GOP ‘Silence Speaks Volumes,’ Says Ilhan Omar as Boebert’s Bigotry Goes Unpunished

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Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) addresses thousands of demonstrators from across the country as they rally in support of a pathway to citizenship for the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on September 21, 2021. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

“Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims. Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress.”

BRETT WILKINS November 27, 2021

Rep. Ilhan Omar on Saturday condemned her GOP colleagues’ inaction following the recent publication by Rep. Lauren Boebert of an anti-Muslim video in which the Colorado Republican lies about the Somali-American lawmaker being mistaken for a suspected suicide bomber inside the U.S. Capitol.

“These anti-Muslim attacks aren’t about my ideas but about my identity and it’s clear,” Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted.

Addressing House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), she added that “your silence speaks volumes.”

Boebert issued what critics called a “sorry not sorry” apology via Twitter on Friday after calling Omar (D-Minn.) a member of “the jihad squad” and falsely claiming that a Capitol police officer came urgently running into an elevator the two congresswomen shared.

“What’s happening?” Boebert said in the video, which was recorded at an event in Pueblo last Saturday. “I look to my left and there she is, Ilhan Omar, and I said, ‘Well she doesn’t have a backpack, we should be fine.'”

Boebert’s story—which Omar says never happened—drew applause and cheers from the audience. Pueblo County Republican chair Leverington subsequently defended Boebert, saying she “probably expressed the sentiment of many Americans.”

“Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter.”

Boebert also referred to progressive Democratic lawmakers as the “jihad squad” last week while defending Rep. Paul Gosar, who on November 17 was censured by the House of Representatives and stripped of his committee appointments after his office produced and published an edited animé video depicting the Arizona Republican murdering Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and attacking President Joe Biden with swords.

While Democrats and at least one Republican—Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois—have condemned Boebert’s attack on Omar, GOP leadership has been silent on the matter.

“Saying I am a suicide bomber is no laughing matter,” Omar tweeted on Friday, adding that McCarthy and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) “need to take appropriate action.”

“Normalizing this bigotry not only endangers my life but the lives of all Muslims,” she warned. “Anti-Muslim bigotry has no place in Congress.”


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Supes face key affordable housing vote

Plus: more taxpayer dollars for bad cops, and 248 people locked up beyond the legal time for a speedy trial because SF courts are lagging … that’s The Agenda for Nov. 29-Dec. 5

By TIM REDMOND NOVEMBER 28, 2021 (48hills.org)

The full Board of Supes will have a chance Tuesday/30 to push for more immediate spending on affordable housing—or side with Mayor London Breed, who wants to prevent the effort.

At this point, seven supervisors have signed on to back a measure by Sup. Dean Preston that would allocate $64 million to buy and build new non-market social housing.

But Breed has been organizing to defeat the proposal, and she will almost certainly veto it. That means the supporters will need one more vote.

Sup. Ahsha Safai voted for the measure in committee, but is not a co-sponsor. The two other supes most likely to be an eighth vote, Rafael Mandelman and Myrna Melgar, told me they remained undecided last week. Melgar was the only supervisor to join Breed’s Office in a meeting with affordable housers that in part sought to convince them not to back the measure.

Mandelman was at a rally just two weeks ago, arguing that the city needs to buy more apartment buildings so they don’t go to speculators who evict the tenants.

Sup. Rafael Mandelman speaks out against speculative evictions. He could be a swing vote on a measure to allocate more money to take housing out of the market.

It’s going to be one of the more dramatic housing votes of the year, and will reflect the political alignment of the board. The meeting starts at 2pm.Help us save local journalism!Every tax-deductible donation helps us grow to cover the issues that mean the most to our community. Become a 48 Hills Hero and support the only daily progressive news source in the Bay Area.Learn more

The San Francisco Police Department continues to cost the taxpayers millions of dollars in legal settlements for wrongful conduct by officers. The latest: The Government Audit and Oversight Committee will consider Thursday/2 settling for $2.5 million a lawsuit by the family of Keita O’Neil, an unarmed Black man shot and killed by a cop who is now facing criminal charges.

The officer, Christopher Samayoa, had been on the job only four days when he fired the fatal round. The family’s lawsuit says that the older officer who was in the car with him should have done more to prevent the shooting.

It’s likely that the supes will go along with the settlement, and more millions of dollars will go out the door because of killer cops.

That committee will also hold a hearing on the backup at the city’s criminal courts, where, according to board documents, 248 defendants are in custody in the SF jail and have been held well beyond the legal statue for a trial.

Including people who are out on bail, there are 437 felony cases that are pending well beyond the statutory time frame.

As a proposed resolution by Sup. Hillary Ronen notes:

Allowing a person to be caged for an extended period of time when they have not been convicted of a crime is contradictory to one of our nation’s most basic rights and principles—that a person is innocent unless and until the government proves the case against them beyond a reasonable doubt.

Once the legal statute for a “speedy trial” (in felony cases, 60 days unless the defendant waives time) the case is supposed to be dismissed.

All of that changed under COVID, of course, when the courts were closed.

But courtrooms should now be re-opening, along with schools and City Hall and many other businesses and institutions, Ronen says—but while civil cases (including evictions) are going forward, criminal cases still lag:

The Court has 37 departments at the Civic Center Courthouse, almost all of which are currently being used for civil trials as opposed to criminal.

So are misdemeanor cases where the defendant is not locked up:

In April 2021, the Court began sending out-of-custody misdemeanor cases to the Civic Center Courthouse while in-custody felony defendants remained in jail only to have their cases continued again and again by the Court.

Public Defender Mano Raju has sued the Superior Court for its failure to hold timely trials.

Meanwhile, of course, the rightwingosphere is attacking District Attorney Chesa Boudin for not prosecuting enough people—when the court won’t hold enough criminal trials.

Ronen wants to hear from the courts, the DA, and the public defender.

That meeting starts at 10am.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

Tim Redmond Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.

Articles ~ Petitions / Actions (including pending executions) ~ Events for Tuesday, Nov. 30 – Friday, Dec. 3 (from Adrienne Fong)

Few Events – NOT back posting on a regular basis

Please include Accessibility and ASL info in your events! And if your action is ‘child friendly’

*** ASL interpretation – Let me know if your event needs this service .***

Please post your actions on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

 See Indybay  for  other listings of events.

ARTICLES

A. Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein were ‘partners in crime,’ prosecutor says in opening statements of trial

Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein were ‘partners in crime,’ prosecutor says (kcra.com)

B. Pfizer is Lobbying to Thwart Whistleblowers Exposing Fraud – November 29, 2021

Pfizer Is Lobbying to Thwart Whistleblowers Exposing Fraud (theintercept.com)

C. Self-Defense? After Rittenhouse, Calls to Drop Murder Charges Against Black Teen Chrystul Kizer – November 29, 2021

Self-Defense? After Rittenhouse, Calls to Drop Murder Charges Against Black Teen Chrystul Kizer | Democracy Now!

D. Supes face key affordable housing vote  – November 28, 2021

Supes face key affordable housing vote – 48 hills

   Plus: more taxpayer dollars for bad cops, and 248 people locked up beyond the legal time for a speedy trial because SF courts are lagging … that’s The Agenda for Nov. 29-Dec. 5

E. Indian Farmers Score a Victory Against Modi Government on Strike Anniversary – November 28, 2021

Opinion | Indian Farmers Score a Victory Against Modi Government on Strike Anniversary | Shiney Varghese (commondreams.org)

F. S.African doctor says patients with Omicron variant have “very mild” symptoms

S.African doctor says patients with Omicron variant have “very mild” symptoms | Reuters

G. WHO, South Africa Urge Nations to Lift ‘Naive’ Omicron Travel Bans –November 28, 2021

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/11/28/who-south-africa-urge-nations-lift-naive-omicron-travel-bans

H. WATCH: Israeli soldiers describe their actions in Hebron – Novembe 17, 2021

WATCH: Israeli soldiers describe their actions in Hebron (israelpalestinenews.org)

2 PETITIONS / ACTIONS

1. Free Leonard Peltier

  SIGN: Petition — Free Leonard Peltier

  Urge President Biden to grant clemency to Leonard Peltier

For info about the case: About — Free Leonard Peltier

In violation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, The United States Bill of Rights, and the American Constitution and its Amendments, the case of Leonard Peltier is unparalleled in the history of constitutional violation. In particular, the Constitution’s 8th Amendment clause, designed to protect people from “cruel and unusual” punishment being meted out in a “wholly arbitrary” fashion. “Cruel and unusual” is the only term that can describe Leonard’s far too lengthy imprisonment. “Wholly arbitrary” is the only way to describe the fact that he remains in prison long after the point when most inmates convicted of similar crimes are paroled or released. Distinguished judges in Canada and the U.S. have called for leniency and compassion. For years now, Amnesty International has been calling for Leonard’s immediate and unconditional release.

2. Legalize abortion once and for all!

  SIGN; Abortion rights petition – PSL (pslweb.org)

   See events # 2 & 4

PENDING EXECUTION PETITIONS

December 9, 2021: Bigler Stouffer in Oklahoma

January 6, 2022: Wade Greely Lay in Oklahoma

January 27, 2022: Donald Grant in Oklahoma

January 27, 2022: Matthew Reeves in Alabama

EVENTS

Tuesday, November 30 – Friday, December 3

Tuesday, November 30

1. Tuesday, 9:00am, Justice 4 Sean Moore

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St.
SF

Officer Kenneth Cha will be arraigned for homicide charges in the death of Sean Moore.

The family of Sean Moore is asking for support from the community.. The killer cop is being brought into court on homicide charges so you know the POA (Police Officers Association) etc will be there in support of the killer cop. We need folks to come out & support the family.!!! If you believe in accountability & justice, please share & show up if possible..

Wear black

Bring signs: Jail Killer Cops!

Brief History:

On January 6, 2017, SFPD officer Kenneth Cha and his partner responded to a noise complaint. Sean Moore was un-armed. He was beaten and shot at on his own property.

DA George Gascon at the time initially set bail at 2 Mill.

January 20, 2020, Sean Moore died from his injuries.

On May 3, 2017, officer Cha shot and killed another man, Nicholas Flusche after Nichloas attempted to steal a sandwich.

Officer Cha remains on active duty with the SFPD.

Sean Moore: January 14, 1974 – January 20, 2020

 – Sean is survived by his father and mother, Amos and Cleo and his brother Kenneth

For more info about Sean: (1) Facebook

Article: DA files homicide charges against SFPD officer in shooting death of Sean Moore – November 2, 2021

https://missionlocal.org/2021/11/da-files-homicide-charges-against-sfpd-officer-in-shooting-death-of-sean-moore/

Notice is from Equipto on facebook

Wednesday, December 1

2. Wednesday, 3:30pm – 4:30pm, Rally for Reproductive Justice at the Federal Courthouse in SF

Phillip Burton Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse
450 Golden Gate (at Larkin)

SF

On Wed., December 1, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case aimed at overthrowing the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion throughout the land. 

The National Mobilization for Reproductive Justice calls on all feminists, working-class people, and defenders of human rights to come out that day to add their testimony and “Tell it to the Judges: Uphold and Expand Abortion Rights.”

Legal, free and accessible abortion should be guaranteed for all—what’s more it is a real survival issue for the poor, women of color, and trans people. We need to tell the courts they have no right to deny or restrict this basic need. We assert it’s #MyDecisionAlone. 

WHAT WE STAND FOR
• Protect & expand Roe v. Wade; safe, legal abortion on demand without apology
• Repeal the Hyde Amendment
• Overturn state barriers to reproductive choices
• Stop forced sterilization
• No to caged kids, forced assimilation, & child welfare abuses
• End medical & environmental racism; for universal healthcare
• Defend queer & trans families
• Guarantee medically sound sex education & affordable childcare
• Sexual self-determination for people with disabilities
• Uphold social progress with expanded voting rights & strong unions

Host: National Mobilization 4 Reproductive Justice

Info: Rally for Reproductive Justice on the Steps of the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco : Indybay

3. Wednesday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, World AIDS Day March & Candlelight Vigil

Meet at:

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl.
SF

Accessibility needs please reach out to Ande Stone (astone@sfaf.org ).

March is to St. John’s the Evangelist Episcopal Church for the AIDS Memorial Quilt display, dinner and Revival Dance.

Join us this year for World AIDS Day on the steps of San Francisco city hall to remember those we’ve lost to the HIV/AIDS crisis and to issue a call to action for justice for our communities.

We will have a series of speakers to lift up the voices of people living with HIV and to verbalize the challenges our communities still face 40 years after the onset of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Please bring a photo of loved ones you’d like to remember. We will provide candles for the candlelight vigil.

This will be an outdoors event. We will have masks available and ask that everyone please wear a mask.

Host: SF AIDS Foundation

Info: World AIDS Day March & Candlelight Vigil | Facebook

4. Wednesday, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, SF: Defend Roe v. Wade! National Day of Action

Powell & Market St.
SF

Abortion rights are under siege by the right wing in this country. The reactionary-stacked Supreme Court is considering multiple cases which threaten Roe v. Wade. On Wednesday, December 1st the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a Mississippi case banning abortions after 15 weeks. The decision in this case could spell the end of Roe v. Wade protections by allowing states to defy the federal ruling.

Roe v. Wade was passed due to a massive national movement organized to push for legal rights to bodily autonomy and access to abortion services. We must continue showing up in the streets to defend abortion rights!

Host: Party For Socialism & Liberation

Info: SF: Defend Roe v. Wade! National day of action : Indybay

Thursday, December 2

5. Thursday, 12Noon – 1:00pm, Defend Argentina Political Activists Cesar Arakaki & Daniel Ruiz – Drop the Charges

SF Federal Building
90 7th St.
SF

Two Argentinian socialist and human rights activists,Cesar Arakaki and Daniel Ruiz,have been framed in false accusations of intimidation,and rioting for being at a rally protesting against a neoliberal pension reform legislation by the neo colonial regime back by the U.S.A.,E.U. and the I.M.F.

They have been sentenced by a court in Buenos Aires to three years and a half imprisonment.They are free on appeal and they are in danger of imprisonment in the Argentinian dungeons where the could be tortured and possibly killed.

The US and the AFL-CIO through the AIFLD worked with the CIA to support the last military dictatorship in Argentina which led to the imprisonment, murder and deaths of trade unionists and political activists.

For articles / links see info on Indybay

Sponsor: United Front Committee for A Labor Party

Info: Defend Argentina Political Activists Cesar Arakaki & Daniel Ruiz-Drop The Charges! : Indybay

6. Thursday, 5:00pm, Mario Woods ~ Memorial & Vigil

2915 Keith St. (nr. 3rd St.)
Site where Mario was executed.
SF

Community, please come out to pay respects for the Mario Woods memorial. It’ll be 6 years since he was executed by the SFPD. Bring candles, sage & your positive healing energy.

Facebook message is from Equipto: Facebook

7. Thursday, 6:30pm, Food Not Bombs Food Share

16th & Mission Sts (BART Plaza)
SF

We are switching days for one week only. We will not have a sharing on Wednesday, December 1. Instead, we will share food at 16th/Mission BART Plaza at 6:30 PM on Thursday, December 2.

For more information about our weekly sharings, please visit the following webpage:

Serving Info | San Francisco Food Not Bombs (sffnb.org)

Friday, December 3

8. Friday,1:00pm – 2:00pm, Shut Down the Police Officers Association

In person

SF Police Officers Association (outside)
800 Bryant St. (@ 6th Street)
SF

RESIST with “Mothers On The March”, “Black and Brown for Justice and Equality”, Family’s whose love ones have been killed by cops from SFPD, and the Community.

– Demand the San Francisco Police Officers Association be Shut Down!

– The SF Police Officers Association Be Declared a Non Grata Organization

– Call for the abolishment of the ‘Officers Bill of Rights’

– Jail Killer Cops – demand killer cops be charged with murder.

– Abolish the Police 

The POA has supported and defended officers who have executed people in our communities.

If you can’t attend contact Mayor London Breed tell her that you oppose funding for SFPD:

Mayor London Breed

Telephone: (415) 554-6141
Email: MayorLondonBreed@sfgov.org

Gun Control Is as Old as the Old West

Contrary to the popular imagination, bearing arms on the frontier was a heavily regulated business

Matt Jancer February 5, 2018 (smithsonianmag.com)


Dodge City in 1878
Dodge City in 1878 Wikimedia Commons

It’s October 26, 1881, in Tombstone, and Arizona is not yet a state. The O.K. Corral is quiet, and it’s had an unremarkable existence for the two years it’s been standing—although it’s about to become famous.

Marshall Virgil Earp, having deputized his brothers Wyatt and Morgan and his pal Doc Holliday, is having a gun control problem. Long-running tensions between the lawmen and a faction of cowboys – represented this morning by Billy Claiborne, the Clanton brothers, and the McLaury brothers – will come to a head over Tombstone’s gun law.

The laws of Tombstone at the time required visitors, upon entering town to disarm, either at a hotel or a lawman’s office. (Residents of many famed cattle towns, such as Dodge City, Abilene, and Deadwood, had similar restrictions.) But these cowboys had no intention of doing so as they strolled around town with Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles in plain sight. Earlier on this fateful day, Virgil had disarmed one cowboy forcefully, while Wyatt confronted another and county sheriff Johnny Behan failed to persuade two more to turn in their firearms.

When the Earps and Holliday met the cowboys on Fremont Street in the early afternoon, Virgil once again called on them to disarm. Nobody knows who fired first. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne, who were unarmed, ran at the start of the fight and survived. Billy Clanton and the McLaury brothers, who stood and fought, were killed by the lawmen, all of whom walked away.

The “Old West” conjures up all sorts of imagery, but broadly, the term is used to evoke life among the crusty prospectors, threadbare gold panners, madams of brothels, and six-shooter-packing cowboys in small frontier towns – such as Tombstone, Deadwood, Dodge City, or Abilene, to name a few. One other thing these cities had in common: strict gun control laws.

Gun Control Is as Old as the Old West
Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton (left to right) lie dead after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral. This is the only known photo of 19 year-old Billy. Wikimedia Commons

“Tombstone had much more restrictive laws on carrying guns in public in the 1880s than it has today,” says Adam Winkler, a professor and specialist in American constitutional law at UCLA School of Law. “Today, you’re allowed to carry a gun without a license or permit on Tombstone streets. Back in the 1880s, you weren’t.” Same goes for most of the New West, to varying degrees, in the once-rowdy frontier towns of Nevada, Kansas, Montana, and South Dakota.

Dodge City, Kansas, formed a municipal government in 1878. According to Stephen Aron, a professor of history at UCLA, the first law passed was one prohibiting the carry of guns in town, likely by civic leaders and influential merchants who wanted people to move there, invest their time and resources, and bring their families. Cultivating a reputation of peace and stability was necessary, even in boisterous towns, if it were to become anything more transient than a one-industry boom town.

Laws regulating ownership and carry of firearms, apart from the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, were passed at a local level rather than by Congress. “Gun control laws were adopted pretty quickly in these places,” says Winkler. “Most were adopted by municipal governments exercising self-control and self-determination.” Carrying any kind of weapon, guns or knives, was not allowed other than outside town borders and inside the home. When visitors left their weapons with a law officer upon entering town, they’d receive a token, like a coat check, which they’d exchange for their guns when leaving town.

The practice was started in Southern states, which were among the first to enact laws against concealed carry of guns and knives, in the early 1800s. While a few citizens challenged the bans in court, most lost. Winkler, in his book Gunfight: The Battle Over the Right to Bear Arms in America, points to an 1840 Alabama court that, in upholding its state ban, ruled it was a state’s right to regulate where and how a citizen could carry, and that the state constitution’s allowance of personal firearms “is not to bear arms upon all occasions and in all places.”

Louisiana, too, upheld an early ban on concealed carry firearms. When a Kentucky court reversed its ban, the state constitution was amended to specify the Kentucky general assembly was within its rights to, in the future, regulate or prohibit concealed carry.

Still, Winkler says, it was an affirmation that regulation was compatible with the Second Amendment. The federal government of the 1800s largely stayed out of gun-law court battles.

“People were allowed to own guns, and everyone did own guns [in the West], for the most part,” says Winkler. “Having a firearm to protect yourself in the lawless wilderness from wild animals, hostile native tribes, and outlaws was a wise idea. But when you came into town, you had to either check your guns if you were a visitor or keep your guns at home if you were a resident.”

Published in 1903, Andy Adams’s Log of a Cowboy, a “slightly fictionalized” account of the author’s life on the cattle trails of the 1880s, was a refutation against the myth-making dime store novels of the day. The book, which included stories about lawless cowboys visiting Dodge City firing into the air to shoot out lights, has been called the most realistic written account of cowboy life and is still in print today.

Adams wrote of what happened to the few who wouldn’t comply with frontier gun law:

“The buffalo hunters and range men have protested against the iron rule of Dodge’s peace officers, and nearly every protest has cost human life. … Most cowboys think it’s an infringement on their rights to give up shooting in town, and if it is, it stands, for your six-shooters are no match for Winchesters and buckshot; and Dodge’s officers are as game a set of men as ever faced danger.”

Frontier towns with and without gun legislation were violent places, more violent than family-friendly farming communities and Eastern cities of the time, but those without restrictions tended to have worse violence. “I’ve never seen any rhetoric from that time period saying that the only thing that’s going to reduce violence is more people with guns,” says Winkler. “It seems to be much more of a 20th-century attitude than one associated with the Wild West.”

Gun Control Is as Old as the Old West
Although barely legible in this photo, the top sign to the right reads “Carrying of Fire Arms Strictly Prohibited” Kansas Historical Society

Aron agrees that these debates rarely went on, and if they did, there’s scant evidence of it today.

Crime records in the Old West are sketchy, and even where they exist the modern FBI yardstick of measuring homicides rates – the number of homicides per 100,000 residents – can exaggerate statistics in Old Western towns with small populations; even one or two more murders a year would drastically swing a town’s homicide rate.

Historian Robert Dykstra focused on established cattle towns, recording homicides after a full season of cattle shipments had already passed and by which time they’d have typically passed firearm law. He found a combined 45 murders from 1870-1885 in Kansas’ five largest cattle towns by the 1880 census: Wichita (population: 4,911), Abilene (2,360) Caldwell (1,005), Ellsworth (929), and Dodge City (996).

Averaged out, there were 0.6 murders per town, per year. The worst years were Ellsworth, 1873, and Dodge City, 1876, with five killings each; because of their small populations, their FBI homicide rates would be high. Another historian, Rick Shenkman, found Tombstone’s (1880 pop: 3,423) most violent year was 1881, in which also only five people were killed; three were the cowboys shot by Earp’s men at the OK Corral.

As Dykstra wrote, frontier towns by and large prohibited the “carrying of dangerous weapons of any type, concealed or otherwise, by persons other than law enforcement officers.” Most established towns that restricted weapons had few, if any, killings in a given year.

The settlements that came closest to unchecked carry were the railroad and mining boom towns that tended to lack effective law enforcement, a functioning judicial system, and firearm law, says Aron, and it reflected in higher levels of violence. Like Bodie, California, which was well-known during the 1870s and 1880s for vigilantism and street violence.

“The smoke of battle almost never clears away completely in Bodie,” wrote a young Mark Twain on assignment for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. Historian Roger McGrath found that from 1877 to 1882 there were 31 homicides in Bodie which, according to the 1880 census, had only 2,712 residents. As the contemporary paper Sacramento Union called it a “shooter’s town,” Bodie by 1880 had acquired a national infamy. Even as far as New York, a dangerous man was euphemistically called “a bad man from Bodie.”

The one-man law seen of TV and film Westerns is how we remember the West today. It was a time and place where rugged individualism reigned and the only law in the West that mattered was the law on your hip – a gun. Most “cowboy” films had nothing to do with driving cattle. John Wayne grew his brand as a horseback vigilante in decades’ worth of Westerns, from his first leading role in 1930’s The Big Trail to 1971’s Big Jake, in which the law fails and Wayne’s everyman is the only justice.

But as the classic The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance tells us, “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

As the West developed, towns pushed this mythos of the West as their founding ideology. Lax gun laws were just a part of an individualistic streak that manifested itself with the explosion in popularity of concealed carry licenses and the broader acceptance of openly carrying firearms (open-carry laws) that require no permit.

“These Wild West towns, as they developed and became more civilized and larger, there was an effort to promote their Wild West heritage very aggressively, and that became the identity of the town,” says Winkler, “but that identity was based on a false understanding of what the past was like, and wasn’t a real assessment of what places like Tombstone were like in the 1880s.”

So the orthodox positions in America’s ongoing gun debate oscillate between  “Any gun law is a retreat away from the lack of government interference that made this country great” and “If we don’t regulate firearms, we’ll end up like the Wild West,” robbing both sides of a historical bedrock of how and why gun law developed as America expanded Westward.

THE INDIAN FARMERS DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF FARMERS EVERYWHERE

NOVEMBER 26, 2021

BY VIJAY PRASHAD (counterpunch.org)

Photograph Source: Ravan Khosa, edited by Aristeas – CC BY-SA 4.0

On November 19, 2021, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “[W]e have decided to repeal all three agricultural laws.” The prime minister was referring to the three agriculture laws that were rushed through the parliament in 2020. During his speech to announce the rollback, Modi told the farmers that they “should return to [their] homes, fields and to [their] families. Let’s make a fresh start.” At no point did Modi admit that his government had passed laws that would negatively impact the farmers, who have spent a year protesting the laws thrust upon them.

It seems likely that Modi will not give up on his policies to privatize agriculture, but rather will return to them with different packaging. “Our government has been working in the interest of the farmers and will continue to do so,” he insisted.

Jubilation at the Victory

The idea that Modi’s BJP-led government had been “working in the interest of the farmers” was not apparent to the protesting farmers. To gauge the sentiment of the farmers and their organizations, I interviewed Dr. Ashok Dhawale, the national president of the All India Kisan Sabha—one of the key farmers’ associations—and a leader of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM)—a United Farmers’ Front. Dhawale told me that Modi’s promise to repeal the three farm laws “is a classic case of too little, too late.” It is “too little” because Modi only accepted one of the farmers’ demands (repealing the laws) and not the slate of other demands, which included the creation of a robust minimum support price (MSP) structure; it is “too late” because during this year-long protest, 700 farmers have lost their lives due to the privations of the protest and government repression.

“This is only the second time in the last seven years of his rule that Modi has been forced to make a humiliating climbdown,” Dhawale told me. “The first was in 2015, when he was forced to take back the Land Acquisition Act [of 2013], again as a result of a countrywide farmers’ struggle.” Since Modi came to power in 2014, he has pushed an agenda to deliver Indian agriculture to the large corporate houses. But the farmers fought him then and continue to fight him now.

The farmers have not left their protest encampment despite Modi’s statement on November 19. “They will stay put until these hated farm laws are actually repealed by [the] parliament,” Dhawale told me. “And also, until their other demands are… [met]. All over the country, there is jubilation that one part of the battle has been won. But there is also [a] determination to see that the other just demands of this struggle are conceded.”

Why Modi Surrendered

Dhawale said that there are several reasons why Modi decided to repeal the three farm laws. The first has to do with the upcoming regional elections in the three key states that border India’s capital, Delhi (Punjab, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh). In recent months, the BJP saw its supporters dwindle in number during the by-elections that took place in the Indian states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan—in which the BJP did not perform well. These six states in northern India where elections have either taken place or are scheduled to take place are in close proximity to Delhi and are the states from where many of the farmers joined the protests, which took place at Delhi’s border. If the protests had continued, the leaders in the BJP felt that the party would see major attrition not only among the farmers and working class but also among sections of the middle class in India.

Nothing is more important to focus on, Dhawale said, than the actual struggle and determination of the farmers. On September 5, for instance, the farmers organized a Kisan Mahapanchayat (a mass meeting of farmers), which was called by the SKM and saw a huge turnout. The tone of the meeting was fierce, with the farmers clear that they were not only fighting against these three laws but also against the entire approach of the BJP government. The tenor of the protest was to fight for a secular and socialist India, a vision diametrically opposed to the political ideology of Modi’s far-right Bharatiya Janata Party known as Hindutva.

The tempo of the struggle began to increase through September. On September 27, the SKM called for a general strike across India (Bharat Bandh), which was the third such strike during this year-long protest by the farmers. It was “the most successful of the three,” Dhawale said, with millions of people joining the struggle. A month later, on October 18, the farmers blocked train tracks (Rail Roko) across the country against the BJP government, which had tried unsuccessfully to use religious differences to divide the farmers.

Despite Modi’s announcement to roll back the farm laws, tens of thousands of farmers planned to gather at Delhi’s borders on November 26, the first anniversary of the farmers’ revolt, with others protesting in solidarity around the country. To build toward this, on November 22, after Modi’s surrender, leaders from the farmers’ organizations met at a large Kisan Mahapanchayat in Lucknow (the capital of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh) to pledge to continue the struggle. “The mood of victory and determination was infectious,” Dhawale told me.

Unsettled Issues

Between 1995 and 2018, 400,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide, 100,000 since Modi took office in 2014, Dhawale said. Their deaths are directly linked to the agrarian crisis in India produced by a combination of the withdrawal of state regulation and intervention on behalf of the farmers and the impact of the climate catastrophe.

In 2004, the Indian government asked the eminent scientist M.S. Swaminathan to lead the National Commission on Farmers. By 2006, the commission produced five landmark reports with a long list of important recommendations. Almost none of the substantial recommendations have been adopted by the successive governments. One of the recommendations was to increase and strengthen the MSP for farmers. Window dressing by governments has not improved the situation for the farmers; a recent survey shows that the farmers’ incomes have declined.

Farmers know what they want, and they have said so clearly: price supports, loan waivers, withdrawal of electricity price hikes, repeal of the labor codes, subsidized costs of fuel, and so on. These issues, Dhawale said, “are at the root of the agrarian crisis and massive peasant indebtedness. They lead to farmer suicides and to distress sales of farmlands.”

“If farmers are to grow our food and farmers are to eat, then the demands of the farmers must be met,” Dhawale said. This is not just a cry for Indian farmers. The farmers in India continue to fight in a struggle they share with farmers everywhere throughout the world.

This article was produced by Globetrotter.

Vijay Prashad’s most recent book is No Free Left: The Futures of Indian Communism (New Delhi: LeftWord Books, 2015).

THANKSGIVING IS AWESOME

In reply to the haters. Happy holiday, everyone

By Matt Tiabi (Read by Jared Moore) November 25, 2021

Sure, the founders were pirates, but even that’s a little bit funny

Thanksgiving Day is here, and as is the fashion, it’s taking a beating. “What is Thanksgiving to Indigenous People? ‘A Day of Mourning,’” writes the onetime daily Bible of American mass culture, USA Today. The Washington Post fused a clickhole headline format with white guilt to create, “This tribe helped the Pilgrims survive for their first Thanksgiving. They still regret it 400 years later.” Even the pundits who didn’t rummage in the past in search of reasons for Americans to flog themselves this week found some in the future, a la the Post’s climate-change take on Turkey Day menus:“What’s on the Thanksgiving table in a hotter, drier world?”

MSNBC meanwhile kept us all festive by reminding us, with regard to the now-infamous Pilgrims, that “Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence”:

MSNBC @MSNBC”Instead of bringing stuffing and biscuits, those settlers brought genocide and violence,” Gyasi Ross says about the history of American Thanksgiving. “That genocide and violence is still on the menu.” November 20th 2021551 Retweets1,532 Likes

Where’s all this headed? In the space of a generation America has gone from being a country brimming with undeserved over-confidence, to one whose intellectual culture has turned into an agonizing, apparently interminable run of performative self-flagellation.

Whether or not to enjoy Thanksgiving is not the hard part of the American citizen’s test. Thanksgiving is awesome. Everything about it, from the mashed potatoes to the demented relatives to the pumpkin pies to the farts, is top-drawer holiday enjoyment. The only logical complaint about modern Thanksgiving involves forcing the poor Detroit Lions to play a marquee role every year. I think we can all agree that whole situation is a net minus, especially for them, no matter how funny the first fifteen minutes of those games usually are.

But the historical self-mortification has gotten out of hand. American exceptionalism used to mean 300 million yahoos being so convinced they were a unique force for good in the world that history before 1776 was irrelevant. We’re now living through the moronic inverse: America is such a unique evil, we’re told, so much the standard-bearer for the oppression of innocent peoples everywhere, that human suffering before 1776 is hardly worth mentioning. Or before 1492, as it were, since a lot of the current fashion stems from our pseudo-intellectual class being unable suddenly to handle the revelations of one decades-old book.

In the opening pages of Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, we read the log of Christopher Columbus, who recounts the first meeting of Europeans with the native Arawaks of the Bahamas:

They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it and cut themselves out of ignorance… With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.

Zinn’s Columbus is a genocidal monster who not only massacred natives from Hispaniola to Haiti, and sold women and children by the thousands for “sex and labor,” but was so personally petty that he stole the reward of the poor sailor on his own ship who spotted land first, by claiming the feat himself. It’s hard to read Zinn’s account, which includes horrifying details like Indians murdering their own children to spare them the tortures of life under Spaniards, and not have a second thought or ten about the legend of the “discovery of America.”

I found A People’s History a fascinating and enjoyable read when I first read it in college, but that was when it was a ballsy, quasi-forbidden counterfactual to official narrative, not anyone’s idea of the actual “History of the United States.” The national idea of historical reflection back then was Forrest Gump, literally a two-hour shrug. Because of that, the book made sense then. Decades later, in the middle of a reverse cultural mania that devours it as gospel, Zinn’s book reads like the rantings of a mental patient.

After he finishes his tale of Columbus’s rampage through sinless indigenous cultures, Zinn contrasts it with the fables Americans of the time were all taught in school, in which “there is no bloodshed” upon the his arrival. He goes on to torch as an example the work of Harvard historian Samuel Eliot Morrison, whose Christopher Columbus, Mariner contains only a passing reference to the “cruel policy initiated by Columbus… [that] resulted in complete genocide.”

It takes stones to write an entire book about a major historical figure and include as a throwaway line, “And by the way, he committed genocide.” Incredibly, Zinn manages to be just as bad, if not worse. Of course A People’s History was designed to be the missing case for the prosecution, a chronicle of everything the Morrisons of the world left out, but his version of five hundred years of history contains just two characters, pure villains and pure victims. You’ve heard of Alien versus Predator; the People’s History could have been titled Hitlers and Baby Seals.

All his Europeans from Columbus on down are more or less indistinguishably monstrous, and even Abraham Lincoln and FDR are almost interchangeable capitalist tools, at most to be congratulated for being unenthusiastic oppressors. (The book in this sense reads a lot like the 1619 Project). A People’s History after its release in 1980 was often described as “radical,” but the radicalism wasn’t in the subject matter, but its maniacal sorting of humanity into two simplistic piles. Decades before it was fashionable, Zinn sketched out an intersectional construct that flattened much of humanity into a single interconnected mass of one-dimensional victimhood, “centering” the matrix of America’s oppressed:

The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners.

Thus, in that inevitable taking of sides which comes from selection and emphasis in history, I prefer to try to tell the story of the discovery of America from the viewpoint of the Arawaks, of the Constitution from the standpoint of the slaves, of Andrew Jackson as seen by the Cherokees…

No matter how interesting a book he or she is able to write, any author who admits to looking out at the world and seeing only “victims and executioners” needs psychological help. Unfortunately, Zinn in this respect turned out to be a pioneer, presaging a generation of comic-book thinkers who understand things in binary terms, forever preoccupied with cramming people in neat categories of oppressors and oppressed.

Such mental habits are the fashion now and will definitely put you in a bind on Thanksgiving. How can I eat turkey and stuffing with a smile, when Columbus massacred the Arawaks? When the English forced the Wampanoags off their land and made many convert to Christianity? When Lincoln told Horace Greeley, “If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it”?

How? Maybe because you’re more than three years old, and don’t need fairy tales to be real in order to enjoy dinner with family and a football game?

We don’t ask Russians how they can sit around the yelochka every New Year and open presents knowing that Ivan the Terrible used to roast prisoners in giant frying pans, or how they can smoke Belomorkanal cigarettes knowing the real White Sea canal is filled with the bones of slave laborers. I think even most MSNBC anchors would agree, that would be stupid. But we do this to ourselves all the time now, and every year it gets worse.

All this is just a come-down from the high of Reagan-era exceptionalism. The drug has worn off and we’re realizing, in the cold light of sobriety, that we suck every bit as much as other nations. So we’re swinging, as all people with hangovers do, to an opposite extreme.

We’ve lost touch with our real story, which is about us, not the centuries-old adventures of toffs in wigs. The Founding Fathers may have been scum, but they didn’t just steal a continent from the indigenous residents, they stole one from a British King, which is, come on, hilarious. These revolutionaries — Kurt Vonnegut called them “Sea Pirates” — then drew up a document sanctifying their own pursuit of obscene wealth, flying flags that were strikingly like “Let’s Go Brandon” in sentiment while reveling in the horror they inspired in aristocrats all over Europe. Then, in a move that secured their heist while providing the manpower they needed for expansion, they started opening their doors to castoffs, screwups, and cultists from other countries.

Almost none of us are related to Pilgrims or Founders. Nearly all of us descended from those subsequent waves of weirdos and refugees who came from all over, some not by choice, and forged the real character of our stolen nation. Many of our ancestors had their hands forced elsewhere, from Jews in the Pale fleeing pogroms to Irish escaping famines to Armenians running from Ottoman genocides. Once they got here, they happily planted Sea Pirate flags on their front doors and set about inventing everything from cat litter to alternating current, while mostly refraining from murdering one another. It was an insane setup, but they made the whole thing work, which is a pretty amazing story even figuring in the horribleness, and really what we’re celebrating every November. You have to reduce the American experience to a few ridiculously grim variables, and remove everything from movies to rock n’ roll to monster dunks, to spend today sulking.

Years ago, during a time in my life when I’d fled the United States to St. Petersburg, Russia with no intention of returning, my best friend was a Swiss named Daniel, with whom I’d studied at a Soviet University. Like all people from his country, Daniel was a polyglot. He spoke perfect English and Russian, but hanging out with him was disorienting, because he’d be talking like a mechanic from Baltimore and suddenly forget the word for washing machine and start miming a spin cycle. It took getting used to, but it was funny — we laughed a lot. On Thanksgiving one year, I told him I was going to the consulate for dinner. “Thanksgiving,” he said. “That’s the one where you killed all the Indians, right?”

“Not me personally, but yes.”

“Bring back leftovers,” he answered. I went to the consulate, which of course spared no expense in laying out a fantastic spread, but spent most of the day shooting baskets in a back lot with a group of black Marine guards. On the way out I stole a haul of turkey and cranberry sauce, which Daniel and I devoured with a bottle of vodka later that night, in one of the best Thanksgivings of my life. This holiday is about friends and family. Enjoy them today, don’t listen to the haters, and go Lions.

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Will The City’s mob retail thefts affect Chesa Boudin’s future?

As critics pounce, San Francisco’s District Attorney defends his record

By Benjamin Schneider • November 23, 2021 4:30 pm – Updated November 24, 2021 2:14 pm (SFExaminer.com)

District Attorney Chesa Boudin is in a difficult position as he works to reassure a weary public while continuing the criminal justice reform policies that he campaigned on. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
District Attorney Chesa Boudin is in a difficult position as he works to reassure a weary public while continuing the criminal justice reform policies that he campaigned on. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)

After a string of mob retail thefts across the Bay Area, San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin is in a difficult position, simultaneously seeking to reassure a weary public while continuing the criminal justice reform policies that he campaigned on.

The stakes are high for Boudin, who is facing a recall election in June amid growing scrutiny from the national media.

The campaign to recall Boudin wasted no time in pinning the Friday night thefts at Louis Vuitton and other Union Square boutiques on the district attorney’s policies. In a statement, campaign director Andrea Shorter wrote that Boudin has “created an environment where these crimes are allowed to happen without consequence or prosecution.”

Boudin vigorously contested this characterization in an interview with The Examiner on Tuesday, highlighting the fact that mob retail thefts took place around the Bay Area, as well as in other locations across the country, over the weekend. This year, his office has been charging felony property crime cases at higher rates than the DA in Alameda County, or his predecessor in 2018 and 2019, he said.

He also pointed to the role of the police and judges in ensuring public safety, saying his office can only charge cases when arrests are made. “When the police bring us arrests with good solid evidence and investigations, we’re going to file charges consistent with the facts and the law.”

In her statement, Shorter acknowledged similar “organized retail thefts occurred in other cities,” but emphasized that other property crimes like car break-ins and home burglaries “are occurring at exceptionally higher rates in San Francisco.” These crimes, Shorter said, are a consequence of what she described as Boudin’s failure “to hold repeat offenders accountable.”

Boudin counters that “when police bring us evidence of felony property crimes, we have filed felony property crimes.” His decision to bring felony charges against nine suspects apprehended in the thefts in Union Square and other locations around The City Friday night “is not a change at all” from his prior policies, he said. “It’s simply that the media is paying more attention to what we’re doing now.” Last week, his office filed eight felony counts of grand theft against a serial shoplifter at the Stonestown Target.

Boudin said he is making other efforts to combat retail theft, including regular meetings with neighborhood merchant associations and coordinating with law enforcement agencies across the region. On Tuesday, he met with DAs from every Bay Area county about “ramping up enforcement in this area as we go into the holiday season.”

There are also signs Boudin is adopting a more conciliatory tone towards his critics. “Regardless of what the statistics show,” he said in a CNN appearance Monday, “if people don’t feel safe, if they can’t go about their business and live their lives in safety and comfort, then we have work to do.”

The events of the past week don’t bode well for Boudin, according to political consultant Nicole Derse, who is not working on either side of the recall campaign. “The level of frustration among San Franciscans is increasing and starting to come to a head,” she said. Even if Boudin is now adopting a tougher stance, “a lot of voters are going to see it as too little too late.”

Derse now thinks Boudin is “more likely than not” to be recalled.

Boudin is also facing critics from his left. Aditi Joshi of the group Defund SFPD was frustrated Boudin praised SFPD’s response to the thefts on Friday, when the day prior, San Francisco police shot and killed a man named Ajmal Amani, who was reportedly wielding a knife.

“We don’t need more cops protecting Louis Vuitton stores,” Joshi said. “No felony charges will be able to change the fact that folks aren’t able to meet their basic needs”

For his part, Boudin said he doesn’t feel like his ongoing efforts to hold police accountable for misconduct and his efforts to stop retail theft are in conflict. “The more the public trusts the police, the more we have a police force that does its job and de-escalates,” he said, “the safer we’ll all be.”

bschneider@sfexaminer.com

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the number of suspects charged in the Union Square thefts. Five people were charged in connection to the thefts in Union Square, and four were charged in connection to other thefts around The City the same night.

A NORTH KOREAN MAN WHO SMUGGLED ‘SQUID GAME’ INTO THE COUNTRY IS TO BE EXECUTED BY FIRING SQUAD

AND A HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENT WHO BOUGHT A USB DRIVE WITH THE SHOW WILL BE JAILED FOR LIFE, REPORT SAYS

Huileng Tan  November 24, 2021 (businessinsider.com)

Squid Game
The character Kang Sae-byeok, a North Korean defector, in “Squid Game.” 
  • North Korea appears to have come down hard on people who distribute or watch “Squid Game.”
  • Citing unnamed sources, Radio Free Asia said a man there was sentenced to death for smuggling it.
  • Seven high-school students received harsh sentences for watching the show, RFA reported.

North Korea appears to have come down hard on people who distribute or watch Netflix‘s hit show “Squid Game.”

A report by Radio Free Asia cited unnamed sources inside North Korea as saying a man who smuggled and sold the dystopian drama had been sentenced to death by firing squad and a high schooler who bought a USB drive containing the show was sentenced to life in prison.

Another six high schoolers who watched the show were said to be sentenced to five years of hard labor, RFA reported. Their supervisors were also said to be punished, with teachers and school administrators fired, possibly to be banished to work in remote mines, RFA said.

RFA is a US government-funded nonprofit news service that serves audiences in Asia. It says its aim is to “provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press.”https://1dfad006b2cf1181ef900bdd839eb52a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

The South Korean television series “Squid Game” tells the story of 456 debt-laden people competing for 45.6 billion won, or $38.3 million, of prize money in brutal survival games.

A law-enforcement source in North Korea’s North Hamgyong province told RFA’s Korean service: “This all started last week when a high-school student secretly bought a USB flash drive containing the South Korean drama ‘Squid Game’ and watched it with one of his best friends in class. The friend told several other students, who became interested, and they shared the flash drive with them.” The students were caught by government censors after a tip-off, the source told RFA.

It’s the first time the North Korean government has punished minors under a law that penalizes the distribution, watching, or keeping of media from capitalist countries like South Korea and the US, RFA said.

“The government is taking this incident very seriously, saying that the students’ education was being neglected,” RFA’s source said.https://1dfad006b2cf1181ef900bdd839eb52a.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html

A source told the outlet that one of the students got off the hook because they had rich parents who paid a $3,000 bribe.

Last month, a state-run North Korean propaganda website said the Netflix drama highlighted how South Korea was a place where “corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace.” One of the show’s characters was a North Korean defector whose story highlighted her arduous escape from the country.

Despite the threat of retribution, smuggled, illegal copies of “Squid Game” have been making their way into North Korea.

A previous article from Radio Free Asia noted that North Koreans found the financial struggles of the show’s characters “relatable.”

Netflix has said the massive hit had the highest first-month viewership of any of its originals.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

(Contributed by William P. Chiles)