The Ethics of the Dakota Access Pipeline

Hi everyone,

This was my final paper in my ethics class this past semester & I just thought I’d share my thoughts on this issue.

*Note* I know this does not encompass this entire issue, it was a 6-8 page paper, and I had to write this within some guidelines.

 

THE ETHICS OF THE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE

Jennifer V. Kurland

Water hoses being sprayed on peaceful protests was a game changer for the Civil Rights Movement when those images were broadcast to the public on TV. When similar, yet more brutal tactics were used on water protectors protesting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the media was missing in action. Native people in the United States are victims of genocide from the onset of our country’s founding, and still today struggle for the basic human rights supposedly guaranteed to all people under the Constitution. The Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction against the wishes of the Standing Rock Sioux is just one more injustice piled on to this sordid history. There is no ethical justification that would allow this pipeline to continue decimating the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s ancestral burial grounds and treaty territory.

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The Flint Water Crisis

The Flint Water Crisis is still ongoing, and is a shameful stain on our state.  In January 2016, I decided to research the crisis and create a documentary for my radio show The Offensive Feminist with Jenny K.  My initial thought of a 15 minute video slowly turned into just over an hour’s worth of information.  Little did I realize when I started looking into this crisis the depth of public information that shows not only that our government knew Flint’s treatment plant could not properly treat water, but that it was spelled out as early as 2009 in the initial planning report of the KWA pipeline.  Both Republicans and Democrats have blood on their hands in Flint.  Please watch, share, and help end the misinformation still being spread and reported about the Flint Water Crisis.  The people of Flint still need our help.

Click here to view the documentary

Click here to view all documents used as sources

White House petititon to provide citizenship to all undocumented people living in Flint since the Crisis began

Click here to follow the show on Facebook

In solidarity,

Jenny K

Jennifer V. Kurland

more than just the election

By now we have all seen multiple absurd, fantastic and incomprehensible explanations for the recent Presidential election results. There’s been an astounding amount of unsupportable excuses from the losing side and an equally astounding amount of bloviating smugness from the “winners.” One thing that’s clear is that both the Donald and the Hillary were extremely disliked, extremely detached from ordinary Americans and extremely unlikely to change the society or the economy for the better.

I’ve come across a few articles that offer substantial insight into the election. This is one of them: http://cassandralegacy.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-peak-oil-election.html

I roughly agree with this line of analysis. I especially agree with the idea that most people trying to analyze the election are not even familiar with peak oil and therefore do not understand, for instance, why it means the political policies of the New Deal will not restore prosperity to the American economy. Neither will “free trade” as exemplified by a series of trade treaties. Neither will restoration of punitive tariffs as proposed by Trump. Whether you think America was great during Roosevelt’s administration or Reagan’s or Bill Clinton’s, the prosperity that was possible with ample resources for all human needs is simply no longer possible because essential resources are no longer ample. Continue reading

What If We Looked For Common Ground With Trump Voters?

Thought for the day: How about we find areas of agreement with Trump supporters?

DISCLAIMER: There is NO way I am suggesting that I or any other Green Party person should tolerate any kind of racism, sexism, or homophobia from the Trump camp. However, I know from experience that they are not all that way.

Please pay me the courtesy of reading this to the end, before you jump on me. Before we go any further, let me share a campaign story with you.

Midway through my campaign for the 86th District, a man and his wife came into my store. They have been customers for many years. He was excited that I was running, had read a lot of my blog posts and literature and went on for several minutes in support of my efforts. They wanted a yard sign and to take extra lit to hand out to their friends. As they were walking out the door they told me how my sign was going right next to their Trump sign.

My initial reaction was stomach turning panic. HOLY CRAP – me, next to Trump. Then my wife reminded me of several news stories we had seen when Bernie was in the race and how Trump and Sanders supporters voiced that they would support the other guy if their first choice was eliminated. It made no sense to me at the time, but I slowed my brain down and realized that there was a lot of common ground to the average person. Both were “outsiders” who did not take Corporate money (at least at first for Trump) and who were saying that the current system sucked.

I have to tell you that in my District, there were several people who voted Trump and voted for me. They do NOT fit the “stereo type” we like to assign Trump voters. I know of at least two women and the two men I know of are not trailer trash with no education. One is a retired guy who LOVES Green energy – he was bragging about his solar panels to me yesterday. The other guy is mid-30’s who works for a tech company and travels the country setting up tracking systems for medical equipment in hospitals.

I have never gotten a racist, misogynistic, or homophobic vibe from either of these guys. Nor do I think they believe we need to wall out Mexicans or ban Muslims.

Anyway, the light bulb went on for me yesterday when the older guy stopped in to congratulate me on getting 3% of the vote. He also shared how he would “sell” me to his friends by talking about Pipeline #5 because a lot of his friends own property on the Big Lake and/or are avid fisherman. Then I alerted him to the plans of Nestle to take MORE water for FREE. He was incensed and vowed to help me get the word out and offered to go with me if there was a public hearing.

What resonates with “Jim” is the fact that a SWISS Corporation with billions in assets is making multiple millions from Michigan’s best resource: Our Water.

Will I stand arm in arm with this Trump voter to stop Nestle? HELL YES!

Will I invite him to protest Pipeline 5? HELL YES!

Will I actively look for other Michigan issues that I think he and I can agree on and work together to get solved? You bet your sweet bippy I will.

nestle-collage-2

Oh – by the way, here is a link to the petition I started to STOP Nestle from taking more than double the amount of water from the two aquifers they are draining. Are YOU willing to sign the same petition that has been signed by some Trump voters? I dare you!

Click here to: Sign the STOP NESTLE PETITION.

What Is To Be Done?

Voting, while still an essential part of participating in politics instead of just passively letting politics happen, is also the minimum and almost trivial level of participation. Take this presidential election – please.

According to the polls just three weeks ahead of Election Day, it looks like we’ll have President Hillary Clinton in 2017. A lot of things could happen between now and then, but none of the things that would change this outcome are particularly likely to happen. This means that no matter whether you are planning to vote for her or for another candidate, we need to be prepared for the consequences, and we should already be getting organized.

Even in this circumstance, votes for Jill Stein still matter. If Jill can get 5% or better of the popular vote in this election, then the Green Party across the nation will go into the next election with much better ballot access and better funding for the next election. It will be another step on the progression from being ignored to being taken lightly to being opposed. The point is, there will be a lot to do beyond voting.

Those of us opposed to war with Syria, Iran, Turkey, Russia and any other war for oil and gas wells, shipping lanes and pipelines should be prepared to oppose President Hillary Clinton. She’s given us ample warning she supports this sort of war. many who reluctantly gave her their vote will also want to oppose her.

Those of us in favor of creating a new economy based on renewable energy while winding down the fossil and nuclear economy should be prepared to oppose President Hillary Clinton. Her record and her donor list indicates she values “growing the economy” with only marginal gestures in the direction of limiting greenhouse emissions. Again, many who voted for her will find themselves in opposition.

Those of us who understand the need for universal single-payer health care instead of a plan that subsidizes insurance and pharmaceutical companies while excluding tens of millions of people from coverage should be prepared to oppose President Hillary Clinton. She has flatly said that universal single-payer will “never happen,” and her extensive record clearly indicates she means exactly that. Anyone who supported Bernie should be working against her on this question.

Are you opposed to trade deals that allow multinational corporations to override protections for workers and the environment? Prepare to oppose Hillary. Do you think bankers that have committed fraud with mortgages and bank accounts shold be prosecuted and jailed if convicted? Prepare to oppose Hillary. Do you believe our foriegn policy should be supporting democracies but never dictatorships? Prepare to oppose Hillary, on these an many other issues.

And if, for some reason, we do end up with President Trump? Well then, we’ll be equally prepared to oppose Trump on any and all of these issues.

In short, while it is possible to vote for all of the above issues in this presidential election by voting for Jill Stein, all the polls say Jill isn’t going to win in November. We are still going to work for a peaceful and sustainable economy with universal health care no matter who is the next president of the United States and no matter who represents our state or district in Congress.

Yes, we’re looking at the election for the next few weeks. We also need to look beyond the election, to envision the government we want and see the path to creating it.

Bernie didn’t do it for us, and maybe Jill won’t win in November, but this election has certainly activated a lot of people looking for ecological wisdom, social justice, democracy and non-violence. The election on November 8, 2016 is neither the end nor the beginning for those goals.

STEIN WORK PARTIES Mondays, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31 and 11/07, 7–10 p.m. at the new Green House, 10440 W. 9 Mile, E. of Coolidge, Oak Park. Phonebanking, fun videos and lively political discussion and debate. For more info: steffie@ferndalefriends.net

METRO DETROIT GREENS—7 p.m. Thur. 10/20, 10440 W. 9 Mile: Agenda: Local Campaigns and Candidates — final push. For more info.: sherwells@tm.net

We are pleased that the Green Party of Michigan is able to host four more visits to Michigan by our candidates for President and Vice President. Further information about these visits is available on our GPMI website (http://www.migreenparty.org/), and on the Facebook events notices linked below.

Ajamu Baraka
Green Party Candidate for Vice President
“Human Rights at Home and Abroad”
Tuesday, October 18 – 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Bernath Auditorium
Wayne State Undergraduate Library
Free and open to the public
https://www.facebook.com/events/1140533536039199/
For more info: luannekozma@gmail.com

Ajamu Baraka
Green Party Candidate for Vice President
“Building the Green Movement”
Wednesday, October 19 – 7:00 p.m.
Grand Rapids Community College
Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center ATC – Room 120
151 Fountain St. NE – Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Free and open to the public
https://www.facebook.com/events/1689094524663123/
For more info: luannekozma@gmail.com

Jill Stein
Green Party Candidate for President
Friday, October 28 – 2:00 p.m.
Redford Theatre
17360 Lahser, Detroit, MI 48219
Free and open to the public
https://www.facebook.com/events/553063294818543/
For more info: luannekozma@gmail.com

and 6-8 p.m.
Bowen Field House
Eastern Michigan University
100 W Circle Dr, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Free and open to the public
https://www.facebook.com/events/179164205862975/
For more info: luannekozma@gmail.com

VICTORY PARTY Tues. Nov. 8, 7-10 p.m. 10440 W. 9 Mile.
For more info: steffie@ferndalefriends.net

ELECTION DEBRIEFING; plan for 2017 & 2018; Nov.12-11:00 China Jade, 1070 W Huron, Waterford.
For more info.: sherwells@tm.net

COP 21 is Over – Now What?

With landmark climate accord, world marks turn from fossil fuels” reads the headline. The article from December 12, 2015 continues:

“By Alister Doyle and Barbara Lewis

PARIS (Reuters) – The global climate summit in Paris agreed a landmark accord on Saturday, setting the course for a historic transformation of the world’s fossil fuel-driven economy within decades in a bid to arrest global warming.”

Cautious hopes as UN adopts draft climate change deal” is the headline from AFP, a French news outlet. Their story continues:

“By Karl Malakunas, Mariëtte Le Roux
December 5, 2015 4:55 PM

Le Bourget (France) (AFP) – Negotiators from 195 nations agreed on a draft Saturday for a pact to save mankind from disastrous global warming, raising hopes that decades of arguments will finally end with a historic deal in Paris.”

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Who Should Control Our Guns?

This article was written as a response to a call to join the “Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence.” The thrust of the call was to support new “gun control” legislation in response to the most recent mass shooting. I don’t expect everyone to agree with this view. The discussion should be interesting.

USA Today has an article on “mass killings.” (http://www.gannett-cdn.com/GDContent/mass-killings/index.html#frequency) Their criteria include deaths by arson, by strangulation and by stabbing as well as by firearms. I did not check every incident on which they reported, so there could be mass deaths resulting from dynamite, or from someone running their truck at a crowd, so long as several people were killed in the same event. Such an article can get one emotionally worked up about gun control, but not as a striclly logical conclusion from the material presented.

As of October 2, 375 are dead in mass shootings in the United States, according to http://shootingtracker.com/wiki/Mass_Shootings_in_2015, which uses a much broader definition of “mass shooting” than the FBI does for “mass killings.” They count shootings in which several people were wounded, even if nobody was killed in the event. The FBI counts only events in which at least 3 people were killed. if one or two people died and more were wounded, the deaths show up in shootingtracker, but not in the FBI statistics. If the rate continues to the end of the year, it will result in roughly 500 people dead in mass shootings.

Also as of October 2, 878 people have been killed by police in the United States, according to http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/ng-interactive/2015/jun/01/the-counted-police-killings-us-database#. If this rate continues to the end of the year, we’ll have 1,165 dead as a result of police shootings. As we know from the recent news, a significant number of these will be unarmed people shot while fleeing from the police, or sitting in their cars, or perhaps a 12-year old with a toy gun sitting on a park bench.

Some of the people shot by the police will of course be active gun-toting felons shot while robbing a 7-11 store; that is, legitimate shootings. Some clearly are not in the least legitimate, although the police departments involved almost always try to claim that they are. Consequently, it’s not possible to get any generally-agreed number for illegitimate police shootings resulting in homicide. It’s reasonable to believe that the number of illegitimate or highly questionable deaths by police shooting is about the same as the number of “mass shooting” deaths. It’s certainly within the same order of magnitude, no matter how impossible it is to get an exact number.

Of course, these are ‘only’ killings done by US citizens in the United States. Far more serious are killings done by US citizens acting as agents of the US government (both military and secret agents) outside the boundaries of the United States. There, we can’t get any solid number, and there would be no reason to distinguish killings by firearm from those resulting from missiles and bombs. We can’t get a solid number, but it is not difficult to estimate that number as at least a couple orders of magnitude higher than the number killed in mass shootings. In other words, something like 50,000 annually as compared to the 500 victims of civilian mass shootings; or at least 100,000 +, compared to the 1000 + killed by police. And we’ve all heard even higher estimates that are plausible.

As far as I can tell, it’s the endless wars that are the basic problem, and the killings that happen within the boundaries of this country are mostly consequences. In part they are consequences of a culture that glorifies using guns to solve problems by intimidating or eliminating your enemies. Mostly they are consequences of recruiting over 150,000 young people for the military every year and rejecting even more applicants. The ones recruited are specifically trained to kill, and the ones rejected are left frustrated that they didn’t qualify for the training.

The main focus of the peace movement, as I understand it, should be direct opposition to our endless wars. Advocating “gun control” in the hands of the exact same politicians who are the supporters and instigators of both endless wars and the police state that goes along with it is exactly the wrong emphasis. Yes, it’s harder to oppose the wars that are the root of the problem. But it is necessary.

If the energies of the peace movement are directed at ending war, then I’m part of the movement. If they are to be mis-directed so that the movement is no longer a problem for the war-makers but instead supports their police state, then I’m not interested. Count me as part of the opposition.

I think if we can end the Empire’s endless wars for oil and other resources and create instead a sustainable society, then both the police state and the rate of mass killings will dimish. If we cannot end those wars, then both the police state killings under the color of law and the obviously lawless sort of mass killings will continue and get worse. The police, who are supposed to serve and protect the rest of us, will increasingly look on us as enemies to be suppressed, and they will use even more military weapons and tactics to do it.

That’s the problem with supporting gun control in a police state.