully standing and chanting “water is life” as they were soaked by a water cannon:

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The Morton County Sheriff’s Department’s assault came in response to Indigenous activists’ attempts to clear away the husks of two burned-out cars on Highway 1806, which leads to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s main protest camp, said the Indigenous Environmental Network’s Dallas Goldtooth:

Independent outlet Unicorn Riot, which had reporters on the ground throughout the six-hour standoff, said that over 160 people were injured. Those injured included a 13-year-old-girl who was shot in the face by rubber bullets, two people who suffered cardiac arrest, and multiple cases of hypothermia as a result of the water cannons, the outlet reported.

“Water cannons. Rubber bullets. Mace. Flash grenades. It’s an army vs. unarmed people who only want to protect their water and graves,” commented Indian Country Today writer Ruth Hopkins.

Water protectors and supporters posted photos and updates from the scene on Twitter throughout the night:

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The astonishing show of force was only the latest in a series of violent assaults from law enforcement targeting the peaceful Indigenous activists taking a stand to protect their drinking water and sacred sites.

And this latest attack “comes at a difficult time for Indigenous activists at the camps,” as the Guardian writes.

“We have a very harsh day coming up now,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II told the newspaper. “In my family we never celebrated Thanksgiving. It was always a day of mourning for the day that genocide began on this continent. This all just goes to prove what we’re talking about.”

Despite the sustained protest and violence from law enforcement, the pipeline construction company is still refusing to consider rerouting the Dakota Access Pipeline. “There’s not another way. We’re building at that location,” Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren told CBS News.

Activists and environmental groups are calling on President Barack Obama to step in and take action—before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

Greenpeace spokesperson Mary Sweeters said Tuesday: “Law enforcement put people’s lives in danger last night as water protectors attempted to clear a path for emergency services to reach the camp. President Obama must step in to stop the pipeline and end the violence immediately. This is about standing up for Indigenous people’s rights and sovereignty. This is about ensuring Standing Rock’s survival by protecting its water supply and land. It is time to do the right thing before more damage is done.”

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