Thursday, March 17, 2016

Clinton: "Coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come"


Don Blankenship, coal baron and boss of Massey Energy (source). He made his money by exploiting miners. Should he and his kind be made to pay for his miner's transition out of his now-dying industry? It's one of the choices, right?

by Gaius Publius

We talked a bit about coal recently, and how Oregon became the first state to ban its use for power generation. Seems like a good idea, if you're a climate-solutions kind of person.

But there's still a lot of money to be made in coal, so those of us who like people who like money don't want to phase it out too fast.

Which brings me to this. In a Politico Pro piece (subscription only), we found the following:
Hillary Clinton on Coal clarifies Hillary Clinton on Coal
By Andrew Restuccia

03/16/2016 02:12 PM EDT

Hillary Clinton sought this week to clarify her stance on coal workers after drawing criticism for saying at a recent town hall event "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."

In a letter Tuesday to Sen. Joe Manchin, Clinton said she was "mistaken."

She continued, "I wanted to make the point that, as you know too well, while coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come, both in the U.S. and around the world, we have already seen a long-term decline in American coal jobs and a recent wave of bankruptcies as a result of a changing energy market - and we need to do more to support the workers and families facing these challenges." 
The part that has some people exercised is this (my emphasis):
"coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come, both in the U.S. and around the world"
How should we think about that sentence? Is it unfair to criticize this potentially true statement? Or should we be more cynical?

Is Clinton an Enemy of People with Money? Or Does She Want to Foam Everyone's Runway?

My thoughts. "Part of the energy mix for years to come" sure has a "get used to it" feel to me, a nice little dog-whistle to the carbon-owning crowd. Consider — if we were in charge of government, climate-caring you and I, what would we do? We'd get rid of coal plants at the fastest rate possible, right? And we'd sound like getting rid of coal actually mattered when we talked about it.

Instead, Clinton uses job-concern as a reason to seem like we should proceed carefully. But after all, a great many people in the U.S. are out of jobs — many in disappearing industries — and yet I'll be willing to bet money she either signs TPP or refuses to renegotiate it; then signs TTIP and TISA, and with them, says goodbye to the last jobs worth having, save those near the top.

So, jobs? Maybe she cares only in this case? Or maybe she cares about something else as well.

Personally, I don't take her worrying about coal jobs any more seriously than I take her worrying about, say, manufacturing jobs. Remember, the Pennsylvania primary is coming soon, with West Virginia shortly after. And if she really cares about mitigating the aggressive destruction of the coal industry, there are ways to bail out people too, not just big carbon corporations and the banks that lend to them.

For a start, consider that the trillions of dollars that went out the federal door to make underwater banks whole, could have been used to make underwater mortagers whole instead. And those dollars would have actually entered the economy, not just some bank vault to be later doled out in bonuses.

​If you're not an MMT (modern monetary theory) kind of person — if you're someone who feels that everything good has to be "paid for" by scrounging the money from somewhere else — there are plenty of carbon-industry perps to take a tax bite out of. (Peabody, anyone? Massey?)

And if you are an MMT kind of person — someone who realizes that if the government really wants to spend big money, like on war, it can just do it — well, there's your answer right there. Just spend it. If there's no inflation, there's no problem. (See any inflation from the un-paid-for trillions created and poured into Iraq? Me neither.)

So no, I don't think this is an unfair criticism of her, though some do think so. I find it an interesting implicit dog-whistle. "Don't worry, coal bosses; we'll foam your landing strip too."

Clinton at the 25-second mark: "I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving, and the successful" (source).

Mes centimes.

(Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. If you'd like to help out, go here. If you'd like to "phone-bank for Bernie," go here. You can volunteer in other ways by going here. And thanks!)


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At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The refusal by Holder to put Blankenship behind bars was my first confirmation that Obama didn't just favor rewarding financial parasites on Wall Street, but would let murderous parasites in the coal fields go scot free too. Another Obama disgrace.

At 9:38 AM, Blogger Moose said...

Being an establishment promoter, she has once again showed her true colors. Fell the Bern is NOT done!!!!!!! Love Wins

At 7:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. We should always remember that when hillbillary says that such and so forth needs to be done/remembered, she means the money behind such and so forth... not the wage slaves who actually do the work. They're expendable. See xxFTAs, WTO, GATT, CFMA, GLBA, deregs, welfare/prison (for profit) reform, health care (denial for profits), pharma, banking, carbon extraction and war. I probably left out a half dozen more very prime examples.

Bernie, at least, has made hillbillary lie as she shapeshifts for today's voters. Anyone who actually believes her current reflection in a mirror is a fool. Once she gains her destiny, she'll morph back into the heartless, neocon, neolib, fascist beast she's always been.

When obamanation did this, it came as a bit of a surprise... due only to our limited understanding of the man. But we have had 3+ decades to watch and understand the Clintons. Anyone surprised is dumber than a sack of rusty doorknobs.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Sean said...

Hillary Clinton thinks that it's still the 90's and she can jet around pandering to the worst corporate interests while feeding voters phony, disingenuous sound bytes during her scripted debate performance, and no one will be the wiser. She's not only a DINO but she's a DINOSAUR, a relic from a bygone age who is not equipped or capable of dealing with any of the current problems which face our country. She'll do or say anything to enrich herself or fluff her resume, and she's so weak and damaged by her scandals that Trump will decimate her in a national election even if she does cheat and steal her way into the Democratic nomination.

Bernie Sanders MUST stay the course and turn up the heat on this Margaret Thatcher wannabe until she loses her "inevitability"... otherwise we end up with President Trump. Trump's support is so alive and kicking it's scary, while I have yet to encounter more than a handful of actual humans who are enthusiastic about supporting Hillary in this election cycle (she did purchase a lot of "followers" on Twitter though... ;/).


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