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Please support Antiprofiling House Resolution 366

By General Posts

Please support Antiprofiling House Resolution 366 Call-to-Action to support Motorcycle Riders

Members of the House of Representatives left D.C. last week for two weeks of recess. While they are away their staff members are sorting through constituent mail and reviewing legislative priorities. Now is a great time to contact those congressional offices and have your voice heard!

H. Res 366 is a resolution focused on the profiling of bikers and it needs public support from all Members of Congress.

Click on the link below and you will be sent to a site that sends a letter to your Representative based on your zip code.

If your Representative has already signed on, your message will be a thank you note and ask them to push for a full vote on the House floor. If your elected official hasn’t signed on, the message will ask for them to cosponsor H. Res 366 and go on record supporting bikers.

So far this year over 70 Representatives have cosponsored the resolution, but that is just half of where we were in 2020. Let’s make sure the politicians in Washington, D.C. hear from bikers and act.

Click here to contact your Representative regarding H. Res 366.

About Motorcycle Riders Foundation: The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) provides leadership at the federal level for states’ motorcyclists’ rights organizations as well as motorcycle clubs and individual riders.

Visit website http://mrf.org/ or call (202) 546-0983!
and Join the MRF!

Myth, Mystery & Weirdness of the legend of Ganja

By General Posts

The mysterious weirdness about the legend of the ganja
by Amy Irene White with images from the Bob T. collection
10/29/2021

One of the most exasperatingly ridiculous brick walls in Washington DC is, the age-old conundrum of legalizing marijuana.

Throughout the years, marijuana has gone through many transformations in the public eye.

House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC) were scheduled to conduct a legislative hearing on Wednesday, October 13th, which included consideration of the bipartisan VA Cannabis Research Act of 2021, HR 2916. So far, there have been no updates, when I wrote this.

The legislation “would direct the VA to conduct clinical research with varying forms of medicinal cannabis to evaluate the safety and effects of cannabis on health outcomes of veterans with PTSD and veterans with chronic pain.”

CLICK HERE for a Feature Report on the State of the Myth, Mystery & Legend of Ganja

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A U.S. Ally Is Turning to China to ‘Build, Build, Build’

By General Posts

The Philippines is converting a historic American military base into a city. Its key funder? China.

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte checks the scope of a rifle at a ceremony marking the turnover of free Chinese military assistance to the Philippines at Clark Air Base in June 2017.Romeo Ranoco / Reuters

CLARK, Philippines—Vince Dizon makes sure his guests take in the view from his ninth-story office before they leave. A set of windows looks out over a hazy, expansive airfield that was the center of the United States’ largest overseas military base, until it was handed back to the Philippines in 1991.

The concrete skeleton of a new commercial-airline terminal can now be seen in the distance. Dizon, who leads the Philippine government agency charged with redeveloping old military sites, is fond of telling visitors that the Americans built a runway of such quality that the U.S. Space Shuttle could have landed on it.

Three decades on, the area is still dotted with vestiges of Clark Air Base, where Americans first established a presence during the Spanish American War while searching for grazing land for their horses. A manicured veterans cemetery is managed by the U.S. government; a building that was once a base hospital sits abandoned outside the gates of a new water park; an American Legion post is wedged between two “entertainment bars”—the infamous red-light district, which flourished thanks to demand from U.S. troops, didn’t leave when they did.

Now, though, the Chinese, not the Americans, are the ones fueling investments here. Officials from Dizon’s agency, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, and China’s Gezhouba Group, an engineering and construction company that has moved aggressively into foreign markets in recent years, are finalizing the details of a $2 billion, 500-hectare industrial park, Dizon told me, while Chinese loans will fund a railway linking Clark to the coastal city of Subic, the site of a former U.S. naval base. Separately, Chinese firms are also angling to take over a failing shipyard in Subic.

The projects are part of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s aptly, if not creatively, named “Build Build Build” economic strategy, under which the government plans to transform the Clark base into a green, disaster-resilient, stand-alone city that developers hope will relieve pressure on Manila, the perpetually gridlocked capital some 60 miles south.

Chinese investment in what will be known as New Clark City “is critical,” Dizon said in an interview. “It is how it all started.” He sees the investments as symbols of a “newfound friendship and relationship” between Manila and Beijing. It is one of several similar projects launched across the Philippines, and across Southeast Asia, as China and Chinese companies plow money into projects, largely as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s much-touted Belt and Road Initiative. The globe-spanning infrastructure and investment program has been criticized by Washington, but has nevertheless won admirers: Last month, Italy became the first major European economy to join.

This redevelopment of a former symbol of American might here in Clark by a Chinese developer may be the best example of the shift under way in Southeast Asia, as a more assertive Beijing courts traditional American allies in a part of the world where Washington’s power long went unchallenged. “It is so important,” Dizon, who worked on Duterte’s presidential campaign in communications and was appointed to his current job by the president, said. “I think it will be one of the major legacies of this shift in foreign policy under President Duterte.”

Though Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines say they still need an American military presence in their backyard and fear a rising China—Duterte himself has told Beijing to “lay off” an island claimed by the Philippines in the South China Sea—a debate is raging on what that relationship with Washington should now look like. Analysts that I spoke with noted worries in the region that President Donald Trump’s White House appeared uninterested in Southeast Asia compared with its predecessors. At the same time, staunch American allies, including Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand, have looked to China as the rare country that is hungry to sink billions into infrastructure projects and fund development.

To be sure, China’s efforts in Southeast Asia have not been without difficulties. Beijing has inserted itself as a power broker in Myanmar’s (also called Burma) long-running civil wars and Rohingya crisis, and has stirred public resentment as it pushes to restart a highly controversial, and currently suspended, hydropower dam project. Though Malaysia has recently revived two major Chinese-backed projects, it had initially turned away Belt and Road investments whose price tags became too high to bear. And even as the Philippines invites Chinese investment, it has almost no security relationship with Beijing. (By contrast, Manila maintains exceptionally close ties with Washington, its former colonizer, which is still widely trusted and respected here.)

Read: China is quietly reshaping the world

Yet the shift in ties between the Philippines, as well as much of the rest of Southeast Asia, and the U.S. is clear. Vacancies for ambassadorships in the region have piled up and include Singapore and Thailand. Trump in March nominated an ambassador to ASEAN, the regional bloc, after a more than two year vacancy, and Patrick Murphy, the nominee for ambassador to Cambodia, continues to face confirmation delays. David Stilwell, nominated last year to be assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, also has yet to be confirmed.

Barack Obama—who lived for part of his childhood in Indonesia—took a particular interest in Southeast Asia, and while his administration’s “pivot to Asia,” meant to be a centerpiece of his foreign-policy legacy, was never fully realized, even those limited efforts have not been replicated. A 2016 summit convened by Obama with Southeast Asian leaders, the first of its kind, has not been held again. After attending part of the 2017 ASEAN Summit, Trump skipped two Southeast Asia–focused meetings last year.

The Trump administration has defended its handling of Southeast Asia. In particular, the White House has sent a large number of officials to visit the region. Murphy, who currently serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, met with Southeast Asian officials in March to “reaffirm our embrace of ASEAN centrality.” An increased number of military operations in the South China Sea have also been a central, and highly visible, part of the administration’s efforts to push back on China’s combativeness in the contested waters. And Washington, which will publish an Indo-Pacific strategy report this year, has announced new funds for technological and infrastructure initiatives across Southeast Asia, though the amounts on offer are a fraction of what China is spending.

These moves are not gaining much traction. A February survey of 1,008 Southeast Asian experts, business leaders, and policy makers by the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, a think tank in Singapore, found that 68 percent believed that U.S. engagement with the region has either decreased or decreased substantially. A similar proportion were unsure of, or had little confidence in, Washington’s reliability as a strategic partner and provider of regional security. Separate surveys last year from the Pew Research Center and Gallup found Trump’s image remains poor internationally, while countries continue to recognize the rising power of China.

Read: China’s plan to buy influence and undermine democracy

“How can you reportedly be spending so much time in Asia and yet not [be] reassuring anybody by doing it?” Greg Poling, director of the Washington-based Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told me. “There is a sentiment in Southeast Asia that U.S. officials come in and want to lecture about the things that matter to us and don’t have nearly enough patience for the things that matter to Asian partners.”

Nina Hachigian, who served as the U.S. ambassador to ASEAN during the Obama administration, said she doesn’t see “the strategic vision for Asia as a whole and what the U.S. role and interests are.” Hachigian, who now works in the Los Angeles mayor’s office, added that China could exploit that to tell regional allies “that we can’t be trusted, that we are not really Asian anyway, that we are unreliable, that we will leave, that we are only in it for our own interests.”

China’s infrastructure-building is perhaps something that the U.S. does not want to, or cannot, compete with—Manila’s finance secretary, Carlos Dominguez III, for example, publicly lamented last year that American investors “have no interest” in the country’s redevelopment plans. But the U.S.’s once rock-solid defense ties may also be under pressure.

Recent focus in Manila has been on the Mutual Defense Treaty, which was signed in 1951, five years after the Philippines gained independence from Washington. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in March reassured the Philippines that the U.S. would come to the country’s defense if it were attacked in the South China Sea—a significant statement that aimed to address long-standing consternation here over the lack of a firm American position on the issue. But just a week later, Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that it was not the lack of reassurances that worried him, but rather that the Philippines would be drawn into “a war that we do not seek and do not want,” noting that increased U.S. naval operations meant the Philippines “is more likely to be involved in a shooting war.”

While stressing that the two countries remain steadfast allies, Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to Manila, admitted to me in an interview that “it may not be the simplest time to be working on the U.S.-Philippines relationship for various reasons.” He pointed to “political rhetoric” from the infamously brash Duterte as one of the factors that complicated the relationship. The U.S., Kim said, was looking at whether “any adjustments could be made to update and improve” the 1951 treaty, issues that might be “identified together” with counterparts from the Philippines. (Changes to the text of the treaty, though, would require ratification from lawmakers in both countries.)

Dizon’s concerns are more immediate: He is hoping to drum up more Chinese support for New Clark City. Local media reported that two deals were signed between China and the Philippines at a Belt and Road event in Beijing in April. As I said goodbye to Dizon after our interview, a team from Chinese state television was waiting outside his office, getting ready to film a story on the enormous construction project. The Clark development would, he told me as he walked to join them, “spur the long-term relationship between China and the Philippines.”

The Battery Wars of the near future

By General Posts

U.S. legislation aims to thwart China’s electric vehicle dominance

WASHINGTON: A U.S. senator plans to introduce legislation on Thursday to streamline regulation and permitting requirements for the development of mines for lithium, graphite and other electric-vehicle supply chain minerals, part of a plan to offset China’s dominance in the space.

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Republican chair of the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will introduce the Minerals Security Act alongside Senator Joe Manchin.

“Our challenge is still a failure to understand the vulnerability we are in as a nation when it comes to reliance on others for our minerals,” Murkowski told Reuters.

France, Germany agree on first battery cell consortium

France and Germany have earmarked 1.7 billion euros ($1.90 billion) to support several company alliances looking to produce electric car battery cells, a step aimed at reducing the dependence of European carmakers on Asian suppliers.

BERLIN: France and Germany have asked the European Commission to green-light state subsidies for a cross-border battery cell consortium involving carmaker PSA with its German subsidiary Opel and Total’s Saft, FAZ newspaper reported on Monday.

The economy ministries of both countries sent a letter of intent to the European Union’s executive body asking Brussels to quickly give its go-ahead, the newspaper said, adding that the sum of the planned support was not mentioned.

In the Cantina – Big Question Weekly News for May 2, 2019

By General Posts

It’s Doable if We Can Get to the Table
By Bandit, Wayfarer, Rogue, Bob T., Sam Burns, Barry Green, the Redhead, Laura, Stealth and the rest of the Crew

Why do I ponder this shit, but I do. It’s not as if my folks were industry leaders or politicians. I should smoke weed and relax, but no.

How do we respect freedom of travel, the enjoyment of riding, the freedom to build bikes and keep roads available? We need to shift our focus first, but we need to do it soon.

READ THE WEEKLY NEWS EXCLUSIVELY IN THE CANTINA – Click Here

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An Eye on Recent Motorist Rights Court Cases

By General Posts

FROM National Motorists Association https://www.motorists.org

Motorist rights cases have made news and even history recently. There have been so many as of late, we are dedicating two separate newsletters to provide some insight on the legal rulings that are affecting drivers around the country.

This week’s newsletter focuses on recent rulings and pending US Supreme Court and federal court cases. Part 2 next week will outline state court decisions.

TheNewspaper.com, featured prominently in these two newsletters, is a great supplement to the NMA’s Motorists.org site for the latest news and opinions on the politics of driving.

The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)

Last week’s unanimous decision that curtails excessive government fines and property seizures has provided further impetus for one of the NMA’s primary lobbying initiatives: civil asset forfeiture (CAF) reform. The decision received broad bipartisan praise. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the ruling that the excessive fines clause is a fundamental restriction that applies to the states under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. While the SCOTUS decision is monumental, the fight is far from over. Some states still allow the seizure of property from citizens — motorists are prime targets — who have never been charged with a crime. Our work for reform at the federal and state levels continues in earnest.

Additionally, SCOTUS accepted a case in January that will decide whether an unconscious drunk person has given implied consent for a blood draw to determine alcohol level. The case might resolve an important constitutional question: Can state legislatures obviate the warrant requirement by “deeming” that citizens can consent to Fourth Amendment searches without explicitly expressing that consent?

Federal Appeals Court Cases

Judges for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in late January that a person driving a registered vehicle on a public road is not “reasonably suspicious.” Federal authorities appealed a motion to suppress evidence obtained from a border patrol traffic stop in Freer, Texas. The driver turned onto a public road that happened to bypass a checkpoint 50 miles inland from the Mexican border. The U.S. government has declared anything within 100 miles to be under Border Patrol jurisdiction. The Court ruled that turning onto a road that is “known” for smuggling in a truck registered to an individual is not enough to support reasonable suspicion. If it were, then virtually anyone driving within 100 miles from the border could automatically be deemed suspicious.

In December, judges in the Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that it is appropriate for officers to use force to ram a driver with an expired registration sticker off the road. The driver sued the Arkansas state trooper for using excessive force and a US District Judge agreed with the plaintiff that the officer was out of line. She felt that at the time the trooper turned on his lights to make the stop, she could not reasonably do so on the shoulder which was unlit, dark and narrow. She continued to drive 20 mph under the speed limit for 42 seconds to find a safer spot, but after she passed an exit the trooper used a precision immobilization technique (PIT) maneuver to push her vehicle into a ditch. She and her young daughter were both injured. The Appeals Court sent the case back to the same district judge who now must determine if the lawsuit can proceed on the basis of malicious intent.

In early February, the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that police do not need a reason to place American citizens on a ‘Suspicious Person’ list. Judge Milan Smith wrote, “Tips and leads required only ‘mere suspicion,’ a lower standard than the reasonable suspicion required for criminal intelligence data and is up to the discretion of law enforcement and other government officials. This case is chilling in the sense that the government can put anyone on the list for not much more than a whim.

The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled in January that police cannot demand ID from car or truck passengers without a reasonable suspicion of a crime. The judges agreed that in this Arizona case, the US Supreme Court ruling in Rodriquez v. US, which prohibits police from prolonging a traffic stop by asking unrelated questions, established precedent.

In January, the Eleventh Circuit US Court of Appeals upheld a traffic stop over a fast blinker. Apparently, driving with a turn signal that flashes “too fast” is potentially a criminal act in Georgia. The blinker was actually working properly; the Georgia Code does not stipulate how fast a turn signal should blink, only that all equipment be kept in “good working condition.” The appellate panel suggested that the plaintiff’s blinker was not in compliance because it was in working condition, just not “good” working condition. American jurisprudence at its best.

Check out Part 2 next week when we showcase recent state cases that could impact motorists.

The National Motorists Association is a membership-based organization dedicated to protecting the rights of the motoring public.