Kurds protest at White House against betrayal by Trump after defeat of ISIS

On the 14th of December, DC area Kurds, anti-Fascists, and othter supporters of the Syrian Democratic Forces protested in front of the White House. The protest demanded that Turkey pull their troops out of Northern Syria and stop their bombing. In addition protesters condemned Donald Trump for greenlighting the invasion.

It was the YPG and YPJ who defeated Daesh/ISIS after 2014 attempts by the theocratic terrorists to occupy Kurdish territory and kill anyone and everyone who stood in the path of their alleged caliphate. In the end, the US and seemingly everyone else was forced to ally themselves with the YPG and YPJ to deal with a global terrorist threat. During this war, YPG/YPJ forces took 11,000 dead, while US forces lost only six soldiers. Now, with the “caliphate” smashed and ISIS in (still-dangerous) ruins, Trump has betrayed the Kurds. In October he gave Turkish theocrat Erdogan a green light to invade northern Syria. Protesters warned that nobody would ever trust the US as a wartime ally again if Trump does not revoke this green light and force and end to Turkey’s invasion. The threat (and if necessary, the reality) of an arms embargo against Turkey would be quite enough, as a spare parts cutoff would quickly ground their air force. That in turn would end the bombing by force and allow the Syrian Democratic Forces to effectively resist Erdogan,s invasion on the ground.

Video: Protesting Trump’s utter betrayal of the Kurdish people 4 min 54 sec

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DC Bike Party rides to bike-themed “Light Battle” at Georgetown Glow

On the 11th of December, the last DC Bike Party of the year took to the streets. After an uphill run via Mass Ave and some side streets to Wisconsin Ave, the ride stopped at “Light Battle” at Georgetown Glow. This artwork features stationary bikes and LED lights.

At “Light Battle,” two teams try by riding their stationary bikes at higher total power than each other to push the pulsing LED lights to the other team’s side of the arch. The bikes used are classic steel Dutch-style coaster-brake cruisers clamped in place with rollers under the rear wheels.

After the stop at “Light Battle,” the ride continued through DC streets to a final destination on U street. The next DC Bike Party will be the Organizer’s ride in March, and the next fully promoted ride will not be until April 2020.

Video: DC Bike Party rides to “Light Battle” 2 min 32 sec

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#FireDrillFridays, XR protesters set blockades at BlackRock, Wells Fargo, and all around IMF and World Bank

The focus of the Dec 6 round of #FireDrillFridays protests was BlackRock, a financial fund manager infamous for both fossil fuel investments and for financing migrant detention camps. Wells Fargo was also hit, with a complex strategy defeating police efforts to keep protesters away. Earlier in the day, Extinction Rebellion blockaded streets all around the area of the IMF and World Bank.

The day began with Extinction Rebellion’s street blockades around the IMF and World Bank, starting just after 8AM. What started as a single blockade in front of the World Bank quickly morphed into roving squads that set blockades, then moved them to keep cops guessing and make it impossible to route traffic around them. These served a dual role: they punished those who commute to the IMF and World Bank by car for their role in subsidizing fossil fuels, and they kept the media from speculating about other targets. All known media reports as of just before go-time mentioned only the IMF and World Bank blockades, none mentioned BlackRock by name.

All the same, it was clear that BlackRock knew protesters were coming: they sent their first floor workers home and locked up well in advance of the blockades, with only a few workers on the second floor. This of course means BlackRock loses the day’s “match” by a forfeit. With the lobby locked up, the initial team of protesters that charged from the march to BlackRock simply set a blockade at the (locked) front doors, arriving ahead of the cops. On Dec 6, the “intersectional” theme of the otherwise climate-focussed march was migrant justice. Due to the BlackRock’s investments in concentration camps for migrant children, Never Again Action bottomlined a second blockade of BlackRock’s parking garage. On top of all else, reports emerged of graffiti left inside the building.

The cops for the most part focussed on protecting Well Fargo, possibly hoping to use the mostly empty BlackRock building as bait. This didn’t work, as protesters doubled back to a second Wells Fargo branch they had passed on the approach march and locked down in front of the doors. The lockboxes were “tootsie rolls,” not easily cut with simple tools. The Fire Department looked at them, then backed off. Cops ended up having to wait out the blockade at Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo was a knowable target, as they seem to get hit every time for the “outlier” extent of their behavior, their awful investments, and outright fraud against accountholders such as the fake accounts they were caught setting up a few years back.

As for Blackrock, they have lost $90 BILLION on their fossil fuel investments in recent years. Coal company Peabody and big oil companies like Exxon-Mobil were responsibe for much of the losses according to the Guardian’s report. If BlackRock won’t listen to protests, maybe they will listen to angry shareholders who want to know what the HELL happened to their retirement money.

Video-Extinction Rebellion’s mobile blockades snarl traffic all over the IMF/World Bank area 1 min 54 sec

Video: charging BlackRock, finding doors locked but first floor EMPTY. Then the Wells Fargo lockdown 3 min 46 sec

Extinction rebellion kicked things off with AM rush hour blockades all around the IMF and World Bank area

An Extinction Rebellion blockade as seen from traffic

The initial team at BlackRock after charging to get there ahead of the cops

Main march (including Jane Fonda) nearing BlackRock

A big crowd at BlackRock, who had sent their workers home for the day to avoid the siege

Never Again Action at BlackRock’s parking garage over their funding of ICE/CBP concentration camps for children

Graffiti found inside Blackrock’s building after the protest

Another tag found inside BlackRock

The “tootsie roll” (armored lockbox) lockdown at Wells Fargo

Closeup of locked-down protesters at Wells Fargo (infamous for pipeline, private prisons, and so much more)

Charlie Jiang/350DC photo of Wells Fargo lockdown

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NPS appears to have shot deer in Rock Creek Park on Dec 3

On the 3ed of December, Park Police barricaded Beach Drive and a location on Oregon Ave giving access to the opposite side of the woods W of Beach Drive, and had initially barricaded several other locations. It appears that they were shooting deer between Beach Drive and Oregon Ave, as their deployment matched previous deer killing sessions.

In the past, the deer have been shot by USDA’s “wildlife services” (WS)division. WS mostly focusses on killing predators, but they also kill deer when the extermination of predators (no wolves left in Rock Creek etc) leads to a real or apparent out of balance condition with herbivores. USDA has not been successful in reducing actual deer numbers however, as more deer have been visible from the road this past summer than ever before in living memory. It is known that does respond to reduced population pressure by having multiple births instead of single fawns, thus deer are defeating kill rates in excess of 50% of them being shot some years.

In Yellowstone, the re-introduction of wolves changed the behavior of elk in ways that reduced overbrowsing of streambank areas far out of proportion to the small number of elk the wolves actually hunted and ate. Without the wolves, the elk clustered in stream areas and stayed there, thus overbrowsing small parts of the forest while leaving the rest of it untouched. When wolves returned, the elk spread out, ending the overbrowsing and greatly increasing carrying capacity. Human-managed culls have no such effect. In Rock Creek behavior changes in deer caused by the culls are often a few days of deer avoiding the entire park, showing up in yards and on roads instead, followed by a return to previous behavior and increased reproduction.

Speaking of the roads, it appears that the main intended beneficiary of the deer “culls” in Rock Creek Park is intended to be car drivers worried about the impact of killing a deer with their car on their precious bodywork. The behavior of most of the park’s deer is such that it takes inattentive driving or driving far too fast to hit one. A car driving at the 25mph theoretical speed limit or the 35mph typical traffic speed has a good chance of being able to stop, assuming the driver isn’t buried in their phone. A driver doing 50mph on the other hand facing a last-second deer crossing on any road, on the other hand has some tricky maneuvering on their hands that can be made to work some but not all of the time.

Beach Drive is not a road with a 50mph speed limit and routine 60mph traffic that can’t maneuver around most of the deer. The smaller park roads sure as hell are not! Thus, we see the deer should not be the problem on this kind of slow speed road, and most of the deer-car collision on this kind of road involve drivers consenting to the risk. The deer of course are not asked.

The Park Service denies this is all about well-heeled drivers in their BMW’s and SUV’s and is supposed to protect the forest. Aside from deer numbers actually going up from the culling, Rock Creek’s native deer are not even the main threat to trees, young or otherwise. Several studies have found that invasive, non-native, tree-strangling vines are killing far more trees than deer in Rock Creek Park. Thus, if NPS was serious about protecting the forest, they would trade in the rifles of Wildlife “Services” for machetes and set to work on those invasive vines. The first year of this is tough, the second nearly as difficult, but after that only maintainace “de-vining” should be needed.

Beach Drive barricaded N of Military Road about 9:30PM Dec 3

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Fire Drill Friday Reportback: Black Friday funeral march for the climate

On the 29th of November, as other stormed the shopping malls with nothing but holiday plunder on their minds, the weekly #FireDrillFridays climate/fossil fuels protest at the US Capitol morphed into a funeral march for young activist’s futures. Teenage speakers reminded everyone that scientists now say there is only a decade left to avoid irreversible climage chaos-and that failure to act may destroy their future lives.

The march included a die-in at the Columbus monument in front of Union Station before continuing to the Chinatown shopping area where the protest ended

Video-a stirring song at the starting rally, the funeral march, and die-in at the Columbus monument 2 min 51 sec

Video-a representative of the Piscataway Nation speaks at the start of the US Capitol rally 3 min 46 sec

The funeral march departs the US Capitol, bound for the Columbus monument at Union Station and the Chinatown shopping area

Die-in at the Columbus monument at Union Station. This monument is to colonialism and ongoing theft of Indigenous land as the Confederate monuments in Richmond and Charlottesville are to the KKK

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Impeachment protesters show up again at Trump Hotel

On the 25th of November, yet another group of protesters showed up at Trump Hotel demanding he be impeached and removed from office. This group emphasized his use of the White House for personal gain, a crime that prior to the current century would have led to a bipartisian vote to remove him from office. In the current “Party Uber Alles” situation anything can happen.

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Extinction Rebellion Hunger strikers occupy MoCo county council’s cafeteria

On the 19th of November, a group of hunger strikers from Extinction Rebellion set up shop in the cafeteria used by the Montgomery County council. They demanded the council back up its words on climate emergency with actual deeds which so far have been lacking. This cooincides with Extinction Rebellion’s hunger strike in Nancy Pelosi’s office also demanding serious measures on climate change.

Video interview with one of the hunger strikers 5 min 34 sec

Video interview covers climate hypcrisy, effect of money in politics on climate action, and the positive jobs impact of the major infrastructure projects involved in a transition to renewable energy sources.

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