Friday, October 8, 2021

Ridin' With Biden, Con't

As President Biden restored the Trump-era cuts to three Obama-expanded national monuments (as Republicans wanted to sell the land rights to developers and Trump was always up for racist, petty garbage) this week, next week he will be the first US President to observe Indigenous Peoples' Day over Columbus Day.

President Joe Biden on Friday issued the first-ever presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day, lending the most significant boost yet to efforts to refocus the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus toward an appreciation of Native peoples.

The day will be observed Oct. 11, along with Columbus Day, which is established by Congress. While Native Americans have campaigned for years for local and national days in recognition of the country’s indigenous peoples, Biden’s announcement appeared to catch many by surprise.

“This was completely unexpected. Even though we’ve been talking about it and wanting it for so long,” said Hillary Kempenich, an artist and member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. In 2019, she and other tribal members successfully campaigned for her town of Grand Forks, N.D., to replace Columbus Day with a day recognizing Native peoples.

“I’m kind of overwhelmed with joy,” said Kempenich. She was waiting Friday afternoon for her eighth-grade daughter, who grew up challenging teachers’ depictions of Columbus, to come home from school so Kempenich could share the news.

“For generations, Federal policies systematically sought to assimilate and displace Native people and eradicate Native cultures,” Biden wrote in the Indigenous Peoples’ Day proclamation. “Today, we recognize Indigenous peoples’ resilience and strength as well as the immeasurable positive impact that they have made on every aspect of American society.”

In a separate proclamation on Columbus Day, Biden praised the role of Italian Americans in U.S. society, but also referenced the violence and harm Columbus and other explorers of the age brought about on the Americas.

Making landfall in what is now the Bahamas on Oct. 12, 1492, Columbus, an Italian, was the first of a wave of European explorers who decimated Native populations in the Americas in quests for gold and other wealth, including people to enslave.

“Today, we also acknowledge the painful history of wrongs and atrocities that many European explorers inflicted on Tribal Nations and Indigenous communities,” Biden wrote. “It is a measure of our greatness as a Nation that we do not seek to bury these shameful episodes of our past — that we face them honestly, we bring them to the light, and we do all we can to address them.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden “felt strongly” about recognizing Indigenous Peoples Day. Asked if Biden might seek to end marking Columbus Day as a federal holiday, she replied, “I don’t have any predictions at this point.”

John Echohawk, executive director of the Native American Rights Fund, said the president’s decision to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day was an important step.

“Big changes happen from each small step, and we hope this administration intends to continue making positive steps towards shaping a brighter future for all citizens,” Echohawak said.
Biden's commitment to Native issues didn't just stop at appointing Rep. Deb Halaand as Interior Secretary, it's being followed by beefy executive action, more than Obama was allowed to take, and certainly more than Trump would ever get off his orange ass to do.

But still he's going to be hated, because the media tells you he's "incompetent". Biden is at his best doing truly meaningful things like this, from the heart. It's why I voted for him, and not just against Trump.

More of this, please.

A Nobel Pursuit, Con't

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to two dissident journalists, Maria Ressa of the Philippines, and Dmitry Muratov of Russia, for their work in exposing corrupt autocrats and expanding a free press in countries where doing so can be fatal.

Journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their fight to defend free expression in the Philippines and Russia.

Ressa is the co-founder of the investigative digital media company Rappler, which has focused on the brutal war on drugs waged by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

Muratov is a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper holding power to account in President Vladimir Putin's increasingly authoritarian Russia.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said it recognized the pair for their "efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace."

More broadly, the committee said it wanted to highlight the plight of journalists across the globe who are operating in what watchdogs say is an increasingly repressive environment.

"This prize will not solve the problems that journalists and freedom of expression is facing," Berit Reiss-Andersen, the committee's chairwoman, told a news conference.

"But it will help shed a light on the importance of the work of journalists, and how dangerous it is not only in places facing war and conflict, but all over the world."

Reacting to the news, Ressa told a live broadcast by Rappler, "I am in shock."

She has been at the forefront of documenting Duterte's war on drugs, which Human Rights Watch says has led to the deaths of more than 12,000 Filipinos, some 2,500 killed by police.

Ressa was also recognized for her work documenting how social media has been used to spread disinformation and harass political opponents.

As editor of Novaya Gazeta, Muratov leads a rare independent news source in Russia. His journalists have faced harassment and threats, and six of them have been murdered, including Anna Politkovskaya, who was shot dead in her Moscow apartment building in 2006.

"Despite the killings and threats, editor-in-chief Muratov has refused to abandon the newspaper's independent policy," the Nobel Committee said in a statement.
Compare that to our own "free press" which cozies up to autocrats all over the world in the name of "access journalism". 
We need our own Ressa and Muratov. They're certainly not found among our Beltway "betters", who only want to sell books, get rich, and be famous. This all just stands as a punishing reminder as to how our own press is a s bad as Putin and Duterte's propaganda outlets 99% of the time.


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