U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman has again teamed up with Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and issued a call to the White House and the Department of Justice to resolve the tense and dangerous Dakota Access Pipeline standoff in North Dakota. Huffman, the ranking Democrat on the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans, says his role is to make sure that federal water policies don't cause "grave injustices" to the tribal rights of the Sioux or the rights of protesters.
The Army Corps of Engineers put out an "eviction" letter last week directed at protesters, but Huffman says he doesn't know how the Corps could follow through on it. "It was a poor decision to put out the eviction notice."
Huffman wants a meeting with the White House and DOJ and has already urged Obama to deny an easement through federal land. The pipeline would alternatively get routed over state or private land. Huffman says he wants to make sure the federal government is not complicit in promoting bad policy that goes against the standing or the interests of the Sioux.
Meanwhile, the local sheriff's department near the protest site has deployed water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters. It is noteworthy that Trump has a financial interest in Energy Transfer Partners, which is building the $3.8 billion pipeline and which got the local sheriff to attack unarmed Americans exercising their right—for now, anyway—of free assembly.
It's the holiday season and Americans are again trampling each other to death at the midnight-hour, big-box spending orgy. Another beloved holiday tradition: aggressive charlatans head into high gear aiming to rip off the vulnerable, ho ho ho—and Napa County is trying to nip one of their classics in the bud, the Social Security scam.
Brad Baker works for the Napa County district attorney in the consumer-protection division, and says the county heard from a senior recently who said a caller had reached out to warn that the senior's Social Security benefits had been suspended. In order to reactivate the benefits, the caller implored the senior to provide personal information. Bad idea.
Baker says anyone who calls and says they are from Social Security is lying. Hang up and call the police.
"We got in front of this," he says. Social Security will never call with a demand for information or a warning about benefits.
Speaking of aggressive charlatans—even though no one in Napa is saying so—it could be that U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has been prank-calling Napa seniors with a hint of what is to come now that It Can Happen Here, and Apparently It Just Did. Ryan has vowed to privatize Social Security, so if his number—202.225.3031—shows up on the caller ID, don't answer that call! It's a total scam!