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Local woman arrested in Tar Sands protest

August 31, 2011

Virginia Kennedy of Dingmans Ferry, PA was arrested on August 20 in front of the White House during a peaceful sit-in organized by Tar Sands Action to stop the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline.

Kennedy and her 17-year-old daughter Marygrace traveled to Washington, DC to join thousands of other citizens asking President Obama not to grant a “presidential permit” for the Canadian company, TransCanada, to begin construction of the 1,700 mile pipeline from the Canadian tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.

Arrested along with Kennedy and others on August 20 was author, environmentalist and 350.org founder Bill McKibben. NASA climate scientist Dr. James Hansen and a large group of religious leaders were later arrested on August 29 with 140 other Americans who want President Obama to deny the permit for the massive pipeline. As of August 30, 522 people have been arrested in the largest civil disobedience protests in the environmental movement’s recent history.

The sit-in will continue through September 3. Visit www.tarsandsaction.org for more details. Click "My View" at left to read a personal account of the Kennedys’ experience and Virginia's Open Letter to President Obama.

Tar Sands

Hello to Virginia from D.C!

It was a pleasure to meet,by sheer coincidence, Virginia and her daughter during the protest and subsequent arrest. There are many issues that seem only to apply to those far away that actually hit close to home. Two examples are the Keystone XL Tarsands Pipeline and Fracking. Virginia is a terrific person to contact for information. (She is also quite funny.)

It's great to see how people from my hometown-county and surrounding counties are working together for a healthy, clean and viable future for our children.

Angela Wolf-Guthrie
formerly of Yulan, NY

It would be far more believable if

these people used all solar and wind energy. But to buy a tank of gas to drive to Washington to protest a pipeline that delivers oil to be refined into gasoline so that she has the gas she needs to drive to Washington to protest it...well it is the height of folly. They whimper against oil, natural gas, fracking, etc, but the signal they send at the pumps and in the homes as consumers is far louder and clearer. They, you, all use and need this product and regardless of what you say, the fact that you continue to buy petroleum products and the energy created by it, tells the truth. You are addicted. Whining and going to sit-ins does not alter that fact. If you drive to get to the protest, you are a hypocrite and a joke.



The Misleading Mr. Natural

Part 1:

If you're a "Ms," then my apologies to the female gender. If you didn't hide behind an anonymous name, we might know, and you might be less snide in your remarks as you would have to be accountable in public for what you says about other people, not only in the arguments you present but your disparaging tone. I dare you to come forward and reveal yourself by using your real name on this blog (and I dare TheHick and all others to do the same).

>> It would be far more believable if these people used all solar and wind energy. But to buy a tank of gas to drive to Washington to protest a pipeline that delivers oil to be refined into gasoline so that she has the gas she needs to drive to Washington to protest it . . . well it is the height of folly.<<

No, actually it’s all about your intent, MrNatural. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with your wanting to encourage development of carbon fuels rather than alternative non-carbon energy. But there's a lot wrong with being misleading about it. You use the least likely transportation fuels in your example (solar and wind). Not many solar and wind trucks are being developed and you know that. In fact, transportation is the hardest to convert to alternative fuels. That said, only a few days ago more than 50 transportation executives gathered in northern Indiana for a conference in which they said “More and more vehicles are switching to alternative fuel sources.” Last year, TRANSPO converted its entire fleet to a biodiesel blend, helping promote local agriculture and reducing fuel costs.

Natural gas and propane are also given as “alternative” fuel ideas although my intent is not to promote them because they are not renewable and are noxious and polluting to our environment, air, water and climate.

TheNatural’s intent appears to be to disparage not only those who protest fossil fuels (such as tar sands, oil and shale gas) but to put down alternative/renewable green energy fuels themselves. His motive must be money (perhaps lease cash or maybe he got a cushy job as a non-union truck driver) because it doesn’t seem to be logic. An easy trick is to make fun of people driving their fossil-fueled cars to an anti-fossil fuel rally. He’s used this over and over in past comments, and there is seldom a reply.

This is the reply: It’s a sham argument because there is in fact a huge developing green energy movement in other areas besides transportation, areas such as electricity generation. That’s where wind and solar are used big time which TheNatural deliberately misapplied to transportation. Not only biomass blend fuels but also electricity generated from wind and solar are used for transportation such as electric buses in Santa Barbara and other cities, far better than using explosive natural gas in fleets of trucks as T. Boone Pickens sermonizes. All this will do is increase the shale gas market as they are desperate to boost their market price and are even shipping shale gas overseas (contrary to malarkey about "energy security"). Natural (shale) gas is environmentally toxic in its production and, in its methane leaks and venting, its adverse effect on climate.

TheNatural's bullying tone is getting old

It’s amazing that TheNatural is still allowed to comment on this blog given his undermining and misleading language and given his past record of calling me “Dementia” and repeatedly ridiculing and undermining others on TRR and TWI blogs. He and TheHick are well-known blog bullies. TRR has not yet instituted a tough enough comment policy. The terms “ridicule” or “disparagement” should appear in the “flag as offensive” list so long as we have to do our own moderating (the TRR moderator is obviously asleep) and that flag should show up in the publisher’s in-box. TRR has not insisted commenters use their real names as are used in print edition letters which might reduce the nasty tone if people are speaking under their own names. The publisher, going by the continuing disparaging and snide tone of TH and TN, did not train the blog moderator to the standards of the print edition and to the full definitions of each word of the comment policy. The publisher is obviously not supervising blog comments to be sure the blog bullies are not continuing their taunting.

TRR would do well to add a potent rule to the comment policy used by other papers like the Philly Inquirer: “Treat other blog participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated.”

Notice how few others comment on the TRR blog in vicinity of The Hick or The Natural. There are some wonderful minds who want to comment but have told me they wouldn’t be caught dead wading into this “putrid pool of insults” (an actual quote). Some are considering boycotting the print edition in protest. That’s too bad. We’re missing a truly great interchange.

TRR is like Pres. Obama, repeatedly giving away their power and authority to the bullies.

Good news!

Just noticed TRR has earlier today launched a policy requiring real names on this blog after months of urging. TRR will still need alert moderation, enforcement of its current comment policy, and proof will be in the pudding as to improved tone of comments, but real names are a good step. It'll be fascinating to see who TH and TN really are -- or will they just go away?

"A courteous exchange of ideas"? Ha!

TRR says above its comment box: “Comments are encouraged at The
River Reporter online, but they are intended to be a courteous exchange of
ideas . . . ” The remarks above by TheNatural are not courteous. They are designed to ridicule rather than “exchange ideas.” He does not offer any ideas; he merely disparages protesters' views by characterizing them as "whimpering" and "whining." I don't call TN "whimpering." I call him misleading and I give the reasons why. By referencing wind and solar for transportation, he is taking the reader off course. TN's are the remarks of a bully in the schoolyard. Nobody likes to be called “whining.” It’s pure denigration and ridicule and should be obvious to the moderator. It makes one’s view sound like silly emotionalism with a mere word, without showing the math. In blog protocol, it's cheating. This is the way fighting couples fight with each other, disparaging their complaints by saying they are “whining.” Why not simply say “complaining”? But TN doesn’t use the more neutral term “complaining,” perhaps because the hot-button word “whining” is better for repulsing readers from commenting who might support the view of the protesters.

TRR is not encouraging a fundamental feature of democracy –- the free and unintimidated exchange of civil speech or as much as possible. Nothing‘s perfect but this is far less civil stage than it could be. TRR is letting the blog bullies close down free speech. People who don't want to be intimidated are avoiding this blog when TN and TH are on thread. This is not a new situation; it was rampant in mid-twentieth century Europe.

The Newcomer is plural

In line with remarks about the tone of TheNatural's comments on this blog, a few weeks ago his tag team mate The Hick called me “The Newcomer.” This is an old farm community term meant to imply I'm an outsider who has only lived in Honesdale a few years, does not own land or a lease and therefore I have no right to speak up about potentially negative aspects of shale gas drilling. “The Newcomer” is code language for all sorts of undermining meanings as many (outraged) people have patiently explained to me who wonder why I ever try to present civil arguments on this blog. Yet TRR wrote an editorial defending “The Newcomer” remark by saying in effect it was okay because it was literally true. Beyond admitting it was “tricky,” TRR did not consider disparaging the obvious negative insinuation that “The Newcomer” is resented because not a lifetime resident and has no right to speak which was readily apparent to everybody else and exactly why TheHick used the term. Why make the distinction in length of residency at all? There's a reason and everybody knows it.

And I'm not alone. Many others have approached me since I was smeared in public by TheHick and TRR. Because we're residents less than a lifetime, they call us "Newcomers" when we speak up against shale gas drilling on blogs or in Borough meetings. This in turn puts us in a classification that gives the bullies of the community permission to denigrate us and call us names, insinuate we're not neighbors, say we “don’t understand” and have no right to speak. No, we are neighbors in good standing, just watch us when disaster strikes, how he pitch in and help others. We well understand gas drilling’s potential dangers to air, water and climate, and we refuse to sit down. Instead, we're standing up!

Click on my user name above for a re-definition and go to http://www.wix.com/janeprettyman/newcomer for whole new view of “The Newcomer.”

TheHick and TheNatural apparently believe discussion of gas drilling is best left to a special club of property owners who will benefit financially from shale gas production. No matter what they say, it’s aimed at preserving their financial stake in gas drilling and it’s secondary economic benefits. That's an argument we can have but not a verbal mud fight using snide terms permitted by TRR. Look at all this space I've had to take to address the tone of TN and TH when we could have been exchanging facts about shale gas drilling and transitioning to alternative/green fuels.

The phrase “these people” is also offensive because, again, it is designed to repulse, push away, isolate a perceived group and keep them from offering their own comments, possibly in support of the protesters against the Keystone pipeline or shale gas drilling.

We used to hear the term “these people” in the South referring to African-Americans to make clear they were not welcome in the community. A classic definition of a “Newcomer” -- not welcome in the community, not a neighbor.

TRR online is a newspaper “spanning 3 states, 5 counties, 60 communities and a river” -- but not a neighborhood.