All The News You Didn’t Even Know Was Going Down

December 22, 2016
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Originally published to It’s Going Down

This week, amidst a backdrop of protest, the electoral college, a system that was invented to protect slavery, rubber stamped Donald Trump into office. Many liberals, as they have done throughout Trump’s campaign run, thought that the electoral system wouldn’t give Trump the votes to get into office, just as they thought that he wouldn’t get through the primaries, get the nomination, and get elected. Quite the opposite, the political and business class is running to line up behind Trump, as he continues to pick a wide variety of far-Right politicians, Alt-Right media moguls, and literally billionaires to lead his cabinet. Far from ‘draining the swamp,’ Trump is building a team of players from a diverse array of sources that represent the interests of specific elements within the ruling class. Patrick Martin wrote:

Donald Trump named billionaire Vincent Viola to be the new secretary of the Army in his administration. The owner of the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League, Viola made his fortune as a commodities speculator. He graduated from West Point in 1977, served as an officer in the 101st Airborne Division and remained active for decades in the US Army Reserve. In 1982, he bought a seat on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), where he made millions on oil and gasoline futures during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Viola would be the sixth billionaire to take a prominent role in the Trump administration.

What all six billionaires have in common is the fact that their fortunes are derived not from building up business empires based on the production, distribution or even sale of goods, but from activities that are parasitic or directly destructive in character. Trump sets the tone, with his casino gaming and reality television empire, followed by two financial speculators (Viola and Ricketts), a vulture capitalist (Ross), a wrestling mogul (McMahon) and an heiress to the Amway pyramid scheme (DeVos).

The composition of Trump’s cabinet reflects the composition—or more precisely, the decomposition—of the capitalist elite in the United States, where great fortunes are being amassed from activities that prey on human weakness, exploit social backwardness and promote ignorance.

Under Trump, the billionaires will not merely dictate government policy behind closed doors, as they have done for decades under both Democrats and Republicans. The billionaires are to be out in front, openly governing the country in the interests of themselves and their class.

The Trump regime is the direct opposite of the reality lived by millions of Americans, who are watching as their standard of living, their wages, and overall quality of life is completely attacked – to say nothing of the breakdown of industrial civilization and the looming threat of war. According to Andre Damon:

Earlier this month, economists Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, leading experts on global inequality, released a groundbreaking study on the growth of income inequality in the United States between 1946 and 2016. The result is a fuller picture of social inequality in the United States than any previous attempts. The conclusions are staggering, revealing that over the course of the past four decades there has occurred one of the most rapid upward redistributions of income in modern history.

The economists found that the pre-tax share of national income received by the bottom half of the US population has been cut nearly in half since 1980, from 20 percent to 12 percent, while the income share of the top one percent has nearly doubled, from 12 percent to 20 percent. “The two groups have basically switched their income shares,” the authors note, “with 8 points of national income transferred from the bottom 50 percent to the top 1 percent.”

The principal factor in the surge in income inequality, particularly since 2000, has been the growth in “capital income,” that is, the stock market. The inflation of stock market bubbles has been the primary form through which the ruling class and its political representatives have engineered a massive transfer of wealth.

The figures contained in the report by Piketty, Saez and Zucman reflect historical transformations in the structure of American capitalism and class relations in the United States. The colossal growth of social inequality is bound up with the decay of American capitalism and decline in its world economic position.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the Obama administration accelerated these processes. The White House continued and expanded the bank bailouts initiated under the Bush administration and helped funnel trillions of dollars to Wall Street through the Federal Reserve’s “quantitative easing” programs, while working, as in the 2009 auto restructuring, to slash wages.

Under the incoming administration of President-elect Trump, the offensive against the working class will sharply intensify. The election of Trump represents something new. He has staffed his cabinet with billionaires, far-right, pro-business ideologues, and generals—all of them dedicated to the impoverishment of the working class and the ever more violent suppression of popular opposition.

What is clear is that this system is dying, and those on the top want to secure their position through massive amounts of violence. What is also clear is that those on the established Left offer no solutions. In that spirit, let’s get to the news. 

Trump That Regime

With most of the votes tallied, Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote now reaches over 2.8 million, as some liberals now are declaring the “death of the Constitution” in the face of the electoral victory of the Trump regime. More ironic is that with Obama set to leave office, Guantanamo Bay is still open and the administration’s legal infrastructure of indefinite detention is still intact and ready to be used by Trump. As one article in Shadowproof noted:

President Barack Obama’s administration will come to an end next month, but the administration will pass on a legal regime that enables President-elect Donald Trump to indefinitely hold alleged terrorism suspects in military detention away from any battlefield.

The administration embraced the concept of “preventive detention,” and in 2012, the authority for indefinite military detention without charge or trial was codified in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

Obama’s administration also designated a class of prisoners at the Guantanamo Bay military prison as individuals, who were too dangerous to release even though the government lacks evidence to charge them with a crime. Plus, Guantanamo prison remains open, despite the fact that the administration released dozens of prisoners over the past seven years.

On December 5, a report [PDF] was released summarizing the “legal and policy frameworks” the administration relied upon in pursuing war. The second half of the report particularly focuses on “targeting efforts,” which include policies involving the capture and detention of terrorism suspects.

Under the guise of transparency, the Obama administration’s report presents policies as constrained and legal in order to guard against concerns that the administration will bear some responsibility when Trump abuses this executive power. However, the administration had an opportunity to completely do away with an indefinite detention regime setup by President George W. Bush’s administration, and instead, the Obama administration incorporated the regime into its counterterrorism policy.

This reality also plays itself out along the US-Mexican border, where policies of “chase and scatter” have led to a large-scale humanitarian crisis and the deaths of thousands. As another Shadowproof article wrote:

Actions taken by law enforcement to capture refugees attempting to cross the vast wilderness of the United States-Mexico borderlands frequently leads to injury, trauma, death, and disappearance, according to a new report.

“Deadly Apprehension Methods: The Consequences of Chase & Scatter In The Wilderness” is the first of a three-part series published by the humanitarian aid organizations La Coalición de Derechos Humanos and No More Deaths. The series analyzes publicly available federal policy, the testimonies of border crossing survivors, and cases from the “Missing Migrant Crisis Line.”

Although President Barack Obama concedes the border crisis is a “humanitarian situation,” the federal government’s current approach more closely resembles an active hunting ground. The federal government does not, as the report notes, “publicly recognize the large-scale human catastrophe its enforcement activities have engineered.”

The Obama administration will soon hand Trump an established deterrence infrastructure, which promotes the fear of death, injury, imprisonment, and deportation to dissuade people from fleeing death, injury, and imprisonment in their own countries. Plans to build more infrastructure and further militarize the border under the Donald Trump’s presidential administration will likely exacerbate the crisis.

Black Snake Killaz

Red Fawn Fallis is still in custody. According to Democracy Now!

[W]ater protector Red Fawn Fallis is still in custody and had a preliminary hearing Monday on a federal charge of possession of a weapon by a felon. She originally faced charges of attempted murder of a police officer—charges that were later dropped by Morton County, reportedly for lack of evidence. She’s been imprisoned since October 27, when hundreds of police raided a frontline resistance camp. A video from that day shows nearly a dozen officers pinning her to the ground and arresting her. The video does not show Red Fawn Fallis with a gun. You can hear the sound of three pops in the video.

Meanwhile, more water protectors are set to go before a judge, as Unicorn Riot wrote:

On Monday, December 19th, water protectors charged with disorderly conduct stemming from their August 11th arrests made their first appearances in Morton County court. The results of the appearances was Judge Cynthia Feland granting a continuance till January 31st, 2017.

The judge heard Morton County State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson’s motion to “keep issues of tribal sovereignty, the concerns about the Dakota Access Pipeline and “any other social or political cause” out of the courtroom and did not approve it.

Judge Feland stated in her denial that defendants didn’t have enough time to respond to the motion.

Monday’s trial hearing follows a week that saw outgoing North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple meet with Standing Rock Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault on December 12th. They met to discuss the removal of the Backwater Bridge roadblock put in place after the October 27th eviction of the 1851 treaty camp and to better North Dakota and Tribal relations. Those in attendance felt the meeting went well, according to press reports.

On his way out of office, Dalrymple asserted that water protectors deployed fake news” to discredit the pipeline, although specific examples were not cited.

To stay up to date on the current trial of 10 Standing Rock water protectors, check out Censored News, who has been issuing continuous updates from the front lines. In Illinois, people faced arrested by police for participating in an action close to DAPL construction.

Also, Energy Transfer Partners are continuing to state that the pipeline will go through, and are expecting backup after Trump enters office on January 20th. Check out this recording of a corporate meeting where they talk about just that:

A pipeline close to the Dakota Access Pipeline has now broken and spilled almost 200,000 gallons of oil into a nearby creek and has even killed local cows. The spill was also not detected by equipment which is supposed to monitor for such spills. Another massive spill from 2013 still has yet to be cleaned up, and not far away in Colorado a BP pipeline has also broken and spilled in Saul’s Creek. According to Science Alert:

A faulty pipeline has leaked 176,000 gallons of crude oil into a creek and the surrounding countryside 2.5 hours away from the Standing Rock protests in North Dakota.

The spill, which went undetected by the pipeline owners until a local stumbled on it, has spread almost 7 km (5.4 miles) from the site of the leak, and at this stage, it’s not clear what caused the pipe to rupture, or how long it’s been leaking.

In very sad news, on December 8th, Bert Allen “B.A.” Naholowaa, a medic staying at Standing Rock passed away due to a heart attack, read more here. Standing Rock Media and Healer Council wrote:

We express our deepest sympathies to B.A.’s Ohana and want everyone to know that B.A. left a beautiful lasting impression on all who he had contact with. We don’t have words to describe the loss that those of us who had the honor of knowing B.A. are feeling; but we are grateful for the time we did get to spend with him – time well spent caring for the water protectors. We are also grateful that B.A.’s family could come to camp and hold a memorial service today. Those of us who were able to come were very blessed by the songs and ceremony.

We ask everyone to please give the family time and space to heal. We love you all.

-SRMHC

Last in Standing Rock news, Bismarck, ND residents are organizing a ‘militia’ of sorts to back the police in repressing protesters fighting DAPL. Ironically, the mostly white town of Bismark voted against the pipeline coming through their backyards, and supported instead it going through Native land.

In Mexico, the battle against “the DAPL of Mexico” is starting in Yaqui communities:

A new pipeline under construction in northern Mexico has become a major controversy involving the local Yaqui indigenous community that is less than pleased about the pipeline’s route. The Agua Prieta pipeline would go straight through Yaqui territory.

Things went from bad to worse on Oct. 21, when the pipeline’s supporters attacked a group of protesters, killing one, wounding eight, and causing no small amount of property damage.

The Yaqui tribe, which has endured a long history of repression, also has a history of mounting various resistance movements. Like other indigenous communities in Mexico, members of the Yaqui tribe have lost their lives fighting against invasive private companies and non-indigenous authorities. Just two years ago, before the conflict over the Agua Prieta pipeline, the Yaquis protested against a large-scale aqueduct that would have diverted what was left of their sacred river to the city of Hermosillo.

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Class War

Cuts to programs are starting to hurt and are potentially going to hit some areas that swung the hardest for Trump the hardest. For instance in coal country, many that backed Trump due to his promise to bring back coal jobs are now seeing the possibility of their health insurance being slashed. Statnews profiled one former coal miner:

[Rickie] Coalson, 59, is one of about 16,000 retired coal miners whose health care benefits will end in a few months if Congress does not replenish the funds that were supposed to keep these workers insured for the rest of their lives. He’s now wondering which of his medications — and doctor’s appointments — he’ll be able to live without.

“If my blood pressure’s not real high, maybe skip that, or if I can stand the arthritis pain, don’t take that for a while,” he said, kneeling on his living room floor surrounded by orange prescription vials. “You do what you have to do to survive. Coal miners are proud people, we won’t beg. But when they owe it to you, it’s not begging.”

These impossible choices are being considered all over coal country, and with them come a flood of resentment toward the coal companies, judges, and lawmakers that miners blame for their predicament. As coal companies have filed for bankruptcy, some have been allowed to stop paying into retired miners’ funds. Now, that money is running out.

Another article wrote:

[S]ome in coal country are worried that instead of helping, Trump’s first actions will deprive miners — and their widows and children — of the compensation they can receive if they are disabled by respiratory problems linked to breathing coal mine dust.

That’s because buried in the Affordable Care Act are three sentences that made it much easier to access these benefits. If Trump repeals Obamacare — as he vowed to do before the election — and does not keep that section on the books, the miners will be back to where they were in 2009, when it was exceedingly difficult to be awarded compensation for “black lung” disease.

Of course, the sane thing would be for a society to not be based around extractive fossil fuels that kill the planet and destroy the people who take them out, and moreover to guarantee health care to all members of a community by taking away the means of existence from the rich and powerful and owning them in common.

But the cuts gone after by Republicans go much deeper than just repealing Obamacare. As Judy Molland wrote:

A group of Republican lawmakers has a proposal that would slash Social Security benefits for virtually everyone.

The plan, headed by House Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson and introduced on December 8, would destroy the basic structure of Social Security. 

Johnson’s Social Security Reform Act of 2016 proposes to eliminate the funding gap by implementing huge benefit reductions while at the same time giving tax cuts to affluent retirees. The Social Security Office of the Actuary estimates that this plan would cut $2 trillion from the fund, without asking for any taxes to help bolster the program.

With fewer dollars available, the plan would reduce the amount paid out in cost of living expenses and raise the retirement age to 69, thus decreasing payouts by $13.9 trillion.

For retirees with average lifetime earnings of $28,000 to 49,000, benefits would decrease by 28 percent.

One person in coal country that doesn’t need to be convinced is this guy, who recently gave the news media a talking to at a fast-food workers protest and took on white nationalists, Trump, scapegoating immigrants, and capitalism as a whole. Fuck yeah:

Jobs also continue to be slashed in the US, despite harsh tweeting by Trump and crocodile ass tears. In Indiana, where Trump touted that he had made a deal to save jobs at United Technologies, which led to backlash from union officials claiming that Trump lied about the number of jobs actually saved, another 300 jobs were slashed, leading Trump to only complain over twitter. Then on Monday as Jerry White noted:

General Motors officials on Monday announced that the company would eliminate one of the two production shifts at its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and cut 1,192 of the factory’s 3,000 jobs. The cuts, which will begin March 5, are in addition to thousands of other temporary and permanent layoffs announced by the US’s largest automaker in recent weeks.

Citing a slowdown in less profitable passenger car sales, the company announced Monday it will close five assembly plants, including Detroit-Hamtramck, for one to three weeks in January, idling over 10,000 workers. The other plants affected are Fairfax Assembly in Kansas City, Kansas, for three weeks; the Lansing Grand River plant in Michigan for two weeks; and plants in Lordstown, Ohio, and Bowling Green, Kentucky, for one week.

GM shares rose a quarter of a percent on the announcements as part of an orgy on Wall Street that saw the Dow-Jones Industrial Average rise to just short of 20,000 points on Tuesday. The corporate and financial elite has no intention of letting up on the relentless attack on the jobs, wages and health and pension benefits of workers. The ruling class anticipates huge profits as the incoming Trump administration slashes corporate taxes and regulations.

Not surprisingly:

Trump has tapped GM CEO Mary Barra for a seat on his 16-member economic policy team, along with Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the investment firm Blackstone; JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon; and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.

And despite Trump’s tough talk of bringing back jobs and productive industries in general, those that have been profiting the most in the wake of Trump’s win have been the big financial giants. As Shadowproof wrote:

Wall Street has been rallying since the election of Donald Trump as president. One of the best performing sectors so far has been financial service firms such as Goldman Sachs, which has led the post-Trump rally.

The runners up for biggest winners? JPMorgan and Bank of America.

That makes no sense if you believe that a soon-to-be-inaugurated President Trump is going to enact his platform when in office. The platform Trump and his team created at the Republican Convention in Cleveland last summer explicitly includes a plan to re-impose Glass-Steagall and break up the Too Big To Fail Banks.

The answer is Wall Street doesn’t believe Trump is going to actually deliver on his promises to the American people, that the platform was bullshit, and that no bank breakup is coming. Because if such a reckoning was forthcoming, the last places you would want to put your money would be Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, or Bank of America.

Is that a reasonable belief? Well, given that Trump is nominating Goldman Sachs alumni for key positions in his administration such as treasury secretary and chief adviser, maybe Wall Street is on to something.

And if Wall Street is right, how do Trump supporters respond to this blatant betrayal?

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In housing news, in the wake of the tragic Oakland fire at GhostShip, a combination of Alt-Right forces on the internet and the powers that be in city governments are pushing back against DIY venues and autonomous spaces as a way to gentrify cities and destroy autonomous movements. People are fighting back in a variety of ways, but in Richmond, CA, people are getting organized. One article wrote:

Dozens of supporters of the DIY music hall told the city’s leaders they want help making Burnt Ramen and similar arts spaces safe. They don’t want the city simply shutting them down.

Last Friday, Burnt Ramen was red-tagged by city inspectors who say the building is unsafe for habitation and events. But Burnt Ramen’s many supporters feel the city is wrong to label the building dangerous. They claim that the Richmond warehouse is nothing like Oakland’s Ghost Ship, which burned on December 2 in a fire that killed 36 people.

Last night, chanting “no more evictions,” dozens of people marched to Richmond City Hall to address the council.

In similar news, the warehouse that once was home to anarchist print publisher and distro, AK Press, has now been bought by a big tech developer, the end result of the building being damaged by fire and smoke over a year ago.

In Olympia, protests have broken out over access to park bathrooms after dark. According to The Olympian

The state Department of Enterprise Services has decided to temporarily close three public bathrooms, including those at Heritage Park, following three days of protests. Five people have been arrested since Saturday night, including four on Monday night, during demonstrations for around-the-clock restroom access in downtown Olympia.

The agency also closed bathrooms at Marathon Park and at the Interpretive Center, which is at the south end of Deschutes Parkway. Portable bathrooms and hand-washing stations have been placed next to the existing bathrooms at Heritage and Marathon parks, according to DES.

Another article stated:

[A]bout 40 demonstrators who gathered Saturday to participate in the gathering organized by the group Just Housing. Another demonstration was set for 6 p.m. Sunday, she said.

About 7 p.m. Saturday, the troopers were making their usual checks of the men’s and women’s bathrooms at Heritage Park before they were to be closed for the night. But this time they encountered a group of protesters who demanded that the facilities remain open for 24 hours, Trooper Brooke Bova said Sunday morning.

The Washington State Patrol is responsible for security at Heritage Park because it’s part of the state Capitol Campus.

The two troopers cleared the women’s bathroom, then found three men in the men’s bathroom who refused to leave. Two men eventually left, while a third man stayed put and was arrested. It was then that more demonstrators tried to enter the men’s bathroom, which led the troopers to keep the door shut, said Gundel, 22.

Bova said Sunday morning that troopers were barricaded in the bathroom. A subsequent attempt to reach her Sunday afternoon was not successful.

In Michigan:

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a pair of anti-union bills Wednesday night that make it harder for workers and unions to picket and easier for employers to hire workers to replace striking employees.

One bill would increase fines against picketers to $1,000 per person per day of a picket and $10,000 per day for an organization or union involved in the picket that is deemed to be an illegal mass picket. That bill passed on a mostly party-line vote of 57-50.

The other would repeal a law that requires employers to include information about an ongoing strike when they advertise to hire employees who will replace existing, but striking employees at a company. That bill passed on a vote of 59-48 on a mostly party line vote.

Four more officials have been criminally charged in connection to the Flint Water Crisis, and specifically charged with keeping residents drinking water that they knew was harmful to them. Currently, there is so much lead in children’s blood that a state of emergency has been declared. Meanwhile in Clovis, CA, residents won a huge settlement over drinking water being contaminated by Shell Oil, and in a new study from Reuters finds that there are at least 3,000 towns and cities that have drinking water that is just as much, if not more, contaminated than Flint, MI. From their report:

A Reuters examination of lead testing results across the country found almost 3,000 areas with poisoning rates far higher than in the tainted Michigan city. Yet many of these lead hotspots are receiving little attention or funding.

Meanwhile:

Congressional Republicans quietly closed a year-long investigation into Flint, Michigan’s crisis over lead in its drinking water, faulting both state officials and the Environmental Protection Agency for contamination that has affected nearly 100,000 residents.

We must begin to think of a way to intervene in this reality. How can we begin to build counter-power to the failed State of America. How can we begin to build autonomy in our own communities that are literally – falling apart?

Smash the Patriarchy

Republicans are making moves to push forward a bill that was already defeated in the House. Named ironically the First Amendment Defense Act, according to the International Business Times

As President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office with a Republican-controlled Congress, it seems likely a controversial bill will be reintroduced, this time, with a much better chance of passing. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Utah Sen. Mike Lee told Buzzfeed News they’d put the First Amendment Defense Act back on the table though it was rejected by the House last year.

The First Amendment Defense Act “prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.”

Essentially, the bill forbids the federal government from punishing a person who discriminates against another person. The bill would make allowances for discrimination against lesbian, gay, transgender and other minority groups, but the language regarding marriage also makes it seem as though discrimination against heterosexual people who have sex outside of marriage would be permitted.

Donald Trump has promised to sign the bill. Meanwhile in Texas, politicians are saying that they will end funding to all the Planned Parenthood’s in the state. Also in Texas:

Amarillo, Texas, Republican Texas State Senator Konni Burton has introduced a bill that will force teachers and any other school faculty to out LGBT students, even if the student asks to keep their gender or sexual identity a secret. According to Senate Bill 242, if teachers were to refuse to out LGBT students to their families, they will be penalized with suspension without pay, or even terminated.

Finally, Alt-Right mainstreamer Milo’s tour continues, although resistance has been brewing at each stop, leading to clashes between police and far-Right supporters and several cancelations. During his Milwaukee event, Milo singled out one trans student for mocking, which caused the university to backpedal and issue an apology. The letter in response from the student to the school administration and their ‘apology’ is fierce and can be read here. Dates of upcoming Milo protests can be found here.

Fire to the Prisons

In some good news, Siddique Hasan has finally had his phone and email resistrictions lifted after speaking to NPR on the national prison strike that began on September 9th. According to Shadowproof

A 60-day restriction on email and telephone privileges ended for Imam Siddique Abdullah Hasan on December 5, 2016. Hasan, who is incarcerated at the Ohio State Penitentiary, was punished in October for participating in a live radio interview with NPR about the September 9 strike against prison slavery.

Prison officials twice prevented Hasan from speaking to the press after he expressed solidarity with the prison strike movement.

In August, prison officials questionably argued Hasan, who is a Muslim spiritual leader, had propositioned a staff imam to wear a suicide vest into the prison. Hasan vigorously denied this allegation, but it was used to restrict his phone and email communication for 30 days.

The restriction prevented Hasan from speaking with journalists and supporters as the national strike began.

During October, prison officials accused Hasan of violating the institution’s media policies, when he participated in a live broadcast interview with NPR’s Tom Ashbrook. Officials blocked access to phone and email for 60 days, restrictions which ended earlier this month.

Meanwhile, in many other facilities we are just starting to get a clear picture as to the extent of the fallout from the prison strike. According to a new article on PBS

Prisons in some states are withholding newspapers from inmates and attempting to shut down social media accounts operated for them by friends and relatives amid a strike against prison conditions and billions of dollars worth of prison labor.

Texas and Pennsylvania have established statewide bans in their prisons of the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper, a 40-year publication largely consisting of articles by inmates, saying that the content could be construed as provocation for disruption. The editor has also received letters from inmates in California, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and other states that they say are also denying the paper’s delivery, sometimes without giving a reason at all.

Texas earlier this year also started asking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms to shut down profiles that are maintained by friends and family in an inmate’s name. Texas prisoners do not have access to the internet.

“The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has been seeking to silence my voice,” Keith “Malik” Washington wrote in a letter to the PBS NewsHour Weekend in early December after being asked about aftermath of the strike. “[It] has been trying to find a way to punish me for exposing their misdeeds.” He said he was in solitary confinement at Eastham Unit correctional facility in eastern Texas.

Washington wrote that a day before the beginning of what turned into the country’s largest-ever prison strike, including thousands of inmates across dozens of state prisons, two officers asked him to step out of his cell, handcuffed him and put him in solitary confinement. He had been vocal about his support for the strike and is also a frequent contributor to the Bay View newspaper, which he said provides “much needed light on the midst of darkness.”

In LA, activists claim that the jail facilities knowingly expose inmates to fungal infections, while a new report states that 17% of prison inmates currents have Hepatic C. A new investigative report from In These Times reports on inhuman conditions in the high-security Angola prison leading to a high death rate of prisoners, while a new report offers data on the horrific effects of solitary confinement. In Ohio, 2,ooo immigrant detainees will now be housed inside a private prison. while Jalil Muntaqim continues to fight for release and against repression. Also, The Intercept has a new article out how a riot in Mississippi led to the State changing it’s policy on private prisons.

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Finally, people protested outside of the Mayor’s house in Seattle against the construction of a new youth jail, check it out here.

All Cops Are Bastards

In 2016 at the time of this writing, at least 1,122 people have been killed by law enforcement in the US, they go on to write:

At least 1,210 were killed in 2015. At least 1,111 were killed in 2014. At least 4,212 have been killed since May 1, 2013, the day this list was created: killedbypolice.net More than three times as many have been shot and survived, initially. Thousands more have died due to use of force and neglect in U.S. jails and prisons. An untold number have been tortured, brutalized, raped and molested.

Police in so-called Canada are seeking more surveillance powers and back in the US, Trump will maintain his private elite police force to crack down on people protesting him and rushing his stage. Anger continues to mount against the police murder of a Durham, NC resident Frank Clark and inaction by the local city council to investigate, and protests marked the two year anniversary of the police killing of Brandon Tate-Brown. Meanwhile in Reno, NV, youth marched (see cover photo) to protest the school shooting death of a classmate by the police. As ABC reported:

About 100 classmates, friends and family of a 14-year-old Reno boy who was shot by a school district police officer marched to the district headquarters Wednesday afternoon to protest the use of lethal force on the high school campus.

Demick La Flamme, the father of a friend of the hospitalized boy, led the 2-mile march and delivered a petition to school officials demanding campus officers carry Tasers and pepper spray.

Industrial Collapse

As Trump begins to stock his administration with climate change deniers, we too need to take stock of the failed strategies of the Left. As a new article in Truth-Out argues:

Climate science continues to make rapid advancements while policy moves in reverse. We have entered the rapidly increasing phase of climate change, in which impacts increase nonlinearly. Up until recently, we have been the beneficiary of the ecological process of pollution buffering: Our environment can soak up a lot of punishment before it begins to degrade. Now, impacts are happening faster than projected. Whether this is because of delay, or underestimating science, is vague (it’s probably both). An excellent example of this underestimation is that Antarctica has begun to lose ice a hundred years ahead of schedule.

Ironically, a new article in Scientific American reveals that ExxonMobil (whose CEO will be Trump’s secretary of state), knew about climate change 4o years ago. The article writes:

Exxon was aware of climate change, as early as 1977, 11 years before it became a public issue, according to a recent investigation from InsideClimate News. This knowledge did not prevent the company (now ExxonMobil and the world’s largest oil and gas company) from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoting climate misinformation—an approach many have likened to the lies spread by the tobacco industry regarding the health risks of smoking.

Meanwhile, in Louisiana, a Texas corporation eyes building a pipeline through marshland and a final EPA study confirms that fracking leads to the pollution of drinking water.

Anti-Fascism

In Denver, one of the Neo-Nazis recently doxxed has been fired from their job, reports Unicorn RiotIn other upliftingnews, the small Montana town where rich man-child Richard Spencer lives with the help of his real-estate mogul mom is turning against them, as Neo-Nazis at The Daily Stormer attempt to defend them by ‘attacking Jews’ online.

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The wave of post-Trump white supremacist attacks continue:

Another incident occurred last week when New York Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock returned home to his New Jersey apartment to find that he had been robbed, and the walls of his dwelling were scrawled with swastikas and racist imagery.

“Go back to Africa”, “KKK” and “Trump” were among the many messages scrawled throughout the apartment.

In Kansas City, vandals drew swastikas, wrote racial slurs, and “Heil President Trump.” Meanwhile, Congressional candidate Paul Nehlen went on the Neo-Nazi podcast, “Fash the Nation” and reaffirmed his connection to Alt-Right and white supremacist circles. In Vancouver antifa clashed with Alt-Right nerds and in Minneapolis people prepare to confront a NSBM (National Socialist aka Nazi Black Metal) band.

Far-Right and white supremacist 4chan users are working with police and city governments to shut down DIY and autonomous spaces. According to one article:

Posting on an anonymous online message board for political discussions and debates—4chan’s “Politically Incorrect” (/pol/)—the contributor used all caps to call for others using their site to report art spaces and illegal venues to the authorities.

“These places are open hotbeds of liberal radicalism and degeneracy and now YOU [sic] can stop them by reporting all such places you may be or may become aware of to the authorities, specifically the local fire marshel [sic],” the poster explained. “Watch them and follow them to their hives. Infiltrate social circles, go to parties/events, record evidence and report it. We’ve got them on the run but now we must crush their nests before they can regroup!”

The post ended with MAGA—an acronym used on the site for Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” as the poster wished everyone “happy hunting.”

The thread filled with responses.

Laced with racial slurs and memes championing the cause, commenters offered advice for how to find and target the underground spaces. “Look on college communities, facebook groups, and music forums. Try searching for keywords like queer and safespace” [sic],” a poster advised, while another instructed readers to gain the trust of those who organize events.

Others just reiterated the message of the original poster, emphasizing that these spaces are home to progressive organizing efforts, and delightedly spurred others to take on the budding campaign in their hometowns across the United States.

“These places hold Black Lives Matter meetings. These places plan protests that disrupt our cities. These places illegally house our enemies,” one person wrote. “Stop them.”

NYC Antifa has released even more information on the ‘Alt-Right’ in their area, this time focusing on white supremacist heathens, check that out here.

Members of the Traditionalist Worker Party, headed by Matthew Heimbach are all making plans to converge on the small town of Paoli in Indiana and build up their ‘compound,’ where the leadership already are centered and expand it. It seems that Heimbach is doing (to some degree) what Craig Cobb once tried to pull off in Leith, North DakotaAccording to one article:

At a German restaurant where the TWP comrades like to take visiting journalists and make Holocaust jokes, he and Parrott talked about their dream of building an all-white fiefdom for their extended race-family. Farrell described his “big leap of faith” to move to Paoli. He’d arrived a week earlier from New York, where he’d left a corporate job and his entire life behind. The pressure to “despise yourself as a white person” in New York was too much, he explained, and then told a story about Dominicans harassing him at a bodega. The comrades told me more TWP members were moving there by the end of the year.

The ethnostate was a property of almost two acres down an unpaved driveway off a small road, a couple Trump yard signs planted in the grass. They said they had purchased it about six weeks ago from a bank that repossessed it. Parrot was fixing up a dilapidated house that he planned to convert into offices and living quarters. For now, the comrades lived in two trailers, one of which had a flag with a Celtic cross, a common white nationalist symbol, hanging in the window.

Heimbach and Parrott are using a map of Trump strongholds to target areas where white nationalism would play best. “If they’re ready to vote for Trump, they can’t be too far away from being ready to support a real nationalist party,” Heimbach reasoned. On the state level, Heimbach and Parrott want to run sleeper agents masquerading as GOP candidates. And on the federal level, they intend to run spoilers against mainstream conservative incumbents in close districts…

As always, we have our work cut out for us.

Shout Outs

If you are in the bay area or can make it out, there will be a conference from January 7th to the 8th called “No More Presidents.” Check it out here and here.

The #Disruptj20 website is also coming along and has lots of info.

Warrior Publications has put up some selections from The Revolution Will Not Be Funded, check them out here.

The ongoing resistance camp, Moadag Thadiwa, which opposed the 202 highway expansion in the so-called Southwest continues and information about it and how to support can be found here.

Boston ABC is back! Hopefully this means that Prison Action News will continue to come out…

Earth First! is having a subscription sale!

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