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Justice Articles from 2019

Toledo Residents Want Personhood Status for Lake Erie

[Community]
Toledo Residents Want Personhood Status for Lake Erie
by Daniel McGraw
Posted March 22, 2019

Lake Erie to get They did it, the citizens of Toledo, on the western basin of Lake Erie, will now be voting on a controversial legal bill on 26 February. What they will be deciding is whether Lake Erie has the same legal rights as a corporation or person.

There have been cities and townships in the United States that have passed ordinances making some types of polluting illegal, but no American city or state has changed the legality of nature in a way that is this big and this extensive – effectively giving personhood to a gigantic lake.

Called the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, it would grant personhood status to the lake, with the citizens being the guardians of the body of water. If passed, citizens could sue a polluter on behalf of the lake, and if the court finds the polluter guilty, the judge could impose penalties in the form of designated cleanups and/or prevention programs.

“What has happened in Toledo is that we have lost our faith in the current mechanisms of power, and decided to take things into our own hands,” said Bryan Twitchell, a Toledo school teacher. More…

The Facts:
Corporations have rights inside our current political system, now people are fighting back and demanding the same rights as corporations

Reflect On: Imagine the changes that will take place if nature enjoyed the same rights as profit making corporations.

Bills Criminalizing Pipeline Protest Arise in Statehouses Nationwide

[Justice]
Bills Criminalizing Pipeline Protest Arise in Statehouses Nationwide
by Steve Horn
Posted March 18, 2019

soon  to be illegal?The oil and gas industry has started its 2019 lobbying efforts with a bang.

Eight different statehouses across the nation are considering bills criminalizing protests on property owned by the the oil and gas industry which critics say could squelch pipeline protesters and others calling attention to climate change-causing infrastructure.

It is no coincidence that the bills are rolling out simultaneously with nearly identical language, in various states. The Real News has traced these bills back to model bills emanating from two organizations, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments (CSG), both of which receive generous financial backing from the oil and gas industry. In turn, the organizations serve as facilitators for doling out model legislation to state legislators. More…

The Facts:
Eight different states are proposing legislation that would outlaw pipeline protests.

Reflect On:
What will be the consequences as big money expands the use of legislation to outlaw free speech that threaten their economic interests?

North Dakota Seeks to Restrict Access to Public Records After Standing Rock Reporting Exposed Law Enforcement Abuses

[Justice]
North Dakota Seeks to Restrict Access to Public Records After Standing Rock Reporting Exposed Law Enforcement Abuses
by Will Parrish
Posted March 14, 2019

Standing Rock, who is dressed for trouble here?North Dakota lawmakers are considering a bill to restrict the release of records related to security operations involving “critical infrastructure” — a category that includes fossil fuel pipelines. The bill comes after The Intercept and other media outlets published stories documenting law enforcement surveillance and coordination with private security during the Dakota Access pipeline protests, many of which were based on records released under the North Dakota Open Records Act.

The struggle against the Dakota Access pipeline galvanized a global movement, but it also led to intensive police monitoring, violent suppression of protests, and the prolonged prosecution of hundreds of activists. The overwhelming majority of charges brought against pipeline opponents were eventually dismissed due to lack of evidence. In numerous cases, lawyers and activists drew on documents that media outlets obtained via open records requests to defend those under prosecution. More…

The Facts:
Many politicians routinely protect their big corporate donors and their hired enforcers rather than representing the voters who elected them.

Reflect On:
What will be the consequences of even less transparency as the government uses its monopoly on legal violence violence to suppress legitimate dissent? If peaceful dissent is suppressed, will it make violent dissent more likely?

How to Legalize Cannabis Throughout US

[Justice]
How to Legalize Cannabis Throughout US
by Senator Mike Gravel
Posted March 5, 2019

70 year old couple raided for marijuanaOne of the great domestic political tragedies since the last century is the war on drugs initiated by President Richard Nixon, part of which placed cannabis (marijuana) on the list of Schedule 1 drugs under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

The war on drugs has not ended drug use or trafficking. Instead it has ravaged the lives of untold Americans and bloated our prison system. It has fostered massive illegality over the decades.

But in 1996 the citizens of California passed Proposition 215 authorizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes, finally breaching the barriers of ignorance and prejudice about cannabis. More…

The Facts:
The United States’ prohibition on drugs has fueled a mass increase in militarization of police, the rise of criminal gangs, and resulted in having more people incarcerated than any other nation on the planet.

Reflect On:
What are the consequences of the failed “war on drugs” in regards to citizen respect for government, police forces, and for the law?  How can the illusion of living in “the land of the free” be reconciled with the fact that we are a prison nation?

Congressman Demands CFTC Explain Its Failure to Find Silver Market Manipulation Where DOJ Did

[Economic]
Congressman Demands CFTC Explain Its Failure to Find Silver Market Manipulation Where DOJ Did
by JP Cortez
Posted February 28, 2019

CFTC protecting the interests of big moneyU.S. Justice Department obtained a guilty plea from a former commodities trader for JPMorganChase & Co. to charges of manipulating the gold and silver markets between 2009 and 2015, and its investigation into the actions of related parties is ongoing.

The period of time at issue substantially overlaps the time during which your commission was investigating complaints of manipulation of the silver market – 2008 to 2013. However, in 2013, the commission announced that it had closed its investigation without finding any wrongdoing.

Why did the commission fail to find the wrongdoing the Justice Department has confirmed and continues to investigate? Also, will the commission now be re-opening its investigation into silver market manipulation and opening an investigation into gold market manipulation? If not, why not? More…

Jackboots In The Morning: No One Is Spared From This American Nightmare

[Justice]
Jackboots In The Morning: No One Is Spared From This American Nightmare
by John Whitehead
Posted February 23, 2019

80,000 swat raids every yearFor too long now, the American people have allowed their personal prejudices and politics to cloud their judgment and render them incapable of seeing that the treatment being doled out by the government’s lethal enforcers has remained consistent, no matter the threat.

All of the excessive, abusive tactics employed by the government today—warrantless surveillance, stop and frisk searches, SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, asset forfeiture schemes, private prisons, indefinite detention, militarized police, etc.—will eventually be meted out on the general populace.

At that point, when you find yourself in the government’s crosshairs, it will not matter whether your skin is black or yellow or brown or white; it will not matter whether you’re an immigrant or a citizen; it will not matter whether you’re rich or poor; it will not matter whether you’re Republican or Democrat; and it certainly won’t matter who you voted for in the last presidential election. More…

The Facts:
The use of swat raids has expanded from a few raids a year to the point that our government now generates 80,000 swat team raids every year. Many of these raids attack the wrong house, and often involve shooting of family pets and terrorizing of small children.

Reflect On:
What will be the consequences if we collectively do not stop this expansion of violent behaviour of “our” government? Should the concept of protecting police misbehaviour through limited immunity be reexamined?

“Orders to Kill” Dr. Martin Luther King: The Government that Honors MLK with a National Holiday Killed Him

[Justice]
“Orders to Kill” Dr. Martin Luther King: The Government that Honors MLK with a National Holiday Killed Him
By Edward Curtin
Posted February 17, 2019

Martin Luther King represented a threat to the power structureMartin Luther King was a transmitter of a non-violent spiritual and political energy so plenipotent that his very existence was a threat to an established order based on violence, racism, and economic exploitation. He was a very dangerous man.

Revolutionaries are, of course, anathema to the power elites who, with all their might, resist such rebels’ efforts to transform society. If they can’t buy them off, they knock them off. Forty-eight years after King’s assassination, the causes he fought for – civil rights, the end to U.S. wars of aggression , and economic justice for all – remain not only unfulfilled, but have worsened in so many respects.

And King’s message has been enervated by the sly trick of giving him a national holiday and urging Americans to make it “a day of service.” Needless to say, such service does not include non-violent war resistance or protesting a decadent system of economic injustice. More…

The Media Practice That Generates Clicks and Ruins Lives

[Justice]
The Media Practice That Generates Clicks and Ruins Lives
by Adam Johnson
Posted February 16, 2019

companies using mugshots of people before trial to generate clicksThe Columbia Journalism Review (10/24/18) ran a piece by Corey Hutchins on the practice of using mugshots by the media—both in terms of using mugshots for routine crime stories, and the broader practice of mugshot galleries that simply generate clicks. The piece didn’t take a clear editorial position on the ethics of publishing mugshots, instead aiming for a “both sides” approach by asking experts what they thought of the practice.

I interviewed three such people (whose names have been changed to protect their identities). Each had their lives up-ended because their mugshots were posted online, pre-trial, without any consideration for their well-being or innocence. What Hutchins painted as a thorny theoretical dilemma was, to those profiled, not a particularly difficult problem to figure out: The practice is wrong. It leads to summary public shaming, firings, diminished social status—all before a trial has even taken place. In the age of SEO, it’s a form of extrajudicial punishment that largely harms the poor and people of color. More…

The Facts:
Websites are posting mug shots of people arrested but not convicted of any crime. These people often lose their reputation, jobs, and social life, all without regard for their innocence or guilt.

Reflect On:
What can we do to not support this sort of public shaming with no trial? Should we post information on social media before we know all the facts? Should we click on the links providing those who post with exactly what they want?

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you create your own reality

Others believing in you is nice, but worthless if not matched by your own thought.

Scott Moore

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government manipulation

Therefore you always have to ask yourself: Why do I get this specific information in this specific form at this moment? Ultimately, it’s always about questions of power.”

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