TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — Another Kerfuffle

I’d like to begin this week by saying, “That darn Heidi Heitkamp.”

I’m referring, of course, to last week’s column in The Forum in which Mike McFeely ever-so-gently, in his curmudgeonly way, suggested that fellow columnist Rob Port might try writing about someone other than Heidi Heitkamp.

Like maybe Joel Heitkamp. I mean, I ain’t exactly Sherlock Holmes, but if I were going after dirt, I’d start digging in his backyard. Someone once asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he said.

Joel has more skeletons in his closet than Jeffrey Dahmer. Far be it from me to cast aspersions, but I had lunch with him once, and he ordered fava beans and a nice Chianti, and for the record, that’s not even on the menu at Burger King.

It’s true that Rob Port has broken more than a few news stories over the years, but so far, all he has on Heidi is that she cheated at Parcheesi in fifth grade, has too many freckles and is bad at handshakes. Meanwhile, I know for a fact that Joel Heitkamp once robbed Willie Sutton. With an AR-16.

You could write for months just about prom night. There’s a version of the Steele Dossier on the bathroom walls at Hankinson (N.D.) High School. Joel’s senior year reads like “Fifty Shades of What the Hell!?”

But you know what they say — “You can lead a columnist to water, but he probably can’t swim.”

Personally, I refrain from talking about other columnists except for Tammy Swift, who has the cutest curly blonde hair ever. And while I’m at it, I’d like to thank Roxane Salonen for casting out my demons — I’m a Republican now — and I’m really sorry about the carpet. Roxane is my spirit animal, which, if you think about it, is really messed up.

To paraphrase Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment, I believe one should “Speak no ill of a fellow columnist,” although these days in the White House I think it’s “Speak no ill of a fellow Communist.”

But I’m giving McFeely a pass on this one. This was more of an intervention. Not that I think Mike is the right guy for the job. If he showed up in my living room and gave me a hug, I think I’d start drinking more. They probably should have sent Roxane Salonen to Rob’s house. With a tarp.

This is getting worrisome. When Jake from State Farm called Rob and asked him what he was wearing, the answer was “Heidi Heitkamp’s pajamas.” That can’t be comfortable. Heidi is so folksy, she wears burlap, and according to the TV commercial I saw, Crocs.

If you dealt with as much chaffing as Rob Port, you’d lash out, too.

The problem with picking a fight with Rob is you’re going to need a thesaurus. (For you South Dakota State University grads, that’s not the dinosaur that ate the lawyer in Jurassic Park.) Rob has a propensity for using big words. Like propensity.

On this one, the smart money is on Port. McFeely knows just one big word. Kerfuffle. I don’t know what that is exactly, but it sounds like something you’d need a trained pig to sniff out in French forests. Or something you do after eating fava beans. Or a colorful nickname for an Austin Powers villain — Kerfuffle Carbuncle.

McFeely’s column went virus on the interwebs, but surprisingly, many liberals were critical of him. They weren’t exactly rushing to Port’s defense, but they felt that it was too little, too late. Apparently, McFeely should have attacked like a rabid dog (or Shawn Hannity) the instant Port showed his conservative leanings. Which was at birth. He only suckled from the right.

And the narrative is McFeely should have been even tougher on him.

Wow. Democrats have gotten so grumpy these days I can’t tell them from Republicans. Except in coffee shops and on the highway. At Starbucks, Democrats are the ones ordering soy caramel macchiatos, and Republicans are the ones making black people leave. Except for Kanye.

On the road, you can tell them apart because conservatives drive Cadillacs and liberals drive hybrids. Democrats will stop traffic to move a turtle. Republicans want to make it legal to drive over protesters or at least waterboard them.

One of my hobbies is cruising the Whole Foods parking lot with Make America Great Again bumper stickers. I put them on every Prius I see.

I slap PETA stickers on Suburbans parked at gun shops.

In my own small way, I feel I’m bringing us closer together.

© Tony Bender, 2018

RON SCHALOW: Port Whine, Part 4 — Failing Up

Rob Port is hot, and not just because his defroster is stuck on high in the minivan, and certainly not due to any physical activity. The Forum Communications golden boy is moving on up to the east side of Minot, to the land of Oley, Roscoe and the stockyards. Or so I’ve heard. No one knows why. He’s a great guy.

Why, just a few days ago, he discovered that addicts aren’t necessarily bad people, and wrote about it, so the ignorant among us could hear the good news. It was a gutsy move, since only 11 people thought addicts were bad people in the first place. He’s a tremendous barometer of societal phenomenon already realized and an insignificant advocate for the downtrodden. He’s a great guy.

Last week, among other things, Port made the top five of writers (cough) to be considered for the honor of Fargo’s Best Columnist, as determined by the always hammered on sloe gin supermellow guy on the 18th floor, who thinks there is an 18th floor in the Forum building. Trump sees it.

Obie, as he likes people to yell when addressing him, was to pick five names out of a Fedora once owned by Harry Belafonte. Obie swiped it in the ’60s from an ancient hat check with poor security, so this wasn’t willy-nilly decision making. Harry is still the man, man. Anyway, five names adhered to Obie’s sticky fingers first dip, and that was that. Tremendous. Trust me.

Rob beat out Jack Zaleski, Jane Ahlin, Jessie Veeder, Tony Bender, Tammy Swift, Lloyd Omdahl, Jon Hauser, Steve Stark and everyone else considered a regular columnist and omitted from the list. SOB’s, the lot of them. Escort them to the nearest locker room.

Port writes at the same level that our American president, the most powerful man on Earth, speaks, thinks and Tweets, which is no small feat. It’s huge. Believe me. So, to win the title would be timely, especially since his Forum-owned blog is down 78 percent since it peaked last December, when Port was publishing the anti-Native propaganda churned out by Energy Transfer Partners hired goons, mercenaries with guns, keyboards and Port’s email address.

Racism sells, in case you were wondering. Port knows. Trump knows. Standing Rock knows. And now, Puerto Rico knows. The kid can’t understand what black people are protesting. What’s with the taking a knee thing? Port thinks the NFL players are just trying to wind up the president and have no true grievance, when they are giving Joe bone spurs draft dodger a big f*** you because they live in the real world. Maybe look things up before you write an ignorant post, Port. But why start now.

Hardcore Libertarians don’t believe any group should get special protection, even if the need is glaring, because it means bigger government. Port claims to be a Libertarian, although I’m not sure what species he is, to be certain. Anyway, to cover for this gaping flaw in Libertarian ideology, he simply claims that no problem exists. Blacks should be happy to have it so good. If you’re going to face discrimination, this a great country to face it in. Aren’t we tremendous, with no flaws. Believe me.

The no evidence argument is used to rationalize bigotry against the LGBT community and refugees, too. It’s all purpose. If Port can’t see it from his porch, it ain’t happening.

And the North Dakota Petroleum Council knows all about Port. Why do you think it invited Robbie to speak at its annual hoedown? Because it likes the cut of his jib? Because he’s honest? They know he’s not, and that’s the part they like, especially since he’s infected the bloodstream of the expansive Forum Company. What is Port going talk about? Alternate facts? He doesn’t know anything about the oil industry. Trump just figured out that islands are surrounded by water, and he’s the one in charge.

It doesn’t matter. Port ignored all of the rules and published everything he was fed during the pipeline protests. He took big bites. Towns burn down and citizens die. Port excuses it. Exployees die at unheard of rates. Port excuses it. Spills, leaks and tax cuts. Port writes what he is told. So, the North Dakota Petroleum Council is rewarding the lad. I suggest a monstrous speaking fee, a large bar of gold and a kiss on the lips from Harold Hamm. He’s worth it. He’s terrific. He’s a great guy.

So, Rob is up for “best columnist,” and speaking gibberish to the millionaires who haven’t bolted for the hotel bar. The topper is getting another hour to spout on the Forum company owned WDAY-AM, and he doesn’t even have to leave the comfort of somebody’s home in Minot, to be the antithesis of an expert. On everything. He is the only living person to make money as a nonexpert. On everything.

Plus, now, Rob can give his buddy, Congressman Kevin Cramer, more free air time, to complain about the media. Two ideologues in a pod. Then, Kev chalks it up as a Town Hall. Thanks, but I would rather be lied to in person.

It was only a few years ago that Port was shoeing mules at the local Home of Economy. Or something. I’m not sure. He could have been in the toaster department. I recall a lot of toasters in that place. In my youth, I used to ride my bike there to buy nails. There was a lot of wood in those days that didn’t have nails in it.

At one point, Rob worked for his dad, which seems harmless enough, but when Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced on her brother’s radio show that she was running for re-election, Port called it the “stench of nepotism.” He has an unnatural fixation with Heidi. If she votes how Port wants, she’s a cold calculating politician trying to fool the good folks of North Dakota. The other way, Heitkamp is a loony leftist. He has to write about something, I suppose.

And now, the Port is branching out into giving parental advice. He suggests less parenting, which I don’t think is a problem, and letting the kids cut the grass. Who is stopping them? Big government? The free market? Eco zealots? It’s likely in the Libertarian handbook.

I don’t know where he came to deny global warming. Maybe from the Koch’s, who hired Sarah Palin, not THE Sarah Palin, to indoctrinate him as a pup. He also likes to deny obvious hate crimes, right-wing violence, radiation and outhouses. He’s quite concerned that women, especially those feminists, are out to destroy white men, by getting educated, falsifying their pay stubs and kidding around with rape allegations.

More Port to come. He’s like sludge at the bottom of the ocean. Plentiful.

I will be taking a knee out by the street, and then attempting to get up.

 

RON SCHALOW: Port Whine, Part 2

In Port Whine Part 1, the Mediocre Years Continue; we learned that famed blogger for Forum Communications, Rob Port, is not a peachy guy, smears private citizens without a thought, happily publishes unsubstantiated propaganda and considers himself “one of the most consequential reporters/commentators in the state.”

I consider myself a large ill-tempered racoon, with Vick’s VapoRub issues. Also, this series may get into the dozens.

BREAKING NEWS FROM LAST WEEK

“Activists practicing free speech became terrorists, jihadists, and the propaganda was disseminated to big-oil-trusted mainstream media outlets across the state, such as the Scott Hennen Show on AM 1100, “The Flag”; Rob Port’s “Say Anything Blog,” owned by Forum Communications; and TigerSwan’s propaganda arm, Netizens for Progress and Justice, which according to its website is a “countering the leftist media propaganda nightmare” media outlet.” — HPR
END OF INTERRUPTION

Port misleads. He lies. He’s not the type who would have been hired by a newspaper in the olden days, when credibility was still a thing.

Port claims to be a libertarian, an ideology that has never worked in practice, but its tenets tend to benefit the rich, and hombres who need a gun fast, to shoot up the bowling alley after leaving a split. Say your prayers, you stupid 7 pin!

Word has it, that Port was adopted by a Koch financed group that collectively raised Rob from a malleable mental pup until he was a full-grown indoctrinated weasel, which was odd, since they were expecting a Labradoodle.

Very rigid, except when he’s not. Like his attitude about the lunatic president.

Port started out as a “never Trumper” but had to bend 180 degrees to align with his political pals and base readership. It hasn’t been attractive.

Never, ever Trump, said Port

“He’s cutting up (rhetorically!) the nattering nincompoops in the pundit class. He triggers schadenfreude for a vast swath of the American electorate.”

Oh my; I feel smarter after reading that tripe.

“Can anyone really imagine Trump being an effective leader? I can’t. Not even close. In fact, I don’t think even Trump himself imagined in his wildest dreams that he’d get this far.”

“I do not think Trump should win the presidency, however. He’s an embarrassment. He is not fit to lead our country.”

“Trump knows exactly how dumb his supporters are and has manipulated their ignorance to great effect.”

“Trump seems content to pander to actual paranoid racists.”

Port on Trump, now

Port: I’m pretty sure we elected Zaphod Beeblebrox as president (This was a real headline)
“With Trump, it’s hard to tell if he’s extremely competent, playing some politically themed game of three-dimensional chess the rest of us don’t understand, or if he’s just an imbecile careening from one blow-hard Twitter talking point to another.”

It’s not hard to tell that Trump is an imbecile; so that’s not true.

“Evidence in favor of the former is the fact that the man shocked the world by first winning the GOP nomination and then the national election. He’s also gone on to preside over an impressive rollback of Obama-era policies, which the economy and labor markets are already responding to.”

The economy and labor markets in this country? That’s not true.

“Evidence for the latter lays with the fact that his administration has been plagued by a battery of scandals and undermined by incessant leaks and in-fighting caused in no small part by members of the Trump administration who are Obama-era holdovers filling positions the president wasn’t ready to fill himself.”

Obama holdovers are causing Trump’s problems? That’s not true; The Trump gang has made their own mess.

“The oil industry, which overall has benefited from President Donald Trump’s leadership in the White House, is not happy with his plan to mandate the use of U.S. steel in their projects.”

The oil industry has benefited? What evidence is there to back up that sentence? The DAPL pipeline? It will help a few producers. The Keystone XL? Currently, there is no industry support for the pipeline to be built.

Pipelines drive him nuts

“I’ve found a solution for the #NoDAPL situation.

Instead of building a pipeline, let’s just sell the oil to the hobbits.

I’m serious. We could get Gandalf to ride Shadowfax to North Dakota once every week or so, then he could wave his magic staff about and transmogrify the oil into delicious crumpets which then could be sold to the fine, furry-footed folks of Hobbiton who I’m certain would love North Dakota’s transmogrified crumpet exports.”

The Portweasel was having a particular stressful day on the couch. The remote was under the coffee table. Virtually irretrievable.

“Authorities in South Dakota and Iowa confirmed Tuesday that someone apparently used a torch to burn a hole through empty sections of the pipeline at aboveground shut-off valve sites.” — The Associated Press

From the news story above, Rob gleans this: “You really have to admire the scope of hypocrisy on display in the anti-oil/anti-pipeline movement. All they’re really proving is how dangerous the rabid green movement has become.”

Port, as is standard operating procedure for him, cherry-picks a single anecdote then attaches the actions to a very large group. This particular group starts with folks simply putting their cans and plastic on the curb for recycling, which doesn’t seem dangerous or rabid.

Yet, the weasel, in typical hypocritical fashion, bemoans the use of anecdotes in his July 30th column, titled: “The politics of anecdotes.”

“The activists, with an assist from the White House, attempted a perverse use of a regulatory process intended to produce safe, responsible energy infrastructure to block construction of the same.

And why not? Such tactics had worked to kill or delay other projects, notably the Keystone XL and Sandpiper projects. Had they succeeded in blocking the Dakota Access project as well you have to wonder if any company in America would be willing to risk building new pipelines again.”

Nobody has killed more pipeline projects in the Bakken than the oil industry, those silly activists.

The Sandpiper put their money into the Dakota Access. The Bakken Crude Express pipeline and the Dakota Express pipeline proposals died on the vine due to oil industry indifference, as did the deceased Enterprise Products Partners pipeline project which would have run from the Bakken to Cushing, OK. As already noted, there is a lack of customers to build the Keystone XL.

The science denial activist zealot

Just like he was indoctrinated to do.

“Trump isn’t being treated as a political leader who made what some consider to be a bad policy decision. He’s being treated as a heretic, an apostate, to what has become one of the most popular global religions.

Science isn’t a religion, you mook. The coral reefs aren’t dying because we’re all not believing hard enough.

We’re not supposed to debate climate change policy any more. We’re supposed to accept it as an act of faith as though the proponents of the policy have some divine right to govern as they please without objection.”

There is nothing to debate, and faith isn’t involved, Jethro. I don’t believe in oranges, or T-shirts, or baboons. Same difference.

“I’m glad Trump withdrew our country from the agreement, if for no other reason than to undermine and marginalize the global Cult of Green.”

The shrinking cult of Trump has no power to marginalize renewables or conservation.

Port uses a website called JunkScience.com to prove his point. No need to get so fancy, Rob. Breitbart or InfoWars would have done the trick.

Last year, the Obama administration announced the creation of the National Climate Service. “Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards,” said the administration, and they need “information about climate change in order to make the best choices for their families, communities and businesses.”

“From a press release sent out by JunkScience.com:

Last Friday’s budget deal blocks funding for the Obama administration’s National Climate Service.

As more details about the budget emerge, we’ll see more wasteful or counter-productive programs eliminated. Departments and agencies that served as little more than government mouthpieces for radical environmentalists are ripe for defunding, and JunkScience.com is glad to see Congress act decisively.”

Trumpcare

“People will die,” Warren (Sen. Elizabeth) said during a recent floor speech.

“That seemed a self-evidently absurd statement to me.”

“While it’s fair to argue that any significant diminishment in coverage can have adverse consequences for overall health, it’s worth noting that many of the people we’re told would lose coverage under the Republican plan aren’t really losing access to coverage.

Most of them would simply opt out of coverage because Republicans would be doing away with the individual insurance mandate. Freed of a government requirement to buy insurance, many Americans would choose to do without.”

People will die. It’s been established, but the Republicans were too busy not governing, so they couldn’t come up with a viable option in seven years. And these deaths are real, unlike the death panels, Port’s people were peddling. Sorry you were offended, weasel boy.

MOST of them would opt out? I’d love to see that study, but I know where the statement was pulled from.

NDSU President Dean Bresciani: Port’s white whale

Teaching weasel Rob how to get past Burger King in the student union would be difficult, but explaining to him how a university functions, would be like teaching a drunk rhino to play the banjo.

The post below is typical. Voldeport knows nothing, and yet he publishes the rumor.

“I’m also told that Bresciani apparently flew to Bismarck on a private airplane, though I can’t confirm this and North Dakota State University’s people at this point only respond to my inquiries when they’re legally required to. I have requested the information, however.

I did check the flight records of the plane which was sold by NDSU to Scheels Sports last year (in a pretty cozy transaction), but there were no flight plans filed for Bismarck today.

Which doesn’t mean that Bresciani didn’t charter a different plane. I mean, you don’t expect him to just drive to Bismarck like some sort of peasant do you? I mean, it’s not like he has a chauffeur or … wait a minute.”

If Port wrote a follow-up post confirming his accusations, I can’t find it. Most likely, knowing the weasel’s MO, the story was false, and he just moved on without correcting the original smear. That’s what he does. Takes a $#!* on your lawn, then walks away.

Net Neutrality

“Today was an internet “day of action” — backed largely by left-wing groups, many with ties to progressive money man George Soros — protesting proposed changes to the rules by the FCC.”

That is what you call a lie of omission. Port doesn’t care if it’s not quite the truth. Half-assed truth is what it is, so as not to step on his pal Kevin Cramer’s wingtips.

“Technology giants like Amazon, Spotify, Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter and many others are rallying today in a so-called “day of action” in support of net neutrality, five days ahead of the first deadline for comments on the US Federal Communications Commission’s planned rollback of the rules.” — The Verge

Seems that Port was a bully in high school

From an anonymous source, just like the Portweasel uses them by the dozen.

“Rob Port whatever his #$& dirty name is, was a complete pervert who knew no humor other than racist jokes. He sexually harassed me relentless for about two years of high school (stopped when I confronted him one on one at the oil change place). According to him, I was a faggot …” (decorum prevents me from posting the remainder of the paragraph.)

“The best came about two weeks in to(sp) freshman year at NDSU he writes a letter to the campus paper saying “where’s my parade as a white heterosexual (if you say so Portly) Christian who hates minorities and gays”. Yea, he is aweeeesome.” (Decorum prevents me from posting the remainder of the paragraph.)

Hard to believe, I know

 

RON SCHALOW: Port Fiction

Ruth Buffalo wrote a perfectly sane, accurate and compelling letter-to-the-editor a few days ago, but the truthfulness was more than the Ward County Red Snouted Port could bear. Sad.

I have never met Ruth Buffalo, but I know she is very smart because I can read and comprehend. And educated. She is also quite pretty and has a beautiful family. And I’m betting that her hair smells like lilacs.

Forum Communications Rob Port, the antidote to proper newspapering, is a liar and probably a poor bowler. I think my microwave told me that while the corned beef hash was spinning in the window like an AC/DC LP. Look it up.

Port calls the people who studied journalism, other college knowledge stuff and grasp the difference between a noun and a duckbill platypus his colleagues. I worked at Microsoft for a spell. Bill Gates wasn’t my colleague. Doug Burgum wasn’t my colleague. Most in the adjoining cells just called me, “Would you please just shut up. I’m begging you.”

I still don’t know how to do a pivot table with Excel, if that’s still a thing, but I know that loud cursing is part of the process. I took my leave before the storm troopers — or they could have just been guys with an ungodly number of keys — would bring the plastic personal belonging tub and follow along on the perp walk to the door, lest a paunchy 50-year-old — that’s the sell by date — load up on medium tip Sharpies and make a fortune on the black marker market.

I’ll get back to the liar, but that’s how Microsoft and Great Plains Software handled North Dakota people, some who put in 20, 25 years, building the business — real professionals— just to make the books look better to a buyer or to hire punks, like business casual khaki covered Ports who would work for the half the price. Not respectful. Not the family we were told. The governor knows all about this. Port thinks he likes him. To play the brat. Yes.

But I digress, as the Portweasel says regularly. Because you can’t go wrong with a cliche or the word of the day. Just use flip calendar for the date, or burn it, for crissakes. That’s it.

Nobody is allowed to talk negatively about Port’s oil friends, who use him like a player piano. That includes special pal, Congressman Kevin Cramer. Kev may as well make it official and sign on with the North Dakota Petroleum Council. It no doubt pays better.

Here’s Port’s beef with Ruth Buffalo and how his sorrowful brain decides to neutralize the truth. His headline, which may — or may not — have been promoted by the shameless InForum, the Grand Forks Herald and the Dickinson Press on their webpages.

“Democrat Who Got 26 Percent of the Vote Now Telling Us What North Dakotans Want on Flaring Rule”

Pieces are true, but put the words together, and you have another flaming pile of falsehood. Fake news. Port’s stock-in-trade. Who reads past a Port headline? BillyBob666 and a few others in the alt-right fecal fouled nest, I guess.

Then he writes, Blah, blah, blah, “letters to the editor are usually an exercise in Astroturf, on both sides of the issue, which means they usually aren’t worth commenting on.”

“But I had to say something about this letter from Ruth Buffalo who ran for Insurance commissioner on the Democratic ticket last year,” Port babbled on.

He just had to, but normally he would be too busy fretting about nature. But for this, he would break his rigid protocol and do the dance — for the children.

If Port were truthful, and he isn’t, he would admit that he slurs every person who has had the good sense, and a functional keyboard, to call him out on his unique type of logic slurry, or talks trash about about any of the industries and politicians Robbie shills for.

Compared to Port, Donald Trump has the thick exterior of a dressage dancing Aldabra giant tortoise. #Snowflake

Port continues to type nonsense. There has to be a software program to help someone like the witless wonder. Or the ability to use the Google.

Ruth: “North Dakotans support cutting natural gas waste,” reads the headline over Buffalo’s letter.

Ruth: “I was disheartened to hear that my elected representative, Rep. Kevin Cramer, is so determined to repeal the common-sense protections that will help North Dakotans and members of the Three Affiliated Tribes from natural gas waste,” she writes.

Port: “There are a couple of points worth making here.”

Port: “First, Ruth Buffalo received just 26 percent of the vote last year. Her opponent, Republican Jon Godfread, received 64 percent. Yet Buffalo is now an expert on what North Dakotans want.”

First of all, nobody, not anyone, needs more than zero percent in any election to voice their opinion. You don’t even need to run in an election, or in a marathon, or run the water, to shoot your mouth off in this country.

Ask Port. He might be able to run 10 feet, but no one knows. He’s rarely seen in the wild. An armadillo could outrun the most influential political blogger in state, as Port claims, if you startled the armored little beast. I heard that from one of Obama’s hacker and wiretapping pals, I think.

Also, Buffalo never claimed to be an expert, although maybe she is. Port just made that up. He’s been making crap up about people for years, doing little smear jobs, but the weasel really likes to set his sights on strong women, and Natives.

Oh well, let lumpy keep talking.

“C’mon. North Dakotans have made it pretty clear in one election after another that they aren’t buying what liberal Democrats like Buffalo are selling. Which isn’t to say she can’t keep trying to sell us her bill of goods. Just that she maybe shouldn’t say she’s talking for some majority of citizens in the state,” drools Port. It’s not pretty. Is that gravy?

We’ve already sorted out this election thing — it’s not relevant — and Democrats, liberal or otherwise, weren’t in Buffalo’s letter. She never claimed to speak for the Democratic Party, and she never said she was speaking for the majority of North Dakotans. The polling does, though.

Port came up with that bull$#!* in his “Gibberish for Idiots” book. This is where college might have helped the lad, but he couldn’t hack it. Not my fault. Sad.

Ruth Buffalo didn’t personally claim anything. Her statement: “A full 76 percent of North Dakotans support cutting natural gas waste on federal and tribal lands, including Republicans, Independents and Democrats,” originated from a poll taken by the Republican Public Opinion Strategies.

She told the absolute truth. I figured that out in about five minutes, but I’m just a dumb old lib$%#@ with a bad attitude and an Internet connection.

So, Port tells a lie by omitting pertinent information, all in order to slur Ruth Buffalo. Childlike. Shameless. Dishonest.

Port tightens the knot around his neck. “Second, Buffalo invokes the interests of the Three Affiliated Tribes, of which she is a member. Problem is, the tribe’s leadership supports overturning this rule.”

No she did not.

Unless Port is inferring that as a Native, Buffalo has to agree with every other Native American, or that she is required to agree with the leaders of her Tribe. She doesn’t and isn’t. And more than the hamhock from Minot is required to agree with the leaders of us white people.

“Buffalo presumes to speak for North Dakotans, and for the MHA Nation, when she really has no standing to speak for either.”

No, she did not.

Ruth said, “North Dakota’s energy resources are important for us to be able to provide for our people, but right now because of outdated and ineffective guidelines, too much of our natural gas is wasted. This waste means less tax revenue for tribes, affecting our bottom line.”

Is Port in favor of waste? Less tax revenue? He doesn’t care. He’s a poor excuse of a mouthpiece for big oil, being a liar and all. Maybe somebody else is up for the challenge? I’m sure another @$$hole could cover a few shifts. Maybe Trump has some time on his tiny hands between rounds of golf and Twittering insults.

“When methane, the primary component of natural gas, is released, so are toxics such as benzene, threatening the health of those living closest to oil and gas well sites. And for people that are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing we should have to worry about is the air we breathe,” continues Buffalo.

That is a true statement. I like a good sniff of benzene in the morning, but it’s not for everyone. Straight methane? I’m in heaven. Perhaps. It’s a tough call.

Buffalo: “I was disheartened to hear that my elected representative, Rep. Kevin Cramer, is so determined to repeal the common-sense protections that will help North Dakotans and members of the Three Affiliated Tribes from natural gas waste.”

I’m disheartened by most things that come out of Cramer’s mouth. Nauseous, really. Has anyone sucked up to a lunatic like 45, so openly since a moron said, “Sure, I’ll be Tyler, too. What’s a Tippecanoe?” He was no friend of the Natives, either, and also had a fear of white garments.

“The oil and gas industry is determined to override the will of the American people. A full 76 percent of North Dakotans support cutting natural gas waste on federal and tribal lands, including Republicans, Independents and Democrats.”

This is true. Backed up by a Republican polling firm, as I noted. Why does Port forget to report, or whatever you call what he does, these statistics. His “colleagues” would have. That’s what he might have heard on the talking painting in the bedroom.

Buffalo again. “We (speaking for the 76 percent) hope that Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and John Hoeven do not make the same mistake. We urge them to help the people of North Dakota get a fair share of their resources and not put the health of our state ahead of the oil and gas lobby.”

Good luck with that, but we can hope. The Legislature will probably give Harold Hamm the $12 we have left.

“The industry wants to be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, even if it hurts us. We need oil and gas development to be done responsibly,” writes Buffalo.

It’s true. The oil industry has run roughshod over this state, and the sycophants, including Port, just wave at them. He once wrote that it shouldn’t matter where the exploding trains came from. Doofus. Like we don’t want to know where the rancid meat originated so we can fix the problem. Actually, no Republican in a North Dakota office wanted to fix the problem.

Port rationalized the enormous number of worker deaths in the Bakken. He rationalized every type of spill. Put him in a cheerleader outfit, already. Ugh.

Of course, our congressman, with a straight face, said that it was discrimination to call Bakken crude, Bakken crude. He was worried that people might find out who had the most explosive gases in their tankers of crude. He didn’t say what we should call it, though. Short attention span.

Port and Cramer. Cut from the same white cloth.

Buffalo wraps up her letter. “Our senators should stand up for North Dakotans to ensure that we see the return on our resources and improved quality of life.”

Shouldn’t they? I thought that was the idea of this whole Republic thing, but then you have those screaming howler monkeys who will lie to advance the wishes of the most profitable industry the world has ever seen.

Port is a liar.

RON SCHALOW: Release The Kracken

Well, hell, the Golden Retriever caught the Chevy.

In less than a month, an unqualified senior citizen playboy, wife collector and renowned sex offender will become president of the United States. And I thought Millard Fillmore stuck in my craw.

Russians playing games in our business won’t matter. It’s still going to happen. Obama is meting out punishment, but Trump, of course, wants us to be nice to his pal, Putin, and just forget the whole thing. No free ones.

FBI Director James Comey playing games won’t matter. His day will come. It’s still going to happen.

I still maintain that Trump is a cartoon character. Pure animation. There can’t be a human that behaves like this, let alone a president. Scooby Doo seems as plausible. Yosemite Sam has the funky orange hairdo and temperament. But it doesn’t matter what Donnie is. It’s still going to happen.

Wearing, as usual, a tie that hangs to his knees, Donald Trump will place his left hand on his self-proclaimed favorite book (it perfectly covers a spray tan stain on one of the penthouse third floor coffee tables) and take the oath of office.

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

DT has never been faithful to anyone, or anything, except himself, so he may need a very large man to apply the Heimlich maneuver in order to get that word spat out. Luckily, birther Donald has plenty of big guys on the payroll. Somebody has to carry him to bed each night, for gosh sake’s.

Also, although Sam Kinison is regrettably dead, a recorded loop of Kinison screaming, “SAY IT!!!! SAY IT!!!” at the “faithfully” part, might be useful. That scene always scares me. From a safe distance, Ivanka, the first lady and daughter, may need to explain to the Don/Dad that he is not actually the Rodney Dangerfield character in “Back to School.” He thinks he’s lots of things that aren’t true, and confusion has obviously seized victory over his brain.

Ability is another key word, and if past performance is any indication, we have a problem. Trump claimed that he lost almost a billion dollars in 1995, and he still screwed a lot of people over that year, so he is no genius. The laundry list of Trump’s tawdry business dealings are well-documented. He was born rich and barely managed to stay that way.

I’m sure he’s heard of the Constitution. One of his lawyers probably mentioned it at some point.

Of course, his two eldest sons, the Menendez brothers, will be lurking about looking for marks and combing black rhino blood into their hair, trying to raise the specter of Gordon Gekko and attempting to not get stuck on anything, or anyone.

Currently, the fashionable retort to anyone who dare criticize the small-handed prince is, “get over it.”

Not going to happen.

Most Americans can’t stand the Trump, or his policies, even if he can remember what they are, or his words don’t change between noon and happy hour. Or he will simply lie, since it is his finest talent. Donnie holds the land speed record for the number of lies told in an hour. Dripping makeup forced him off the stage, before he could run up the score during that particular confusing off-the-cuff stream-of-consciousness rally.

Trump has a small base of actual fans — true believers — including white nationalists, the alt-right, white supremacists and like-minded ilk who actually believe there is going be a giant wall, a huge roundup of undocumented immigrants and a registry of Muslims in America. They started to come out of the woodwork when a black man got elected to the top job, and now the number has grown, and they’re downright giddy.

“Let’s put all of our chips on orange,” they decided. The basket of gullibles.

But they got duped, just like Don’s many victims over the decades. His investors, vendors, taxpayers and craftsmen always get stuck with the bills.

Some of them just want to see the country burn because they’re demented or they think it will return us to golden years of small government and outhouses of the 1800s. A few just want to see how #$%!@ed up things can get, and if anyone can torch the place, it’s Trump. It’s his specialty, along with being a two-faced, three-chinned, howler monkey for children’s parties.

Meanwhile, weasels like our Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, are salivating at the prospect of taking away medical care, food and Social Security. If it helps anyone who needs help, it’s got to go. The rich need more, though, and corporations need more, and they should be unleashed to spread extra havoc, without the bother of regulations — “yes, I’ll have the rancid steak, please”— or concern for the safety or pay of their employees. Oil companies in North Dakota will have even more leeway and power, if that’s possible. “Just stick your head in there kid. What’s the level? A gas mask? Naw.”

Ryan better move quick, though. Trump has no interest in policy. If he can’t boast about something when it’s completed, he couldn’t care less. Don has always used “other people’s money” in his conniving. It’s not a crime in itself, but now he has everybody’s money to fiddle with, so shifting loot around will keep him occupied. His winter layer of fresh creamery butter must jiggle at the thought.

And not for nothing, Trump has used every government real estate tax loophole in the book. It’s close to a billion dollars just in the city of New York. Those who can barely hold back the tears when our current governor has taken a tax incentive for his property deals can rest easier knowing that Doug Burgum’s deals are gnat-sized compared to those of the king sleaze and fondler.

Some anti-Trump voters have suggested that posting news, always embarrassing and of his own doing, about the Don is only helping him, so stop doing it. Poppycock! True news, about anything, needs to be disseminated. Just click on the F icon. No free ones.

Likewise, many times I’ve read someone say that the Fargo Forum’s SayAnythingBlog should simply be ignored because they might make an extra dime from advertising. ForumComm doesn’t care, and the numbers are overstated, anyway. The misinformation pushed by an openly stilted shill that is climate denier Rob Port needs to be kept in check — and called out — when the lies leave his little sausage fingers and his imagination runs wild. If Port sold bagels, I could ignore those, but not the bull$#!@. Make him cry. No free ones.

The comment section of a blog wouldn’t be worth mentioning in most cases, but SAB has the same two dozen Trump supporters, some who must spend 20 hours a day on the blog, and they believe everything the Trump — and the Port — say. It’s like a false news and conspiracy theory incubator, and some of the untruths have made the leap to the pages of the Forum. No free ones.

And the North Dakota Republicans, all who backed Trump, are feeling frisky, as if Trump’s election gives them license to be twice as idiotic. The new session hasn’t started, but several of them have been doing some deep thinking in the past year in preparation. One wants concealed carry of a firearm without getting a permit. Why? I don’t know. Want to go 80 on the Interstate highways? That’s a priority for one legislator. Another wants to get rid of 50 percent of the license plates on automobiles. It bugs him — or something. Very Trump-like. I know these pressing matters keep me up at night.

Won’t the supermajority be surprised when they find out that Trump has no control over the coal and oil markets and that he is 95 percent horse$#!@? Don will likely use his power to get the Dakota Access pipeline under the lake, or he might space it out and order a shrimp cocktail. He sure forgot about Kevin Cramer in record time. But then Trump thinks that only billionaires can be called successes, and Cramer isn’t one of those.

Some people will die. Some will be harmed. It’s the vulnerable that need voices in their corner — and physical assistance from those who can. That’s not hyperbole. Citizens already die because of cruel public policies. They aren’t going to become more humane now.

But the country will survive. So, bring it on. We are not afraid.

NANCY EDMONDS HANSON: After Thought — The Best Or Worst Of Times? Stay Tuned

It would be tempting to say these are the worst of times for traditional media ― for the long-established newspapers and broadcasters who come to mind first when media fortunes are tossed about. Logical, but not quite certain: You never know what’s just around the corner.

Nevertheless, the news grows ever more dismal for our mass media. While newspapers’ dwindling fortunes are played out mostly behind the scenes ― they hate covering their own bad news ― television’s struggles are out there for all to see …

Or not see, if you (like we) subscribe to DirecTV. The latest mini-apocalypse in our corner of the planet occurred at 11:59 p.m. June 1, when the two-headed TV powerhouse of Forum Communications Co., WDAY-TV and WDAZ-TV pulled its programming off the satellite.

Despite ominous crawls across the bottom of our screen, we ― and, perhaps, a large contingent of fellow subscribers and local advertisers ― were taken by surprise. We’d doubted that the leading ABC affiliate in our market would scorn 15 percent of its viewers (according to its own numbers) in a corporate game of “chicken.”

Wrong. Our home and some 25,000 others in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota were caught up in a rarefied power struggle between big (in local terms) and much, much bigger corporations.

Remember playing “chicken”? Dreamed up by high school boys seeking to prove their mettle, this face-off pitted two drivers guiding steeds of steel and rubber in a headlight-to-headlight duel on a lightly supervised back road. The foolhardier idiot who kept his pedal to the metal won … if and when his opponent flinched first and swerved.

To those of us who watch ― rather than make ― TV, that seems like what we’re caught up in today: an increasingly shrill game of “chicken,” pitting the equivalent of a 1949 Studebaker half-ton pickup against the space shuttle Atlantis … or perhaps a hardy Hobbit standing up to Godzilla.

At stake, largely unknown outside the broadcast industry, are the fees local stations are paid by the cable and satellite systems for the right to retransmit their product ― the same programming distributed over the air for free, from the old days of rooftop antennas and rabbit ears right up to digital gadgets for HD.

How times have changed! From the earliest days of cable TV, broadcasters lobbied relentlessly for laws to require cable to carry the local signals. Without that coverage, TV stations’ ability to sell advertising would have evaporated.

When they finally won their battle in 1992, local broadcasters got everything they wanted … and more. Along with the mandate to carry local channels, the law added one very special clause. The cable (and now satellite) companies were required to obtain the locals’ express permission to retransmit their broadcasts.

Thus opened the door to an all-new source of profits for local stations. Their financial model previously offered programming to the masses at no charge whatsoever ― using their eyeballs, so to speak, to entice businesses to sell to their audience by purchasing advertising. Ad sales were expected to cover all of the costs of their programs and production.

Now, though, broadcasters could negotiate for a slice of the money these newfangled cable guys collected from customers. In other words, they could now get paid for what people with had been receiving over the airwaves absolutely free.

And time passed. Satellite dishes sprouted on roofs and balconies. A second cable provider, Midcontinent, began to vie with Cable ONE in more and more of the metro market. AT&T swallowed both DirecTV and Dish Network. Prices rose; channel choices mushroomed; and local TV stations faced competitive threats they could never have imagined in the days of “I Love Lucy.”

So, today, picture our two valiant opponents locked in the local battle for broadcast bucks: The lion-hearted broadcasting behemoth of the Red River Valley … versus the largest broadcast satellite service provider, DirecTV. The market for WDAY and WDAZ is estimated at about 200,000 households. AT&T’s DirecTV has 35 million subscribers. Even with regional cables and Dish riding shotgun, plus those over-the-air antennas on sale at Walmart, it’s hard to give even odds for this particular bout.

But these are desperate times. Never underestimate the valor of a determined underdog. And so, 11:59 p.m. June 1, channels 6 and 8 went dark on DirecTV. Our hometown metaphoric David, Forum Communications, had reached the end of its patience with the global Goliath. And it did have one nice stone to fit into its slingshot. The Golden State Warriors would play the Cleveland Cavaliers the next night in Game 1 of the NBA finals, broadcast on (drum roll) ABC.

But life goes on. Basketball fans across the valley grumbled, but they ganged up with friends who had other providers … or headed for happy sports bars.

Local news mavens got their fix of Kevin Wallevand via simulcasts on WDAY Radio and the station’s own website. John Wheeler’s legion caught his forecasts via WDAY’s StormTracker app. “General Hospital” and “Bachelorette” addicts could keep up by streaming them online.

And as for the substantial and worrisome segment who are already lost to traditional broadcast TV … they never even noticed. A good chunk of younger adults no longer even own televisions.

Meanwhile, the advertisers who continue to pay mightily to reach customers on the ‘DAY and ‘DAZ airwaves lost about 15 percent of the viewers — DirecTV subscribers — from the audiences they’re paying to reach. They, too, have multitudes of other choices.

This kind of standoff has become increasingly common across the country. Local broadcasters are facing the same competitive squeeze that has brought newspapers to their knees. There are just too many ways to gobble news and entertainment, but only the same old 24 hours in the day.

The owner of WDAY and WDAZ, of course, is working hard to convince us they’re the good guys. I hope they win. Underdogs are my very favorite breed of hound. But the fact is that they ― not DirecTV ― made the decision to pull the plug.

Forum Communications would have dissatisfied DirecTV subscribers use this lemon to make lemonade: Switch to CableOne, Midcontinent or Dish Network. But there are two big old flies circling that jug. One is that many (most?) of us are under contract and would pay hefty fees to jump ship early, even if we wanted to.

And here’s the other: Just because DirecTV is the villain in today’s retransmission-fee struggle, there’s absolutely nothing to prevent the same hassle from reoccuring with the others. This isn’t the first time. Remember when KXJB-TV, may it rest in peace, sat out most of 2009 from the cable lineup? Last year, a breakdown between the Dish Network and a media group with 129 stations blocked them in 36 states. Cox Cable blacked out local stations in nine markets on the eve of the 2016 Super Bowl, driving their owner to cry “uncle.”

This wrestling match is not a one-off, and none of the alternatives is even close to being a sure bet.

By the time you read this, WDAY and WDAZ may be back on DirecTV. Or maybe not. One way or the other, the Hanson household budget ― and your own ― will continue to pay the very same monthly fees. Businesses seeking to reach us will still be charged full freight for ads that many in their theoretical target audience will have never see. And a growing share of us will simply be moving on to the Web.

It’s the paradox of this golden age of communication. While technology leaps thoughtlessly forward, delivering dazzling surprises and delights, some familiar faces we’ve long trusted are being left behind in the digital dust … reduced to squabbling over the remnants of their proud, storied traditions.

These are the best of times for new forms of media. And for the rest ― would it be fair to conclude these are the worst? The landscape is changing before our eyes. Stay tuned.