Deepwater Horizon Five Years Later: Lessons Learned

Five years ago, following a blowout and explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers, the nation was spellbound by the 87-day visual of oil flowing freely into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the Macondo well. The 3.1 million barrels of spewed oil has been called “the world’s largest accidental marine spill” and “the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.”

Looking back, CNN reports: “There were dire predictions of what would follow. Environmentalists and others braced for an environmental collapse on a massive scale.”

In preparation for the spill’s five-year anniversary, BP issued an extensive report called Environmental Recovery and Restoration­—which concludes, according to Bloomberg Business, that the spill “didn’t do lasting damage to the ecosystem.” It isn’t surprising to hear BP burnishing its tarnished image; but after BP has spent $28 billion on clean-up and claims, others seem to agree with them.

While marshes were oiled, businesses struggled, beaches were closed, and the restoration continues, it hasn’t been the ecological cliff that anti-petroleum groups predicted.

Despite the 13 miles of coast that suffered from “heavy oiling,” Science Magazine reports: “Nature has bounced back in surprising ways.” It states: “Brown pelicans were a poster child of the oil spill’s horrors, for instance, but there’s no sign the population as a whole has fallen. Shrimp numbers in the bay actually rose the year after the spill.” And, the state’s bayside sparrows, which had less productive nests in oiled areas, haven’t suffered “a drop in overall numbers.” Common minnows suffered a variety of abnormalities for “up to a year after the spill. Scientists have found no evidence, however,” that they “have caused fish numbers to drop in Louisiana’s estuaries.” Even the ants are starting to “come back and stay.”

In the popular vacation town of Grand Isle, whose beaches remained closed for three years, Jean Landry, a local program manager for The Nature Conservancy, says: “This summer feels more positive than any in the last five years. You see people coming back to their summer homes rather than renting them out to cleanup workers.”

The water is clean, and, “according to the Food and Drug Administration tests on edible seafood, shows no excess of hydrocarbons in the region’s food supply.” It is important to realize, according to the National Research Council estimates that “every year, the equivalent of 560,000 to 1.4 million barrels of oil—perhaps a quarter of the amount that BP spilled—seeps naturally from the floor of the Gulf.”

“The overall message is upbeat,” according to Ed Overton, an LSU chemist who has spent years tracking chemical changes in the Deepwater oil that washed ashore. As quoted in Science, Overton says: “I think the big story is, it’s remarkable how Mother Nature can cure herself. It’s really hard to find permanent impacts.”

While the permanent impacts are “hard to find,” no one ever wants to experience anything like it again. The accident, according to the Journal of Petroleum Technology, “spawned new technology, improved safety practices, and better operations awareness.”

The post-Deepwater Horizon world will continue to need oil and natural gas. Globally, and in the Gulf, drilling is continuing. While the industry will keep making changes and improvements based on the lessons learned at Macondo, we do not live in a risk-free world. We can manage and mitigate the potential hazards.

Technology and safety standards are important. But, perhaps, the best lesson learned is one that could be applied to all claims about environmental collapse at the hands of mankind: Mother Nature is remarkably resilient. Within a short period of time, she can cure herself.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Doctors Discover Protocol To Save Babies After Abortion Is Started

A young woman, 10 weeks pregnant and distraught after the death of her father, decided she could not cope with a pregnancy at that time. She went to her local Planned Parenthood office, which provided her with the abortion pill RU-486. She took the pill and left the office.

Later that day, she regretted her decision and went back to the Planned Parenthood office the next morning to see if she could reverse the effect of the pill. The staff there informed her that she could not–and that if she did not finish the series of pills, she could face medical complications.

Still in the waiting room, the woman Googled ‘abortion pill reversal’ on her phone and found a number to a national call center that linked her with doctors willing to help reverse the abortion. Within 45 minutes, she was in the office of Dr. Allan Sawyer, an Arizona OB-GYN, who showed her an ultrasound of her baby moving in her womb with a heartbeat. He prescribed the hormone progesterone to reverse the effects of RU-486. Now safely through the first trimester, this grateful woman’s baby is due in September.

Although this procedure is fairly new, 80 children have been saved using it; and 60 more pregnancies like the woman’s described above are ongoing due to the procedure. Lifesite News published the account of Dr. Matt Harrison, who describes how he performed the first RU-486 reversal.

Eric Metaxas writes in Breakpoint:

Dr. Sawyer cannot be written off as a fly-by-night character, either. He is the former president of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and he has delivered more than 10,000 babies on three continents.

In testimony before a state legislative committee, he said the abortion pill works by attacking progesterone in the pregnant woman, which kills the baby in utero. This effect can be reversed if progesterone is given to her quickly.

In early April, Arizona Governor Ducey signed into law a requirement that physicians must inform women who take the abortion pill that the pill’s effects may be reversible.

Who could be against that? Only those who say it infringes on a woman’s “right to choose.” Except that they don’t seem so eager to guarantee the right of a woman to choose to have her baby.

 Are you willing to help spread the word about reversing abortion pill RU-486? Like and share. 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Report: Virginia Voting Machines Could Have Been Easily Hacked For Over A Decade

A new report found that voting machines in Virginia used in three presidential elections were susceptible to hacking. They had passwords as penetrable as ‘abcde’ and ‘admin.’

As The Guardian reported Wednesday, the AVS WinVote machines, in service between 2002 and 2014, would receive an “F-minus,” according to a study prepared by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency.

According to the executive summary of the report entitled “Security Assessment of WInVote Voting Equipment for Department of Elections,” security protocols on the machines “would not be able to prevent a malicious third party from modifying the votes recorded by the WINVote devices.”

The primary contributor to these findings is a combination of weak security controls used by the devices: namely, the use of encryption protocols that are not secure, weak passwords, and insufficient system hardening.

Jeremy Epstein, of Menlo Park, California-based SRI International, served on a commission investigating the machines in 2008. He has been working to have them decertified since then.

“I got to question a guy by the name of Brit Williams, who’d certified them, and I said, ‘How did you do a penetration test?’” he told The Guardian. “And he said, ‘I don’t know how to do something like that’.”

Williams, now retired, referred The Guardian to former colleagues at Kennesaw State University who have taken over the reigns of certification duties since his departure.

“You could have broken into one of these with a very small amount of technical assistance,” Epstein told the publication. “I could teach you how to do it over the phone. It might require an administrator password, but that’s okay, the password is ‘admin’.”

The most recent commission found the software had not been updated since 2004, found that it was possible to “create and execute mallicious code,”and offered the following in conclusion:

  • Passwords were less than seven characters and did not meet best practices for complexity (i.e. they consisted of only lowercase letters). Cracking these passwords required minimal effort using freely available toolsets.
  • Passwords were consistent across all systems tested and appear to be part of the default configuration. All passwords identified were simple and easily guessed, consisting of either a common pattern (i.e., abcde), a common default password (i.e., admin), or a phrase directly related to the system manufacturer (shoup).
  • The scope of testing did not include the impact of changing the default password. But it does not appear possible to change the wireless password directly on the WINVote device. In addition, the impact to the WINVote application once the passwords were changed is unclear. Possible impacts range from lost communication between systems to the inability to record votes properly.

Share this if you think voter fraud is real.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Politics Today: Red Pill Or The Blue Pill–Democrats Hope You’ll Take The Blue Pill

It seems that with the advent of social media technologies (Twitter, etc.), we are now all presented with a world that is curiously similar to The Matrix, where anyone can pretend to be anything, lie, change the so-called facts, or appear as an expert on anything without any experience or accountability whatsoever.This is simply accomplished in the case of Twitter through the use of an ‘alias’–or what otherwise might be termed as an ‘avatar’ or a ‘moniker’. Some people may actually use a real name–but through the use of mere Internet illusions make themselves seem much more relevant (or even more popular) than is the case. It seems that Hillary Clinton has engaged in these activities.

We all learn things from our teachers, friends, parents, and grandparents; and we trust these people because we know them to one degree or another. However, in the case of social media, when users arrive at any Twitter thread (aka ‘hashtag’), the vast majority of people participating are complete unknowns at best. Even if you have followed an ‘alias’ for a while, what do you really know about that entity? There are estimates that about half of the aliases (avatars) on Twitter at any given time can be ‘fake’ entities or computer-generated interactive programs that approximate humans in Twitter activity. In other cases, aliases that are posting to hashtags can be part of an army of aliases that have been created and are controlled by a single real person–and this is a common occurrence; the process is as simple as creating multiple email accounts.

The news is full of stories about people who have made serious miscalculations about others based upon appearances and perceptions. In one case, a young woman who was hitchhiking felt that hitching a ride with a young couple who had a new baby was safe enough; shockingly, the female hitchhiker was repeatedly raped and tortured over a 7-year period. There are many examples of other atrocities that were committed by people who were considered ‘normal’ by their neighbors. This is merely one example of how appearances are deceiving–and are even more (exponentially) so on the Internet.

The Internet is a place where a lot of ‘monkey-business’ (for the lack of a better description) is going on. Twitter threads (‘hashtags‘) can literally contain thousands of posts seemingly made by hundreds of different people–when in fact, the multitude of aliases that are ‘posting’ are merely clones of just a few people who, through the use of many created aliases, are able to dominate Twitter hashtags.

This ’monkey-business’ affects the perceptions of readers to the extent that it is extremely misleading to most readers, causing them to form an opinion or believe things that aren’t necessarily accurate or true, while concurrently limiting (by dilution) the information that is being offered by other, possibly more relevant (and real) people on the threads at Twitter. This also happens on Facebook to some extent as well.

What is of concern, at least to me, are the immoral people who have figured out how to take advantage of social websites such as Twitter, much to their own personal advantage and/or financial gain (and possibly to the greater disadvantage of a host of others, including the general audience on the threads, who are thereby misled). These evil people have figured out how to ’tilt’ the playing field in their favor.

Just like ‘Agent Smith’ in the movie The Matrix, there are some people who have created multiple (potentially dozens of) aliases of themselves (even adopting various ages, sexual orientations, and ethnicities) and are misusing these diverse ‘teams’ of aliases to take advantage of the weaknesses in the technologies of social media to further their agendas by promoting opinions that through sheer volume tend to influence others. In some cases, a few real people who are working together and who control many dozens of aliases will ‘team up’ to form what are the equivalent of street gangs on certain Twitter hashtags (I call them ‘hashtag gangs’). And by doing so, they can essentially control the thread by drowning out (arguing against) any independent comments or ideas that ‘they’ disagree with. Added to which, they buy more and more followers for each of their fake aliases, which makes them seem more popular to the casual onlooker.

This activity creates an unhealthy atmosphere where people are influenced to ‘go-along to get-along’ on threads where ‘Hashtag Gangs’ are operating; and this stops some people from expressing their actual views, lest they be chastised by what may seem like many different people who hold a similar opinion. These hucksters realize that peer pressure is powerful, and the human need for acceptance is what turns some people into lemmings.

However, as Albert Einstein said, “What is right is not always popular and what is popular is not always right.”

I want everyone to remain absolutely clear on what I am saying here: I am not suggesting that everyone using an alias (as opposed to an actual identity) is engaged in this activity. I believe the problems that a few of us see stem from a minority of very slick people, including some diabolical leftist-Marxist politicians (lacking any moral compass) who know how to use the system and the group psychology that exists on Twitter and Facebook very well.

It is my belief that these shenanigans are happening; to what extent is difficult to determine as an outsider looking in. As outsiders looking in, we can only observe the results of activities, or what might be described as the outward expressions of the system. As the ‘Architect’ of the system, Twitter itself is the only entity in a position to observe any possible system defects or weaknesses that may exist, and that allows such calculated misbehavior and corrects any such issues (should they be inclined to do so).

Nonetheless, I believe that what is happening happens enough to inordinately skew the popularity of ‘tweets’ and the apparent availability and perception of information online, which has a much larger and adverse effect on the entire online community.

So it comes down to this: as it was in the movie The Matrix, you are the only one who can decide what you want to believe. I offer nothing more than the truth from my perspective, as Morpheous says to Neo in this video clip:

Some people are actually ‘buying’ hundreds of thousands of Twitter ‘followers‘! No kidding! Here’s just one of many examples, and another.

Why Twitter may be allowing this to happen, I cannot say. Do they directly or indirectly profit from this? I truly don’t know. I do know that when any Twitter account (an alias) has thousands of ’followers’ it creates the false impression of ‘popularity’ to the online audience. And popularity can be confused with credibility and accountability.

When a Twitter alias (user) buys thousands, or even millions, of fake ‘followers’, which are shown on the ’profile’ of the alias, viewers are misled as to the genuine popularity of that alias–which, in some cases, could be a politician looking to be elected. And when politicians buy these fake ‘followers’, they intentionally create the false impression that these so-called ‘followers’ are real people that gravitated to their alias (personality) as a function of the ’true’ popularity–when that is not the case. This reminds me of dictators in banana republics who ‘buy elections‘. Not very sporting of them….

In order to be fair to Twitter, I must also state that as of this writing, I have no information as to if and/or how Twitter may be addressing this situation, which I personally view as a serious problem. However, I am sure the people who are profiting from the sales of ‘followers’ do not see this situation the way others might. Sometimes, money has a way of overcoming and clouding ‘logic’ and moral values in these matters.

Maybe this isn’t ‘news’ to some readers; but for some, it may be–as if you had swallowed the ‘Red Pill’. As I see it, Hillary Clinton wants Americans to swallow the ‘Blue Pill’ and just go on living in an illusion and believing whatever they are told to believe, regardless of the actual facts–which may soon impact their lives in a very harsh way.

Nevertheless, buying the perception of ‘popularity’ in bulk, which can then be used to infer or represent ’credibility’ in order to influence an audience–instead of earning the trust and respect of an audience–is just wrong.

And it seems that Mrs. Hillary Clinton, who is asking Americans to potentially trust her as POTUS, has 2 million fake Twitter followers! This, after a host of other misrepresentations by Grandma Clinton, paints a picture of someone who is an uber-phony and who will not hesitate to stoop to any low in order to satisfy her need for power and money. After the thrashing that America has sustained under Obama, can we survive yet another Liar in Chief?

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

Some Police Treat Everyone The Same—Like Dirt

Forget race or ethnicity.

The truth is that if prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement don’t start respecting the people who put them there to do the jobs they are supposed to be doing, we ARE going to have an armed revolution in this country.

It appears that the new, PR approved word a Sheriff or Police Chief uses when shown a video of a officer-involved shooting or excessively violent take-down is “disturbing”.

And, so it is.

The problem, the real problem, is that there is a large component of our criminal justice system which sees the taxpayers as marks from who they extract money. For many years, it was always “us against them”. The “us” being cops and the “them” being the people they police.

Any defense attorney will tell you that cops routinely lie on the stand and justify it in their minds by telling themselves that the person they were testifying against was guilty anyway.

We have a judge in Reno, Nevada, who actually bound over a case at a preliminary hearing where a young man living in a third floor apartment effected a citizen’s arrest on someone who came over his balcony, called 911, and was arrested himself. Judge Patricia Lynch is not atypical of the human slugs in that part of the system.

We have a DA in Clark County, Nevada, the husband of the OJ Judge, who is urging the state legislature to allow hearsay testimony at the very same hearings that Judge Lynch sleeps through anyway.

These people never stop to think that they work for us, not the other way around.

They don’t care about justice. They care about winning and/or making their jobs easier.

The problem is that justice doesn’t come easily. It requires, as an example, a District Attorney to know when he’s got a crappy case. It requires a proportionate response from a beat cop. It requires a zealous defense.

If everybody’s guilty, and we keep creating more crimes for people to be guilty of, than the end result will be 1776 all over again. They dumped that tea in the harbor to make a point to a monarch in London. We have created a systematic arm of the Washington monarchy in the form of our constabulary, Federal, state, and local.

Republicans who want to go all ‘law and order’ on us need to think about the consequences of making everybody a criminal.

Democrats, who like to criminalize normal acts in the name of “social justice,” need to understand that Cliven Bundy’s supporters were just the tip of the iceberg.

What brings this to the fore these days is technology.

Perhaps inadvertently, we have put a video camera in virtually everyone’s hand.

Now, if you carry a badge and a gun, you don’t have to worry about lying to the Internal Affairs Bureau. You have to worry about telling the media, “who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

If you think that the tip of the spear—police—just started what you are now seeing every day recently, you’re smoking crack.

And, by the way, it doesn’t take a big percentage of bad cops to deliver us a large number of these incidents.

I’ve heard from law enforcement that we have placed these people under unbearable pressure; and sometimes, they just snap.

That’s a load of crap, and you all know it.

The problem we have is sorting it all out. The race-baiting poverty pimps like Al Sharpton see every officer-involved shooting as a racial statement.

They are wrong.

There are enough bad ones we don’t need to add to the ones that were justified—like Michael Brown in Missouri—to get a big number.

I have two solutions. First, remove the near-unlimited immunity prosecutors and judges have for malfeasance. Second, stop passing new laws criminalizing everyday behavior.

Police behavior will suddenly stop being a problem.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth