Take Your Keystone and Shove It, Democrats

by lizard

My god, Democrats, what the fuck are you people thinking? You want to save Mary Landrieu by passing her opponents Keystone XL pipeline bill?

Senate Democrats are working on plans to hold a vote authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline — approval that Democrats believe might bolster the chances of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), who faces a tough runoff election next month.

We know Jon Tester is eager to help Republicans move forward their agenda:

Montana’s senior U.S. senator, Democrat Jon Tester, will now be in the minority for the first time in his Senate career – but said this week his new role may actually create more opportunities to get things done.

In an interview, Tester said he could be among moderate Democrats who join Republicans to form a 60-senator majority to break a filibuster and advance certain bills.

“That’s a possibility,” he said. “I’m going to look at the policy and see how it works for Montana and the country. There are certain things that we may be able to support that others Democrats don’t. …

Great timing, Democrats. Just ignore the breaking news of the seismic shift in the global response to the climate crisis China and America announced last night. Who cares if one of the Republican’s favorite justifications for inaction on climate change—China—just evaporated? Who cares that tarsand bitumen is one of the most environmentally destructive petro-products on earth? Your base may care, but when did that ever stop you from kicking (tar)sand in their face?

This is why your party is at 36% approval, Democrats. Confronted with an electoral massacre, y’all double-down on Republicating yourselves into more malleable, poll-driven amoebas squishing into whatever form the data-sampling indicates you should take.

You should take a hike, preferably into the woods you think the government should mandate be cut. Even better, go spend a month in China without a respirator, then tell us why coal isn’t dead.

Action has to mobilize outside the voting booth.

Oh Hayduke, where do we go from here?

  1. JC

    I find it really funny that people are applauding the U.S.-China deal on carbon emissions. China says they’re going to keep doing the same thing for another 16 years, and then they’ll start cutting back sometime after 2030. And republicans already have committed themselves to gutting the ability of the EPA to implement new CO2 regs.

    But what it really comes down to is just a bunch of words. Obama says we’re going to cut emissions by 26-28 percent by 2025 (or something like that). Just how is he going to do that without EPA regs? What is the strategic path to reduce emissions if not through regulation?

    This one is easy. Quit subsidizing oil and coal, and start subsidizing non carbon-based energy production. Carbon tax. But you don’t hear any politician saying diddly about that.

    • lizard19

      there is a desperation to grab at any rhetorical twig being offered. I’m grabbing at the idea of an America-sized chunk of the Chinese energy grid shifting to renewables.

  2. Turner

    Here’s what I heard about the deal. The 16 year figure is a target date for China to achieve alternative energy on a large scale — large enough that it would provide energy for the whole USA if it were over here. This means, I think, that they’ll begin working toward their goal at once. They could achieve their goal much sooner than 16 years.

    They did not promise, despite Fox News accounts, to do nothing about their pollution problem for 16 years.

    In China a “goal” has the force of law. Some people will be in deep trouble if they don’t succeed. Also, the problem of air and water pollution is so serious that they’ll have to act fast.

    This could be a significant agreement. The two top polluters in the world getting together to to clean things up is huge both practically and symbolically. Look for India to join them soon.

    Politically, the deal (which Obama had apparently been working on secretly with the Chinese for the past 6 months) should give him a reason not to sign Keystone legislation. He can claim persuasively that the project would violate the spirit if not the letter of his agreement with the Chinese.

  3. You were amongst the first to call for Walsh’s withdrawal from the U.S. Senate race. Still think that was a good idea?

    Chuck Schumer was asked what the election was about and gave the answer that i’ve been giving for the past six years: “The Supreme Court.”

    Do you still think that it was a good idea to bitch about Walsh, not that it will take dynamite to blow Daines out of there?

    Landrieu hasn’t got a prayer unless she can find an issue that massively promotes turnout of Democrats and independents. XL won’t do it, of course, no matter which side she took.

    • lizard19

      what does Walsh have to do with this?

      • Steve W

        Maybe it’s booze, given the hour and the tangential aspect of the paragraph. . Or maybe it’s just a case of whining.

        I’m not sure why EV thinks leaving Walsh to swing in the wind would have changed the outcome, anymore than kowtowing to the keystone is going to inspire young people, people of color, reclusive Vietnam vets and me to want to turn out and grab a friend, relative or neighbor on the way. to the polls.

        I think Amanda did better than Walsh ever would have. She only came in a point behind Lewis. Just think if she had a year to plan, organize, fund raise, and campaign? If 4&20 helped bring this new raising star about, then they should be commended, because Curtis is a good candidate. Better than Walsh and her whole career is still in front of her, untainted by the loss of her college degree. Pisses the hell out of EV, apparently.

        I think that EV still doesn’t understand the relationship of turnout to election results. He thinks, apparently, that 4&20 controls the electoral landscape in Montana, and if a writer at 4&20 didn’t hold an opinion and didn’t write about their opinion, that somehow the US Senate, and thus the Supreme Court, could have been saved.

        Ev apparently thinks you can actually have a working senate within an Empire. Good luck with that.

        He ignores the fact that even if Walsh had stayed and won (no matter how unlikely that is) and if Landrieu could magically change overwhelming public animosity and or apathy the Senate would still be run by The Repos.

        Evdebs is apparently as deluded as are the national Dems who just lost very big and now are attempting to shift the blame. Ev is clueless. Even if he didn’t like Batista.

        Ever notice how history repeats itself. Here we are, in a situation almost identical to the late 1990’s when the laws passed then by Repos, some right-wing Dems and Clinton were used to fleece us about a decade later.

        wash rinse repeat.

        • evdebs

          You may be correct. Maybe it is the booze. Or then again, maybe you’re just an asshole, sober or drunk.

          • lizard19

            instead of calling other commenters names, how about answering my question. what does Walsh have to do with the content of this post?

            • evdebs

              Instead of getting on my case, please note that I was responding to a comment that called me “deluded” and “clueless.” If you’re comfortable with that, and there’s zero evidence that you aren’t, how about trying to be a bit more even handed?

              • lizard19

                since you can’t answer a simple question, I will do it for you. Walsh has nothing to do with this post.

              • evdebs

                Okay, I’ll try to walk you through this.

                You vociferously opposed Walsh, the one candidate who might have held the seat for Democrats. Granted the guy is an asshole, and must have been getting campaign advice from simians, but he might have gotten enough dough and had enough name recognition to be competitive.

                So when the “D”s presented some feeble alternatives, after Walsh dropped out, you went with the P.C. choice, the least electable of the hopefuls. (Not that any of them really presented any sort of a realistic choice.)

                I’m not so naive as to think that your intervention would have made a difference, but Curtis, personally appealing perhaps to you or me, couldn’t get elected to any office outside of the Berkeley city council.

                You chose the opportunity to rapidly jump on the dump Walsh bandwagon.

                That was as politically effective as sitting at home eating chocolate and smoking hemp and watching reality show reruns.

                There are few progressives as unhappy with the “D”s as I am, sitting here still steaming over the Lynch nomination and the now realized inevitable consequences of the Tom Wheeler appointment. However, a dose of reality can come in quite handy, rather than ceding the ground for any contest, perhaps in perpetuity, given the situation with the Supremes. At least many “D”s are seemingly not going to be accommodating in accelerating the Lynch Judiciary Committee and confirmation vote before the end of the year. She seems to be deserved toast.

                I for one, dread what will happen when Ginsberg steps down.

    • I am curious why a party that has sold us out on every other issue (expert perhaps net neutrality, watching that one with interest), would give us good Supreme Court justices.

      They could have stopped Roberts, Alito. It never even occurred to them to try. There appears to be a deal in place that says that (perceived) moderates will be allowed on the court if it does not upset five-man right-wing rule?

      Bush v Gore was instructive for me. It showed me that just like all of our other branches of government, the Supreme Court is corrupt as hell. It will not be cleaned up by electoral politics any more than any other branch. We’re too far around the bend for an election here or there to matter.

      • Turner

        I see that the Democrats have created a position in the senate leadership for Elizabeth Warren. She’s to be the “outreach” person to liberals.

        A brilliant, though painful, piece of self-satire.

  4. steve kelly

    Nice message to indigeneous people, young people, and anyone who might not totally deny the CO2/bitumen problems. Nice message to the rest of the world. At some point, Democrats, there’s nothing left to fix.

  5. So canceling KXL will cease the the extraction of the “most environmentally destructive petri-product”?

    And I’m the stupid one here?

    • lizard19

      you obviously can’t read.

      • And you can’t answer the obvious question. KXL or not, evil tar sands will be extracted and refined.

        • You are right that the American public has no power or input on these matters, as both parties are bought. Why you revel in that I do not know.

          The extractors would prefer to run it across Canada through BC. But public opinion up there is more organized even as politicians are as corrupt. The trans-US pipeline is merely the backup.

          And again, it is being done so that Canadian crude can be refined and exported, to no benefit of any Americans. Interesting that you also revel in being a doormat.

        • JC

          Well, if Obama, King Saud and the neocons have their way, the geopolitics designed to fiscally strangle Russia and Iran by pushing oil prices way down will kill development of tar sands oil in Canada and the U.S.

          You may want to look over your oil futures portfolio and reinvest in Chinese alternative energy stock instead.

          • I don’t think the Saudis are at all happy ’bout tar sand development, if that’s who you refer to.

            I have yet to hear from anyone supporting your side how no pipeline prevents well heads pumping or even future development.

            KXL is just a means of transporting.

            • JC

              If you read the link, you’ll see that when oil prices fall below certain levels, those oil fields become unprofitable, and development is discontinued. Basic market economics, Swede. Thought you’d know that.

              If you gots too many cows, and the price of cows drops, do you go out and buy more pasturage and build your herd up and a new semi to haul them to market if you lose money doing it? No? Didn’t think so.

              • It’s complicated would be the short answer. But tech advances again rule the day. Steam extraction drops the break-even process of harvesting down to 65-70 bucks a barrel.


              • JC

                And when the price hits $60?

              • Seriously, you don’t think learned oil economists haven’t run the projection out 50 years? The combination of Bakken and Canadian Sands make the risk worth it.

                Then there’s inflation. But that’s a whole post in itself.

              • JC

                If the cow analogy didn’t work for you, here, go read about it at Zero Hedge from the “learned economists:”

                “…the future of America’s “shale miracle” has only gotten ever murkier since a month ago…

                Finally, our stress-test shows that a further 20% drop in WTI to $60/bbl is likely to push the whole sector into distress, a scenario where average B/CCC energy name will start trading at 65% D/EV, implying a 30% default rate for the whole segment. A shock of that magnitude could be sufficient to trigger a broader HY market default cycle, if materialized.”

              • evdebs

                The increasing presence of U.S. energy corporations in the “junk bond” market as the price of oil continues to crater, could destabilize financial markets, They have moved from 4.6% of the composition of the High Yield bond market to 15.4%, in the last decade. That’s about a 330% increase in sector presence with massive defaults looming.

                XL can only exacerbate that problem.

                Screw the Kochs. No pipeline.
                Technological advances in hydraulic fracturing have fueled what some call the Great American Shale Boom. Oil and natural gas extracted from shale basins have left the US flush with energy. It’s been a boon for US energy-related jobs and equipment suppliers.

                But it’s not cheap to tap these so-called unconventional plays.

                In other words, crashing oil prices will soon make many of these energy sources money-losing projects. Morgan Stanley estimates the average break even oil price for these US plays to be about $76 to $77 per barrel. Goldman Sachs puts that number at closer to $75.

                If the price of oil can’t cover production expenses and these companies are forced to idle their operations, then you could expect spending to drop, jobs to get cut, and delinquencies and defaults to rise.

                To make matters more complicated, many of these energy companies are financing their operations by borrowing in the junk-bond market, which means borrowing rates are relatively high.

                “As oil prices have fallen recently, so have prices of high-yield bonds,” Charles Schwab’s Collin Martin wrote in October. When bond prices fall, rates rise.

                “Oil prices can have a broad impact on the high-yield bond market because energy corporations have been increasing their share of the high-yield bond market. Today, energy companies make up more than 15% of the Barclays U.S. Corporate High-Yield Bond Index. That’s up from less than 5% of the index at the end of 2005—and the chart below shows that the share has been steadily increasing over the past decade.”

                Even worse, this comes as interest rates are broadly expected to go higher from here.

                Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/energy-companies-making-up-high-yield-bonds-2014-10#ixzz3Iz3YNTwP

              • If oil drops to 60 a pipeline or an industries health will be the least of our concerns.

            • evdebs

              Dear Squarehead,

              If there are no economically competitive means available for transporting the oil already extracted at high economic (and environmental) cost from the tar sands, that source can’t compete with less expensive and less environmentally destructive alternatives.

              Now you should be able to understand that. If you can’t, try reading what I’ve written again, but this time with your finger under each word as you’re reading them. If it helps, go ahead and move your lips while you’re doing that.

              Let us know if you finally get it. We certainly hope it’s possible for you to do so.

              • We don’t really to rely on the newer more expensive tar sands when the Bakken can fill the pipe.

                “Just one oil-producing rock layer was great. Four or five layers of so-called “stacked pay” will be the gift that keeps on giving. I was shocked a few years when Harold Hamm told me that in time the Bakken would give up 24 billion barrels of oil. Continental’s updated estimates today boost that grand total tremendously. The company’s geologists figure that the entire petroleum system of the Bakken has more than 400 billion barrels of original oil in place. Assuming a recovery factor of just 15%, that’s more than 60 billion barrels of recoverable oil.”-Forbes.

  6. steve kelly

    “Cost-wise, this is the most expensive oil being produced today,” Dyer said. “It’s a pretty clear indicator that our solution to energy needs is not chasing lower and lower quality fossil fuel resources that come with higher impacts.”

    And let’s not forget higher costs to produce, and lowest EROI(average energy returned on investment) — “…for oil sands would fall closer to 1:1 if the tar sands’ full life cycle—including transportation…” http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20130219/oil-sands-mining-tar-sands-alberta-canada-energy-return-on-investment-eroi-natural-gas-in-situ-dilbit-bitumen

    Even corn ethanal has a higher EROI. Wow, how stupid is that? Blue-dog stupid.

  7. Here’s another question I’d like answered. When the hell have you guys been concerned with the financial health of Oil companies?

    Seems to me the destruction of their wealth via dropping oil prices would make you dance in the streets. It not like we’re talking about the Berkley Pit here, it’s a buried pipeline people.

    • JC

      Context, Swede, context. Oil prices have everything to do geo politics. Personally, I couldn’t care less if the Koch Bros., Inc. went belly up in the Obama/Saudi/neocon strategy of bankrupting the Russians and Iranians.

      But again, KXL, while “it’s a buried pipeline”, it is symbolic of everything that’s wrong with fossil fuel-based energy systems. You need to look at the opposition to it the same way people viewed slavery, or equal voting rights. Every little battle has meaning, and cumulatively ends up with the desired result: ending slavery & equal voting rights.

      With defeating Keystone XL, it’s another building block in moving the world away from fossil fuel energy production. Just like stopping mega loads on U.S.12 in Idaho. Just like stopping coal terminals in Washington. Just like stopping/limiting coal train traffic through Montana communities. Just like stopping the Tongue River railroad.

  8. evdebs

    Pee effing Ess,

    In another of your wondrous moves, you still have the “Denise Juneau” for Senate website leading your list of links.

    Now I love Juneau. However it is amazing that she survived her last election given that I don’t think anyone from her campaign did 30 seconds of opp research on the well funded whackjob who ran against her.

    Had they done so, they would have found a cemetery full of skeletons back in California and I’d guess, in her prior jobs in Montana as well.

    I think the Kochs wanted her position on the state land trust board as well as being able to push the creationist fundy agenda of their historic tools.

    So what’s on “her” website that you have so assiduously preserved?

    An entire page consisting entirely of a sales pitch for some gambling scam, in some language entirely unfamiliar to me but what might well be Tagalog.

    If your browser has the capacity, push the “translate” button and you’ll find it has zero to do with Denise or the U.S. Senate or anything at all useful to anyone except the hustlers who posted the pitch.

    Bye, bye.

  9. lizard19

    debs, I’m going to respond down here.

    bringing Walsh into this is ridiculous. he supported Keystone, didn’t inspire the base, and even if he wasn’t forced out, he would not have gotten more voters to turn out than Curtis did. the problem with Walsh is the problem with Democrats. you do get that, don’t you?

    as for your pee effing ess, I don’t mess with the links on the front page of this blog, that’s something jhwygirl has maintained. feel free to email her about your concerns.

  10. Steve W

    Dear EV;

    Perhaps I was a little bit rough on you when I called you “clueless” and “deluded.”

    You are simply wrong.

    Amanda Curtis won her legislative seat in Butte which is hardly Berkeley.

    She actually only trailed Lewis by less than 1/3 of one percent statewide. (515 votes) http://electionresults.sos.mt.gov/resultsSW.aspx?type=FED&map=CTY

    You are wrong about Walsh and you are wrong about Curtis.

    You have an opinion with no data to back it up. Not too impressive.

    • evdebs

      Curtis lost her race by about 66,000 votes, 17.69%. Where do you get your “…less than 1/3 of 1%?” Been eating peyote salad?

    • When Walsh went down, the party bosses threw in the towel. Walsh was ideal, a military man low intellect and moral caliber who did as told. Had he won would have emerged, like Tester, as just another Republican – when the time was right. He was chosen to run without a base. He would definitely have done better than Curtis, as he had party support and money behind him, but I doubt he could have survived this tide.

      With Walsh gone, the party opted for an old ploy, making lemonade. The seat was lost, so they decided to toss a perceived progressive out there to be hanged. That way, when time comes for the next coronation, they’ll be able to say “look, Curtis showed us that progressives can’t win.” And they will say that. I know these cynical bastards. As much as they hate losing, they hate the progressive wing of the party even more. That is exactly what they will say.

      We badly need not a third party, but a second one.

      • Steve W


        John Lewis, Democrat, well known long time Baucus Aide and Democratic Primary party favorite, received 148,701 votes in his Montana US House race.

        Amanda Curtis, Montana State House legislator from Butte, and a teacher, received 148,186 votes in her last minute stand in race for US Senator. Even though she entered the race late as a virtual unknown and only had 3 months to raise money, campaign, and introduce her self to the state, she only received 515 fewer votes state wide than did John Lewis, who had the Baucus people behind him and who had been fund-raising and campaigning for more than a year, more like two years.

        When Curtis entered the race that Walsh ran away from, Walsh was trailing in the polls by double digits. Curtis lost to her opponent, Repo Steve Daines, by double digits.

        Lewis lost to Repo Ryan Zinke by double digits.

        We will never have any kind of idea what kind of candidate Walsh would have made, since he has never stood for election and as such has never had one single voter cast a ballot in his favor. In October after he existed the race, Walsh had his masters degree stripped from him by the college that awarded it to him, for plagiarism. If Walsh had remained in the race my guess is he would have received fewer votes than did Curtis. People don’t generally flock to vote for convicted plagiarists. That would have been on TV, radio, newspapers and door hangers 24/7 for the full 3 weeks leading up to election day.

        Curtis ran an excellent campaign given the circumstance, and anyone who can do a little electoral analysis can see that. She will be quite a formidable candidate if she decides to run again.

        I think she could beat either Lewis or Walsh in a statewide primary (although Walsh isn’t coming back imho) and she would out poll them in a general, as well.

        For years we have bemoaned the dearth of a good left populist candidate here in the state.

  1. 1 Oil Politics & Renewable Energy | 4&20 blackbirds

    […] realize I was a little snarky with my comments yesterday about the U.S. – Chinese deal on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Maybe it is my inherent […]

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