Monday, December 5, 2016

Local Decisions


Veteran Jake, in Standing Rock texted out yesterday afternoon:
"Woah...I just climbed a hill to get 2 bars of reception.  It is like a dream here today...words can't describe all.  Don't know if this will come through but we were literally forming our platoons to organize march to bridge when news came through...we were with elders so really amazing as they got word.  Hard to process all this.  We don't feel like we've done anything...hard to accept the graciousness...they feel we have done something by just showing up and that it pushed things.  I don't know.  Now descendants of Sitting Bull have prepared a huge traditional meal for the vets and serving it to us.... 
All along road as the huge veteran convoy came in towards camp this morning (before announcement) people were standing on side of road in front of reservation houses waving, clapping and solidarity fists high...all very moving.  
More when I can get to reception.  Something real is happening here.  I have a feeling this is just the beginning of this type of 'deployment.'  Now just trying to soak it all in... 
Prayers matter..."

The Water Protectors and Veterans have a lot of feelings that this action is a head-fake, to get them to leave. It is not a final refusal of crossing for the pipeline on tribal lands.    "The Administration's statement today that it would not at this time issue an 'easement' to Dakota Access Pipeline is a purely political action," read a statement by the company Sunday. The company went on to say that it expected "to complete construction of the pipeline," noting that "nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way." When asked by NBC News whether the company would be willing to pay any fines to the government if they continued construction, an Energy Transfer Partners spokesperson said "it would not." These fines would be slapped on Energy Partners if the company defies the Corps of Engineers' orders and drills under Lake Oahe, a large Missouri River reservoir. That stretch required an easement from federal authorities.

Rolling Stone Interview with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D. Hawaii) Veteran and National Guard Major, is instructive. Doing an Environmental Impact Study (What? Never done?) is actually a very big win. Tribes want Veto Power, instead of just "being consulted" on matters like this.

Trump wants to privatize oil holdings on reservations, to get it out of the ground faster by destroying native-national-identity. (That kind of approach almost always works, doesn't it? Oil is the economy, and the food we eat, like it or not. We can change our own lives.)  

Italian PM, Renzi has every reason to resign quickly, since he is powerless to keep Italian banks from failing. Italians are highly invested in the bonded debt of Italian banks, for which they got promised slightly higher interest than deposits ("Risk premium", what's that?) The secret scheme, not really EU-legal, is for Italian taxpayers to bail out Italian banks, so the same taxpayers don't have to face a sudden loss on their bank-bond investments. The ECB really wants to break whatever rules are necessary to keep Italy in the club, especially if Italians will be on the hook (not Germans). We'll see what happens.

Retired USMC General James Mattis ,though not eligible without a waiver from Congress, since only retired 5 years, not 7, seems to have broad respect in both parties and among active duty and retired military. (My Dad, a Major USMC ret, chanced to meet General Mattus a few days ago at the Marine Recruit Depot in San Diego, between haircut and shopping. He introduced himself as "Jim Mattus". Dad had walked up and expressed interest in who so many Marines were coming to speak to, as Mattus sat outside at a serving table.)

Historical perspective from the Archdruid again. (Personally, I think Trump is preparing his cabinet to negotiate the US out of the "unipolar world" fantasy, while maintaining a defensibly strong position, as did the British Empire.)  One way or another, the so-called “American century” is ending; it can end the hard way, the way so many other eras of global hegemony have ended—or it can end with the United States recognizing that it’s a nation among nations, not an overlord among vassals, and acting accordingly.

Siege-of-Aleppo update from Moon of Alabama. The remaining Takfiri-occupied areas of East Aleppo  are mostly occupied by a few thousand armed fighters and their families. "The Syrian government forces do not proceed along the lines military professionals expected. They do not attack along main roads or obvious axes with enemy checkpoints and prepared traps but probe from every side until they find a weakness and then go through lightly defended densely build up areas to attack the checkpoint defenders from the rear. The 25,000 Syrian army fighters and the 10,000 foreign allies (4,000 from Iraq, 4,000 provided by Iran and 2,000 Hizbullah from Lebanon) have unprecedented air support from Syrian planes and helicopters. Reports of "Russian bombing" of east-Aleppo are all false and have been false for the last six weeks. Only the Syrian airforce is active in the area. The general plan is to squeeze all the Takfiris into one small area in east-Aleppo (probably the "old city") and to then negotiate their departure to Idleb in north-west Syria. Idelb itself is already filled with infighting Jihadis of various stripes who were offered exit to it from several areas around Damascus, Homs and Hama. It will soon be a shooting alley for the Syrian and Russian air-forces. The Jihadis will flee to Turkey, which is a nightmare for Erdogan, and maybe onward from there into "western" European cities. There they will be pampered and rest until their masters call for another battle."

DNA evidence from raped and murdered female German medical student implicates 17 y/o Afghan "unaccompanied minor" asylum seeker, who has been living with a foster family, and had 2 other documented violent interactions, though charges were dropped. Germans are outraged at this and at Angela Merkel's open-door policy.

Personally Impacted

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