About 140 protesters opposing the proposed Keystone XL pipeline gathered outside the State Department’s headquarters Monday morning for a relatively peaceful demonstration unmarred by any arrests.
Around 60 of the protesters were actively risking arrest by staging a sit-in on the department’s sidewalk outside the visitors’ entrance, but authorities standing guard resisted taking anyone into custody, instead opting for barricades to keep the demonstrators from filtering inside.
Organized by CREDO, The Other 98%, and the Rainforest Action Network, the protest brought people from as far away as New York, New Jersey, and Wisconsin to rally against the pipeline, which would carry heavy oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries on the Gulf Coast. More than 70,000 have signed CREDO’s online “pledge of resistance” stating they are willing to engage in peaceful civil disobedience to oppose the pipeline. The State Department has authority over the project because it crosses an international border.
The scene was in stark contrast to a similar protest last month during which more than 50 Keystone protesters were arrested for unlawful entry at the offices of Environmental Resources Management, a consulting firm that wrote a report for the State Department in March saying the pipeline construction should not be derailed due to environmental concerns. Echoing that protest, Monday’s protesters argued that the review is biased because of connections ERM has to TransCanada, the company proposing to build the pipeline.
Many in the crowd Monday carried signs identifying themselves as “papas,” “mothers,” “nanas,” and “grandmamas.” They spoke about their desire to protect the planet for the sake of their children and grandchildren. Most admitted to never risking arrest before but said the potential environmental impact of the Keystone project was something they could not ignore.
John Sellers, executive director of The Other 98%, was impressed that some unusual suspects were participating in the protest.
“There’s a lot of amazing people who have never done anything like this before that have decided to risk arrest and I think that should send a really clear message to the State Department and White House,” Sellers said.
Protest organizers said they were encouraged by President Obama’s June speech on climate change in which he said he would only approve the pipeline if it did not “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” But they remain concerned the president may retreat from his promise, and though Monday’s protest was not at the White House, much of the messaging — including a “Hey Obama, liked your speech, now you gotta practice what you preach” slogan — was clearly intended to catch the president’s attention.
Neither Obama nor Secretary of State John Kerry are in Washington this week, however.
Bill McKibben, cofounder of 350.org, which was not involved in organizing Monday’s protest but has been actively campaigning against the pipeline, said that while Obama’s recent rhetoric has been encouraging, environmentalists need to keep pressure on him.
“If he keeps to his standard of ‘significant carbon emissions’ there’s no possible way he can approve the pipeline,” McKibben said in an e-mail. “If he figures out some lawyerly, tricky way to approve the pipeline his credibility on climate change will be gone forever. That said, it seems important to keep reminding him, so we will.”
Faith Meckley, 18, was one of the youngest and most enthusiastic protesters who turned out. She stood closer to police lines than her counterparts, and while the protest was her first time risking arrest she said it is unlikely to be the last.
“It was more scary telling my parents about this than actually risking arrest,” said Meckley, who came to Washington from Macedon, N.Y., for the protest and will begin studying journalism at Ithaca College in the fall.
“It was important to me that I would get arrested, although that wasn’t the reason for coming here,” she said. “We might not have gotten the dessert, but we got the main course.”
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”