In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been registered as Non-affiliated my entire life. I consider myself to be a fan and a supporter of Senator Sanders, and I’d like to think that I can offer some evidence of having more than just dabbled as a layperson into matters of TPA, ISDS, TPP, and TTIP.
Robert Naiman is engaging in both, and probably a few more.
Bernie’s choices are not to binary; to reveal the text or else be seen as not doing enough. Bernie can keep doing what he’s doing by making this an issue the country ought be paying attention to without breaking the rules or putting himself at risk.
Hell, the secrecy is a prime issue in and of itself!
Then there’s this. We’re a nation of laws. They’re supposed to apply to everyone, but in my opinion, this is not an issue I want Bernie committing political seppuku over. I consider Edward Snowden to be a hero, but I don’t want Bernie to be his roommate.
Mr. Naiman seems to be trying to frame Bernie’s “inaction” by what Senator Durbin did and didn’t do about intelligence on Iraq. That’s the No True Scotsman fallacy in full view.
It was his job as a member of the intelligence committee to tell the American people that the intelligence didn’t match the Bush administration’s rhetoric. Of course, it was other people’s job too; he was the one who subsequently confessed to inaction.
That sounds like, “If only Durbin had acted like a true <fill in the blank> and just broken his silence, we never would have invaded Iraq.”
That’s a dubious notion at best. We were a nation drunk with fear, blood-lust, and revenge, and looking back there seems nothing that could have stopped the Cheney/Rumsfeld/W juggernaut in the Middle East.
Bernie’s illegal release of the TPP text would be equally dubious. Even if every sentence of the TPP were revealed tomorrow – and with a $100,00 bounty from WikiLeaks, it just might have been released by the time you read this – we’re still going to see too many of our fellow citizens acting like the good corporatist’s Pavlovian dog at the ringing of the supposed “free trade” dinner bell.
It sure as hell seems unlikely to change the minds of Senators and Representatives contemplating the fast-track bills, S.995 and H.R. 1890.
Now that I think about it, it seems eminently fair to add the Appeal to Emotion logical fallacy to Mr. Naiman’s approach in all of this.
So What To Do?
Bernie can’t do this alone. No one can. We all need to unite, first and foremost, and voice our opposition in granting the president fast-track authority.
So, how about it, Mr. Naiman. Let’s not call for Bernie to act like a fool or a madman. Instead, let’s help him as best as we can so he stays out of trouble and so maybe we can see him on the ballot and even in the White House!
First, the obvious. Not all libertarians are alike. The same, of course, is true for conservatives and liberals.
That said, I’ve had my fill of libertarians acting like they are the only ones who believe in a free society. That’s total bullshit, of course. I don’t know anyone who likes “state oppression,” do you? The debate needs to be – oh, eff that. I’m done debating strawman arguments like that.
What’s worse is when libertarians use phraseology like “state oppression.” They come off sounding like they have a tinfoil fear of the state.
Yes, of course, there are things about “the state” that libertarians and I want to change; from NDAA to NSA to KXL. Their incessant vilifying of “the state,” however, without including corporations and Big Money as the driving forces is, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, revealing of their libertarian naivety or outright corporatist obfuscation.
Remember this. WE ARE THE STATE.
Unlike government, corporate boards – and let’s not be naive about whatever paltry shares we as individuals may hold – are not elected by we ordinary citizens. We have no way of holding corporations accountable EXCEPT through the state regardless of the fantasy of the Invisible Hand libertarians may worship.
We do – or, rather, we’re supposed to, but too many of us don’t – elect those who are supposed to represent us in our government. We can control that.
For me and for as long as I’m able, I’m going to try to influence my fellow Americans to vote against libertarians (and conservatives) because of how their philosophies manifest into their policies; policies that put all but a few wealthy and powerful individuals in real peril because they stem from beliefs based on the fallacy perpetuated by people like Rothbard, the Kochs, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation, and all the devotees of Milton Friedman.
Libertarians are probably not Statists, whatever they think that’s supposed to mean and whatever is meant by it when the “purists” accuse Rand Paul of it. He and his “mainstream” libertarians are, however, most certainly Corporatists in the mold of his fore-bearers.
And that, dear reader, is the dirty little secret of libertarianism as it’s being practiced today. It is a front for Corporatism, and it’s far more dangerous to our society, to our democracy, and to our planet than some misplaced and misinformed hand-wringing about “the state” somehow holding back “free markets.”
Call them out on it, and vote against every single one of them and their big brother proxies, the Republicans.
That is, of course, unless you prefer to be just another resource used by the rich and powerful to become more rich and powerful at your expense.
The very people who legally crashed our economy – and those who did it illegally and still haven’t gone to jail – and have kept their bonuses are now even bigger than before.
This is when our government needs to – HAS TO – step in and say….
“You are a danger to the rest of society. You are no longer going to operate in this manner. You have abused the rights and privileges afforded to you in the law, and now the law is changing. You will be broken up, and you will be regulated such that your actions cannot threaten the global economy and the financial well-being of all of the rest of us ever again.”
If there was ever an industry that has repeatedly proven that it is populated with and largely led by people incapable of policing themselves, it’s the financial services industry. This isn’t a personal attack. It’s just the facts, and it’s just history.
There can’t be opportunity and protection without a balance between the private sector and the government. There is no balance today. The scales have been tipping for far too long toward Big Money. This is why it’s so important that we strike at the root of all of our problems – money in politics.
We must change campaign finance laws in order to get the influence of Big Money out of our political processes and out of the halls of government. It’s the only way we can expect to have any influence as ordinary citizens over our elected officials.
What can we do? Plenty.
Join up with other concerned citizens who have come together to make their voices heard.
Here are some of my favorites. Please feel free to share this and to add others.
Yes, Canadian tar sands will still get shipped by truck and by rail and by ship, but make no mistake, those shipments will be destined to any market – foreign or domestic – where the profits are greatest. If you think prices at the pump will be lower, with all due respect, you simply don’t understand how the free market actually works. See “The push to export U.S. oil (CNN)” and #GetMoneyOut of Politics and We Can #StopKXL
Yes, transporting the tar sands in something other than a pipeline can create more pollution and, yes, those methods can be more dangerous than a pipeline, but understand this, too. All of these non-pipeline methods are also much, much more expensive and risky to the companies than a pipeline. That is why there’s a pipeline project at all. They want to lower their costs and reduce their risks, but humanity and the planet cannot afford the CO2 in the atmosphere that comes from the extraction and burning of those tar sands. If you think this is hyperbole, again and with all due respect, you simply don’t understand the science the way that real scientists do.
Stopping the pipeline means greater risk and greater expense to the fossil fuel industry. That’s a good thing. Unless and until fossil fuels like Canadian tar sands become so cost-prohibitive as to make it a bad business to be in, we’re going to continue to be dependent on them. Yes, I am all for my government passing legislation, instituting policy, and regulating that industry to the point where it is so costly and so unprofitable that it becomes uneconomical and monumentally stupid to continue in that business.
That’s what governments are supposed to do – protect us, not corporations, not shareholders, and not investors. Us.
Supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline need to understand and accept certain realities, and opponents need to do more than protest and sign petitions.
Let’s start with a few realities and wrap up with a specific call-to-action we all should be able to get behind.
1. The price at the pump is not going down…
…and no amount of Canadian tar sands oil will change that.
Oil is a global and fungible commodity. That means it does not matter where the commodity originates. It’s destination is determined by the demand for it in a global market and where the most money can be made from it.
Oil companies are for-profit endeavors. They are not about to increase the supply of their products to American markets if that results in lower prices and declining profits.
2. Energy independence is a myth…
…or more accurately, a lie, when told to us by politicians and businesses beholden to fossil fuels.
Drilling, mining, and refining is the raison d’etre of ExxonMobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and an entire global industry built on fossil fuels. What better strategy for their businesses than to perpetuate this lie to defend themselves and to garner support for more and more domestic drilling and refining? The same goes for the lies about “clean” coal, too.
We cannot become independent from these dirty sources of energy by drilling, mining, and refining more of that same source. Why not? Because, once again, they are global and fungible commodities. Just because they start in North America doesn’t mean they stay in North America.
And, can we please stop buying into the patriotism angle in all of this?
Drillers, miners, refiners, and their bought-and-paid for toadies in government are not patriots, they are capitalists. They continue to tell us this lie of “energy independence” because they believe we’re just gullible enough to believe it and, of course, anything that tugs at our patriotic heartstrings must be good and noble and righteous, right?
It’s about money. Are there still people who actually do believe otherwise?
3. If you think West Virginians have it bad right now….
…consider the effects of a spill that contaminates the Ogallala Aquifer, the water source for millions of Americans.
Want a big dose of reality about Canadian tar sands?
Watch the video linked below to understand the abject corruption at the core of the Canadian government on the tar sands and the INCREDIBLE DAMAGE ALREADY BEING DONE IN CANADA.
If that video doesn’t piss you off, nothing will.
Let’s be clear on this reality. It’s not “if” there will be a major spill, it’s “WHEN” there will be one. In fact, they happen all the time. The One Percent Media just doesn’t talk about them. Why not? Because news is no longer news, it’s “media” that fears losing advertising dollars from the fossil fuel industry.
Look, I’m not against capitalism. I’m absolutely certain that Freedom Industries never set out to pollute the Elk River and the drinking water of 300,000 Americans. They’re just the latest example of reality. No one is perfect, no technology is perfect, and unregulated or under-regulated businesses can and will make decisions in the interest of keeping expenses low and profits high. That’s how capitalism works. It’s also why it must be balanced by strong government oversight because sometimes those business decisions have terrible consequences.
This is another reality. The Invisible Hand of the market is a Libertarian myth. Worse that that, it’s a lie, and the rich and powerful who perpetuate that lie on their low-information followers know it. The Invisible Hand is corrupt and it always, always, ALWAYS stays in the corrupt pocket of corporations. It works AGAINST all of us on matters of public safety, the public good, and the economy.
Which brings us to this final reality.
4. Jobs, jobs, jobs
Lies, lies, and more lies.
According to the U.S. State Department the pipeline would create at most 6,500 temporary construction jobs, and would leave only “hundreds” of permanent jobs, according to TransCanada, the Canadian company that wants to build the pipeline. Claims that the pipeline would employ tens or even hundreds of thousands of people are simply not true. A Cornell University study concludes the pipeline would kill more jobs than it would create, by reducing investment in the clean energy economy. (Source: National Resources Defense Council)
I get it. The fossil fuel industry today provides lots of good paying jobs. KXL will not.
It’s not easy to say, but it needs to be said.
Jobs that kill the planet, pollute the land and air, and poison our water, now and for future generations, are part of the problem.
We can no longer excuse or exonerate people working in the fossil fuel industries out of some Randian Objectivism that puts their wants and needs above the health, safety, and welfare of the rest of us.
This is another reality that must be recognized. The fossil fuel industry is killing it’s workers and their families, too. They are not immune from the devastation being done to our environment. Just ask the employees of Freedom Industries if they were drinking their tap water after the spill – or if they’ve even started to again.
What Can Be Done?
Energy and the environment are huge issues, and they are inextricably intertwined. There’s no way of getting around this reality, either. We can’t survive without both of them. We have control over only one of them, and that’s energy.
So what can we do? What can everyone who works inside and outside the fossil fuel industry do?
Here’s what Whitehouse.gov is reporting on that is already happening and is being planned.
Here’s another answer: #GetMoneyOut of politics.
Imagine if we elected people who actually wanted to end subsidies to the fossil fuel industries. Instead of subsidizing the fossil fuel industry like we do, what if we subsidized the technologies and companies working on a clean energy future, at least until they actually could compete with the entrenched and antiquated oil, coal, and gas companies?
Might that not motivate rich and powerful oil, coal, and gas companies to actually rethink their business models?
Haven’t those rich and profitable “socialists” running big fossil fuel companies suckled enough of our tax dollars yet?
Wouldn’t it be better to see growth in jobs that didn’t literally put lives at risk, both on the job and in terms of the environment?
Wouldn’t clean energy jobs on solar and wind farms be preferable to jobs in a coal mine, on a fracking pad, or on an oil rig in the middle of the Gulf that explodes, kills people, and spills 206million barrels of oil into the ocean?
It is possible. We can elect people who actually share this vision of a cleaner, safer, and more prosperous planet for us all if we work together to #GetMoneyOut of politics.
The corrupting influence of Big and Dark Money in politics is at the root of every problem we face. That includes energy and the environment. So long as politicians must raise millions to run campaigns, and so long as large sums of money can be secretly collected and funneled from the tiniest number of rich donors the way it is now in a post-Citizens United system, we will continue to see political decisions made that benefit the rich and powerful few at our expense. Those rich and powerful few include, of course, people and corporations in the fossil fuel industry.
So, if you want to change the political system…..
….If you want to bequeath a planet where our progeny can drink the water and breath the air and eat the food…..
….If you want a better economy and a better job for yourself and your kids and their kids….
….then please take this one simple step to support the process of getting money out of politics: