United States Republican in far-right terrorism scandal


This 20 December 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

A report commissioned by the Washington state legislature found that Rep. Matt Shea is a threat due to his past participation in domestic terrorism.

By Kayla Costa in the USA:

Washington state legislator investigated for ties with violent far-right groups

30 December 2019

Republican Representative Matthew Shea of the Washington state legislature is now the subject of an investigation due to public allegations of past involvement in far-right political violence. Shea is just one of many state and federal personnel whose ties to fascistic and racist groups have been exposed, though he is the first sitting legislator to face investigation for far-right violent activities.

The Washington State House of Representatives commissioned a full report by the private investigation firm Rampart Group to discover whether Shea “engaged in, planned, or promoted political violence.”

Matt Shea has served in the lower house of the state legislature since 2009, representing Washington’s 4th legislative district, that encompasses a large part of the central rural region. While the investigation takes place, the House Republican leadership suspended Shea from his committee positions in the House, including the Environment and Energy Committee, though his expulsion as a representative cannot take place until the legislature is in session.

The Rampart report notes: “Investigators have obtained evidence that Representative Shea, as a leader of the Patriot Movement, planned, engaged in, and promoted a total of three armed conflicts of political violence against the United States Government in three states outside the State of Washington over a three-year period to include 2014, 2015, and 2016.”

The Patriot Movement includes a collection of ultra-right militia groups, which generally advocate extreme anti-government views, fantasize conspiracies of “globalists” to take away the rights of small property owners, open the United States to invasion by non-white immigrants, and replace the American Constitution with Muslim Sharia Law. The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 623 active patriot groups in 2016, 165 of which were armed militia groups.

In 2014, Shea mobilized Patriot Movement members to take part in an armed occupation of a federal government facility in Bunkerville, Nevada that lasted 41 days. The standoff between federal and militia troops centered on the longstanding attempts of cattle rancher Cliven Bundy to utilize land owned by the federal government. Shea’s calls for support on the Liberty For All III% (3 Percenters) website reportedly helped to generate a turnout of 1,500 armed militia members from different groups within the Patriot Movement, such as the Oath Keepers.

The report of investigation also indicates that in 2015, Matt Shea again called upon Patriot Movement followers to join him in an armed conflict with the Veteran’s Administration in Priest River, Idaho, to defend a veteran’s right to own firearms after he was determined unfit to purchase them by medical professionals. Shea allegedly participated in the armed conflict.

In 2016, Shea had participated in an “act of domestic terrorism” during the infamous armed standoff of federal troops against the Bundy clan and militia group supporters, after the latter occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Representative Shea also admitted to writing a Christian neo-fascist document that was publicly released in 2018, titled “Biblical Basis for War”, which is referenced in the investigation report. The document lists 14 categories with bullet points that outline religious justifications and rules for militia-based war. According to Shea, war can be carried out to end tyranny, abortions, same-sex marriage, occultism and communism. The methods of assassination, armed resistance, and guerrilla war are justified so long as they serve the interests of God and the end of government tyranny.

In response to the investigation, Shea wrote on his Facebook page, “Like we are seeing with our President this is a sham investigation meant to silence those of us who stand up against attempts to disarm and destroy our great country. I will not back down, I will not give in, I will not resign. Stand strong fellow Patriots.”

He ended his appeal to patriot group supporters by saying, “I will continue to defend the constitution against tyranny and fight to protect our God-given unalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the ability to defend the same.”

The revelations about Shea’s actions come after numerous police officers and military personnel have been similarly exposed in the past year, indicating the growth of fascist elements within the state.

Two men, Dalton Woodward and Trent East, who actively served in the Army National Guard, were recently kicked out after an Army investigation confirmed their membership in a neo-pagan fascistic hate group called Asatru Folk Assembly.

Less than two weeks ago, the US Army’s XVIII Airborne Corp posted a sympathetic tribute on Facebook to a Nazi war criminal named Joachim Peiper, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

In October, US Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson pleaded guilty to charges of unlawfully possessing firearms after an investigation into his stockpiling of 15 weapons and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition for use in planned acts of terrorism against Democratic Party politicians, journalists, and other “cultural Marxists”. Hasson was an active “white nationalist” who frequently browsed far-right websites on his computer at work.

In May, the World Socialist Web Site publicized a report by Unicorn Riot and Huffington Post that exposed members of the US military involved with the neo-Nazi group Identity Evropa, providing insight into how these far-right elements are recruited and cultivated within the armed forces. This report was quickly followed by another which identified hundreds of police officers who were engaged with fascistic and racist groups on social media.

Until recently, ultra-right, white supremacist and neo-fascist groups were kept on the fringes of the Republican Party, for the most part denied direct participation in the affairs of state. Under Trump, they have been promoted and encouraged and, as the case of Representative Shea demonstrates, given direct access to political office.

With his threats of civil war against political opponents and his constant praise of police and military violence, Trump is deliberately whipping up fascistic elements and creating the conditions for their mobilization, both against his political enemies within the ruling elite and, more broadly, against the working class.

GOV. EMPLOYEES FIRED OVER NAZI SALUTE More than 30 cadets and staff members at a corrections academy in West Virginia have been fired after a class photo surfaced on Dec. 5 showing them making a Nazi salute. The cadets made their gesture ― known as the “Hail Hitler” salute ― beneath a sign reading “Hail Byrd.” [HuffPost]

American nazis defile turtles with swastikas


This 7 November 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Authorities in Washington are trying to capture two turtles and arrest the person who painted swastikas on their shells after photos of the Nazi-adorned animals shocked a Seattle-area community this week.

The turtles were first spotted in a pond Tuesday at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park in the city of Renton. Police said they tried to capture the animals, but the reptiles “have evaded apprehension”. They are now working with state and federal wildlife agencies to try to catch the turtles and remove the anti-Semitic markings from their shells.

This inhumane and offensive act has no place in our community,” the Anti-Defamation League’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office wrote Wednesday on Twitter.

In response to the disturbing abuse, local residents are planning a “Rally Against Hate” at the park on Saturday afternoon, according to the Renton Reporter. At least one Facebook user reported seeing the swastika markings “a few weeks ago”, but she wasn’t sure who to report it to.

From KIRO7 in the USA, 8 November 2018:

Turtles tagged with swastikas at Gene Coulon to get rehabilitation

RENTON, Wash. – Several turtles that were painted with swastika symbols on their shells at Gene Coulon Park were recovered Friday, officials with the Renton Police Department said.

The City of Renton stepped in, getting federal help so the turtles can be rehabilitated. …

Police said the species of turtle is not native to Lake Washington, so someone left them in the park.

Washington state law enforcement officials say the leader of a local neo-Nazi cell — the same group that was connected to the death of the Jewish teenager Blaze Bernstein — may have planned to manufacture untraceable weapons known as “ghost guns”: here.

American mule deer adapt to wolves


This 16 November 2016 video from the USA says about itself:

A Wild Wolf, 926 F of Yellowstone, hunts a mule deer buck

The alpha female of the Lamar Canyon pack attempts to hunt a buck by herself one drizzly morning. Wolves are only successful in their hunt attempts about one in ten times. As you will see in this video, the prey often turns on the predator and fights back. Many wolves die while trying to hunt, whether being kicked, trampled or head butted.

From the University of Washington in the USA:

Return of the wolves: How deer escape tactics help save their lives

February 27, 2019

Summary: As gray wolves return to Washington state, a new study finds that one species of deer is changing its behavior to spend more time away from roads, at higher elevations and in rockier landscapes.

As gray wolves continue to make a strong comeback in Washington state, their presence can’t help but impact other animals — particularly the ones these large carnivores target as prey.

White-tailed deer and mule deer, two distinct species common in Washington, are among wolves’ favorite catch. Wolves will chase deer great distances — sometimes upwards of 6 miles (10 kilometers) — in search of a satisfying meal. How these two deer species respond to the threat of being pursued by wolves in the early years of this predator’s return could shed light on changes to their behavior and numbers.

To help answer this question, researchers from the University of Washington and other institutions monitored the behavior and activity of wolves and deer in Washington for three years. They found that mule deer exposed to wolves, in particular, are changing their behavior to spend more time away from roads, at higher elevations and in rockier landscapes.

“In any particular ecosystem, if you have a predator returning, prey are unlikely to all respond similarly,” said senior author Aaron Wirsing, an associate professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences. “We show that wolves don’t have a uniform effect on different deer species.”

Their results were published Dec. 11 in the journal Oecologia.

Wolves were completely wiped out from Washington early last century, but began returning to the state from Idaho, Montana and Canada about a decade ago. The latest estimates now show about 200 wolves in packs across eastern Washington.

Both white-tailed and mule deer are important food for gray wolves. While they might look similar to an untrained eye, white-tailed deer and mule deer are very different animals: Mule deer are bigger, with large, dark ears and a black-tipped tail. White-tailed deer are smaller animals, boasting an unmistakably long tail with a white underside that stands straight up when alarmed.

Aside from their physical characteristics, the two species differ in how they escape from predators. When chased, mule deer “stot”, a quick bound with all four legs touching the ground at the same time. This bounding gait helps them negotiate all types of terrain and can give them an agility advantage over predators in rocky, uneven areas where it might be hard to run.

By contrast, white-tailed deer sprint away from predators and rely on spotting them early enough to try to outrun them.

Keeping these known escape tactics in mind, the research team focused on the “flight behavior” of deer living in areas where wolves have returned and in areas without wolves. The researchers chose four distinct study areas, all near the small town of Republic, Washington. All four areas are home to both species of deer, but only two were occupied by known wolf packs at the time of the investigation.

In partnership with the Colville Tribes and the U.S. Forest Service, researchers set up wildlife cameras, captured and put collars on wolves and deer, and monitored the data from all of the collars over three years, from 2013 to 2016. This endeavor involved complex coordination and a dedicated team of UW students who were always ready to respond should an animal enter one of the traps.

“That part of eastern Washington is really special,” said lead author Justin Dellinger, who completed the work as a UW doctoral student and now works at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “There is huge diversity of large mammals, including all of the native prey populations like big horn sheep, moose and deer. And now we’re starting to see a full complement of native predators, like wolves, here as well.”

Overall, the researchers found that mule deer in gray wolf areas changed their behavior to avoid wolves altogether — mainly by moving to higher, steeper elevations, away from roads and toward brushy, rocky terrain. Alternately, white-tailed deer that favor sprinting and early detection as ways to escape from predators were more likely to stick to their normal behavior in wolf areas, sprinting across open, gently rolling terrain with good visibility — including along roads.

“Mule deer faced with the threat of wolves are really changing their home ranges, on a large scale,” Wirsing said. “They appear to have shifted kilometers away from where they had been prior to the return of wolves, generally going up higher where the terrain is less smooth and where wolves are less likely to hunt successfully.”

These larger shifts among mule deer could affect hunting opportunities. Indeed, some hunters in eastern Washington have already reported seeing mule deer higher on ridges where they are less accessible than in past years, Wirsing said. Hunting for white-tailed deer likely won’t change to the same degree with the presence of wolves, the results suggest.

Long term, changes among mule deer in wolf areas could affect other parts of the ecosystem, and perhaps reduce the number of deer-vehicle collisions. These possible impacts are tantalizing fodder for future studies, Wirsing added.

‘United States left should be pro-peace’


This 5 November 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Democratic Socialist Congress Candidate Sarah Smith: Anti-War Activism Is Essential for Progressives

Washington state’s democratic socialist House candidate Sarah Smith says progressives must prioritize anti-war activism, as she challenges hawkish neoliberal corporate Democrat Adam Smith, who is funded by the arms industry.

DEMS EYE AFGHANISTAN PUSH Democratic lawmakers, candidates and outside groups are quietly preparing a new push against the overlooked war in Afghanistan should they take the House. [HuffPost]

Pileated woodpeckers in Seattle, USA


This is an August 2013 pileated woodpecker video.

From the American Ornithological Society Publications Office in the USA:

Woodpeckers and development coexist in Seattle

August 22, 2018

Summary: A new study tracked birds in suburban Seattle and found that as long as tree cover remains above a certain threshold, pileated woodpeckers and housing developments can coexist.

The two largest woodpeckers in North America, the Imperial Woodpecker and Ivory-billed Woodpecker, are believed to have gone extinct during the twentieth century. Can their surviving cousin, the Pileated Woodpecker, persist when standing dead trees and other crucial resources are lost to urbanization? A new study published by The Condor: Ornithological Applications tracked birds in suburban Seattle and found that as long as tree cover remains above a certain threshold, Pileated Woodpeckers and housing developments can coexist.

The University of Washington’s Jorge Tomasevic (now at the Universidad Austral de Chile) and John Marzluff trapped and radio-tagged 16 Pileated Woodpeckers at 9 sites with varying degrees of urbanization in suburban Seattle. Tracking each bird for about a year, they found that Pileated Woodpeckers used not only forested areas such as parks, but also lightly and moderately urbanized areas where some trees had been retained, taking advantage of resources such as backyard birdfeeders.

These results show that retaining at least 20% forest cover, including standing dead trees, over large suburban areas may help sustain Pileated Woodpeckers and perhaps even other species tied to them. Despite potential risks from threats such as feral cats and collisions with windows, the researchers believe that cities can play an important role in the conservation of biodiversity.

“You’d think that such large bird would be easy to find, especially when carrying a transmitter, but they did a very good job hiding”, says Tomasevic. “It was also very challenging to work in populated areas. I have so many anecdotes, good and bad, about dealing with people and people dealing with me doing my work. Some people were very friendly, but some were a little nervous with me walking around the neighborhood. I tried to look as official as possible, with University of Washington logos on my jacket, and I created a website for the project and printed some business cards. It was a great opportunity to do outreach, and I’m still friends with some of the neighborhood residents.”

“As suburban sprawl becomes more and more ubiquitous, it’s imperative that we consider which specific yard features can be promoted to share our neighborhoods with wildlife”, according to the University of Delaware’s Desiree Narango, an expert on avian urban ecology. “This paper is a nice example showing that even a mature forest specialist can use and navigate the suburban landscape if we provide the resources they need: large trees and some retained wooded areas.”