Friday, December 9, 2016

Obama Passes Magic Baton of Oligarchy to Trump in Plain Sight

On Sunday, December 4th, volunteer veterans deployed to Standing Rock to serve as human shields for the water protectors in Standing Rock.

That same day, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACE) denied an easement to the Dakota Pipeline.

The ACE ruling was enough to prevent a clash between the DAPL forces and the veterans, but it wasn't enough to prevent the companies behind the pipeline (Sunoco Logistics Partners and Energy Transfer Partners) from responding defiantly:
As stated all along, ETP and SXL are fully committed to ensuring that this vital project is brought to completion and fully expect to complete construction of the pipeline without any additional rerouting in and around Lake Oahe. Nothing this Administration has done today changes that in any way.
That defiance appears to have provoked a decision the ACE made (on December 9th) to raise the water level in Lake Oahe so as to make the ground surrounding the lake too "unstable" for drilling:
As Jordan Chariton mentions in his report, one wrinkle created by this solution is that protectors must evacuate the Oceti camp to make way for the incoming water. Those inclined to regard Obama as a moustache-twirling villain will presume that this is merely a feint designed to get protectors out of the way of the DAPL drilling equipment. They may be right. But we have good reason (after eight years) to believe that Obama's villainy is a bit more sophisticated than that.

If it takes the ACE an entire workweek to respond to DAPL's defiance, how long will it take to issue an evacuation order to the Oceti camp? How long to enforce that order? How long to clear the campground of debris in preparation for the influx of water? How long to deal with all the legal objections and logistical complications that are difficult to foresee at this point?

Long enough to get us past Donald Trump's inauguration?

And how will Donald Trump address Lake Oahe once he's in office? In all likelihood, he'll order the ACE to lower Oahe's water level to make the ground stable for drilling, and DAPL will proceed as planned.

Trump will contend (accurately) that he always advocated eliminating business-killing regulations. He will point to the toxic pipe underneath Lake Oahe as a triumph of his presidency. He might even bring in thousands of his minions to chant "Drain the Swamp" as he has the water pumped out at the behest of the bankers who are already filling his cabinet.

It will be fine and natural to hate him then.

But it will be terrible and unnatural to yearn for the days of Obama, whose chief donors are the business partners of Trump's cabinet.

Obama isn't using the baton of the presidency to smash DAPL; he's merely preparing to pass it to his successor in what will amount to a seamless transition of power for the oil companies, banks, and war profiteers that control the US government.

The bank bailout of 2008 was a bi-partisan hand-off of corruption from Republican George W. Bush to Democrat Obama. The DAPL bailout of 2017 will be a bi-partisan hand-off of corruption from Obama to Trump.

I don't know that we can stop them. We never do. But I hope that we won't fall for the revisionist history according to which the Democrats will say that they fought for us when we can see right now, in real time, that they're simply stalling.

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