Dakota Pipeline: Too Hot For Hillary and Donald?


People against the Dakota Access Pipeline chant in opposition on August 11, 2016, at a site where a roadway was being constructed to begin the process of building the pipeline.

Picure:Politico

As Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton spar over African Americans, Hispanics and medical records.  Real issues are taking place all over the the country.

Transfer Partners, a Texas based company is constructing a pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois.  The Dakota Access is a 1,170-mile pipeline that would, at peak capacity, deliver up to 570,000 barrels of Bakken crude oil  daily.

On August 10th, protest began in North Dakota. Native Americans from reservations across the United States joined the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest against a 1,100-mile, $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline.

The Power of Social Media

While the story has garnered little attention on the main stream media.  It has grown via Social media.  Tribal residents were joined by fossil fuel protesters demonstrating against the pipeline at construction sites.    Protest have grown from a few hundred to thousands. On August 19th, North Dakota Governor Dalrymple declared a State of Emergency.  A federal judge issuing a restraining order against new protests.

To date ,27 protesters have been arrested. Amnesty International representatives have arrived to monitor the response of law enforcement to the protesters.

The Issue

 Water

It would be catastrophic should the pipeline leaked or burst.  The pipeline could disturb sacred sites and impact drinking water for 8,000 tribal members.  The pipeline crosses the Missouri river and could effect farmers and millions who depend on it downstream.

The Standing Rock tribe has opposed the Dakota Access pipeline when they learned about it in 2014. Although federal law requires the Corps of Engineers to consult with the tribe about its sovereign interests, permits for the project were approved and construction began without meaningful consultation.

The Dakota Access pipeline was fast-tracked from Day 1 using the Nationwide Permit No. 12 process, which grants exemption from environmental reviews required by the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act by treating the pipeline as a series of small construction sites. And unlike the better-known Keystone XL project, which was finally canceled by the Obama administration last year, the Dakota Access project does not cross an international border — the condition that mandated the more rigorous federal assessment of the Keystone pipeline’s economic justification and environmental impacts.(New York Times)

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation supported more protection of the tribe’s cultural heritage, but the Corps of Engineers and Energy Transfer Partners turned a blind eye to our rights. The first draft of the company’s assessment of the planned route through our treaty and ancestral lands did not even mention our tribe.

Beyond legal issues, though, the tribe has raised cultural objections to the pipeline, calling it the latest slight from companies and governments seeking to profit off of natural resources on or near tribal lands.

Too Hot For Donald and Hillary?

Thirty-one groups sent a letter to the White House on Thursday, asking President Obama to block the final permits needed for Dakota Access and revoke those already issued.

Clinton says she supports the Indian community and yet has been silent on the Dakota pipeline. Trump said as president he would resuscitate the Keystone pipeline.   North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple, serves as an adviser to the Trump campaign.

Green President candidate Jill Stein

Last week in a press release Bernie Sanders said: The Dakota Access fracked oil pipeline, will transport some of the dirtiest fuel on the planet. Regardless of the court’s decision, the Dakota Access pipeline must be stopped. As a nation, our job is to break our addiction to fossil fuels, not increase our dependence on oil. I join with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and the many tribal nations fighting this dangerous pipeline.

There is a rally planned in Washington this week celebrities Susan Sarandon, Riley Keough and Shailene Woodley say they will attend.

This story is growing. Downstream from North Dakota are the metro areas of Omaha Nebraska ,Kansas City and St Louis Missouri.  A leak, a terrorist attack on the pipeline could effect millions of voters.

Developers hope to get Dakota Access up and running by Jan 1. It has halted construction work amid protests and while it waits for final permitting to come through.

How long can Clinton and Trump remain silent on this issue?

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The day After New York


Forget the second or third largest state. New York was the ‘If you can make it here?” State!

An outsider, who entered politics in the seventies. Running for the President of the United States in his seventies.  His  views and opinions are considered extreme by members of his own party.  During the early months he was ignored by the media.  But his message appealed to a non traditional voting bloc, voters under 30.

His anti-establishment views ,defending the importance of free enterprise and the limited role of government appealed to this group. He ignited this group, who’s enthusiasm grew by the week.   This appeal, initially ignored by the other candidates was rapidly gaining ground and by spring it was clear, he owned this bloc of voters . Not only did they pledge their allegiance to him, they opened their wallets in large numbers.

In 2008, Ron Paul ran for President as a Republican.Twelve years earlier he was a Libertarian.  His presence annoyed Mitt Rooney, John McCain  and most of the GOP establishment. His team used You Tube and Social Media (a technology underused by the GOP) to help spread his message. Donations to his campaign though small, kept him in the race through June.

Ron Paul did not endorse any GOP candidates in 2008, preferring third party candidates.  If someone within the Republican Party brokered a deal with Paul as the Democrats did with Howard Dean in 2005, 2012 may have had a different outcome.

In 2004, the former Governor of Vermont campaign appealed to younger voters.  Many Democrats considered Dean an outsider.  But Dean’s campaign could not be ignored, and his non traditional campaign utilizing the net and social media was the foundation of Obama’s 2008 Presidential bid.

Not Yet

Bernie Sanders is the ticket, his campaign is drawing thousands. People want to be near him and feel the bern.   As for drawing power there  isn’t a close second this political season he is the Rock Star.   Like Ron Paul ,those large crowds and the enthusiasm does’t necessarily translates into votes.

Lynn Vavreck, a professor of political science at UCLA, noted that it was early in the election cycle and that support for Sanders may not translate to votes.  “Just because people are interested, it does not mean people will actually cast a ballot in support,” Vavreck said. “People showing up for these rallies have a strong interest in politics. They’re not average voters, who are barely tuned in to the election at this point.”

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, and two associates, “It’s important to remember that crowd size fundamentally doesn’t matter much. Comparisons between how large one candidate’s crowd is compared to another are ripe for misunderstanding.”

They cite 2012, “when press reports and GOP partisans frequently mentioned the large numbers that Mitt Romney was drawing on the campaign trail. Did this end up mattering? Obama won the popular vote by about 5 million votes. “

Bernie Sanders isn’t going to sing anytime soon.  He has loyal followers who will finance him to the Convention.  Like Paul, he has a large following and if current polling holds true, only one in four Bernie supporters will vote for Hillary in the fall.
Sanders is an outsider, like Paul he changed his party affiliation from Independent to Democrat to run for President.  Like Paul, he has little support from the establishment in the Democratic Party.    However, the Democrat’s needs to regain those voters who enthusiastically supported Obama in 2008.

Real Change Happens from the Bottom up

Many of the young voters who supported Obama in 2008 are disappointed many are still waiting for the Change he promised.   Many of those young voters are disillusioned and have walked way from politics.
In an ideal world, those voters would have participated in local and state races.  This is where real change happens.   However, most of the members of the House and Senate have been in office for decades and holding on to power is the goal.   These (establishment) politicians have prevented change on both sides of the aisle and will continue until there is change from the bottom up.
In 2005 Howard Dean became the chair Democratic National Committee (DNC) he held that position for four years.
If the DNC is wise, they would broker a deal with Bernie Sanders. Again like Paul, many of his supporters would follow him.
The real failure of Ron Paul, was not using his appeal to generate interest in the Libertarian  Party.

Yes The System is Rigged

The are local, state and Convention rules for the Delegates. The objective is control over members of the two parties.  Its important that are choices are limited to Skippy or Jif.

The top of the ticket is important for the make up of the Supreme Court..
American are angry!   For eight years we are hostages in the war of  Rhetoric and ideologies.    Unfortunately most people believe its the President who has the power.
In the red states if you are poor, Obamacare isn’t an option. Many counties are without clinics and people are without medical care.   If you are a woman,your legal right to have an choice has been stripped away  with new laws intending to make it difficult for physicians and their patients are on the books. Texas the second largest state in the country with over 26 million people has less than 6 clinics.
If you are Gay or Trangendered your civil rights have been stripped and businesses  can legally fire you for being Gay.  In resent weeks some states have added new law that further restricts the LGBT community.
Stagnation plagues many of the blue states.  Internal issues power struggles within the Democrats prevents movement within the states.  Lost in the middle is  adequate funding for education, repair roadways and polices that will attract business.
The President can not change these policies that adversely affects Americans. These changes can only happen when we change the make up state and local politicians.
The Day After New York expect more of the same.
CityFella
Sources: (Larry Sabato)
(Lynn Vavreck)

Germans told ‘stay away from windows’ for Obama visit


When US President Barack Obama arrives in Hanover for a visit on Sunday April 24th, residents have been told very clearly what is expected of them: stay away from windows and do not wave.

Local police issued advisory flyers out of security concerns for some 1,800 residents who live near the Congress Centrum and zoo area, where Obama will be meeting Chancellor Angela Merkel for the Hanover Messe, a major global trade fair for industrial technology.

Police strongly advised residents to abide by the precautions so as not to alarm officers, which could result in an inspection of their home.

A “security zone” will also be established on Saturday April 23rd with two access roads available, though people who want to pass through are advised to carry an ID for possible checks, local newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung (HAZ) reported.

Additionally, residents of the zoo area who have any visitors during this time are instructed to register them in a written statement to police by April 17th, according to Bild. Even employees of stores within the security area must register with police, according to HAZ.

“Please understand that security forces operate under special alert during the visit of the US president,” police wrote to locals.

Berliners were once similarly warned to mind their windows when Obama visited the capital, with police there instructing locals not to open their windows, according to Spiegel Online.

GOP’s white-on-white war: Shutdown ruptures party’s all-white coalition


GOP's white-on-white war: Shutdown ruptures party's all-white coalition

Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Eric Cantor (Credit: AP/Alex Brandon)

BY: Brian Beutler/Salon

On Wednesday, the bottom fell out of the GOP’s Hail Mary “shut down the government over Obamacare” strategy.

Perhaps not coincidentally, it was also the day that the party’s leaders tried to revise and soften the terms of the fight — to make it about broader fiscal issues, which is what they wanted it to be about in the first place .

But until yesterday, the polling on the shutdown was mixed enough that Republicans could have probably justified dragging it out indefinitely, so long as it held steady. It didn’t hold steady.

Credit: gallup.com

Since the shutdown began, and more intensely since initial polling data on the shutdown became available, horse-race junkies have been weighing in on whether it will endanger the GOP’s adamantine House majority. The 2010 gerrymander fortified Republican control of the House against a 7 percentage point loss in the national popular vote. Could the shutdown swing the polling so dramatically?

Polling experts at first said, “Dream on.” If House Democrats only won the national popular vote by 1.5 percent in 2012, it would take more than a GOP shutdown to quintuple that margin in a midterm, base turnout election.

On Tuesday, Princeton’s Sam Wang offered a statistical counterpoint, and Greg Sargent, courtesy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committeeprovided anecdotal evidencethat the shutdown will help Democrats recruit competitive candidates in tough GOP-held districts.

I’ll leave polling analysis to the statisticians and campaigning to the parties.

But I would argue that beyond the midterms, the shutdown will be unusually problematic for Republicans as a national party. Earlier this year, when the party reached a crossroads between becoming a more ethnically inclusive, moderate party, and doubling down on its whites-only strategy, it chose the latter. This shutdown fight, intentionally or otherwise stands to rupture the white-white coalition.



After President Obama’s reelection, the Republican National Committee conducted a ritual autopsy to determine what went wrong. The result of that postmortem was the Growth and Opportunity Project. It offered a number of suggestions to party operatives, but the two most important were:

1). “The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.”

2). “[A]mong the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”

Today these prescriptions lie in tatters. The GOP has instead reprise the “monochromatic insularity” blueprint that served it so well in 2012. It’s a strategy that might pay off in a midterm. But to have the faintest hope of winning a national election, a party of white people for white people must truly serve the interests of white people.

For a while, Republicans were doing just that. They killed immigration reform. The Voting Rights Act remains gutted. House Republicans delinked the farm bill from the food stamp program in order to more easily hollow out federal nutrition assistance while lavishing farmers with huge, indefensible subsidies.

Their continued crusade against Obamacare was part of the same pattern. The law remains unpopular, but it’s especially unpopular among white people. Its greatest bases of support are in minority communities. That made it an especially appealing target.

But the nature of this base-mobilizing strategy created an incentive for conservative Republicans to battle each other for the claim to title of America’s greatest Obamacare warrior. And things got out of control.

On its own, shutting down the government drives a wedge right through the GOP’s alabaster coalition — between the activist base and the people who rely on the government to one degree or another, even if they don’t particularly hold it in high regard. But it left them without an easy exit strategy. Abandon the extortion campaign, and the activists scream bloody murder. Leave the government shutdown and, well, see above.

Instead, Republican leaders want to phase out the fight by changing the terms and terrain. And their new targets are — wait for it — Medicare and Social Security. See this Op-Ed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., in which he mentions Obamacare precisely zero times, and argues instead that Congress’ central focus should be cutting much more popular, durable programs. He even names a couple of specific Medicare adjustments Democrats might support, but only in a plan that includes new tax revenues. Guess how many times the word “revenues” appears in the piece.

This is not the battle you want to pick if your electoral imperatives require you to pander to white voters. Maybe in the days ahead, once the government is reopened and the risk of immediate default has passed, Republicans will walk away from the past month’s events and pretend they never happened. The Obamacare defunders chastened. The establishment just grateful to have the latest embarrassment behind them.

If that’s the plan, they could spend the next year or three repairing the damage. But they’ve made it very hard to extract themselves from this cycle of brinkmanship. And if the only way for them to end it is to spearhead a campaign to swap sequestration with cuts to so-called entitlements, while Obamacare finds its sea legs, they’ll lose the activists, the marginally attached, and everyone in between.

 

Fighting against our self-inflicted sanctions


BY: Robert Ehlert/ The Idaho Statesman

The last time I checked, we were reserving economic sanctions for a select club of our sworn enemies: Iran, North Korea and others vying for positions on the Evil Empire list.

But not ourselves.

Yet here we are beginning Week 2 of GSA — and we don’t mean General Services Administration.

We refer to Government Shutdown Antipathy.

As our federal leaders from Idaho to Washington, D.C., wallow in an “Animal House” food fight in their chambers — representing both political parties — We The People are realizing more and more each day how irrelevant they really are when practicing government under the influence of emotional hangovers following episodes of talking at each other instead of to each other.

I don’t mean to minimize the effect of the sanctions our leaders have exacted on us: closed national parks, the diminished emergency and national security services, lapsed inspection scrutiny and new roadblocks we discover each day. But, in fact, Congress and President Barack Obama have been crying wolf since we last raised the debt ceiling in 2011, navigated the sequestration last year, and now confront a budgetless-default cataclysmic, ah, something after Oct. 17 if we don’t pay our bills.

I get the fact that some of our leaders are thumbing their noses at the debt ceiling and playing truth or dare with our overall indebtedness. But someone please tell me what our leadership has done for the American people in the last seven days and seven nights. OK, let’s make that seven weeks.

Anybody for the last seven years?

With the exception of the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 — which is a loaded and debatable achievement — what are the benchmarks and accomplishments of the 110th, 111th, 112th and the 113th sessions of Congress?

Other than allowing our country to slip into a financial crisis/stubborn recession and then devising ways to get out of it, where is the progress?

Congress can’t or won’t stay focused on anything. Immigration reform? Spare me the frustration of thinking about what did not happen on that front this year. Tax code reform? Instead of revising it, the IRS will now become the agency responsible for bringing to justice all those people who don’t sign up for health care.

You know who you are.

I don’t have the perfect solution, but I do have one idea that could improve the political atmosphere in the modern era.

Though this might seem counterintuitive in a Throw-The-Bum-Out era, the two-year terms for members of the House of Representatives are too short. There are 435 elections for these folks every two years. That’s way too much drama, way too often.

There are continuous campaigns that beget what we are witnessing today: 700-day factions that terrorize progress; constant posturing without regard to statesmanship; sanctions on our own people because of the fear of losing an election.

It needs to stop. House terms need to be four years. Term limits on the table. This could reduce by half the angst, fundraising and gridlock we enjoy today.

 

Russia Sends Three More Warships to the Syrian Coast


The missile cruiser Moskva, part of the Black Sea fleet.
The missile cruiser Moskva, part of the Black Sea fleet.

Russia is strengthening its naval presence off the coast of Syria by deploying three more warships to the region, bringing its total fleet in the eastern Mediterranean to 10 vessels.

Admiral Viktor Chirkov said Russia is beefing up its military presence in order to protect against the “slightest threat to national security,” BBC Russia reported.

The United States and France also have ships in the region and have been mulling intervention in Syria’s civil war.

U.S. President Barack Obama has been advocating for military action to punish Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom he accuses of using chemical weapons against his own people in late August. President Vladimir Putin opposes intervention and has pushed for measures that put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.

The warship movements came as talks between Russian Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on a diplomatic solution to the dispute entered their second day.

Russia has had seven warships on standby in the Mediterranean since December 2012, including four large landing ships, a destroyer and a frigate. The force will soon be joined by a missile cruiser, the Moskva, the frigate Smetlivy and another landing ship, the Nikolai Filchenkov.

Russia’s naval presence has strengthened suspicions that Russia could be helping the Syrian government prepare for a possible attack, though military experts say the ships are too small to provide Assad with heavy weapons like the S-300 missile defense system.

Military expert Viktor Murakhovsky said the fleet’s primary objective was most likely keeping track of other countries’ forces in the region.

The Moscow Times

He crosses the street to avoid making white women uncomfortable


Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, has been a member of Congress for almost two decades.

Yet when he is walking down the street in Washington, D.C., at night and white women walk toward him, he says “I cross the street” to avoid making them uncomfortable.

Cummings says he rarely speaks about race or what life is like as a black man, but says President Barack Obama’s heartfelt remarks Friday afternoon made him more comfortable to do so.

“I think it’s important that he speak out and he brings a very unique perspective, because is the president and he has been extremely fortunate compared to most African-Americans, and yet still he can speak to the prejudices that most of us still face,” Cummings told CNN in a telephone interview.

Cummings lives in what calls the “inner city” of Baltimore, Maryland.

For emphasis, he says “when I say inner, I mean inner.”

The 10 term congressman says he loves to go shopping with his wife, because he likes to watch her try on dresses. But he won’t do it outside his district where people know him because “I don’t like the idea of people following me around.”

“People usually have the security guard following me, or questions with the overabundant, ‘can I help you?’ They think you’re going to do something wrong. We’ve seen it over and over again since childhood,” said Cummings.

He joked that it’s a bit better recently since, as the ranking member of the GOP-led House Oversight Committee, which is investigating IRS misconduct, Benghazi and more, he is on T.V. often and is recognized outside his district.

Still, he too talked about “feeling the tension” when he is in the elevator with a white woman.

“The tension… it’s hard to describe,” he said.

Some African-American leaders and activists have expressed frustration with Obama for not using his position to stir a national discussion about race. Cummings was not one of those people.

“It’s not that simple. People go crazy,” said Cummings.

“I see the way this country reacts to the littlest thing he says about race,” he said.

Plus, Cummings believes that before Obama was elected to his second and final term, it would have been “counterproductive to talk about these things because everything was in the prism of politics.”

“Now that he has the freedom to not worry about re-election, I think he has a better opportunity,” said Cummings.

A day earlier, Cummings’ race played out in an awkward moment during a tension-filled IRS hearing.

When admonishing Cummings, Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican Oversight Committee chairman, referred to Cummings as “a little boy whose hand’s caught in the cookie jar.”

Later, Issa apologized to his African-American colleague for using the term “boy.”

“That is something I grew up with, it is intended to be about a small child, and in no way the use of boy or little boy to be anything else,” Issa said.

Cummings thanked Issa, saying he appreciated his words.

By Dana Bash/CNN