#KXL, the roll call, and how our democracy works

I think it’s important for everyone to keep sharing articles like the one linked below about the president’s veto of KXL because it’s that big of a deal.

President Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill by  | February 24, 2015 4:05 pm, EcoWatch



It’s Math

The science is clear. It never was and certainly is no longer an issue for any further discussion or debate.

Even we laypeople can understand the math.

Bill McKibben explains it in a way that a fourth grader can understand


What Does This Have to Do With Democracy?


Who stands for environmental protection and who supports the fossil fuel industry can be easily understood by examining first who we vote for and then how our elected representatives then vote on issues like Keystone XL.

The good news is that voting records are public, so it’s easy to tell if you just look.

How the votes in the Senate and the House on KXL went can be found at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/s1

The Senate

9 Democrats in the Senate – sadly, including my Senator, Bob Casey of PA – voted in favor of Senate Bill 1: The Keystone XL Pipeline Approval Act.

Every Republican Senator voted in favor except Rubio. He didn’t cast a vote, nor did Reid.

(BTW, wouldn’t it be great if missing a vote meant that our elected officials had like 10 or 20-grand deducted immediately from their pay? )

The House

In the House, the vote went pretty much as one would expect.

Justin Amash from Michigan was the lone Republican to vote Nay.

29 Democrats voted in favor. Here they are in alphabetic order first by state and then by name.

AL Yea Terri Sewell Democrat
CA Yea Jim Costa Democrat
FL Yea Gwen Graham Democrat
FL Yea Patrick Murphy Democrat
GA Yea David Scott Democrat
GA Yea Sanford Bishop Jr. Democrat
IA Yea David Loebsack Democrat
IL Yea Cheri Bustos Democrat
IL Yea Daniel Lipinski Democrat
LA Yea Cedric Richmond Democrat
MN Yea Collin Peterson Democrat
MN Yea Richard Nolan Democrat
MN Yea Timothy Walz Democrat
NE Yea Brad Ashford Democrat
NJ Yea Albio Sires Democrat
NJ Yea Donald Norcross Democrat
NY Yea Sean Maloney Democrat
OR Yea Kurt Schrader Democrat
PA Yea Michael “Mike” Doyle Jr. Democrat
PA Yea Robert Brady Democrat
SC Yea James “Jim” Clyburn Democrat
TN Yea Jim Cooper Democrat
TX Yea Al Green Democrat
TX Yea Filemon Vela Democrat
TX Yea Gene Green Democrat
TX Yea Henry Cuellar Democrat
TX Yea Marc Veasey Democrat
TX Yea Ruben Hinojosa Democrat
TX Yea Sheila Jackson Lee Democrat

Now you know who is on the side of the people and the environment, and who is not.

How Democracy Works

If you’re unhappy about these votes and you’re not calling your elected leaders in Congress, then you’re not fully exercising your right – and your voice – as a citizen.

I’ve made my calls today to the DC offices of my two Senators, Democrat Bob Casey and Republican Pat Toomey. I’ve also called Republican Rep. Tim Murphy’s office. I’ve made sure to be civil and made sure they had my name and address as proof that I was a constituent.

I said I was calling to express my unhappiness with their Yea votes. The people who answered the phones are all very nice, very courteous, and not at all threatening or challenging. I’ll even give kudos to the young man, Chris, who answered Rep Murphy’s DC office number. He asked me to elaborate on why I was opposed to KXL. I was happy to oblige and, yes, I kept it civil and even under 5 minutes! 🙂

This how I believe democracy works.

You need to speak up. You need to call your elected officials on a regular basis. They work for you and I; at least they’re supposed to be working for us. We are their bosses.

Silence is Surrender

It’s just my view, but if you stay silent on this or any other issue about which you feel even a little something for, then you really have very little right to complain. How are the people in DC and our state capitols supposed to know what we’re thinking if we don’t tell them?

Even more to this point, if you don’t vote, you honestly have really no right to complain at all in my book.

If you’re not going to participate in the democracy, then you shouldn’t act surprised or express frustration about what’s happening in our government.

After all, they only got there because someone took the time to vote for them.

Want to know how bad Canadian tar sand production is? Watch the video below. Maybe that will get you motivated to call DC.


Uploaded on Apr 27, 2011

Environmental devastation of the land, water, and air – the largest industrial energy project in the world is extracting crude oil from bitumen found beneath the pristine boreal forest of Alberta, Canada. Effecting a land mass equivalent in size to Florida or England, Both industry and government are putting money before the health and security of its people and the environment.

#GetMoneyOut of Politics and We Can #StopKXL

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.

Oil AddictAnd, 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.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkwoRivP17A
Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkwoRivP17A

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.

Ayn RandWe 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:

Become a Citizen Co-Sponsor of the American Anti-Corruption Act at http://unitedrepublic.actionkit.com/event/cosponsor/9815/

And, of course, make sure that you’re registered to vote and that you vote in EVERY election, not just the big ones.

Visit these sites to learn more about the American Anti-Corruption Act and the people behind it at Represent.Us.