Good morning friends! Below is Bernie speaking @ The Oxford Union over the weekend and then more recent news/video/etc will be in the comments. Hope to see you there!
The Dakota Access pipeline has suffered its first leak, outraging indigenous groups who have long warned that the project poses a threat to the environment.
The $3.8bn oil pipeline, which sparked international protests last year and is not yet fully operational, spilled 84 gallons of crude oil at a South Dakota pump station, according to government regulators.
Although state officials said the 6 April leak was contained and quickly cleaned, critics of the project said the spill, which occurred as the pipeline is in the final stages of preparing to transport oil, raises fresh concerns about the potential hazards to waterways and Native American sites.
“They keep telling everybody that it is state of the art, that leaks won’t happen, that nothing can go wrong,” said Jan Hasselman, a lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, which has been fighting the project for years. “It’s always been false. They haven’t even turned the thing on and it’s shown to be false.”
Standing Rock Sioux tribe chairman Dave Archambault II said the spill is another sign that the courts should intervene.
“Our lawsuit challenging this dangerous project is ongoing, and it’s more important than ever for the court to step in and halt additional accidents before they happen – not just for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and our resources but for the 17 million people whose drinking water is at risk,” he said in a statement.
The company and the state made no announcements about the spill after it occurred.
More from CommonDreams:
“As far as this happening during the start-up, I don’t want to make it sound like a major event, but the fact that you had oil leaving the tank says there’s something not right with their procedures,” longtime pipeline infrastructure expert Richard B. Kuprewicz said to Dakota Media Group. “They might have been trying to hurry.”
Joye Braun, of the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe (one of those still engaged in a legal battle to shut down the pipeline), cited Kuprewicz when explaining why the news was so concerning.
“This leak hits close to home, my home,” Braun said. “We have always said it’s not if, but when, pipelines leak, and to have someone like Richard B. Kuprewicz—a pipeline infrastructure expert and incident investigator with more than 40 years of energy industry experience—question the integrity and building practices of Dakota Access says something pretty serious could go wrong.”
“That worries me,” she continued. “South Dakota already faces water shortages and our livelihoods depend on water, from ranching and farming to healthcare. Do we have more spills just waiting to happen? This is our home, our land, and our water. This just proves their hastiness is fueled by greed not in the best interest for tribes or the Dakotas.”
News from elsewhere in the country this week hardly helps ETP’s case.
Following two spills of millions of gallons of drilling fluids into Ohio wetlands last month, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has “curtailed work” on ETP’s Rover gas pipeline, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
A lot more news in the comments. Hope to see you there!
Happy Friday friends! Starting off with An article on Sanders & then a video of Bernie on CNN. News on the Native Nations March on DC, the latest pipeline protests, Trump’s dumbest decisions, what the Democrats continue to do wrong & more will be in the comments. As always I’m quite interested to see what you are reading/watching!
Sanders sweeps into the room wearing a casual sweater. His white hair is tussled, and he has the distracted look of someone dragged away from concentrated study. But when we start talking, he is immediately transfixing. In a flash, it is clear why so many have felt the Bern: because he feels it so intensely himself.
“These are very scary times for the people of the United States, and … for the whole world. We have a president who is a pathological liar. Trump lies all of the time.” And Sanders believes the lying is not accidental: “He lies in order to undermine the foundations of American democracy.” Take his “wild attacks against the media, that virtually everything the mainstream media says is a lie.” Or Trump’s denigration of one of George W Bush’s judicial appointees as a “so-called judge”, and his false claims that up to 5 million people voted illegally in the election. Such statements, which Sanders calls “delusional”, are meant to lead to only one conclusion, he says: “that the only person in America who stands for the American people, who is telling the truth, the only person who gets it right, is the president of the United States, Donald Trump. That is unprecedented in American history.”
He travels even deeper into dystopian territory when I ask what, in his view, Trump’s endgame might be. “What he wants is to end up as leader of a nation that has moved a significant degree towards authoritarianism; where the president of the United States has extraordinary powers, far more than our constitution has provided for.”
Sanders is well into his stride by now, conducting the interview with great waves of his arms, punching out words in that distinctive Brooklyn-Vermont growl. It’s impossible not to be drawn in by a man who comes across as this authentic.
What word of advice would he give a young person, a twentysomething who is scared and who feels that their country is moving against them? What should they do?
“This is what they should do,” he says, pumping out the Bern. “They should take a deep reflection about the history of this country, understand that absolutely these are very difficult and frightening times. But also understand that in moments of crisis, what has happened, time and time again, is that people have stood up and fought back. So despair is absolutely not an option.”
[If this video gets taken down I’ll put up the original if CNN ever gets around to posting it]:
Happy Friday friends! I’ll start off with a couple stories of the continued fallout for those who choose to support/cover the Standing Rock movement and then will put all the rest of the news in the comments (Sessions, Sanders, The DNC & more..). Also please take time to visit Humphrey’s post below!
For months, environmental protesters have clashed with police and private security companies over plans for the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that opponents say will destroy Native American sites and affect the region’s water supply. While mainstream media have covered flashpoints in the protests, a core of mostly freelance, left-wing, and Native American outlets have remained at the site to provide daily coverage.
Several of those journalists are facing charges, including trespass and engaging in riots, after being caught in mass arrests as police cracked down on protests or tried to clear camps in recent months. CPJ is aware of at least 10 journalists covering the story who are facing charges. Details of their cases can be seen here.
Some of those facing charges told CPJ that police used heavy-handed tactics, ignored or dismissed their press credentials, or arrested them even though they were following dispersal orders or commands to stay behind police lines. The journalists said that the burden of legal costs or risk of further charges if they are arrested again has discouraged them from covering other protests.
Jihan Hafiz, an award-winning Egyptian-Samoan journalist who also faces charges, told CPJ that she thought reporting in North Dakota would be “a walk in the park.” Hafiz, who has covered conflict in the Middle East and police brutality in Brazil for outlets including The Real News Network and Al-Jazeera America, said she was surprised by what she described as heavy-handed police tactics and compared covering Standing Rock to reporting on conflict overseas. “These are not American tactics of policing. It’s clear to me that covering this is dangerous,” she told CPJ.
North Dakota police have accused a US veteran of arson at Standing Rock, renewing concerns that law enforcement is targeting former service members for prosecution.
Police on Thursday said that Sean Sullivan was a “possible arson suspect” and sent out a photo taken from his Facebook page of him standing near a burning structure at the main encampment at Standing Rock, which officers evicted last week.
Sullivan, a 35-year-old navy veteran from San Diego, who returned home from Standing Rock on Monday, had not heard he was a suspect until a Guardian reporter called him on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s just completely unfounded,” said Sullivan, who was part of a group called VeteransRespond that recently traveled to North Dakota to assist the remaining Native American activists demonstrating against the Dakota Access pipeline. “It’s intimidating. They’re just trying to bully me around. Everyone knows I didn’t start that.”
The arson accusation, which police said could lead to prosecution, is the latest in a series of arrests and charges filed against veterans aiding indigenous groups fighting the pipeline, which could soon be in operation.
Good morning and Happy New Year everyone! Once again I have a lot of catching up to do after some extended time away due to the Holiday and then an absolute mad rush of work at the ‘real world job’. I hope you are all well and hope we can do some catching up in the comments… perhaps discuss a little of the second season of The Man In The High Castle if you’ve watched it yet (and you absolutely should). Though its several years old I also managed to take in the documentary: Holy Man: The USA vs Douglas White. You can watch the trailer here & find the entire thing on Amazon Prime and perhaps other places on the internet.
Moving onto the news.. this happened this weekend and made me quite happy:
Continuing a strategy to target the project’s financial backers, a small team of Dakota Access Pipeline opponents on Sunday pulled off a dramatic banner-drop from the rafters of the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis as the Minnesota Vikings played the Chicago Bears.
Above the crowded stadium, which can hold nearly 70,000 attendees at capacity, the two individuals—later identified as Karl Zimmerman, 32, and Sen Holiday, 26—rappelled from large steel girders during the second quarter
Holiday, who shot live video while dangling beside the banner, explained their reasoning. “We are here today at the U.S. Bank Stadium in solidarity with water protectors from standing rock,” she said. “We are urging US Bank to divest from the Dakota Access pipeline, a project threatening the tribe’s clean water supply.”
Corey Schmidt, a public information officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, told local CBS affiliate WCCO Channel 4 News the largest concern was for safety. “That sign could have fallen, they could have fallen,” Schmidt said. “We don’t want people to do that.”
Returning to the ground after several hours, both Zimmerman and Holiday, were arrested for trespassing and burglary, both gross misdemeanors, for their participation in the protest. A third person, identified by police as 27-year-old Carolyn Feldman, was arrested on lesser charges.
Speaking from jail with WCCO reporter Jeff Wagner, Zimmerman declined to say how they got their climbing equipment and the banner inside the stadium, but said that like police, the idea of safety was also on their mind. “What’s relevant is that the Dakota Access Pipeline is unsafe,” Zimmerman told Wagner. “It’s unsafe for the residents of Bismarck, it’s unsafe for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and it is unsafe for the Missouri River.”
Everything else will be added to the comments as I come across it. Hope to see you there!
Wow it’s Wednesday already and we just a short hop away from Christmas and then not long from there… 2017 and all that will come with it. Where does the time go?!
Starting today’s roundup off with the latest on big pharma’s pushing of opiods for profits and Sanders’ response. In the comment I have several Standing Rock articles, as well as news on Obama’s Arctic drilling bans, Trump’s latest conflicts of interest and plenty more. Hope you can join us!
Drug-pushing, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies should be “investigated and prosecuted,” declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in response to revelations that out-of-state drug wholesalers have been pouring highly-addictive and lethal opioids into rural West Virginia towns, reaping profits while countless suffer.
Reporter Eric Eyre with the Charleston Gazette-Mail published a two-part investigative series this weekend exposing what looks like the Big Pharma behemoths profiting off the state’s overdose epidemic.
According to “previously confidential drug shipping sales records sent by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office,” and obtained by the Gazette-Mail, “drug wholesalers showered the state with 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills” over a six-year period. At the same time, “1,728 West Virginians fatally overdosed on those two painkillers.”
“The unfettered shipments amount to 433 pain pills for every man, woman, and child in West Virginia,” Eyre notes.
Drawing attention to the “Big Three wholesalers,” McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen, Eyre writes: “As the fatalities mounted—hydrocodone and oxycodone overdose deaths increased 67 percent in West Virginia between 2007 and 2012—the drug shippers’ CEOs collected salaries and bonuses in the tens of millions of dollars. Their companies made billions.”
During those years, the Big Three “earned a combined $17 billion in net income” while they “collectively shipped 423 million pain pills to West Virginia, according to DEA data analyzed by the Gazette-Mail.”
PS: Since I’m not sure this will work in the comments I’m going to tack it onto the end of this post:
Today marks the 146th day since Donald Trump last held a news conference. As the Electoral College backs Trump, we speak to former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “Democracy depends on a free and independent press, which is why all tyrants try to squelch it,” Reich recently wrote. “They use seven techniques that, worryingly, President-elect Donald Trump already employs.” We speak to Reich, who discusses how Trump uses seven techniques to control the media.
Native American reservations cover just 2 percent of the United States, but they may contain about a fifth of the nation’s oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves.
Now, a group of advisors to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews.
The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership – a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.
The plan dovetails with Trump’s larger aim of slashing regulation to boost energy production. It could deeply divide Native American leaders, who hold a range of opinions on the proper balance between development and conservation.
The proposed path to deregulated drilling – privatizing reservations – could prove even more divisive. Many Native Americans view such efforts as a violation of tribal self-determination and culture.
“Our spiritual leaders are opposed to the privatization of our lands, which means the commoditization of the nature, water, air we hold sacred,” said Tom Goldtooth, a member of both the Navajo and the Dakota tribes who runs the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Privatization has been the goal since colonization – to strip Native Nations of their sovereignty.”
TYT covers the story here:
The rest of the news will be in the comments… Have a great day!
The Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, the army announced on Sunday, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe after a months-long campaign against the pipeline.
Assistant secretary for civil works Jo-Ellen Darcy announced the decision on Sunday, with the army saying it was based on “a need to explore alternate routes” for the crossing.
“Although we have had continuing discussion and exchanges of new information with the Standing Rock Sioux and Dakota Access, it’s clear that there’s more work to do,” Darcy said in a statement. “The best way to complete that work responsibly and expeditiously is to explore alternate routes for the pipeline crossing.”
The army corps will undertake an environmental impact statement and look for alternative routes, the tribe said in its own announcement.
“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and all of Indian Country will be forever grateful to the Obama administration for this historic decision,” tribal chairman Dave Archambault said in a statement.
While the news is a victory, Jan Hasselman, an attorney for the tribe, cautioned that the decision could be appealed.
From TYT Politics:
In 2016, we should not continue to trample on Native American sovereignty. And we should not become more dependent on fossil fuels.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) December 4, 2016
More in the comments, hope to see you there!