Pipelines, Propaganda, and Even More Protests

by on January 26, 2017 · 1 comment

in Culture, Election, Energy, Environment, Organizing, Politics

No pipelines

Tuesday night protest in downtown San Diego. 1/24/17 Photo by Brent Beltran

Indigenous Tribes, Environmentalists, and Scientists Feel Trump’s Wrath

By Doug Porter

The number one selling book on Amazon earlier this week was George Orwell’s ‘1984’ the classic story of a world of government surveillance, propaganda and “newspeak.” In the book, the “Ministry of Truth” actually delivers lies.

I suspect this uptick in sales (and the announcement of additional printing by Penguin Books) comes from the realization by Americans that lying is officially part of the new administration’s program.

Now it’s time to acknowledge ‘alternative facts’ are just one part of what’s going on. The tactics of this administration also include chaos, as proven by the rapid-fire attacks on institutions, humans, and the planet over the past couple of days.

Let’s take a deep breath and focus–for now–on the environment since much of the bad news over past 24 hours concerns the planet we live on.

(Since the official announcements on the border. immigration, etc., being discussed in the media haven’t actually been made as I’m writing this, I’ll hold off until more of the specifics become available. Trust me. I’ll get there.)

Trump Pumps Those Pipelines

The president signed executive actions on Tuesday to advance approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. The documents are online now but were not provided directly to the tribes affected or their legal advocates.

From Indian Country Media Network:

The move drew immediate fire from tribal leaders and environmental advocates.

“President Trump is legally required to honor our treaty rights and provide a fair and reasonable pipeline process,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. “Americans know this pipeline was unfairly rerouted towards our nation and without our consent. The existing pipeline route risks infringing on our treaty rights, contaminating our water and the water of 17 million Americans downstream.”

“These actions by President Trump are insane and extreme, and nothing short of attacks on our ancestral homelands as Indigenous Peoples,” said Dallas Goldtooth, Keep It In The Ground Organizer at the Indigenous Environmental Network. “The executive orders demonstrate that this administration is more than willing to violate federal law that is meant to protect indigenous rights, human rights, the environment and the overall safety of communities for the benefit of the fossil fuel industry. These attacks will not be ignored, our resistance is stronger now than ever before and we are prepared to push back at any reckless decision made by this administration.”

350.org, the Sierra Club, CREDO, and other groups immediately announced protests in cities around the United States.

According to CNN:

“The headsman council at the Oceti Sakowin camp, home to a large protest site during demonstrations last year, issued a call on Tuesday for “allies and people to stand up where they are” and engage in “mass civil disobedience as a showing of solidarity for Standing Rock.””

In San Diego, more than 100 people demonstrated outside the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building on Tuesday evening.

MECHA has issued a call for another public protest at San Diego City College on Friday, January 27, starting at 11:30am.

The Viejas Youth Leaders are calling for a Southern California NoDAPL Youth Rally in Mission Beach (the grassy area across from Belmont Park) on Sunday, February 5, running throughout the day starting at 9am.

A group called Defund DAPL is urging people to withdraw their money from banks financing the construction of the pipeline.

The banks behind DAPL

Facts Are Inconvenient, As Is Science

As the day unfolded Tuesday, we learned about Federal Agencies concerned with science and research being silenced by the Trump administration.

Government scientists were ordered not to talk about their research at the Environmental Protection Agency, sub-agencies of Health and Human Service (the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, the National Institutes of Health) and the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service. (An early report, saying the entire department of Agriculture was on lockdown, was walked back later in the day.)

From Vox.com:

Employees at the Department of Health and Human Services, which the CDC is a part of, were ordered this week to avoid “any correspondence to public officials,” like, say, members of Congress, the Huffington Post reports. “Instead, they have been asked to refer questions to agency leadership until the leadership has had time to meet with incoming White House staff about the new administration’s policies and objectives, according to a congressional official who was also informed of the communications freeze.”

That means staffers throughout the HHS won’t be able to communicate with congressional members on issues pertaining to regulations or legislation. The Huffington Post notes that the freeze may make it hard for congressional offices to relay the latest information about Medicare or the Affordable Care Act to constituents who call in for help.

According to a report at Reuters, the Environmental Protection Agency has been ordered to take down its web page on climate change.

Soon to be airbrushed from history

The employees were notified by EPA officials on Tuesday that the administration had instructed EPA’s communications team to remove the website’s climate change page, which contains links to scientific global warming research, as well as detailed data on emissions. The page could go down as early as Wednesday, the sources said.

“If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,” one of the EPA staffers told Reuters, who added some employees were scrambling to save some of the information housed on the website, or convince the Trump administration to preserve parts of it.

The sources asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Rebellion Begins in the Badlands

Needless to say, the actions of the Trump administration, which went way beyond the normal ‘let’s all get on the same page’ process, made more than a few government employees unhappy.

From the Washington Post:

Badlands National Park tugged on Superman’s cape Tuesday. It spit into the wind. It pulled the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and it messed around with President Trump.

In tweets about climate change that lit up Twitter, the park ignored Jim Croce’s advice in his 1972 hit song and thumbed its nose at the president.

With the Trump administration placing a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency, shutting down its Twitter feed, forcing employees off their individual accounts and dismantling Web pages with climate-change information, Badlands went rogue.

The now-deleted tweets were attributed to a former employee with access to the account.

New “Alt” government social media accounts are popping up including @AltUSNatParkService which described itself as

“The Unofficial “Resistance” team of U.S. National Park Service. Not taxpayer subsidised! Come for rugged scenery, fossil beds, 89 million acres of landscape”

The shadow account picked up over 350,000 followers on its first day.

Scientists Organizing for DC Protest

One group, calling itself March for Science, is organizing scientists and supporters for a Washington DC protest. While the date has yet to be set, over 60,000 people have joined the Facebook group in 24 hours in support of the idea.

From their webpage:

Welcome! We want to thank you all for your incredible outpouring of support for this march. We are working to schedule a March for Science on DC and across the United States. We have not settled on a date yet but will do so as quickly as possible and announce it here. Although this will start with a march, we hope to use this as a starting point to take a stand for science in politics. Slashing funding and restricting scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public is absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is a non-partisan issue that reaches far beyond people in the STEM fields and should concern anyone who values empirical research and science.

There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives. The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action. The diversity of life arose by evolution. Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable. An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.

Please bear with us as pull together our mission statement and further details. Many more updates to come on Monday.


An excerpt from Doug Porter’s column at our associated San Diego Free Press.


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman January 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Trump grotesquely lies and exaggerates and then walks the hyperbole back. Sowing confusion and chaos are his hallmarks. He seems unbalanced, loco. Surely his enemies from both sides of the aisle are laying the groundwork for his impeachment and removal from office. Meanwhile, we must speak up in opposition — pick your protest — and work together to reform the Democratic Party shambles.


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