If you think you’re up to speed after a two-minute segment on the news and a Facebook meme about the pipeline, here’s your reality check.
The purchase of the Cannonball Ranch by Dakota Access Pipeline exposes more of billionaire Kelcy Warren’s Machiavellian relentlessness. He ordered a sacred burial site bulldozed, brought in attack dogs to defend the destruction, and now he thinks he can buy his way out of it.
Not so fast. North Dakota has a corporate farming law, supported by 75 percent of North Dakotans who slapped down the state Legislature in a vote last June. Former State Ag Commissioner Sarah Vogel says the purchase violates the law, which is still under attack by the North Dakota Farm Bureau and corporate interests.
North Dakotans obviously don’t like the idea of out-of-state corporations pushing us around. Boy, is that horse out of the barn. That horse is speck on the horizon, moving faster than Mobil Oil’s Pegasus. Big Oil runs this state like a Mafia Don. Imagine if they started buying farmland to dump radioactive material or brine. Do you think when the oil is gone they are going clean up the mess?
Big money wields big power. It’s no longer about right and wrong — the deepest pockets win in court. You just bleed the common man until he surrenders. In the New Amerika, a private company can legally seize a farmer’s land for a pipeline. Krony Kapitalism is the new religion. You can follow the money right to the state kapitol.
Let’s do what Canada just did. Outlaw corporate and union political contributions. A state ethics commission with teeth is long overdue.
State officials vastly underestimated the scope of this protests. There are protests in Iowa. The United Nations has weighed in. Most of those arrested recently have been from out-of-state. Various interests are involved with varying goals, but it does not make their voices less legitimate. No matter how folks try to frame it, this isn’t just a state issue.
We’ve still got soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie. It’s easy enough to get around with a road map and GPS. But that’s not the point. The point is to create an impression that we are under siege. We are. But it ain’t the water protectors I’m worried about.
Kelcy Warren doesn’t need a private “security” team anymore — he’s got the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, the Highway Patrol and the National Guard doing his dirty work. Officials are asking for $6 million of your tax money for an average of 10 arrests per week since mid-August. So, after a tax break that cost the state $11 million a month, you also get to pay for a billionaire’s security detail. In that regard, Water Protectors saved Morton County taxpayers a bundle by bringing the protest to Mandan last week. A fiscally-responsible protest.
Hey One-Percenters — you in the nice suit and the $100 haircut — let me tell you a little about the human condition. People aren’t getting ahead. They see through abuses by big corporations, from EpiPens and AIDS medicine-gouging to Wells Fargo scams and college loan sharks, to oil companies pretending to build a pipeline for good old patriotic “energy security.”
Right. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports crude exports averaged 501,000 barrels a day for the first five months of 2016 — almost exactly the capacity of this pipeline. In other words, DAPL and your state government are willing to risk long-term water security involving the two largest rivers in America for Big Oil’s profits.
The redistribution of wealth from the middle to the top (while the bottom remains at the bottom) has created this unrest. Corporatism has infiltrated government so thoroughly, citizens are ignored. Our justice system prosecutes selectively — the Wells Fargo CEO gets off with an apology, while Native Americans go to jail for trespassing.
Mere accusations from DAPL are good enough to make an arrest, as one jailed journalist found last week. Apparently, they’ve deputized bulldozer operators. Meanwhile, a manhunt continues for Amy Goodman, wanted for committing journalism in North Dakota.
Unethical corporations have created their own problems. They have extracted so much wealth from the rest of us, many people are so dead broke and disenfranchised, they are in the perfect position to protest. When you’ve got nothing — in the immortal words of KISS — “You got nothin’ to lose.”
The Oil Media loves to cite the judge’s now-defunct pro-pipeline ruling, which was overturned by the administration. But they conveniently overlook an EPA letter to the Army Corps of Engineers that says the tribes were not consulted on the issue of water security. That fact alone legitimizes this protest.
Further false narratives from oil shills paint anyone interested in the facts as “Anti-Oil.” I prefer Pro-Common Sense. Oil needs to be transported with the least risk possible. Should that involve risking critical water sources? That’s the immediate question. All the theater, misdirection and factual omissions in the world won’t change that.