Tony J Bender: That’s Life — State Of Emergency

Side note: My son, Dylan and I covered the protest yesterday. Dylan was videoing for a Bismarck State College news report and was in the thick of things. He didn’t get bitten or pepper sprayed, but many did. MSNBC asked for his footage. Dylan is my new hero. Amy Goodman, Democracy NOW!, was on site. I am working on a story which I will share in coming days. I will say that to the best of my knowledge the violence all came from black-clad private security people. TO BE CLEAR: This was written before yesterday’s events

UNDERGROUND BUNKER, MCINTOSH COUNTY, N.D. — Greetings from McIntosh County, where we are are fearfully clinging to our guns and religion.

With a Native American protest a mere 158 miles away, we are on Major Super High Alert, as declared by Gov. George Armstrong Dalrymple.

If we were still on the Homeland Security color code system, it would be Trump Orange. Or maybe, Baboon Butt Red. The point is, this is a major crisis.

Thousands of Native Americans and Leonardo DiCaprio have amassed on the shore of the Missouri River to protest a pipeline being built by Texas oil barons to transport oil pumped by other other Texas oil barons.

After pipeline workers and security retreated from an alternate construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline early Saturday afternoon south of Mandan, N.D., the crowd, nearly two miles from the their encampment, milled about alongside North Dakota Highway 1806.
After pipeline workers and security retreated from an alternate construction site for the Dakota Access Pipeline early Saturday afternoon south of Mandan, N.D., the crowd, nearly two miles from the their encampment, milled about alongside North Dakota Highway 1806.

You would think this would be an upgrade because instead of exploding oil trains, we could have exploding pipelines. Progress! But no, here come the nattering nabobs of negativism.

Some of these pessimists complain this pipeline will eventually leak. First, they complained about exploding oil trains and now they are complaining about leaks — like the one in April in South Dakota, or the 865,000 gallons Tesoro spilled in 2013, near Tioga, N.D.

But I’m an optimist. Some people see a leak. I see free oil.

Practice makes perfect, and supporters say this 30-inch pipeline will be so safe you won’t believe it. It will be the safest pipeline in the world. They build the best pipelines. Believe me. It will be so safe, you’re going to get tired of how safe it is. It will be so safe, they should put a day care in it.

Originally, they were going to run the pipeline under the river, north of Bismarck. When the One Percenters there learned just how safe this pipeline was going to be, they thought, “There is no way we should keep all this safety to ourselves.”

It was moved south, close to the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, so the Sioux tribe could be safe.

For a while, officials thought the throngs were there to admire the awesomeness of Texas technology. Eventually, they figured out from the signs — “We Are Here To Protest”  — that the crowd didn’t actually support the pipeline.

Republicans in Bismarck, having never experienced actual dissent, got so worked up, Dalrymple declared a State of Arousal. Fortuitously, the statement was amended to “State of Emergency” by the North Dakota Department of Nomenclature before it was released.

For the record, the Homeland Security Warning color for an actual State of Arousal would have been a soft pink. Maybe mauve. And the sirens would play Marvin Gaye songs.

It was an impressive effort by the NDDN, whose budget was slashed in the last legislative session, in order to feed the starving children of oil barons.

The NDDN’s punctuation department alone was was cut in half.

Without commas, the Legislature still isn’t sure if the budget deficit is $300 or $300 trillion. When commas are funded again in the next session, we will know whether nursing home residents will be sleeping in tents, under bridges or just humanely euthanized.

Meanwhile, back in the bunker, we hear things are somewhat under control, thanks to members of the North Dakota Highway Patrol. The troopers haven’t been called into action this quickly since someone tried to say a Muslim prayer in the legislative chambers.

Even though the Highway Patrol has blocked the road to the casino, it hasn’t stopped the rampant gambling. Bookies are taking odds on how soon the pipeline will leak. DiCaprio has 500 bucks on next Tuesday.

Despite the relative calm, Rep. Kevin Cramer, who these days moonlights as Trump’s pool boy, wrote a letter to Dalrymple to let him know it would be just dandy if they brought in the National Guard, or called in a drone strike. Fightin’ Kev, they call him in Congress.

This protest has a lot of people fired up. On conservative talk shows and on social media, we heard from upset People Who Are Not Racists Just Because They Support Donald Trump. These are the same people who tell African-Americans and Hispanics they should go back where they came from. In this case, they were struggling en masse with messaging.

Even around here, in an informal poll at Willie’s Service, the sentiment was strongly in favor of the pipeline. Until I told them our rural water comes from an inlet near the pipeline. After that, sentiments were still in favor of the pipeline, but only because the guys gathered at Willie’s mostly drink beer, anyway.

As for me, I am hunkered down, watching Alex Jones on YouTube. I have enough batteries to keep my radio going a few months if we lose power. I’ve got my AR-15, a case of Cheetos and a bathtub full of Missouri River water.

Before I go to sleep each night on my Army surplus cot, I pray to the Great Spirit, as well as Neptune, Esther Williams, Aquaman, Poseidon and Ryan Lochte.

Because if that thing leaks, it’s going to suck.

© Tony Bender, 2016

8 thoughts on “Tony J Bender: That’s Life — State Of Emergency”

  • Helen Murphy September 4, 2016 at 1:00 pm


  • David Vorland September 4, 2016 at 3:21 pm

    Wicked satire! Great writing.

  • Stanford Edwards September 5, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Mr. Bender,
    Very seldom do I post comments or responses to online articles or opinions. However, your brilliantly written column certainly deserves a note of commendation and thanks.
    With tensions and emotions at such an intense level as we battle the Dakota Access Pipeline, you have managed to craft one hilariously satirical sentence after another to poke fun at the North Dakota government and law enforcement officials who are doing their utmost to demonize the water protectors.
    When you do emerge from your bunker, I hope you do not encounter the wrath of small town North Dakota in your area for your column that makes light of the fear and frenzy that has been fomented against people who are trying to protect the Missouri River watershed for the millions of people who depend upon it as the source of their water. (I actually heard the phrase “Indian War” used in regard to the situation by one resident of small town North Dakota.)
    Hopefully, the boys at Willie’s Service and any of your neighbors who, as you note, are clinging to their guns and religion, do not respond to your column with attack dogs and pepper spray as has happened to the water protectors here. In such a situation, you may be forced to follow the example of Dick Cheney and remain in a secure and undisclosed location. Or, you are always welcome on Standing Rock!

  • Chris September 5, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Tony Bender, You have always been a left wing fascist whom hasn’t done anything in your career to brag about. Your about 400 pounds and nothing but a arm chair QB. You haven’t served this country one day in your life. Your articles strictly are your opinions , not facts. If you did any research on this project (158 miles from you) you would realize your beliefs, views, are the 1%ers. First off, The reason it was not ran through the Bismarck area was their was concerns about the pipeline caps and other pieces not having the strength to hold. Therefore, the concern of a burst was very high. SO, the experts looked elsewhere and MORTON COUNTY area was the best possible scenario. NOT STANDING ROCK!! Not one piece is running through Sioux County. Don’t you think these pipeline companies think about this? Absolutely they do, THIS is huge and they are held liable. Regardless of how much money these companies have, no successful businessmen wants to lose money or get sued. Also, lets not forget the emergency shut off valves on these pipelines and the thousands of them already in place under water, that have yet to break. I completely understand where a genius from Venturia (Population of 10?) would claim to know real world problems. I mean heaven for bid CNN,FOX NEWS, NBC tell the truth. As a Military Vet myself, I feel you are a disgrace to not only the state but the country. While you have the right to your opinions, you shall also realize that in order to bash someone you better have some knowledge or experience of your own. Otherwise, your views are nothing but rhetoric blabber. In closing, Keeping eating your Cheetos and enjoy being an arm chair QB. As that is all you will amount too.

    1. tony bender September 11, 2016 at 8:03 pm

      You remind me of my guidance counselor. The good news is I am one of the top 10 smartest people in Venturia.

  • Julie Lopez September 5, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    If Willie and his friends Know Jesus Christ and His Word, then they need to be careful….Galatians 5:19-26New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [b]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [c]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

  • Andy Rodrigues September 5, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    I don’t think the claim of ‘Military Vet’ helped anyone get past your near-illiteracy and lack of critical thinking skills, Chris.

  • Carol Vinson September 7, 2016 at 2:43 am

    Well done, Tony. I sure needed a chuckle. Enjoyed the article’s satire, too!


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