Criminalizing Peaceful Pipeline Protests: Are Oil Billionaires Trying to Undermine Our First Amendment Rights?

This RNN interview discusses oil funding of state measures to criminalize peaceful pipeline protest as ‘eco-terrorism’. Penalties up to 25 years in jail and $100 k in fines.

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

In Minnesota, Louisiana, Wyoming, Iowa, and Ohio have all introduced bills that seek to criminalize pipeline protesters as eco terrorists. They have all introduced similar bills at the state legislature. The bills push for criminal punishment for up to 25 years in prison and a hundred thousand dollars in fines.

Our next guest says that Wyoming’s bill and these states’ bills are all a copy and paste version of the template legislation produced by the conservative corporate funded American Legislative Exchange Council, also known as ALEC. It is predominantly funded by oil billionaire brothers David Koch and Charles Koch. The Koch’s are infamous for meddling in American politics, throwing millions of dollars at candidates who support their pro fossil fuel agenda. We have outlined this claim in a TRNN feature documentary titled Trump, the Koch Brothers, and Their War on Climate Science. The Kochs have supported the candidates of Vice President Mike Pence, head of the EPA Scott Pruitt, and the proposed new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, all climate change deniers who disavow the connection between burning of fossil fuels and human caused climate change.

With us to discuss these beliefs and the criminalization of dissent, and ALEC’s hand in disrupting our democracies is Steve Horn. He’s the former research fellow with deSmogBlog. Steve has taken up a new post as an investigative journalist for the online publication and magazines titled Criminal Legal News and Prison Legal News. Steve, good to have you with us.

STEVE HORN: Good to be back on, thanks for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right Steve, let’s take up this bill. How do we know that this bill and versions of the bill introduced in different state legislatures come from ALEC?

STEVE HORN: Well, we know for a couple of, you know, maybe a few reasons. The first reason is the timing of the model bill, the Critical Infrastructure Act that passed in ALEC that dealt with these issues was in December. And so during that same month a similar type of model bill, what they call suggested state legislation and the Council of State Governments also passed, so these same bills passed in these sort of bill mill organizations. CSG, as it’s known, is more bipartisan. ALEC is of course most predominantly Republican Party members of state legislatures. So that bill passed through its environmental energy and agriculture task force in December. And then starting in January these bills started going through state legislatures. So first in Iowa and then in Ohio and then Wyoming, and now as of this week a couple more. Minnesota as well as Louisiana.

And the origin story of the ALEC bill is that often ALEC bills are kind of originals, they are talked about by lobbyists who attend ALEC’s annual meetings are funded by corporations. These are also corporate lobbyists for companies ranging the gamut of ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Chevron. It depends on the meeting, but lots of corporate lobbyists who get in the room with these state legislatures.

And so at that particular meeting that bill passed but did, you know, sometimes they are originals that pass there. At this meeting it was actually inspired by a bill that already passed in Oklahoma. They liked the idea of it. It passed in Oklahoma in the spring of 2017. And so ALEC, and then of course CSG as I mentioned, both took it up as their model bills. From there, of course, now it’s moved in multiple state Houses.

I think what’s important to point out is that in a lot of these cases it’s of course mostly Republican Party members pushing it, but it has gotten some Democratic Party support in all of these state Houses to some degree. And so I think that’s why it’s important to mention the Council of State Governments, which is more bipartisan than ALEC, as an organization.

SHARMINI PERIES: Now Steve, I understand that this bill was designed in response to the massive and long lasting protests at Standing Rock over the Dakota Access Pipeline owned by Energy Transfer Partners. And we saw very aggressive police tactics in dealing with these protesters. A number of people arrested, including journalists, journalists that work with TRNN as well. Now talk about the events that triggered these bills.

STEVE HORN: Right. So Oklahoma is a really good example of sort of looking back at the origins of this and looking back to Standing Rock in the to access the Energy Transfer Partners. So Oklahoma is a huge oil and gas state. It’s the headquarters of the major company Continental Resources, which is owned by Harold Hamm. He was a top energy adviser for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. And he has a lot of his oil flowing through the Dakota Access pipeline because most of the oil drilling that he does the United States through Continental Resources happens in the Bakken Shale, which is starting point of the Access Pipeline.

So all of that said, Oklahoma was sort of a friendly state for them to get a bill like this through, super friendly for oil and gas in their state legislature. Of course they have an oil rig in front of their state capitol, infamously to some people, famously to others. But all of that said, it passed pretty easily. There was some debate over it but it did pass through. Two different bills actually, which is important to point out. There’s a bill that gives civil liability for doing protests on “critical land” that contains critical infrastructure, so things like refineries, pipelines, LNG, terminals, etc. There’s civil liability. One of those in Oklahoma was that. Another one was criminal liability. Both of those passed Oklahoma. And then looking forward that the actual ALEC model bill combines those two bills into one. So the model bills that are passing in other states you don’t have to pass two bills in these states. They contain provisions both about civil liabilities and criminal liabilities.

And another thing to mention, I don’t think this was in the Oklahoma bill but it’s a newer thing that’s been added to all these other bills, is conspiracy. So say you’re an environmental organization, or maybe you are a Native American tribe. If you funded activists or in some way gave funding for them, raised money, whatever, for the people that end up ended up committing this “crime,” protesting on the critical infrastructure. You also can be held liable for tens of thousands of dollars. And that’s a provision that was in the Wyoming bill. It’s in this new bill in Minnesota. And it’s , more broadly we’re looking back at the origin of this, Energy Transfer Partners. They filed a major lawsuit against Greenpeace against the Indigenous Environmental Network, against Earth First, and others for the same exact thing. Conspiracy under RICO, or the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. And so there’s an ongoing lawsuit in federal court. They’re saying that the actions that happened at Standing Rock cost Energy Transfer Partners hundreds of millions of dollars and therefore they should be held liable for that under RICO.

So this is of course an act that originally started because of the activity of the mob and organized crime. So all of that said, the same sort of, the spirit of that is now found in these bills that are moving through state Houses. And the last thing I’ll say is that in Wyoming this is so controversial that it was actually vetoed by its Republican governor Matt Mead, and it was, kind of came under some criticism actually, from even some industry attorneys in the state who were members of Republican Party who thought it was just a bridge too far in terms of potential overreach and abuse of freedom of assembly and free speech.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Steve. Finally, what’s the likelihood of this passing in other states? Good thing that the Wyoming governor had vetoed it. But what are the chances that it’ll pass in other states given that this violates First Amendment rights in the U.S. Constitution, which of course protects freedom of speech and freedom of assembly? And as you said if they include conspired to then of course even meeting to organize protests would be criminalized.

STEVE HORN: Yeah, well, so for example in the state of Iowa it’s passed in the Senate already. It’s being considered now in the amendment process in the House of Representatives. Unclear what the governor would do there. Louisiana has an interesting one that just unrolled this week in terms of an introduction. That’s another key Energy Transfer Partners state. There’s a pipeline that connects to that access pipeline there called the Bayou Bridge Pipeline, which has been hotly contested by indigenous people and by people on the ground in Louisiana.

So I think that in a state like Louisiana that’s very oil and gas friendly a bill like that would have potentially a better chance of passage, say, than in a state like Minnesota. But yeah, I think it’s important to just look at this trend. Minnesota is a state that has protests over the line. Three pipeline owned by Enbridge. And has been a battleground for indigenous peoples over pipelines and infrastructure. So it’s no accident that these bills are being introduced in these states. Whether or not they would eventually be signed by a governor remains to be seen. But I think that it’s interesting. One would think in Wyoming something like that would sail through, would be signed by the governor and became state law. But even in that state it came under fire by some conservatives, enough so that it was vetoed by the governor. So it’s one of those things that if there’s enough sunlight and pressure by various stakeholders that maybe they won’t go through. But at the same time this has already passed in the state of Oklahoma and is state law. It almost became state law in Wyoming. So these are very contentious battles to watch for in the weeks and months ahead.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, Steve. I thank you so much for joining us, and please do join us again for another segment we’re going to do with Steve on the hidden hand of the oil industry, who are now more than ever entrenched in the presidential administration of President Trump. Thank you so much for joining us, Steve. Please join us for segment two.

STEVE HORN: Thank you. SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us here on the Real News Network.

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  1. Julia Versau

    Let the guillotines be rolled out. Citizens have no friends: not elected officials, not corporate actors, not the courts. Are we to drink oil and chemicals? I can’t take much more of this.

  2. Norb

    First militarize the police, then criminalize dissent by using your bought and paid for legislators to cement that power into law. As icing on the cake, RICO legislation is used as a model. Organized crime has indeed become the norm instead of a fringe outlier. Orwell is proven accurate once again, virtue is turned to criminality and criminality is turned into a virtue.

    But isn’t this more a battle for minds than physical infrastructure? These draconian laws, combined with the ceaseless propaganda spewing from the MSM is intended to condition the population to accept capitalism as the one and true social order. Sooner or later this extremism has to backfire. Willing participation is essential for the capitalist order to continue. If consent is withdrawn, the system stops very quickly. Then coercive force will be needed to keep the machines running. So much for freedom and democracy.

    As American plutocrats strive to convince the population that a continued mad dash for resource extraction is in the national interest, sooner or later it has to occur to a majority that consolidation of existing resources is a more viable stance. Business interests are not in the national interest, and that is also the main points to be learned from the Russian and Chinese experience. There must be a larger vision instead of personal aggrandizement.

    Putting the Nation first means putting the people first, not individual business owners.

    While talk of guillotines and armed insurrection seems logical, it is mostly misguided and will prove ineffective. It is an emotional response that falls right into the hands of the plutocrats. If things progress to that state, it is really game over at that point. It’s rebuilding civilization from scratch.

    Worshiping individuals is the problem whether its coming from the celebrity cult left, the plutocratic right, or take your pick autocrats. Building collective solidarity is the only defense again individual predators. While throwing yourself into the gears of the machine is one option, or selling out and grabbing what you can is another, there is also the way of solidarity.

    1. Norb

      I should clarify that solidarity is intended as a way of life, not as a just a reaction against something, in this case, plutocratic rule. But now we enter the realms of socialism and communism.

      A worker coop makes more sense every day.

    2. Carla

      Norb, your comment is better than any op-ed I’ve read lately. Please consider rolling the facts about these odious bills into it, and then submitting the resulting opinion piece to a wide variety of news outlets. If none of them bite, maybe send it to EcoWatch?

    3. BeliTsari

      Well, militarization of the fascist police, criminalizing dissent, using anti terrorism and criminal conspiracy laws… all goes far easier once you’ve silenced any whistleblowers, journalists and opposition voices (like CTR did with the lefty blogs & Prop Or Notis trying to finish?) Get the top 20% Democrat & Republican yuppies to dread their piss-poor neighbors, y’know a tag-team kleptocracy selling fear of scores of millions of hungry, pissed-off, gullible curls with lots of guns, drugs and no impulse control… little to lose? Maybe 401k is to blame, or petit bourgeois kids co-opting civil rights, anti-war, feminist and environmental movements, then discovering cocaine, Disco & BMWs and “growing up?” Citizens United will never be defeated, huh?

        1. BeliTsari

          I’m starting to like “curls” better. Think I can get away with blaming HTC’s iteration of Google’s despicable spell-checker? No? Once I get this monstrosity set up, I’ll go back to SwiftKey! Gotta get back to watching the exciting conclusion of ‘Babylon Berlin’ … before having Verizon tear out their useless Fios, gullible curl that I am.

    4. Synoia

      It is not Capitalism. It is feudalism.

      The goal is not a republic, it is already a monarchy.

      It is not a Plutocracy, is it an Aristocracy.

      Words have impact. Especially the accurate use of words.

  3. Matt

    “The bills push for criminal punishment for up to 25 years in prison and a hundred thousand dollars in fines.”

    I see two things going on here. The first thing is that big numbers like “25 years in prison” help dissuade potential protestors from ever entering activism. The more insidious aspect however, is that state governments probably don’t actually want pipeline protestors serving long prison sentences (it’s bad PR to have political prisoners). Rather, (as Yves said in a recent post), the more important part is to stamp a permanent black mark on the protestor’s criminal record and let the “free market” do the rest. It’s hard to protest while you’re depleting you’re savings desperately sending out job applications that are promptly tossed in the trash by employers that don’t hire felons.

    While most Americans would be outraged that a person is jailed for protesting, no one is going to sympathize with a convicted criminal. These bills bank on Americans continuing to feel that way.

  4. Roberto

    I realize that this is an interview but still it would have been helpful if the author had supplied references to or quotes from the offending language in the ‘actual’ bills.

    1. JTMcPhee

      For those wanting to look deeper into the language of the various pieces of legislation, try this article from the Commie Pinko National Lawyers Guild: Note that the Kochs’ ALEC, not surprisingly as the Kochs and their friends race to force-fit their feudal rule onto our befuddled shoulders, is emitting a lot of this, including strategies for how to bring state legislators around to passing more of this New Law. That includes the usual log-rolling and sausage-making — sending bills judged to be a bridge too far back for revisions that address the particular complaints of particular key legislators, extracting operating parts of the offensive drafts and inserting them in other “must-pass” legislation, controlling definitions in state criminal codes, all the usual tricks.

      Interesting that one bill (Okla) that subtly encourages motorists to run over and kill protesters on highways, is supported by its proponent on the ground that “drivers” are just exercising their Constitutionally-guaranteed rights to free passage over the American Landscape, and Occupy-style protestors are infringing those rights…

      “We see what you are doing to us, but we are seemingly powerless to do anything about it…”

      And the post’s headline is just a rhetorical question, am i right? “Of course there’s class warfare. My class, the rich class, is waging it. And we have won… It was a rout.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        About that Oklahoma “run over protesters” law . . . if protesters are going to protest on a road in Oklahoma, they will have to make sure to have so many thousands of people blocking the targeted road that not even a heavy truck could run through them. Also, if people have a right to self defense against overt attempts to commit murder, that would mean that if those thousands of protesters all have thousands of car-stopping guns and ammo, they will be in a position to forcibly abort any attempt to run them over.

    2. Fraibert

      The purpose of this comment is simply to outline the legislation. I agree with Roberto that the interview really isn’t enough context.

      Here’s a link to the ALEC model legislation: This is based on the Oklahoma legislation.

      Section 1 of the model legislation list varying kinds of infrastructure in specificity (e.g., petroleum refineries, power plants, etc.) and requires that this infrastructure be fenced in or otherwise marked for authorized entry only for it to be considered “critical infrastructure.”

      There are too many types of infrastructure to list easily in a clean comment. However, of specific interest for this present article, “critical infrastructure” includes “[a] natural gas distribution utility facility including, but not limited to, pipeline interconnections, a city gate or town border station, metering station, aboveground piping, a regular station and a natural gas storage facility . . . .”

      Section 2 defines criminal penalties for trespass onto the “critical infrastructure” defined in Section 1. Section 2(A) makes it a misdemeanor to trespass onto “critical infrastructure.” Section 2(B) makes it a felony “[i]f it is determined the intent of the trespasser is to willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface, tamper with equipment, or impede or inhibit operations of the facility.”

      Section 2(B) makes it a felony to “willfully damage, destroy, vandalize, deface or tamper with equipment in a critical infrastructure facility . . . ”

      Section 2(C) adds conspiracy liability: “If any organization is found to be a conspirator with persons who are found to have committed any of the crimes described in subsection A or B of this section, the conspiring organization shall be punished by a fine that is {number} times the amount of said fine authorized by the appropriate provision of this section.”

      Please note that the ALEC model legislation does not define the penalties, but leaves that instead for the adopting state to determine. With that said, the model legislation contemplates that fines, imprisonment, or a combination of both could be imposed for any of the Section 2 violations. Furthermore,generally speaking, the felony would have a minimum prison time of 1 year and 1 day. (Otherwise, the felony would not be understood as a felony the way U.S. law has developed.)

      Section 3 of the model legislation provides for civil liability for trespassers onto Section 1 “critical infrastructure.” Section 3(A) states that:

      “Any person who is arrested for or convicted of trespass may be held liable for any damages to personal or real property while trespassing.”

      Section 3(B) basically provides for a special form of vicarious liability. If a trespasser is compensated or otherwise receives “consideration” or remuneration for a third party “for trespassing,” then the third party may be held vicariously liable for the damages arising from the trespass.

      1. Roberto

        Thanks for the summary. It confirms my suspicion that what is being criminalized here is not “…Peaceful Pipeline Protests” as the title of this piece states, but rather Trespassing which is mentioned nowhere.

        1. pretzelattack

          it’s critical that we get rid of fossil fuel infrastructure. it’s also critical that we recognize the native american claim to the land the pipeline is on. who exactly is trespassing there?

        2. Fraibert

          I didn’t have time to post more earlier.

          I believe the misdemeanor crime and basic civil liability don’t break new legal grounds–to my knowledge, trespass is generally a misdemeanor crime in most states and, as a civil law tort, it generally imposes quasi-strict liability where any intentional action by a person that violates another’s property rights is actionable. Moreover, for the tort, the person found liable may be responsible for property damage, restoration costs, lost income, etc.

          The criminal conspiracy liability and the vicarious civil liability are more notable. To me, the fine here is notable because it punishes organizations that coordinate violations of Section 2–typically, we don’t think of a conspiracy to trespass arising from organization-coordinated civil dosobedience, though that is legally speaking a plausible framing. However, it is also worth noting that the government would need to charge the organization and prove beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of a conspiracy.

          Also, Section 3’s vicarious liability stands out. I take it to be concerned with protestors who are compensated, receive reimbursements or sponsorships to attend a protest, or who have their bail money paid by a sponsoring organization. It’s not well-drafted–the scope isn’t clear, and due process would require the potentially liable organization to have an opportunity to challenge the imposition of liability. Still, the law does impose vicarious liability in some cases (notably the employer is responsible for the actions, whether negligent or intentional, of the employee acting within the broadly-construed scope of employment*), so I suppose it would survive a legal challenge on a theory that the “sponsoring organization” benefited from having the sponsored protestors attend or was otherwise reponsible for them in light of the compensation, etc. or something like that.

          In any case, to be clear, I see no significant First Amendment argument here under current law. Civil disobedience in the form of trespassing, sit-ins, etc. may be a celebrated American tradition, but it’s a kind of “speech brigaded with action” (as a famous analysis described this kind of thing in the specific context of burning draft cards) where the government has fairly significant latitude to regulate the overall package.

          What it does do, rightly or wrongly, is raise the potential cost of the civil disobedience.

          * e.g., hypothetically speaking, liability would probably be imposed on the employer where an employee intentionally (and obviously without approval) decides to drive his company truck on a busy city sidewalk at noon

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If the cost of civil disobedience is raised to onerous or hazardous levels, then people should figure out how to create and apply the arts of uncivil obedience . . . .grudging least-permissible obedience to the upper class laws . . . while complying as little as possible with upper class wishes.

            And since one of those upper class wishes is to keep their revenue-streams streaming to the upper class, sullen obstruction with that wish of theirs might involve slowcotts, semi-cotts, consumer slowdowns, consumer semi-strikes, “spending-to-rule”, etc. designed to reduce revenue streams to the upper class segment or sector being targeted.

            The only costs of uncivil obedience and passive-obstruction is time and comfort. No legal fees or threats need be incurred.

            1. Fraibert

              I’d also note that boycotts of private companies and actors are First Amendment protected speech. Would have to be careful in publicly describing the reasons for the boycott to avoid defamation claims, but that’s something that you face in any advocacy campaign.

              I’m sympathetic from a political POV with your point though from a strictly practical standpoint that approach is fraught with huge personal risk unless (until?) a critical mass of people act jointly.

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                Huge personal risk from non-violent uncivil obedience and politely sullen passive obstruction?

                The only huge personal risk I can think of from pursuing such purely legal activities would be the risk of assassination at the hinds of people who fear my example might spread to enough other people to degrade and attrit their revenue streams for real. If that isn’t the huge personal risk you are speaking of, then what huge personal risk would you be speaking of?

                1. JTMcPhee

                  Re uncivil non-violence and sullen “obedience:”

                  Anyone following the success of AIPAC and relatives’ use of legislation, with criminal and civil penalties including jail time and big fines, to criminalize uncivil actions like taking part in “First-Amendment-protected” boycotts of Israeli businesses? The businesses underwritten by billions of US dollars? The ones that are so deeply involved and profiting from the theft of Palestinian “property” and life and liberty? And in profiting from and fomenting so much of the destabilizing violence in the Middle East? And so blatantly de-constitutionalizing “representative government” in our Great Nation by purchasing and lobbying “our” legislatures, and executives, up and down the Republic?

                  1. Fraibert

                    I have been following to a degree. Any legislation that bans or punishes an ideological boycott of private businesses is per se unconstitutional. Period.

                    (On the other hand, ideological boycott of government obligations like taxes…well, you know how that goes…)

                    1. JTMcPhee

                      Bear in mind, says this former lawyer, that something is “unconstitutional” only if the Supremes, in the US imperial system, (and sometimes lower courts) SAY it is, and then “the government” stands up and enforces, or overrides, whatever statutes and regulations and individual or corporate behaviors have been decreed to be “un-” or actually-constitutional. Per the Supremes, e.g., corporate personhood with “first amendment rights” is ipso facto de juris obstantum (or something) “Constitutional.”

                      There are no rights in the absence of enforceable remedies. Even the charmingest of libertarians understands that truth. And that large set of nominal and more actual “rights” includes, in Joseph Heller’s timeless formulation, the ‘right” of people with power to do whatever us mopes can’t keep them from doing.

                      No amount of indignant foot-stomping and proclaiming that this and that is or are “unconstitutional” will establish what is or is not enforceable as right with coordinate remedy…

                2. Fraibert

                  I take it that you meant things like deliberate work slowdowns. If you individually work slower, you’ll get fired for cause unless your peers also do the same, etc. Apologize if I misunderstood.

                  1. drumlin woodchuckles

                    No. I meant deliberate consumption slowdowns. i meant many tens of millions of people each reducing their coal, gas and oil consumption as far down as they can sustainably over-the-long-term accept maintaining in their own lives.

                    NO driving is impossible for most people. Since we live in a society based on No Money = You Die, and No Driving means No Driving To Work which equals Losing Your Job which equals No Money which equals You Die, the millions will continue driving to work. But can they drive more fuel-efficiently than they do now? Can they combine trips and errands before and after the drive to work so as to reduce non-work trip-and-errand driving? Can they carpool and etc.?

                    In the home, can they reduce energy use by brute curtailment? Can they also use energy more efficiently to get a desired effect with less energy consumption input?

                    Can they spend twice as much money-per-thing for things which last four times as long? At least for some things? Can they repair things they used-to would have thrown away? Can they buy the most possible of their things already used at yard sales, thrift shops, etc.?

                    Suppose a hundred million households used one killowatt-hour less power per day than what they use now. That would be one hundred million killowatt-hours of power less use per day. I think a hundred million kilowatt-hours can also be expressed as one hundred gigawatt-hours. Did I move the decimal point around right?

                    How much less coal, gas and oil would be burned to produce 100 fewer gigawatt-hours of power? How much revenue would that deny and deprive from reaching Big Koch and Coal?

                    That’s the kind of thing I mean. I certainly don’t mean a work-slowdown at work. Not for me, not for anyone else.

  5. jfleni

    Are Oil Billionaires – Grease Monkeys -Trying to Undermine Our First Amendment Rights?
    Answer, straight from the K-suckers and the other offal on the same side: YES, YES, YES! They scream GIMME! forever!

  6. Randall Stephens

    Thankfully there aren’t any pipelines in my state. My state still recognizes, and even protects, our rights to free speech, peaceable assembly, rights to petition for redress.

  7. BeliTsari

    Wet gas pipelines, cracking plants, dilbit rail transport, LNG export terminals have been hurt by whistleblowers most frequently frustrated, nowadays by self annointed media gatekeepers silencing informed, issue specific inputs that contradict K Street lies and obfuscation. We’d seen lots of this in big liberal blog aggregates buying into Hill + Knowlton style obfuscation concerning nuclear power, monoculture GE agriculture, slickwater hydrofracking, CAFO meat production, etc. The Deepwater Horizon blow out, Glyphosate disclosures and Tepco meltdowns were actually covered more honestly by financial blogs, than MoJo, The Guardian, HuffPo or the self-censoring, clickbait echo chamber.

  8. Synoia

    Are Oil Billionaires Trying to Undermine Our First Amendment Rights?

    Not at all. Because money is speech, we, the Billionaires speak much louder than you. We both enjoy 1st amendment rights. Good luck with getting your speech heard!

  9. JBird

    Rights? You mean that quaint “natural rights” nonsense dreamt up by the Enlightenment and the Founding Fathers? Please people, it is money that gives you rights, just like how you used to need property to get the voting franchise.

    (I was being sarcastic, but I just realized that many do feel, if not think, just that.)

  10. Scott1

    My experience defines the struggle as with Russian Dystopian Objectivism, as espoused by Ayn Rand, and has captured powerful people in their callow youth from Greenspan on to Pompeo, & Paul Ryan.

    Counter to Dystopian ideology is Eclectic American Pragmatism. It is too bad William James didn’t write novels. I couldn’t read Henry James novels but read a good deal of Varieties of Religious Experience & was mostly impressed with the story of Fox and Friends.

    Stripped from me are all hippie pretensions
    I am Beat.

    We are trapped in a situation where are being
    carried out the Reign of Terror fitting into the nature
    of all Reigns of Terror. That is the reality of ICE
    its campaign.

    Wherever else Trump is or touches
    are initiated whatever level of another Reign
    of Terror succeeds.

    Objectivism comes from Dystopia & creates Dystopia.

    Objectivism must be stopped in the elevated mind
    of the body politic.

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