Trump, stay away from Kenosha, USA


This 2015 punk rock music video from England says about itself:

Maid Of Ace performing “Stay Away” live on BBC Introducing The South 11/4/15.

In 2015, Trump was not yet president of the USA. Yet, in 2020 this song title by the Maid of Ace punk girls is very fitting.

Trump intends to visit Kenosha in Wisconsin tomorrow, 1 September. Kenosha, where a Trump supporter murdered two Black Lives Matter demonstrators and gravely injured a third one.

Racists murder in the USA


This 27 August 2020 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

Events Leading To Shooting That Left 2 Dead In Kenosha Played Out On Social Media

Police not only didn’t arrest suspect [racist far-right murderous gunman] Kyle Rittenhouse at the scene, but at the start of the night they thanked an armed group who had come out – and at the end of the night, video shows Rittenhouse was able to walk right out of the Kenosha hot zone. CBS 2’s Chris Tye reports.

The Republican National Convention: A frightened ruling class incites fascist violence. 27 August 2020. The convention, dominated by hysterical threats against left-wing political opposition, took place against the backdrop of a shooting of demonstrators by a right-wing vigilante: here.

Republican National Convention speaker criticized for several actions seen as dogwhistles to alt-right.

REPUBLICANS RESURRECT RED MENACE The GOP is going hard on the message that Democrats are for socialism — it’s not the first time in American history they’ve relied on this tactic. Read this piece to get educated on the history of this maneuver. [HuffPost]

By Jacob Crosse in the USA, 27 August 2020:

Far-right militia member arrested for fatally shooting two protesters and wounding a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin

27 August 2020

Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old former police cadet from Antioch, Illinois, located less than 20 miles from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was arrested and charged with first-degree homicide on Wednesday morning in connection with the fatal shootings of two protesters and wounding of a third.

The killings came on the third night of protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha police on Sunday. Police officer Rusten Shesky, a seven-year veteran of the department, fired seven shots point-blank into the back of the unarmed 29-year-old African American father of six as he was attempting to get into his SUV. The fusillade severed Blake’s spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

The arrest of Rittenhouse took place some 10 hours after he was identified on social media video and by eyewitnesses. The video shows that Rittenhouse shot multiple people in two separate incidents, first in a car lot and minutes later in the middle of the street.

Police have yet to publicly identify the victims. However, at a Wednesday press conference police confirmed that all of the victims were from Wisconsin, including the two who died—a 26-year-old Silver Lake resident and a 36-year-old Kenosha man—and the injured individual, a 36-year-old man from West Allis. All three were unarmed.

Comrades and friends have placed posts on social media identifying one of the murdered protesters as Anthony Huber of Silver Lake. A GoFundMe page established to help pay for funeral expenses for Huber exceeded its $25,000 goal in less than eight hours.

A friend of Huber told the local CBS television affiliate he believed Anthony was a hero because he tried to stop the shooter. “He is a peaceful person,” said the friend. “He didn’t go out looking to beat people up. He’s more of a defender. And he put his life on the line for others. That’s what he did.”

Immediately after the shootings, the police refused to question, much less detain, Rittenhouse. In a graphic video viewed over 2.6 million times, Rittenhouse is seen walking past police and armored trucks with his AR-15 slung over his chest after having fired dozens of rounds less than a minute before, leaving several people injured or dying.

Police can be seen ignoring shouts from protesters claiming Rittenhouse was responsible. Instead, they drive down the street, allowing the killer to leave the city and drive home to Illinois.

Rittenhouse was drawn to the anti-police violence protest by a group called the Kenosha Militia, which had posted a “Call to Arms” on Facebook. The call for right-wing forces to arm themselves and confront protesters in Kenosha on Wednesday was promoted on the far-right conspiracy website Infowars. In interviews given throughout the evening to internet streamers, Rittenhouse boasted that “we don’t have non-lethal” weaponry and that he was there “to protect the property.”

In another recorded interaction, Rittenhouse, AR-15 in hand, is seen with several older members of the militia outside of a boarded-up business. Police drive up and through their loudspeaker offer their “appreciation” to the heavily armed militia members. “We really appreciate you guys,” one cop says over the loudspeaker, while another asks “if you guys need any water.”

President Trump has repeatedly made statements inciting far-right and fascist forces to attack opponents on the left. The murder of the Kenosha protesters took place in the midst of the Republican National Convention, which has featured speaker after speaker denouncing anti-police violence protesters as anarchists, Marxists, terrorists, looters and rioters. In April, Trump posted a tweet urging armed militia groups opposed to state [anti-coronavirus] lockdown orders to “liberate” states with Democratic governors such as Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia.

Far-right groups including Proud Boys and boogaloo bois have gone to Kenosha, a rust belt city devastated by the closure of factories and destruction of manufacturing jobs, to confront and threaten protesters, as they have in other cities across the country where protests have continued since the May 25 police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In seeking to build his personalist base of support, Trump has embraced the fascistic conspiracy group QAnon, which pledges to carry out a “storm” that will end in the execution of Trump’s political opponents.

Trump took to Twitter Wednesday afternoon claiming he had spoken to Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, and would be sending “federal law enforcement and the National Guard… to restore LAW and ORDER!”

Evers has already declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew and ordered hundreds of National Guard troops into the city, underscoring the fact that state violence against protesters is a bipartisan policy.

Kenosha Mayor John Antaramian, also a Democrat, has unleashed his police force to attack peaceful demonstrators with tear gas and rubber bullets and deployed military-style armored vehicles on the streets. Unlike protesters, the gun-toting fascists have been permitted by police to break curfew each of the last two nights.

Trump has derided Democratic governors and mayors for not being sufficiently brutal in suppressing protests. In response, police departments in Democratic-run cities such as Pittsburgh and New York City are taking it upon themselves to “disappear” protesters. The same is true in Wisconsin. Within the last 24 hours, video has emerged of police appearing in unmarked vehicles and kidnapping people without due process or explanation.

On Monday, a teenage boy in Madison was taken in by police without explanation after protests had died down. In Kenosha, before the curfew went into effect, heavily armed agents surrounded a “riot kitchen” food truck, which serves meals to protesters and the homeless free of charge, and proceeded to smash the windows and kidnap those inside in broad daylight. Details of the exact sequence of events that led to the shootings in Kenosha are still being determined. However, social media video collected throughout the night shows that the authorities, including the Kenosha police and the Sheriff’s department, were well aware of and encouraged the intervention of far-right militia groups to terrorize demonstrators.

In one video, an unidentified militiaman is seen talking with protesters after the shootings. “Ya know what the cops told us today?” he asks, and then says the police told him they were going “to push them down by you, ‘cause you can deal with them, and then we are going to leave.”

In the first press conference held by Kenosha authorities since Blake was shot on Sunday, Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth acknowledged that he had been approached regarding the prospect of deputizing armed civilians. Beth said he discouraged this primarily because of the “liability” it would entail.

At the press conference, Police Chief Daniel Miskinis denied that he had interacted with the militia group or had any knowledge pertaining to it.

The day prior, in a public Facebook post that has since been taken down, the militia group sent a message to Miskinis signed by the “Kenosha Guard Commander.” The message implored the police chief, “Do NOT have your officers tell us to go home under threat of arrest as you have in the past. We are willing to talk to KPD and open a discussion. It is evident that no matter how many Officers, deputies and other law enforcement officers that are here, you will still be outnumbered.”

Asked during Wednesday’s press conference why the police allowed Rittenhouse to simply walk away after his violent rampage, Sheriff Beth enumerated a laundry list of excuses, citing screaming, sirens, and radio traffic, which, according to Beth, can cause “tunnel vision.”

Beth has previously had to apologize for “letting his emotions” get the best of him. At a press conference in February 2018, he spoke to the media regarding an arrest involving stolen property from a nearby mall. No one was injured in the incident, but this did not prevent Beth from pontificating on what he deemed justice.

He declared: “I think at some point society has to get so fed up that they are no longer willing to tolerate people who are not an asset to society. I think we have to create a threshold where, once you cross the threshold, Wisconsin, the United States, builds warehouses where we put these people who have been deemed to be no longer an asset, that are really a detriment…”

Prior to the shootings, hundreds of protesters and residents had gathered outside the city courthouse, defying an 8 p.m. curfew imposed Tuesday night to demand justice for Jacob Blake. No charges have been announced to date against the killer cop Rusten Shesky, who remains on paid administrative leave, along with two other officers.

Leading up to Wednesday night’s protests, police had erected a steel fence around the public safety building, which protesters attempted to knock over. Riot police and several large BearCat armored police vehicles equipped with Long Range Acoustic Devices responded with tear gas, ear-splitting sirens, pepper balls and rubber bullets. Protesters gathered in the park across the street from the building and responded with off-the-shelf fireworks and water bottles, while attempting to shield themselves from the barrage with garbage dumpsters and umbrellas.

Riot police backed by their armored vehicles then formed a line and moved into the park, as they deployed smoke and tear gas. Protesters attempting to flee were blocked off by armed militiamen, believed to be part of the Kenosha Guard. The group’s Facebook page was taken down Wednesday, but not before roughly 3,000 people had expressed interest in attending the event called “Armed Citizens to Protect our Lives and Property.”

Meanwhile, officers under the direction of Sheriff Beth blocked off interstate exits and on-ramps prior to the curfew, preventing people from leaving or entering the city.

At the Wednesday press conference, National Guard Major General Paul Knapp said the number of National Guard troops being sent to Kenosha would be doubled, possibly including soldiers from out of state. Sheriff Beth confirmed that federal agents with the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and the US Marshals Service were already deployed in the city, along with “equipment and information.”

BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTER SHOT A protester marching with a group of fellow activists through rural Pennsylvania was allegedly shot by a white man on Monday night. The protesters are marching from Milwaukee to Washington, D.C. [HuffPost]

Young Black Voters are alienated from the Democratic Party. Can Biden fix it in time?

Police shoot Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, USA


This 25 August 2020 video says about itself:

Jacob Blake Shot by Police Sparks Protest

Outrage across America today as video emerged showing police in Kenosha, Wisconsin shooting 29-year-old Jacob Blake in the back multiple times as he walked away from them. Blake was reportedly trying to break up a domestic dispute between two women when police were called. Shortly after the shooting, large crowds arrived near the scene in protest. The protests led authorities to impose an overnight curfew. The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.

Wisconsin Governor deploys National Guard to Kenosha after protests break out in wake of brutal police shooting. By Jacob Crosse, 25 August 2020. Protests against police violence erupted Sunday after an officer was caught on video shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back at point-blank range.

US ruling class fears an uprising by workers following Wisconsin shooting: here.

This video from the USA is called Inside the NBA React to Jacob Blake Shooting in Milwaukee | August 24, 2020.

Wisconsin, USA forced to vote during coronavirus


This 7 April 2020 video says about itself:

The Wisconsin governor delayed the primary election vote, however, a court just overruled him. Ana Kasparian and Cenk Uygur, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

By Jacob Crosse and Patrick Martin in the USA:

Wisconsin state Supreme Court overturns governor’s action, orders in-person voting today

In actions that have far-reaching and ominous implications for democracy in America, both the Wisconsin state Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court have intervened to support the demand by Republican Party officials in Wisconsin that the state conduct an in-person election today, despite the danger of coronavirus infection for any voter who goes to the polls.

The Wisconsin election is to go forward, both the Democratic presidential primary, a statewide vote for the state Supreme Court and a state referendum, and hundreds of local contests, despite the last-minute effort by Democratic Governor Tony Evers to postpone it until June. After weeks of prevaricating, Evers issued an executive order Monday to put off the in-person voting until June 9.

As of Monday, Wisconsin had 2,440 cases of coronavirus, of which 1,256 cases and 40 deaths were in Milwaukee, followed by Dane County (Madison) with 278 cases and nine deaths, Waukesha County, 160 cases and four deaths, and Kenosha County, 104 cases and one death. There is little doubt that holding a primary election with in-person voting will drive these numbers upward.

The vote is an election in name only, however. Because of the dangers of COVID-19 infection, particularly to the predominately elderly and retired people who traditionally staff polling places, there will actually be few places for voters to cast their ballots if they attempt to do so. Thousands of poll workers have refused to participate in the election because of the risk to their health.

In the entire city of Milwaukee, with a population of nearly 600,000, only five “voting stations” will be open. The city was compelled to reduce the number of polling stations from the usual 180 to five because it was essentially without poll workers. Nearly half of the 85 people who have died of coronavirus so far in Wisconsin were Milwaukee residents.

Many other cities were following suit. Green Bay, for example, cut the number of polling places from 31 to only two. Only Madison, the second-largest city and a Democratic stronghold, indicated it would open the usual number of polling places. But Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway said, before the state Supreme Court issued its order, “I certainly hope that anyone who has any influence on the decision recognizes again that from a public health perspective, it would be a really, really bad idea to hold the election.”

The Republican-controlled state legislature has achieved its wildest dreams: an election in Wisconsin in which voters in Milwaukee, the state’s largest city, and in many other smaller cities, are effectively disenfranchised, while voters in sparsely populated rural areas, where the coronavirus is not yet a major factor, are expected to turn out. And this has been sanctioned by a 4–2 vote of the Wisconsin state Supreme Court, on a party-line vote, with one Republican, Daniel Kelly, who is up for reelection in today’s ballot, recusing himself.

This travesty of democracy has been further sanctioned by the US Supreme Court, which issued a ruling, shortly after the state Supreme Court decision, overturning a federal district court decision to allow more time for voters to complete and mail in absentee ballots. By a party-line 5–4 vote, with five justices appointed by Republican presidents overruling four justices appointed by Democrats, the high court found that the lower court had exceeded its authority and that the coronavirus emergency did not justify allowing voters to mail in absentee ballots after the April 7 primary.

In his opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh explicitly declared that the court was not taking a position on whether the primary election should be held on April 7. That was left to be decided by the state Supreme Court. This is the opposite of the position taken by a 5–4 Republican majority on the court in the notorious 2000 decision in Bush v. Gore, in which the US Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Florida state Supreme Court to allow a statewide recount to continue because all voters, under the Florida state constitution, had the right to have their votes counted.

“The Court’s order requires absentee voters to postmark their ballots by election day, April 7—i.e., tomorrow—even if they did not receive their ballots by that date. That is a novel requirement,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent of the 5–4 decision, adding, “the Court’s order, I fear, will result in massive disenfranchisement.”

The US Supreme Court overturned the ruling made by District Judge William Conley, for the Western District of Wisconsin, which would have required counting absentee ballots mailed later than April 7 provided they were received by April 13, the legal deadline. Nearly 600,000 absentee ballots mailed to voters at their request have not yet been returned. Some 11,000 ballots had not yet been mailed out Monday morning to the voters who requested them. Given the disruption caused by the coronavirus epidemic, it is likely that tens if not hundreds of thousands of ballots will not be postmarked by April 7 and those votes will be disqualified.

In issuing Executive Order #74 to postpone the April 7 vote, Governor Evers cited language in the state Constitution which allows him to take extraordinary action which “he or she deems necessary for the security of persons and property.” The two top state Republicans, Speaker Robin Vos and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, immediately filed suit with the state Supreme Court, accusing Evers of “unconstitutional overreach.”

Evers had dithered over whether to go ahead with the election, even after 11 other US states with votes scheduled between March 24 and mid-May had either postponed their elections or switched to mail-ballot-only to allow voters to observe social distancing rules aimed at curbing the coronavirus infection. On Sunday, the mayors of nine Wisconsin cities, including Milwaukee and Madison, appealed to the state’s Department of Health Services to ban in-person voting Tuesday on health grounds.

After initially claiming he had no legal authority to postpone the vote, Evers issued the executive order Monday, with his spokesman saying conditions had changed because of the pandemic: “This is an unprecedented situation in our state’s history, and thus this is not even really a choice, but a need in order to protect personal security to not allow in-person voting tomorrow.”

The election is now supposed to go forward, putting the lives of hundreds of thousands of people needlessly at risk. President Trump voiced his approval for the court’s decision, writing on Twitter, “The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that tomorrow’s election will proceed as scheduled. VOTE for Justice Daniel Kelly tomorrow, and be safe!”

In an interview with the Washington Post, Lois Frank, 57, the village clerk of tiny Cambria, located in rural eastern Wisconsin, spoke of the danger clerks like her will face tomorrow. “We’re going to be on the front lines just like the health care workers, I just personally know a lot of clerks that do have health risks, myself included.”

No in-person primaries have been held in the US since March 17 when Florida, Arizona and Illinois voters risked their lives waiting hours to vote in crowded understaffed polling stations. In the declaration accompanying his executive order, Evers compared the infection rates between Michigan and Ohio to explain why the elections needed to be postponed.

Michigan currently has 17,221 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 727 deaths, while Ohio reports 4,400 cases of COVID-19 with 142 deaths so far. Ohio actually has a larger population, and the two states are comparable in the social devastation and poverty of former industrial centers like Detroit, Cleveland and Youngstown. But Michigan held a presidential primary on March 10, in which some 1.4 million people voted, while Ohio canceled its scheduled in-person voting on March 17.

This past Saturday Evers had called a special session of the legislature to take up his belated request to postpone the primary until May 19 and to convert the election to an entirely mail-in election. The Republican-dominated assembly gaveled in and out of the special session in less than 20 seconds without taking up the governor’s request.

In addition to the Democratic presidential primary contest between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, the April 7 elections features the aforementioned supreme court race between Kelly and current Dane County Circuit Judge Jill Karofsky, as well as hundreds of contests for county board, school board and municipal judges.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that up to 7,000 poll workers had already made it known that they were not going to violate Evers “stay-at-home” order by working the polls. According to Evers’ own executive order, the city of Waukesha, with a population of nearly 73,000 people, would have had one available polling station. But limiting the number of stations exacerbates the danger of spreading the infection, since it insures longer lines at the polls.

Evers and the GOP had sought a deal to “protect” poll workers, many who are older and at higher risk of falling ill, floating a proposal to replace the older poll workers with younger ones. When this proposal, unsurprisingly, found few volunteers, Evers decided to call up soldiers from the Wisconsin National Guard to needlessly endanger themselves by manning the few polling stations that will be available.

RBG SOUNDS THE SIREN: DISENFRANCHISEMENT IN WISCONSIN Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg excoriated her conservative colleagues over their decision to deny Wisconsin Democrats’ request to extend absentee voting beyond the state’s election on Tuesday, despite concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc declared absentee ballots must be mailed by Tuesday. Ginsburg said the decision means voters will have to risk their health “or they will lose their right to vote.” [HuffPost]

Molson Coors corporation not compensating massacre survivors


This 27 February 2020 video from Wisconsin in the USA says about itself:

The shooting at Molson Coors makes at least 11 mass shootings in Wisconsin since 2004; at least five have taken place in southeast Wisconsin.

By Jacob Crosse in the USA:

Following Milwaukee brewery shooting, Molson Coors starts a GoFundMe for victims’ families

7 March 2020

Nearly two weeks have passed since a deadly shooting at the Milwaukee Molson Coors brewery left six workers including the gunman, Anthony Ferrill, 51, dead. Three of the victims were power operators at the brewery, Jesus Valle Jr., 33, of Milwaukee, employed since 2014, Gennady “Gene” Levshetz, 61, of Mequon, who started in 2008 and Trevor Wetselaar, 33, of Milwaukee, with the brewery since 2018. The two other victims were Dana Walk, 57, of Delafield, a machinist with the brewery since 2004 and finally, Dale Hudson, 60, of Waukesha, an electrician with the brewery since 2008.

Operations at the brewery were suspended for five days and resumed Monday evening. As many of the 1,400 workers returned to the brewery to begin their shift they were greeted by armed security agents and police. Workers have been subjected to bag checks and increased security screenings before entering the facility.

In response to the shooting the multinational brewing conglomerate Molson Coors, with revenue exceeding $10 billion last year, set up a “victims fund” on the website GoFundMe.com for the families whose husbands, father and brothers were killed while on the job. Millions of workers in the US are forced to rely on crowdfunding websites such as GoFundMe to pay for everything from car repairs to medical costs, school supplies, and in this case, funeral expenses.

The initial goal for the fund was $1 million, with the company providing $500,000 and the rest expected to be raised by the general population. As of right now, the fund stands at just over $1.1 million, which is just over half of what the city of Milwaukee gave to the company last year to “refurbish empty office buildings”, and less than one-quarter of the $4.3 milllion compensation package given to Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersly last year, according to salary.com.

News of the company starting a GoFundMe was met with justified scorn and derision on social media. Several commenters pointed out the hypocrisy of a giant conglomerate shaking down the population for money to help pay for the consequences of deaths suffered while on the job.

“It’s publicity. They’re 100% aware that their insurance will be paying out with lawsuits. This will get families through until then. They’re sure as hell not going to give away any more shareholder cash than that. It’s a corporation. Employees don’t matter—shareholders do,” remarked Facebook user Valerie Ray. “This is a multi-billion dollar company. Why did they not pull off a few million from executives pay,” commented Thomas Reilly. …

Several media reports have reported that a noose was found on Ferrill’s locker five years ago, 2015, while Ferrill was not at work. While Ferrill, who was African-American, was alerted to the incident, he had not filed any discrimination complaints with the company …

The Milwaukee police, while emphasizing that they are still in the process of investigating, have pushed back against this racial motive of the shooting, stating that “neither race nor racism has been identified as a factor,” and that the department “is not aware of any of the victims targeted in the mass shooting being involved in any inappropriate or racist behavior toward the suspect.” …

Probably not the victims. But, if indeed racism, by others, caused Ferrill’s mental breakdown, then it is not any excuse for massacring people. But then, the corporate responsibility for a racist atmosphere, making them co-responsible for the mass murder, makes it even more cynical that Molson Coors lets the general public pay to the victims’ relatives.

Ferrill had been in the military, the United States Coast Guard. Had that contributed to his mental problems?

While reported in several articles, less emphasis has been placed on the fact that Ferrill, in conversations with his neighbor over the years, showed signs of severe anxiety and expressed fear that the company was spying on him. Ferrill was working more than 50 hours a week before the shooting.

Like most electricians, Ferrill was forced to work in a combination of cramped, crowded spaces or high up in rafters on ladders performing his various tasks. The enormous brewery, with its several flights of stairs and multiple buildings, meant that a typical day required walking miles between jobs, while carrying tools and supplies. In June 2015, Ferrill injured his shoulder after falling off a ladder and was forced to take time off to recover. In addition, he applied to be put on a restricted work status.

After his injury, Ferrill reported to his neighbor, Erna Roenspies that the company had sent “spies” to his home and were watching him to catch him in an act that would allow them to deny him any workers compensation. Ferrill advised his neighbor that company spies were always watching him. Roenspies recalled a recent incident to CBS 58 in which Ferrill pointed out to her a car that was parked outside, advising her that the “spying irritated him.”

It is not uncommon for corporations to hire outside agencies to spy on and report back to the company if they suspect an employee of “abusing” their limited work status. Amazon, the logistics and technology giant, routinely hires private detectives to surveil workers in their own homes. Workers are also tracked closely for performance while on the job.

With Molson Coors going through several acquisitions and mergers during Ferrill’s tenure, it would not be surprising to find out that management … had set about clearing the books of injured workers like him, seen as “non productive” assets, in order to aid the company’s drive for greater profits. …

Taking all of this into account, it is not hard to see where a worker would become suspicious or paranoid that they were being watched and harassed, and, compounded by the long hours of work needed to provide financially for his family, that this stress would be the catalyst for a worker lashing out in apparently inexplicable violence with tragic consequences for everyone involved.

That such scenes play out with frightening regularity in America is a symptom of a deeply sick society, where workers are driven over the brink by the unyielding demands of the capitalist system.

Oil plutocracy or democracy in Wisconsin, USA?


This 4 March 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

This is Happening | Dakota Access Pipeline protests

This episode takes a fresh look at the impassioned events at Standing Rock — the longest-running protest in modern history — through the lens of three fearless front-liners who dropped everything to join the resistance.

By Jacob Crosse in the USA:

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor signs oil-lobby-backed bill criminalising free speech

26 November 2019

Wisconsin’s Democratic governor Tony Evers, ignoring opposition from environmental groups, the American Civil Liberties Union and multiple Tribal Nations, last week signed into law Assembly Bill 426. The legislation makes it a felony, punishable with a $10,000 fine and up to six years in prison, to protest, trespass or cause damage to “critical infrastructure”, including transmission lines, fencing, posts and oil pipelines.

In a Wednesday press conference after signing the bill, Evers, who ran in 2018 on a platform of “pragmatism and change”, admitted that he had “problems” with the bill, but they were not enough to stop him from signing the bipartisan bill which passed with overwhelming Republican support.

While he easily signed off on the pro-corporate bill, Evers has not announced any plans to push for legislation reversing the corporate handouts to Foxconn or the anti-worker Act 10 measures enacted by his predecessor Scott Walker in the face of mass protests in 2011.

Democrats throughout the state, including State Senator Janet Bewley, tried to hide behind workers as justification for signing the bill. While she didn’t care to elaborate on workers’ safety in regard to the damage created by climate change, or the evisceration of safety regulations under Democratic and Republican administrations, Bewley instead focused on “workers on pipelines [who] feel more and more unsafe due to an increase in reported incidents of vandalism that jeopardize not only their safety, but the public’s safety as well.”

Assembly Bill 426 is based on the “Critical Infrastructure Protection Act” model bill which was distributed to state legislators by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a conservative “nonprofit” that derives over 98 percent of its funding from corporate goliaths such as AT&T, Exxon-Mobil, Koch Industries, Pfizer and Wal-Mart. “Model legislation” crafted by these corporations’ attorneys and lobbyists is distributed via ALEC to members of both parties for passage in legislatures across the country.

In audio obtained by The Intercept earlier this year, lobbyist Derrick Morgan, a senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs for the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) association, a powerful lobby group, elaborated the purpose of these bills and how he was ”intimately involved” in crafting the “Critical Infrastructure Protection Act”.

Speaking at a June conference in Washington, D.C. for the Energy & Mineral Law Foundation, Morgan explained that “this model legislation would itemize criminal trespass and also a liability for folks that cause damage during protest.”

While it is already a federal crime for individuals to destroy or impede the transportation of energy, this new legislation’s true purpose is to hold liable any political groups that work to organize protests or direct action against the corporations that are destroying the planet. Morgan noted, “[A]nother key aspect of it, which you also include, is inspiring organizations—so organizations who have ill intent, want to encourage folks to damage property and endanger lives—they are also held liable.”

By signing the legislation Evers made Wisconsin the tenth state to adopt legislation written by the oil companies which further enhances the power of the state in penalizing protesters. In fact, the Wisconsin law has the exact same language as “critical infrastructure” bills that have passed with bipartisan support in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Iowa, Louisiana, Indiana, Tennessee, Texas and Missouri.

The impetus for the passage of this and similar pieces of legislation was the 2016-2017 Dakota Access Pipeline protest, which took place on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota against Energy Transfer Partners’ plan to construct an oil pipeline under the Missouri River.

The Standing Rock protests won broad support from workers and students as over 10,000 protesters stood firm against the combined might of the capitalist state and multinational oil conglomerates. Live video feeds from the protesters broadcasted the brutality of private military contractors hired by the oil companies as they worked in conjunction with state troopers to violently suppress and beat workers, students and the indigenous population.

In addition to police from across the Midwest, federal agencies including the FBI were mobilized against the peaceful protesters. Together these various private and public agencies developed “intelligence reports” gathered through drone surveillance and infiltration of the protest movement. These dubious reports, gathered from social media feeds, innuendo and hearsay, were shared across police networks, which prompted violence against protesters including the firing of rubber bullets, water cannon and flash-bang grenades.

The protest movement was eventually dispersed following months of police violence, frigid temperatures and the lack of independent political leadership within the movement. …

Following months of protests, riot police violently dispersed the remaining demonstrators in February 2017.

The sight of thousands of workers, students and indigenous peoples united together against the class enemy has led to the concerted effort to pass the latest raft of anti-democratic laws. The intended purpose is not to protect the lives of oil and gas workers but to further criminalize and enhance the punitive measures against any group or person who resists the further degradation and destruction of the planet in the name of private profits.

Once again, the Democrats have shown that they have no fundamental differences with their partners in the Republican Party. Both serve the interests of private profit above all else. The fight against multinational oil corporations requires an international, anti-capitalist socialist strategy uniting workers across national lines against the corporations responsible for the continued destruction of the planet.

Wisconsin, USA carnivorous mammals, camera trap research


This 4 April 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Wildlife Science in Wisconsin

Trout Lake Station

Tim Van Deelen Ph.D. is a professor of wildlife ecology having worked as a researcher in several conservation agencies in the Great Lakes region. His teaching and research focuses on the management of large mammals. These include population estimation and dynamics, hunting, interaction of deer life history and chronic wasting disease—and, not least, the growth of Wisconsin’s wolf population and its effects on white-tailed deer in the Great Lakes region.

Tim currently is investigating the factors that determine the distribution and abundance of the terrestrial carnivore guild in an island archipelago. The Apostle Islands are a chain of 22 islands of varying size in Lake Superior, and may be a model system for studying the effects of island biogeography on the carnivore community. Tim’s group is in their third year of placing camera traps in a rigorous design on the islands. Their current studies are focusing on carnivore richness, occupancy, extinction and recolonization rates, and how these will be affected by climate change.

From the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the USA:

Camera trap study reveals the hidden lives of island carnivores

December 21, 2018

Researchers placed 160 cameras on 19 of the 22 Apostle Islands in northern Wisconsin to see which carnivores were living there. After taking more than 200,000 photos over a period of three years, the team discovered that several mammalian predators are living on various islands in this remote archipelago in Lake Superior.

Reported in the journal Community Ecology, the study reveals a thriving community of carnivores, with some doing better than others on islands that differ in size and proximity to the mainland.

The researchers put motion-activated cameras on each of the islands studied, at a density of one camera per square kilometer. Over time, the camera traps recorded 10 of 12 Wisconsin land carnivores, including American martens, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, fishers, gray foxes, gray wolves, raccoons, red foxes and weasels. The cameras also captured images of semiaquatic carnivores mink and river otters, as well as raptors, small rodents, squirrels, songbirds and waterfowl.

“This is one of the first studies to focus on the carnivore community in an island system,” said Illinois Natural History Survey wildlife ecologist Max Allen, who led the new research with Morgan Farmer and Tim Van Deelen at the University of Wisconsin, and Erik Olson from Northland College. “The area is remote and difficult to access, with rough water in summer and variable ice conditions in winter, so the carnivore community had never been studied.”

The INHS is a division of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The research offers new insights into a phenomenon known as island biogeography, which describes the distribution and diversity of species in territories with distinct boundaries that can act as obstacles to inward and outward migration.

“Most research on island biogeography has been conducted in tropical marine systems that have innately high levels of biodiversity and few carnivores,” Allen said. The new study is unique in that it examines carnivores in a remote island system in a temperate locale, he said.

“We were surprised to find an intact carnivore community — including gray wolves and American martens — on these islands,” Allen said. “We found more carnivore species on islands that were larger and/or closer to the mainland.”

Black bears were found on 13 of the islands examined. They appeared to prefer bigger islands that were closer to other islands. Gray wolves, however, were seen only on one of the 19 islands studied. These differences may have to do with the animals’ diets and habits. Bears tend to be solitary and eat a variety of foods, while wolves are social, with more specialized diets. The latter tend to prey on ungulates like deer.

The researchers were surprised to find that some smaller carnivores, such as weasels and American martens, appeared to prefer life on islands further from the mainland.

The carnivores may swim from island to island or use ice bridges that form in winter between the islands. Documented declines in the duration of lake ice as a result of climate change may hinder the movement of carnivores between islands and to and from the mainland, Allen said.

“The study offers a first glimpse of the top predators making a living on the Apostle Islands,” Allen said. “It’s pretty exciting to be the first to document species in an area, especially a wild and remote piece of land in the National Park Service.”

Scientists have explored to what extent camera trap data are suitable to assess subtle species interactions such as avoidance in space and time: here.

New scat study provides clues to puzzling existence of Humboldt martens in Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area: here.

Young entangled squirrels saved


This 17 September 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Squirrels separated by vets after tails become entangled with strips of plastic waste

Five young [gray] squirrels in Wisconsin are recovering from a procedure to separate them, after their tails became entangled in a “Gordian knot” with strips of plastic.

The animals were found by a passerby, hopelessly struggling to separate themselves. It is believed that they tied themselves together in the nest, getting caught up in strands of grass and plastic that their parents had used to create their home.

The authorities were alerted, and the squirrels taken to the wildlife rehabilitation center at the Wisconsin Humane Society, where veterinarians found the animals to be “unruly” and “nippy”.

“You can imagine how wiggly and unruly (and nippy!) this frightened, distressed ball of squirrelly energy was”, the centre wrote on its Facebook page. “Our first step was to anaesthetise all five of them at the same time.”

Vets then began unravelling what they called a “Gordian Knot” – a reference to the legend of Phrygian Gordium, associated with Alexander the Great – of tightly tangled tails and nest material.

All of the squirrels sustained some degree of tissue damage to their tails, but after around 20 minutes of snipping with scissors they were freed.

“Now, one day later, they are all bright-eyed, and three of the five are ‘bushy-tailed’”, the centre said. “But we’ll need to monitor all of them for a couple of days to watch for tail necrosis caused by impaired blood flow.”

Young Amerikan kestrels fledge, videos


This video from the USA says about itself:

American Kestrel Chick Fledges! – July 14, 2018

One of the American Kestrel chicks fledged first thing this morning! Watch one of the younger male chicks take his first flight at 6:05 AM on July 14. At least one male chick remains in the nest after two chicks likely fledged sometime on July 13.

The American Kestrel cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab or Ornithology and the Raptor Resource Project. Four downy American Kestrel nestlings are tucked into a gravel-bottomed nest on private property near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The nest box is located on the side of a traditional limestone-footed barn, overlooking a rolling grassland that slopes away into folded hills and forests. Our partners at the Raptor Resource Project have watched kestrels breed at this site for over 25 years, and the wonderful combination of grassland, forest, and water that surrounds the property is an excellent example of the habitat that kestrels need to survive and thrive.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Last Kestrel Chick Takes Flight From The Nesting Box! – July 14, 2018

Nearly five hours after its sibling left the box at 6:05 AM, the final American Kestrel chick took wing at 11:44 AM and joined its siblings in the wild world outside of the nesting box! All four chicks have now fledged, and the nesting box is empty. The age of the chicks at fledging ranged from 26–29 days post-hatch. Thanks to our partners at the Raptor Resource Project and to everyone for watching and learning along with us as these tiny falcons grew from fluffballs to fledglings. Good luck out there little ones!

American kestrel baby at play


THis video from the USA says about itself:

Kestrel Chick Plays With Feather And Pounces On Rocks – July 3, 2018

With the American Kestrel chicks now 15–19 days old, they are over the halfway point of the nestling stage (kestrels typically fledge at 29–31 days old).

Here, one of the chicks returns from the nest box patio and shows off an erupting set of juvenile feathers while stretching its wings, playing with a feather, and practicing its pouncing skills.

Watch the cams live at www.allaboutbirds.org/cams

The American Kestrel cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab or Ornithology and the Raptor Resource Project.

Four downy American Kestrel nestlings are tucked into a gravel-bottomed nest on private property near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The nest box is located on the side of a traditional limestone-footed barn, overlooking a rolling grassland that slopes away into folded hills and forests.

Our partners at the Raptor Resource Project have watched kestrels breed at this site for over 25 years, and the wonderful combination of grassland, forest, and water that surrounds the property is an excellent example of the habitat that kestrels need to survive and thrive. Watch cam.

The young birds began hatching out of their eggs on June 14th, and the remaining egg in the nest is unlikely to hatch at this point. Over the next 3-4 weeks the nestlings will transform from downy bobbleheads to sleek, dull versions of their parents on a diverse diet of invertebrates, small mammals, and birds. After fledging, the young will continue to be cared for by their parents, remaining near the nest as they learn to hunt and master flight.

Don’t miss the outside view! A second camera has been installed to give views of the nest box opening from the outside so viewers can observe the kestrels’ comings and goings, as well as the nestlings once they begin peering outside. To toggle between the two camera views, click the “switch camera” icon in the lower right of the livestream player, next to the settings wheel.