Category Archives: Activists

iN hONOR OF rICHARD jAMES rAWLINGS

Richard James Rawlings with Gatewood Galbraith in Glasgow, Kentucky 2011

The U.S. Marijuana Party, did, on February 24, 2013, loose one of its first and most influential Presidents, 

Second only to Loretta Nall, who preceded him as the first President of the USMJParty in 2002.

Richard James Rawlings took the head of the table in 2005 after Ms. Nall’s resignation.

He actively ran for Congress in Peoria Illinois several times.  He promoted many legalization activities in the Peoria area of Illinois and attended many more events in various states until he began to become ill in 2009-10.

It was not until July of 2012 that he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Throat, Lung and Adrenal Cancer.

At the age of 51, he died peacefully at his mother’s home where we had resided since shortly after his hospitalization in Glasgow Kentucky for two weeks in July 2012 where he received the diagnosis and the surgery for the trach which he would continue to wear until the night of his death when I removed it.

All of his family were with him almost constantly during the last two weeks.  And I am forever grateful to them for all their support to me during this most difficult time.

His death broke my Heart.  We were not only coworkers, friends and companions – we were lovers and partners.

He will never be forgotten by me and I know the same sentiment holds true with all of his family, friends and followers.

May what he stood for never be forgotten:  Repeal of Hemp/Marijuana/Cannabis Laws at best or Legalization at least.

Richard J. Rawlings with his family at TJ Samson Hospital, Glasgow, Kentucky, in July of 2012
Richard J. Rawlings and Sheree Krider at Richard’s Mother’s house in Peoria, IL in January of 2013.

May He Rest In Peace

Sheree Krider

 

Richard and his plant

 

Ode to the Hemp

WE COME TOGETHER TODAY TO PRAISE YOUR ALMIGHTY
GIFTS TO US…
YOU HAVE GIVEN US LIGHT FOR WARMTH,
MEADOWS OF FRESH FLOWERS,
AND HERBS,TO KEEP UP HEALTHY,
YOU GAVE US DARK TO SLEEP AND TO REST OUR
WEARY HEARTS AND MINDS FOR ANOTHER DAY,
YOU GAVE US BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO LOVE US,
AND CHILDREN TO CARRY ON OUR NEVER-ENDING
ENDEAVORS – TO CARRY OUT YOUR WILL ,
AS WE KNOW WE WILL NEVER ACCOMPLISH
THIS ALONE.
YOU GIVE US INTELLIGENCE TO BE ABLE TO
SEPARATE THE GOOD FROM THE EVIL,
DEAR FATHER IN HEAVEN,
GIVE US THIS DAY, OUR DAILY BREAD,
AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS,
AS WE FORGIVE ALL OTHERS,
AND
GIVE US THE STRENGTH, TO CARRY ON,
TO RECTIFY THE EVIL THAT TO WHICH WE HAVE
SUCCUMB,
TO BRING BACK THE MEADOWS,
THE FLOWERS AND TREE’S,
TO CONTINUE TO HEAR THE BIRD’S AND BEE’S!
BLESS THE HEMP LORD, AND KEEP IT STRONG,
AND ENABLE US, TO CARRY ON…

AMEN

@ShereeKrider

*Dedicated with Love to Richard J. Rawlings…USMJParty

https://usmjpartyil.wordpress.com/2013/01/27/ode-to-the-hemp/

https://usmjpartyil.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/in-honor-of-richard-james-rawlings-1961-2013/

NORML Forms Multi-State Workplace Drug Testing Coalition

by Kevin Mahmalji, NORML Outreach Coordinator February 14, 2017

The fact that 190 million Americans now live in states where marijuana has been legalized to some degree is raising a number of questions and issues about how to integrate the American workforce and marijuana consumers rights in regards to drug testing. With medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and recreational marijuana for adult use in 8 states and Washington DC, millions of responsible and otherwise law-abiding adults remain at risk of being excluded from the workforce due to a positive drug test — even where the use does not affect an individual’s job performance or has taken place days or weeks prior to the test.

NORML believes that this practice is discriminatory and defies common sense. As a result, a growing coalition of NORML Chapters in California, Oregon, Colorado and Washington have come together to advocate for necessary legislative and workplace reforms to protect responsible marijuana consumers.

NORML’s Workplace Drug Testing Coalition’s efforts will focus on these four areas:

  1. Reform workplace drug testing policies
  2. Expand employment opportunities for marijuana consumers
  3. Clarify the difference between detection technology and performance testing
  4. Highlight off-duty state law legal protections for employees

“Even though marijuana is legal and readily available in several states, consumers are being unfairly forced to choose between their job and consuming off the clock as a result of out-of-date employment practices,” said Kevin Mahmalji, National Outreach Coordinator for NORML. “That is why many NORML chapters active in legal states are now shifting their attention to protecting honest, hardworking marijuana consumers from these sort of antiquated, discriminatory workplace drug-testing practices, in particular the use of random suspicionless urine testing.”

Employer testing of applicants or employees for trace metabolites (inert waste-products) of past use of a legal substance makes no sense in the 21st century.  This activity is particularly discriminatory in the case of marijuana where such metabolites may be detectable for weeks or even months after the consumer has ceased use.

With the 2017 Legislative Session underway, this issue is finally getting the attention it deserves. Legislation has already been introduced in Oregon and Washington, and is gaining traction in those states.

“Random suspicionless drug testing of applicants or employees for past marijuana use is not just unfair and discriminatory, it’s bad for business,” said attorney Judd Golden of Boulder, Colorado, a long-time NORML activist and Coalition spokesperson. The modern workforce includes countless qualified people like Brandon Coats of Colorado, a paraplegic medical marijuana patient who never was impaired on the job and had an unblemished work record. Brandon was fired from a Fortune 500 company after a random drug test, and lost his case in the Colorado Supreme Court in 2015. The Court unfortunately found Colorado’s lawful off-duty activities law that protects employees for legal activities on their own time didn’t apply to marijuana use.

California NORML is also expecting legislation to be introduced this session to address this issue. Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML said, “One of the most frequently asked questions we have been getting since Prop. 64 passed legalizing adult marijuana use in California last November is, ‘Am I now protected against drug testing on my job?’ Sadly in our state, not even medical marijuana patients are protected against job discrimination, and it’s a priority of Cal NORML to change that. We are hoping to get a bill introduced at the state level and are working with legislators, unions, and other reform groups to make that happen.”

NORML Chapters across the country are advocating on behalf of the rights of responsible marijuana consumers against discrimination in the workplace. “Our coalition was formed with the intention of not only educating legislators, but also with businesses in mind.  It is important they know testing for marijuana is not mandatory, and that employers have testing options,” said Jordan Person, executive director for Denver NORML. The Denver chapter is currently working with companies that offer performance impairment testing of workers suspected of on-the-job impairment or use rather than unreliable bodily fluid testing to help provide options for employers.

thumbs_up

For decades drug testing companies and others have pushed their agenda through a campaign of misinformation. Until now there has never been an organized effort to challenge the profit- driven ideology of those who seek to benefit from intrusive drug screening. Mounting evidence continues to prove there is no logical reason why adult marijuana consumers should be treated with any less respect, restricted more severely, and denied the same privileges we extend to responsible adults who enjoy a casual cocktail after a long day at the office.

For legal questions, please contact Coalition spokesperson Judd Golden at juddgolden@outlook.com. For other marijuana related questions or an interview, please contact Kevin Mahmalji at kevinm@norml.org.

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In memory of cannabis activist Laura Kriho

By Sarah Haas – February 9, 2017

In September 2013, Boulder was soaking wet, but on the 23rd the rain stopped, the clouds parted and the sun shined down on the bricks of Pearl Street. It was there Laura Kriho joined a group of cannabis freedom fighters who gathered to hand out hundreds of free joints amid spontaneous chants of “Free the weed!” As with any good protest chant its meaning wasn’t just literal, but symbolic of a bigger picture.

The weed given away that day had been in jail, actually locked in an evidence room for the past two years. When it was released to lawyer Rob Corry, he, Kriho and others in the activist community decided to give it away. They hoped to call attention to the marijuana tax issue appearing on the upcoming November ballot as Proposition AA, a marijuana tax hike to which they were staunchly opposed.

Kriho thought that Amendment 64 was already too strict and the additional taxes that would be instituted with Proposition AA were a step backwards, away from a free market and toward prohibition. Later that week, Kriho wrote about the giveaway in a guest column for “Weed Between the Lines” in Boulder Weekly: “This tax debate highlights what has become a very clear division between cannabis supporters. There are those who support an expensive ‘strict regulation’ model paid for by high taxes, and there are those who continue to support simple “legalization” with reasonable taxes and regulations.

“To most people, ‘legalization’ means that prohibition laws are repealed, people are no longer punished for cannabis use, and police resources are used to fight serious crimes. However, A64’s ‘strict regulation’ model does the opposite of this in many cases. The A64 model allows some people to have some marijuana at some times, but it continues marijuana prohibition for other people with other amounts of marijuana at other times.”

A cannabis activist in Boulder since 1992, Kriho didn’t just fight for legalization, but for “marijuana freedom” beyond regulation, taxes and industry. Whether working to legalize industrial hemp at the federal level in the mid-’90s, ushering in Amendment 20 to bring medical marijuana programs to Colorado in the aughts or for patient’s rights and adult-use cannabis in more recent years, Kriho was a staple of the front lines, fighting to liberate cannabis from prohibitionist laws and attitudes.

Friend, fellow activist and chairman of the U.S. Marijuana Party William Wayward Chengelis remembers the day he met Kriho, in 2008 at a Youth International Party rally taking place at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

“I’d heard about her before — I mean, when you look at hemp or cannabis in the state of Colorado, Laura’s been there since the beginning — she’s always been there,” he says. “And now that I’ve known her and worked by her side I can say that she always stood up for what she believed and never backed down, not once. She was a yippie through and through.”

A term from the ’60s for politically active hippies fighting for freedom and against war, Kriho wore the yippie badge proudly, but it wasn’t always easy. People didn’t always like her, even more people disagreed and still more categorically wrote her views off as unrealistic.

On top of that, she wasn’t successful half as much as she was unsuccessful. Her early federal hemp bills were killed in the Senate, year-after-year, the medical policies she espoused were disfigured beyond recognition by the time they made their way to state law and despite fighting against Amendment 64 because it was too regulated, too corporate and too prohibitionist, it passed. Even Proposition AA, which she sought to combat by handing out free joints, passed by a wide margin. And yet her influence cannot be overlooked nor her tenacity understated.

“One of the things about us yippies is that we get in your face,” Chengelis says. “Laura got in people’s faces. Sometimes she won, sometimes she lost, but she never gave up.“

For Kriho, there was no such thing as compromise and concession was not an option — she knew her stuff, knew what she believed in and didn’t temper herself in voicing her opinions. In many ways she was the epitome of Trump’s “nasty woman,” a term hurled as an insult but claimed as a heroic trait, and it is precisely in this spirit that she and her activism gain their most salient legacy.

“Her and I have two philosophies in life,” Chengelis says. “First, what you don’t know, learn. What you do know, teach.

“The other is: Show up, do the work and hope for positive results. That is where her and I met and that’s where we always agreed. You gotta get out there and you gotta do it. You can say whatever you want, but if you do not show up and do the work, nothing gets done.”

Surrounded by friends and family, Laura Kriho died on Jan. 30, 2017, in Boulder, at the age of 52.

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Tuesday February 7, the US Army Corps gave notice of intent to grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline

Rise With Standing Rock and Indigenous Resistance

Yesterday, Tuesday February 7, the US Army Corps gave notice of intent to grant the final easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Mni Sose (Missouri River). 

They are skipping the Environmental Impact Study ordered in December, and skipping the congressional notification period required by law to push through a destructive, exploitative and illegal pipeline. We knew these attacks on frontline communities were coming and now more than ever we must #GrowTheResistance and take bold action. We stand united with Indigenous Peoples and water protectors.

It Takes Roots (a formation of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, the Climate Justice Alliance and the Right To The City Alliance) is calling for all our member groups and communities to rise up TODAY FEBRUARY 8th in solidarity with the Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock’s worldwide call for emergency actions “to disrupt business as usual and unleash a global intersectional resistance to fossil fuels and fascism.  Connect with other struggles.  Think long-term movement building.  We are in this for the long haul.” 
Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, said
“Donald Trump will not build his Dakota Access Pipeline without a fight. The granting of an easement, without any environmental review or tribal consultation, is not the end of this fight — it is the new beginning. Expect mass resistance far beyond what Trump has seen so far.
“The granting of this easement goes against protocol, it goes against legal process, it disregards more than 100,000 comments already submitted as part of the not-yet-completed environmental review process — all for the sake of Donald Trump’s billionaire big oil cronies. And, it goes against the treaty rights of the entire Seven Councils Fires of the Sioux Nations.”
Check out the call below and take action!

WORLDWIDE CALL TO ACTION FEB. 8

We are calling for emergency actions all over the world. PLEASE, THIS IS OUR LAST STAND.
Please visit everydayofaction.org to find or register an action wherever you are. Check out our world action map  to join the mass distributed actions TODAY, February 8th. 

ACTION PLANNING TIPS

We encourage groups across the globe to connect our prayers for the water with other fights against fascism and the domination of people and Mother Earth (deportations, muslim ban, attacks on labor, deregulation of wall street, other fossil fuel projects, censorship of the press and academia, etc).
Choose the target that is most strategic for building long-term collaborative resistance in your local area.  Potential targets may include:  city halls, federal buildings, army corps offices, ICE detention centers, banks profiting off DAPL, sheriff’s offices that have come to Standing Rock, labor union offices, sites of workplace struggle, etc.
MESSAGING – please amplify and use the messaging put out here by

  • Rise with Standing Rock….against violations of sovereignty, crimes against Mother Earth, fascism, violation of law, etc.
  • Continue to elevate what’s happening on the ground in ND — demonstrate that this is something serious that resonates to all peoples in the face of Trump administration tyranny. Follow: @IENEarth on twitter and facebook.
  • Support Tribes’ request for TRO (Temporary Restraining Order)/injunction!
  • Resist Trump’s direct attack against indigenous communities with his executive orders re: DAPL & KXL. Indigenous communities are not backing down.
  • Police violence seems inevitable and mass casualties are very likely. The only way to keep people safe is to do the Environmental Impact Study.  If not, any blood spilled is on Trump’s hands and the hands of the Corps.   

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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  | http://www.ienearth.org/

Global Coalition Stages Protests and Bank Closures Across Mother Earth to Defund Dakota Access Pipeline

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 3, 2017

CONTACT:
For inquiries to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, contact Nick Pelosi, Director Corporate Engagement, First Peoples Worldwide, standingrockdapl@gmail.com, 540-899-6545

For inquiries to the Indigenous Coalition at Standing Rock, contact Tara Houska, National Campaign Director, Honor the Earth, tara@honortheearth.org, 612-226-9404

For inquiries about the week of action and event logistics contact Vanessa Green, Individual Campaign Director, DivestInvest, vanessa@divestinvest.org, 617-230-8942

Global Coalition Stages Protests and Bank Closures Across Mother Earth to Defund Dakota Access Pipeline

While Trump, Energy Transfer Partners and Sunoco Logistics race to complete the pipeline, over 700,000 people representing over $2.3 billion in personal investments say no.

New York, Madrid, Munich, San Francisco, Tokyo, Amsterdam – On January 24th, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum fast tracking the Dakota Access Pipeline and environmental reviews of other projects. The corporations behind DAPL made it clear that they “fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe.”

There are three ways banks can be involved in the financing of DAPL: extending lines of credit to companies with ownership stakes, being directly invested in project sponsor companies (owning assets or shares), or providing project loan funds.

The completion of DAPL is critically dependent on those 17 banks that are jointly providing the project loan for the construction of the pipeline. All of them are facing massive protest against their involvement. Several banks in the consortium have now also openly criticised the project sponsors for not being sufficiently responsive to the concerns of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

The pressure to terminate their involvement in the project has been increasing further over the last few weeks as hundreds of thousands of people worldwide are signing petitions to DAPL banks. Thousands more have already closed their accounts and defunded over $55 million and counting. This week, activists are showing up in person to make their voices heard on behalf of another 700,000+ people worldwide, a percentage of whom voluntarily report having over $2.3 billion invested in these banks through checking, mortgage, and credit card accounts – which they are ready to divest if the banks continue financing DAPL.

From January 30 to February 3, various events took place in cities around the world to deliver copies of the petitions and signatures to local branches and global headquarters of the 17 banks directly funding the construction of the DAPL: Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, BayernLB, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, DNB ASA, ICBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, SMBC, Société Générale, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, TD Bank, Wells Fargo. A full list of ongoing #NoDAPL 2017 actions is here.

The Sacred Stone Camp and their allies have vowed to stand their ground as long as DAPL construction equipment remains on Oceti Sakowin treaty land. The global coalition plans to continue pressure on all banks funding fossils throughout 2017.

In support of these actions, leaders from the movements to stop DAPL said the following:

Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In the Ground Campaigner, Indigenous Environmental Network, said: “President Trump wishes to fast-track the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, against federal law and tribal treaty rights. Indigenous nations and communities will not be the sacrifice zones for President Trump’s fossil fuel regime. We remain steadfast in our defense of our inherent rights and the protection of Mother Earth and we implore our allies to stand with us. We must remind the investors of this pipeline that they, via their financing, are threatening the lives of water protectors and it’s time to be held accountable for that.”

Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault II said: “By attempting to fast track DAPL, President Trump has made it clear that his priorities lie with his wealthy contributors rather than the public interest. Banks now have an opportunity to take a stand against this reckless assault on our treaty rights and water, or be complicit and continue to lose millions.”

Judith LeBlanc, Director, Native Organizers Alliance and member of the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma, said: “The decision to build the Dakota Access Pipeline was made in the halls of power by a handful representing banks and corporations willing to sacrifice Mother Earth for profit. The decision to stop it will be made by the many, all across the world, who know that Mother Earth and water give us life. Time is now for investors to also stand for Mother Earth. We started at Standing Rock, now Standing Rock is everywhere.”

Chase Iron Eyes, lead attorney, Lakota People’s Law Project, said: “It’s inspiring to see the power of global currency being leveraged in the frontline movement at Standing Rock. Separate fights — defending clean drinking water, upholding constitutional freedoms, creating a new energy economy — are becoming one as people recognize and respond to the problem of banks using their money to finance human rights violations and brutality. If money rules the day then we will bring compassion to our capital by divesting.”

Angus Wong, Campaign Manager, SumOfUs: “Trump’s green light of the destructive Dakota Pipeline is a corporate scheme to enrich himself and his corporate friends. But we know targeting banks to stop financing this dangerous pipeline works — two days after we delivered hundreds of thousands of SumOfUs members’ signatures to Norway-based DNB bank headquarters in November, it pulled its assets in the pipeline. We hope DNB will again demonstrate leadership by committing to withdraw its project funding.”
Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth US, said: “The voices of Indigenous peoples have been ignored for too long – by the US government, corporations and big banks. By not acknowledging Indigenous peoples, these banks are perpetuating a pattern of colonialism and failing to respect Indigenous peoples’ rights to Free, Prior and Informed Consent.”

Vanessa Green, Director of DivestInvest Individual, said: “DAPL is simply the wrong kind of investment, and people don’t want their money behind it. With government mandates to scale up clean energy investments, a market increasingly supportive of a low carbon future, and unprecedented consumer and investor interest in moving money into climate and community solutions, the question now is which banks will lose the most in this historic energy transition.”

Mary Sweeters, Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace USA, said: “People across the world have pledged their solidarity with the Indigenous communities who reject this dirty pipeline and the threat it poses to the water and climate. The banks must choose whether they want to continue to invest their money in yesterday or listen to the millions of people who stand with Standing Rock.”

Fran Teplitz, Executive Co-director of Green America, said: “Now more than ever we need to move away from destructive fossil fuel pipelines and pursue a clean energy future. Indigenous communities are demonstrating heroic leadership by protecting water, the source of life, from the dangers of pipelines. We call on the government and banks to halt support for the Dakota Access Pipeline immediately.”
Kristen Perry, Climate Justice Montreal Organizer, said: “We need to stop funding projects which endanger water, land, and our communities, and instead follow the lead of defenders calling for direct action and support. It is crucial that we center justice for communities on the frontline of the crisis and the forefront of solutions, and pushing for divestment and the defunding of destructive projects is a tangible way for us to take action in solidarity with Indigenous communities across colonial borders.”
Yago Martínez from Ecologistas en Acción, said: “DAPL is not only a clear violation of Indigenous people’s rights but also a major climate threat. We believe in the importance of international solidarity to achieve goals leading to global and climatic justice, and therefore we cannot fail to stand with Standing Rock. We must raise our voices. Banks from all over the world are involved in this destructive project and they must be held accountable.”

Ruth Breech, Campaigner, Rainforest Action Network, said: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is a morally and financially bankrupt project. If banks value Indigenous rights and free, prior and informed consent, they will leave this project immediately. We don’t need another pipeline. We need financial institutions that are willing to take a stand and do the right thing-divest from the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Leila Salazar López, Executive Director, Amazon Watch, said: “Indigenous peoples across the Americas, from Standing Rock to the Amazon, have for years been standing up against the destructive, racist practices of the fossil fuel industry. The number of people withdrawing their money from the banks supporting the Dakota Access pipeline is a clear signal to those banks that destructive fossil fuel projects are a bad financial, social, and environmental investment.”

Regine Richter of the German organization urgewald, said: “European banks involved in financing DAPL might think they are far enough away and can get off the hook from the protests. But here as well people are enthusiastic to stand with Standing Rock and protest against the loan, as we do this week at BayernLB.”
Johan Frijns, Director BankTrack, said: “The Dakota Access Pipeline is becoming a litmus test for all banks involved on how they let environmental, social and human impacts weigh in when considering finance for a particular project. In this case, the ongoing violation of the rights of the Sioux Tribe leave them no other option but to withdraw from the project.”

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NODAPL, Water is life, Indigenous Rising

The Indigenous Environmental Network is an international environmental justice nonprofit that works with tribal grassroots organizations to build the capacity of Indigenous communities. Find out more at: www.ienearth.org

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The Indigenous Environmental Network  |  PO Box 485  |  Bemidji, MN 56619  | http://www.ienearth.org/

‘The Dakota Access pipeline is becoming a litmus test for all banks involved’

With the Trump administration making clear its intent to push forward the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) regardless of widespread opposition, campaigners are ramping up their call for the project’s financial backers to pull their support.

“If money rules the day then we will bring compassion to our capital by divesting.”
—Chase Iron Eyes, Lakota People’s Law Project

A coalition of groups supporting the defunding campaign announced Friday that more than 700,000 people have signed onto petitions demanding DAPL-financing banks divest from the project. That number “includes individuals who collectively report having over $2.3 billion invested in these banks through checking, mortgage, and credit card accounts, which they are ready to divest if the banks continue financing DAPL,” according to a statement from organizers. Already, the divestment effort has led to the removal of $55 million and counting from more than a dozen banks.

Reporting on how the #DeFundDAPL movement is spreading across Indigenous nations on Thursday, Frances Madeson wrote for Yes! Magazine:

“Many people are, rightfully, afraid that [President Donald Trump’s] executive support now means that the pipelines are full steam ahead,” said Melanie Yazzie, co-founder of The Red Nation, an activist coalition dedicated to the liberation of Native people from capitalism and colonialism. She views divestment as obstruction—the good kind—something akin to water protectors locking down on construction equipment and as a continuation of the widespread resistance that has united under the cry of #NoDAPL.

“The investors and financiers will not move forward if the projects are deemed financially unfavorable,” Yazzie said. “We must continue to deny settlers their desired profits, profits they reap from colonizing our non-human relatives—the land and water.”

That is the hope of a growing cohort of tribal leaders, activists, researchers, and strategists who have come to see divestment, which is catching on all across Indian Country, as a winning tactic in a wider strategy of non-cooperation.

“Indigenous peoples across the Americas, from Standing Rock to the Amazon, have for years been standing up against the destructive, racist practices of the fossil fuel industry,” Leila Salazar López, executive director of Amazon Watch, said Friday. “The number of people withdrawing their money from the banks supporting the Dakota Access pipeline is a clear signal to those banks that destructive fossil fuel projects are a bad financial, social, and environmental investment.”

The 17 banks directly funding the construction of the DAPL are: Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, BayernLB, BBVA, BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Crédit Agricole, DNB ASA, ICBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho Bank, Natixis, SMBC, Société Générale, SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo.

Protests at branch locations took place all week around the country and the world.

And there’s evidence that the campaign is having an effect.

International finance tracking organization BankTrack reported Thursday that Dutch bank ABN AMRO—which has not directly contributed to DAPL construction but had provided a total of $45 million in credit to parent company Energy Transfer Equity (ETE)—announced it would end its financing for ETE if the pipeline is pursued without the consent of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, or if further violence is used against protesters.

“The Dakota Access pipeline is becoming a litmus test for all banks involved on how they let environmental, social, and human impacts weigh in when considering finance for a particular project,” said BankTrack direcor Johan Frijns.

In separate but related news, Seattle’s Affordable Housing, Neighborhoods and Finance Committee this week voted to divest $3 billion from Wells Fargo over its support for DAPL. A final vote from the full council is coming Monday.

“It’s inspiring to see the power of global currency being leveraged in the frontline movement at Standing Rock,” added Chase Iron Eyes, lead attorney for the Lakota People’s Law Project, who was arrested protesting the pipeline just this week.

“Separate fights—defending clean drinking water, upholding constitutional freedoms, creating a new energy economy—are becoming one as people recognize and respond to the problem of banks using their money to finance human rights violations and brutality,” he said. “If money rules the day then we will bring compassion to our capital by divesting.”

The Standing Rock Sioux and its allies are also planning a Native Nations March on Washington for Friday, March 10.

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Carol Kerr ~ HAPPY PATIENT in Legal Medical Cannabis State!!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, outdoor

Why I choose cannabis…

November 25, 2010 at 9:21pm

There are millions of people across this great nation suffering from chronic pain and illness who are legally receiving relief via prescription medications. As a patient that suffers with chronic, debilitating pain from a brain malformation, I can attest to the damage long-term use of prescription medications can do to the human mind and body.

Just last year I lost my brother due to an accidental overdose of hydrocodone prior to back surgery. He didn’t just slip off into the night after falling asleep. He died clutching his chest and screaming in pain, and there was nothing anyone could do. Yet, there are still pharmacies conveniently located on nearly every corner across the country dispensing the poison every day.

For the record, I am not a drug addict, nor do not wish to be addicted to ANY substance, however due to the illnesses I have, I must medicate with SOMETHING regularly to achieve any reasonable measure of “quality of life.” And the one prescription medication that provides some relief is full of liver damaging acetaphetamin and isn’t covered by Medicare.

Plus, the doctor told me that though it relieves my headaches, with regular use it “increases” headaches. Ohhh, so I’ll need more addictive pain medication due to the increased headaches it causes, which will damage my liver all that much faster… are you seeing the RIDICULOUS, vicious circle? Not only are the prescription drugs inadequate and expensive, but I’ve suffered through withdrawal on numerous occasions from addictive pain medications, even spending three days in ICU on a respirator from a Fentanyl patch!

Cannabis is an effective, NON-ADDICTIVE medication that helps me.  Yet, when I don’t have cannabis, I don’t get the sweats, have increased blood pressure, vomit, itch, cry, and wig out!!! I just hurt, try not to move any more than I have to, and keep to myself… survival mode. Not a healthy or pleasant way to live.

As a result of prescription medications I have the onset of liver disease. My digestive system is impaired to the point that I literally have no appetite. Without medication I am consumed with pain to the point that my activities of daily living are limited and socialization with others is not an option. Inhaled cannabis quickly sends the cannabinoids directly to the blood stream via your lungs.

Yet, cannabis doesn’t impair one’s ability to function for long periods of time, cause nausea, or shut down the bowels like prescription pain medications. And while smoking may not be the best option for me, it’s the only one available due to prohibition. For the record, I would prefer to ingest cannabis, but it takes a larger quantity of product to produce a sufficient amount.

For over a year the American Medical Association has urged the federal government to reconsider its stance on cannabis, to change the classification from a Class 1 drug. This means the AMA recognizes that cannabis has medicinal qualities that could be beneficial to a patient’s health. The AMA also states that cannabis deserves more research.

A randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted at San Francisco General Hospital (with) nine doctors and 50 patients involved. Patients suffered from HIV-associated neuropathic pain. “The first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by a median of 72 percent versus 15 percent with placebo. No adverse events reported.” Throughout length of trial “pain was reduced by 34 percent.”

Conclusion: “Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain.”

Latest polling shows 65 percent of Americans support medicinal cannabis with doctor supervision. If comparable to pain pills, shouldn’t the doctor be deciding whether cannabis is the better choice for the patient? Patients should not have to fear imprisonment or the horrible side effects of prescription drugs, especially when there are scientific facts that favor the medicinal use of cannabis.

This matter is not about the legalization of “drugs.” We, as patients, do not condone the use of any drug without doctor supervision. This is about compassion and understanding of others suffering, knowing that cannabis helps them regain their lives and get on with living life to the fullest, not needlessly suffering from the pain of illness or the ugly side effects from pain medications.

Fifteen states have passed legislation in favor of medicinal marijuana. We are well on our way to helping people understand that cannabis is not the harmful drug previously demonized by well meaning, but ill informed political figures. SB 1381, the compassionate use of cannabis 3-year pilot program is coming up for a vote in Illinois. This is our chance to free our countrymen and women from the ill side effects of pain medications.

Patients and doctors alike deserve the right to pursue happiness as stated in our Constitution. We must allow patients to choose the best course of action in medical matters without fear of imprisonment. We must take our medicine out of the hands of greedy drug-lords, and allow safe access to good medicine for  sick and suffering patients.

Cannabis has been proven to help people time and time again. New and fascinating facts about the benefits of medicinally using cannabis are being reported every day. And I am living proof that it works!  This is not an issue of morals, but one of science and compassion for the sick and suffering. We aren’t encouraging anyone to use cannabis. We just want our God-given right to pain relief in the manner which helps us best.

As a responsible citizen of IL I am appalled that I am forced to pay outrageous prices for medicine, lining the pockets of black market drug dealers.  When as a sick patient I should be receiving quality medicine, regulated by the government, provided by state governed agencies which would benefit patients, while strengthening our economy and providing legitimate jobs! You know, with the right medicine given on a regular basis, I just may be able to work again.. or at least take care of MYSELF without the assistance of others.

Cannabis relieves the pain, takes my mind off my poor health, gives me an appetite, and helps me to get out enjoy the life I have left without the hangovers and side effects of man-made medications. May the powers that be hear our voices and bring relief to the suffering citizens of Illinois! No patient should be denied safe access to their medication!!

The fact of the matter is, patients who NEED medicinal cannabis have been and will continue to do whatever they have to, to obtain the medicine they need. The prohibition of medicinal cannabis only punishes us further for being sick at a time when we need love and compassion the most.  Don’t wait till you or someone you love is suffering to investigate this issue.

Carol Kerr ~ HAPPY PATIENT in Legal Medical Cannabis State!!

Leonard Peltier Denied Clemency by Obama

Image result for leonard peltier 2014

 

The Office of the Pardon Attorney has announced President Obama has denied clemency to imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. Peltier is a former member of the American Indian Movement who was convicted of killing two FBI agents during a shootout on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in 1975. He has long maintained his innocence.

Amnesty International condemned the decision.

“We are deeply saddened by the news that President Obama will not let Leonard go home,” said Margaret Huang, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Despite serious concerns about the fairness of legal proceedings that led to his trial and conviction, Peltier was imprisoned for more than 40 years. He has always maintained his innocence. The families of the FBI agents who were killed during the 1975 confrontation between the FBI and American Indian Movement (AIM) members have a right to justice, but justice will not be served by Peltier’s continued imprisonment.”

Peltier’s attorney Martin Garbus appeared on Democracy Now! today.

“I think it’s fair to say that if he doesn’t get commuted by President Obama, he’ll die in jail. He’s a very sick man,” Garbus said. “So, Obama’s not granting him clemency is like a sentence of death. Trump ain’t going to do it. And he’s very sick, and he’s not going to live past that time. I don’t want to be negative, but that’s the reality. He’s very sick, and he’s been in prison over 40 years, hard years, six years of solitary.”

Garbus was notified of Obama’s decision earlier today. In an email, the Office of the Pardon Attorney wrote: “The application for commutation of sentence of your client, Mr. Leonard Peltier, was carefully considered in this Department and the White House, and the decision was reached that favorable action is not warranted. Your client’s application was therefore denied by the President on January 18, 2017… Under the Constitution, there is no appeal from this decision.”

See our full coverage on Leonard Peltier


CONTINUE READING…

We must defend the victory at Standing Rock

We must defend the victory at Standing Rock

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Indigenous water protectors last month secured a major win for Standing Rock. Your actions helped. The Army Corps of Engineers was convinced to halt the Dakota Access Pipeline and conduct an Environmental Impact Statement review.
We need to stand with Standing Rock to ensure that the environmental review won’t be stopped by President-elect Trump.
Progress on the pipeline review is stalled. Although it’s been over a month, the Army Corps of Engineers hasn’t started the review yet. This review is a crucial step in ensuring that the government hears the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s concerns about the pipeline. If the review doesn’t start before President-elect Trump takes office, it could be easier for him to scrap it and ram through completion of the pipeline.
We can’t leave the Dakota Access Pipeline in Trump’s hands: call the Army Corps comment line right now and ask them to start the Environmental Impact Statement review immediately, before January 20th.
President-elect Trump has vowed to fast track the construction of pipelines within his first 100 days in office. We can’t let him ignore the serious human rights issues at play with the Dakota Access Pipeline.
I’ve been to Standing Rock and have spoken with the communities whose land, water and cultural sites are at stake. I’m worried for what might happen under a Trump Administration and what this might mean for the lives of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others that could be affected.
Make the call to the Army Corps right now. It’s easy, quick and can make a real impact. We’ll give you the number and a script for what to say.
The U.S. government must acknowledge that Indigenous people have the right to be involved in decisions that could impact their human rights.
Thank you for taking action.
Sincerely,
Zeke
Zeke Johnson
Individuals at Risk Program
Amnesty International USA

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Amnesty International USA