Debating a Halfwit


On Monday, people gathered across the nation in over 200 vigils to urge President Obama to reject the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, and I have to say, I’m fucking tired of explaining why the pipeline is a hugely fucking bad idea. Climate scientist James Hansen said it all when he said that exploiting these tar sands and building this pipeline would be “game over” for the climate.

Game over.

Ok, do I need to go into detail? Fine, but I’m tired of being nice about it. The southern leg of the pipeline has already been built and, in fact, began shipping oil in January, running from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. The northern leg would expand that pipeline, running from the Midwest to Alberta.

(The following is based on actual events)

“But Alyssa, we use oil all the time. Don’t you like being able to drive places? Get over it you hippie!”

Well, you simpleton demon spawn, this pipeline would carry diluted bitumen, a viscous petroleum mixture – also known as tar sands or oil sands, a petroleum slush of sand, clay, and hydrocarbons that is so thick and sticky that it will not flow through pipes unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. In order to make liquid fuel from the bitumen, a process of steam injection and refining are necessary, generating more greenhouse gases. Studies have found that oil-sand crude is up to 22 percent more carbon intensive than regular crude oil. Just to get to the tar sands, pits must be dug to reach it or it must be blasted to the surface to be extracted, using more water and energy, and emitting more greenhouse gases into the air, as well as releasing toxic metals into the surrounding watershed.

Are you still listening, cretin? There’s more. Just this week, a study was published regarding emission levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – a carcinogen (that means cancer-causing) – released during the extraction process and found that it was two to three orders of magnitude higher (100 – 1,000x greater) than was previously thought. In lakes surrounding the Alberta tar sands area, high levels of PAHs were found, levels that have been rising since large-scale production of the oil sands began in the late 70s.

“But Alyssa, I heard that this pipeline won’t hurt the climate or any of that crap.”

That’s because the company that was selected to perform the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – Environmental Resources Management (ERM) – had actually worked with TransCanada previously, you crusty botch of nature.  Documents uncovered by Mother Jones revealed that ERM’s second-in-command on the EIS had worked on projects with TransCanada as an outside consultant three times previously. Additionally, Politico uncovered further ties that the company had actually lobbied for a trade group that included a TransCanada subsidiary and is also a member of several industry groups that have urged the government to support the pipeline project. So, you churlish git, that’s called conflict of interest – a clear bias toward an industry and thus not an objective scientific report. Also, I will repeat myself – climate scientists say that this pipeline and exploiting the tar sands will be disastrous for the planet.

“Well, I disagree. I don’t think it will be bad for the climate.”

You goddamned ignoramus! When did you get your environmental science degree? Are you a climate scientist and have you been studying the anthropogenic (that means human-caused) effects on climate change for the past 3o years? When you go to the dentist, do you tell her you “disagree” that you have a cavity? No! That’s why we have goddamned experts! Not to mention that understanding that a new oil pipeline will have an adverse climate impact is simple logic. Burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases, leading to climate change. This pipeline will transport more oil – dirtier oil – to be burnt. Therefore, this pipeline WILL CONTRIBUTE TO CLIMATE CHANGE!

Ok, fine. Derp. But what about jobs? This will give us so many jobs! Do you hate working Americans?

Ok, turd-wanker, I’ll play this game for a fucking second. How many jobs will the pipeline actually create? Well, about 2,000 construction jobs that will last for a year, at most two, followed by about 50 permanent jobs. If you placed your energy pushing for jobs in building our dependence on renewables – something that would require many and more jobs to revamp our energy structure – you would get far more people back in the work force. What’s more, a study just released found that nearly five times more jobs, and many more long-term jobs, would be created if we simply fixed and updated our existing pipelines that are already in use.

Jobs are jobs and you’re a communist if you don’t support jobs.

Yes, communists hate jobs. And I hate having to explain to you – you insufferable ratbag – why this argument is logically incoherent! The false dilemma of having to choose between jobs and the environment; the idea that they are mutually incompatible is absolutely ludicrous! When did the push for jobs and the labor movement become so complacent? The jobs are there for completely revamping our country’s energy sector, if only we push for it. That would provide lasting jobs and cleaner energy. A win-win. Why would labor be willing to accept 2,000 short-term jobs and call that a success? Success is not employing a few people for one year at the expense of our entire fucking planet! We should be pushing for more and better. If a few meager jobs are all we’re pushing our government for, then they’ve already won. They will get the pipeline to line their pockets with money from the oil lobby, and they will get the complacency of you because you think winning 2,000 jobs is somehow a real win for labor.

But you’ve got to weigh the pros and cons. The pros are a few people can pay their mortgage for a year.

And the cons, you short-sighted prat, are global climate destruction.

But the environmental lobby is…

Just shut up. Don’t tell me the environmental lobby is somehow even in the same ballpark in terms of political power or influence. Oil companies make money in the billions. Sierra Club and other similar groups make only in the millions. Oh yeah, and they’re not for profit so…

But we need jobs and big business to keep our economy running!

You know what, you poor schlemiel, I feel almost sorry for you. The system is set up to make people like us fight each other over basic needs. Pitting the greens against labor is just one tactic to make us so divided that we can’t fight the true problem in this country – that big money bankers, fossil fuel companies, and the like are the ones running our country and no matter who we vote for, corporate interests will be the only interests looked after. Sure, the government lets you think that you have a say in who represents you in the White House. Every four years, we get to decide if we want to be led by a taint or an asshole and the masses dutifully choose which one they’d rather lick. So, poor schlub, I say let’s band together. The combined resources and people-power of all of the activist groups, the disenfranchised of the nation, those that want to see a country that is just and free from government and corporate tyranny, those that wish to put an end to poverty and unemployment yet still wish to inhabit a world filled with green spaces and a diversity of plant an animal life with thriving ecosystems – together we can overthrow the plutocracy! Together we can put an end to the oligarchy and create a system that is of the people! Really, don’t we all just want the same thing: to be free and to carry out our lives harmoniously. Let’s band, together, my simpleton comrade! What do you say?

Whatever. You’re a socialist. 

Alyssa Rohricht maintains Crash Culture and can be reached at aprohricht@msn.com.

Alyssa Röhricht maintains The Black Cat Revolution and can be reached at aprohricht@msn.com.

October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War
Kristine Mattis
GMO Propaganda and the Sociology of Science
Heidi Morrison
Well-Intentioned Islamophobia
Ralph Nader
Monsanto and Its Promoters vs. Freedom of Information
Arturo Desimone
Retro-Colonialism: the Exportation of Austerity as War By Other Means
Robert M. Nelson
Noted Argentine Chemist Warns of Climate Disaster
Matt Peppe
Misrepresentation of the Colombian Conflict
Barbara Dorris
Pope Sympathizes More with Bishops, Less with Victims
Clancy Sigal
I’m Not a Scientologist, But I Wish TV Shrinks Would Just Shut Up
Chris Zinda
Get Outta’ Dodge: the State of the Constitution Down in Dixie
Eileen Applebaum
Family and Medical Leave Insurance, Not Tax Credits, Will Help Families
Pierre-Damien Mvuyekure
“Boxing on Paper” for the Nation of Islam, Black Nationalism, and the Black Athlete: a Review of “The Complete Muhammad Ali” by Ishmael Reed
Lawrence Ware
Michael Vick and the Hypocrisy of NFL Fans
Gary Corseri - Charles Orloski
Poets’ Talk: Pope Francis, Masilo, Marc Beaudin, et. al.
Weekend Edition
October 2-4, 2015
Henry Giroux
Murder, USA: Why Politicians Have Blood on Their Hands
Mike Whitney
Putin’s Lightning War in Syria