Mounds of Trash Left Behind by Environmentalists as Camps are Cleared

Wednesday, February 22, was set as the deadline for protestors to leave one of the largest camps near the Dakota Pipeline that was on federal land. Although many left early there were still some that decided to stay behind, which in turn led to their arrest as reported by NPR’s Rebecca Hersher.

The main purpose of these camps was to try to halt the progression and completion of the Dakota Pipeline due to worries that it would contaminate the drinking water for that area. This stems from the fact that part of the pipeline will be run, “under a section of the Missouri River known as Lake Oahe,” as Hersher stated in her article.

However what people aren’t discussing is all the trash and debris left behind by the protestors. We are told they’re environmentalists, which by definition tells us is, “a person who has a specially strong interest in or knowledge of the natural environment, and who wants to preserve it and prevent damage to it.” So it begs the question why these environmentalists would leave so much trash and debris behind?

Time’s Blake Nicholson and James MacPherson talked about how a massive cleanup has been in progress for weeks, starting with protestors and now being taken over by Army Corps. However, my question is why wasn’t this debris taken away step by step as each protestor left? Yes, some stayed to help clean up but to the many that left without cleaning up and claim to be environmentalists, now that is quite the double standard. They’re all concerned about making sure the pipeline doesn’t contaminate the water, but they don’t seem to be worried about the contamination from their left behind trash and debris that may be carried into drinking water sources when it rains.

(view images on NPR)

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Dakota Pipeline gives Environmentalists an Excuse to Protest

Controversy has surrounded the completion of the Dakota pipeline that stretches from North Dakota to Illinois. This pipeline was meant to help transport crude oil more efficiently and help decrease the cost of oil. However, the last bit of the pipeline that has yet to be finished and is planned to be built through property just north of Standing Rock Sioux Tribes land.

BBC News reported that the controversy stems around the fact that the Sioux Tribe says, “the government took this land from them illegally in an 1868 treaty.” The Sioux Tribe has also “argued that the project would contaminate drinking water and damage sacred burial sites,” in BBC News’ report.access-to-pipeline

This isn’t the only thing halting the pipeline though. The Washington Post’s Andrew Cullen stated in his article, “Environmentalists are allying themselves with Native Americans.” It seems to me as if the environmentalists and activists are using the Native American’s fight as an excuse to push their own agenda. In his article Cullen discusses
the fact that these environmentalists have stopped lobbying the government and have taken it upon themselves to stop progress. They want to stop energy companies and the transportation of fossil fuels that the government is trying achieve for a number of reasons. In their minds, the environmentalists, this issue is very narrowly defined and it seems like if it isn’t their way of clean fuel and energy then it shouldn’t happen at all regardless of other considerations.

(Photo courtesy of CreativeCommon.com with open copyright)

Melania Trump Scolded by the Public

As mentioned in my last blog, this past Saturday, February 18th, Melania Trump led a Trump rally with the Lord’s Prayer. However instead of the public being accepting and open to her, she has been scrutinized and ridiculed.

Obama closed a speech at a religious dinner in 2010 by saying, “And we can only achieve ‘liberty and justice for all’ if we live by that one rule at the heart of every great religion, including Islam – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto melania-trumpus.” If an Islamic person prayed in public they probably would’ve been praised for their courage and cheered on by many others. Yet, when a Christian prays in public our society gets tweets from people like @JaimePrimak that read, “Melania starts the dictatorship rally with the Lord’s Prayer? NOT EVERY AMERICAN IS CHRISTIAN!!!! Country over party.” Town Hall’s Leah Barkoukis and FoxNews.com both recounted this tweet in their articles.

In my opinion, what was even worse was when people attacked her directly. Leah Barkoukis reported, “@NicoleAngeleen tweeted: ‘I could recite the Our Father backwards, drugged with a gun to my head. If you need to read this prayer, you’re not Christian (re: Melania).’” I don’t know about you but if I were making a speech in public, especially involving a prayer that thousands knew, I would be reading off a paper as well. I’ve been a Christian all my life but I’d be so nervous that I would mess up I’d want to have a backup plan. I don’t think anyone understands the pressure that Melania was under when she spoke in front of that many people.

Our country pleads for religious tolerance. It allows students out of school for religious reasons and fights for the suppressed to have their religious voices be heard. However, when a Christian steps forward it seems as if they are being suppressed. Quoting Obama, “…do unto others as we would have them do unto us,” support everyone’s freedom of religion, being tolerant of all and not just when it is convenient.

(Photo courtesy of CreativeCommon.com with open copyright)

Religious Tolerance Comes Into Question

In 2010 Obama spoke at the Iftar Dinner, a religious observance of Ramadan, at the White House and stated, “This is America.  And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.  The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.” Our country was built on religious freedom and tolerance meaning we have a, “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.”

It seems as if our country has distorted its views of religious tolerance, it appears we, as a country, are now tolerant of only a few and have become intolerance of others. This is shown in the fact that Sunday February 19, as reported by CNN’s Eliott C. McLaughlin, New York City held an uninterrupted rally in support of the Muslim faith. However when Melania Trump decided to use a Christian prayer at a rally in Florida, as reported by FoxNews.com, her religion wasn’t just attacked but also her background and Melania personally. What happened to religious tolerance not to mention respect for the first lady?

Fake News Troubles the White House

Yesterday, February 17th, Trump tweeted out, “The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” I think everyone knows that the media and Trump haven’t necessarily gotten along the best these last several months but is it right for him to call these news outlets fake? I question just as Danielle Kurtzleben questions in her NPR article if this is really “fake” news that Trump is addressing or is it just the biased articles that are against him.

In yesterday’s press conference, which was expected to focus on the announcement of Trump’s new Secretary of Labor turned into a conference about fake news, repeating on multiple occasions, “The reporting is fake.” Trump’s supporters seem to be standing behind him as he continues his fight against fake/biased media as told by The Associated Press. Where as his critics still think he’s just using it as another excuse for not getting things done and an attempt to denounce the news that doesn’t appeal to him as Frank Scheck reported in The Hollywood Reporter.

I’m all for fighting against fake news in the traditional sense of the phrase, lies disguised as news articles that confuse and can mislead the public. However, repressing biased news is not acceptable, whether we like it or not news should be viewed and characterized as biased not fake. Both sides, Trump and the news outlets, need to understand the distinction and call it what it is on a case-by-case basis.

Job Qualification Should be All That Matters

Don’t judge others based on the color of their skin. Our culture has been taught not to judge individuals based on their race/ethnicity, yet when I read that Trump had chosen Alexander Acosta for his Labor Secretary I found it very interesting that each side of the political media brought his ethnicity/race into their articles. CNN’s John King, Manu Raju and Dan Merica wrote, “If confirmed, Acosta — the son of Cuban immigrants – would be the first Hispanic member of Trump’s Cabinet,” and Forbes’ Maggie McGrath reported, “He is the first Hispanic nominee to Trump’s Cabinet.”

This is a double standard because why does his ethnicity/race need to be brought into the article at all. This is our government, not a popularity contest. I want to hear about his qualifications that make him a good Labor Secretary and nothing else.

Women’s Rights are Human Rights, but not Ivanka’s

On January 21st of this year not only the U.S. but the world saw women’s marches happening across the country standing up for women’s rights. Part of their mission, as stated on Womensmarch.com was to emphasize that, “women’s rights are human rights.” Well to those women that marched or otherwise supported the purpose of these marches and to those who firmly believe in standing up to support all women, some of you are falling down on the job. Ivanka Trump is a woman, a mom and recognized as a successful businesswoman, and yet thousands are protesting her clothing line, forcing its removal from stores across the country. Caitlin Moscatello in nymag.com covers not only the boycott but also the boycott of the boycott. So now women are boycotting a successful businesswoman, just because she was raised differently than most, that shouldn’t lessen her achievements and everything she’s done for herself. It seems as if women are picking and choosing whom they will support based on political party lines. They will support Hilary but nivankaot Ivanka, Madonna and Lady Gaga but not Ivanka.

I personally don’t see what’s so different about all these successful women other than Ivanka’s father is now President. They are all wealthy, have worked hard to
get to where they are today, and yet one, Ivanka, now doesn’t have women’s support and, worse, other women are actually fighting against her. “Women can be vicious,” stated D.C. McAllister as she wrote about the double standard in her article on thefederalist.com.

I personally don’t understand their argument, which basically is that Ivanka didn’t have to work hard to achieve her success, because she did. If she had wanted to she could’ve been one of those girls on the Rich Kids of Beverley Hills TV show on E!, where she could have sat around and spent her dad’s money, but she’s not. She used what was at her disposal, which yes might’ve been connections and money that most don’t have, to start her company but why is that any different from a successful female movie star who is the daughter of a movie star? Ivanka could’ve launched her clothing line and it could’ve been a complete failure, but that didn’t happen. I for one will be standing behind Ivanka Trump and support her for her achievements just as I support the rights and achievements of other women.

(Photo courtesy of CreativeCommon.com with open copyright)

Open Discussion Cut Short

My generation…yes the Millennial Generation desperately wants to make sure our First Amendment right is not taken away from us. However, with the recent activity on college campuses what exactly does freedom of speech mean? Students at Yale University wrote a letter to a faculty member that Time’s Justin Worland provided in his article that states. “ ‘We are not asking to be coddled… [We] simply ask that our existences not be invalidated on campus. This is us asking for basic respect of our cultures and our livelihoods.’.” So are they asking the faculty to teach to their beliefs and only their beliefs? This statement was in response to a faculty member sending an email to her students asking them, “to think about the controversy through an intellectual lens that few if any had considered,” as TheAtlantic.com’s Conor Friedersdorf reported this past November.

Again, not too sure what these students at Yale are thinking. When a teacher poses a question and asks you to think critically why is that teacher automatically ridiculed. Isn’t that what are college education is all about, critical thinking? They want respect for their cultures but what about the cultures and beliefs of everyone around them? As American’s we’re taught to think differently and be open to new possibilities but this makes me feel like I might soon be forced to either A) believe what others think or B) stop voicing my opinion, STOP using MY 1st AMENDMENT RIGHT.

What happened to freedom of speech?

Back in March 2016 when Trump cancelled his rally in Chicago during the election CNN’s Marc Randazza reported, “Even after it was canceled, there were reports of several outbreaks of violence in the streets after the speech and protesters celebrating by chanting, ‘We stopped Trump!’ And now, while everyone is trying to play the blame game, Trump ironically asks, ‘What happened to freedom of speech?’”

My generation of millennials along with others, have taken their First Amendment right of freedom of speech to a new level, however there are certainly some who believe only their voices should be heard and do not extend this right to all. Madonna took this basic freedom so far as to say she had thought, “an awful lot about blowing up the White House,” as Fox News stated in an article after the women’s rally earlier this year.

CNN also reported on the US Berkeley protests of Milo Yiannopoulos who attempted to speak on campus last Wednesday, which erupted in violence because the protesTrump_protest_Chicago_March_11,_2016.jpgters did not want anyone to hear his speech. CNN’s Madison Park described the event has having caused, “$100,000 worth of damage to the campus,” which ended in, “Administrators decided to cancel the Wednesday event about two hours before the Breitbart editor’s speech.”

Our country talks a lot about our right to the First Amendment and our right to free speech however people are using violent means to make sure that doesn’t happen. If you don’t like what’s being said don’t go, but don’t disrupt another person’s right to talk just because you disagree with their ideas and values. As Randazza stated in his article, “If you are ready to point at Trump and blame him for cultivating violence, you should also condemn those who actually perpetrated violence at Cal State or in Anaheim. If you did not, then you’re not against political violence, you’re just choosing sides and applying different rules to those you agree with.”

(Photo courtesy of CreativeCommon.com with open copyright)

Tolerance or Intolerance

The Democratic Party, generally recognized as the Liberal Left, want equality for all and everyone’s voice to be heard. BalancedPolitics.org compiled a list of political ideologies for each side and included in the list under the Democrats: pro-choice, open to immigration, a strong standing behind the LGBT community, etc. The Republican Party on the other hand, generally known as the Conservative Right, upholds more traditional values. Consequently, the views of the Liberal Left can be interpreted as being the more tolerant, tolerant meaning accepting, patient, law-abiding, etc. Unfortunately, I was unable to open Democratic Convention website, making it difficult to compare their official platform with the GOP’s. This makes me question why the Democratic website is down during such a controversial time. CNN’s Gregory Krieg reported on the protests following the election and although many were peaceful the violent actions of others can hardly be viewed as tolerant or peaceful.