Victory for the Standing Rock Tribe

❝ …“Today, the US Army Corps of Engineers announced that it will not be granting the easement to cross Lake Oahe for the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline,” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal chairman Dave Archambault II said…“Instead, the Corps will be undertaking an environmental impact statement to look at possible alternative routes.

“We wholeheartedly support the decision of the administration and commend with the utmost gratitude the courage it took on the part of President Obama, the Army Corps, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior to take steps to correct the course of history and to do the right thing.”

“It took tremendous courage to take a new approach to our nation-to-nation relationship, and we will be forever grateful,” he said…

❝ Since August, thousands of demonstrators have camped at the Standing Rock site to stand with Native Americans in opposing the 1,172-mile long pipeline, which is designed to carry 20 million gallons of oil across the Midwest every day.

Tribe members and environmentalists feared damage to local water supplies and the desecration of sacred land…

The tribe successfully mobilized national support, with demonstrators marching in Washington DC and elsewhere to pressure the government to abandon the construction.

❝ Sunday’s decision represents a huge win for the local tribe and their supporters, as well as a dramatic shift in the reaction of authorities, who had previously ordered all demonstrators to leave the campsite by Monday…

❝ Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders also welcomed the announcement:

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❝ “I’m just thankful that there were some leaders in the federal government who have realized that something is not right even though it’s legal,” Archambault told MSNBC.

“I would say that it’s over,” he said.

I’m glad this was resolved before we move into populist foolishness. It should be difficult for Emperor Trump to overturn a decision like this one. Though, like any other fossil fuel flunky, no doubt he will try his best.

Investigative journalist takes a trip through America’s opioid epidemic

The U.S. opioid epidemic left roughly 30,000 people dead in 2014 — with overdose deaths outnumbering fatalities from car accidents in 16 states.

In his book, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic,” Sam Quinones, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, traces the history of this epidemic, and the forces that fueled the crisis to grow, unnoticed and unabated for years.

❝ The story begins in the “ranchos” of one small Mexican community, continues at paid speaker training seminars in Boca Raton, Fla., and slowly unravels in places like Portsmouth, Ohio; Huntington, W.Va.; and Denver.

Quinones met with addicts and others who’ve witnessed the crisis up close. He spoke with scientists, physicians, marketing representatives, and former drug dealers. He spoke with MedPage Today (MPT) about his quest to answer the question — how did this epidemic happen?…

MPT: What surprised you the most when you spoke with healthcare professionals about the opioid epidemic?

Quinones: I guess how many of them actually bought the idea that you could prescribe [opioids] without any consequences. That was weird…but when you have forces of economics and law and culture and peer pressure all in play, things like this can happen…

MPT: What about the environment physicians were working in as the opioid epidemic began to grow?

Quinones: Being a doctor in certain areas is a withering, wearying job, because you are constantly confronted with people whose health is part of a much larger issue — lack of work , maybe a culture of poverty, poor diet, there’s a long list of things. People tend to look at these doctors like keys to life strategies; a linchpin to a survival strategy: ‘Get me workers comp.’ How do I get [supplemental security income]?’ The only way you can get that is with a doctor…

MPT: What responsibility do healthcare providers have for the opioid crisis, and how can they help to resolve it?

Quinones: I feel for doctors. They were in a very difficult place. If they didn’t give people these pills, then people might be in horrible pain, and if they did, they might risk addiction.

RTFA. There’s a lot more – covering a broader analysis. Maybe you should read Quinone’s book.

My central criticism of the epidemic reflects the use of doctors to perform means testing to satisfy conservative creeps in Congress. The concept of healthcare as a privilege, not a right, permeates our politics. It’s lousy economics. It’s lousy politics. Neither of which means much to the beancounters Americans keep electing and re-electing.

Sarah Palin needles Trump over crony capitalism in his Carrier deal


Some things are harder to swallow than a Big GulpFacebook

❝ Sarah Palin, the Republican party’s 2008 vice-presidential cax candidate, warned Donald Trump against “crony capitalism” in the wake of Thursday’s deal to use tax incentives to keep 800 jobs at a Carrier Corp. factory in Indianapolis from moving to Mexico.

“When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent. Meanwhile, the invisible hand that best orchestrates a free people’s free enterprise system gets amputated. Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets,” she wrote on the Young Conservatives website, posted Friday. “Republicans oppose this, remember? Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is one big fail.”

❝ President-elect Donald Trump and Vice-President-elect Mike Pence, who is still the governor of Indiana, visited the Carrier factory Thursday after Indiana gave parent United Technologies $7 million worth of tax breaks over 10 years to keep the factory open. Several hundred jobs will still be eliminated…

“Cajole only chosen ones on Main St or Wall St and watch lines stretch from Washington to Alaska full of businesses threatening to bail unless taxpayers pony up,” she concluded. “The lines strangle competition and really, really, dispiritingly screw with workers’ lives.”

While Aunt Sarah rambles on with the usual Reagan rant about needing tax giveaways for all corporations – neither TeaPublicans like Palin nor the financial press seem to make anything of the fact that Trump is also a shareholder invested in UTX, United Technologies.

He’s giving himself the tax breaks, after all.