SOS Amazon! – “World Social Forum” Lends Indigenous Leaders and Supporters Opportunity to Defend Amazon Rainforest

by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
January 31, 2009

Photobucket

Led by Indigenous people from all across Latin America, over 1000 participants formed a human banner, using their bodies, to draw attention to the increasingly precarious situation of the Amazon rainforest. The wording was formed around the massive silhouette of an indigenous warrior taking aim with a bow and arrow. photo courtesy of Lou Dematteis/Spectral Q. Continue reading

Bush’s Speech on Offshore Oil Drilling by Shelley Bluejay Pierce (+ video)

by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
June 11, 2008

President Bush speech today

Good morning my friends,

I have stopped doing my current research and writing on various topics today to address the recent speech given by President Bush just moments ago. I simply had to speak out and point out some key “media-spinning” that is going WAY over the top and many people may not realize that we are in a critical point here in the USA. Continue reading

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: “In the Beginning was the Word,” Now What?

Bluejay

by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
featured writer
Dandelion Salad

Shelley’s blog post
June 11, 2008

(Part three in series)

“Tis’ oft the case in human speech,

truth lies betwixt or between

and endless speech doth weave its web,

where motives are rarely seen.

To paint such crafted language

upon the canvas of the mind

can so pervert and adjudicate

that facts themselves are blind.

The muse reveals its tainted source

from the mind where it was wrought

uttering both riddles and rhymes,

manipulation is all that’s sought.

Enamored crowds replace the actor

who laid waste to vows once spoken

where actions have replaced all words

with a stage where their trust lay broken.”

(C) Shelley Bluejay Pierce, June 10, 2008

Most Americans took a deep breath and were grateful when finally, after months and months of incessant political media coverage, we knew who the final Presidential candidates were supposed to be. The onslaught of interviews, political analysts, reports on the Rev. Wright issue and ads declaring that only Hillary Clinton was qualified to pick up the White House phone at 3 AM assaulted us ad nauseum.

I have found myself desiring a new approach to the political campaigns. What would happen if we forced the candidates to take a “temporary” position as President and had them show us, by their actions and not their words, how they would perform as the leader of the USA? What would happen if we took away their fancy speechwriters, their campaign directors and all their media “spin-doctors” so that all that remained was the human being?

This is a frightening thought perhaps, but one that I have found myself returning to over and over again lately. Taking away the Presidential “glamour” and removing their ability to use words as powerful tools to manipulate their way into the oval office might be the only way to evaluate a Presidential candidate. Assessment of the moral character and true leadership abilities of the candidates might be accomplished if we took away their “words.”

“What?” you say, “A professional writer is telling me that they don’t want to hear or read “words!?”

Yes. That is exactly what I am saying.

As a writer, I am captivated by the beauty of well-chosen words that may create a new reality for the reader or listener. There is magic in the placement of each word and a masterpiece hidden between each phrase when the writing comes from a true master’s pen. Whether in poetic verse as in the piece I penned at the beginning of this essay, to the formal constraints required in other styles of writing, there is “magic” in words. As a writer, I can only aspire to create written pieces that would bring honor to the truly great talents I have learned from.

However, what happens when words become the very weapons used against a society as a whole to deceive and manipulate? What becomes of the truth when it is so brilliantly hidden by deceptively written words?

Take these famous words for instance:

“…But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”

Who do we credit for this historic utterance? These now famous words were spoken by none other than Hermann Goering during the Nuremberg Trials as he described the mindset of Nazi Germany.

Perhaps the immediate response to having just mentally identified with these words is revulsion at the mere concept that we were able to relate to them on some level. Mentally, we may fight the mere suggestion that our current political climate is having glaring similarities to these concepts. Are we speaking of just the United States in this regard or are we looking at a more global panorama of political behavior? We detest the mere thought that we would ever adhere to any precepts that once guided the Nazi regime to its powerful domination over the people.

When the expression, “spin-doctor” is used in describing the media representatives who are responsible for creating the entire public persona for our Presidential candidates, few people realize where that term heralds from.

Edward L. Bernays, became known as the “Father of Spin” in the 1940’s after taking concepts learned from his uncle, Sigmund Freud, and applying them to the power of mass persuasion. Over many decades, Bernays’ theories were fine-tuned so that applications of his mind-swaying propaganda were used on the American public within the guise of “public relations” and advertising.

The knowledge he gained along the way proved that masses of people could be swayed through messages repeated over and over hundreds of times to literally affect a new way of behaving or thinking. Advertisers and public relations firms heralded this new approach as a true victory and other parts of the world began to follow this new concept. Few Americans realize that it was our own Edward Bernays who became the guiding light for Josef Goebbels, who was Hitler’s minister of propaganda. The very principles behind the success of Edward Bernays, the “Father of Spin,” became the weaponry used against the German people to convince them of the need to purify their race.

“Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.” – Edward L. Bernays

So how are we being manipulated now? Do we feel that as a society we are “more educated” allowing us the freedom to discern truths and break the cycle of the media-created “herd mentality?” Hardly. Do an online search of the phrase, “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction” and see how many times that phrase was used, so effectively in fact, that key advisors inside the White House believed them without question. Just one phrase can become immortalized when meticulously placed in the hands of a media “spin-doctor.”

“Read my lips…no new taxes” ring a bell for you? Or how about, “I did not have sex with that woman…” and even names applied to individuals become an iconic reminder such as “Tricky Dicky” for former President Nixon or “Slick Willy” for former President Bill Clinton. Intelligence is not a determining factor when examining the effects of propaganda upon individual members of a society.

The words that were placed upon paper more than 200 years ago and are known as the “Declaration of Independence” were aided by the word crafting skills of Thomas Jefferson. Those gathering of words remain as an inspiration and a guiding light for the USA but are they “real?” Were the “truths we hold self-evident” factual descriptors of this society or were they simply “pretty words?”

Thomas Jefferson is famous for having said:

“I know of no safe depository of the ultimate power of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise that control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not take it from them, but to inform their discretion.”

Lets return to the notion of placing each Presidential candidate in office for a temporary and demonstrative session of real-world dealings with the issues facing this country today. Without the glare and incessant yammerings of the press, no lights and make-up to make the candidate more physically appealing to the public eye and with no media spin-doctors placing each gloriously crafted word in the candidates’ mouth prior to speaking, where would that candidate end up in the public opinion polls? Would their actions finally speak louder than words?

How many times has a citizen of the United States participated via television or radio in the new President taking their “Oaths of Office?” This oath, or affirmation of office was established in the United States Constitution and is a mandatory step taken by each President before taking office. The wording originates as described in Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 and reads as follows:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States….”

Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States? How many times has this promise been broken by Presidents of this Nation? We see the new President with their hand placed upon a bible, lifting their hand in the air and before a witness and all of the crowds gathered, they make their oath to faithfully keep their promised word…or oath. Really? Do they truly mean what they speak or is it merely a procedural requirement before jumping in behind the desk in the oval office of the White House to lead a country?

Members of Congress must also take an oath of office, as do members of the military:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.”

John Milton describes in, “On Christian Doctrine,” an oath as being, “that whereby we call God to witness the truth of what we say, with a curse upon ourselves . . . should it prove false.”

Doubtful that many people would take an “oath” if the truest context were thought to be anything less than “optional.” Our society seems to have lost all value for truth, keeping our promises and upholding the honor of our moral character by living up to what ever we have pledged our vow or oath to. Such was the case of a recent television broadcast where several political analysts were discussing the political campaigns of Obama, Clinton and McCain. The host of this show stated, “Well, these are nothing more than political campaign promises so we know they aren’t being held accountable for these….”

I about fell off my chair as I heard these words so casually pour out of this media hosts’ mouth but my greater horror was that not one of the guests argued with her! Each of the political commentators agreed and went on with their rapid-fire speech about how each candidate was running their campaign or how much money had been spent thus far on the campaign trail.

I was appalled but not surprised. We are totally accustomed to this and have become blinded to truth. Are we truly ready for a society based on truth? Perhaps the citizens of the United States are to assume that these campaign “promises” are merely suggested aspirations and are not to be taken for anything more than a series of well-crafted words that appeal to our emotions.

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.” – Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Germany

The very “truths we hold self-evident” are sorely missing from our concepts of leadership in this country. If our actions in public are displayed one way, yet our words display an entirely different belief system, why are those who have taken oaths allowed to do this with impunity? Sadly, I believe that this perpetual cycle stems from our basic brainwashing as a culture. We simply have come to believe that what we say in words is not important.

The most perplexing part in all of this comes when one examines the beliefs held even in the minds of the “spin-doctors” themselves. Perfectly crafted words that are combined with the artful use of propaganda-styled repetitions suddenly convince even the creator of these words that they are truth! Words create psychological and emotional connections that in the end may powerfully influence how we think and act. Somewhere along the line, even those fabricating the illusions of truth for the public also buy into their own elaborate manuscript!

“If the word has the potency to revive and make us free, it has also the power to blind, imprison and destroy.” – Robert Ellison

The immeasurable beauty and power of words, when placed with care into the listener or readers’ mind and heart may be a work of art. With callous and reckless disregard for the impact those words may bring upon an entire civilization, there may well be no greater weapon of total destruction. As we ask for truth and accountability in our leaders we must also examine our own willingness to submit, in blind faith, to the destructive habit of apathy. When a society as a whole becomes blind to the value of an oath, a promise, or to accountability from each of us individually, we cannot expect the society in whole to survive.

Perhaps it is indeed time for truth. No matter how deeply we may long for it, are we certain that our gluttony as a society addicted to the sensational, glamorized realm of the “spin-doctors” is over? We ask for freedom, equality and “the pursuit of happiness” but sadly, have we forgotten how to live that way without it being spoon-fed to us by someone we perceive as an authority figure?

“In the beginning was the word,” but, now what?

(C) Shelley Bluejay Pierce, June 10, 2008

see

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George”

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: A Case of Misplaced Blind Faith

The Century Of The Self By Adam Curtis (2002; must-see)

.

.

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: A Case of Misplaced Blind Faith

Digg It

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from
Bluejay

by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
pacificfreepress.com
Saturday, 31 May 2008

These famous words from the 1776 Declaration of Independence sound good in theory but in actuality, at the time they were written, the evident truth was that only a select few humans were deemed “equal.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Equality did not include black slaves, most certainly was not bestowed upon the “heathen, savage, Indians” and did not include women or other minorities. Perhaps more accurately, the “self-evident” matter of equality for all human beings was a decision made by a small minority of European immigrants to this new land.

The actual definition of the term, self-evident is, “Evident without need of proof or explanation.”

The legal definition of the term unalienable is, “The state of a thing or right which cannot be sold….The natural rights of life and liberty are unalienable.”

As the founders of this new government began to set in motion the legal bulwark for the United States of America, they created such guiding documents as the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Amendments. As these lofty goals for the new union were set upon paper, perhaps these men were seeing what the future held for this country rather than the actualities of the time they lived in. For if in fact, these new leaders truly lived in accordance with these new guidelines, they would not have behaved in the ways that they did or treated their fellow human beings in the manner that history recounts.

If it were truly “self-evident” that such things as the natural world and all that was dwelling within or upon it could not be bought or sold due to its being an “unalienable” right as the very source for all of mankind’s survival, then the stealing and mass “ownership” mentality would not have prevailed. The ravaging of these new lands, long inhabited by the Indigenous people, would not have occurred and the abuse of the natural resources would not have proliferated.

If “all men are created equal” then the mass genocide of millions of original occupants to this land would not have been allowed. The decimation of entire cultures and thefts of the lands they dwelled upon for centuries would have not occurred because the original authors of this text would have seen that the land itself was an unalienable right, not for sale or transfer, because it was the land itself that offered the human race its means for survival.

The pervasive attitude carried by this European culture was one of “taming the wilderness.” Those inhabitants who had lived in harmony with these lands were forced off of them or annihilated so that “modern and civilized” expansion could take place. Perhaps in truth, the European mindset was nothing more than a grand opportunity to perpetuate all the destructive behaviors that had surrounded these people prior to them leaving Europe in the first place. Looking at the ongoing rape and ruination of the lands and natural resources makes it clear that the pervasive mindset has changed little over the last 200 plus years.

Over many decades of internal warfare, foreign wars, upheavals and massacres, we arrive into a new era that brought perhaps the greatest period of change to our United States of America. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, protests and civil unrest boiled over into all segments of the population. The “peace and love” movement grew to monumental levels and such civil rights as those fought for by Dr. Martin Luther King and others gained enormous momentum.

During this period of time there was a demand for change and for the first time ever in this country, true equality and access to those “unalienable rights” was a goal for ALL people, not just a select few. The changing times brought with it, a demand for a cleaner, safer environment that in turn brought the creation of new governmental agencies such as the Federal Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. Both of these agencies were created to provide protection for all citizens in the United States and for the protection of the environment that sustains them.

The general population placed enormous public pressure upon the government and its leaders. Demanding peace, civil rights and increased environmental protection, the citizens of the USA brought to the forefront, a radical change in the way this country functioned. However, with this blossoming potential for radical change, there festered a dangerous mindset that would take decades to be acknowledged.

With alterations to the status quo came an increased sense of trust and peace of mind within the mindset of the average citizen. Each of us became dependent upon and truly believed that we would be protected by the leadership. We as a people trusted our military and first responders to care for our safety, both as a nation and as individuals, in our times of need. We trusted our new governmental agencies to ensure that we had access to all the unalienable rights such as clean water, safe food supplies, access to safe living conditions and medications to treat our illnesses.

That initial trust grew into a state of what may be more likened to “blind faith.” Failures discovered within this government have previously been responded to so that faults in the system could be addressed and corrected. Over the past decade, we have silently watched as all governing systems have seemingly taken on a life of their own and the enormous impact of its layered deception has brought this country to its knees.

The enormous and cumbersome size of the agencies set in place to “protect” us has become unapproachable even by the most studied citizen. The overwhelming amount of contradictory information available to each person leaves most individuals daunted by the task of being socially aware of the issues. The “information over-load” has hit every sector of this society to the point where the average citizen often chooses to ignore the information coming in from all directions and focuses simply on the personal realm they inhabit each day.

As we look at just one issue, the Iraq war, most of us are incapable of deciphering the facts from the propaganda. We cannot grasp the enormous expenditures involved with this one issue because the monetary figures are incomprehensible to most citizens. Perhaps examining a smaller “bite” of the full plate of issues is necessary for us to clearly see what is happening to us on the broader, national level. If the statement, “the sum of all parts makes up the whole” is true? Then a targeted examination may give us a good snapshot into our country as a whole.

Let’s choose an area of the country that most people assume as a peaceful country setting. There are no mass transit systems and the crime rates are not what you encounter in the large metropolitan cities across the USA. This is a small town consisting of farmers, ranchers, homeowners, shopkeepers and such things as one would expect to find in the mid-section of this country. Wide-open prairie lands, expansive horizons and peaceful surroundings are what brings many occupants to this community.

Zero in on Marty, South Dakota for this targeted investigation. This is a community situated within the boundaries of the Ihanktowan Nation, better known to most people as the Yankton Sioux tribal lands. Like many communities across the USA, there are limited or no zoning restrictions here due to the fact that they have never been required. The land itself and the environment in which the people dwell have dictated the lifestyle and activities of the occupants.

The unimaginable becomes your new daily nightmare if you are a member of this community when the agencies assigned to protect you, actually turn against you. These agencies approve the permits for a new resident moving in amongst you and you find out that your newest “neighbor” is a large, commercial hog farm, which will house as many as 3000 sows and produce as many as 75,000 hogs per year. Commonly referred to as a CAFO operation, (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) these industrial sized farms are usually located at a distance from human habitation and city services due to their potential impacts upon the “neighbors” and the environment.

We as citizens of the USA have come to “trust” with “blind faith,” that our governing agencies will protect us from harm and ensure a safe environment in which to exist and prosper. However, in this case, the EPA and other agencies have approved this CAFO hog farm even with the knowledge that it will be situated in the midst of human occupation, culturally historic, and environmentally sensitive areas.

Looking at the facts about CAFO’s, documentation abounds detailing the foul smells and the reported higher rates of respiratory problems in people living near large-scale animal operations. Proof exists at all levels regarding the fact that the waste from this many animals harms the environment and human health. Water and ground pollution often occur when the waste containment systems fail or when the CAFO owners gain permission from local farmers to spread the “waste” across their fields as a means of disposing of the tons of manure produced each day. Gently referred to as “free nutrients for your crops,” the overwhelming evidence shows that too much of something is not a good thing. This includes “free nutrients.” According to the 1998 National Water Quality Inventory conducted by the EPA, 30 percent of surveyed rivers, 44 percent of surveyed lakes, and 23 percent of surveyed estuaries were contaminated with unsafe levels of “nutrient” pollution.

Manure from CAFOs may degrade soil quality over time and since heavy metals are often added to animal feed to promote growth in the animals, the manure may carry such things as arsenic, copper, selenium, and zinc. The high concentration of manure in CAFO lagoons often enables heavy metals to accumulate in the surrounding environment which later leaches out into nearby soil, surface waters, invasion of local private wells used for drinking water, poisoning wildlife, and polluting groundwater. The area in which this South Dakota hog farm is located will provide “nutrients” for the Missouri River and all areas downstream due to run-off of surface water. This potentially effects millions of people located a great distance away from this one hog farm.

Additionally, the property values that you as a homeowner depend upon for such things as resale value and home equity loan value plummets. No one wants to buy property in close proximity to a large-scale animal production facility. The land you dreamed of being your little piece of paradise instantly becomes valueless. You fear that no one in leadership is listening to you as you bemoan your recent fate. All you can do as an individual is cry out for justice and protection from the sources you once believed were brought into existence to “protect you” and your unalienable rights to “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” All you find is a justice system meant to benefit others but not you, the private citizen.

The question now becomes, “How in the world did we get to this state of being in this country and why is no one listening to me?”

Follow the money trail and you will find, on a much smaller scale, the same problems as we find within the quagmire of the Iraq war and its funding processes. The government allots multi-millions of tax dollars to the rich farm corporations in the form of farm subsidies. The enormous tax funds are directed to those operations which make the biggest money and that includes CAFO’s. Why are these big tax-donated funds important? Why, to care for and repay the MILLIONS of dollars that these special interests group donate to the political campaigns for those officials that will support their causes once in office of course!

Case in point, in the 2006 election year, Agribusiness industries are reported to have contributed $44,732,566.00 to campaigns for elected officials in the USA. The Governor of South Dakota, Mike Rounds, reportedly received $36,250.00 for his 2006 electoral run from the agricultural businesses. Add to this figure all the agribusiness donations given to those Senators and Representatives representing the state where you dwell and you begin to understand why you now have a huge hog farm as a neighbor.

Money talks and bigger money speaks even louder in this country as history proves over and over again. The voice of the small, individual voter and citizen of this country means nothing in the bigger scheme of American politics. As one compares this localized scenario in South Dakota with the enormous Federal issues such as the Iraq war, similar layers of corruption are exposed. The farther up the political “food chain”one progresses, the less aid a single individual gets due to the larger amounts of political leverage gained by the contributions given by these special interests groups like agribusiness.

Lets take a look at some of the background issues surrounding the hog farm in South Dakota:

1) South Dakota Governor, Mike Rounds, cuts the Highway Patrol budget and states that he believes the agency “can get by with a $2 million reduction in its budget.” In early February 2008, a media source leaks a memo detailing how deep these budget cuts would hit the department.

2) One source states that the Highway Patrol budget cuts will take effect immediately and last only one year while another released memo states that the budget cuts will last “indefinitely.” (The citizens AND the Highway Patrol officers are left wondering what part media-spin is truth or fiction of course.)

3) One statement in the press says that this information comes from a written, authorized budget submitted by Governor Rounds but just a few days later, Governor Rounds tells the media that what is circulating was simply his “recommendations” for the upcoming expenditures and not the bottom line decisions. Once this memo was obtained by the media and circulated, Governor Rounds’ media-management team states that the memos were never meant for public circulation and that they were intended only for internal circulation. By February 15, 2008, the internal memos circulating in the State Highway Patrol were called a “miscommunication” by Governor Round’s office. (more media-spin and now the truth is even further from our grasp)

4) State Highway Patrol leadership released guidelines to their officers which I condense here. Startling issues begin to surface with these recommended cuts and leaves the average citizen in the coverage area wondering if there will be ANY response teams available should they need them. “Burning of overtime which will make it difficult to maintain current manpower requirements, especially on Fridays and weekends” is one of the department recommendations. Statements include the fact that there will be no new patrol vehicles purchased during the 2009 budget cycle. Governor Rounds states that troopers must save on gasoline requirements by having more “stationary patrols” where trooper will perform the “stare and glare” law enforcement techniques rather than actively pursue offenders. Other budget cuts will affect training for officers, Troopers will no longer help transport organ, eye or blood donations and search and rescue operations with the highway patrol airplane will be limited. Requests to assist BIA or tribal police with fatal crashes on reservations will be limited. Finally, the department acknowledges that because of these budget cuts, they will “more than likely be criticized by some agencies for their lack of manpower or response to incidents or accidents.” (Now the citizens in the area are really wondering about how safe they truly are in the event of an emergency.)

5) After the facts about this new hog farm came into mainstream media spotlight, Governor Rounds basically stated that he and his office preferred to let “tribal agencies work the issues out.” I am supposing that the Governor has forgotten that not ONLY tribal members are being impacted by this CAFO. The impacts are vast and have the potential to negatively impact many in South Dakota and all the way down the Missouri River.

6) Considering the fact that the South Dakota Highway Patrol is under major budget constraints and are told to limit all extra travel and deployment to scenes other than critical response areas, why did a reported 52 patrol cars roll onto the scene of a peaceful demonstration against the hog farm? Especially since the Highway Patrol leadership stated in their internal memo that, “requests to assist BIA or tribal police with fatal crashes on reservations will be limited.” (this was not a fatal crash, no one was armed with weapons and there were perhaps 50 or so protesters on the site…many of these were minors and children!)

Here is a picture of this small group of hog farm protesters that required 52 law enforcement vehicles (courtesy Yankton Sioux Tribe).

7) The road leading into the property where Longview Farms is building their hog farm has been considered by the Yankton Sioux Tribe and their own law enforcement officers as being under BIA jurisdiction which means that no local or State law enforcement agencies are to deploy there except under extreme circumstances. When construction of the hog farm began in early April, the community attempted to block the completion when the Yankton tribal council passed an exclusion order against Long View Farms, of Hull, Iowa. The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) was asked to confirm its jurisdiction over the road leading into the hog farm property, which would have denied Longview Farms access to the building site. Even though there was NO FINAL DECISION MADE about the jurisdiction of this road, law enforcement from outside agencies descended en masse upon lands where jurisdiction was still very much in question.

Here is a small group of the dispatched law enforcement teams to deal with this handful of unarmed, peaceful protesters.

The large mobile unit was a reported SWAT team. To the sides of where this picture was taken, was an entire hillside of patrol cars. This response for a handful of protesters? (photo courtesy of Yankton Sioux Tribe)

8) Several members of the Yankton tribe were arrested, jailed and released on bail money paid by the tribe. They individually have had to seek legal defense and are going through all the legal proceedings for what may turn out to be illegal arrests once the jurisdiction of the road is decided. The BIA, which is funded by taxpayers in the USA, has paid out millions of dollars since 1994 to maintain this very road and added it to its inventory following a signed agreement between all local agencies. However, on May 5, 2008, a commission in Charles Mix County voted to rescind the agreement in response to the BIA’s declaration of ownership. (I guess what we, the US taxpayers think of all this, is null and void?)

9) Go a step further and examine a rough estimate at the costs for this police response to a small group of peaceful protestors gathered along side of a road that is yet to be determined as to WHO has jurisdiction over it! Based on online available figures for average salaries and costs of such things as officers and patrol cars, we find that the average salary for a State highway patrol officer is $30 per hour. Multiplied that by the number of hours required for response, handling, and completion of each assigned duty location. Gasoline costs of $3.85 per gallon based on today’s average price per gallon of fuel across the USA. Add in equipment wear and tear, vehicle tires, radios, uniforms, uniform cleaning, paper used and miscellaneous expenses. Add in the salaries for radio dispatchers, and office staff costs and you have a very rough average of $180.00 for each unit to respond to the scene of a normal, easy-to-handle incident, which averages one hour from dispatch to clearing. That’s $180.00 per hour is for local calls only and does not include extra travel across long distances. This rough average cost multiplied by 52 police units comes to approximately $9,400.00 PER HOUR! SWAT or Mobile units as seen in the picture above are usually presumed to be double that cost due to extra equipment and training for their personnel so add in another $360.00 per hour. Protesters on the scene reported that Wagner Police, North Platte Police Department, and State Highway Patrol vehicles came in on this one scene. Any overtime pay is probably 1.5x their salaries and Highway Patrol cars may have traveled into the protest site from wide areas all over South Dakota. Add in the costs for arresting these protesters, jail staff, court clerks, judges and office staff to manage all of this? Beginning to feel similar to war expenditures at the Federal level?

But I thought Governor Rounds stated that there was this huge deficit in the budget and that every possible money-saving effort needed to be made inside the Highway patrol?

Really? All of the above expense and manpower to manage a small number of peaceful protestors?

Still confused about how this all impacts YOU and the potential impacts of a hog farm moving in to YOUR neighborhood? Still confused about how the Federal government and its agencies are layered with special interest groups, huge campaign financing and layers of deception?

By looking at one small issue in a rural location nestled inside the United States of America, perhaps the realities are sinking in. Just how far we have allowed ourselves to become blinded by “trust” is that festering wound I mentioned earlier. We have so blindly accepted the protection from our government and its agencies and leaders that we have missed the fact that we are now dependent and blind to truth. Perhaps the biggest “self-evident” fact before us as a Nation of individuals is that our trust is entirely misplaced. Perhaps the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is truly an allowance for the elite after all. Perhaps it is history repeating itself but this time, ALL races are included in the destruction. The decimation of the lands and resources that sustain us all is at stake as is the very country we all call “home.”

Now… about that hog farm…. ready to become “neighbors?” Do you still believe it won’t happen to YOU?

Blind faith strikes again.

Shelley Bluejay Pierce is an investigative journalist covering political, environmental and indigenous rights issues. Her work appears in numerous written publications and online websites worldwide and is a frequent guest on radio shows addressing these issues.

(All rights reserved, permission to reprint this article must be granted by author, Shelley Bluejay Pierce by contacting wahela9@yahoo.com)

see

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George”

.

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George”

Digg It

Dandelion Salad

Posted with permission from
Bluejay

by Shelley Bluejay Pierce
pacificfreepress.com
(Part one in series May 9, 2008)

Like many students in the Unites States of America, I have read and studied the Declaration of Independence written and adopted by the new Congress on July 4, 1776. I must admit however, that many decades have past since my last real study of this important political document. The study of our own history here in the USA is part of all formal studies across the country. However, most of us never have cause to revisit these critical pieces of written history that are still meant to guide our country and its leadership in all dealings with the citizens here.

Most average Americans can recall certain famous passages, but I doubt that many can recite larger portions of this document from memory. With a growing need to remind myself of these earliest political platforms, I felt compelled to return to these historic words once again.

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: The Battle Against a Tyrant Named “George”

(Part one in series)

I was curious to examine just how far we may have diverged and wandered from the original “road map to Democracy” that our founding leaders risked their very lives to produce for all generations to come. With a sense of urgency, I plunged into the Declaration of Independence with a passion like I had never experienced in my early days as a simple student in a classroom.

The opening few paragraphs are probably the most recognizable portions of the entire document. Most of us have heard these sentences repeated in political speeches, in patriotic songs or such things.The greatest surprise awaited me as I journeyed further into this historic piece of writing.

The beginning of this critical document reads:

“The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

Most of us will instantly recognize the portion that reads, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

As young students, we studied the political history that led the original colonists to create the Declaration of Independence. The very foundation of the United States of America was based upon the needs of the people dwelling in this new land. The writers proclaimed their independence from England and all other outside governments by including these words,

“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government.”

As I read further, my mental state progressed from a place of historical reverence for the words set down by the early leadership and on to shock, disbelief and outright anger. I re-read the document several times to be certain that I was truly seeing what I thought I was reading.

Sadly, I was indeed reading these words and the descriptions of exactly what claims were being laid against England. The most ironic and alarming point to this comparison is the realization that the ruler of England at this time in history was none other than the King of Great Britain, George the III!

At the sudden reminder of this long forgotten piece of history, I fell into uncontrollable laughter. I then launched into the document in search of more comparisons between what our ancestors accused King GEORGE of, and what many citizens in the USA are complaining of with our modern day GEORGE, the current leader of the USA, President George Bush.

Though the ironic and perhaps comical overlapping of names was the beginning point for me, further examinations inside the Declaration of Independence yielded results that were anything but amusing.

The original grievances the colonies listed against Britain and King George III are presented in part, below. At each placement of the word, “He” remember that they are referring to King George. As you read these statements, you may begin to see resemblances to accusations made about our current President, GEORGE Bush.

“The history of the present King of Great Britain [George III] is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers. He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us, in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

As I read each of these statements from the original Declaration of Independence, I began to see several glaring similarities to our current political behaviors in the USA. I am not a political analyst, pundit, media television news host, or corporate-owned journalist. On the contrary, I am a law-abiding, tax-paying citizen of the United States of America who also serves as a journalist. I may be inaccurate in some of my assessments here, but I believe that there is enough accuracy in my comparisons between these two leaderships as to warrant some serious analysis by other citizens of the USA.

Several political events that have taken place during the period of time that George Bush has served as President of the United States are comparable to many of the accusations the colonists first made against King George III.

The Bush administrations’ Patriot Act, the development and enormous expansion of the Homeland Security Agency, and massive increase in domestic surveillance upon its own citizens is one glaring comparison to the ruler ship of King George III.

The U.S. Congress has had numerous bills and potential laws go before the President for his signature only to be told outright that he, referring to the President,

“refuses to sign any bill from them unless it contains exactly what I WANT included in it…”

Appointed leaders inside the Bush administration appear intent on gaining exclusive protection for those who are also members of the inner circle nearest the President. They have been offered immunity, Presidential pardons and more “Get out of Jail Free” cards than at any time in history.

More tax-payer money has been misspent, lost, redirected, or falsely appropriated to those corporations involved directly with the elected governmental leadership than a journalist can even report on.

A brief list of accusations against this administration include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Questionable actions taken by the White House, National Security Council, State Department, Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency related to the United Nations and Iraq Security Groups initial inspections of Iraq.
  • The detention of people suspected of terrorist activities or connections to such activities and held in foreign prisons for interrogations by the U.S. Many such people were never provided legal counsel or knew exactly what they were accused of.
  • The “secret” meetings of top-level advisors to the White House including current elected officials, where private discussions yielded the new policies and guide lines for “approved” torture techniques later used against suspected “terrorists.”
  • Since 2005, numerous local governments have introduced and passed resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Bush and members his administration. Among the states that have filed impeachement recommendations are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

On May 21, 2006, the Alaska Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and World Bank President (and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.) The resolution cited “the unjustified invasion of Iraq,” the administration’s “felonious warrantless wiretaps,” and “gross incompetence in response to natural disasters, stewardship of the economy and the environment.”

On April 21, 2006, California State Assemblyman Paul Koretz (D-Calif.) submitted Joint Resolution No. 39, calling for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Among the list of suggested impeachable offenses were:

  • a. Misleading Congress and the American people regarding the threat from Iraq in order to justify an unnecessary war that has cost billions of dollars and thousands of lives and casualties
  • b. Exceeding constitutional authority by Federalizing the National Guard.
  • c. Spying on American citizens in violation of the 1978 Foreign Agency Surveillance Act
  • d. Holding American citizens without charge or trial

The list of complaints and alleged constitutional violations goes on and on yet no matter what the citizens of the United States of America demand from their leadership, there has yet to be action taken. No one in the elected leadership demands full accountability from the President or his extended administration.

“We the People” have seemingly been ignored.

Our demand for full disclosure regarding facts surrounding the “Oil for Food” scandal, the false comments made about September 11th bombings, the war in Iraq, or the endless string of “Presidential Pardons” have been ignored.

The muzzling of journalists, scientists and agencies that may endanger the “facts” as the Bush administration would have them be known continues on with impunity.

The citizens of the United States appear to be “ham-strung” by their own leadership. There is no movement toward accountability though our websites, media outlets and governmental documents are saturated with evidence of misconduct.

I am simply a member of the vast “We the People” in this country and am not an expert on political affairs. However, I believe that the average American citizen deserves the basic information laid out before them. They may then conduct their own investigation into the facts surrounding the very real decline in political morals in this country.

The original Declaration of Independence is one of the guiding beacons for our democracy. How far we have veered from its original directive is for those professional analysts out there to decipher. I am but one citizen who, on a certain day, discovered the alarming similarities between KING GEORGE vs. PRESIDENT GEORGE.

I can only hope that the citizens of this country awaken to the realities around them and soon realize that the time for true action is now. I hope they will take heed to the historic words from our founding fathers as they move forward to create a true democracy;

“A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

Shelley Bluejay Pierce is an investigative journalist covering political, environmental and indigenous rights issues. Her work appears in numerous written publications and online websites worldwide and is a frequent guest on radio shows addressing these issues.

(All rights reserved, permission to reprint this article must be granted by author, Shelley Bluejay Pierce by contacting wahela9@yahoo.com)

see

The Critical Journey From Apathy to Empathy: A Case of Misplaced Blind Faith

Bush Claims More Powers than King George III

.