Update from a Standing Rock volunteer after #45 orders attack on the camp

Protect the Sacred at Standing Rock
Source: hpr1.com

“Injustice Anywhere is a threat to Justice everywhere.” ~ Dr. King

This is an update from a Standing Rock volunteer. It’s not pleasant.


I have returned from Standing Rock with my mind blown, my heart broken and my spirit troubled with foreboding of a deepening tragedy. Volunteering as a legal observer with the Water Protector Legal Collective I witnessed several confrontations between Water Protectors (WP) and law enforcement: national guard, sheriffs and private security (LE).

On 1/18/17 – 1/19/17 I observed WP with their hands in the air chanting “hands up don’t shoot” being fired upon at a range of 10 to 15 feet. Tear gas canisters and rubber bullets ( rubber bullets are regular bullets covered in rubber) were used against unarmed WP who had been singing and praying. I observed national guard chasing WP off the Backwater bridge, firing at people running away. I heard people choking and gagging from tear gas. I saw access to the WP medic vehicles being blocked. I spoke with medics and WP who described bullets penetrating flesh and causing terrible injuries, including to one media person who nearly lost his finger when his camera was targeted.

I talked with a media person and was told of 4 media people on the bridge that night, 3 had their recording devices shot and the 4th, his hand. I saw a photo of a sheriff aiming a rifle directly at a media woman who was standing apart from the crowd. I heard testimony of the back of the medic pickup truck being awash in blood after evacuating wounded.

I watched, and then, inadvertently became a part of, WP being forced off the bridge by national guard who were hiding behind WP vehicles parked along the road and firing rubber bullets at fleeing people. Many people were shot in the back, the neck, the head. When LE fired at people at close range, many were shot in the genitals or in the face. I received information about DAPL security breaching the short wave radio channels of the WP with taunts such as ”come out and fight like men you faggots or we will come to Camp and fuck your women.”

There are some young warriors, who, without the support of their elders, many who want the camps cleared to mitigate the economic and social damage being suffered by the local community in having the bridge closed, have vowed to not leave the camps or to let the last section of pipeline be built.

Driving away from the area on Monday I saw a convoy of construction vehicles heading to the drill pad. Last night an indigenous website live streamed reports of drilling and construction noises coming from the drill pad.

Without the eyes of a free press these attacks and trespasses continue, with the human rights and sovereignty of indigenous peoples denied. The UN Committee on Transnational Corporations and Human Right Abuses was in Standing Rock this week to take testimony of the many transgressions against people: crop dusters spraying poison pesticides and fertilizers on the camps; hair samples indicating the presence of these chemicals; people who have been injured, beat up, arrested, strip searched; media and medics being targeted by snipers; (one medic told me he stopped wearing his Red Cross vest due to medics being targeted); praying people being attacked and the refusal of DAPL and our government to abide by the Rule of Law.

We need to stand up for our brothers and our sisters, for their way of life and, I believe, for our social contract as a democracy which is now threatened.

Please share this so word gets out what is happening, thank you.

Deborah MacKay

Hat tips to Keith D. Wright and Rachelle Brown for the share

Government investigates vote suppression back to 2004 and presidential commission proposes protections

Presidential Commission on Elections Report 2014Cuyahoga County Board of Elections’ Deputy Director Pat McDonald offered testimony to the Presidential Commission on Elections on ways that voter registration and voting procedures could be revamped to make voting both easier and more secure. The commission’s findings on “The American Voting Experience” were presented to President Obama in 2014.

Part of a package presented to Congress on 14 December 2004 is the sworn affidavit of Sherole Eaton, a Deputy Director of the Hocking County, Ohio, Board of Elections. She describes the experience of voter machine tampering by Michael, a consulting company employee, who in 2004 entered the Board of Elections office claiming that the computers on which voting results had been stored, needed to be fixed – and proceeded to dismantle both primary and backup computers. The incident happened shortly before a planned recount was due to take place.

Obama registering voters in 1992
AP photo supplied by Obama Presidential Campaign via The Obama Diary

A detail-rich article on systemic vote suppression with numerous supportive references is Eric Zuesse’s How the 2004 Presidential ‘Election’ Was Stolen by George W. Bush published on 25 October 2016. Well worth a read.

In 84 seconds learn why Cable & Telcos are trying to gut Net Neutrality funding and take it away from you

Squeezing internet users
FFTF warns that Big Cable & Telcos want to squeeze more money out of users

Fight for the Future cautions:

Net Neutrality is Under Attack. Don't let Congress break the Internet by dismantling Net Neutrality — share this video to raise the alarm.

Why not also call your elected federal officials and ask them to protect net neutrality on your behalf? Calling is a powerful action to make sure net neutrality doesn’t go away. Call using this convenient tool.

white house net neutrality letter
President Obama endorses net neutrality

The White House defines net neutrality:

More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That’s a principle known as “net neutrality” — and it says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money. read more

OK John Oliver, I made my comment to the FCC on net neutrality. Happy now?

John Oliver on Net NeutralityI’ve made comments to the FCC about net neutrality in previous comment periods but not this one. Enter John Oliver, who made such a convincing argument about the need to take advantage of our bloody rights as US citizen to make a positive difference in this matter, that I felt shamed enough to submit another comment today.

If you too wish to be motivated to get off YouTube, Facebook or whatever you’re on for a while and use your computer for the God-given purpose it was clearly designed for (that is: the protection and furtherance of global democracy) then you too NEED to watch John Oliver’s segment on Last Week Tonight about Net Neutrality. Go on, I dare you to watch and come away uninspired.

I hope you’re happy now @iamjohnoliver and you’ll stop implying that I would be stupid and sleazy – not to mention lazy – to not fulfill my democratic obligation by making this comment. Granted, the topic is an issue that I care more about than almost any other matter besides eating and my family. But name-calling to motivate me to take an almost sinfully easy action to protect my rights? Well, that was an extremely low blow, even if an utterly effective one.

FYI, this is my comment:

14-28 Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet:
My college students sons and I believe in net neutrality, and we want it for all the good it provides us: information access, easy and open communication, streaming videos & movies, activism portal, access to the knowledge of the world!, translations. The internet was built with funds from users. I’m a user, my sons are users … everybody’s a user. Companies that provide point of access do not have the right to limit our access in any way. Do the right thing for the people, not for the corporations trying to dominate and control our lives. Use Title II to protect the open internet and net neutrality for all. Forever!

This is where you go to enter a comment to the FCC of your own: fcc.gov/comments.

And then if you were feeling super-motivated, you might amble over to Battle for the Net and use their easy tool to write and call your congressman and senators to tell them that Net Neutrality’s important to you. You could even send another one here. Why stop when you’re on a role?

Heed MLK and don’t vote for Booker. No voten por Booker.

Rush Holt the educator

Rush Holt the educatorThere’s a New Jersey primary today to select candidate for special election in October. If you want a senator who will stand up for the wealthy to pay their fair share, help lead the fight against foreclosures, defend public education, privacy and protect us against climate change, vote for Rush Holt. His early career years were spent as a rocket scientist and a teacher. Holt has backbone and priorities aligned with fairness for working folk and clean air for all.

Polls are open today till 8pm, so get out and vote! Not sure where your voting place is? Find your polling location.

booker & christie broke back of teachers' unionHeed the words of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and do not vote for Cory Booker, who does not possess the respectable virtues Dr. King believed in:

Booker está ayudando a destruir educación pública para los niños de familias humildes y correr a estas mismas familias de sus hogares en ciudades urbanas. Él y sus amigos quieren apoderarse de la tierra que ocupen para proyectos de desenvolvimiento comercial.

Plainfield Council candidate

Rebecca Williams read more

Twins prove student performance no good for assessing teachers

Mother Crusader tells why she knows that student performance – as demonstrated by standardized testing – can never be accurately used to determine how good a teacher is: her twin children have been with the same teachers since pre-K and their student performance is radically different. Mother Crusader recommends that parents opt their children out of standardized testing, and cautions that in New Jersey it will be used against teachers beginning next year:

And here is a GREAT reason why to opt your kids out. One of the “high stakes” attached to state tests is teacher accountability. These tests are NOT designed to evaluate teacher performance, yet that is EXACTLY what they will be used for.

I have twin six year olds. They have the same parents, same opportunities, have had excellent early childhood education, and have had the same teachers since pre-K.

One daughter is significantly above grade level, and the other is below grade level. I am quite sure a standardized test would stress my “below level” daughter and she would not be “proficient”.

Is that a reflection on her teacher? Should the same teacher be rewarded for my daughter who would most likely be “advanced proficient” and punished for my daughter who would most likely be “partial proficient?” read more

What is Torah (the Jewish bible)?

Torah scrollThere are many misconceptions about what the Jewish Bible is, arising largely from the fact that only the most dedicated Jewish scholars have engaged in the many years of study required to review and learn what Torah contains, and what it actually is. Some people refer to the Torah as a set of laws, but this is not accurate. Torah, or teachings, refers to more than the Torah scrolls kept in Jewish synagogues and the complete body of “written scripture” which Jews call the Tanach and Christians call the Old Testament. It also refers to the Oral, or spoken, teachings. Books on specific topics have been written by prior and modern sages that collate, codify or explain, information that is found woven throughout different parts of the Torah, for example: Maimonides book listing the 613 positive and negative commandments Jews must adhere to and the laws of careful speech, which is another area of Torah study which merits its own, special, space.

The Written Torah v. the Oral/spoken Torah

The written Torah or “Torah she biktav“, contains the Chumash, psalms, proverbs, the Book of Job, stories of Ruth and Esther, and the writings of the Prophets, among others. The Oral Torah or “Torah shel bal peh” is a somewhat confusing term today, because most of the teachings in this spoken tradition were written down several centuries ago when the sagest rabbis of those times feared that they would become lost to Jewish people eventually if not recorded in writing. Here’s a pretty good explanation of the relationship between different parts of Torah and this is a good general definition of Torah:

…the word Torah includes anything that authentically explains or expands the instructions received at Sinai: the Prophets and Scriptures, the Mishnah, Talmud, Shulchan Aruch (that’s the Code of Jewish Law), and the thousands of books and commentaries on them all. They all fit under the vast, ever-expanding Torah umbrella.

Chumash, Pentateuch or 5 Books of Moses

Is the compendium of five books written on Torah scrolls, which is also published as a single volume named Chumash, Pentateuch or 5 Books of Moses – all meaning the same thing in different languages. They are part of the written Torah. The five books are (Hebrew followed by English): Bereshit (In the beginning or Genesis), Shemot (Names or Exodus), Vayikra (He called or Leviticus), Bamidbar (In the desert or Numbers) and Devarim (Words or Deuteronomy).

TANACH is an Acronym aka TANAKH

TANACH is also part of the written Torah. Hebrew has a different alphabet than English, so Hebrew words aren’t always spelled the same when transliterated to English. TANACH is also commonly spelled TANAKH.

…based on the letters T (for “Torah”), N (for “Neviim,” the Prophets), and K (for “Ketuvim,” the Sacred Writings) … The composition of the “TANAKH” was determined by the “Anshei K’nesset HaGedolah,” the Men of the Great Assembly, under the influence of the “Holy Spirit.” It consists of twenty-four “Books,” where first and second volumes of one work are counted as one, and where all the twelve “Books” of the “Trei Asar,” the Twelve Prophets, are also considered as one.


Part of the oral Torah are the Midrashim, which are stories giving examples of how Torah is experienced in our lives.


Page in TalmudMishna/Talmud, is the part of the oral Torah that lays out rules about how individuals and communities need to interact in order to be fair and uphold righteousness. Each page of Talmud contains a brief passage of Torah, and is surrounded by very tiny text containing the discussions rabbinic sages of Jewish history held in order to determine what that particular passage meant and how its interpretation should be applied to the people of those times in the context of the society in which they lived. Get a lesson in how the layout of a page in the Talmud works. There is a study program that calls for learning one page of Talmud every day, known as Daf Yomi (Page a Day), in which thousands of Jews around the world participate. It takes 7 years to complete.


Kabala is yet another part of the oral teachings which has its very own rules and knowledge base. Kabala contains some principles and concepts that can be taught but in its highest form, it is received knowledge. Kabala is derived from the Hebrew “mikabel”, meaning: to receive.

Other good information here

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080331160620AA8hW7U read more