federally threatened

White Southerners certainly weren’t states’ rights doctrinaires. They were perfectly fine with an aggressive federal government if it worked to preserve slavery. They had no objection when Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, requiring free states to aid in the return of runaway slaves — overriding many of those states’ own laws. When South Carolina issued its secession ordinance in 1860, it even complained that Northern states had passed laws nullifying the Fugitive Slave Act; complained, in other words, that Northern states were refusing to obey the federal government! It was only when the federal government threatened the institution of slavery that the Southern elite invoked states’ rights.
—  William Black, in this article

not only did mona STILL offer her help even after the girls denied it but she took it upon herself to find the doctors name who did Ali’s procedure? what did we do to deserve her? AND THEN go as far as threaten, commit a federal offense then threaten this guy again? idgaf if mona is somehow A.D y'all I’m still cheering this queen on we don’t deserve mona


tx_snakewrangler Every once in awhile I try to get my bigger snakes outside for some natural sun and fresh air. I have 1.2 (1 male, 2 female) eastern indigo snakes, a federally threatened snake that occurs in Florida, Georgia, and a tiny piece of Alabama (historically, at least). My red theoated female in particular goes into double-chin, full cobra defensive mode when she gets outside, puffing up with air. She really is full of hot air though, she doesn’t bite.


Surveying bats in Montana

Bats. Lots of bats… and right now, they’re headed north.

Many people may regard springtime as the season when Montana prairies abound with the songs of feathered migrants arriving from warmer, southern climes, but it’s not just birds winging their way northward this time of year.

Assessing local populations of nocturnal, furry, flying insect-eaters is routine for Miles City Field Office biologist Fiona Petersen. She has been gathering and recording data for months on these highly-beneficial part-time residents.

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Take my $1.37. I want PBS.

Take my $.46. I am all for federal funding of art programs.

Take my $.46. I love my museums, colleges, and libraries.

Take my $.11. I support developing minority businesses.

Take my $.66. I am for entrepreneurship and innovation.

Take my $1.60. I want us to export more goods overseas.

Take my $0.43. I would like to see more American manufacturing.

Take my $0.88. I think community policing needs vast improvement.

Take my $1.48. I support programs for women.

Take my $1.55. I believe in due process for all.

Take my $0.48. We need a civil rights division in the justice department.

Take my $0.38. I think we need to defend our Mother Earth.

Take my $0.03… I know more work needs to be done for climate change.

Take my $8.95. because we need more sustainable energy.

Take my $2.71. we should reduce our carbon footprint.

If saving these programs means I’m out $22.36 a year, I’m good with contributing my $.07 a day to save American jobs and these federal programs.

Numbers taken from a report in Time about what the roles of the 17 federal agencies DT has threatened and how much they cost the average taxpayer.

Pass it on.

Neil rarely smiles throughout the series and it isn’t until tkm that he smiles because he’s happy rather than in a self-deprecating way

The Foxhole Court

  • “Neil, I work for the Foxes. None of you are okay. Chances are I’ve seen a lot worse than whatever it is you’re trying to hide from me.“ 
    Neil’s smile was humorless. “I hope not.”
  • He swallowed against the edges of nausea and approached the nearest trucker with a smile on his face.
    “Good morning. I’m a sociology major, working on my summer project. Can I ask where you’re headed?”
  • Andrew wasn’t smiling anymore, but Neil was. He felt it as it curved across his lips and knew it was a sick, ghastly expression. He dug his fingernails into his mouth, trying to claw the look off his face, but it was frozen in place.

The Raven King

  • Neil hadn’t realized he was smiling too, a cruel look he’d inherited from his father. Neil lowered his cup so Riko could get a better look at it. “I would love to see you try. You think I’m afraid of your knife? I’m the Butcher’s son.”
  • “You will kneel,” Tetsuji said. Neil had a feeling he was going to regret this for the rest of his very short life, but he smiled and said, “Make me.”
  • “Neil?” All the gruff posturing left Wymack’s voice; that sharp edge was all alarm. “Are you all right?” Neil smiled. It felt like it tore his face open. “No. No, I’m not. I know it’s kind of sudden, but can you come get me? I’m at the airport.”

The King’s Men

  • “You were expecting us to lose?” Dan asked.
    “No,” Neil admitted. His lips twitched, and he knew from the hard pull at his mouth that he was wearing his father’s smile. He pressed the side of his glove to his face, nearly crushing his teeth into his lips.
  • “Ninety-two percent,” Andrew said, “going on ninety-three.”
    It wasn’t funny— none of this was— but that response was so obnoxious and so typically Andrew that Neil couldn’t help but smile.
  • Andrew caught Neil’s eye and tipped his head toward the locker room. He was respecting Neil’s decision to stand alone and wouldn’t hover while Neil said his piece. Neil answered that trust with a small smile, and Andrew turned away.
  • “Are you threatening a federal agent?” Nathaniel smiled so hard his burns ached. “I wouldn’t dare. What I should have said was: can you survive my family?”
  • “You like it,” Neil said, unapologetic. “I like that you like it.”
    He bit down to prove his point and Andrew turned his head into it with a sharp hiss. Neil smiled where Andrew couldn’t see it. Maybe Andrew felt the twist of his lips against oversensitive skin, because he tangled his fingers in.
  • Better than that bright future was what he already had: a court that would always be home, a family who’d never give up on him, and Andrew, who for once hadn’t wasted their time denying that this thing between them might actually mean something to both of them. Neil hadn’t even noticed the silence at first, too distracted by his dizzying thoughts. Now he couldn’t help but smile and pull Andrew in. This was everything he wanted, everything he needed, and Neil was never letting go.

Recently I posted photos that Timothy McVeigh took on a trip to Area 51 from the latest Oklahoma City bombing documentary. To go along with these, below is an excerpt from the book American Terrorist about his experience there.

On his way to Nichols’s new digs, McVeigh made a couple of side trips; he thought nothing of taking a detour of five hundred miles or more to visit a site that interested him. And his first stop was at a place that had taken on legendary status in more than one fringe community in American culture: the mysterious Area 51 military installation in Nevada. McVeigh had heard the many rumors about the site—that the military tested exotic aircraft, possibly even UFOs, at the remote outpost; that a UFO had once crashed at the site, and alien life forms had been found inside, but the incident had been kept secret. But it was more than just curiosity that drove McVeigh there. He was ready to stir up a little trouble, too.

McVeigh was outraged by reports that the federal government had posted threatening signs at the site, warning that the use of deadly force had been authorized against people who crossed a certain boundary into the installation. McVeigh wanted to test that one. He wanted to exercise his right as an American to walk on public land—and he wanted to carry a gun there.

McVeigh was eager to stand up to the rent-a-cops he had heard patrolled Area 51; as a former rent-a-cop himself, he knew that they possessed no greater right to make an arrest than the average citizen. His plan was to drive in as far as he could, and then hike up a mountain to where he could see the military base and airfield. Armed with his Ruger Mini 30, semiautomatic rifle, he was prepared to confront anyone who tried to stop him. I’m on public land, buddy, McVeigh planned to say. Back off.

After parking his Road Warrior and beginning his hike, he noticed two security guards rumbling down the road toward him in a white, unmarked jeep. McVeigh had already passed the “deadly force” sign and a sign barring photographs—which further upset him, since he had brought a camera. You can’t tell me on public land I can’t take a fuckin’ picture, he thought. No rent-a-cop can tell me that.

As the vehicle drew closer, he decided to toy with the guards. He ducked for cover behind some scrub brush in a little gully about two feet deep. The jeep rolled up beside McVeigh’s car, and the two guards, remaining inside their vehicle, looked over at the empty car. To McVeigh, they were like sitting ducks.

McVeigh lay in the gully, motionless and undetected, following his military instincts. Suddenly, McVeigh stood up and walked several steps over to the driver’s side of the jeep. His gun was pointed to the ground; he knew he could have raised the barrel and wasted the guards with a pull of the trigger. In the end, though, just knowing he had the chance was good enough for him; these guys were just rent-a-cops like he used to be—not real government workers, not his true enemies.

Instead he surprised them by saying a friendly “Hi!” Spooked, the guards drove off.

McVeigh waited until nightfall before hiking up the mountain; from the mountaintop, he was able to see the lights of the airfield. Early the next morning, at false dawn, he made a second trip up the mountain, hurrying to get a jump on the hot desert sun. He was intent on taking photos of Area 51. Shirtless and saddled with his backpack, he hiked with rifle in hand.

Halfway up, he heard the rotors of a helicopter in the distance. There was no doubt in McVeigh’s mind it was a government Black Hawk, with its distinctive fooof, foooooof, foooooooof.

McVeigh stopped, turned around, and looked at the chopper approaching in the distance. Unperturbed, he resumed his hike. The sound of the chopper blades told him that the craft was coming up close. Still, he advanced, refusing to be intimidated by the chopper as it passed overhead and swooped in low, hovering in the air thirty yards in front of him.

For an instant, he considered taking cover and shooting at the helicopter with his rifle. But he wasn’t in a combat mode, not yet. He knew the whole point of sending out a chopper was to frighten him. Most people, he knew, would have been scared out of their wits by a chopper flying that close, but McVeigh merely raised his free hand and waved to the chopper’s crew, taking a little slap at authority. The craft hovered a second longer, then pitched back and left. McVeigh hiked to the top of the hill and snapped his photographs.

Later, as he drove away from Area 51, the white jeep fell in behind his car. McVeigh was certain that the rent-a-cops were running a license-plate check on him. No matter; he had accomplished his mission, challenging the government’s authority and satisfying his curiosity in one fell swoop. He found no evidence of UFOs, but his interest in unidentified flying objects never flagged. Years later, on death row, he would watch the movie Contact six times over a two-day period, fascinated by the scientist played by Jodie Foster, who makes contact with an outer-space alien in the image of her long-dead father.


Florida Scrub Jay

The Florida scrub jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) is one of the species of scrub jay native to North America. It is the only species of bird endemic to the U.S. state of Florida and one of only 15 species endemic to the continental United States.  It is known to have been present in Florida as a distinct species for at least 2 million years.

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Here we see a a desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) hatching from its egg at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center located in Sacramento, California.

The desert tortoise is a federally listed threatened species only found in the Mojave Desert. Young ones like the little guy pictured above are especially prone to predators like dogs and ravens, whose numbers can increase around areas of human activity and structures.

Adult tortoises can be killed by car traffic, ingesting trash, and wildfires, and are affected by loss of habitat from urban and industrial development, cutting short their potential lifespan of 100 years.

(By: K. Kristina Drake, USGS)

Reckless [Spencer Reid]

Summary // You decide to do something a little reckless and Spencer really doesn’t want you to get hurt

“Is this the only solution we can come up with?” Spencer asked, you knew the plan wasn’t the best idea as there was a lot of risk to it but you had no other leads on the unsub and with the whole police force you were quite comfortable that it would work, it had to, he couldn’t escape a club where police officers were planted both inside, outside and on the roof watching through the windows, he was such a high priority target but with no leads they didn’t have any other choice.

“I’ll do it.” You volunteered, the idea you all had come up with was to sent someone in and to make them interact with the unsub and see what happens next, he abducted all of his victims from one bar and the best plan was to let someone almost get abducted, there were fingerprints on the various places he had stayed, their bodies had obvious signs of torture and beside the unsub you had everything you needed to convict the unsub, you just needed to arrest him during any crime, yet every time before any agent decided to go to the bar he wasn’t there and with no other lead, this time though he announced it.

“Are you sure?” Hotch asked and you gave a confident nod, you were sure you would be able to handle him, he was an annoying idiot and you understood the danger of it all, the hardest part would likely be not punching him in the face for his stupid remarks, he had taped one of his abductions and torture and left it at the place where he did so for the police to find, he was clever to cover his face but many people had seen the man leave the bar every Friday, every time with a new girl who they never saw again.

“Positive, I can handle it Hotch, I’ve dealt with idiots before and I trust this team and the police force, you’ll be posted outside the building, inside the building and on the roof, it’ll be impossible for him to get away with someone, I’ve done something like this before.” You said confidently and he stared at you for a while before giving you a nod of confirmation.

“Go get ready.” You nodded and immediately decided to head for the hotel room and change into something more appropriate for going to a bar instead of work, you didn’t have anything that was too extreme but you imagined a shirt tucked in and a pair of black jeans would suffice, it was quite cold for the year so you didn’t think everyone would be walking around half naked.

As you had finished changing you noticed the door opening of the room you and Spencer shared.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” He asked and you furrowed your brow, confused as to why he was bringing it up.

“Yeah, I’ve been in worse situations and so I don’t have anything to really loose if it really goes wrong and I got myself out of those worse situations so I’ll be fine, really.” You said as you put your phone into your backpocket and argued whether or not to bring your gun.

“What about me? What about the team?” You became even more confused.

“I won’t die, it’s not that bad but the team will keep working if something bad happens, it’s always goes like that, something goes wrong and eventually people just keep working and for you, you can’t lose something you’ve never had.” You commented and flashed him a quick smile before leaving.


The bar was filled to the brim and you spotted both Morgan and Prentiss on opposite ends of the bar and so you waited with a drink in your hand. What Reid had said got you thinking whilst you waited for the unsub to come. You knew the dangers of doing it and you had to admit you hadn’t really thought about all of the bad things that could happen because you were confident with half of the police in the state around the corner or disguised and present but he was right, everything could really go wrong but you tried to not to think about it.

You liked him, it was more of a thing that was present but you decided not to think of too much, it shouldn’t meddle with your work but you had never heard him as worried as he had then and you wondered if it was more than just caring for a friend and co-worker.

Once you spotted the unsub you decided it was better to just focus on that, deal with the situation at hand.

“You look surprisingly sad and distracted for someone of that beauty.” You stared at him for a while, he looked nothing like he did in the video and it made you wonder if they were a duo, it could be a real possiblity with one of them picking the people up and the other torturing them.

“Smooth, and you wouldn’t mind discussing my distraction with a drink.” You needed to have some form of conversation wit him to try and see if his behaviour would add up to the profile, for him to pick up all of those people he had to be both extremely charasmatic and charming but he would also be a little agressive, no one ever saw him twice, it was always on the night they met that they would be gone and found dead a few days later.

“Of course, you tell a story and I’ll listen and I’ll do the exact same, I’m sure it’ll be interesting, you are obliged to stick around when I do the same though.” He said.

“Maybe I’m not so interesting in a drink any more.” You replied calmly and there was a hint of anger.

“I don’t think you have a choice any more.”

“I can walk out, I have every single choice in the world.” You replied with a grin and the anger only seemed to grow, which was what you exactly needed, a threat to a federal agent was really enough to get him but if your theory was right, it would take a lot more than just getting him.

“You don’t, I’m in control now.” He said as he took a hold of your arm and you easily shook it loose.

“What do you plan to do? Kill me?” You said with a huff.

“If I said yes, what would you be able to do about it. You’re just a young boy/girl” He said, clearly unimpressed and you gave a smirk as you made direct eyecontact with Morgan, something the two of you decided was a sign he could go in.

“I would say you’ve officially threatened a federal agent and harassed one which is a felony.” It seemed to register surprisingly slow but when it did Morgan had him in cuffs and he seemed surprisingly shocked and kept a lingering glare on you as he was carried away.

“That went smooth.” Prentiss commented and you nodded.

“I think they might be a duo.”


“Well, think about it we’ve got someone who’s charasmetic, charming, well if you think it’s charming, and agressive. Logically though, he’s torturing them for at least three days each, he’s a regular but this guy doesn’t fit the sillhouete yet is a perfect version of the profile, I mean we saw the video, he’s supposed to be a bit stocky, shorter than average, round head, this guy’s lean, skinny and his face sharp and a bit too long, it doesn’t add up.” You said, it was clear that he fitted the profile but someone doesn’t go from shorter than average to longer just didn’t happen overnight.

“It’s.. It’s probable.”


“I’m in here!” You shouted as you did your best to keep pressure on your shoulder, you were right with your intuition, there were two unsubs, two brothers. The younger one was more charismatic and whilst he didn’t know exactly what his older brother did to them, he liked the idea of charming and flirting with people and he could act aggressive towards them which was all he needed to be in. Hotch and Prentiss had gone to cover the left side of the house, Rossi and Morgan the right side and you and Reid were tasked with checking out the backyard, there were two sheds in the backyard and you suggested splitting up to cover more ground effectively, you had picked the one with the weird basement and the second unsub. You managed to knock him out but he still had a gun in his hand and fired a shot which landed in your shoulder.

“Y/N!” Spencer said as he stormed down the stairs and immediately went to your side.

“I’m fine! It’s just a shot wound in my left shoulder, I don’t use my left arm either way so I’ll live.” You commented, it did definitely hurt but you’ve had fights that resulted in worse injuries.

“You could’ve died!” He proclaimed.

“Yeah, but I didn’t, let’s focus on that. I don’t think I can get up on that ladder honestly.” You said with a quick smile, you didn’t like to dwell on your irrational decisions nor did you like to dwell on the fact that the bullet could’ve easily hit your heart if it had strayed a bit downward an to the right.

“I can support your back, it might make it a little easier on your right shoulder.” Spencer offered and you nodded and got up, you were very attracted to leaving the damp basement underneath a wooden shed, you tried your best not to move your left arm or shoulder as you started to climb and Spencer kept a steady hand on your back, it made it easier and very slowly you managed to get up just in time for everyone to arrive.

“What happened?” Prentiss asked, clearly worried whilst you did your best to keep some form of pressure on the wound, it wasn’t bleeding that heavily any more but you did it just to be safe.

“I got shot by our unsub, he’s down there, I knocked him out. I told Reid we should split up, two sheds, we’d cover ground faster this way, either way I’m going to be fine, any medics here?” Hotch gave a stiff nod with dissaproving eyes.

“Good, I know I did something stupid but give me a break, I got him and I got punished for my reckless actions.” You said as you walked outside and Reid followed you.

“You can lean on me.” He offered and you smiled.

“I appreciate it though I didn’t get shot in the leg,” You said with a chuckle. “You were right, you know.”


“Well, about the whole thing in the bar, I didn’t really think about it and I guess I did kind of got lucky there were two unsubs instead of just one, I don’t know what he could’ve done in the bar,” You admitted, you had been a little afraid to admit it to yourself but it was true. “So thanks, you know for caring and pointing out my obvious recklessness.” You said.

“It’s nothing, I just.. If we’d gone together, what do you think would’ve happened?” He asked and you did your best at a shrug with one shoulder.

“We could’ve overpowered him, we could’ve both got wounded, one of us could’ve died, I.. I don’t know Spencer, so much could’ve happened but I’m happy you didn’t get hurt.” You admitted, after having got shot already you hoped he didn’t have to go through it again.

“But you did.” He said and you smiled.

“I’d take a bullet for you any day Spencer, don’t worry about me getting hurt. Medics can get this fixed and I’ll be fine any day, I think I should just try to stay back a little, lay a little low the next few cases. Either way it doesn’t matter now, it happened.” You pointed out.

“Do you still want me?” you furrowed your brow.

“How do you mean?” You had an idea what he meant and were inclined to say yes but hoped to have him clarify it a little.

“You said you can’t lose what you don’t have, do you want to have me, I ehm.. I suppose I’m asking.. If uh,  If you like me.” He said, somewhat awkward.

“I uh.. I do, yeah I’ve just tried to erm… I don’t really know, I kind of tried to surpress it, I guess, to not interfere with the work but I’ve always liked that idea.” You admitted honestly, he smiled.

“I uh.. I like you too.” He said.

“That’s good, would be awkward if you didn’t. I guess we can sort this out a bit more later but I think we should get my shoulder fixed.” You suggested with a chuckle.

“I think we should too.”

mathan-at-sea  asked:

Last week Kevin O'Leary boasted that (if he was PM) he is going to force Nova Scotia to allow fracking. Now I know that most folks here, myself included, wouldn't support this. But, I'm still a tad concerned. How could he possibly force a provincial government to change their laws on this? Does a Prime Minister have this kind of power?

It is a provincial responsibility to dictate whether fracking is allowed or not in the province. So technically I don’t think he could force Nova Scotia to do it.

But the Federal Government could threaten NS to comply by withholding funding such as healthcare, infrastructure, etc.

Kevin O’Leary as PM would be a frightening prospect.


from a comrade on the ground:

“Puerto Rico:
Street lights are out, structural damage is rife, rain keeps creating flash flooding, there seem to be more electrical wires down than there are up, lines at gas stations are down the street. After riding to and establishing a hub at a church in Guaynabo, we finally found FEMA, military, federal workers and even Boston police at the Puerto Rico convention center and the Sheridan with electricity, dedicated restaurant and cozy living space (which was a medical clinic but patients have now been evacuated). One federal agent also threatened our teammate to delete photos he took.”


Happy Arbor Day from Table Rocks in Oregon.

The 4,864-acre Table Rocks Management Area is cooperatively owned and administered by the BLM and natureconservancy.

The Table Rocks were designated in 1984 as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) to protect special plants and animal species, unique geologic and scenic values, and education opportunities. The remarkable diversity of the Table Rocks includes a spectacular spring wildflower display of over 75 species, including the dwarf wooly meadowfoam (Limnanthes floccosa ssp. pumila), which grows nowhere else on Earth but on the top of the Table Rocks. Vernal pool fairy shrimp (Branchinecta lynchi), federally listed as threatened, inhabit the seasonally formed vernal pools found on the tops of both rocks.

Why Won’t the US Government Let Veterans Smoke Medical Marijuana?

We Americans love to send our armed forces, often recruited from black and Hispanic neighborhoods devoid of real economic opportunity, to fight in exotic foreign conflicts while we relax at home and consume things, unconcerned about the impact all that combat has on those citizens’ lives. So it should come as little surprise that the House of Representatives last Wednesday rejected an amendment to the annual bill funding veterans’ health care that would have permitted military doctors in states with medical marijuana already on the books to discuss pot treatment options with their patients.

The vote was tantalizingly close, however, with the amendment failing 222–195. In fact, 22 Republicans crossed over to join the majority of Democrats in favor of the proposal, which, according to medical studies, could help some of the millions of vets suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the aftermath of the protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The bipartisan tide of momentum for drug legalization, it seems, is reaching the highest levels of the federal government—and even threatening to rope in our sacred troops, whom we are apparently fine with risking life and limb in the desert so long as they never, ever get high.


In Catalonia: A Spanish Tiananmen Square?

By Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com, September 18, 2017

One of those crises that no one saw coming is about to rear its head in a very unlikely locale: Catalonia, Spain’s richest province, where the local government has scheduled an independence referendum on October 1. Of course, some observers–e,g, Julian Assange–did see it coming, but the current trend to find “fascists” under every bed in America may have obscured our ability to detect them where they really live–in Madrid, where the federal authorities are threatening to arrest Catalonian politicians who advocate independence.

Madrid has mobilized 4,000 police to stop the referendum. They are seizing election materials, shutting down web sites, and invading the offices of newspapers: they have threatened 700 pro-independence mayors with arrest and prosecution.

The Spanish position–upheld by the country’s Constitutional Court–is that only the federal authorities can call a referendum, and that in any case all Spanish voters, not just those resident in Catalonia, must be allowed to vote on the question of Catalonian independence. So much for the right of self-determination.

Catalonia has long been a cash cow for the Madrid regime: the province is by far the richest in the country, and contributes much more to the national budget than it receives. With 16 percent of Spain’s population, the region produces 25 percent of the nation’s exports, hosts 23 percent of industry–and receives 11 percent of government expenditures. This essentially parasitic relationship perhaps accounts for the fierce resistance to the secession movement by the rather shaky regime of conservative Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

Madrid’s hard-line stance is rather shortsighted when one looks at the matter in purely economic terms. Spain has been skirting insolvency for quite some time now, and the federal authorities have been counting on Catalonia’s contribution to the national GDP–which amounts to 19 percent–to pay the interest on the debt. With Spain having only partially recovered from the economic downturn of 2008, the loss of Catalonia would be a hard blow to Madrid–and yet the policy of confrontation pursued by the shortsighted central authorities promises to make the blow all the harder.

For all the secessionists of Barcelona have to do is to refuse to take on a disproportionate share of the national debt, as they have been doing all along. By refusing to negotiate with Barcelona, and instead resorting to threats of force, the Spanish nationalists are ensuring the worst possible outcome for their own cause.

As I’ve detailed in this space before, Catalonia has a long history as an entity separate and distinct from Spain: it has its own language, Catalan, which is spoken by over 9 million people and is not a dialect of Spanish. The language was banned by the fascist dictatorship established by Gen. Francisco Franco after the Spanish civil war, but revived with the emergence of democracy.

Catalonia’s bid for self-determination is an ideological litmus test, one that tells us everything we need to know about the main forces contending for power in the world. The reason is because the crisis is taking place on the terrain of Europe, in the very midst of the “free” West. Since forever and a day we have been told that the “democratic” West doesn’t commit acts of mass repression against their own people: that the right of “self-determination” is universal, and that that liberal democracy is not about to mimic the methods of, say, Slobodan Milosevic, and put down a popular uprising by force. These methods–they claim–are the exclusive province of “illiberal” regimes, like those in Russia, Belarus, and now Hungary.

Except that the threats and repressive measures of “democratic” Spain have exposed this conceit as nonsense. As October 1 approaches, and Madrid prepares to crush the Catalonian revolution with brute force, the myth of the “democratic” West is being shaken to its foundations–with the growing prospect that violent repression will bring the whole dilapidated edifice down on the heads of the people, both Spaniards and Catalonians alike.

As one might expect, the US State Department is taking the position of taking no position, while not-so-subtly signaling support for Madrid. When Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) came out in support of the Catalonian struggle for freedom, US diplomats in Spain issued a statement in which Washington attempted to do what it does best: talk out of both sides of its mouth:

“We want to reiterate that, as we have said on previous occasions, the position of the United States government over Catalonia is that it is an internal matter of Spain. We are deeply committed to maintaining the relationship with a strong and united Spain.”

So it’s an “internal matter” but we want Spain to stay “united”–i.e., screw the Catalonians. The same position of not-so-neutral “neutrality” has been taken by the European Union, whose “president” says that Catalonia would have to reapply to the EU for membership, a move that the authorities in Madrid would surely block. Thus the threat of economic and physical isolation is being held over Barcelona’s head, as withdrawal from the EU free trade and free movement zones would inflict considerable damage.

With Western elites pushing hard for centralization on a global scale, and the creation of ever-bigger more “inclusive” international constructions–trading blocs like NAFTA and the TPP, and the shoring up of NATO as well as the EU super-state–insurgent trends in the other direction like the Brexit campaign and the Catalonian independence movement are being bitterly resisted by the powers that be. They couldn’t use force to subdue the Brexiteers, of course, but it looks like the centralizers of Madrid are being given the green light to do their worst when October 1 dawns.

This would be a huge mistake that would backfire immediately and explosively. For what the West is facing is the prospect of a Tiananmen Square incident taking place in its very midst–an act of violence that, far from ensuring the legitimacy of the authorities in Madrid, would quickly delegitimize them in the eyes not only of their own countrymen but of the entire world. Catalonia would become the collective embodiment of “Tank Man,” with the Madrid authorities taking the role of the despots of Beijing.


Thinking of the Sunny Alabama Shores as #blizzard2016 Storms in!

BLM manages seven small beach front tracts in Baldwin County, Alabama. All of these tracts are designated critical habitat for the Alabama beach mouse and contain primary dunes, the preferred habitat for this species. The tracts also provide nesting habitat for loggerhead sea turtles.

In fact, these beaches are one of the few areas in the U.S. that federally-threatened Loggerhead Sea Turtles use for nesting. Actually locating a sea turtle nesting spot - momma turtles like to hide and lay eggs at night - and watching eggs hatch are rare events. Volunteers regularly patrol the beaches and watch for signs of turtle nesting.

Discover more unknown travel destinations on our My Public Lands Summer Roadtrip @esri Story Maps.

Star Trek AU fic where no one at Starfleet Command believes any of Captain Kirk’s logbooks and when he gets back at the end of his five-year mission, he just gets chewed out for being contemptuous of his superiors, so he resigns his commission and fades into obscurity.

Then, much later, when Jim Kirk is an old man in retirement from having commanded a private spice freighter or something for most of his adult life, one of the most unbelievably ludicrous things in his logbook (like that giant space amoeba or the god Apollo) comes out of deep space and starts threatening the Federation. A young, arrogant hotshot named Jean-Luc Picard, captain of the USS Stargazer, is sent to pick-up Kirk from his retirement colony on the outskirts of known space. Picard is initially contemptuous of Kirk’s undisciplined, disrespectful “cowboy” style, but as they travel around trying to locate all of the members of Kirk’s old crew (being the only people in the Federation who have dealt with this threat before), he becomes increasingly convinced that everything in Captain Kirk’s logbook is actually 100% true.