Within My Gaze

 

I see my picture

Upon T-Shirts, paintings and plates

Displayed proudly upon your walls

You think me to be cuddly

Domesticated easily like your lap dog hounds

Only to the giant bear

Have I ever backed down

You come to my home

To sleep, laugh, and play

When was the last time

You ever saw me walking down your streets

More ignorant than the lamb I had this morning

My belly is grumbling as the dark sets in

Do you now think I am so cute and cuddly

As I back you down,

Your eyes glued, within my gaze

Yours truly, the alpha WOLF!

Hundreds Of Pilot Whales Beach Themselves In New Zealand

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

New Zealand whales: Hundreds more stranded at Farewell Spit

  • 7 hours ago
  • From the section Asia
 Media caption Rescuers help whales return to sea, as more become stranded down the coast

The mass stranding of whales on a remote beach in New Zealand has taken a turn for the worse as 240 more arrived.

Earlier on Saturday, volunteers had refloated some 100 of the more than 400 pilot whales which beached on Thursday.

But a human chain, with volunteers wading neck-deep into the water, failed to prevent a fresh pod making landfall.

The whale stranding, at Farewell Spit at the top of South Island, is one of the worst ever in New Zealand. Dozens of volunteers turned out to help.

More than 300 of the 400 original arrivals died while medics and members of the public tried to keep survivors alive by cooling them with water.

It is hoped that those of the new arrivals that survive can be moved back out to sea during the next high tide in daylight on Sunday.

Media captionOne volunteer said “people from all over the world” were helping to try to save the whales

It is not clear why the whales continue to arrive on the 5km long (three mile-long) beach next to Golden Bay.

One theory is that they may have been driven on to land by sharks, after bite marks were found on one of the dead whales.

Herb Christophers of New Zealand’s department of conservation told the BBC that the whales were trying to get round the top of South Island, but if their navigation went wrong they ended up on the beach.

In the shallower waters, the animals’ use of echolocation was impaired.

“It’s a very difficult place if you get lost in there and you are a whale,” he said.

Map showing Golden Bay in New Zealand

Experts say that whales that become beached will send out distress signals attracting other members of their pod, who then also get stranded by a receding tide.

Sometimes the whales are simply old, sick, or injured.

Andrew Lamason, from New Zealand’s department of conservation, said those refloated had been tagged, whereas the latest arrivals were not, indicating that they were a new group.

He said 20 whales had been humanely killed by conservation workers as they were in a poor condition.


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Officials have also been looking into how best to dispose of the whale carcasses.

Mr Lamason said that simply towing them out to sea could be problematic as they may become gaseous and buoyant and float into populated bays.

The latest incident in New Zealand was first reported on Thursday evening, but conditions were too dangerous at the time to launch a rescue operation.

Volunteers hold a pilot whale upright during a second mass stranding of whales in New Zealand, 11 February 2017Image copyright AFP
Image caption Volunteers have been trying to keep the stranded whales upright

New Zealand has one of the highest stranding rates in the world, with about 300 dolphins and whales ending up on beaches every year, according to Project Jonah.

Many of these incidents happen at Farewell Spit.

In February 2015 about 200 whales beached themselves at the same location, of which at least half died.

Boy Finds Rattlesnake In His Toilet: Family Storm Shelter Filled With Them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Snake removal company finds 24 critters at residence in Texas.

Story highlights

  • Isac Mcfadden woke up to find a rattlesnake swimming in his toilet
  • 23 other snakes were discovered under the Mcfadden’s Texas home

(CNN)What do you do if you find a snake in your toilet? If you’re Isac Mcfadden, you go get your mom.

The young boy from Abilene, Texas, woke up Tuesday morning and headed to the bathroom. To his surprise, he found a rattlesnake slithering up his toilet bowl, KXVA reports. “I found this big clump, and I knew it was a snake,” said Isac.
He quickly called his mom, Cassie Mcfadden, who recruited one of Isac’s older brothers to get a shovel to kill the snake.
“I was just like, what do you do with this? What do you do with this? I don’t know!” Cassie told the station.
Cassie Mcfadden killed the snake while dad, Jason, called Big Country Snake Removal. When the technician arrived, he found 24 Western diamondback rattlesnakes — 13 in the cellar, five adults and five babies underneath the house, and the one snake in the toilet, which had entered through a relief pipe.
“Rattlesnakes are secretive and can be very cryptic — They rely heavily on their camouflage,” the company warned on its Facebook page. “This is simply how they survive. Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.”
The firm recommended that property owners have their homes checked regularly for snake infestations and said they shouldn’t be afraid.
“Rattlesnakes are an absolute necessity for the ecosystems, and people have an irrational fear about them,” a company spokesman said.
Isac and his brothers had some final words of wisdom for other kids who encounter snakes in their homes.
“If you find a snake,” they told KXVA, “always get an adult.”

Panda mother and daughter die at Shanghai animal park

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)

Panda mother and daughter die at Shanghai animal park

TWO of Shanghai’s pandas — the first to be born in the city and her mother — have died, Shanghai Wildlife Park said yesterday.

Guo Guo, who was 21 years old, showed symptoms that included fever and vomiting on December 19, and she had been separated from Hua Sheng, her cub, for treatment.

Her situation worsened three days later when she suffered convulsions and was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis, the park said. She died on December 26.

The park said it was still investigating what caused her death, including examining the food she had been eating.

Hua Sheng died on December 31, just 175 days after her birth. Her name, which had been decided by public vote, suggested healthy growth and fertility, and there were hopes she would eventually help to expand the giant panda population in the city.

She had been breast fed since birth and was with her mother constantly. Guo Guo was very protective of her, the park said.

However, after Guo Guo became sick, keepers had been feeding Hua Sheng and she, too, had begun vomiting. On December 23, she was diagnosed with a twisted intestine.

She underwent an operation to remove 80 centimeters of her intestine, about a third of its length, and received a transfusion of blood from other pandas on December 29. But two days later she died from massive intestinal necrosis and multiple organ failure.

Giant panda keeper Min Yingguo said the intestinal system of giant pandas is complex and a twisted intestine is a common condition in panda cubs between four and six months old.

The low recovery rate from the condition and the sudden change in her feeding regime probably contributed to her death, he said.

At four months, pandas have learned to walk and excessive movement can lead to a twisted intestine. That’s one of the reasons the park strictly controls the amount of time panda cubs are allowed to play, Min said.

“I feel so sad for Hua Sheng’s death, and I liked playing with her and talking with her when she was alive,” Min said.

The park said both animals had received extensive treatment from its own staff as well as experts from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda, the Children’s Hospital of Fudan University and the Shanghai Animal Disease Prevention and Control Center.

Ni Li, an employee at the park’s office, said an announcement about the pandas had not been issued earlier because the park was carrying out a pathological analysis in conjunction with the conservation center.

“We feel very sad over the two giant pandas’ death,” Ni said.

She said the two pandas had been well looked after at the park.

“Our animal keepers are professional and took good care of them, and the raising procedures were strictly based on common practice, but raising giant pandas is very difficult,” she said.

The bodies of Guo Guo and Hua Sheng have been frozen and preserved, Ni said.

The conservation center and the park are conducting research and have sent samples to scientific research institutions for analysis to prevent similar tragedies, the park said.

The park now has five giant pandas, including twins born on October 4 last year.

It was designated a giant panda reserve by the State Forestry Administration of China in March last year. There are two other reserves, in Beijing and Guangzhou. All aim to expand the panda population.

Two juveniles charged with arson in Tennessee wildfires that left 14 people dead

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST NEWS PAPER)

Two juveniles charged with arson in Tennessee wildfires that left 14 people dead

December 7 at 4:33 PM

What we know about the Tennessee wildfires

Tens of thousands of people have escaped a deadly wildfire in East Tennessee. Here’s a look at the aftermath of the disaster. (Claritza Jimenez/The Washington Post)

Two juveniles have been charged with aggravated arson in connection with the East Tennessee wildfires that killed 14 people last week and left nearly 150 others injured, authorities said Wednesday.

During an investigation involving local, state and federal agents, “information was developed that two juveniles allegedly started the fire,” the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a news release.

Both were taken into custody Wednesday morning and are being held at the Sevier County Juvenile Detention Center.

The suspects are Tennessee residents, District Attorney General Jimmy B. Dunn said at a news conference in Sevierville. No additional information about the youths was made available, including their age and gender.

“I understand that you have a lot of questions,” Dunn told reporters. “However, the law does not allow for the disclosure of additional information at this time.”

He added that additional charges “are being considered” and said the juveniles could be tried as adults.

Two juveniles charged with arson in deadly Tennessee wildfires

Officials say two juveniles are being held on arson charges and additional charges are being considered in connection with the deadly wildfires that broke out last month in Tennessee. (Reuters)

The “Chimney Tops 2” fire was first reported Nov. 23 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, according to the National Park Service. The wildfire exploded on Nov. 28, as massive walls of flames spread down the mountains into Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge with shocking speed, according to those who fled with little more than the clothes on their backs.

The fires that engulfed the two tourist towns outside the park and shut down one of the country’s most popular natural attractions left more than 1,750 structures damaged or destroyed, most of them single-family residences. Additionally, thousands of wooded acres burned in the most-visited national park in the United States.

Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller called the devastation “unfathomable.”

Video shows firefighters driving through Tenn. wildfires

Lt. Steve Coker of the Sevierville Fire Dept. captured video of the wildfires burning in eastern Tennessee as his fire crew moved through the town of Gatlinburg on Nov. 28. (Twitter @alliecoker7)

Although wind gusts exceeding 60 mph caused the disaster to explode in Sevier County, fires had been brewing for months in this region. More than 150,000 acres have been charred in the Southeast by large fires, according to the U.S. Forest Service, and nearly 4,000 firefighters have been called into action to fight blazes that keep popping up.

The wind carried the flames from the nearby Chimney Tops fire across ground parched by a historic drought and into the surrounding towns. The fire moved too fast and too far to contain. “This is a fire for the history books,” Miller said last week. “The likes of this has never been seen here.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) called the fire the state’s worst in at least a century.

“To the residents of Sevier County: We stand with you and are committed to making sure justice is served in this case,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said at the news conference Wednesday.

He added: “Our promise is that we will do every effort to help bring closure to those who have lost so much.”

The investigation, Gwyn said, is ongoing.

Gatlinburg, with a population of about 4,000 about 43 miles south of Knoxville, is surrounded on three sides by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smokies, part of the Appalachian mountain range, straddle the border between eastern Tennessee and North Carolina.

Considered the gateway town to the Tennessee side of the park, Gatlinburg draws more than 11 million visitors a year, according to tourism officials. It is known for its mountain chalets and ski lodge — drawing honeymooners and other visitors all year-long.

Despite two days of heavy rains earlier this week, there are nearly 800 firefighters still battling the fires on the mountains. The fire is about 64 percent contained, authorities said Wednesday, and parts of the park remain closed.

But downtown Gatlinburg was spared, and property owners, business owners, renters and lease holders were allowed to return to full-time occupancy on Wednesday. The tourist destination is expected to reopen for business on Friday.

Angela Fritz and Peter Holley contributed to this post, which has been updated numerous times.

Biblical sheep in Israel for first time in millennia

119 Jacob’s sheep, a heritage breed mentioned in Genesis, began arriving last week

Source: Biblical sheep in Israel for first time in millennia  (This article is the courtesy of the Times of Israel News Paper)  (Please click the ‘source link’ above to get the full story)

Within My Gaze (The Alpha Wolf)

 

Within My Gaze (The Alpha Wolf)

 

I see my picture

Upon T-Shirts, paintings and plates

Displayed proudly upon your walls

You think me to be warm and cuddly

Domesticated easily like your lap dog hounds

Only to the giant bear

Have I ever backed down

You come to my home

To sleep, laugh, and play

When was the last time

You ever seen me walking down your streets

More ignorant than the lamb I had this morning

My belly is grumbling as the dark sets in

Do you now think I am so cute and cuddly

As I back you down,

Your eyes glued, within my gaze

Yours truly, the alpha WOLF!

‘People were basically running for their lives’: At least 3 dead as fires engulf Tennessee towns

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST NEWS PAPER)

‘People were basically running for their lives’: At least 3 dead as fires engulf Tennessee towns

November 29 at 7:14 PM

Wildfires force evacuations in two Tenn. resort towns

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Wildfires raging in the Tennessee resort towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, north of the Great Smoky Mountains have forced residents and visitors to evacuate. (Reuters)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. — A calamitous and deadly wildfire engulfed two tourist towns near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along with much of the surrounding timberlands, destroying more than 150 homes and businesses, displacing thousands of residents and visitors and shutting down one of the nation’s most popular natural attractions.

The fire has killed at least three people and injured at least 14 others, officials said Tuesday. The victims have not yet been identified.

Search and rescue efforts were underway throughout Sevier County as dusk arrived in the charred, smoke-choked mountains, but certain areas remained unreachable, authorities said late Tuesday afternoon.

The blaze forced more than 14,000 people to flee the area and left “in excess of 150″ buildings in ruin, officials said.

“People were basically running for their lives,” Gatlinburg mayor Mike Werner said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.

The “unprecedented” fire — which started on the Chimney Tops mountain, one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Smokies — was still burning Tuesday afternoon, emergency officials said. Strong winds and dry ground had carried the flames into the resort cities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, moving too fast and too far to contain.

“This is a fire for the history books,” Gatlinburg Fire Chief Greg Miller said at a news conference Tuesday.

Miller said that the Chimney Tops fire, which was reported Sunday, started to rage Monday night when winds climbed to 87 mph, carrying away fiery embers and knocking trees and power lines to the ground.

Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park said Tuesday morning that the extensive fire and fallen trees had forced the temporary closure of the most visited national park in America. In the surrounding towns, the sky was smoky and the ground wet with rain. Officials said the wind had died down, but a handful of buildings continued to burn.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) said Tuesday afternoon that the state was sending resources, including the National Guard, to help those who had been affected by the fires.

“We will do all we can to help these communities rebuild & recover,” Haslam wrote on Twitter.

Residents evacuated the area as trees caught fire on the low slope of the hills and mountains on either side of the road — the flames’ orange tendrils licking at the asphalt and black smoke obscuring the sky.

“Fire was coming over the mountains, and the smoke was so bad we could barely breathe as we were trying to pack up,” Mike Gill, who was evacuating with his wife, Betty, told NBC News.

Katie Brittain, manager at the Dress Barn in Pigeon Forge, told The Washington Post that when she arrived at work Monday, the sky was brown and ash was raining down. Despite the ominous conditions, store employees weren’t sure whether they were supposed to evacuate from their location, not far from Dolly Parton’s theme park, Dollywood.

She said employees stayed put, but grew increasingly nervous as the smoke thickened and the wind increased that afternoon. By the end of the day, she said, the inside of the store “smelled like a bonfire.”

“The smell was really, really bad,” she said. “My eyes were burning and our throats were getting scratchy.”

“Everyone was kind of in a state of disbelief,” she added.

At least 14 people were transported from Gatlinburg for treatment, mostly for injuries that were not life-threatening, officials said Tuesday.

In Gatlinburg, flames began engulfing private structures, including the 300-room Park Vista hotel. Inside the hotel, dozens of guests were trapped Monday by a wall of flames around the building.

Logan Baker told NBC affiliate WBIR that the firefighters initially told guests that they would be safe inside the building, but a short time later, “they saw flames coming down the hill.” By the time guests had packed their cars with luggage, however, it was too late to escape, Baker told the station, noting that the only road out was covered in flames.

“When you opened the doors, it just blew you back,” he said. “Embers started flying into the hotel.”

Baker told WBIR he helped bring people back inside the hotel; once inside, firefighters told them to remain in the lobby while they fought the fire outside.

Video taken from inside the hotel lobby shows massive flames licking at the windows. Guests can be overheard discussing a plan to “dive into the pool.”

“Well, they locked the pool up,” one woman said.

 Carol Lilleaas, a Gatlinburg resident, said she fled her home with only her animals and her husband’s ashes. She does not know what has happened to her house, or what she might be returning to.

“It will be there or it won’t,” she said.

Another resident, Jeff Barker, said that he did know the extent of the fire’s destruction in his life. When he was returning from work on Monday, people were being stopped from entering Gatlinburg, he said. So Barker said he set off on foot.

“By the time I arrived at my apartment, apartment’s gone, car’s gone, pets are gone,” he said.

The fire also forced employees at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies to evacuate, leaving behind more than 10,500 animals, Ripley Attractions General Manager Ryan DeSear told WBIR.

DeSear said the blaze was about 50 yards from the building when employees had to evacuate.

“To them, every animal has a name,” he said. “You don’t give that up.” But he added: “Nothing is more important than human life. Fish can be replaced. It sucks.”

Late Tuesday morning, Ripley announced that the animals were “safe and under care.”

The town of Gatlinburg, with a population of about 4,000 about 43 miles south of Knoxville, is surrounded on three sides by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smokies, part of the Appalachian mountain range, straddle the border between eastern Tennessee and North Carolina.

Considered the gateway city to the Tennessee side of the park, Gatlinburg draws more than 11 million visitors a year, according to tourism officials. It is known for its mountain chalets and ski lodge — drawing honeymooners and other visitors all year long.

Gatlinburg’s neighbor, Pigeon Forge, is home to Dollywood, country-themed music venues and attractions, and popular outlet malls.

According to the park officials, Great Smoky Mountains National Park logged more than 9.4 million visitors in 2013 — by far the most of any of the 59 national parks that year. “The second most heavily visited national park is Grand Canyon with 4.6 million visits,” according to the National Park Service.

On Tuesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and other officials urged residents in Sevier County to stay clear of roadways to make way for first responders and to stay off wireless devices, unless it was to make an emergency call, to keep systems clear for vital communication. The agency also announced a temporary flight restriction in the area “to prevent aircraft from complicating the response.”

“This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint,” Michelle Hankes, executive director of the American Red Cross of East Tennessee, said about the response effort.

Hankes, who recorded a video statement at an emergency shelter in Pigeon Forge, said that about 130 people, including children and pets, have turned up there while fleeing their homes. Hundreds of others were sheltered elsewhere.

“This fire is unpredictable,” Hankes said, crying. “We still have wind gusts — the rain has helped, but it’s still a devastating, devastating loss for the people here.”

Officials said the towns and surrounding area sustained widespread property damage.

“The center of Gatlinburg looks good for now,” Newmansville Volunteer Fire Department Lt. Bobby Balding told the Knoxville News Sentinel. But he added: “It’s the apocalypse on both sides.”

TEMA said Tuesday that “very preliminary surveys of damaged areas” suggested that “hundreds of structures are lost.”

“Westgate Resorts is likely entirely gone (more than 100 buildings),” TEMA said in a statement, “Black Bear Falls has likely lost every single cabin.” The agency initially said that Ober Gatlinburg Ski Area and Amusement Park “reportedly is entirely destroyed.” However, the mountain resort posted a video Tuesday morning showing the facility intact.

A curfew was in place for the city of Gatlinburg, which was expected to last from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., according to the TEMA.

Officials said in a statement that Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge — the largest theme park in the area — had sustained no real damage by late Monday, but that 50 rooms in the park’s DreamMore Resort and 19 of its cabins were still evacuated.

“Dollywood crews and firefighters are working to protect the park areas adjacent to a fire burning on Upper Middle Ridge,” according to the statement.

Officials in Pigeon Forge estimated that about 500 people were evacuated on Monday night, according to TEMA. About 125 people were still displaced and in shelters, TEMA said in a statement.

“Local officials in Pigeon Forge [have] lifted the mandatory evacuation order,” it said in the statement. “Gatlinburg still remains under a mandatory evacuation order.”

 

National park officials explained that the severe wind gusts of more than 80 mph, combined with “unprecedented low relative humidity, and extended drought conditions,” caused the fire “to spread rapidly and unpredictably.”

“Wind gusts carried burning embers long distances causing new spot fires to ignite across the north-central area of the park and into Gatlinburg,” Great Smoky Mountains National Park wrote on its Facebook pageTuesday morning. “In addition, high winds caused numerous trees to fall throughout the evening on Monday bringing down power lines across the area that ignited additional new fires that spread rapidly due to sustained winds of over 40 mph.”

The conditions made it difficult — if not impossible — for firefighters to contain the flames.

“The wind is not helping, and the rain is not here yet,” Miller, the Gatlinburg Fire Department chief, said in a news conference on Monday night. “These are the worst possible conditions imaginable.”

A severe drought — a key competent to the devastating blaze — is ongoing in eastern Tennessee. All of Sevier County is in an “exceptional drought,” which is the worst on the U.S. Drought Monitor Scale. That means there are widespread crop and pasture losses, shortages in water reservoirs, streams and wells.

Weather Underground’s Bob Henson reports that this has been the hottest and driest fall in the city of Gatlinburg’s history. In normal years, the Tennessee city averages 56 inches of rain, “so it doesn’t take much time for a drought to hit this normally moist landscape hard,” Henson wrote.

This was just sent to us by a friend in Gatlinburg. This is on Airport Road up by Sidney James Lodge.

Just sent to me Wedding Chapel in Gatlinburg

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Fire threatens beloved Arrowmont School of Arts/Crafts in downtown Gatlinburg.http://on.wbir.com/2gCI6zV 
(Photos: Bill May)@wbir

The Southeast has spent much of the past few weeks battling forest fires, which began after one of its worst droughts on record. Several states have been affected.

As The Washington Post reported Nov. 16, when there were 17 active fires in the southern Appalachians, “The entire state of South Carolina is covered in an unhealthy haze from fires burning in the Blue Ridge Mountains.”

At that time, more than 80,000 acres had been burned.

‘Where Evil Resides’: Veterans ‘Deploy’ To Standing Rock To Engage The Enemy — The US Government

(THIS ARTICLE IS FROM ‘TASK AND PURPOSE’ WEBSITE)‘Where Evil Resides’: Veterans ‘Deploy’ To Standing Rock To Engage The Enemy — The US Government

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On Dec. 4, if everything goes according to plan, hundreds of veterans will muster at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota. The mission: To stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

“Most civilians who’ve never served in a uniform are gutless worms who’ve never been in a fight in their life,” Wes Clark Jr. declares. “So if we don’t stop it, who will?”

Clark Jr. is one of the most vociferous opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a controversial 1,170-mile project that, if and when it is completed, will shuttle an estimated 470,000 barrels of crude oil every day from North Dakota to Illinois. “It’s immoral, and wrong, and dangerous to us all,” Clark Jr. adds.

He doesn’t fit the traditional tree-hugger mold. He’s not a hippie. Nor is he a member of the Lakota or Dakota tribes, the two Native American group known collectively as the Sioux. He’s a former Army officer and the organizer of an upcoming three-day deployment of U.S. military veterans to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in southern North Dakota, the site of an escalating months-long standoff between law enforcement-backed security contractors and activists that has so far resulted in multiple injuries, more than 500 arrests, and a United Nations investigation of potential human rights abuses.

According to an “operations order” for the planned engagement, posted to social media in mid-November, “First Americans have served in the Unites States Military, defending the soil of our homelands, at a greater percentage than any other group of Americans. There is no other people more deserving of veteran support.”

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters stand waist deep in the Cantapeta Creek, northeast of the Oceti Sakowin Camp, near Cannon Ball, N.D., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Officers in riot gear clashed again Wednesday with protesters near the Dakota Access pipeline, hitting dozens with pepper spray as they waded through waist-deep water in an attempt to reach property owned by the pipeline's developer.

Clark Jr. is a 47-year-old writer, political commentator, and activist based in California. Joining him in the fight is Michael A. Wood Jr., a Marine Corps veteran and former Baltimore police officer who retired his badge in 2014 to become an advocate for national police reform. Earlier this month, the duo formed Veterans Stand For Standing Rock with the hope of drawing scores of veterans, as well as fire fighters, ex-law enforcement officers, emergency medical personnel and others to the battleground for a three-day “deployment” in early December to “prevent progress on the Dakota Access Pipeline and draw national attention to the human rights warriors of the Sioux tribes.” Both men say they’re prepared to take a bullet, rubber or otherwise, for a cause they believe should be of critical importance to any patriotic American.

“… if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do…”

“This country is repressing our people,” Wood Jr. says. “If we’re going to be heroes, if we’re really going to be those veterans that this country praises, well, then we need to do the things that we actually said we’re going to do when we took the oath to defend the Constitution from enemies foreign and domestic.”

The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation was originally established as part of the Great Sioux Reservation under Article 2 of the Treaty of Fort Laramie of April 29, 1868. In 1877, the U.S. government initiated the still ongoing process of chipping away and dividing the land it had granted to the people of the Lakota and Dakota nations, with significant reductions taking place in 1889 and then again during the 1950s and 1960s, when the Army Corps of Engineers built five large dams along the Missouri River, uprooting villages and sinking 200,000 acres of land below water.

When the Corps of Engineers returned to Standing Rock in 2015, it was to assess whether or not it should approve a path for the Dakota Access Pipeline across the Missouri River, a project that would involve construction on some of the land that had been stripped from the Sioux, who still regard it as sacred — although, that fact seems to have been ignored, maybe even intentionally, in the assessment.

Because the Corps neglected to consult the Standing Rock Sioux, as it was required to do under the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106), the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Interior, and the American Council on Historic Preservation all criticized the assessment, but the project was eventually approved. The decision was a major victory for Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based parent company of Dakota Access LLC, which estimates the pipeline will bring $156 million in sales and income taxes to state and local governments and create thousands of temporary jobs.

For the Standing Rock Sioux, the Dakota Access project poses two immediate threats. First, the pipeline would run beneath Lake Oahe, the reservoir that provides drinking water to the people of Standing Rock. (An earlier route that avoided native lands was ruled out in part because it posed a danger to drinking water.) Second, according to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the building of the pipeline would destroy the sacred spots and burial grounds that were overlooked in the Corps’ assessment. But as the protests have intensified, and more outsiders, including members of more than 200 Native American tribes from across North America, have become involved, Standing Rock has, for some, come to represent something much bigger than a struggle between a disenfranchised people and a government-backed, billion-dollar corporation. It’s a battle to save humanity from itself.

“Mother Earth’s axis is off and it’s never going back,” says Phyllis Young, a Sioux tribal elder. “And we have to help keep it in balance for as long as we can. I am a mother and a grandmother. Those are my credentials to ensure a future with clean drinking water — a future of human dignity, human rights, and human survival.”

A Dakota Access pipeline protester defies law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction, Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 near Cannon Ball, ND. Soldiers and law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear began arresting protesters who had set up a camp on private land to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

Young grew up on the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. She has been present at many of the protests and says she’s seen people brutalized at the hands of the security contractors and law enforcement officials guarding the land where the drilling is set to take place. It was Young who got Clark Jr involved. In late summer, she was in Washington, D.C., lobbying for the military to promote an alternative (and scientifically dubious) clean energy source called low-energy nuclear reaction, when she heard of a military veteran who was a forceful advocate for environmental conservation. Clark Jr. was eager to help. He spent weeks trying to assemble a legal team for the Standing Rock Sioux, and even contacted Independent Diplomat, a nonprofit organization that helps governments navigate complex diplomatic processes. “I pulled all of the levers, and none of them worked,” Clark Jr. recalls. Then, in early November, the plan dawned on him: He’d bring his fellow veterans. Lots of them. And they’d come prepared to put their lives on the line.

“We’re not going out there to get in a fight with anyone,” Clark Jr. says. “They can feel free to beat us up, but we’re 100% nonviolence.”

You may have heard of Clark Jr.’s father. Wesley Clark Sr. retired from the Army in 2000 as a four-star general. His career began in the jungles of Vietnam, where he was shot four times during an enemy ambush near Saigon, and culminated in a posting as Supreme Allied Commander Europe during the Kosovo War. In 2004, he ran for the Democratic Party presidential nomination on platform that criticized the Iraq War and called for measures to combat climate change. Clark Jr., who was born in Florida while Clark Sr. was in Vietnam and grew up on military bases throughout the United States and Europe, seems to have inherited both his father’s commanding spirit and his progressive ideals.

Wes Clark Jr. on The Young Turks.

Clark Jr. had just graduated from Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service when he joined the Army as a cavalry officer. He served on active duty from 1992–1996 —  “nothing dangerous,” he says. On Sept. 11, 2001, he was living in New York City, and after seeing the towers fall, he decided to re-enlist. “I was like, ‘I’m going back in. I’m going to go in there and fuck people up,’” he recalls. It was Clark Sr., the decorated war hero, who convinced him not to. As Clark Jr. recalls, his father foresaw U.S. military intervention in Iraq and warned that as a soldier he would be fighting a war that had nothing to do with defeating al Qaeda. “He was right, but I’ll tell you, I’ve never felt worse about a decision in my life,” Clark Jr. says.

Clark Jr. may never have served in combat, but when he talks about Standing Rock, he sounds like a battle-hardened general. This isn’t his first foray into boots-on-the-ground environmental activism. He’s currently working with an organization called Climate Mobilization, which is focused on “building and supporting a social movement that causes the US federal government to commence WWII-scale climate mobilization.” But he’s perhaps best known as a co-host of the political web series The Young Turks. On the The Young Turks website, Clark Jr. is described as an Army veteran “currently trying to save human civilization from climate change.” The impending confrontation at Standing Rock, he says, will be “the most important event up to this time in human history.”

“We’re not going out there to get in a fight with anyone. They can feel free to beat us up, but we’re 100% nonviolence.”

Vets Standing For Standing Rock was announced via an official sounding letter formatted like a five-paragraph military operation order, breaking down the “opposing forces” — “Morton County Sheriff’s office combined with multiple state police agencies and private security contractors” — “Mission,” “Execution” and “Logistics,” among other things. A packing list virtually mirrors the ones issued to soldiers preparing to deploy to the field (minus the weapons). But there are also parts of the document that read like a revolutionary manifesto. Under the section titled “Friendly Forces,” for example, the op order states, “we are there to put our bodies on the line, no matter the physical cost, in complete nonviolence to provide a clear representation to all Americans of where evil resides.”

The document was accompanied by a link to a GoFundMe campaign that has raised nearly $20,000 of its $100,000 goal since it was created on Nov. 11. The money, Clark Jr. says, will only be used for helping volunteers with transportation costs and then bailing those who are arrested out of jail.

Wood Jr. says the op-order was Clark Jr.’s idea, but the two men agree that organizing like a military unit is the smartest approach, especially because most of the people expected to join them on the ground have served.

“It’s simple and we have clearly defined goals, so people don’t get caught up in the confusion,” says Wood Jr., who served with the Baltimore Police Department for more than a decade. “One of the issues the police are going to face is that our level of planning and coordination is vastly superior to theirs, so they may end up with a problem when it comes to that.”

“We’ll have those people who will recognize that they’re not willing to take a bullet, and those who recognize that they are.”

Here then is the plan: On Dec. 4, Clark Jr. and Wood Jr., along with a group of veterans and other folks in the “bravery business,” as Wood Jr. puts it — 500 total is the goal, but they’re hoping for more — will muster at Standing Rock. The following morning they will join members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, including Young, for a traditional healing ceremony. With an eye toward the media, old military uniforms will be donned so that if the veterans are brutalized by the police, they are brutalized not as ordinary citizens, but as people who once served the government they are protesting against. Then body armor, ear plugs, and gas masks will be issued to those who didn’t bring their own. Bagpipes will play, and traditional Sioux war songs will be sung. The music will continue as everyone marches together to the banks of the Missouri, on the other side of which a line of guards in riot gear will be standing ready with rifles, mace, batons, and dogs. Then, the veterans and their allies — or at least the ones who are brave enough — will lock arms and cross the river in a “massive line” for their “first encounter” with the “opposing forces.” The goal is to make it to the drilling pad and surround it, arm in arm. That will require making it through the line of guards, who have repelled other such attempts with a level of physical force Sioux tribal members and protesters have described as “excessive” — claims that recently prompted a United Nations investigation. Of course, that’s what the body armor and gas masks are for.

“We’ll have those people who will recognize that they’re not willing to take a bullet, and those who recognize that they are,” says Wood Jr. “It’s okay if some of them step back, but Wes and I have no intention of doing so.”

Michael A. Wood Jr.

Of course, as most veterans know full well, even the best plans go out the window the moment the shit hits the fan. It seems probable that the group will be met by fierce resistance from those charged with keeping people out of the construction site. Despite a recent decision by the Corps of Engineers to delay further work on the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners is still hoping to complete the project by January. The segment that will cross beneath the Missouri at Standing Rock is the last major piece of the puzzle. Strengthening the resolve of the company’s executives is the fact that Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren donated more than $100,000 to elect Donald Trump, and Trump himself owns stock in the company. “I’m 100% sure that the pipeline will be approved by a Trump administration,” Warren told NBC News on Nov. 12.

Nonetheless, Clark Jr. and Wood Jr. remain undeterred. If anything, the likelihood of approval only makes them more determined. After all, this is war.

“The Joint Chiefs of Staff labeled the climate emergency as the number one security threat to the country, and they’ve been labeling it that for years,” Clark Jr. says. “All you need to do is put an overlay on any map in the world where there’s a water and crisis and you’re going to see massive political violence in that location. And unless we act, we’re going to be dealing with that exact same situation right here in the United States.”

The French Riviera, And A Challenge For Chuck Norris

(THIS ARTICLE WAS NOT WRITTEN BY ME, I HAVE SEARCHED THROUGH MY NOTES AND I CAN NOT FIND THE NAME OF THE LADY WHO WROTE IT, IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY THE LADY WAS FROM FRANCE. I JUST DO NOT WANT TO TAKE CREDIT FOR AN ARTICLE THAT I DID NOT WRITE. I THINK IT IS A GOOD ARTICLE, THIS IS WHY I AM REBLOGGING IT FOR YOU TO GET A CHANCE TO READ AND A CHANCE TO SEE THE BEAUTIFUL PICTURES THAT SHE POSTED.)

What to do on the French Riviera: A challenge for Chuck Norris

A week to discover the French Riviera, it says you directly we were struck by the diversity of attractions tourist offer. The offer is so wide and varied that the most difficult to choose remains. Impossible for us to make a choice … So today, to write to you, it relies on the power of Chuck Norris to help us choose. But who is this famous Chuck Norris and just do it in our article on the French Riviera?

Chuck Norris is the one who can do everything, even the impossible. This is for example the kind of guy who scored twice until infinity (yes) or is one who has gained power part 4 in 3 moves. You see a few levels! In short, the US giant, actor and martial artist, seven times world champion in karate and hero of the inevitable TV series Walker, Texas store marked the spirits of a generation. And also our  😉One therefore wonders what would have made Chuck😉

So beware, the humor of this article is a real bias, it does not guarantee anything. If you find that it takes too much to … Potache, nullos or even pathos … please signify and participate in a fundraiser to fund our “humor” training. Thank you in advance😉

The landscapes between land and sea

This is the picture, we found ourselves facing a great difficulty. You know, we love the big and beautiful landscapes, both “Earth” that “Sea” and there, on the French Riviera … Dilemma! In fact, you can hike for hours in the woods of the Natural Park of the Azure Alps and was tested. It was accompanied by Christiane Ray Anezin , in an accompanying incredible mountain. Information and scientific anecdotes, she knows everything about everything and she is adorable.

 

But you can also walk around the Esterel and its red rocks and eventually dominate the seascape and beautiful shades of blue. We like both but the time is sometimes counted … What would have made Chuck Norris? While this is indisputable, it seems that if Chuck Norris is late, time had better slow down. So we decided to go back but this time accompanied by Chuck on the Coast 😉

 

The relaxation and sports activities

We were very “activity”. Could spend hours doing nothing in front of the TV (except for watching Walker Texas Ranger) and again we saw the splits of the offer in the territory.

On one side you can do the Paddle to Pampelonne  of Via Souterrata  or electric bike in Caille in the Park Moulière .

And on the other, you can also make you a spa at Antibes in the Baie des Anges hotel  with views of sick sea or even a spa in the bathroom Berthemont . And again, for sick but this time on the mountain. Little more, you pay only 18 € / person to spend the afternoon on the site and believe us, ca throws!

 

Balance sheet, it is possible to do everything but matter can block ca finances. We therefore relies on Chuck. What would he do? Resolved! More money problem if you travel with Chuck! Indeed, Monopoly Chuck Norris can buy square and jail space.Imagine then, no money problem for him 😉

The observation of animals

Side animals, it is similar. It is exhausting to have to décarcasser as to predict his vacation (pfff strongly the job;).

 

We were seduced by the Alpha Park that offers of observing wolf packs . We liked the project because, if we are profoundly against the captivity of wild animals, the origin of the idea is noble in our view. Yes the park has a covered teaching . Created to reconcile man and the wolf at a time when it was decimated by shepherds in particular, is a captive granting of space for animals (2 to 8 hectares per pack). We will advise you to go during the time of feeding to observe because, otherwise, you can not see them. A 12 € / person, it’s worth it in our opinion.

 

Another possibility not least, the Reserve Monts d’Azur . On the plebiscite thousand times. The project is crazy and brilliant at the same time. This is the story of a man, a passionate veterinarian, who hoped that the animals spend life in semi freedom to freedom. He created a reserve in Thorenc (one hour from Cannes) where you can walk you in the middle of European Bison , the deer , the wild horses accompanied.

 

You can book a safari around 20 € / person or even sleeping next to the beasts that you can see from your bedroom window. And it is even very accessible because you pay € 120 / pers for the night and it includes a safari 1:30, dinner, breakfast each morning and night in a lovely room. We did not know that such an experience was.It’s just amazing. A few days we will return to go there for sure. And this time it happens to Chuck Norris because there we had nothing to choose and we would not want misfortune happens to animals 😉

 

Hotels: From the charming delusional

  • Hotel Windsor Nice  : Really liked the place. Good location and original. Each room is decorated in a special way and the leg of the famous artist Ben is found throughout the property. We arrived after dark but it seems that there is a beautiful garden in the hotel’s center.

 

  • Berries Hotel des Anges in Antibes  : We also really enjoyed the place and for different reasons. The hotel is new, the decor is refined and the welcome is warm but the real advantage is in our view the free and unlimited access to the balneo space for hotel guests (rooms from 100 € / night). We took the opportunity! And between the hammam , the sauna , the hot tubs and heated pool , there truly means to relax. In any case we were eased … Whatever may not be enough, surely we will return. We must not neglect its good psychic being right? Say yes! say yes😉

 

The refined restaurants of the traditional

  • Chez Huguette in Caille (The Station Audibergue). Traditional mountain restaurant , it was a long time we had not both (and as) ate in a restaurant. It should also go for the atmosphere, the servers are fun archi 😉
  • The Angelus in Hotel Baie des Anges in Antibes. Here we are on a rather elaborate and refined cuisine . It’s just excellent and again, the service is great.
  • The restaurant of the hotel Pascal Allos. Returning in the traditional and it does not hurt. We love that. Beautiful plates in perspective 😉

Well now it is time to part and in conclusion, we suggest you either go with Chuck Norris to make your stay as calm as possible and then if you do not know him, invites us and we will do all we can so that your stay is at the top. It’s a good idea right?

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oldpoet56

truthtroubles.wordpress.com/ Just an average man who tries to do his best at being the kind of person the Bible tells us we are all suppose to be. Not perfect, never have been, don't expect anyone else to be perfect either. Always try to be very easy going type of a person if allowed to be.

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