September 30, 2017
Helen Dyer sends this our way.
Here is an example of how the Left progresses in their endless quest. While this is utterly crazy on the face of it, it serves a real purpose; to redefine the meaning of the word "person" , to extend it to nonliving things. Liberals don't like the special nature of personhood; they prefer a world where we are nothing but animated meat, walking muscle and bone. They want a mechanistic universe governed by deterministic forces. Personhood gets in the way of their ambitions, which include absolute power over the individual. Why not, if a person is an illusion and all that is real is a sort of machine? So they do crazy stuff like this now, with the intent of putting this in the public consciousness and eventually using it later. It's how they operate.
So here it is from WND:
"DENVER – In a lawsuit against the state of Colorado, a coalition of environmental groups are asking a federal court to grant "personhood” to the Colorado River.
Yes, what the abortion industry in America refuses to grant to unborn children, a lawsuit now is seeking for a river and its tributaries.
"Our system of law has failed to stop the degradation of the natural environment, and consequently, has failed to protect the natural and human communities which depend on it for their survival and livelihood,” states the complaint filed this week in U.S. District Court in Colorado by Deep Green Resistance, the Southwest Coalition and several individuals."
See, a dog is a boy, is a cow, is a chicken, is a horse. We are all just animated meat. And an ecosystem? Why, it has MORE rights than we do because there are more living things in it.
I wonder how the Colorado River will take the witness stand in court...
Exit question; if a river is a person and has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, then do we have a right to build levees and dams and thus restrict it's liberty? And what exactly does a river do to pursue happiness? Flood, I guess.
My Uganda friend Steven Lyazi has written another thought-provoking article. As he notes, too many natural disasters are being blamed on fossil fuels and manmade climate change. Many of those disasters were caused in part by human activities, but not those cited by climate alarmists. Al Gore and other activists, Steven says, "want to become our Jesus, and save us from global warming disasters, by keeping us poor and at the mercy of Mother Nature” – when it is fossil fuels that will actually improve and save countless lives in Africa and other still impoverished regions of the world.
"Where is the justice and humanity in any of this?” Steven wants to know.
What natural disasters should teach us
Hurricanes, landslides and other disasters show Africans why we need fossil fuels
I express my deepest sympathies to the people in the Caribbean and United States who have been impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The loss of life was tragic but has thankfully been much lower than in many previous storms. Buildings are stronger, people get warned in time to get out, and they have vehicles to get to safer places until the storms pass.
I also send my sincere sympathies to my fellow Ugandans who have been affected by terrible landslides in eastern Uganda, near Kenya. Natural disasters often strike us hard. Sometimes it is long droughts that dry up our crops and kill many cattle. This year it is torrential rains and landslides.
This time we were lucky. The collapsing hillsides destroyed three villages, but thankfully it was daytime and people were outside. They lost their homes, cattle and ripened crops, but not their families. A horrendous mudslide in the same mountainous area in 2010 buried 350 parents and children under 40 feet of mud and rock.
People there have been cutting down trees for decades – for fuel, lumber and to grow crops. Now no roots hold the hills together when it rains. More cracks have appeared in the hills, so more slides are likely. But people don’t want to leave their lands, and they’re not planting new trees either.
Some people are ignoring all this history and the human roles in causing these "natural” disasters. They are blaming the rains and mudslides on global warming, climate change and the fossil fuels that modern industrialized countries burn to provide modern homes, travels and living standards.
These false claims are intended to divert us from real problems. They are intended to justify demands and campaigns that Ugandans and other Africans should rely on a few wind turbines and solar panels and should never use oil, natural gas or coal to provide cheap, reliable and plentiful energy so that we can live more like Americans or Europeans.
These people want to become our Jesus, and save us from "global warming disasters,” by keeping us poor and at the mercy of Mother Nature. Former vice president Mr. Al Gore said manmade global warming has increased the number and strength of tornadoes and hurricanes, Mount Kilimanjaro’s glacier would disappear by 2016, and Arctic summers would be ice-free as soon as 2014.
None of this happened. So he just changed the year when the disasters will hit. Mr. Gore declares in his film that "it is right to save humanity.” Yes, it is and I support that with no argument.
But I would suggest that he and his friends begin by injecting their own billions of dollars into fossil fuels and nuclear energy to create jobs around the world, help us build modern homes, uplift economies so that people can live a self-sustainable life, and get rid of the diseases that are killing us.
He needs to stop trying to scare us by spreading false gospels about mankind and fossil fuels. He needs to stop trying to save humanity from movie disasters, when we face real disasters. He needs to stop making us rely on renewable energy, while he continues to have many big homes, drive around in big cars and fly in private jets all over the world.
Just in the last 25 years, fossil fuels have helped over 1.5 billion people in developing nations get electricity and escape deprivation, starvation, and lung and intestinal diseases that used to kill them and their children. But Africa, India and Asia still have vast regions that need to be electrified. More than a billion people in those regions still do not enjoy the wonderful blessings that electricity brings.
These places need more coal, gas and nuclear power plants. Thankfully they are building them, no matter what Mr. Gore and his radical friends say. Mr. Gore and his friends have fancy homes with every modern technology that electricity can bring. They have cars and modern hospitals.
My family in Kampala has a few of these things – a few lights and a radio, small stove and not even a little refrigerator. I just got a used computer that a friend sent me from the United States. Someday we would like a television and a normal sized refrigerator, like what we see in Europe and the States. Can we dream that someday we will have air conditioning?
Can the people in eastern Uganda dream of a time when they can rebuild their homes with more than mud and sticks? And actually have electricity, lights, refrigerators and stoves?
Radical Al Gore, renewable energy cheerleaders and climate activists have sweet homes and nice cars, jets and trains to take them anywhere they want to go 24/7. They cannot even come close to understanding how it feels to live in darkness, drink dirty water, and have no medicine except herbs and the grace of God when they get sick from malaria and other diseases they have never even heard of. They cannot imagine not being able to have a cold drink or hot coffee when they want one.
But they tell us we should be happy to enjoy the tiny improvements we might get from wind and solar power, as an "acceptable” and "preferred” and "sustainable” alternative to really better lives.
I have said this in my past articles, and I will still say it again. In Sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 700 million people still cook with wood, charcoal and animal dung, Hundreds of millions get horribly sick every year – and thousands die every year from lung and intestinal diseases, because we have to breathe smoke from open fires and don’t have refrigeration, clean water and safe food. Hundreds of millions are starving and malnourished, and try to survive on a few dollars a day.
Mr. Al Gore, how many dollars do you "survive” on per day? How many homes and refrigerators do you have? Can your refrigerators hold more than a few vegetables and a few bottles of milk or water?
To use the words of Rabbi Daniel Lapin, our impoverished masses simply want to take their rightful, God-given places among Earth’s healthy and prosperous people. Instead, we are being told "that wouldn’t be sustainable.” We are being told that improving our health, living standards and life spans is less important than avoiding the forthcoming climate cataclysm that Mr. Gore and his movies and computer models say will happen if we Africans modernize with fossil fuels.
These claims – and the false solutions to make-believe problems sometime in our future – ignore the real disasters and deaths that face us right now, every day of the year. They are intended to divert us from the better lives and sweet homes we dream of. They are intended to make Mr. Gore and his friends and the radical cheerleaders feel like they are saving Africans and our planet, while in reality they are killing millions of us every year.
Right this very minute, climate alarmists are blaming hurricanes and landside on fossil fuels. While they enjoy fancy homes, cozy beds and sofas, heating and air conditioning that keep them comfortable all year round, televisions and Alexa music, air travel whenever they want to go somewhere – they tell us Africans we should be happy and content with our "simple lives.” They tell us we should keep our oil, gas, coal and nuclear energy underground and untouched.
This is disgraceful. It is unacceptable. We will no longer tolerate it.
Alexander King was the co-founder of the Club of Rome, which wrote The Limits to Growth book. During World War II, he organized production of a new insecticide and gave it the name DDT. The chemical saved the lives of thousands of Allied troops in the Far East. It was also used to stop typhus epidemics in Europe after the war.
But later on he said: "My own doubts came when DDT was introduced for civilian use. In Guyana, within two years, it had almost eliminated malaria, but at the same time the birth rate had doubled. So my chief quarrel with DDT, in hindsight, is that it has greatly added to the population problem. Of course, I can’t play God on that one.”
But King and his followers did play God. They got DDT banned and even blocked its use in preventing malaria for decades. Millions of African parents and children died. Now his descendants want to keep us from using fossil fuels. Where is the justice and humanity in any of this?
Steven Lyazi is a student and worker in Kampala, Uganda. He served as special assistant to Congress of Racial Equality-Uganda director Cyril Boynes, until Mr. Boynes’ death in January 2015. He plans to attend college and help his country and Africa get the energy and other modern technologies they need.
September 29, 2017
The title refers to an excellent posting on Power Line today, but could just as well refer to the recent action by Colin Kaepernick and his buddies: an action that has gotten the whole country riled up, up to and including our President.
Bingo! Living in the Twin Cities as I do, I must say that the only time I look at the Star Tribune, it's online, and only to find a sports score.
The controversy over the NFL’s indulgence of players protesting the national anthem might be treated as a time to learn. One might learn something from Heather Mac Donald about the mythology underlying Colin Kaepernick’s protest "against the incredible number of unarmed black people being killed by the police.” In Kaepernick’s honor, I say that one deserved a high Colinic flush. Instead it metastasized with the invaluable assistance of Barack Obama and his acolytes in the administration and in the media.
One might learn something about the NFL’s standard operating procedure for the national anthem. According to the league’s operations manual: "The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem. During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking….Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses.” While the NFL has enforced rules against other instances of individualized expression by players wearing their team uniforms, it has somehow indulged the Colinic metastasis.
Writing at the site of Center of the American Experiment, John Hinderaker quotes my friend and former colleague Teresa Collett of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. As is her wont, Professor Collett is trying to do some teaching in a teachable moment. She explains:
I don’t watch football. I don’t care about football. But I do care about constitutional literacy. Please stop saying football players have first amendment rights to disregard the direction of their private employers while engaged in privately sponsored activities — which is what NFL football games are. They have no more constitutional protection for their expressive activities than I do for mine at my private Catholic university. Any "rights” they have are based on their contracts and employment law.
On the one hand, we have Professor Collett teaching something true about the scope of our Fist Amendment speech rights. On the other hand, we have Star Tribune sportswriter Michael Rand triumphantly declaiming:
A gameday manual can say what it wants. So can a president, for that matter. At the end of the day, we’re still back to the First Amendment — the trump card, so to speak — which carries just a little more sway than a logistical document or a tweet.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Free speech leads to uncomfortable conversations — ones that Rodgers, correctly, says we need to be having. Debating whether a league rule means players shouldn’t be able to start that conversation probably means you don’t want to have that conversation.
Enough false flags. The real one is too important.
The First Amendment protects Michael Rand’s right to display his ignorance and make a fool of himself in the pages of the Star Tribune. One might learn that Rand therefore needs someone to protect him from himself. (Editors?) Or one might learn you can’t believe everything you read in the Star Tribune.
The entire Power Line article is here: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/a-right-to-make-a-fool-of-himself.php
The Aviary will be a bit hit or miss for the next few weeks. Our chief editor (some goofball who started a blog) is a bit busy just now with family issues and whatno. But fear not@ Jack Kemp and Dana Mathewson will keep you company, and they will do a fine job of entertaining and enlightening. And I will pop in occasionally for a load of b, er, wit and wisdom.
New content will remain under this post.
By Robert Romano
We’re still looking for Boris and Natasha.
First, it was reports that Wisconsin’s voter registration systems had not been breached by Russian hackers, and now California has a similar story.
On Wisconsin, per the Associated Press, "The state was initially told that hackers had attempted to scan its internet-connected election infrastructure, likely seeking specific vulnerabilities to access voter registration databases. Days later, the Wisconsin Elections Board was told by Homeland Security officials that the scanning involved the state's Department of Workforce Development, which oversees job training and unemployment benefits.”
And in California, according to the Secretary of State’s office, "Last Friday, my office was notified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Russian cyber actors 'scanned' California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016, including Secretary of State websites. Following our request for further information, it became clear that DHS’ conclusions were wrong. DHS confirmed that Russian scanning activity had actually occurred on the California Department of Technology statewide network, not any Secretary of State website. Based on this additional information, California voters can further rest assured that the California Secretary of State elections infrastructure and websites were not hacked or breached by Russian cyber actors.”
So, wait. How does DHS mistake a state’s voter registration system for its Department of Workforce Development that handles unemployment benefits?
Or the Secretary of State’s website and election infrastructure with its Department of Technology, which has nothing to do with elections in California but instead handles information technology at unrelated state agencies?
DHS had notified 21 states in total of supposed Russian hacking: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
DHS has since issued a statement that it "stands by its assessment that Internet-connected networks in 21 states were the target of Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure.”
Shouldn’t it be 19 states now, assuming these are the only discrepancies with the original assessment? And note the malleable words, "Internet-connected networks in 21 states,” which sounds a lot less certain than was originally billed.
The Director of National Intelligence assessment was more specific in January, "Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards.”
Prior to the election in October, DHS had issued a joint assessment stating, "Some states have also recently seen scanning and probing of their election-related systems, which in most cases originated from servers operated by a Russian company. However, we are not now in a position to attribute this activity to the Russian Government.”
But, added the statement, "States ensure that voting machines are not connected to the Internet, and there are numerous checks and balances as well as extensive oversight at multiple levels built into our election process.” In other words, nobody ever thought ballots had been tampered with or could have been in the first place. Leading to the obvious question: If there was no danger to the integrity of the elections, why were assessments being issued before they took place?
In the meantime, no word yet on other discrepancies to do with these assessments or what evidence led DHS to originally issue the warning a year ago. Also, no explanation has been given for why it took DHS a year to even provide information about the supposed breach to the states said to have been targeted.
Elections are run by the states. Wasn’t this supposed to be some sort of an emergency? Russia was hacking our election systems. It was an attack on our democracy comparable to a cyber Pearl Harbor. Yet it wasn’t until last week basic information was provided to the states, many of which have held primaries and other special elections in the intervening months using those very systems that were supposedly compromised.
But now we know much of it did not even constitute a real threat to the election systems, which might remind everyone of the intelligence services pivot from Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to weapons of mass destruction capabilities last decade when the weapons stocks could not be found.
How do you go from "election-related systems” and "state or local election boards” to "Internet-connected networks in 21 states” including unrelated IT departments and workforce development departments "seeking vulnerabilities and access to U.S. election infrastructure”?
It seems like that DHS is back-tracking, and now at least California and Wisconsin know why.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
The cultural rot is spreading. There is a photo circulating, gone viral, on the internet of a man taking a knee at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington Cemetery while "Taps" was being played. The angle of the photo does not clearly show his race. And I chose not to post the photo here which can be seen at the link below. But the deplorable man who did this may well be identified later in the media. Some cable news show might even want to invite him on the air - and he may accept.
The "geniuses" at the NFL have let a genie out of the bottle. I include the owners and the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell among them. And the calmly spoken, overly compartmentalized rationalizations (read: lies) in which NFL people say that the taking of a knee isn't about the Flag or whatever are now spreading to become easily provable as lies. These protests are an attack on civility, America and now even dead combat veterans who are not in a position to rise up against this punk at Arlington. But this action clearly is an affront to all who served and to all other Americans who respect those who served.
Hat Tip: Sgt. (ret.) Brett D'Alessandro, United States Marine Corps.
September 28, 2017
An African American woman has posted a sobbing video that has gone viral in which she delineates a vicious assault on her person by occupants of a red pickup truck. They ruthlessly tossed a piece of fried chicken through her open car window as they passed her while she was turning onto another street.
According to KSDK St. Louis, Alexis Newsome -- a resident of the largely white suburb of Manchester, was assaulted by the flying poultry as she made a turn onto highway 141: "accelerating, a red pickup truck going west, the opposite direction, threw a piece of fried chicken through my window, into my car. At the time it was being thrown I did not know it was fried chicken, I thought it was an egg."
But, upon examination of the weapon, she came to the obvious conclusion; this was no ordinary chicken attack but was a racist act, a white supremacist assault on her dignity and security. As KSDK reports: "Newsome went on to say she posted the video so people would understand what the experience felt like. "A piece of fried chicken was thrown through my window, there is only one way to take this. This implies so much negative connotation."
Yes, it bespeaks the serious problem of excess saturated fat in the American diet. How could someone throw away a perfectly good piece of chicken when there are starving people in the Third World?
But that''s not what Alexis meant:
"It’s not easy living in this brown skin, but I want you to understand. I can’t make you understand if you don’t want to.”
instead of it being thoughtless act by a dining trucker, it is a
racist assault, an act so vile that one wonders what is to come next? Perhaps the assailant will toss out some mashed potatoes and slaw to go with it!
But that didn't stop several local news stations from running this story. At a time when Black Lives Matter are prowling the metropolitan area, invading shopping malls and restaurants and harassing white people we are being treated to stories about flying chicken legs and other "microaggresions".
Maybe the press should worry more about the bottles of urine being thrown at police by protesters.
Alexis may be sincere or may be another fake hate story manufacturer, but if we assume she is sincere it illustrates the problems we currently have in this grievance drenched society. See, Alexis and so many other minorities have enormous egos, puffed up pride. They think that they are so important that white people sit at home at night plotting ways to degrade and suppress them. Their egos will not allow them to understand that most people simply live their lives and don't give a lot of thought to them one way or another. If a piece of chicken was tossed into her car (and we only have her word for it, since she had no camera to show someone other than that she herself put it there) then the logical assumption was that it was a thoughtless act.
Was it a nice thing to do? Of course not, but people do that sort of thing. I once had a bag of McDonald's tossed at me out of a car full of black people a number of years ago. I could have assumed it was black racism; Ronald McDonald is white, after all. But I assumed they were just some jerks wanting to be rid of a bag. I didn't take it personally, because my ego is not that large. I do not believe black people are plotting against me in the night.
But that is the core of this "microaggression" business. Black ego is inflated by civil rights leaders, by teachers and professors, until it becomes so large that every action by an individual outside of the protected class becomes a slight. If a black person doesn't get a job it's never because they were less qualified, but rather because of white racism. Even though the U.S. government has done "race norming" for decades, giving at least ten points to minorities on the civil service exam, and given the affirmative action policies implemented by most H.R. divisions inside of most major corporations one must wonder at claims of black suppression. Black people appear to have special privileges in modern America, ones that the white majority is denied. And it shows, as white males are the only demographic with a falling life expectancy.
But when the white majority votes for their interests (as in electing Donald Trump or Missouri Governor Greitens) we are treated to an endless parade of stories about evil assaults on minorities. But there aren't any happening, or none of any real consequence, so we are given faux outrages such as flying poultry or ribbons in trees representing nooses. Where once there really were horrendous racial attacks worthy of being remembered the modern civil rights movement is left to indulge in kabuki theatre, in farce.
My advice to our dear little black snowflake Alexis is to grow up. One of the things mature people realize is that the world does not revolve around you, and even if something is intended as an insult a grown person shrugs it off. The ability to ignore a slight is far greater than the childlike ability to get worked up. Children always throw tantrums when they are not happy.
Tim Blogs at The Aviary www.tbirdnow.mee.nu
Your Tax Dollars At Work:
U.S. Pays $200k to Study Impact of Stigma, Minority Stress on "Gender Nonconforming People”
SEPTEMBER 27, 2017
The Trump administration is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to conduct research on transgender health, including "gender nonconforming people of all ages,’ according to a U.S. government grant announcement. The money will flow through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s medical research agency and will focus on both youth and adults who are questioning their gender identity as well as individuals who are making or who have made a transition from being identified as one gender to the other. "This group encompasses individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex on their original birth certificate or whose gender expression varies significantly from what is traditionally associated with or typical for that sex,” the government document states.
The taxpayer dollars will fund "exploratory or developmental research” on the health of transgender and gender nonconforming people and will address the medical, sociological, psychological and structural causes and consequences of transgender and gender nonconforming identities. "Investigations of the social determinants of health in these populations are needed, including understanding the impact of stigma, the high impact of HIV, minority stress, education, employment, violence, homelessness, and incarceration,” the government announcement says. "More information is needed on relationships with partners and family, as well as on sexual and reproductive health. Successful aging, including the impact of life events, experiences, and interventions such as hormone therapy and surgery are other important topics to investigate. It will also be important to learn more about brain development, resilience, and end-of-life issues.”
The areas of research sought are vast and include the development of methods responsive to the heterogeneity of transgender and gender nonconforming populations. This is further described as gender identity and fluidity, sexual orientation, developmental stages, hormonal regimens, surgical procedures and racial/ethnic differences. The government also wants to obtain data on the incidence and prevalence of childhood gender-variant or transgender and gender nonconforming identities continuing into adolescence and adulthood gender identity development and change within diverse racial and ethnic groups. Uncle Sam also wants to know if a diagnosis of gender dysphoria is stigmatizing, the effects of hormone therapy on the fertility of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals and the health consequences of body fillers such as silicones. The administration also wants to develop methods to better understand non-response and non-participation among transgender and gender nonconforming persons in scientific surveys and other studies. "Hispanic-serving institutions” and "historically black colleges and universities” are especially encouraged to apply for the public grants to conduct this important research for American taxpayers.
Read the whole thing at Judicial Watch.
September 27, 2017
The Pittsburgh Steeler's current military veteran made me recall a different one who I do not believe would have either been asked to - or would apologize for - standing for the National Anthem.
In the famous 1970s championship years of the Pittsburgh Steelers, they had a running back who was a wounded Vietnam veteran who rehabilitated and won a starting
backfield position. If you are of a certain age, you may have heard of him. His name was Rocky Bleier.
Born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, Bleier was the oldest of four children of Bob and Ellen Bleier, who ran a tavern - Bleier's Bar - while the family of six lived above it. He had a paper route as a youth, and graduated from Xavier High School in 1964, where he starred in football and basketball. In football, Bleier was a three-time all-state selection as running back, and won all-conference honors at both linebacker and defensive back. He was a team captain in football, basketball, and track.
Bleier played college football at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, and graduated in 1968 with a degree in business management. During his junior season in 1966, the Fighting Irish won the national championship and he was a team captain as a senior in 1967. He was selected in the 16th round of the 1968 NFL/AFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 417th overall.
After his rookie season with the Steelers, Bleier was drafted into the U.S. Army in December 1968 during the Vietnam War. He volunteered for duty in South Vietnam and shipped out for Vietnam in May 1969 assigned to Company C, 4th Battalion (Light), 31st Infantry 196th Light Infantry Brigade and assigned as a squad grenadier operating a 40mm M79 grenade launcher. On August 20, while on patrol in Heip Duc, Bleier was wounded in the left thigh by an enemy rifle bullet when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy. While he was down, an enemy grenade landed nearby after bouncing off a fellow soldier, sending shrapnel into his lower right leg. He lost part of his right foot in the blast as well. He was later awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. His rank was Specialist 4.
While he was recovering in a hospital in Tokyo, doctors told him that he could not play football again. Soon after, he received a postcard from Steelers owner Art Rooney which read "Rock - the team's not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney". Bleier later said, "When you have somebody take the time and interest to send you a postcard, something that they didn't have to do, you have a special place for those kind of people". After several surgeries, he was discharged from the military in July 1970 and began informal workouts with Steeler teammates.
Bleier rejoined the Steelers in camp in 1970. Upon his return, he couldn't walk without being in pain, and weighed only 180 pounds (82 kg). He was put on injured
reserve for the season, but returned in 1971 and played on special teams. He spent several seasons trying to get increased playing time, and was waived on two occasions. But Bleier never gave up, and said that he worked hard so that "some time in the future you didn't have to ask yourself 'what if?'". An offseason training regimen brought Bleier back to 212 lb (96 kg) in the summer of 1974, and he earned a spot in the Steelers' starting lineup.
Since Preston Pearson was wearing number 26 (the number Bleier wore his rookie season before he went to Vietnam), Bleier switched to number 20 when he returned to the team. After Pearson was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1975, Bleier kept the number 20, with which he had become associated.
In addition to being a great lead blocker, Bleier was the second of the Steelers' rushing weapons (Franco Harris was the primary back), but was effective nonetheless at both blocking and rushing. In 1976, both Harris and Bleier rushed for over 1,000 yards, making this the second NFL team to accomplish this feat, after Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.
Bleier played in the first four Steeler Super Bowl victories, and caught the touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw that gave Pittsburgh a lead it would never surrender in Super Bowl XIII. He also recovered Dallas's onside kick in the closing seconds, sealing the Steelers' victory.
Bleier retired after the 1980 season with 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions for 1,294 yards, and 25 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement, he was the Steelers' fourth all-time leading rusher.
Bleier wrote a book of his struggle to recover from his war wounds called Fighting Back: The Rocky Bleier Story, and it was made into a television movie in 1980, with Robert Urich starring as Bleier, Richard Herd as Steelers coach Chuck Noll, Art Carney as team owner Art Rooney, and many of Bleier's teammates (including Matt Bahr and "Mean Joe” Greene) as themselves. Bleier is featured in the 2014 feature documentary "Project 22", which chronicles the cross-country motorcycle journey of two young veterans exploring alternative treatments for PTSD and TBI.
Bleier has four children. He has two children from his marriage with Aleta Giacobine Whitaker, from whom he was divorced in October 1996. He also has two adopted children with his second wife, Jan Gyurina. As of 2011, he lived in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania.
Bleier has become an author and speaker on retirement and financial management. He has authored the book Don't fumble your retirement and is the co-host of a
weekly radio show The Rock on Retirement on Pittsburgh radio station 104.7 FM WPGB. He runs Bleier Zagula Financial with his business partner Matt Zagula.
You can watch the two hour Rocky Bleier made for tv movie for free on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAmMP3MusDs
I tried to load "Project 22" as a free view on PBS at http://www.pbs.org/video/soptv-stories-service-project-22/ but had a problem with my computer. Here is a
description of the film:
After tragedy struck home last year, two combat-wounded veterans set out to end a little-known epidemic in America. Their 6,500-mile cross-country mission was to raise awareness of the high rate of suicide amongst Veterans and show their brothers and sisters-at-arms that there is hope for them. During their journey, they interviewed researchers, healthcare providers, and Veterans. Many of those they encountered had either contemplated or attempted suicide and were able to share the life-saving alternative sources of hope that they had found. Asking hard-hitting questions and opening up about their own struggles, and painfully spurred on by recent estimations that 22 veterans are taking their own lives every single day, Daniel and Doc will stop at nothing to reach tomorrow’s twenty-two.
Project 22 includes interviews with veterans who have found help and support for problems they faced after coming home through various therapies and programs.
Some which they found effective in easing their pain are shown in the film and include: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Equine therapy, Military Therapy Dogs,
Meditation, Veteran Sailing Groups, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, and more.
MAKING OF PROJECT 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.
We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.
Doc flew back to Dallas with a small crew to film three interviews missed during the trip due to inclement weather. Medicinal Missions continued the awareness campaign, through events and social media, leading up to and following the release of the documentary. Project 22 screened by request more than one hundred times around the United States, before the television premier hosted by Southern Oregon Public Television and the subsequent international, online release on PBS.org.
Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Medicinal Missions is a production company and social enterprise co-owned by Daniel Egbert & Doc King. Their first production, Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit.
From Power Line:
The article contains specifics of the proposed monument -- which is to be anything but monumental. Indeed, it will be an insult to the memory of a great man, a great American.
Dwight Eisenhower was one of the greatest Americans of the twentieth century. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces, he led the United States to victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. As president of the United States, he presided over a period of normalcy and peace with many accomplishments that benefited the country. A memorial is to be erected on the mall in Washington, DC, in his honor.
Princeton’s Fred Greenstein rescued the reputation of Eisenhower’s presidency from liberal derision in the groundbreaking 1982 book The Hidden-Hand Presidency. Who will rescue Ike from the memorial to be erected in his honor? The cause is urgent and the time is now.
Frank Gehry is the architect of the proposed memorial. The works of Gehry are a blight upon the land. Gehry’s memorial design features large metal tapestries with images of Eisenhower’s boyhood home in Abilene, Kansas and a statue of a young Eisenhower seeming to marvel at what would become of his life. Gehry presents an intentionally reductionist and mystifying view of Ike. His proposed memorial effects a form of civic degradation at great public expense.
The memorial monstrosity is on the verge of final approval. It is time for intervention by President Trump or Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Today at NRO George Weigel reviews the procedural status of the memorial design and calls for a halt.
Weigel’s column is the latest in recent looks at the memorial that include Michah Meadowcroft’s "A whole tapestry of mess” (Washington Free Beacon), Alice Lloyd’s "Drunk history” (Weekly Standard) and Thomas Phippen’s "‘Tangled rat’s nest’ to memorialize Dwight Eisenhower” (Daily Caller).
Prominent art historians and critics have written with great acuity about Gehry’s monstrosity. See, for example, Catesby Leigh’s recent City Journal column "Monumental folly” and former NEH Chairman Bruce Cole’s New Criterion essay "A monumental shame.” Cole’s 2016 New Criterion review of the overstuffed Gehry biography by Paul Goldberger also provides useful background in this context. His review was aptly titled "All that’s Gehrish.”
Please read the entire article: http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/09/if-you-liked-ike.php
And here is another article, from National Review Online, decrying the monstrosity: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/451835/stop-eisenhower-memorial-now-everyone-hates-it-left-right
Michelle Malkin has a great article today destroying the argument that the NFL is a "private business" that President Trump has no right to criticize.
After she pointed out that not one of these "free enterprise, free speech advocates" had a word of complaint for the Boston and Chicago mayors who blasted Chick-fil-A for their private religious beliefs, two politicians' criticism of a truly private business. She goes on to say:
Over the past decade, new tax-supported NFL stadiums rose up for the Indianapolis Colts (the $720 million Lucas Oil Stadium), the Dallas Cowboys (the $1.15 billion AT&T Stadium) the New York Jets and Giants (the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings (the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium), the Atlanta Falcons (the $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium), and the San Francisco 49ers (the $1.3 billion Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara).
Next in the works: a whopping $2.6 billion stadium for the Los Angeles Chargers and Rams and a $1.9 billion stadium for the Oakland Raiders when they move to Las Vegas. Left behind? An $83 million taxpayer debt on two-decade-old renovations to the Alameda County Coliseum that the Raiders are abandoning.
Both political parties have supported massive redistribution of taxes from working people to the gridiron's spoiled 1-percenters. Public-private sports palace boosters employ the same bogus economic development math as the federal government's infamous Solyndra green energy loans, stimulus rip-offs and jobs programs. Citizens are promised an enormous multiplier of jobs and benefits in return for their "investments." But instead they've been saddled with a field of schemes.
END OF QUOTE
Read the rest of the article.
September 26, 2017
Eye opening stats.
Lies of BLM.
In a recent article, Fr. James Schall, S.J. argues that "The only real way to eliminate the historic aggressiveness of Islam is to convert its believers.” Yet if you had to bet, "the conversion of the world to Islam is, in the long run, more likely than its conversion to Christianity.”The entire article is found at https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2017/09/23/the-next-scandal-in-the-church/
From a purely human perspective, the conversion of Muslims is a tall order. It’s not just that Islam is a tough nut to crack, it’s also that some today – usually Catholics – have an aversion to conversion. (Even the pope had denounced "proselytism.”) In good multicultural fashion, they don’t want to fiddle with the unique cultural identity of the "other.”
These fashionable ideas won’t attract many Muslims, and it has an alienating effect on Christians as well. The Church in the West has been losing members as a result of the impression it gives that other faiths are just as valid as our own. So before undertaking the conversion of the Muslim world, the Church needs first to do something about the deconversion of Christians.
Ironically, one of the factors that is driving people out of the Church is its response to Islamic terror. After every terrorist attack, the Vatican (or some prominent bishop) assures us that the violence has nothing to do with Islam, which we are told is a "religion of peace” – a response not a whit different from the politically correct, secular liberal response.
In fact, Church leaders often put secular leaders to shame in their advocacy for Islam. The Obama administration called for the admittance of 10,000 Syrian refugees; the USCCB called for 100,000. When European leaders began to admit that Muslim migration should be restricted for the sake of national security, Pope Francis responded by insisting that the safety of migrants was more important than national security.
Yesterday I posted, with lots of fanfare, about how Pittsburgh Steelers player Alejandro Villanueva defied a team effort to hide out in the tunnel (or the locker room) to avoid being on the field during the playing of the National Anthem, and came out and stood alone for the Anthem. Much was made of his U.S. Army service and his respect for our flag.
Now it appears somebody "got to" Villanueva -- that's the only thing I can think -- and he is apologizing for "making his team look bad."
The image of Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva standing alone for the national anthem became one of the most memorable of a Sunday full of NFL demonstrations.https://sports.yahoo.com/alejandro-villanueva-takes-blame-standing-anthem-223017948.html
It was also unintended.
Villanueva, a former Army Ranger whose jersey sales skyrocketed after fans saw images of him standing for the anthem at the front of the tunnel alone while his teammates were out of view, said he didn’t mean to be by himself during the anthem. He regretted it happened and said he didn’t mean to make his coach Mike Tomlin or his teammates, who agreed to not go on the field for the anthem as a sign of team unity, look bad.
players-only meeting on Saturday night, PennLive.com reported. It ended up with one player who has three tours of duty in Afghanistan standing by himself and unwittingly becoming a symbol for those who disagree with the protests.
"I made my teammateslookbad, and that is my fault only,” Villanueva said, according to KDKA. "We as a team tried to figure it out, but obviously butchered it.
"For anybody who thinks coach Tomlin is not as patriotic as you can get in America, I’m offended by that,” Villanueva said. "I made coach Tomlin look bad, and that is my fault, and my fault only.”
I wonder if this means he will return the proceeds from the skyrocketing sales of his jersey?
The Los Angeles Times reports:
As the unprecedented fallout from hurricanes Irma and Maria continues to reveal itself in Puerto Rico, Jennifer Lopez has promised that help is on the way.
Appearing at a Sunday press conference with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the singer and actress announced that she is donating $1 million to the ravaged U.S. territory.
"Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are using all our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean," Lopez said.
Rodriguez, who is dating Lopez, lived in the Dominican Republic growing up and Lopez's family hails from Puerto Rico.
Lopez is also working closely with ex-husband Marc Anthony, whose roots also go back to Puerto Rico, to mobilize aid to both Mexico and the Caribbean.
END OF QUOTE
But Marc Anthony also said something else, giving us a hint at why he is Jenny from the Block's ex-husband. And also why Marc Anthony is nothing like the Consul of the Roman Republic Mark Anthony who made a most eloquent speech in Shakespeare's play "Julius Ceasar."
Fox News reports that:
Marc Anthony has some scathing words for Donald Trump, pleading with the president to forget about football and focus instead on hurricane-hammered Puerto Rico.
Anthony tweeted on Monday night: "Mr. President shut the f--- up about NFL. Do something about our people in need in #PuertoRico. We are American Citizens too."
END OF QUOTE
I don't care if you voted for Hillary and went door to door trying get your neighbors to also vote for her. If you are trying to get help for storm ravaged Puerto Rico, the absolute dumbest thing you can now do is to curse out the man who controls FEMA, the U.S. military's equipment and rescue missions, the Federal mortgage insurance agencies and the broadcast licences of every major television and radio station in America at a time when Puerto Rico needs media ability to help facilitate news of voluntary donations efforts to aid Puerto Rico. And before the hurricane hit Puertor Rico, it also had a financial debt crisis. According to Wikipedia, Puerto Rico has over $70 billion in outstanding debt and a pension debt crisis of $50 billion dollars "after decades of mismanagement." I believe the President has great power concerning government agency loans and has the ability to sign or veto bills passed in Congress that could aid Puerto Rico with all their problems.
I don't recall Sylvester Turner, the Democrat Mayor of Houston, cursing or vehemently criticizing President Trump for his efforts in helping the citizens of Houston after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas and that city. That is because Mayor Turner did not curse the President and rather met with him in order to find ways to help his city recover. But Marc Anthony has won a number of American Music Awards, Billboard Latin Music Awards, Grammy Awards and Latin Grammy Awards. At this point, I'm sure that Marc Anthony thinks that those are bigger achievements than getting elected and running a major American city government. And besides, Mayor Turner never dated Jenny from the Block, you see.
So who has better judgement, Grammy winner Marc Anthony or Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez? That was a rhetorical question.
Trump should order the military to boycott NFL
September 25, 2017
Gateway Pundit reports that:
South Carolina restaurant owner David McGraw, a former military memeber, vows to ban NFL games from his establishment in response to over 200 players disrespecting the US flag and military.
David McGraw told reporters, "NFL will never be played at Palmetto Alehouse until all players pay respect to our flag and our country!!!”
Note: This post now has two parts!
Well! With all the important things facing this country (North Korea's nukes, horrendous storm damage to Houston, Florida, and various islands in the Caribbean, Republicans' failures to advance the President's legislative agenda, etc.) our oh-so-patriotic Drive-By Media keeps producing squirrels to distract us.
The current squirrel is the flap about NFL players refusing to stand for the National Anthem. Why, if you listen to them, you'd actually believe that America is a nation of racial hatred and oppression (on the part of whites, of course) and it's only through the courage of such people as Colin What's-his-name that we're just finding out about it. Now you even have the coaches getting on board.
Yesterday the Pittsburgh Steelers sank to a new low, with the team cowering in the locker room during the playing of the National Anthem -- with the approval of their coach. In fact, he pretty much ordered ALL team members to join the move.
And they did. All but one true hero.
Alejandro Villanueva is an American hero.
He's a West Point graduate -- a former Army Ranger -- served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star medal for valor and the Bronze Star medal for overseas service.
He also plays football for the Pittsburgh Steelers -- an offensive tackle.
Over the weekend, the Steelers decided they would remain inside the locker room during the National Anthem.
"People shouldn't have to choose," Coach Mike Tomlin told CBS Sports. "If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn't be forced to choose sides."
Apparently, the players were so fearful of being triggered by American patriotism they chose to sequester themselves inside a designated safe space.
And on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago, the Steelers were conspicuously absent as tens of thousands of football fans rose to their feet to honor America and our brave fighting men and women.
"We will not be divided by this," Tomlin told the Post-Gazette. We've got a group of men in there that come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, races, creeds, ethnicities,(and) religions."
Every single member of the Pittsburgh Steelers hid in the locker room -- except for one.
But instead of honoring Villanueva's decision, the head coach rebuked the decorated war veteran.
"Like I said, I was looking for 100 percent participation," Tomlin told reporters at a post-game press conference. "We were gonna be respectful of our football team."
Villanueva had a choice: either respect the football team or respect America. He chose America
Todd Starnes wrote this story for Fox News, here: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/09/25/pittsburgh-steelers-player-alejandro-villanueva-is-hero-among-cowards.htmlPersonally, I am doubly revolted by the coach's actions, and words. "Be respectful of the TEAM?" How about being respectful of the flag? And of the President, since that's what the current flap is about? And to me, it would be slightly less important if it were by some jerk-water no-account team that just joined the league recently. But this was the STEELERS, for cryin'-out loud: the team that was crushing the vaunted Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowls years ago, when the Cowboys were supposed to be "America's Team" (and I and everyone I knew hated them. To us, the Steelers were America's Team!). Can you imagine them pulling these kinds of shenanigans back when Terry Bradshaw was their heart and soul?
I see that as a result of this, Villanueva's jersey is selling like hotcakes in stores. Good! I hope it's the only one that sells!
And you can bet I won't be watching Monday Night Football tonight -- though I wouldn't have been anyhow.
FLASHBACK: NFL Banned Teams From Honoring Murdered Cops; Threatened Players Honoring 9/11Folks, it's not as if the NFL is holding out for its players to have their "First Amendment Rights" honored 100% of the time. Nosiree. Just check this little item:
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell attacked President Trump for showing a "lack of respect for the NFL” — regarding the president's recent comments criticizing players for not standing during the national anthem — because it violated the "constitutional rights of our players,” referring to the First Amendment.
This comes from the same commissioner who threatened NFL players who wanted to honor both 9/11 victims and five police officers who were murdered in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys wanted to pay tribute to the five Dallas officers who were murdered at a Black Lives Matter protest on July 7, 2016. The Cowboys had been wearing a special decal on their helmets that said "Arm in Arm” that specifically honored the police officers — that is, until the NFL stepped in and stopped it.
"The NFL had an opportunity to be leaders and advocates for change in law enforcement," Sgt. Demetrick Pennie, president of The Dallas Fallen Officer Foundation, told TMZ at the time. "These are our friends and our loved ones ... it hurts to not have the NFL fully support us.”
Nationally syndicated conservative talk-radio host, Mark Levin, fumed over the decision by the NFL, calling it "embarrassing” and "disgraceful”:
Let me tell you why the NFL won’t do this. Anyone have a guess? I have a big guess: Because they don’t want any trouble from the leftists, from the Black Lives Matter crowd. I know exactly what’s going on here. Like Hillary Clinton doesn’t seek the endorsement from the cops union. Of course not. The Democrat Party’s gone. And the NFL top brass, like the NBA top brass, like baseball top brass, all liberal Democrats. [Every] damn one of them, pretty much.
Even more disgusting was the NFL’s response last September to players who wanted to honor the thousands of Americans who were murdered by Islamic terrorists on 9/11.
"Avery Williamson, a starting linebacker for the Tennessee team, hoped to wear a pair of specially-designed cleats at his team’s home opener Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings on the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, but he backed off when a league rep vowed to fine him for violating the league’s uniform code,” the New York Post reported.
[...]The article is found here: http://www.dailywire.com/news/21473/flashback-nfl-banned-teams-honoring-murdered-cops-ryan-saavedra?utm_source=dwemail&utm_medium=email&utm_content=092517-news&utm_campaign=position2
Six NFL players ended up wearing 9/11 tribute cleats on the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attack, including Williamson — the NFL decided not to fine them after public outrage reached peak levels.
Dana adds as a postscript:
In a better world, or a world like the one we lived in not so long ago, the word would have come down from the NFL leadership (yes, they used to have leadership -- I'm sure I can remember such a time) that the players could do just about anything they damn well pleased -- as long as they were on their own time and in "private clothes." But when they were in uniform, they were representing their teams and the NFL, and were expected to NOT engage in any conduct that would in any way embarrass their team or the league in any way, said conduct was to be consistent with their identity as American citizens. Any infractions would be punished with significant fines, to be escalated for repeated infractions, including suspension from games, and, if necessary, termination of contract.
Yes, I can remember a time when this would be Standard Operating Procedure. But then, I'm in my 70's, and behavioral standards were different when I was growing up. (Sigh)
First they waged war on coal, and now they’ve launched a war on pipelines. As one activist put it, the best means of transporting oil is no transportation. But if there is going to be increased production, "I would rather it go by train.”
Right. Just replacing the Dakota Access Pipe Line would require 700 railroad tanker cars per day (256,000 per year) – or 2,000 semi-trailer tanker trucks per day on our highways (730,000 per year)! All would go through populated areas along parts of their route. It would be another Lac-Mégantic tragedy just waiting to happen: 47 people burned to death and many others seriously disfigured a few years ago in Quebec.
But in their all too typically self-righteous attitude, anti-pipeline zealots are combining rants and chants with outright sabotage. It’s time to mete out fines and jail sentences for those crimes – and educate citizens, legislators and judges about the real safety issues involved with oil and gas pipelines.
Now it’s a war on pipelines
Efforts to block and sabotage pipelines hurt jobs, economic growth, middle class, human safety
The radical environmentalist war on fossil fuels has opened a new front: a war on pipelines.
For years, activist zealots claimed the world was rapidly depleting its oil and natural gas supplies. The fracking revolution (horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing) obliterated that argument, by sending US oil and gas production to new heights. Indeed, it was record gas supplies and plummeting gas prices, combined with the Obama EPA war on coal, that closed down so many coal-fired power plants.
So the battle increasingly shifted to the far more emotional claim that continued reliance on fossil fuels (which provide over 80% of the US and global energy that powers modern civilization and living standards) will cause dangerous manmade global warming and climate change. This gave birth to the climate and renewable energy consortium and the "keep it in the ground” movement. No evidence to the contrary will budge them from their hysteria-laden talking points on looming climate cataclysms.
The journal Nature Geoscience recently published a careful study that found there has been far less planetary warming since 1998 than alarmist scientists and computer models had predicted. Because the models are based on the assumption that carbon dioxide drives climate change, they "run too hot,” resulting in predictions that deviate from actual temperature measurements more and more every year.
But instead of admitting they were wrong, the usual strident suspects in the climate crisis industry doubled down and attacked the study and any news outlet that called attention to it. Britain’s BBC denounced the inconvenient study and displayed not a whit of apology over its climate chaos claims.
Climate campaigners jumped all over Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, insisting without an iota of evidence that manmade greenhouse gases had created or at least intensified them. They’re making the equally absurd claim that shutting down US and Canadian pipelines will somehow reduce atmospheric CO2 levels and prevent climate change and extreme weather – even though China already has 2,363 coal-fired power plants and is adding 1,171 more; India has 589 and is adding another 446; Indonesia and Vietnam are adding 140 to their fleet; and even Germany is burning more coal every year.
Pipelines carry conventional, fracking and oil sands petroleum to markets: natural gas to homes and power plants, oil to refineries, oil and gas to petrochemical plants – and crude oil, refined products and liquefied natural gas to export terminals that send the energy to Europe and Asia. If they can’t prevent companies from producing oil and gas, hydrocarbon haters want to prevent them from shipping it.
"Obviously the best means of transporting oil is none,” said an activist involved in campaigns against the Keystone XL Pipeline. But if there is going to be increased production, "I would rather it go by train.”
Some pipeline protesters somehow think rail or truck transport means the oil will be used domestically, whereas pipelined crude will more likely go to coastal refineries and be shipped overseas. Others claim pipelines are less safe than truck or railroad tanker cars. They cite a 2013 International Energy Agency report that said railroad transport is six times more likely to have an accident than pipelines are – but pipelines spill three times as much oil per-billion-barrel-miles of fuel transported.
However, the study is seriously outdated. It analyzed data from 2004 to 2012 – before the surge in US oil production … and before a monumental increase in rail transportation was necessitated by protests and Obama Administration decisions blocking construction of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines.
In 2014, the USA set a new record for railroad tanker spills: 141 – versus an average of 24 during the years covered by the IEA report. Rail accidents in Colorado, Virginia, West Virginia and other states resulted in significant oil spills, evacuations and even serious explosions, but fortunately no deaths. However, a 2013 disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec burned 47 people to death and left many others seriously injured. The danger of moving oil on rails and highways through populated areas is clearly high.
Better track maintenance, stronger tanker cars, improved train scheduling and other safety practices would reduce rail accidents and spills. However, US State Department studies concluded that the Keystone pipeline would likely result in fewer than 520 barrels of crude being spilled annually, compared to 32,000 barrels in three rail spills that it evaluated. The same holds true for other modern pipelines.
New pipelines are built with state-of-the-art pipe and other components, to the latest design, manufacturing and construction specifications. Warning systems, automatic shutoff valves, 24/7/365 monitoring and other safeguards further minimize the risk of spills. New lines often replace older pipes that carry greater risks of corrosion and rupturing as they age. New lines can often be routed to avoid population centers and sensitive water and wildlife areas. Because they are underground, once they are installed and grasses are planted, pipelines are invisible except for occasional pumping stations, valves and other small facilities.
Environmentalists tend to focus on potential volumes of oil spilled when a major pipeline rupture occurs, and on impacts to waterways and wildlife. While these are important considerations, human safety should always be of paramount concern. Lac-Mégantic underscores that priority.
Light crude oils from North Dakota’s Bakken Field and other shale plays contain more dissolved gases and thus are more flammable than heavier crudes. That makes explosions more likely. On highways and along rail lines through rural or urban communities, the results would be devastating. The sheer volume of oil to be shipped further underscores these dangers.
The 1,172-mile-long Dakota Access Pipe Line alone carries some 470,000 barrels of oil every day. Hauling that quantity overland would require 700 rail tanker cars per day (256,000 per year) or 2,000 semi-trailer tanker trucks per day on our highways (730,000 per year)! All would go through populated areas along parts of their route. Multiply that times the Keystone and other pipelines in planning or under construction, and the rail/truck "alternative” is mind-boggling in its scale and risks.
A new technology transforms heavy crude oil into pill-sized pellets – self-sealing balls of bitumen that can then be moved in coal rail cars or transported in trucks with less risk of spills. That may eventually reduce the need for new pipelines; but the innovative idea is currently only in the testing stage.
Moreover, we cannot ship natural gas by tanker truck or rail car. Pipelines are essential for that – unless the gas is chilled and liquefied, adding major cost and safety considerations. That’s one more reason 2.5 million miles of liquid petroleum, gas transmission and gas distribution lines already crisscross the USA.
Even more important, some activists are now going far beyond mere rhetoric and protests – and engaging in sabotage of pipeline construction equipment and even pipeline safety valves. These intolerable acts should be met with police action, major fines and lengthy jail terms. Free speech and peaceful protests are a constitutional right. Eco-terrorism and threats to public safety cannot be tolerated.
These radical activists would never give up their reliance on – and addiction to – computers, smart phones, synthetic fiber shoes and clothing, affordable heating and air conditioning, cars, skis, kayaks, wind turbines and solar panels, and all the other blessings that petroleum brings. They should not expect the rest of us to give them up, either. Especially based on the flimsy arguments they present.
For all these reasons, it is hard to understand the increasing opposition of some states and communities to new pipelines: from Minnesota to New York and even Virginia and West Virginia.
It is even harder to understand or tolerate the actions of these tax-exempt anti-pipeline organizations – and equally callous and devious tax-exempt outfits that fund the radical groups: from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund to the Sea Change Foundation and its secretive Russian donors, and even to railroad tycoon Warren Buffett’s NoVo Foundation. If they can block pipelines, they will next block rail and truck transport.
If an increasingly divided, partisan, dysfunctional Congress cannot address these problems, let us hope the Trump Administration and some state governors and legislators will do so.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org), and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power - Black death and other books on the environment.
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