Tony J Bender: That’s Life — The Real Cannonball Ranch Story

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.

17 thoughts on “Tony J Bender: That’s Life — The Real Cannonball Ranch Story”

  • Michael September 25, 2016 at 1:47 am

    I find it odd that the reports i get from the field of what was happening today are completely opposite of what you write. And if you want to make it about money check the other side. Maybe look into the offer the reservation recieved to let the pipeline come through their land. Something like 10 million. Elders came back with a no but ok for 20 million. So for 20 million the reservation had no problems. Pipeline then changed course. No money. Suddenly they have a huge problem and now we have “water protectors”? Honestly, it’s an old story just the latest place. They don’t care about the water. They are as greedy as the oil company.

    1. tony bender September 25, 2016 at 11:40 am

      DAPL denied ever offering money. As reported by KFYR-TV, Bismarck.

      1. Tom Asbridge September 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm

        This is not now nor has it ever been about money. It is about a lot more important things than that. Perhaps the first among them is what we all claim to be the American value of respect. The pipeline folks including our Gov. sadly need reminding of just that.

    2. Cat September 25, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      It is never smart to offer an opinion based on rumors masquerading as facts. Please cite the source stating the tribe was offered money. What is being written about the water protectors as violent, provocative thugs is bullshit. I know because I visited out there— and you should, too. Maybe then you will have a better understanding of why the protectors are there. It isn’t about money.

    3. John Two-Hawks September 25, 2016 at 11:48 pm

      Michael.. click the link below to hear the words of Winona LaDuke. Maybe you’ll learn something….

    4. Ray Moore, Sr. September 27, 2016 at 1:43 am

      Michael and where do you get you information from? If this pipe line means so much to all you white people. Why don’t you let it cross north of Bismack/Mandan? You want to talk Greed…. Your people have taken and Broken Treaty’s for hunder of years, and have stolen land, in the past and now. Who’s Greedy?

      1. Tammy Schalesky October 25, 2016 at 4:43 pm

        NO, I did NOT break treaties! That is TOTAL BS! AND YOU were NOT alive at that time! MOVE ON & step up to 2016! WHY don’t YOU PEOPLE JOIN the REST OF THE WORLD! QUIT FEELING SORRY for yourselves!! AND IF you are REALLY PROTESTING OIL, GET OFF YOUR computers, which are made from oil by-products! STOP driving cars/vehicles that USE GASOLINE from OIL!!!

  • Aubrey Skye September 25, 2016 at 10:20 am

    I’m a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and I can vouch for the validity of this publication.
    First of all, any decisions made by the tribe are decided on by the tribal council, not the elders.
    As a matter of fact, I reside on Standing Rock and I hear everything that comes through the rumor mill. I haven’t heard anything about the tribe being offered ten million dollars.
    Otherwise, the publication is a matter of fact.

  • Kathrin Volochenko September 25, 2016 at 10:21 am

    Spot on Tony, thanks.

  • egleckle September 25, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Welcome to Louisiana.

    1. Jeffrey Franklin Cochran September 25, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Or anywhere in the Ark-La-Okla-Tex….

  • Old Gym Rat September 25, 2016 at 2:03 pm

    Its past time for First Nations people to lead.

  • Steve September 26, 2016 at 6:33 am

    The only problem I see with this article is the statement of the redistribution of wealth saying that the money flows from the middle up. This, as most, is government elected servants from both parties capitalising on big business. We will not see change until people who run for state and federal offices change. Globalization is what fuels this political capitalization of the USA.

  • Big Tobacco September 27, 2016 at 1:15 am

    It’s all about money, the tribe wanted the money of it going through their land. They have zero problem with their land becoming a casino.

  • Big Tobacco September 27, 2016 at 1:20 am

    Sacred burial site that magically appeared the day before digging due to some rocks being found in the shape of the big dipper. They had went unnoticed for hundreds of years. Well they are not categorically dedunct, so stop that false narrative.

    1. Jewelia Cameroon December 19, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      I know its late but I have to ask, what’s your problem with Native peoples. You think you can accomplish anything by acting like an imbecile. Sorry, but your boy Trump doesn’t read this blog.


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