Mongols Nation trial. Can feds revoke trademarked name?

The_R_Sign

First they came for the motorcycle club patches and I said nothing because I was not a biker. A Mongols Nation trial starts soon, with a key issue being whether the US government has the right to revoke the Mongols trademarked name just, because. The prosecution seems arbitrary, selective, and deliberately punitive. If the government wins, then maybe “Tea Party” or “Socialist Worker’s Party” will be next to be prosecuted for having a name deemed Unacceptable by the government.

Among such hideous crimes mentioned by the government were some Mongols armed themselves and went to a Mongols party, one Mongol was found with a whopping three grams of marijuana, and brace yourself for this shocker, Mongols raised money for a lawyer. Happily, the Constitution is on the side on the Mongols.

During multiple attempts to seize the Mongols membership marks multiple federal judges have ruled that motorcycle club insignia are protected by the Constitution in the same way that the Christian Cross, the Jewish Star, the Moslem Crescent, the Masonic Compass and other symbols are protected from government confiscation.

The key element in the current legal battle is a determination of whether wearing a Mongols, or any motorcycle club, patch is “harmful, unprotected, or otherwise illegal.”

From the comments:

The bad news is: The sole purpose of this case is to cost the Mongols a lot of money, which it already has. The good news is: A verdict that infringes on the Mongol’s First Amendment Right is going to be vacated on appeal.

What you think about the Mongols is irrelevant. The real issue here is the government is way out of bounds.

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The Aging Rebel: Dispatches From The Motorcycle Outlaw Frontier

Waco bikers were killed by police, not other bikers

The Aging Rebel: Dispatches From The Motorcycle Outlaw Frontier

The Aging Rebel, a site for 1% bikers, says the bikers killed in Waco were shot by police. His article on Waco and the comments are intelligent, if sometimes heated, and show how 1% clubs view what happened.

The fight started in the bathroom and spilled over into the parking lot. Law enforcement said bikers pulled guns. If so, then IMO, police were justified in shooting. I do find it curious though so many different law enforcement agencies, including federal, were on the scene when it happened.

The scuffle became a knife fight and several men were stabbed. When one of the combatants produced a gun the Swat team opened fire with automatic weapons. Multiple sources have told The Aging Rebel that all of the dead were killed by police.

From the comments:

I have been following this since I first saw it. When I read there was a police presence my first thought was that I wanted to read ballistic reports and a result on how many bikers had police issue ammunition in them. Surprise, surprise. For the mainstream media that states this was a “biker gang” shooting I would like to say to go fuck yourself.

Seriously? You are really going to blame the cops? I know you idolize anyone with a 1%er diamond because you weren’t man enough to be one, but come on! At some point you have to stop licking their asses and stop with these idiotic conspiracies.

It blows my mind that the ACLU or other Liberty watchdogs are absent from this massacre and the trampling of bikers rights. I know silly me I forgot ethnics and demographics determine the support or air time groups of citizens receive

Typical media coverage; NO mention of Fed agencies present.

The Aging Rebel is Donald Charles Davis. Posts from his blog are in his book The Aging Rebel: Dispatches From The Motorcycle Outlaw Frontier, and he’s written several other books on the subject too.

Are you now or have you ever been a member of a so-called outlaw biker club?

I am not a member of any motorcycle club. I am a former member of two outlaw motorcycle clubs. One club blew apart and disbanded after a double murder. The other club is still very much in existence. I am not going to name either one.

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Mexican Mormon War

The Mexican Mormon War (Drug Cartels vs. Mormons)

Mexican Mormon War

Mitt Romney’s father George was born in a Mormon colony in Colonia Juarez, Mexico. Mormons are still there, and are actively fighting drug cartels, kidnappings, violence, corruption, and crime, as documented in The Mexican Mormon War video from Vice. The Mormons are tough, well-armed, and well-organized. Their illegal weapons, as well as the narco’s illegal weapons, come from America. The money comes from America. The drugs are shipped to America. The war is fought in Mexico. For now.

Some Mormons moved to Mexico in the 1870’s, where polygamy was still legal, after the US government ordered LDS to renounce polygamy or be exterminated. (However, that’s another story.) Current day Mormons in Colonia Juarez are well-off, have nice homes and schools, and that’s why they are targeted by the narcos. Mormons fought back, led by the LeBaron family. Brent LeBaron’s great-uncle was the bat-shit crazy killer Ervil LeBaron who believed in blood atonement, and who killed or had killed anyone who opposed him, including wives, children, and probably Brent’s grandfather. This happened in the 1980’s. Ervil was responsible for dozens of murders. Because of this insane split within the family, the LeBaron’s learned to be watchful, tough, and ready.

So, when a local cartel kidnapped 16-year-old Eric LeBaron and demanded one million dollars ransom, Mormons put such pressure on the government, that Eric was returned unharmed with no ransom paid. The narcos retaliated by killing two members of the LeBaron clan. The narco leader was eventually offered up to the US, but 20 or so others involved in the murders were never prosecuted.

Mormons set up checkpoints, watch towers, and use counter-terrorism techniques. The military also has a base in their area (because they trust Mormons) and routinely sets up roadblocks. Killings and kidnappings in the area have lessened. All this without being able to own privately own weapons. Sort of. If you start a gun club in Mexico, you do get access to weapons, even if you can’t own them. Their first attempt at founding such a club was thwarted by a corrupt mayor who was working for the narcos. He is now in prison and the Mormons got their gun club. They also point-blank say they have illegal weapons and “come find them if you want.”

Alex LeBaron is a congressman there working to legalize gun ownership. The Mexico Army once attacked their area. The LeBarons thought the Army were criminals and shot a soldier. Cartel leaders called to say they had new respect for the LeBarons. Which gives some idea how insane things in Mexico can get.

The cartels of Juarez, Mexico, are at war with a group of Mormons, some of whom are related to Mitt Romney. We went there to document the conflict, meet Romney’s Mormon family, and find out more about how US policy is impacting the war on drugs.

Hosted by VICE Founder Shane Smith.

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UK election: Total destruction to your mind

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The votes are in and the Conservative Party have crossed the threshold necessary to form a government. Their partners in coalition, the Liberal Democrats, have seen their votes drop from 62 to 8. The Labour party are in second place and are down 26 seats, but the real trauma for them is seeing their votes in Scotland collapse.

Labour have dominated Scottish politics for almost a century and to see 56 of 59 seats go to the Scottish National Party is devastating for them. The Labour Party has always spoken in socialist terms when it suited them but since the rise of neoliberalism they have jumped on that bandwagon (much like the Democrats in the USA). And the old saw that if you want rid of the Tories you must vote Labour sounds pretty hollow now that people do the maths – even if every one of the 59 Scottish seats had gone to Labour, the Tories still would have won. (This hasn’t stopped Scottish Labour from trying to spin their defeat in a similar fashion to the Democrats when Gore lost, ie “it was all Nader’s fault”; though in this case, the logic would be that somehow the SNP got people in England not to vote Labour…if fear of having to deal with the SNP swung Labour voters to the Tories, that doesn’t suggest those voters are after progressive policies).

The punditry has been saying for some time now that Scotland really isn’t more social democratic than England, but this result may put paid to that analysis. The SNP ran a campaign with a message of anti-austerity and against the renewal of Trident nuclear missiles. Conventional wisdom in the neoliberal era has been that this sort of campaign can only fail. Conventional wisdom took a battering last night.

The Scottish Labour Party has retained one seat (as have the LibDems, down from 11; the Tories have kept their one Scottish seat) and seen several prominent MPs defeated, including the leader of Scottish Labour Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary and MP since Blair’s 97 landslide. He lost to Mhairi Black, a 20 year old student and part-time chip shop worker.  Scottish Labour have seen their power base decimated, killed off by jettisoning their principles for a Blairite deal with the devil.

In England the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer Ed Balls lost his seat. Charles Kennedy, former leader of the LibDems and MP for 32 years, also lost, as did his colleague Vince Cable, who had been the Business Secretary in the coalition government. Far right anti-immigrant UKIP leader Nigel Farage failed to win his seat, his party only electing one MP. He resigned as party leader. (Disturbingly though, UKIP saw the highest increase in its share of the vote at 13%).

Party leaders Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg also resigned.  All in all a terrible day for the status quo. Even the Tory result, while depressing from a progressive point of view, only gives the Tories a bare majority. Bad relations with his backbench MPs, a few resignations, deaths etc, and they may soon be in an impossible position. The last time a Tory government was in this position was with John Major, and he referred to his troublesome backbenchers as the “bastards“.

As it is, they are going to find it difficult to square the circle of maintaining their professed belief in the Union, dealing with the English nationalism they have stoked up (in the tradition of Thatcher), and finding any legitimacy in Scotland where they have only one MP.  Furthermore, the SNP as the third largest party would be entitled to sit on select committees. They will be able to raise questions in Parliament and may be able to make an appealing case for progressive politics for voters in the rest of the UK.

This election has made clear that the political differences between Scotland and England, the two countries that created the Union in 1707, are vast – one social democratic and the other lacking a strong progressive force.  Something will have to change, but at this point it’s anyone’s guess where it will end up.

For the moment, perhaps Swamp Dogg sums up the effect Scotland has had on the British status quo.

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absolutechaos

UK Election: Dissolve the people

absolutechaos

By Friday we should know the result of the UK General Election. Polls have shown very little movement for the two main parties, but they have not been the main story this time. In what must be a first, Scotland has figured as the main talking point, causing cognitive dissonance so extreme that the main political parties (Labour, Tory, Lib Dem) are sending out a series of confused and confusing messages (Vote SNP Get Labour, Vote SNP Get Tory, Vote Labour Get SNP etc etc).

Politics since the rise of neoliberalism has seen a steady rise in meaningless messages. Vote for the person you want to drink a beer with, vote for stability, “hard working families“, “change“.  Back in the 70s when financier David Rockefeller was freaking out with the rest of the elites over what had happened in the 60s, he set up the Trilateral Commission to study what had went wrong and how to fix it. He got academics from the USA, Europe and Japan to have a think and they produced the Crisis of Democracy. One of the academics involved, Samuel Huntington declared the problem was an “excess of democracy” and the solution was a return to public apathy.

While elites have not been as successful as they might have hoped in eliminating the public from politics, they have created a crisis of democracy in the sense that few people have any faith in the system, whether in the UK or other “Western” governments.  And so neither the Tories nor Labour, if the polls are correct, will win an outright majority (326 seats out of 650). And the neoliberal party par excellence, the Liberal Democrats look like they will pay for having gone into coalition with the Tories, few buying their line that they made the last five years more human.

While the UK media, particularly the BBC, spent the past few years talking up the popularity of the far right, anti-immigrant UKIP party, they look like they may not win as big as predicted, their leader Nigel Farage in danger of not gaining his seat.

But – again if polls are correct – the real beneficiaries of the election will be the Scottish National Party who look to go from 6 MPs to anywhere from 20 to 50+. Scotland sends 59 MPs to Westminster, and the majority have always been Labour, which has dominated Scottish politics for almost a century.  But since the Blair years, the party has been seen as less and less progressive and the Iraq War was the last straw for many.  The Scottish Parliament has meant that the SNP has had the opportunity to govern, and have largely been judged competent, which compared to the machine politics of Scottish Labour is high praise indeed. And the SNP have now positioned themselves as part of a progressive, anti-austerity alliance with Plaid Cymru and the Greens.

The assorted media and political elites have been unable to comprehend what is happening, and have trotted out many of the same scare stories from the Independence Referendum, but have been unable to make much traction with them. While they were pulling in the same direction during the referendum, they’re now attacking each other as well as the threat of the SNP, so their messages have been less consistent. They have wheeled out Gordon Brown, however, who gave a “thunderous”, “barn-storming” speech. What difference it will make to anyone remains to be seen, but journalists liked it.

And of course, embattled Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy was able to get news because he was hectored by some noisy protesters. This was reported by one journalist as “absolute chaos on the streets of Glasgow”; anyone aware of what’s going on in Baltimore might assume this journo has led a rather sheltered existence.

It all seems like deja vu. During the referendum, the fear factor was ratcheted up, and as polling day approached warnings of apocalypse became ever more hysterical.  And as we near polling day, dire warnings continue that if we don’t stick with the status quo – either the Con/Dem coalition or Labour in Scotland – everything will fall apart. 1 million people reportedly use foodbanks in the UK, a 19% year upon year increase. The Tories say that they need another five years to finish the job, presumably getting millions more to use foodbanks. The Labour Party’s response is to carve their “pledges” into a tablet of stone. But as Labour’s candidate Lucy Powell points out “I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that the fact he’s carved them into stone means he’s absolutely, you know, not going to break them or anything like that.” One thing is for certain, all the mainstream parties believe “passionately” about something or other.

Despite the warnings that the sky will fall if voters don’t do what they’re told, the people are behaving in an unpredictable fashion. Perhaps the party leaders would do well to take the advice of Bertolt Brecht:

After the uprising of the 17th June
The Secretary of the Writers Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?

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Baltimore_riot_police

Obama plan for Black / Latino youth is feel-good liberalism

Baltimore_riot_police

Obama’s new foundation says economic development will stop police from treating minorities differently than whites. It won’t. Moreover, saying economic uplift in an area will reduce the possibility of future riots conveniently ignores racial and class underpinnings, the structural problems, that underlie unrest. Sure, a jobs program will help some disadvantaged youth get a decent job. But it’s a long way from that to saying this will somehow stop cops (of any color) from hassling Black youth with baggy pants in South Los Angeles when they wouldn’t think (or dare) do it if the kid was white, driving a new Mercedes, and in Beverly Hills.

This well-meaning plan by Obama also focuses on helping youth without fathers, certainly a worthy goal this is treating the symptom not the cause. The question that needs to be answered is why do so many poor youth lack dads? However, answering that would get into a minefield of contentious questions about race and class and would certainly scare away potential donors.

Also, um, are poor white young not a part of this, or are they just hillbillies, and who cares about them? Certainly not the liberal establishment, that’s for sure.

Amid the raw emotions and festering wounds of recent racial unrest, President Obama on Monday helped create a new organization to help him devote his remaining time in the White House as well as his post-presidency to bringing more opportunities to young Hispanic and African-American men trapped in poverty and hopelessness.

Obama is correct in saying that police too often have to play social worker, a job they are unequipped to do.

“Which is why in addressing the issues in Baltimore or Ferguson or New York, the point I made was that if we’re just looking at policing, we’re looking at it too narrowly,” Mr. Obama said. “If we ask the police to simply contain and control problems that we ourselves have been unwilling to invest and solve, that’s not fair to the communities, it’s not fair to the police.”

His new foundation will of course be his equivalent of the Clinton Foundation, and you can take that however you want. :)

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Clarion demolition, Feb. 2015

Blow it up, start all over again. North Las Vegas Strip

Clarion demolition, Feb. 2015

Clarion demolition, Feb. 2015

The fabled Riviera casino and hotel closes today, it was in bankruptcy and was bought by the convention center. The nearby seriously aging Circus Circus has to wonder how much longer it has. The North Vas Vegas Strip is a bit of a ghost town now due to previous demolitions of hotels, however all that is changing. The $2 billion Resorts World breaks ground May 5. The Clarion was imploded in February and the new owners of the land plan a resort bigger than Wynn and Encore (which are really big.) Other developments sure to come included where New Frontier was and the mothballed Fountainbleau. Las Vegas never stops reinventing itself.

Things don’t always go as planned. The Harmon was meant to be a non-gaming hotel with residences. Located near the Riviera, it was partially completed when major problems with rebar were discovered. After a couple of years of lawsuits, it is being torn down manually.

The New Frontier was imploded in 2007, complete with epic fireworks because it’s Vegas, baby.

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dont-shoot

1,000 deaths per year by police in U.S., far more than elsewhere

dont-shoot
Why do police in this country kill so many people? This doesn’t happen in other countries anywhere nearly as much. We are off the charts when it comes to law enforcement killing citizens. Virtually always, law enforcement investigates the killing, declares itself blameless, and the shooters go free. Since the killings often happen to people of color and / or the poor, the powers-that-be don’t much care, especially since the prison-industrial complex keeps many of them employed and getting re-elected.

The unintended consequence is more and more people stop trusting police. Long term, this bodes very badly for the country. Police cannot work effectively if people in an area simply won’t talk to or cooperate with them. And that’s exactly what’s happening. This has a spiraling downwards effect as police feel more isolated, so they come on even harder, which causes more people to not trust them.

I lived in Los Angeles for thirty years and did my best to avoid any contact with LAPD at all ever because they have a deserved reputation for thumping first and asking questions later. Lots of people I know in L.A, feel them same, and I’m talking about whites with good incomes. Imagine what it must be like for a black teenager in Watts or a young Latino in East L.A.

It turns out that 1,000 deaths-by-police is not a crazy number.

1,000. In a year.

I can’t get my mind to ingest that number.

In Great Britain, the usual number, per year, seems to be zero. Give or take one?

Germany reported 8 deaths by police service weapons in a two-year period.

I’m in shock. We really have to look at this. To pretend that calling attention to it amounts to some kind of verbal war against police is ridiculous.

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baltimore-riot

Riots, a howl from the disenfranchised, hurt areas for years

baltimore-riot

I was watching a documentary about the Vietnam War last night while news of the Baltimore riots came in. Fifty years after the turbulence and madness of the 1960’s, we as a society have apparently learned nothing. Pointless wars continue. Cities burn. The same gaping inequalities are still present (and if anything, worse.)

Saying rioters should have been peaceful misses the point completely. This is anger from people with very little left to lose. However, riots can and do devastate areas for decades afterwards.

Hartford CT had one of the worst records for riots back then, every year for about 17 years, I believe.. The 1968 riot in the North End of Hartford when Martin Luther King was murdered was one of their worst. In 2008, 40 years later, the area still had not recovered.

The riots exacerbated trends that were already in motion – businesses closed and never reopened, the white middle class fled and investment stalled in this North End neighborhood that is in sight, but out of reach, of downtown’s wealth.

Former city Councilman Steven Harris, who was fighting in the jungles of Vietnam when he learned of King’s assassination, returned home in May 1968 to a different Hartford from the one he had left.

“When I got back from ‘Nam, it was almost as if whites had left north Hartford overnight,” Harris said. “The drugstores were gone, they were burned. The bakeries were gone, they were burned.

“Overnight we went from a kind of community that had drugstores, supermarkets, bakeries – to a neighborhood that had nothing. Including white folks,” Harris said. “They all left.”

“That’s the effect that is still there. We don’t have a supermarket, not one supermarket, in north Hartford,” he said. “If you look at Albany Avenue, that’s the effect of the riots of ’68. Emptiness.”

“That’s 40 years ago,” Stewart said. “We have not recovered from that.”

MC5 version of a John Lee Hooker song about the Detroit riot.

You know, the Motor City is burning people
There ain’t a thing in the world they can do

My home town burning down to the ground
Worse than Vietnam

The fire wagons kept comin’, baby
But the Black Panther snipers wouldn’t let them put it out.

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history-of-mass-murders

Mass media reporting on murders is highly biased

history-of-mass-murders

Murder done by whites against whites, females, and elderly are more likely to be reported by mass media, especially if they used a gun, and most especially if it was an “assault weapon.” By contrast, crimes by or against blacks are barely considered newsworthy. And if you add in mass killing by fire, then deaths by firearms become much less significant.

This and more in a fascinating review by Active Response Training of Mass Murder in the United States: A History.

The bottom line is that the news media seriously distorts the reporting of mass murders. If you were only to look at reported mass murders in the media, you would think that all of them were committed with firearms, in public places, by white offenders who were strangers to their victims. That is a very inaccurate representation of reality.

My advice is that you unplug your television and cancel your newspaper subscriptions. If we know that these sources misrepresent statistics about violent crime, what makes you think that all the other information they report is accurate?

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