North Dakota Latest Introduced Bills, and the Scalp Bounty

Sometimes a crucial distinction lies merely on the tactic, and not the sentiment.

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[A bill that state GOP Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced would exempt drivers from liability if they accidentally hit a pedestrian, according to the Bismarck Tribune. House Bill 1203 was written up in direct response to groups of protesters blocking roadways, Kempenich told the paper. He claims protesters were seen jumping out in front of vehicles.

“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” Kempenich said. “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.

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Another measure would make it a crime for adults to wear masks nearly across the board, while another would allow the state to sue the federal government over millions in extra police costs, according to ABC News.”]  Read the full report | The Huffington Post

Now, let’s draw an analogy (with a practice poorly documented and sensationalized):

[Beginning in the 1830s, two Mexican states (Sonora and Chihuahua) authorized scalp bounties against Apache Indians, but these were as controversial in Mexico as they had been in the British colonies.

In New Mexico and Arizona, the state governments never approved scalp bounties, but some county officials revived and increased the old Apache scalp bounties that had been used by the former Mexican states. A report from the New York Times in 1885 (the most recent source I know of that documents scalp bounties) offers the following passage that shows the mentality of those who justified the practice:

From time immemorial all border countries have offered bounties for bear and wolf scalps and other animals that destroyed the pioneer’s stock or molested his family. Why, therefore, asks the Arizona settler, should not the authorities place a reward upon the head of the terrible Apache, who murders the white man’s family and steals his stock like the wolves?

Some colonial governments in the British North American colonies enacted  scalp bounties early in the 1700s, in the context of war between  Britain and France. They wanted to create an incentive for frontier  settlers to kill Indians who were allied with the French enemy. In  practice, though, colonial Indian killers were careless about the distinction  between “friendly” and “hostile” Indians. As the white population  expanded, so did demand for land, and this was the material motive  behind most killing of Indians, whether sanctioned by authority or not…. ]  Read the full article | Quora

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Fish to Die For | Piracy and the Unraveling of Industry in Venezuela

A photo essay by Rodrigo Abd

The warm Caribbean sea is increasingly becoming a grim free-for-all | The Bismark Tribune

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11/13/16 | Relatives of nine men from a fishing family, who were shot in the head while on their knees, mourn them at the cemetery of Cariaco, Sucre state, Venezuela. Five law enforcement officers were charged with storming the village and killing these men, who were widely thought to be members of a gang | Photo by Rodrigo Abd, AP

 

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11/2/16 | A member of the Marval fishing family, who goes by the nickname El Chukiti, holds a homemade gun as he guards against a possible pirate attack as fishermen unload their catch in Punta de Araya, Sucre state, Venezuela. The family’s self-defense group calls themselves Los Cainos | Photo by Rodrigo Abd, AP

 

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11/3/16 | Emergency room doctor Norka Patino treats a man who was shot in Cumana, Sucre state, Venezuela. Patino, who has been working at the hospital for over 20 years, said she has to use the same needle on various patients, and that many die unnecessarily of heart attacks, diarrhea, asthma and bacteria contracted at the hospital. The band on her arm is the Venezuelan flag accented with a black band to protest the hospital’s lack of basic supplies | Photo by Rodrigo Abd, AP

 

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11/8/16 | Jorge Marval naps in his boat under a plastic sheet after fishing all night, as the sun rises above Punta de Araya. The fishing trade has collapsed along with virtually every industry across Venezuela | Photo by Rodrigo Abd, AP

 

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11/7/16 | Suspects of violent crimes ask police for food, as one holds out money, from inside a cell at the municipal police station in Cumana, Sucre state, Venezuela. While police provide some food, prisoners gets most of it along with drinks from their families | Photo by Rodrigo Abd, AP

 

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11/7/16 | Police are reluctant to make mass arrests of pirates robbing and killing fishermen at sea because jails are already packed full, with prisoners sleeping in shifts at night | Photo by Rdrigo Abd, AP

 

Voters’ Perceptions of Crime Continue to Conflict with Reality

Despite double-digit percentage decreases in U.S. violent and property crime rates since 2008, most voters say crime has gotten worse during that span, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The disconnect is nothing new, though: Americans’ perceptions of crime are often at odds with the data.crime

Leading up to Election Day, a majority (57%) of those who had voted or planned to vote said crime has gotten worse in this country since 2008. Almost eight-in-ten voters who supported President-elect Donald Trump (78%) said this, as did 37% of backers of Democrat Hillary Clinton. Just 5% of pro-Trump voters and a quarter of Clinton supporters said crime has gotten better since 2008, according to the survey of 3,788 adults conducted Oct. 25-Nov. 8.

Official government crime statistics paint a strikingly different picture. Between 2008 and 2015 (the most recent year for which data are available), U.S. violent crime and property crime rates fell 19% and 23%, respectively, according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program, which tallies serious crimes reported to police in more than 18,000 jurisdictions around the nation.

Another Justice Department agency, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, produces its own annual crime report, based on a survey of more than 90,000 households that counts crimes that aren’t reported to police in addition to those that are. BJS data show that violent crime and property crime rates fell 26% and 22%, respectively, between 2008 and 2015 (again, the most recent year available).

So what explains the gap between perceptions of crime and the data?

Voters’ perceptions of crime continue to conflict with reality

The Mexican Town of Cheran | How a Bunch of Indigenous Folk Toppled the Cartels, Replaced the Local Government and Took Full Control of their Community

A comparison is in order, between the supposed semi-autonomy of the native nations in USA, and that of the people in Cheran.

[Many of the self-defense movements that have sprung up over the past year or so in other parts of Michoacán have taken their inspiration from Cherán. There are several meaningful differences, however, in how Cherán combated La Familia versus what’s happening elsewhere in Mexico. These differences are what has made the comunitarios, as Cherán’s security force is known, successful and respected.

The Purépecha community rose up to protect its land and its people. It’s not always clear if some of the other militias have the same purity of purpose. Also, because Cherán citizenry is made up of indigenous people, they have rights that allow them a level of autonomy from the Mexican government that other groups barricading the entries to their towns don’t enjoy.

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Three years ago the people of the town of Cherán were terrorized by members of La Familia cartel, who brazenly plundered their sacred forest in broad daylight, likely selling the wood to transnational corporations. The plight facing the community of 16,000 people, situated in the western portion of the Mexican state of Michoacán, was just part of a trend taking place throughout the region.

Other cartels, such as the Knights Templar, were extorting money from other industries, forcing farmers growing avocados, limes, and other produce to pay ad hoc taxes on their crops. Those who didn’t pay and their families were subject to kidnapping, murder, and other violent tactics. To make matters worse, in many towns in Michoacán, local governments and police forces were either aiding and abetting the criminal elements or were powerless to stop them. The antagonism from the cartels has led to several towns forming so-called self-defense forces, picking up arms to barricade and police their communities, protect their valuable crops, and hunt their intimidators, as well as Knights Templar’s informants.

Cherán was the first town to do so back in 2011. A community of indigenous people belonging to the Purépecha culture, its traditions included debating issues of great importance to the townspeople via discussions over some 200 bonfires throughout the town, where community members would huddle. After watching 70 percent of their forest, or Pakua Karakua, being dismantled tree trunk by tree trunk, the talk around the bonfires finally turned to action. The community had had enough.]

Read the full story here | AL JAZEERA AMERICA

Also, read: The Mexican Town That Kicked Out the Cartels—and Told the Police and Political Parties to Get Lost Too | REASON MAGAZINE

Poor Women’s Moody Blues

The dark truth behind the Jeff Davis 8 case, still unsolved, of eight sex workers murdered in the Bayou

According to Brown’s book, what the evidence started pointing to was not a serial killer evading capture but a steady escalation of blatant misconduct by law enforcement. There were allegations that officers had sex with the women who later became Jeff Davis 8 victims, and the task force was, Brown writes, “a near case study in conflict of interest.” There was also evidence in the Jeff Davis 8 cases – including the truck where one of the victims had her throat slashed – that was seemingly tampered with or was removed from the parish entirely. A prison nurse and a sergeant who had tried to voice some of their concerns were subsequently fired from their jobs. And most compelling, Brown writes, “is that most if not all of the Jeff Davis 8…witnessed other murders. Indeed, women who provided information on the first few cases wound up victims themselves.”

Full story | Rolling Stone

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The Potential Power of Legal Precedent… in a Global Can of Too May Worms

Destroying history is now being charged as a war crime | The Huffington Post

An Islamist fighter has pleaded guilty in the Hague for destroying parts of the fabled West African trading city of Timbuktu, in the International Criminal Court’s first case based on the destruction of cultural artifacts.

Ahmad al-Faqi al-Mahdi has admitted today (Aug 22) to razing all but two of the city’s 16 mausoleums as well as a mosque dating back to 1400 during a raid by Islamist radicals in 2012. Ahmad told the tribunal in the Netherlands that he regretted “the damage [his] actions have caused.”

In March, Ahmad was charged for “war crimes of intentionally directing attacks against historic monuments and buildings dedicated to religion,” according to the court. “Deliberate attacks on cultural property have become actual weapons of war,” ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said during proceedings today.

The case also marks the first time an ICC defendant has pleaded guilty. The trial, likely to be over within a week because of Ahmad’s guilty plea, should lead to one of the ICC prosecutors’ few wins.

Of more than 30 indictments at the ICC, only three defendants have been convicted—Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, Germain Katanga, and most recentlyJean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, former politicians and rebel leaders from Democratic Republic of Congo. The ICC’s inconsistent track record has invited accusations that the court’s limited authority renders it ineffective.

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Confirmation of charges hearing in the case of The Prosecutor v. Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi | ICC | Flickr

Animal Rape and Animal Brothel

“The real objection in our view however is that animals are incapable of consenting to sexual acts. In addition, they are sentient beings whose physical and mental integrity should be respected and afforded protection from sexual violation by humans. “

[Despite the general revulsion that most people express when the topic is broached, and despite bestiality being considered a psychological disorder – in many countries around the world – sex with animals is not illegal – and perhaps surprisingly some of those countries are in the EU.  Even in some of the more highly developed EU countries, sex with animals has only very recently been made illegal (e.g. The German Animal Welfare Act 2013, s3(13)).

An article in the Digital Journal states that “sexual contact with animals has been legal in [Denmark] since 1933, and has apparently given birth to “barnyard brothels” in the country. Those establishments are reported to charge anywhere from $85 to $170 for an encounter with an animal! (A whole new meaning to a “petting” farm).

Understandably – this whole issue catalyses strong emotions and raises complex moral and ethical questions as well as animal welfare and human health concerns.

For example, according to one study, men who had sex with animals  were twice as likely to develop cancer of the penis as other men who did not. If this finding is corroborated, this may have serious implications for transferring animal viruses into the human population because people who have sex with animals do not restrict their sexual activity to animals and many will go on to have sex with human partners. Should this be the case, there is an argument that sex with animals should be made illegal in the wider public interest to protect the health of the population at large from contracting zoonotic diseases.

In a study of 300 children who sexually abused other children, 20% of them had a history of sexually abusing animals (Duffield et al., 1998). Whilst this research does not specifically suggest many or even any people who sexually abuse animals will go on to abuse children – the higher than average incidence of this correlation is a concern. Since sex with animals is a “sexual preference disorder” – this at least puts legislators on notice that there are troubling related issues.

Are there any other problems?

One piece of research reported “that professionals should be mindful of the potential level of dangerousness in individuals convicted of zoophilic offences” and that “individuals convicted of sexual offences involving animals were found to be the most deviant and indiscriminate of sex offenders.” (Reported in Wilcox et al. 2005)

Does the EU know about this issue?

A question was put to the Commission concerning this issue on 2/5/2012 by Tiziano Motti. Part of the question was as follows:

 “It would appear, in light of activity on the Internet and of various reports, that in some EU Member States, such as Sweden, Spain, Denmark and lately even Germany, there is a gap in national provisions that allows certain pets and stray animals to be sexually exploited, in exchange for money, within dedicated venues. Apparently, some pet owners are offering their animals for this type of commercial use, and these are not isolated incidents but form part of an organised trade at European level that has already become a source of ‘sex tourism’.” 

What reply was given?

Mr Dalli replied on behalf of the Commission on 27/6/2012 stating:

“The Commission is not aware of the type of abuses mentioned by the Honourable Memberand has not receive any evidence of possible health problems related to such practice in the EU.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (1), animal welfare is to be taken into consideration only in areas where the treatment of animals may interfere with some EU policies, like agriculture or the internal market. 

Therefore, this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.”

A second question was placed by Kay Swinburne (ECR) on 29/5/2012 as follows:

“It has been brought to my attention that bestiality is still legal in a number of EU Member States. It has been reported that a number of ‘bestiality brothels’ exist in Germany (1), despite the distribution of animal pornography being punishable by law.

Given that the EU has been very vocal on animal welfare issues, it would seem appropriate for the EU to intervene and introduce some common EU‐wide rules to illegalise bestiality and animal pornography and ensure that animals are adequately protected, as they are in my own Member State.”

Answer given by Mr Dalli on behalf of the Commission  (27 July 2012)

The Commission is not aware of the type of abuses mentioned by the Honourable Member of the European Parliament.

According to Article 13 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (2), animal welfare is taken into consideration only in areas where the treatment of animals may interfere with some EU policies (3), like agriculture or internal market.

Therefore, this matter remains under the sole competence of the Member States.” 

When the European Parliament was served with two petition on 27/3/13 – the EU changed tack by at least no longer denying the problem: In the Commission reply, on 27 March 2013 the EU simply washed its hands of the issue and stated:

“… certain topics of animal protection remain under the responsibility of the Member States (e.g… bestiality…).”

Given the distasteful nature of the topic – it is little wonder the issue is rarely debated publicly. In the absence of public scrutiny there are many examples of animals being severely injured (thus requiring veterinary attention), contracting sexually transmitted infectionsand even being killed during the course of the expression of this “sexual preference disorder”.

On the basis of these facts, is it right that this deviant behaviour should go unchallenged within several member states within the EU?

Whilst the EU is not and should not be a “sexual/moral policeman” – there is enough evidence available to indicate animal welfare is seriously compromised by this sexually deviant behaviour happening within its borders. In addition, zoophilia represents a potential threat to human health.]

Read the full story | OCCUPY ANIMALS