Tag Archives: Dakota Access Pipeline

Raise The Swamp

In our fast Trumpifying world, we may need a lot of protesters to block, or undo the damage Trump and his jolly wrecking crew intend to wreak.

I can write, call, turn out sometimes, canvass, maybe, and to a lesser degree, give money. I hope younger people, with more energy, can do more.

What does the still formative Trump government begin to look like?

His list of appointees and his radical proposals read as if he won by a landslide, yet no President lost more of the popular vote and still won election.

It’s even very possible, from the data so far analyzed, that the voter suppression laws enacted by Republicans in states they controlled, made the difference, although voter turn out was low in any case, possibly because both candidates were unpopular with any but their core supporters.

To look at the potential cabinet is to see, not appointments of someone who wanted to unite the nation he hadn’t really won, but as if he had won the landslide mandate he claims.

Maybe he believes his own lie? That voter fraud accounted for the almost 3 million votes more for Hillary.

Every appointee designee is marked, either as a consistent opponent of the very Department or agency they are supposed to run (into the ground?), or they’re hawkish Generals, or predatory Wall Street billionaires. A good many of them are lobbyists in Washington: so much for “draining the swamp.”

Trump talks of bringing people together, yet he labeled the Democratic members of  the Senate  “clowns,” “lead by head clown Chuck Schumer” in tweets from January 5th, just before the debate on repeal of the ACA began. He then recommended that they work together with Republicans to craft a new, better health care system. After calling them clowns.

Is the man serious?

Up until his briefing on the problem, he maintained that the idea of Russian hacking to influence the election was crazy, or sour grapes. After his intelligence briefing on the hacking, what did he say?

He said, in effect, ‘Well, maybe there’s something to the charges, but so what? Happens all the time, all over.’ Within the next day or two he reverted to claiming it was all just sour grapes.

On Trump’s side of the argument, the US interferes in elections all over the world, has been since the 19th century and Putin believes that Ukraine’s coup was US engineered, so he felt it was legitimate to act accordingly.

He may well have been right about US meddling in Ukraine, unfortunately.

His motivation for the hacking? Revenge, weakening the US, and maybe buying an ally.

Democrats are in the minority in House and Senate, but in the Senate they can mount a filibuster, or stop a vote through cloture, unless it’s a Presidential nominee, or a budget-related bill. So, their power to oppose is limited, but Schumer is now talking as if they’ll be stalwart opposition, delaying confirmations and blocking initiatives. Schumer says they’ll only collaborate if Trump offers positive proposals, like a real infrastructure program spending real money, not tax-breaks encouraging privatization (like building profit-making toll roads, for example and claiming that as infrastructure repair).

Trump seems, diabolically, to appoint people diametrically opposed to everything Democrats and moderates stand for. He just nominated a DAPL supporter (for completing the Dakota Access Pipeline) as the administrator of the Bureau of Indian Affairs! And another to be Energy Secretary.

But tweeting, calling Democrats clowns, is not going to unite people behind Trump. It’s an approach—I can’t call it a strategy—bound to alienate or distance anyone in the targeted group.

What is Trump about?

He seems to think he can function as President based on the personal loyalty of his family, his friends, his supporters and no one else. Anyone who is not loyal—and even some who are, like Chris Christie—are driven beyond his pale.

It’s true that with a Republican House and Senate, and a majority of states (but not a majority of voters), he’s going to get more of a free pass than he deserves.

Already, the GOP Congress is preparing legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. And the Senate is preparing to hold hearings for Trump’s nominees, even though they haven’t completed their background checks (in some cases they haven’t even submitted their data). In addition, the House had attempted to eliminate independent ethics investigations for themselves, but the outcry against it was too strong. Trump didn’t say, don’t do it; he said put it off for a better time, wink, wink.

The latter event indicates that public pressure might work, sometimes.

On January 9th, the Senate Democrats staged a sleep-in protest, using all the social media they could, to protest the Republican move to repeal the Affordable Care Act (without any replacement), beginning on the tenth. Senators Warren and Schumer were on PCCC and MoveOn’s call-in to thousands of listeners, reinforcing the idea that we all have to call in and protest, any way we can, and why: repeal of the ACA would grievously hurt millions of people. As Senator Warren declared: repeal is one of the most irresponsible and damaging moves Republicans have ever made, but “if they break it, they’ll have to fix it.”

In other words, Democrats are finally standing up and resisting, resisting the right-wing aggression manifested in this first move in the Senate, and all the extremist nominations they want to ram down Congress’s throat without full  background checks.

What a con job! Trump and the GOP are setting the stage for ripping off the American people. “Drain the swamp!” Trump followers chanted during the campaign. He’s raising up all the swamp monsters and putting them in charge! Further, in any area in which Trump is not particularly interested, like abortion, fire-breathing Republicans just can’t wait to destroy everything Democrats constructed in the last six or seven decades.

Confirm this bunch without completed background checks? McConnell insists they should, a tactic to prevent some of his own party defecting on nominees revealed as compromised. The conflicts of interests Trump’s nominees bring with them may be even as complicated as Trump’s own. I don’t think even Ulysses S. Grant, or Warren G. Harding had as corrupt an administration as this one looks on track to be.

But unlike Grant’s or Harding’s times, now people are already informed and outraged. In addition, many more voted for Trump’s opponent, which tarnishes his legitimacy and Trump isn’t even inaugurated yet.

“May you live in interesting times,” is a French curse. It applies, right now.

Dakota Pipeline Outrage

This isn’t just corporate greed; there is something more, in the way the protesters have been (are being) treated, over the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. The company’s worst abuse is akin to Islamic State destroying the historic ruins of Palmyra. For IS, it was western pagan influence that was being destroyed. In Dakota it was the irreplaceable heritage and artifacts of an already oppressed and nearly powerless people, beginning to stand up and proclaim their power.

On Friday, the tribal legal team, after extensive research, laid forth the precise locations of sacred burial sites on the pipeline’s right of way and submitted them to Federal Court in order to demand that pipeline construction be stopped, to protect them. A decision on this motion was to be made by the presiding judge this week.

Over the weekend, the company, with access to these legal documents, sent out bulldozer teams, miles from where they had been operating, to the same sacred sites listed, and bulldozed them out of existence!

This is only the latest attempt to destroy native peoples “standing in the way” of white settler progress, or in this case, a company’s profits. But the thoroughness of this outrage, along with the cooperation of company guards and police who used dogs and tear gas to disperse protesters, bespeaks something even darker than corporate greed.

Our nation was founded on genocide and slavery. This latest act by the bulldozer teams, is another injustice added to a long history of white people attempting to destroy native people standing in their way. In this case it was historic sites and artifacts, not only sacred, but also proof of the native peoples’ claims.

The brazenness of the attack speaks volumes about the tenor of American politics. Dialogue in the US has been jettisoned for confrontation. And lies. And violence, violence against black people, against cops, against the LGBTQ community, against women and against Native Americans.

I would not be surprised if the bulldozer drivers, their foremen, and their manager, were  all Trump supporters, possibly white supremacists. Even if they weren’t, this brazen act was made more likely, almost acceptable, through Trump’s rhetoric, the model he embodies in his raucous political campaign events and in his incitement to violence.

The outrages at the Dakota Access Pipeline could become the model, in turn, to angry white people all over this nation, if Donald Trump were elected. A nice future to look forward to.

While the protesters are insisting on prayerful non-violence; the police and company keep on trying to incite violent responses. Violent resistance would make it that much easier to jail all the protesters and resume full construction mode.

The tribal resistance to the pipeline is not just concerned with their burial grounds and the sanctity of their sites, but with likely water pollution from spills of dirty fracked oil. There have been too many spills around the country to allow a pipeline to go under the Missouri River and over an aquifer central to the Sioux’s water supply. If their water is polluted, tribal people might have to move out of the reservation, as well as its sacred lands, a subtle kind of genocide against ‘the natives’ once again.