CMPD Officers File “Notice of Intent” to Protest at DNC

Hobet Mine Shutdown, a Photo Diary

I was invited to photograph the protest and shutdown of the Hobet Mine in Boone and Lincoln Counties in West Virginia last week. The organizers knew me from my participation in the Blair Mountain March last year. This is the biggest mountaintop removal mine in the US, I am told. I was not aware of the location selected until we got there.

This protest was to shut down a mine somewhere in West Virginia, the location of which was unannounced. There were two ways to participate, by coming to a training the day of the protest at the Kanawha State Forest and then meeting up with the rest of the protesters, those that had been at the base camp the previous few days, or by training at that base camp and then leaving in the morning to go to the State Forest to then meet up with the single day group.

I was with the group at the base camp. The morning at camp started with the few that were going to the State Park to give the trainings in non violent protest methods. They left a couple of hours before the rest of us left. We were to hit the mine site around the same time the newly trained protesters did.

Just before 10:00 am, we took of to go to the mine to meet the other protesters. We snaked out on a 6 mile long dirt road to the pavement. Where the road we were on comes out was a stop sign and a gas station. The convoy out was reported by a person at the gas station.

Click on an image for a larger version, all photos are covered by the Creative Commons copyright, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike




That was the start of what ended up being a three hour drive to the as yet undisclosed location. I took a few photos on the way.




I was in one of the last cars in the convoy, and so was one of the last to see that the other protesters were not there. I later realized, when the other never showed up, that they were a diversion to tie up both the Police and counter protesters at the State Forest, a couple of hours drive away. It worked very well, we were there uninterrupted for quite a while.




The first of the protesters I came upon was a group readying for a tree sitting. The road leading to them had been blocked by some of the protesters with a couple of obstacles found nearby to slow the response going farther up the hill.




As I went up the hill, I saw a stream substitute. GWB changed a word or two in the laws governing reclamation to allow soil, streams ground cover and god only knows what else be replaced with substitutes. This is an example of a stream substitute:


As I went farther into the mine site, the scope of the destruction became greater in scale.




The first piece of equipment the protesters occupied was a rock hauler. A giant stop sign was brought in and deployed, to enable the operators of these gigantic pieces of equipment to see them.




Once stopped, the protesters had a crew ready with banners and locking devices to board the rock hauler.




The banner drop was cause for jubilation.




While this was happening, a line of protesters were down the hill to slow any attempts to stop the protest from continuing. Once the equipment was secured, the line moved uphill to use the rock hauler as part of the blockade. By this time, a number of protesters had locked themselves to the rock hauler.





Another rock hauler is high above on a man made hill with ground cover substitute adding some greenery. Just up the road is more equipment and a lot of miners. They did not seem happy for the tree hugger (their term for the protesters) induced break.



On a distant denuded ridge, the destruction continued.




Once that rock hauler was secured the remaining protesters continued up hill. There was a lot more equipment there, and more angry miners.





Again, as I went farther into the mine, the vast scale of destruction became more staggering.




Even these gigantic rock haulers become dwarfed in this desolation.


And more “reclaimed” land…



While in the distance, a Bucyrus Erie dragline is hard at work, tearing open the Earth. Seen is the tip of the 300 foot long boom in the first two photos, the third is the pit the dragline is in.




That was as far as I went into the maw of the monster. The few protesters still ahead of me turned around and returned to equipment they had already passed. I followed. Shown is Dustin Steele and two others, locked to another piece of equipment. Dustin was later reported to have been brutalized by Law Enforcement.


Then it started to get crowded, both by employees of the mine and the Police.



Those of us not wishing to be arrested left when told to. The walk down was a study in the rape of the earth.













Eventually, I made it down to the location where the tree sitter had been preparing a climb.



Some of the miners were watching the Police deal with the tree sitter’s ground crew.


The tree sitter had done his banner drop while I was higher up in the mine.




When I got to the base of the tree, the ground crew of the tree sitter were cuffed and in the Police car.


The hills were alive with the sound of Police cars and the loud trucks and four wheelers of the Friends of Coal. They are the group that would counter protest while the protesters walked an eight mile gantlet of miners, families, four wheelers and pickup trucks intent on keeping us from making headway back up the now “closed” (seemingly to only our vehicles) public road. The drive back after the pickup was also contested by blockades and dangerous high speed maneuvers by those same counter protesters.









The ubiquitous helicopter following the march out.


Twenty of the protesters were arrested, charged with trespassing, and held on $25,000 bond, only able to be secured with property in West Virginia, cash or bail bond not acceptable. As I write this, about half are still in jail.

The protesters made it back to camp that night, tired, sore, scared, and ecstatic. And with a lot of experience of how intimidating it can be to be the enemies of both most of the locals and Law Enforcement, and how to get through that sort of challenge with heads held high. As high as the mountains they love.


All photos in this diary are mine. Some have since been used without attribution. More of my photos of this event are here:

A friend of mine, Flux Rostrum made this video of the protest:

I must admit (full disclosure) that the red Jeep Liberty in the video (with the FDL Occupy Supply sticker on the window) is mine and the woman being interviewed about being pepper sprayed by a counter protester is my girl friend. She drove my Jeep with four passengers, all media, to the site. All the stills used in the video from the mine site are those I took.

And Jordan Freeman, another friend, made this one of the walk and drive back:

Published earlier today on the European Tribune

Mail Handlers Union to Protest at DNC on Labor Day

We generally do not post articles about up-and-coming events, but our support for all USPS workers does not waver.  Please see the event details in our EVENTS section.  And please, support the USPS against privatization as laid out and executed by ALEC and their corporate members UPS and FedEx.

And ACTION! Uniting to “welcome” ALEC to SLC

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a tool for corporations to pay thousands of dollars for access to thousands of legislators, thereby developing profitable legislation. They write laws to fill up our prison as well as privatize these overcrowded jails. In Utah ALEC has passed resolutions that oppose mitigating climate change and voter ID laws that suppress voter turnout (read more at and at our PeaceUp factsheet).

Help us spread the word by sharing this call to action and connecting us to other movers and shakers who’d be interested in our events.


To read the entire proclamation by Peaceful Uprising, please click here



Protesters Crash Koch-Romney Fundraiser

Please see photos from Daniel Gonazalez and Raun Norquist in our photo gallery–or you can go to the original source by clicking here

There are also aerial photos from Jeff Cully included in our photo gallery–or you can go to the original source by clicking here

And there is a video from Remy McFadden that we have posted to our VLTPVideoChannel (link is) or you can go to the original site by clicking here

UPDATE: Liberal group to protest Romney-Koch fundraiser – CBS News

…(CBS News), a liberal non-profit advocacy group, is protesting a July 8 fundraiser for Mitt Romney being held at the house of billionaire Republican donor David Koch, it announced on Friday….

Update: A representative for Koch Companies Public Sector responds in an email (links theirs):

We have seen media reports about the protest being organized by a convicted terrorist and a number of fringe organizations.

We respect the protestors’ rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble. These rights apply not only to the protestors, but to those who are hosting and attending the fundraiser.

It is ironic that the pretext for the protest is supposed “outrage” at the role of money in politics….The left’s outrage is selective and hollow.

The “terrorist” referred to by the Koch missive is Andy Stepanian is a social justice activist, artist, and political rabble-rouser. Andy is the co-founder of The Sparrow Project, a grassroots PR outfit that aims to braid popular culture, the arts, and revolutionary activism.  He writes for the Huffington Post

To read the entire CBS News Update, please click here

The Republicans’ $3 Million Weekend in the Hamptons

Mitt Romney & Eric Cantor hold two swanky fundraisers at David Koch’s Hamptons mansion today

Two articles are posted here–from the Daily Kos and from the NY Times.

Mr. Romney is expected to pull in $3 million from an event at the Creeks, the estate of Ronald O. Perelman, the billionaire financier and Revlon chairman, where tickets range from $5,000 for lunch to $25,000 for a V.I.P. photo reception. Another will be held at the home of Clifford M. Sobel, an ambassador to Brazil under President George W. Bush, and a final dinner will take place at the Southampton estate of the billionaire industrialist David H. Koch, where the going rate for entry is $75,000 a couple and $50,000 a person.

To read the entire NY Times article, please click here

Then from the Daily Kos we read:

Mitt Romney &Eric Cantor hold two swanky fundraisers at David Koch’s Hamptons mansion today

Today the rich and the super-rich, the people George W. Bush referred to as “His base” are gathering at David Koch’s waterfront mansion in East Hampton on Long Island’s Gold Coast for a pair of fundraisers with Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor.

This Daily Kos diary is LOADED with information.  Be sure to check out all of the links.  To read this article, please click here

To watch the videoWhy are the Koch Brothers Betting on Mitt Romney, please click here to be taken to the video on the VLTPVideoChannel


Better UTAH Launches Statewide ALEC Billboard Campaign

Salt Lake City – Prior to next month’s conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Salt Lake City, the Alliance for a Better UTAH has launched a statewide billboard campaign designed to educate the public on the realities of ALEC.

“We have both standard and electronic billboards going up across the state, from Ogden to St. George.” said Maryann Martindale, Executive Director of the Alliance for a Better UTAH. “Our hope is to drive as many people as possible to so they can learn about the serious impact ALEC-policies have had in Utah, such as pushing school vouchers, unconstitutional land-grabs and voter suppression.”

The website also allows Utahans to easily find out who their legislators are, and whether or not they are members of ALEC.

“Right now we are estimating that more than 2 million people will see our billboards before ALEC comes to town next month.”

To read more about The Alliance for a Better Utah and their efforts, please click here.

To find out more about, please click here.

Please give these groups all of the assistance you can as they lead the fight against ALEC at their Annual Convention in July.  Stay in touch with their web sites.  Donate to their efforts if you can.  Details about the 39th Annual Convention can be found in our Events listings.

Protesters Dump Coal at Bank of America

About 30 people – including Beth Henry who spoke about the impact of coal on the environment –  and members of Occupy Charlotte, staged a “bad air day” to protest Bank of America’s financing of the coal industry.  They dumped 500 pounds of coal and then cleaned it up with a “Citizen Clean-Up Crew”.

Bank of America, a member of ALEC, is one of the largest funders of the coal industry–which includes Charlotte based Duke Energy.

You can see photos of this action in our Photo Gallery,

Occupy Our Homes Faces Off With US Marshals in Washington

Occupy Our Homes engaged in a dramatic faceoff this morning with US Marshals and local police in northeast Washington D.C., less than a mile from the US Capitol building. About thirty Occupiers arrived at the home of Dawn Butler around 8 am, in the 900 block of Maryland Ave NE, to block a looming eviction—and what followed left one Occupier and one US Marshal in the hospital.

Butler doesn’t own the home, but has rented it since 2006. Her landlord fell behind on her mortgage payments while sick with cancer, and the property was foreclosed on—but D.C. law says tenants have the first right of purchase on a home where the landlord loses the title. Butler claims she has repeatedly tried to buy the home but has been repeatedly ignored or thwarted by JP Morgan Chase and a local foreclosure firm.

To read about this fracas, and watch the embedded video, please click here