Tuesday, September 30, 2014

October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration


FCC considering move to ban NFL Redskins team name

The Federal Communications Commission is considering whether to punish broadcasters for using the moniker of the Washington NFL team, the Redskins, a word many consider a slur to Native Americans, the agency's chairman indicated on Tuesday.

The FCC, which enforces broadcast indecency violations, has received a petition from legal activist John Banzhaf III, asking that regulators strip local radio station WWXX-FM of its broadcasting license when it comes up for renewal for using the name "Redskins."
Banzhaf says the word is racist, derogatory, profane and hateful, making its use "akin to broadcasting obscenity."
Read More US Patent Office cancels Redskins trademark registration
"We'll be looking at that petition, we will be dealing with that issue on the merits and we'll be responding accordingly," FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told reporters.

More:  http://www.cnbc.com/id/102037057

Airline Passenger With Ebola Is Under Treatment in Dallas

A man who took a commercial flight from Liberia that landed in Dallas on Sept. 20 has been found to have the Ebola virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. He is the first traveler to have brought the virus to the United States on a passenger plane.
He was not ill during the flight, health officials said. Symptoms developed several days after he arrived, and he is being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.
A team from the C.D.C. is being dispatched to Dallas to trace any contacts who may have been infected, including health care workers and others with whom the patient spent time in Dallas.
Source:  http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/01/health/airline-passenger-with-ebola-is-under-treatment-in-dallas.html

Julian Assange Fires Back At Eric Schmidt And Google's 'Digital Colonialism'

ECUADORIAN SOIL -- A police officer stands just inside the lobby of 3 Hans Crescent, a nondescript apartment building just around the corner from Harrods of London and a few blocks south of Hyde Park. He's watching the door to apartment 3b, a mini-flat that has for two years been the home of WikiLeaks' Julian Assange.

On the building's stoop stands another cop. Near him is parked a festive, multicolored paddy wagon. Several other officers loiter nearby, all of them charged with making sure Assange doesn't step outside the apartment, the home of the Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has asylum.

One officer tells The Huffington Post that if Assange does step out, he and his colleagues have been instructed to pick him up and taxi him to the nearest police station. The officer notes dryly that his past assignments -- guarding visiting royalty and American presidents as far back as Jimmy Carter -- have been significantly more glamorous. "I've guarded kings and queens and presidents," he says. "Julian Assange?"

Inside, the officers' unwanted charge is wary of his embassy lookouts. He moves quickly to stop a visitor from opening the flat's front door, warning that he'd be visible to the lobby's watchman. For our interview, he asks for the chair farthest from the door that offers him his daily protection.

...Assange’s new book hit the shelves last Wednesday -- the day after Schmidt's latest book, How Google Works, was released.

The two have engaged in a bit of public sparring. "Julian is very paranoid about things. Google never collaborated with the NSA and in fact, we've fought very hard against what they did," Schmidt told ABC News last week. "We have taken all of our data, all of our exchanges, and we fully encrypted them so no one can get them, especially the government."

"He's of course writing from the, shall we say, luxury lodgings of the local embassy in London," Schmidt added.

At the luxurious flat, HuffPost asked Assange to respond.

"Eric Schmidt has a difficult job defending what Google has become and that he uses -- Google uses private collection," said Assange. "The revelations, the Snowden revelations, showed that he did hand over the information to the U.S. government. I think it’s sad he that feels it’s necessary to resort to ad hominem attacks, but I understand that he has no real arguments to defend Google’s position."

More:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/30/julian-assange-eric-schmi_n_5905804.html

Local tribal members missing out on Cobell checks; 7,326 people from Red Lake, Leech Lake and White Earth on Whereabouts Unknown list

Tribal members nationwide started receiving Cobell settlement checks in the past few weeks from what has been dubbed one of the largest lawsuits ever against the federal government. Yet, thousands of people in Red Lake, Leech Lake and White Earth have not been paid -- because their whereabouts are unknown.

The Office of the Special Trustee for American Indians keeps a list of people with Individual Indian Money accounts who do not have current addresses listed. An IIM is part of the criteria to receive a Cobell settlement check.

There are 1,352 members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians on the list; 1,471 Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe members and 4,503 members of the White Earth Nation listed. To view the list, visit www.indiantrust.com and click on the Whereabouts Unknown map. The U.S. Department of Interior also keeps a list of IIM accounts without recent addresses at www.doi.gov/ost/wau.

More:  http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/content/local-tribal-members-missing-out-cobell-checks-7326-people-red-lake-leech-lake-and-white

Tribes lay whooping on IRS

WASHINGTON — If there is an arm of the federal government that postures itself as the bully on the block: it is the IRS. However, when the IRS came to Indian Country and attempted to trample on the rights of tribes, they ended up taking a whooping from tribes and their friends in Congress.

Last week the United States House of Representatives passed a much celebrated bill that was years in the making that will allow for tribes to escape the illegal harassment of tribal governments by the Internal Revenue Service. H.R.3043 better known as the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act passed the House by a vote of 277-141 and is being praised by tribal leaders and law makers alike.

“This bill means that the IRS has to respect the sovereignty of our tribal nations and the treaties that our past leaders secured for this generation and others to come,” said Oglala Sioux Tribal President Bryan Brewer. “If we are trying to take care of our people the IRS will no longer be able to interfere with our programs or services. It is a measure of respect of our treaties. If there is any ambiguity in the statute the IRS will be forced to side with tribes. It is a great step forward for sovereignty and the Oglala and the plains tribes have led it.”

The bill had been in the works for years and came about in response to attempts by the Internal Revenue Service to individually tax tribes and tribal members for benefits they received from tribal government programs. When one tribal-leader from Standing Rock attempted to inform the IRS that tribal nations had certain rights and exemptions guaranteed by treaty law, he was told by an IRS field agent that “ you can read your treaty in jail.”

More:  http://www.indianz.com/News/2014/015191.asp

Dark side of the boom

North Dakota’s oil rush brings cash and promise to reservation, along with drug-fueled crime

FORT BERTHOLD INDIAN RESERVATION, N.D. — Tribal police Sgt. Dawn White is racing down a dusty two-lane road — siren blaring, police radio crackling — as she attempts to get to the latest 911 call on a reservation that is a blur of oil rigs and bright-orange gas flares.

“Move! C’mon, get out of the fricking way!” White yells as she hits 102 mph and weaves in and out of a line of slow-moving tractor-trailers that stretches for miles.

In just five years, the Bakken formation in North Dakota has gone from producing about 200,000 barrels to 1.1 million barrels of oil a day, making North Dakota the No. 2 oil-producing state, behind Texas, and luring thousands of workers from around the country.

But there is a dark side to the multibillion-dollar boom in the oil fields, which stretch across western North Dakota into Montana and part of Canada. The arrival of highly paid oil workers living in sprawling “man camps” with limited spending opportunities has led to a crime wave -- including murders, aggravated assaults, rapes, human trafficking and robberies -- fueled by a huge market for illegal drugs, primarily heroin and methamphetamine.

Especially hard-hit are the Indian lands at the heart of the Bakken. Created in 1870 on rolling grasslands along the Missouri River, Fort Berthold (pronounced Birth-Old), was named after a U.S. Army fort and is home to the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation -- known as the MHA Nation, or the Three Affiliated Tribes.

More:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2014/09/28/dark-side-of-the-boom/

Tribes seek to take last of Indian boarding school lands

On the coattails of its days as Hay Camp, Rapid City was a fledgling municipality in 1898 when the Indian boarding school doors first opened.

It was the era of federal Native American assimilation policy, when Native American children of elementary-school age were stripped of their families, made to don Anglo-American haircuts and clothes and ultimately forced to conform to white mores of the early 20th century — often through laborious vocational training.

In Rapid City, that meant children from tribes throughout the Northern Plains were funneled into roughly 1,200 acres of prime west-side acreage dedicated by the federal government to the Rapid City Indian Boarding School.

Only the Sioux San Hospital, an original structure of the facility, continued to operate when the failed boarding school was shuttered in 1933. The swath of land from Sioux Park west to Canyon Lake was eventually dissolved into just three lots, totaling roughly 165 acres, that remain under tax-free federal trust.

Now, 16 tribes from South Dakota, North Dakota and Nebraska want those three parcels — spiritual land guaranteed to the Sioux Nation as part of the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie — turned over to tribal care.

More:  http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/article_7c7a1be3-06a2-512e-af15-0cbb51215c91.html

The New iPhone's Best Feature Is One the NSA Will Hate

The tech giant's newest toy, the iPhone 6, was built with encryption in mind. It protects emails, photos and contacts with the help of a unique mathematical algorithm — one created by the person using the phone and unknown to Apple itself. Now, if a court orders Apple to divulge the contents of a particular phone, all it will get in return is a garbled mess of numbers and letters; according to the company, it could take up to five and a half years to crack the code without the phone owner's permission.

This, of course, poses a problem for the country's various security agencies, which haven't previously dealt such a high level of encryption. "What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to hold themselves beyond the law," James B. Comey, director of the FBI, reportedly said at a press conference on Thursday.

Comey argued that certain activities — kidnappings and acts of terror, for instance — will be harder to catch now that investigators don't have easy access to smartphones.
"The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened — even if it involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order — to me does not make any sense," he said.

More:  http://mic.com/articles/99914/the-new-i-phone-s-best-feature-is-one-the-nsa-will-hate

Cruel and usual punishment in jails and prisons

The 8th Amendment bans cruel and unusual punishment. Yet it happens every day in prisons across the country. Putting aside capital punishment, which I would argue is cruel and unusual on its face, Americans are ignoring a host of horrific conditions that inmates are subjected to. This is not only morally and constitutionally dangerous; it is also bad public policy, because the prisoners being badly treated today will be back in our communities tomorrow.