Thank goodness for the Federal Register…

…Because it’s a terrific resource to use to see what Trump’s been up to of late. I’ve summarized two recent executive actions – one being the DAPL memorandum (because the Federal Register just republished it due to discrepancies between the one Trump signed and the electronic copy uploaded to the Federal Register database, and because it’s outrageous and indicative of an administration interest in flouting as many established laws as possible), and the other being the February 9, 2017 Executive Order that, to my eye, puts us farther on the path towards a police state.

Both also prove good insight into a presidency that is not about the “the people” but all about commercialization, corporatization, and the forces that allow both to flourish (law enforcement).

I think going forward I’ll be checking out the FR daily to make sure to catch what’s flying under the radar.

Presidential Memorandum: Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (corrected version published 2/17/17; original published 1/24/17 – discrepancy between the copy that Trump signed and the electric file used for publication, which, okay, sketchy as f and indicative of more of the “they don’t know what they’re doing” disease currently plaguing the White House.)

FIRST OF ALL, THIS WHOLE THING IS SO ILLEGAL THAT IT’S OBVIOUS WHY TRUMP MADE IT A MEMO AND NOT AN ORDER (because he didn’t have to cite which law he was working under). Writing this up, I felt the way the judges in the Ninth Circuit probably felt hearing that they weren’t allowed to review the EO: highly offended and insulted by the content of everything in front of me. (And it flies in the face of established regulatory law to such a degree that I’m not even sure what to do with it. Other than holler a lot. And write summaries that a lot of people probably won’t read.)

Now, to the Memorandum:

Thee Sections:

(1) Policy – Some overview about the “substantial, multi-billion dollar private investment in our Nation’s infrastructure.” Reiteration that the pipeline would be approximately 1,100 miles long and carry approximately 500,000 barrels of crude oil per day from production areas to the US oil market. Attention to the fact that only a limited portion of the pipeline is left to be completed. Trump then gives his presidential opinion that “construction and operation of lawfully permitted pipeline infrastructure serve the national interest.”

Then he directs some things, despite a memorandum not carrying the full force of law because, you know, he has no idea what he’s doing:

(2) Directives

(a) Pipeline Approval Review – [This is the REALLY OUTRAGEOUS part] Trump’s like “COME ON, HUSTLE” about the speed with which the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works and the US Army Corps of Engineers should move. Absolutely no consideration for the required process. He says (summarized form; read the original for full text):

(i) Review and approve in AN EXPEDITED MANNER all of the permits, easements, and right-of-ways that are necessary to cross Federal areas under relevant Federal law.

(ii) Consider, to the extent permitted by law (and it really isn’t permitted ny law, soooo…), rescinding or modifying the Assistant Secretary’s December 4, 2016 memorandum , and withdrawing the Notice to Prepare and Environmental Impact Statement in Connection with Dakota Access, LLC’s Request for an Easement to Cross Lake Oahe, North Dakota, dated January 18, 2017. (Sooo….taking back everything the Obama administration did to recognize the concerns of the Sioux Tribe and other DAPL protestors)

(iii) Consider counting all prior reviews and determinations (July 2016 Environmental Impact Statement) and those done under other provisions of law (including the Endangered Species Act) as satisfying all applicable requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (BASICALLY Trump is saying ignore everything that happened at the end of last year and early this year that might cause any delay whatsoever to the pipeline construction; just ignore all the new information and stop trying to get more information. He wants to use old information as the basis for allowing construction to move forward).

(iv) Review and grant, to the extent permitted by law and as warranted (honestly, this little phrase is such bullshit within the overall context of this document – paying lip service to law, but with no intent of actually following it), waivers of notice periods that are required under US Army Corps of Engineers’ real estate policies and regulations. (This one is really screwed up. Trump is trying to say that the USACE no longer has to give people a head’s up about construction or any new developments on the pipeline if the pipeline companies have requested to not have to abide by notice requirements. All pipeline projects have built in notice periods in order to alert the public to the project and allow them to respond. Eliminating this might have direct effects on due process and actually be violative of the constitution.)

(v) Issue [that bullshit statement about being in accordance with law] any approved easements or rights-of-way immediately after notice is provided to Congress.

(b) Publication – Pretty straightforward. Just says that the Secretary of the Army needs to provide a copy of this memorandum to the House, Senate, the Majority Leader, and State Governors along the DAPL route. Secretary is also authorized and directed to publish the memo in the Federal Register.

(c) Private Property – Says that nothing in the memorandum alters any Federal State, or local process/condition that is necessary for the pipeline companies to comply with in order to secure access from owners of private property to construct the pipeline and facilities. (Thank God for this crumb. Sort of. But it also might just be a veiled directive to states to start changing their own laws. Not to mention, at this point, the fight is over the Federal land, so Trump was probably all “whatever” about privately owned land.)

(3) General Provisions – AKA “protect my presidential ass/disclaimer” section. This one just more fully states that bullshit phrase from earlier – the memo doesn’t impair or effect the legal authority granted to certain agencies and is also to be implemented in accordance with applicable law, yadda yadda. It also doesn’t “create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the US, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents or any other person.”

 

Executive Order: Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement Officers (February 9, 2017)

Here we go. Here’s Trump expanding the police power of our country and increasing penalties for existing federal crimes. POLICE STATE HERE WE COME. It’s hard to really emphasize how worrying this EO is.

(1) Policy – It shall be the policy of the executive branch to [make police the numbah 1 concern, to be protected above everyone else, and untouchable. Haha no, but also kinda…]:

(a) Pretty basic – enforce all the laws to “enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers, and thereby all Americans.” (But also, this doesn’t totally follow – protecting law enforcement [which also isn’t in any kind of critical danger, by a long –shot] doesn’t have any direct impact on citizens who might be facing regular violence at the hands of said law enforcement.)

(b) This one is vague in a scary, unsettling way – DOJ to lead the way to develop strategies to further enhance the protection and safety of Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers. (“Strategies”….)

(c) MAKE IT SO CITIZENS ARE TREATED SO HARSHLY BY THE LAW THAT THEY WILL NEVER, EVER EVEN LOOK SIDEWAYS AT THE POLICE. It actually says, “pursue appropriate legislation, consistent with the Constitution’s regime of limited and enumerated Federal powers, that will define new Federal crimes, and increase penalties for existing Federal crimes, in order to prevent violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers. (Kinda like what states are doing to protestors, actually…)

(2) Implementation – Attorney General shall:

(a) Scary vague use of “strategy” again – develop a “strategy” for the DOJ’s use of existing Federal laws to prosecute individuals who commit or attempt to commit crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local enforcement officers.

(b) This one is frightening because it advances a “net” of enforcement – calls for coordination between all law enforcement agencies “in order to advance adequate multi-jurisdiction prosecution efforts.” (Typically, police can’t go after citizens outside of their jurisdiction without express consent of law enforcement in the controlling jurisdiction; this suggests a shift.)

(c) Review existing laws to determine whether they are adequate.

(e) More coordination between all levels of law enforcement.

(f) Give them all MORE MONEY (because we definitely want a more militarized police presence in this country. Definitely.) This subsection calls for evaluating all grant funding programs administered by DOJ to determine “the extent to which its grant funding supports and protects Federal, State, tribal, and local enforcement officers” AND

(g) Recommend to the President any changes to the grant funding in order to “adequately support and protect Federal, State, tribal, and local enforcement officers.” (Guys, the number of times I’ve had to copy and paste “Federal, State, tribal, and local enforcement officers” is ridiculous.)

(3) General Provisions – Same as what I wrote above: AKA “protect my presidential ass/disclaimer” section. This one just more fully states that bullshit phrase from earlier – the memo doesn’t impair or effect the legal authority granted to certain agencies and is also to be implemented in accordance with applicable law, yadda yadda. It also doesn’t “create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the US, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents or any other person.”

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