Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why Democratic Voters Stay Home for Elections -- Ed Schultz Eloquently Discusses a Prime Reason


Of the three pipelinies that have burst in the last two weeks, the latest was in West Virginia. The state's nominally "Democratic" U.S. senator, Joe Manchin, was one of nine "Democrats" who voted for the Keystone XL Pipeline.

by Noah

Shortly after the November elections that resulted in a disaster for the so-called Democratic Party, I asked Howie if he thought the Democrats in Congress would ever wake up. It was a rhetorical question. His answer was the obvious "No."

This past Thursday was a sad day for progressives and, really, all Americans, if they thought about it. On Thursday, the United States $enate voted to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, a project that would seize private property from American-citizen landowners through the heartland of our country. Many landowners have turned down offers of very large six-figure sums of money from oil interests to allow the companies to build the pipeline across their property and over the nation's largest aquifer. Think about that. What could go wrong?

 Oil companies and their bought-and-paid-for minions in Congress -- who, unlike real Americans, never saw even a single dollar, let alone six figures, they wouldn't gladly pocket -- tell us that carting the world's dirtiest, Canadian oil through the pipeline will be safe and that carting it by train is not always safe. On Thursday, the $enate voted to approve the pipeline, by a margin of 62 to 36, ignoring the fact that three pipelines have burst in the past two weeks. The most recent broken pipeline is in West Virginia.

Of course, trains do derail, sometimes horribly, but how does that justify risking permanent pollution of the nation's largest aquifer, the aquifer that grows our crops? And how does that justify seizing land that families have, in some cases, owned for generations? We expect republicans to talk about things like rights of private ownership while backing their Big Oil masters and screwing the public. To republicans there is no piece of land on Earth that should not be a target for a nice coating of crude. But in this case, nine democrats agreed.

As much as anything, this issue should be seen as not just a pollution and climate-change issue, but also one of individual property rights. What's going on amounts to land theft.
The end result of Thursday's vote is that when it comes to our private-citizen property rights vs. the rights of oil companies that are already subsidized with our taxpayer money and don't pay taxes themselves, we are not a two-party system. Instead, we have republicans that call themselves democrats and republicans that call themselves republicans. In one sense, the republicans who actually call themselves what they are seem more "honorable" than the republicans that pretend to be democrats. And yet, Democratic Party leaders wonder why they couldn't get people to vote for them in the recent midterm elections.

Here is the list of the Democratic $enators who sold us out:
Bennet (Colorado)
Carper (Delaware)
Casey (Pennsylvania)
Donnelly (Indiana)
Heitkamp (North Dakota)
Manchin (West Virginia -- that pipeline bursting in his own state didn't matter)
McCaskill (Missouri)
Tester (Montana)
Warner (Virginia)
They even sold us out for oil that isn't even for us. It's Canadian oil headed for China and India. Some of them will have no problem lying about the pipeline construction creating "thousands of great jobs," just like newly minted $en. Joni Ernst (R-IA) did in her recent snake-oil response to the president's State of the Union speech.

Now, Canada could have built the pipeline over Canadian land to the Pacific, but apparently Canadians didn't want that. Funny how nearly all of the U.S. media, who run oil-company commercials all day, can't bring themselves to mention things like this. Money doesn't talk, it swears, very loudly.

It isn't a long list, the Keystone Nine, but when it comes to overriding a presidential veto, if President Obama does decide to veto the pipeline, it's a very significant list. It's also significant that Harry Reid could not or would not keep these nine fake democrats in line.

It takes a two-thirds majority to override. Are five more phony democrats lurking in the weeds, maybe just a visit from the K Street Bribery Squads away from joining with the real republicans? If we're lucky, Reid was just letting the Keystone Nine vote to approve for other reasons. To do that, he would have to be very confident that a presidential veto will eventually be sustained, but meanwhile the message sent to democratic voters overall is not a good one. Unlike the republicans, the democrats, as illustrated by the Keystone Nine, do not stay together in lockstep. The time to start doing that was years ago. The democrats need to show voters that they will stand up for them and not capitulate. Their continued and continued and continued Vichy-style politics will not motivate voters.

Here's Ed Schultz. He sees this issue as so important that he devoted the first 20 minutes of his Thursday show to the issue of the Democratic Party needing to grow a pair and stand up for the people who voted for them. It's no small thing that things are so dire in Washington that, in the clip, even an untrustworthy conservadem corporatist like Rep. Steny Hoyer comes across as being on the correct side.

Schultz gets very eloquent and very fiery around the 7:44 point of this clip. If you don't have time for the full 20 minutes, start there, but it's all worth it. Among other things, he makes a call to "end the purchasing" and to "draw the line" for us, not for Big Oil, and certainly not for the Republican Party. No more talk about supporting the middle class without action to match; no more deals, cave-ins, and compromises; no talk of "tinkering" with Social Security; etc. It's time to give repugs a big dose of their own medicine. He'd make a hell of a football coach at halftime, but I'd be surprised if any of the players in Washington are listening. Past is prelude.

"If you're not willing to fight for me, how in the hell do you expect me to line up and fight with you?"

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At 3:09 PM, Blogger Phil Dickinson said...

Tester should know better, too, given the pipeline spills on the scenic Yellowstone River including one this month.

In N.C., a bill introduced in the legislature would eliminate "public benefit" as a basis for eminent domain and limit such actions to "public use" situations. Damn, if that were applied to XL?


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