I picked up on this after watching the debates.
American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.
Some people waved and held up American flags as U.S. troops in tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland from Germany and headed toward the town of Zagan, where they will be based. Poland’s prime minister and defense minister will welcome them in an official ceremony Saturday.
“This is the fulfilment of a dream,” said Michal Baranowski, director of the German Marshall Fund think tank in Warsaw. “And this is not just a symbolic presence but one with a real capability.”
In a climate where the U.S. is involved with 7 armed conflicts in the Middle East, do we really need to poke the bear that is Russia by deploying troops to a country that borders Russia? The purpose of this deployment, while celebrated by Poland, is a clear and present danger to what is already starting to be a pattern of military escalation and potentially a pre-cursor to Cold War 2.0.
The deployment marks the start of a new phase of Operation Atlantic Resolve, which foresees the continuous presence of an American armored brigade combat team in Europe on a nine-month rotational basis. The mission is meant to help allay concerns from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and other NATO allies over an increasingly unpredictable and bellicose Russia.
The U.S. also plans to move in a combat aviation brigade with about 10 Chinook and 50 Black Hawk helicopters and 1,800 personnel from Fort Drum, New York, and a battalion with 24 Apache attack helicopters and 400 personnel from Fort Bliss, Texas. They’ll be headquartered in Germany with some aircraft positioned in Latvia, Romania and Poland.
I get it, NATO is at the center of this deployment that involves several countries, not just the U.S. in the region. We are, naturally, the largest component of troops and armaments though because we spend more than the next 10 countries combined on our military. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that Russia is reacting to our increased presence just outside their border from several countries due to NATO’s “concerns […] over an increasingly unpredictable and bellicose Russia.” Well, duh, of course their being unpredictable, there are military forces amassing in numbers around their country’s border. I may be a little naive on this and potentially don’t know the whole story (who does honestly?) but I take things at face value. Russia has done some dumb things in the past few years to warrant suspicion, however with a new President coming into office that has indicated he wants to work with, not against, Russia, the timing of this troop movement is inconvenient. It almost feels as if it was done on purpose.
Prediction time: I see this escalating tensions that are already high between the world and Russia. The U.S. will be at the center of it and if not careful, could find itself unavoidably in another decade long storm of tension that we all thought was over and done with since Communism fell in 1989. We’re headed down what is going to be a rough and bumpy road.
Good description of what we can expect over the next four years based on actions and decisions from the last month or so. I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed.
I literally just finished watching a documentary on Netflix called “Killswitch.” The basic coverage was on Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden and how they took on the some of the most powerful interests in different areas. Aaron was involved with copyright and Edward, well, we all know what he did. I’m left thinking that I’ve not done enough despite talking about this for several years. This past year was a global eye-opener for all of us on how the government has been corrupted and driven by greed from both elected officials and the lobbies that fund them to do their bidding.
Who remembers the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that the government attempted to pass in 2012? I’d be willing to bet that there are quite a few people who don’t remember what it was about, why it made so many Americans angry and ultimately why it fell apart ahead of the voting in both the House and Senate. I won’t go into detail on SOPA, you can read all about it here if you’re interested in the history lesson. A quote though, that reveals the true power of the people when awakened.
On January 18, 2012, the English Wikipedia, Google, and an estimated 7,000 other smaller websites coordinated a service blackout, in protest against the bill. Wikipedia said more than 162 million people viewed its banner. Other protests against SOPA and PIPA included petition drives, with Google stating it collected over seven million signatures, boycotts of companies and organizations that support the legislation, and an opposition rally held in New York City.
In response to the protest actions, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated, “It’s a dangerous and troubling development when the platforms that serve as gateways to information intentionally skew the facts to incite their users and arm them with misinformation”, and “it’s very difficult to counter the misinformation when the disseminators also own the platform.”
It was the American people, deciding SOPA was a threat to the open Internet, that rallied in unprecedented numbers to protest against the vote on SOPA using the very medium the Act was to control. Chris Dodd, the head of the Motion Picture Association of America, spearheaded the bill in both the House and Senate as a lobbyist despite saying that he would not become a lobbyist after retiring from government service. He is quoted as blatantly threatening to not provide campaign funds to any government official that voted “No” on the bill. The fact that so many people in the country opposed the bill, it would have meant any House or Senate member changing their vote as a result of the threat by Chris Dodd as being controlled by money rather than the will of their constituents. It was a major win by the American people, making any future attempts at a similar bill that much harder to push through.
I was compelled to pull out the laptop and write this while the frustration and anger was still fresh in my mind. I am as much a part of the Internet as the next person. We are all members of the global experiment (except China and North Korea, they’re a different story) that is the Internet and it’s our duty, no, responsibility to protect it. We have enjoyed a decentralized, almost chaotic, version of the Internet since 1993 that is currently being threatened by the likes of the NSA, CIA, the FBI and 13 other intelligence agencies. The sheer amount of data they collected through PRISM (Edward Snowden leaked this to Glenn Greenwald) and are still currently collecting make it difficult to see patterns even with the most sophisticated big data mining techniques. They’re too concerned with controlling all the data on Americans that they’re missing the warning signs that end up turning into the Boston marathon bombing. It’s easy, after the fact, so say that you had enough data to possibly prevent it from happening; that’s the bitch of hindsight being 20/20.
We are the Internet. The human race on this planet contributing to the global content that has surpassed any libraries of information combined throughout our entire history. We are a changed people because it had allowed us to be connected, in near real-time, in a way that has never existed. The people, not the governments, are the owners and protectors of this vast network of computers and information and we need to fight like we’ve never fought before to make sure that it exists for future generations. People like Aaron Swartz, who died too young because of our government, need to step up and lead the revolutions I know are coming. The documentary described large people driven revolutions about every 50-60 years that tell governments and people in power that they don’t own the field and are forever on defense. We’re on the verge of such another revolution where people like Glenn Greenwald, Lawrence Lessig, Tim Wu and Michael Tracey are leading the charge. It’s our Internet, we should protect it every way we can.
I didn’t mean to start out the new year of 2017 with a downer and most likely opinionated post. That is what has happened though as I decided to read an article with an unassuming title that ended up pissing me off. If you’re interested in reading the source article for all the quoted text:
This is what started getting me pissed off…
American GREATNESS is code for world dominance in all areas of life; arguments to the contrary are matters of unjust defamation and internal subversion.
As if we’re so awesome, in our privileged arrogance, to believe that we’re superior to everyone else in the world. What is an American anyway? British, German, Irish, Russian, etc. We all have multicultural roots as hundreds of thousands immigrated to this country from the 1400’s to the 1700’s most often as a punishment. A lucky person was considered to have survived the trip to the “new world” only to be met with conditions worse than the ones they left. I submit that America is not great anymore, we’re not #1 in things that matter, like education and industry, but in things like gun ownership and incarceration. We’ve spent the last 15 years, at least, pushing a military agenda to fuel our capitalist machine to grow wealth for a relatively small portion of our population. Our elite have managed to transform our country into an Oligarchy. Head here to read a good post about oligarchy on In Saner Thought.
Business has been allowed to expand practically without limit, banking even more so, but it is the military factor that has given American capitalism its particular identity, a capitalism bent on solipsistic force-feeding, the ingestion of world power at the expense of other nations and our own people (upwards of 90% of them). Militarism and capitalism comprise a heady brew: the martial spirit turned inward, to ensure conformity with the System as it is, and complicity with its criminal activities (as in war crimes, or more difficult to discern, legitimated violence, in which society’s upper groups enjoy a privileged status, the violence practiced on those below).
The gold standard stopped being a standard in 1971 thanks to the Federal Reserve and Richard Nixon. Ever since then, there has been a slow erosion of policies and law that hindered business and banks from making more money at a quicker pace. The repeal of Glass-Steagall brought banks and lending institutions into the financial market mix as well in the 1990’s. The Fed ran with a 0% interest rate for several years leading up to the financial crisis of 2008-09, where no one in business or banking was held accountable, but Lehman Bros. was used as a scapegoat. My opinion is that they were used to show other businesses what would happen if they didn’t fall into line with the oligarchy that had taken control of our financial systems. The far-reaching powers granted to the President to use military force abroad to protect national security and punish terrorism and those who are harboring terrorists further fueled the capitalist machine.
Finally, don’t judge Trump too harshly, unless of course one is prepared to judge his peers by the same standards as well. Obama is Trump, without the hotels! He is Cheney, without the Wyoming twang, or Bush, the Texas ranch. He is what may be termed, an ultra-imperialist statesman, using liberal cosmetics to disguise policies of repression (targeted assassination, a blip on the radar screen of evil, outweighed by policies, e.g., nuclear modernization) which can bring down the house. Trump is not thereby exempt from criticisms and responsibility; he is a distillation of American political culture (and US culture in general), rashly opinionated, inflated in self-esteem, reactionary in political-economic core beliefs, hateful of those who do not see things in the same way he/she does. This is the start of a bleak winter—not for ourselves alone, but for everyone on the planet, as America’s destructive tendencies come more and more to the foreground.
The eyes of history will be the true judge of Trump and the U.S. democracy in the coming decades. We’re living through an interesting time, faced with a fork in the road, we chose to go with the wildcard candidate hoping that things will get better. The problem I see though, is that corporations, banks, and lobbyist purchased government officials are actually running the country. The President is just the lipstick on the pig that the American people are allowed to see. When media is controlled by the oligarchs, when the financial systems are controlled by the oligarchs, when the government is controlled by the oligarchs, are we not therefore, living in an oligarchy?
It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better if, and when, the American people decide that they’ve had enough of the current system that is systematically favoring the wealthy.
This isn’t the first time I’ve complained about the Electoral College (EC) on this blog. It’s an old idea that has endured the test of time and survived into the modern era where we have had at least two elections now that produced a victor that didn’t win the popular vote. There are two ideas that I am going to float and why I think that one or both of them are valid ideas to overhauling the EC rather than abolishing it. The election comes out different on one plan than it does on the other, however I think the first plan is the most fair and most efficiently removes the stranglehold our current two-party system has on the country. That is the larger problem we face and a change to the EC is one step in eliminating that two-party system.
Option 1 – Electoral Votes by State Popular Vote
Hypothetical 2016 Presidential Result: Clinton 261 / Trump 259 / Johnson 17 / Stein 1
With a change to the EC that awards EC votes based on State popular vote, the difference between Clinton and Trump is much closer to result of the actual popular vote. If this system had been put in place in 2000 during the election of Bush vs. Gore, Gore would have won. I don’t have the actual numbers on that election, however some quick math would back up that statement. Both of the elections with Obama would have also been much closer to the actual popular vote and in this case, he would have won both 2008 and 2012 elections, but by much smaller EC margins. In the spirit of the EC and how it was intended to be used, a change in how the votes are awarded is a small change that doesn’t fundamentally alter its function.
I was not a supporter of Trump or Clinton, but would have accepted this result (as I have accepted Trump) none the less. The main road block I see with this potential change is the current two-party system as a whole. Everything for the last 240 years has been based (and gamed) on having only two parties existing. It would no longer be a race to “270”, rather, it would be a race to see who can capture the most American votes in an election. The Republican and Democratic parties would, for a short time, still hold most of the seats in Congress and capture most of the popular vote, but as more candidates enter in from other parties their control would slowly erode away. As a result of this change, the primaries in each state would have to allow everyone to vote, regardless of party, to choose who will stand in the elections. My belief is that making these changes in the spirit of modernization will better help our country into the future and strengthen our Democratic process and stop it from weakening.
Option 2 – Electoral Votes by Apportioning Congressional Districts
Hypothetical 2016 Presidential Result: Trump (math not given, not verified)
This option wouldn’t necessarily change how the EC works, however would make the population more representative in the House. In short, the 1929 Act that limited the House to 435 seats would be repealed and replaced with a new amendment that changes the maximum size of a congressional districts to somewhere around the size of Wyoming.
By fixing the maximum size of every House district equal to the size of the smallest district—currently the entire state of Wyoming and its 563,626 residents, according to the 2010 census—proportionality would be returned to the House. Under this system, called the Wyoming Rule, the House would grow to 545 representatives, with California gaining 13 new seats. Texas (nine new seats) and New York (seven) would also be among the big winners.
The benefits of this change would be a more representative government based on population:
Rebalancing the House would be healthy for lots of reasons. Among them, urban areas would finally have equal weight, and federal dollars might start flowing in proportion to where more people live.
And while small states would lose some clout, as long as they all send two senators to Washington, they would still have an outsized say in government.
In this scenario, Trump would have still won the EC. This option also doesn’t reduce the reliance on a two-party system as instead of 270 to win, it would require 325 to win. As with the previous option, any change in the right direction is a good change in my opinion. As the system currently exists, smaller populous states have much more power than larger populous states that in 1910 wasn’t a problem, but in 2016 has unbalanced the system of representation.
I think both of these options are necessary to bring balance to the system of representation. An election of President that mirrors more closely the actual popular vote would go a long way in restoring American’s faith in a system that has consistently shown it can and does fail them. As with any proposed amendment to the Constitution, it is important to note that the process is complicated and requires support from at least 38 states. The uphill battle is just starting and this year I don’t think it will fade as it has with previous years.
What are your thoughts?
I’m not a typical American, at least that is how I think of myself. Politically, I generally lean left and support socialist views, however have an open enough mind to recognize that no one “group” is completely correct in their policies or agendas. My approach is to see the problem for what it is without the fodder that is thrust upon me from mainstream media, pundits, or other sources that would be served well by my sheepily following. I follow quite a few blogs and read news from dozens of sites so that I can absorb and hopefully understand what is being reported or said. Conclusions and viewpoints are formed once I believe I have enough information to do so and generally don’t make judgements without a lot of facts to support that judgement. This system doesn’t always work to my benefit, as I’ll demonstrate, but my reaction is that of someone who truly has an open mind: acceptance that my original view was flawed in some way.
An interesting post on In Saner Thought titled Burn Baby Burn yesterday got a lot of comments with good discussions back and forth. The post was about the fires in Tennessee that devastated Gatlinburg and surrounding communities. You can read the comments for yourself if you’re interested, for this post though, the details aren’t necessary. The rumor of radical Muslims starting the fire came up in one of my comments and was immediately countered, which started a back and forth between myself and John of The Ripening Wanderer. He is a self-described conservative and his blog clearly indicates that he is correct in the description 🙂 I however, was interested and didn’t want to let it (my point) go without defending, and he posted an article that supported his comments quite well. So well in fact, it changed my view.
The point that stood out to me was this one, spoken by Brigitte Gabriel to Saba Ahmed:
“There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today,” Gabriel said. “Of course not all of them are radicals. The majority of them are peaceful people. The radicals are estimated to be between 15-25 percent according to all intelligence services around the world.”
“That leaves 75 percent of (Muslims being) peaceful people. But when you look at 15-25 percent of the world’s Muslim population, you’re looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. That is as big as the United States,” Gabriel continued.
“So why should we worry about the radical 15-25 percent? Because it is the radicals that kill. Because it is the radicals that behead and massacre,” she said.
The article concluded with this, and ultimately what altered my original view:
Ahmed continued to miss the point and whine despite claiming that she cared about the Benghazi victims. That’s when talk radio host Chris Plante jumped in and drove it home: “Can you tell me the head of the Muslim peace movement?” after he made it clear that he understood her point and agreed that the war won’t be won with the military alone.
“I guess it’s me right now,” she responded.
I had not considered that the radical Muslim population could actually be so large, a point that is rarely if ever given in mainstream media. The exchange between myself and John on the blog post was enlightening in that although I generally lean left, I need to not dismiss other sides of the equation as it ends up just being imbalanced. At no point did I consider the fact that there wasn’t a defined leader of the Muslim peace movement. The point made by Chris Plante implied that peaceful Muslims were complicit in allowing the radical Muslims to exist without any resistance was powerful.
We have a very interesting climate in our country right now, fiercely divided and dug in like ticks. Protests in the streets by Clinton supporters creates imbalance. Negative rhetoric by Trump supporters to anyone not supporting Trump creates imbalance. Freedom of speech is all well and good, but when it’s exercised to someone elses detriment, it seems ineffective. I’m not saying we should all be politically correct, but we have to admit that we don’t always listen when listening is necessary. It’s a two-way street. There has to be, needs to be, a better way of solving our problems that doesn’t throw groups of people under the bus.
John properly supported his statements with the source that led him to his belief. I read the same source and came to the same conclusion that he did. It ended up changing my opinion in a way that brought both of us to the same playing field, shaking hands, sitting down and having a coffee. I think it was a Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latte, because it’s the holiday season. THIS is something that, in our social world, usually doesn’t happen because it’s so easy to “unfriend,” “block,” and “unfollow” the people who even hint at us questioning our opinion comfort zones. That place we would all live in a perfect world. That perfect world doesn’t exist, never has, and like in The Matrix, a perfect world would end up being rejected anyway. A belief that is stronger now that I’ve finished the Black Mirror series on Netflix (post on that coming soon).
I want to thank John, here, now, for taking the time to show that his point of view was not just conjecture. He chose to listen and understand me, before trying to be understood.
It takes time to learn to listen and understand others, especially when their views and opinions are based on questionable sources. It takes time and control to not get angry, hateful, or dismissive of others when what they’re saying doesn’t match what you think or potentially know to be true. It takes practice to actually listen rather than just hear as there is a difference between listening to coherent intelligent words and hearing “blah blah blah”. I wasn’t always open-minded, in fact I lost friends in the past because I refused to listen to what they were saying as it wasn’t what I believed. I attribute this growth to the fact that I’m older, wiser, and intolerant of behavior that is anything but respectful. My time is finite when in person, my energy measured, and disrespect doesn’t earn the privilege of my time or energy. You can learn to disagree with someone without being disrespectful. We all have views, opinions and passions; we need to embrace that in ourselves and others.
If we can’t learn to move past ourselves, how will anything ever get solved?
Good comparison of Wall Street as the parasite of our economy.
These profits are counted as economic growth. But this is a fiction, a sleight of hand, like unemployment statistics or the consumer price index, used to mask the speculative shell game.
Systems of governance that are seized by a tiny cabal become mafia states. The early years—Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton in the United States—are marked by promises that the pillage will benefit everyone. The later years—George W. Bush and Barack Obama—are marked by declarations that things are getting better even though they are getting worse. The final years—Donald Trump—see the lunatic trolls, hedge fund parasites, con artists, conspiracy theorists and criminals drop all pretense and carry out an orgy of looting and corruption.
The rich never have enough. The more they get, the more they want. It is a disease. CEOs demand and receive pay that is…
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Having read the weekends blogs I follow, I’m reminded of the fact that its likely most Americans have not taken the time to read the Declaration of Independence or the United States Constitution and Amendments (Bill of Rights). Having read both of them multiple times, I took the time again to read them just now and am still just as inspired now as I was when I read them the first time. The language is powerful considering that it is what started this great country we are currently living in despite recent negativity. I’m still optimistic that we can, as a people, fix the problems and get back to a government we can trust again.
From the Declaration of Independence:
Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.
I submit for discussion that the “King of Great Britain” could be our current oligarchy of corporations growing ever wealthier on the backs of the non-elite. In addition to “the establishment of an absolute Tyranny” being their control over a non-elite debt choked people, these wealthy corporations have instituted a modern form of slavery. This isn’t the first time I’ve written about this and probably not the last time. For most of us, the path to removing our debt is all but impossible. While some of the responsibility of that debt belongs with us, the corporations that granted that credit in the first place are also responsible for making it too easy to obtain that credit, and subsequent debt. What do you think happens when you grant money to a consumer driven capitalist market?
From the U.S. Constitution:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The preamble, exquisitely written, is a single sentence that defined our Republic for the last 200+ years. No where in this sentence do I see anything other than domestic focus for defense, general welfare, and the blessing of liberty to us and our children. Justice and domestic tranquility is the base ideology for the entire document from 1791 to present day. There have only been 17 additional Amendments added to the Bill of Rights, a fact that underscores this documents ability to govern appropriately and completely. Our Founders understood the importance of the law in the proper governing of its people and put a system in place that helped keep that all in balance.
We would be missing something important, something great, if we didn’t all take the time to read both of these documents in their entirety. We the People of the United States should demand better governance from the people we’ve elected into office. We the People of the United States should reject the current system of wealthy oligarchs that have no regard for anyone outside of their circle for the sake of amassing additional wealth. We the People of the United States should learn our history, understand our documents of government, and question the status quo that has lulled us into complacency. We the People of the United States, if we’re not careful, will quickly be part of an Empire.
The lack of knowledge most have about our own system of government is frightening to me. The country you live in should be a staple subject in schools across the country, yet, social studies takes a backseat to reading, math, and science. I’m not downplaying any of those subject areas, however social studies has had the greatest impact to my adult life since leaving school over 20 years ago. The current generation graduating in the next decade has not had the same opportunity, which will only further compound the problem that Americans don’t understand their own system of government. In a time when we have access to so much information, how we’re less informed now than 50 years ago is insane. A new idea I’m a part of with some fellow bloggers I hope will change that, more on that in a few weeks.
Have you read either the Declaration of Independence and/or the U.S. Constitution?
Here is a classic example of people coming together and protesting the unchecked and unregulated greed that drives corporations to ever larger annual profits. The entire pipeline is largely complete except for the 1-mile stretch that would tunnel under Lake Oahe and threaten sacred lands. I’m incredibly impressed with the fact that over 2,100 Veterans are providing support to create a human shield in order to continue blocking the pipeline construction.
Source Article: U.S. military veterans backing North Dakota pipeline protests
The number of protesters in recent weeks has topped 1,000. State officials on Monday ordered them to leave the snowy camp, which is on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers land, citing harsh weather, but on Wednesday they said they would not enforce the order.
“There is an element there of people protesting who are frightening,” North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said on Thursday. “It’s time for them to go home.”
I doubt that any form of weather will stop the protest before there is a decision made by the Army Corps of Engineers. They’ve ordered the protesters to leave but admitted that they won’t enforce the order, which I can only assume was decided because of all the coverage on social media that has taken place already. Spraying water on people when it’s below freezing doesn’t send the right message in my opinion.
The silence from government officials is quite disturbing, and is a red flag to me as to whose side they are truly on regardless of what they say to the press or in statements. This is a stand-off between tax paying Americans and big corporate business. There is $3.8 billion invested in the construction of the pipeline and is costing Energy Transfer Partners LP $84 million each month the pipeline construction is delayed.
Trump is due to meet on Friday with Democratic U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, who a source familiar with the matter said Trump is considering for either the interior or energy secretary positions in his Cabinet.
Morton County Commission Chairman Cody Schulz said in a statement he hoped Heitkamp would be able to tell Trump about the serious impact that “professional protesters” from out of state were having on residents and the local economy, as well as the national energy economy.
I’m skeptical that “professional protesters” are having as much serious impact as this leads me to believe. I can understand that residents and the local economy might be affected, however the protest is directed at Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corp of Engineers, not the local residents. The part about the impact on the national energy economy is laughable because the pipeline is NOT contributing to the energy economy right now, because it’s not completed. The only serious impact I see is a corporation, that can afford it, is losing money each month that people block the completion of a pipeline.
Morton County Sheriff Department spokeswoman Maxine Herr said 564 people have been arrested since the start of demonstrations.
State officials never contemplated forcibly removing protesters, and Dalrymple said his evacuation order stemmed mainly from concerns about dangerously cold temperatures. Engineers interviewed by Reuters also said such weather made some aspects of pipeline construction more difficult.
The temperature in Cannon Ball is expected to fall to 4 degrees Fahrenheit (-16 Celsius) by the middle of next week, according to Weather.com forecasts.
I don’t see this ending anytime soon and I’m fearful that the corporation will ultimately win and get their pipeline built. Any impact to the environment once online will most certainly be blacked out or downplayed to a level that makes it irrelevant to most mainstream media outlets. It’s a shame.