My Republican cousin Ray Sixkiller had that twinkle in his eye I haven’t seen for some time. I think he’s seeing the light at the end of the Trump tunnel in the special prosecutor taking on the obstruction of justice charge and in the lawsuits claiming The Trump Organization is raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from foreign sources. Trump’s claim that he placed his foreign assets in a trust is nothing but smoke and mirrors. He didn’t create the trust he promised and even if he had it was not “blind.”
Cousin Ray was shaking his head before I finished explaining. “You know,” he asked, “how you are always claiming that we’re the heirs of Indian Country Today and it was the newspaper of record, the New York Times of Indian country?”
I had to admit that’s my position. We are read by more Indians than the Times and our staff collectively knows more about where Indian tribes are and how we got here than any writer the Times is likely to deploy.
“Well,” Ray said smugly, “I got a story where we beat the Times and the Washington Post, too---on their own turf. Last week, a Senate committee issued a subpoena on the down low for Trump’s mythical tapes, but the U.S. Marshal was not able to deliver the subpoena.”
“So what? It doesn’t have to be put in his hand and Congress knows where the White House is…”
“That didn’t help.” Ray could no longer hold it back and he was laughing out loud. “The U.S. Marshal searched high and low at 1600 Pennsylvania. He couldn’t serve the subpoena because you have to leave it with a responsible grown-up.”
His laugh morphed into hysterical giggles. I think my cousin has snapped.
Speaking of the responsible grown-ups shortage, 25-year-old Reality Winner was charged with violation of the Espionage Act before the results of her leak were published.
Those who will make her a heroine must be opposed to the whole idea of classified information. She blew no whistles. The material she leaked had nothing to do with waste, fraud, abuse, or violation of the law by the U.S. government.
Her leakage was only marginally newsworthy, in that it contained some of the basis for concluding that Russia used acts of cyber-warfare against the U.S. elections. That remains an open question only because Donald J. Trump denies it.
Whistleblowing is not a defense to a violation of the Espionage Act. Do we really want a 25-year-old deciding what ought to be classified? I got my top-secret clearance when I was 19. While I loved speculating about what classified material I handled was newsworthy, I didn’t have a big enough ego to think I was qualified to say whether making it public would harm the country.
Chelsea Manning was a whistleblower. She released evidence of a war crime and a cover-up. That’s not a defense to the charge but it’s a ground for executive clemency, which President Obama extended.
Edward Snowden is a much harder case. His complaint is not about violations of law but rather about what the law is. His method was wholesale release of surveillance materials. He shined light where it needed to go but his method assured he would cause harm. The only dispute is how much harm.
Reality Winner? DuffelBlog said it best: Delusional Loser. Not as delusional as Mr. Trump or his base. Winner’s leak will not convince them and nobody else needs convincing.
While the leakers may be violating the law, the leakees do not. Once information is in circulation, the First Amendment protects recirculating it. Being leaked to is one way to make your bones as a journalist. Another way is to get an important interview nobody else does.
Megyn Kelly hit NBC with a big splash by scoring an interview with Vladimir Putin and proving she could hold her own with another pol who believes in crushing journalists—the first being Donald Trump.
Kelly must be doing something right because when one side of our divided polity wants to string her up, the other side offers to fetch the rope. She jumped ship from Fox News in the middle of serial outrages about the status of women at the network that turned “fair and balanced” into a running gag.
Fox lost Kelly and a very smart lawyer/commentator in the person of Greta Van Susteren about the same time. It was not terribly shocking to see female talent leaving as a culture that normalized sexual harassment was revealed as reaching all the way to the top.
Now, Kelly has interviewed Alex Jones of Infowars. The Oregonian reported that some of the Sandy Hook Elementary School parents are tweeting Kelly pictures of their dead children. Jones claims the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax orchestrated by the government so Barack Obama could send jackbooted thugs to confiscate your duck gun.
Jones does admit that World Trade Center collapsed, but claims the U.S. government did it. I would say Jones is a loon, but that would cause a barrage of letters in defense of loons.
One side of the political debates attacks Kelly for legitimizing Jones, but Jones himself is demanding that NBC not air the interview, which he calls a “hit piece.”
Legitimizing Alex Jones? Donald Trump appeared on Jones’ show in December of 2015 and the Trump White House has issued press credentials to Infowars.
Van Susteren has also found that the road back to fact-based reality has a few speed bumps. Writing in HuffPost, Steve Heimoff criticized Van Susteren for dashing from the far right to the middle:
There is a difference between truth and lies—a stark, epistemological difference that must be acknowledged if human reason is to rule over superstition. Pretending that truth and lies both deserve respectful treatment is deliberate, and dangerous, obfuscation.
What he says is correct, but I don’t think Van Susteren resembles that remark. I’ve not observed her failing to tell the truth in the face of an obvious lie.
The Cherokee Phoenix reported that the ninth annual “Remember the Removal” bike ride has received a $25,000 grant towards expenses from the National Park Foundation. The riders will travel 1,000 miles across seven states retracing the northern route of the Trail of Tears. The Trail of Tears routes in parts of nine states are designated a National Historic Trail by the National Park Service. Follow the bike ride Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/removal.ride/.
KRQE broadcast body camera video of Albuquerque police officers Jim Edison and Jon O’Guin pausing an investigation about a stolen vehicle to respond to a crying woman who had a puppy choking on a piece of cheese. The video showed a lot of trial and error trying to figure out how to do the Heimlich maneuver on a dog. Good intentions intersected with luck and they induced the pup to cough up the cheese and breathe.
NBC reported from Bribie Island, Australia, that a kangaroo fell into a canal. While the water was not over the animal’s head, a tide was about to come in. It could not leap high enough to escape.
The Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors answered the call, chasing the animal up and down the canal by kayak until it tired enough that they were able to sedate it.
In the last part of the frame, the rescued creature is sleeping comfortably on dry land. We see the roo wake up, look around quizzically, and go bounding away. Just another day at the office for the Wildlife Warriors.
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribal Tribune reported a complicated tale of disappearing money that is still playing out in an investigation by the National Indian Gaming Commission. Because it’s pending, the NIGC won’t comment, but it sounds like something that could save people grief if it went around by moccasin telegraph even while the investigation is pending.
The Iowa Tribe is attempting to launch Pokertribe.com, with a physical location offshore and, of course, real money at stake.
The developer of Pokertribe is Universal Entertainment Group of Miami, and it previously took $9.5 million from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes to launch Pokertribes.com, also gambling with real money from an offshore location. The Tribune quoted Reggie Wassana, speaker of the tribal legislature:
A lot of money was paid and nothing was ever received. Nothing became of it.
Christina Fallin, daughter of Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) was formerly spokeswoman for Universal Entertainment Group. Several self-imposed deadlines to get the Iowa tribe’s casino up and running have come and gone.
“I hope I’m wrong because I don’t want to see the Iowas get burned, but it sounds to me like the river card is a joker,” Cousin Ray commented.
“There’s no joker in Texas Hold ‘Em,” I reminded him.
“That’s kinda my point. This business plan has already been busted and these rocket scientists think adding a tribal government will make it work?”
Minnesota Public Radio broadcast an examination of what the public schools teach about the largest mass execution in U.S. history, the killing of 38 Dakota men—known as the Dakota 38 plus 2—by hanging in December 1862. The examination was prompted by the controversy over the Walker Art Center sculpture, Scaffold.
The last interview in the MPR report was Ramona Kitto Stately, Osseo Area school district secondary Indian education director. Stately related that her g-g-grandmother was one of a group of women and children force-marched to a prison camp at Ft. Snelling at the end of the Dakota War. Her final remarks framed the problem nicely:
I have teachers who ask me, “When is it appropriate to tell kids this story?” My answer is always the same: “When is it appropriate to lie to them?”