#NoDAPL!!!

CELEBRATE! Courage, righteousness and tenacity overcome wealth, greed and cronyism in the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline. For now.

Federal Judge Orders Halt to Pipeline Operation

Every now and again, the good people win.

On Monday, a federal judge’s order to halt operation of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) reinforced that belief.

The good people in this case are the members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North and South Dakota, other tribes that joined them in their lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps), and people from around the world who supported them as they fought for their sovereignty and human rights.

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Mask. There is No Other Correct Answer.

The world needs consensus-builders and compromise-finders, but not when it comes to wearing masks to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

Sorry, Conciliators, There Is No Middle Here

The world needs conciliators, people who try to bring two sides together to find common ground.

These are the consensus-builders and compromise-finders. They help the world move forward by rounding off the jagged edges of debates and disagreements between those of us who see the world from more of a solely right or wrong, up or down point of view.

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“One Nation, Under…” Duress

In the early morning hours of Independence Day 2020, I’ll be standing there, Old Glory in hand, wondering not which way is up, but how and when up became down.

The Flag & The Union:  Up, Down or Out?

If ever there was a nation in distress, it is the United States of America in 2020.

If ever there was a time when the U.S. flag should be displayed upside down as a signal of that distress, the time is now.

Over the next couple of days, my family and I will need to make two decisions.

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I’m just walkin’ here.

It was deafening. It was exhilarating. It was pure. It was a necessary primal scream against the brutality visited upon people of color over centuries in the United States of America.

Feet on the ground for #BlackLivesMatter and #OneFargo

I could live a thousand white lives like mine and never understand what Black people have endured in this country.

Even so, I can do my part to ensure the wrongs don’t continue to repeat and repeat and repeat, over and over and over again, keeping Black and other people of color down in our society.

What can I do?

I can walk, for one.

So, yeah. I’m just walkin’ here.

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Yesterday, I marched with my wife and our two daughters in the Black Lives Matter – Fargo/Moorhead and OneFargo March for Justice. It was an amazing, energizing experience.

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Reasons for the Riots

Black men still swing from trees; White men still put them underknee.

Listen, fellow citizens. Listen.

A 1939 song of protest and rage resonates today, in 2020:

“Southern trees bear a strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.” – Lyrics and music by Abel Meeropol, recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939. Listen.

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Judgements are being tossed about like tear gas canisters launched into crowds of people.

Photo of peaceful protester in Fargo, N.D.
Peaceful protester in Fargo, N.D., May 30, 2020

Peaceful protesters are good. Rioters are bad. Police are good. Police are bad. Police should use whatever force is necessary to clear protesters/rioters, including lethal force. Property damage is counter-productive. Police are instigating violent reactions. Left-wing extremists are agitating protesters. Right-wing extremists are agitating protesters. The extremists want chaos and revolution.

On and on.

As we share thoughts and opinions about the murder of George Floyd and who is doing what, and as we debate the good and bad of peaceful protests, violent riots and all the complex, related issues in the wake of Floyd’s death, I suggest we keep this gruesome pair of visions before our minds’ eyes:

Bloody tree, bloody black body swinging in the breeze.

Black man on the pavement, white police officer kneeling on his neck.

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There was a peaceful march in my city, Fargo, N.D., on the morning and afternoon of May 30. Black Lives Matter organized the protest to remember Floyd, a Black man murdered at the hands (knees) of White police officers in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, and to draw attention to ongoing, systemic racism and police brutality in the United States.

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Pouring coronavirus stimulus funds down a hole. Literally.

Despite people and small businesses struggling to make it day to day amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the North Dakota Emergency Commission is giving the oil industry a $33.1 million gift. That’s OUR money.

Using the money to plug oil wells? Surely not… Right?

A treatment that benefits only one industry in North Dakota is a tough pill to swallow for thousands of the state’s citizens who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, it shouldn’t go down easy for any U.S. taxpayer.

James MacPherson of the Associated Press reported last week that the all-Republican North Dakota Emergency Commission approved $33.1 million of the $1.25 billion the state received in coronavirus stimulus funding from the federal government to plug “orphaned” oil wells.

The funding came to the state as a result of the CARES Act, passed by Congress in March, which provided states financial assistance to help them deal with coronavirus pandemic-related expenses such as aid for hospitals and emergency response teams, purchases of medical and protective equipment and payroll support for healthcare providers. It also is intended to help states recover economically.

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