Red Nation, Blue Nation: Predictions for the Trump Years and Beyond

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    Cross party voting in Congress, 1949-2011

    The cultural divide between Red and Blue will grow stronger and more distinct. Gerrymandering has  already polarized the political arena over the past twenty years. This has framed the public debate into two choices:  left and right. With social media, each side increasingly lives in self-defined echo chambers, with separate circles of friends, memes, videos, hashtags, and news. Even television shows cater to two different populations.  Dialogue and political compromise will decrease.  Trump, with his bombastic language and demonization of various people groups, will only exacerbate this.

  2. Likewise, racial divides will grow stronger and more distinct. This will lead to division within the Blue camp, with African Americans, Latinos, Muslim Americans, Native Americans, and other groups reacting to Trump in different ways and fighting different battles than White Liberals.  The Red camp will be remarkably more and more white.
  3. Trump will not change and become more moderate or “presidential”. If anything, he will become worse with access to power and perceived immunity. His reactions are more psychological than strategic. Expect turmoil within his cabinet. His own party may eventually turn on him, preferring a President Pence.
  4. When it comes to situations where the behavior of the president has been constrained by tradition rather than laws, Trump will ignore traditional restraint. This is most likely to be the case when it comes to financial conflicts of interest, which Trump will brazenly violate, legally.
  5. Future elections will be as bizarre as the last, with each candidate appealing only to their base, to the Red and Blue extremes. Emotion and imagery will supersede facts and discussion. Debates and fact-checking will be pointless. Celebrities will be among the most viable candidates.
  6. In 2020, about 62 million people will vote for Trump, or any other GOP nominee. This is always the case.  In the past several elections, the GOP faithful have turned out to vote for their candidate, even if he is a racist, narcissistic, sexist, draft-dodging, tax-evading, twice-divorced billionaire from New York City. redblue1
  7. redblue2Demographic shifts will increasingly turn the popular vote Blue, but this will be primarily in already-Blue states. The Democrats will get about 65 million votes, but the GOP will again benefit from the Electoral Vote system.  The primary election battleground will be in the Midwest, and it will be remarkably along racial lines.
  8. As usual, about 90 million eligible voters will not vote.  They represent a silent middle ground in the Red/Blue divide.
  9. In coming conflicts, Red supporters will be more comfortable with using violence than Blue supporters. Red supporters are already more comfortable with weapons, as they disproportionately own guns and are members of the military and law enforcement.
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    Missile launcher and machine gun unit at Standing Rock, aimed at the Sioux reservation.  North Dakota is about to pass a law allowing drivers to run over,without liability, protesters blocking roads or highways.

    When violence is used by the Red camp, most often it will be by increasingly-militarized law enforcement (possibly including the US military). It will be primarily directed against marginalized Blue supporters (e.g. People of Color, not White Liberals).  The legal system will be one of their weapons, enabling them to act with impunity.  These will essentially be proxy wars, similar to Ferguson, Baltimore, and Standing Rock.

  11. The Blue camp will be more subject to internal strife regarding how to respond. They will be divided over the use of violence, the tone of their speech (combative vs reconciling), and political and legal strategies for defending their causes.  These internal divisions will seriously inhibit their ability to respond.
  12. Stronger and more combative responses by the Blue camp will be more successful than attempts at reconciliation. Rights will need to be asserted and seized, not passively received. The Blue Camp will be most successful in legal settings where White Liberals are willing and able to fight the battle.  Without legal support from White Liberals, People of Color will be the most vulnerable.
  13. Non-violent actions by the Blue camp will have limited success, gaining mostly negative news coverage primarily when there are violent aberrations. Non-violent actions will only be successful if they are: 1) very large, spanning multiple voter blocs or demographic groups, and 2) have economic consequences for the Red camp (e.g. a boycott of a specific business or industry).  Violent actions by Blue protesters will be easily defeated and have no success, other than to draw attention to an issue.
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They brought a missile launcher and machine gun to Standing Rock

Back in December, I detailed how the law enforcement at Standing Rock is coming from the reddest counties in the nation, and that they are using the conflict as an opportunity to test their new US military equipment.  Now it seems they’ve brought a missile launcher and machine gun, which are aimed at the camps.

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Specifically, it’s an Avenger AN/TWQ-1 Air Defense System.  It includes 8 Stinger surface-to-air missiles, which, according to Wikipedia, can be used against cruise missiles, drones, planes, and helicopters.  It is unlikely they could detect a small recreational drone like the kind used by Digital Smoke Signals and other water protectors.  The unit also includes a .50 caliber machine gun that can shoot 950 to 1200 rounds per minute.  The machine gun can be fired from the turret or remotely from the drivers cab.  What a local or even state law enforcement agency is doing with this kind of weapon is beyond me– and what they are thinking about its use at Standing Rock is mind-boggling.  The only other nations where this kind of weapon is pointed at its own people are Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria.

Here is a test launch, which comes at 0:51 of the video.

The use of a military weapon like this in a domestic context is nearly unprecedented. Probably the last time a similar weapon was used domestically were the Hotchkiss M1875 mountain guns unleashed on the peaceful camp of Big Foot at Wounded Knee in 1890, resulting in the massacre of 200 to 300 unarmed people, mostly elders, women, and children.  After the massacre, the soldier posed next to their cannons.  On the photo was this caption:

“Famous Battery K of the 1st Artillery. These brave men and the Hotchkiss guns that Big Foot’s Indians thought were toys, together with the Fighting 7th what’s left of Gen. Custer’s boys, sent 200 Indians to that heaven which the ghost dancer enjoys.  This checked the Indian noise…”

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Standing Rock Victory on Thin Ice

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Celebration at Oceti Sakowin Camp on December 4, 2016.

On December 4, we all celebrated when the US Army Corp of Engineers announced they would not grant the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to pass under the Missouri River at Lake Oahe.  Instead, they would prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), a long and public permitting process that would explore alternate routes.  This should have been done years ago.

 

Trump can overturn the Army Corp’s easement decision on the afternoon of January 20.  There is nothing binding about it.  The EIS, however, is a bigger beast.  It’s a big legal process that would be somewhat insulated from Trump, at least for a while. However, and here’s the thing, the US Army Corp has not started the EIS process.  If it doesn’t start it by noon on January 20, when Trump takes office, it is unlikely it ever will.

An EIS involves these steps, which I’m taking directly from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

Summary of the EIS Process

  1. An agency [in this case, the US Army Corp of Engineers] publishes a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register. The Notice of Intent informs the public of the upcoming environmental analysis and describes how the public can become involved in the EIS preparation.This Notice of Intent starts the scoping process, which is the period in which the federal agency and the public collaborate to define the range of issues and possible alternatives to be addressed in the EIS.

  2. A draft EIS [which is a large document describing various alternatives and their risks] is published for public review and comment for a minimum of 45 days.Upon close of the comment period, agencies consider all substantive comments and, if necessary, conduct further analyses.

  3. A final EIS is then published, which provides responses to substantive comments.  Publication of the final EIS begins the minimum 30-day “wait period,” in which agencies are generally required to wait 30 days before making a final decision on a proposed action.EPA publishes a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register, announcing the availability of both draft and final EISs to the public.

  4. The EIS process ends with the issuance of the Record of Decision (ROD). The ROD: explains the agency’s decision, describes the alternatives the agency considered, and discusses the agency’s plans for mitigation and monitoring, if necessary.

I’m familiar with this process.  I have to do it all the time, for my job with the State of California, even when we are planning good things like habitat restoration projects to improve the environment.  It’s crazy that an EIS was never required  years ago for the
Dakota Access Pipeline, a multi-state project that involves putting a large oil pipeline under hundreds of rivers and streams.  And all this during a period when pipelines on that same river system were breaking and spilling oil into those rivers (e.g. the Yellowstone River spills in 2011 and 2015).  But the Dakota Access process violated a number of laws:  no EIS, no tribal consultation, blatant disregard of environmental justice requirements, etc.  See this post for a full list of their “trail of broken laws”.

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My search of the EIS database this morning.  Nothing about Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and their legal team are all over this, watching closely, and encouraging the public to demand Step 1 before Obama leaves office:  That the US Army Corp publish, in the Federal Register, their Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS.

There are four days to go.  The Tribe might want to publicly call for a return of protesters now to put pressure on the Army Corp.  Here’s what you can do; it takes 1 minute:

Call US Army Corp at (202-761-0001) and ask for the “Dakota Access Comment Mailbox” where you can leave a message regarding the Dakota Access pipeline. The direct line to the voice mailbox is 202-761-8700.  Say something like, “I am [name] from [place].  I urge the Army Corp to file their Notice of Intent to prepare the Environmental Impact Statement for the Dakota Access Pipeline.”

Click here to contact the White House.

 

 

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Secret Recording from Energy Transfer Partners Meeting

Shaun King has posted a secret recording apparently made in the past few days at a meeting between Energy Transfer Partners and investors or shareholders of some kind.

Here are some key points:

The recording cuts off just as a question and answer period is beginning.

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The recording says they hope to complete the remaining section (1100′ under Army Corp land and 4000′ under Lake Oahe) sometime in spring 2017.  Their own map shows the width of the lake is about 5200′ at its narrowest.

Here are my notes from the recording:

0:00 to 3:00   He describes the pipeline carrying sweet Bakken crude from North Dakota to Illinois, and then on to the Gulf Coast in an old natural gas pipeline converted to crude oil.  Says DAPL is “fully subscribed”, meaning they have shippers contracted to put their oil in the pipe.

2:43   He says 37% interest in pipeline has been sold to consortium of Enbridge and Marathon.

3:25  “make no mistake, this pipeline is going thru, exactly where….”

3:55    The pipeline is complete except for only 1100 feet under Army Corp land and 4000 feet under Lake Oahe

4:15  He argues they already were granted permission to complete the pipeline in this area; hearing before the judge is in February

4:45 “we’ve done nothing but play by the rules”  “we crossed every T, dotted every I”  “we did it by the book”   “opposition had a chance to consult”  (he is deceiving his audience here; see my detailed post on the laws Energy Transfer Partners has skirted or broken.)

6:32  “I’ll let you know one thing in this room:  election night changed everything.”  The new president “get’s it”  “As soon as he gets inaugurated, he’s going to put a team together to get the final approvals done”

7:00  It will take 65 days with good weather to complete the drilling under Lake Oahe.

7:25  DAPL just met with officials (including reps of governor) in North Dakota—they are “tired of this” (implying the delays)

8:00  Says there’s a lot of misinformation on social media

8:40  Says this is not about the environment or the tribe, it’s about environmental activism to shut down all fossil fuels and they are using this to raise a lot of money

9:20  “We’ll continue to fight through this thing.”   “Looking forward to this going through next spring.”

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The entrance to Oceti Sakowin Camp, featuring the flags of dozens of tribal nations.

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Gratitude for the Water Protectors

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The victory at Standing Rock (at least for the present) has so many components to celebrate.

It’s astounding that 10,000 people converged on the open plain, with no water, food, sanitation, or housing, and worked together to make it all happen.  The first camp was started by Standing Rock youth.

 

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Elders and women helped everyone stay focused.

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So many who went reported an overwhelming spirit of prayer and support in the camps. With over 5,000 people trained in non-violence, it was one of the largest non-violent actions in US history.

Hundreds of other tribes from all over the nation and world offered financial and physical support.   I know quite a few tribal members from California who made pilgrimages out there, some several times.  Some paddled down the Missouri River to get there.

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The unarmed Water Protectors endured water cannons in 25F weather, among numerous other acts of police brutality.  They embodied the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

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The non-tribal allies played a huge role– and few gave more than Sophia Wilansky, who lost most of her arm in what turned out to be one of the last shots fired.

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Veterans poured into camp in the face of a blizzard to defy an order to vacate.

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In an act of non-violence, the International Indigenous Youth Council gave snacks and supplies to the Morton County Sheriffs.  A wide-ranging discussion of non-violence ensued when they posted it on their Facebook page.  

I would be remiss not to acknowledge Mel Thom, Dennis Banks, John Trudell, Leonard Peltier, Billy Frank Jr., the American Indian Movement (AIM) and so many others that laid the foundations for the tribal sovereignty movement back in the 1960s and 70s.  I heard a shout out to AIM by an elder at the Veterans Forgiveness Ceremony.  (On a side note, now is the time for Obama to pardon Leonard Peltier!  Here are the details of his case.)

 

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The Oceti Sakowin Camp beyond the Highway 1806 road block (which is still in place, hampering emergency routes in current blizzard conditions.

There were a number of other elements that led to this victory:

  • the strong legal basis for the tribe’s claims;
  • the steady leadership of Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault, with support from his tribal council and strong legal team that has been on this issue from the beginning (here is Archambault’s statement on the victory);
  • President Obama’s willingness to not be bullied by the pipeline company’s push to build 99% of the pipeline before getting their federal permit; and
  • the decline in Bakken production (shout out to Prius drivers for their role in this), making the pipeline unnecessary.
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Dakota Access’s Trail of Broken Laws

There are several laws and regulations designed specifically to prevent the kind of conflict the world is witnessing at Standing Rock.  Energy Transfer Partners and the US Army Corp willfully ignored these laws and created the current crisis.  While thousands of unarmed people have been subject to policy brutality, and hundreds have been imprisoned, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) and the US Army Corp have gotten off free so far.  Here are the laws they have violated.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)  42 U.S.C. 4321, et seq.; 40 C.F.R. Parts 1500-1508

NEPA requires different levels of environmental permitting, depending on the size of the project, for any activity that involves federal or tribal funding or affects their resources.  By crossing rivers and federal lands (including the US Army Corp lands along the Missouri River), by being an interstate project, and by passing through tribal historical sites and within spitting distance of their freshwater intake valves, the Dakota Access Pipeline certainly meets this criteria.  Technically, it’s up to the Army Corp to require NEPA compliance.  ETP avoided triggering a larger Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in favor of smaller Environmental Assessments (EA’s) by dividing their one project into numerous smaller ones.  (The language is counter-intuitive, but a “statement” (EIS) is a much bigger permit, and a much longer process involving more public scrutiny, than an “assessment”(EA).) Courts have ruled against the practice of partitioning a large project into smaller ones to avoid an EIS.  

The violation:  In this case, the Army Corp is clearly violating NEPA by not requiring an EIS. 

ETP also needs the much-discussed Army Corp easement and Clean Water Act Permit to go under the river.  This was granted in July 2016, but revoked on September 9 by President Obama, citing the need for additional tribal consultation.  It has yet to be re-issued.

What should have happened:  The Army Corp should have required an EIS in early 2014 before a route was selected, so that route alternatives became part of the deliberative process open to public comment.  An EIS should include multiple alternatives for public review and comment.  That did not happen here.

Environmental Justice, Executive Order 12898

The 1994 Executive Order 12898 requires federal agencies to avoid disproportionately adverse human health or environmental impacts of its programs, policies, and activities on minority and low-income populations.  According to the US EPA, this order “means no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental and commercial operations or policies.”  The conflict at Standing Rock is a classic example of why that order was issued and what it is supposed to prevent.  As can be seen in ETP’s own document (see map below), their route permit application submitted to North Dakota in December 2014, the original pipeline route passed upstream of Bismarck (92% white).  It was moved south to near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation after objections regarding the risk of a spill and contamination of Bismarck’s water supply.

The violation:  This is a textbook violation of this Executive Order.  It appears the community of Bismarck, with a greater ability to navigate in the world of white corporate law, used quiet and effective pressure against ETP.  Like a wolf picking out a weaker animal in the herd, ETP pivoted to Standing Rock, where it figured it could push its way through with a combination of pacifying lies (“we will re-route if necessary”) and corporate power (such as the ability to essentially call out the military to support them).

What should have happened:  ETP should have identified a route that did not place undo risk and burden on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  

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This map, from page 22 of Energy Transfer Partner’s application for a route permit from North Dakota, shows the initial pipeline corridor north of Bismarck, as well as the lack of changes after they met with the tribe in September and October, 2014.

Tribal Consultation, National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), as amended in 1992, Section 106 (36 CFR Part 800); and Executive Order 13175

This law requires any federal agency to consult with tribes when engaging in any action, including permitting an oil pipeline, that may affect sites of religious and cultural significance, even if they are off reservation land.  The Executive Order 13175 states that federal agencies “are charged with engaging in regular and meaningful consultation and collaboration with tribal officials in the development of Federal policies that have tribal implications.”  That is, they must consult with tribes when considering any policy or action that impacts tribal communities, such as permitting a pipeline that threatens their water supply or allowing local law enforcement onto federal land.

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SRST Chairman Dave Archambault, being arrested on August 12, 2016.  He resorted to demonstrating after ETP and the US Army Corp ignored legal requirements for consultation.

With DAPL, ETP avoided this requirement in their original pipeline route, dated May 29, 2014 on the map above, because the pipeline was not located near tribal lands.  After running into opposition from the citizens of Bismarck, they re-routed the pipeline, dated September 29, 2014 on the map above.  When they met with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe (SRST) the following day, they were clearly set on their new route, even though they were engaging in tribal consultation for the first time.  This is called “pre-decisional”; they had made up their mind before they met with the tribe.  At that meeting, they promised to re-route to avoid sites of cultural importance.  ETP’s route permit application acknowledges they met with the tribe again in October.  On page 39 of that report, ETP states, “Discussion of cooperative cultural resource investigations between Dakota Access archaeological field crews and THPO [Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, as defined by Section 106] sanctioned tribal monitors was initiated.” This sounds good, but it’s clear that: 1) the consultation did not continue after this; and 2) the route did not change as a result of these meetings, despite very clear concerns expressed by the tribe (compare the black route of September 29, 2014 with the nearly identical red route of November 6, 2014).  Thus, the timeline is:

  • May 29, 2014:  pipeline route is north of Bismarck
  • Sept 29, 2014:  pipeline route is moved to near Standing Rock
  • Sept 30, 2014:  ETP begins consultation with SRST (Army Corp not present); tribe voices concerns and opposes current route
  • Oct, 2014:  ETP and SRST meet again to discuss historical sites
  • Nov 6, 2014:  pipeline route is finalized, with no change from the Standing Rock area.

Likewise, the Army Corp failed to consult with the tribe until well after the pipeline route was finalized.  At President Obama’s request, the Army Corp is now consulting with the tribe, but at the eleventh hour after the pipeline is 99% completed.

The violations: ETP ignored the requirement for tribal consultation by 1) not meeting with the tribe until September 30, 2014, after a new route had been selected; and 2) not changing the route at all after the tribe described obvious concerns regarding religious and cultural sites as defined by NHPA.  The US Army Corp violated this law by not consulting with the tribe until ordered to do so by President Obama in September, 2016, over two years after they should have done so.

ETP also violated Section 106 on September 3 when they deliberately destroyed sacred sites before a judge could issue an injunction to save them.  See text box below: 

On August 29, 2016, a local landowner just north of the reservation permitted Tim Mentz, a professional archaeologist who previously worked for the State Historic Preservation Office, to examine the pipeline corridor route immediately west of Highway 1806.  Mentz documented “82 significant historical markings, of which 27 were grave locations.”  On September 2, the tribe filed in federal court for an immediate injunction to halt construction and released the precise locations of the historical sites (which tribes generally don’t do unless it’s absolutely necessary).  SRST Chairman Dave Archambault described what happened next: “The corridor work was many miles away from the historic site that was identified.  The next day after we filed, Saturday, September 3, 2016, the construction workers and equipment leap-frogged ahead and bulldozed the site.” 

The US Army Corp also violated (and continues to violate) Executive Order 13175 through their support of police actions at the site.  While the county and state militias have no legal obligation to consult with the tribe, all federal agencies must engage in “government-to-government” consultation for any action that affects a tribe.  In this case, that would include:

  • US Army Corp for allowing state and local law enforcement to operate on Army Corp property; in this case, the following locations are on their property (see map below):
    • Backwater Bridge where the crowd was sprayed with a water cannon in 25F weather, tear-gassed, and shot with rubber bullets, and where Sophia Wilansky was severely injured by a concussion grenade; 
    • The law enforcement blockade/wall across Highway 1806; 
    • Turtle Hill, which local law enforcement have turned into a military outpost, and where local police maced and pepper-sprayed people standing in water; and where police deliberately broke up Indian canoes; 
  • US Dept of Defense for the provision of federal military surplus equipment (weapons, Humvees, etc.) used against a tribe; 
  • Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) for their no-fly zone to prevent drones (while law enforcement fly constantly);
  • US Border Patrol for their provision of troops to assist the local law enforcement. 
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Any action within the orange boundary (Army Corp lands) that affects the tribe requires “government-to-government” consultation.

All of these are federal actions affecting tribal lands and a tribal community and thus require tribal consultation (which, of course, seems crazy because the SRST would never agree to any of these things).  

In the video above, looking across the water to Turtle Hill, a tribe member explains to a journalist that local law enforcement should not be on federal land.  At the end of the video, the journalist is shot by a rubber bullet, despite posing no threat to law enforcement and actually being rather far from them.

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These riot police, spraying mace, are standing on federal property at Turtle Hill, engaged in an activity that affects the tribe, and thus are in clear violation of Executive Order 13175.

What should have happened:  ETP should have engaged the SRST in summer 2014, when they were pivoting away from Bismarck; and, after finally meeting with the tribe in September and October 2014, should have fulfilled their promise of re-routing for cultural concerns, but instead completely ignored the information they received from the SRST. Likewise, the Army Corp should have engaged in this consultation before issuing their permit in July 2016 (which was later revoked by Obama in September 2016).  

ETP should not have deliberately destroyed sacred sites. 

Regarding the police actions, without tribal consultation, the US Army Corp should not allow state and local law enforcement on their property, the US Department of Defense should not allow their equipment to be used against a tribe, the FAA should not issue a no-fly zone to prevent news coverage, and the US Border Patrol should not send personnel.  

This is likely a partial list of the violations of law that have occurred.  These laws and procedures exist for a reason.  Had ETP and the Army Corp followed these laws, this conflict could have been avoided.

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Red pilgrimage: right-wing counties send their cops to Standing Rock

The conflict at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation can be seen thru many lenses:  white vs red, colonial vs indigenous, rich vs poor, violence vs non-violence, corporations vs grassroots, old energy vs new energy, male vs female, material vs spiritual.  The list could go on, and there’s much to say about each one.  When looking at the militarized police forces and where they come from, another dichotomy is evident:  red vs blue.

war-zone-11Indigenous people and environmental activists from around the nation (and world) are not the only ones making the pilgrimage to Standing Rock.  Seventy different law enforcement agencies have responded:  43 county sheriff’s departments from seven different states, five state level agencies, and 22 municipal police forces (16 from North Dakota and six from Indiana).  Despite requirements for tribal consultation for any federal action that impacts a tribe, there is a sizable federal component to the militarization as well:  US Border Patrol personnel, a federal no-fly zone (using a post-911 anti-terrorism law) issued by the Federal Aviation Administration, and a generous supply of US military surplus equipment to many of the local agencies.  Furthermore, much of the conflict has been on US Army Corp land with their full permission.  US military veterans, just now arriving to support the tribe, are on-line pointing out “up-armored Humvees” and other equipment they’d used in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Private security guards complete the array which has unleashed a shocking show of force against unarmed demonstrators (called “water protectors” to emphasize the sovereignty of tribal lands).  Most of the time, the demonstrators were over a mile away from the pipeline construction site.  To date, military tactics have included:

  • extensive use of pepper spray, mace, and tear gas, sometimes at people standing in water, another time at a crowd trapped on a bridge;
  • extensive use of a water cannon against people in 25F weather (and later lying about it, saying they were putting out fires, until video coverage proved otherwise);
  • extensive use of rubber bullets, deliberately aimed at the face and groin, causing many injuries;
  • deliberately throwing concussion grenades at people, in one case resulting in a severe injury;
  • laughing and joking at suffering people (documented several times on video);
  • blocking access for emergency vehicles, thus requiring long journeys to hospitals;
  • using attack dogs that bit several people, including women and children (on Sept 3);
  • deliberately destroying canoes on federal lands (at Turtle Hill);
  • keeping detained people, including elders and women, in dog kennels;
  • subjecting detained women to complete strip searches;
  • shooting down drones filming the attacks;
  • deliberately targeting people with cameras, telling them to stop filming;
  • using military equipment to scramble cell and internet connection to the outside world;
  • deliberately targeting medics who were clearly identified, while they assisted injured people; and
  • urinating and defecating on confiscated gear and belongings (at the Treaty Camp after its removal on Oct 27).

Focusing on the 40 county sheriff’s departments currently involved, they are decidedly from right-wing counties.  All but three of them went for Trump in the recent presidential election, with an average vote of 66% for Trump.  Of the 24 North Dakota counties participating, the average vote for Trump was 73%, a full 9% above the statewide tally, suggesting these troops are being sent from the reddest counties in a very red state.  Also striking is the number of counties from conservative white suburbs of large cities.  This includes several units from the Indiana side of Chicago and one sheriff’s department from a white suburb of New Orleans.  It appears they are using this conflict as an opportunity to test their new US military equipment.

The Standing Rock Indian Reservation, by contrast, is in Sioux County, where Trump received on only 22% of the vote.  This is typical of indigenous enclaves in the United States.  They are often blue dots in a sea of red.

war-zone-10There were three counties that originally sent detachments but have since withdrawn their forces due to public outcry.  They were:

  • Dane County, Wisconsin; 23% for Trump
  • Hennepin County, Minnesota; 29% for Trump
  • Gallitin County, Montana; 45% for Trump

That is to say, most of the blue counties that sent troops have withdrawn them.  If this trend holds, very few others will be leaving.

Considering the Third World poverty associated with Indian reservations, the conflict begins to take on the specter of a proxy war, where outside forces arrive like moths to a flame while impoverished minorities host the battle and suffer.

Here is the list of the participating agencies used in this analysis.

Previous posts about Standing Rock:

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