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Protesters greet Obama on S.F.’s Billionaires’ Row

April 7th, 2013 - 12:48 pm

Although the protest in theory was specifically about the Keystone XL pipeline extension within the United States, the focus for most of the participants was about tar sands in general…

…and that was just a shorthand for all oil…

…which was subsumed in condemnation of all carbon-based energy sources.

OK, so we can cross oil, coal, natural gas, and all petroleum-related products off our list of acceptable energy sources.

What’s left then — nuclear? Nuclear power is, after all, not carbon-based.

Nope. Nuclear’s off the list too. “All reactors leak all the time,” as this Occupier put it.

So, without carbon fuels or nuclear power, what’s the answer?

Sustainable energy! Silly me! Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

Here’s why: In reality, sustainable/renewable/green energy sources meet only about 10% of our current energy requirements, and that’s if you include hydroelectric, which most environmentalists also oppose because dams are eeeee-vil. All other sustainable sources combined — solar power, wind power, geothermal, biomass, etc. — supply about 3% of the United States’ electrical energy needs.

That’s hard cold reality. Yeah yeah yeah, maybe several decades in the future with massive government funding we could increase our solar and wind energy output severalfold, from 3% to 6% or 9% or more. The most extreme serious projection I’ve seen from the most optimistic pro-sustainable organization still concedes that we’re unlikely to fulfill even 20% of our current energy usage from sustainables within the next century. (The pessimists scoff at that number, admittedly.) So, where is that 80+% (in the future) and 97+% (currently) of our energy going to come from, if we follow the progressives’ advice and cut out all oil, coal, tar sands, natural gas, and nuclear?

The answer is: Shut up, you naysayer!!

At least the dishonest and ignorant environmentalists answer that way. The honest ones speak of “de-development” and living in caves and abandoning civilization and committing Voluntary Human Extinction to save Mother Earth.

Most of the CREDO protesters were, alas, of the former variety: ignorant and clueless. If we want to combat the greenhouse effect by keeping carbon molecules out of the atmosphere (the whole rationale for opposing oil-based energy), then we need to leave the oil where we found it — in the soil. But on the other hand, “No Oil in Our Soil” rhymes, which is a pretty good argument.

The organizers handed out “chant sheets”; someone was kind enough to show me theirs. We need printed lyrics for this kind of juvenilia?

This area of Pacific Heights is an unofficial “Embassy Row,” and by a stroke of cosmic irony, across the street from Tom Steyer’s house is the “Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt,” better known as the Egyptian consulate. The ironic part, of course, is that Egypt is an oil-exporting nation, and while its economy may not be as dominated by oil as are the economies of other Arab nations, petroleum products are still Egypt’s largest export category.

During the early part of the protest when it was still small, only a few people wandered past the consulate. But as the crowd swelled…

…The anti-oil protesters literally swarmed all over the Egyptian consulate’s front yard; since the building was closed and it doesn’t really count as a private residence, the consulate served as a convenient gathering spot.

Throughout all of this, it seemed that not a single person even noticed the sign on the building behind them, much less registered the irony of protesting against the American oil economy while standing on the territory of a different oil-exporting nation.

This unintentional juxtaposition exposed the inherent flaw in CREDO’s concept: Stopping the pipeline from Canada into the United States in no way undermines the overall oil economy — it would simply force Canada to export the oil overseas, likely to China. If the pipeline is blocked, it would merely make oil and gas prices more expensive here in the United States, and enrich other oil-exporting countries at our expense, since we’d have to buy more costly oil imported from further afield.

The end result of all this would be a continued acceleration of wealth away from America to those countries which have large oil reserves. This is pretty self-evident to anyone who pauses for a moment and thinks about it, and it therefore must be the ultimate goal of CREDO and other environmental groups: To hurt the United States economically. If they really truly authentically wanted to stop the oil economy, they’d protest against the countries producing the oil. Canada seems to be immune from criticism, so everybody pack your bags — we’re off for a raucous protest in downtown Riyadh!

Although conservatives tend to dismiss much of the far left as “a bunch of commies,” a significant portion of leftists will insist that they’re not communists or socialists at all, despite being opposed to capitalism. But, taking this protester’s sign as a starting point, I always wonder: Well, if you hope/assume/predict that capitalism will collapse as a system, and if you concede that socialism has already failed, then what do you propose will be mankind’s guiding economic philosophy after the existing system implodes? I’ve never gotten a clear or viable answer, most likely because the majority of people haven’t thought it through that far, and the few that have are almost all anarchists, who hope/assume/predict that mankind will descend (my term — they’d probably say “ascend”) into anarchy, which they see as a good thing, because they’re generally young and aggressive and assume they’ll thrive in a world without rules, and if they’re wrong and everyone dies anyway, then all the better because we’re just parasites on Gaia and mankind should go extinct for the sake of all the other species we oppress.

For some reason this was my favorite sign of the day. Perhaps it was the unexpected use of “a” instead of the more sensible “the” which thrilled my inner linguist. “Fuck the Pipeline” would have been pedestrian, but “Fuck a Pipeline” just opens up a whole world of syntactic subtleties.

Is this a fart joke or a serious political statement?

The name of the pipeline we were protesting is Keystone XL, often abbreviated to “KXL.” All the pre-printed signs of course spelled it this way. But a disturbing number of handmade signs inexplicably got it wrong, reversing the “X” and the “L” and spelling it “KLX.” Give humanity half a chance, and we will misspell anything, including three-letter-long acronyms.

Even Credo Action’s organizers got it wrong sometimes. They had hand-painted a series of signs to be held up by volunteers on surrounding streets, guiding arriving activists to the action: “KXL Protest” with an arrow indicating “This Way.” But even some of their own signs reversed the letters, spelling out “KLX Protest.”

Dyslexics Untie!

The weird thing about this protest is that many of the protesters seemed to be great fans of Obama.

It was patently obvious that just about everybody here (except the World Can’t Waiters) voted for Obama; this was less of a protest and more of a passive-aggressive emotional manipulation: “You wouldn’t want to disappoint me, would you?” “Don’t break my heart.” and so on.

“Be a man of your word.” Apparently these are the kind of people who believe campaign promises.

It all culminated in this one sign, which of all the signs at the protest disturbed me the most. Yes, Obama really did say “Show me the movement. Make me do it.” (At least according to Michael Pollan, who quoted Obama while speaking at an environmental event in 2009.) In fact, a more extended quote from that speech might explain the motivation behind this entire protest:

Now, this agenda that I’m talking about, your own agenda, is not gonna happen just because we have a President and a First Lady who are sympathetic. That’s not how change comes. Change is much, much harder than that. Presidents cannot flip the switch and make things happen…. A friend of mine had occasion to have dinner with him and Michelle, and Obama made it clear that he got it, that he really did understand the issue, but he also said he didn’t think the time was right to push hard. He understood the forces arrayed on the other side and the great amount of political capital it would take to defeat them. … He challenged my friend, he said, “Show me the movement. Make me do it. Make me do it.”

…Now, that language, that language, “Make me do it,” is very interesting. Presidents have uttered that word – those words before. Roosevelt used them when he was being lobbied about certain issues. There’s a very interesting scene when Martin Luther King came to Lyndon Johnson and said, “We need this Voting Rights Act. You know, we need your help,” and Johnson turned to him and said, “I wanna do it. Make me do it.” He wasn’t just gonna do it. He needed to be made. He was telling Martin Luther King to get out in the street and make it happen.

Another example, President Clinton in 1993, he had a very difficult budget negotiation in Congress. He lost a lot. He moved way to the right and gave up a lot of his campaign promises to get this 1993, his first budget. And, at the signing of this budget, Bernie Sanders, the member of his caucus furthest to his left was there, and he came over to Bernie Sanders and he started pounding on his chest like this and he said, “Why weren’t you screaming at me? I needed you to be screaming at me, because then I could have brought you something.” So, as kindly as you feel towards Michelle and Barack, keep those lessons in mind.

Vilsack said something similar to a group of activists he met with just last month, “I need your help. Build a movement.” And he understands. Because the farm lobby is already organizing against him. So, we need to get organized. We need to flex our muscles. …

Now is not the time to savor the moment or rest. Now is the time to make Obama do it. Let’s show him the movement.

This explains how people who voted for Obama can be out in the street seemingly to protest “against” him. Turns out this whole protest was nothing more play-acting for the cameras, a group of faux protesters colluding with Obama to create a Potemkin “movement” which he can then cite as justification for making an unpopular decision he already wanted to make anyway. “I had no choice — there’s a mass movement against this pipeline! I must bow to the will of the people.”

The more I thought about this sign and its implications, the more disturbed I became. This explains not just today’s anti-Keystone pipeline protest, but also much of what has gone on in politics since 2008. It explains the media’s otherwise inexplicable glorification and attempted legitimization of the Occupy Wall Street movement; it explains the media’s desperate demonization of the Tea Party (so as to prevent the impression that it was a mass movement); it explains all sorts of outrages and protests and petitions and marches by the American far-left “against” a president whose agenda is identical to theirs. Every time the left erupted over some issue, I used to wonder, “Why are you complaining to Obama? He agrees with you!” Turns out that of course they all know full well that he agrees with them, that he and they are all on the same side. The purpose is not to change Obama’s mind, the purpose is to provide him with political cover to make bad or unpopular decisions, by fabricating hollow “popular uprisings” which he can then point to as indicative of overall public opinion.

My speculations were confirmed the following day when I read the only report of what was said inside the fundraisers, as quoted by the only “pool reporter” allowed into the events:

Steyer, who is a vociferous opponent of the Keystone XL oil pipeline and a strong supporter of climate-change legislation, appeared to try to ease concerns that Obama wouldn’t keep the issue at the top of his agenda, as he has promised.

He is doing everything he can on the issues that we care about,” Steyer told the group in his home. “He has political limitations…so we really have an obligation to help him.”

Obama for his part, addressed climate change repeatedly in his remarks, which lasted 19 minutes, but never specifically mentioned the pipeline.

So it was just as I suspected: The protesters and Obama and his billionaire backers are all enmeshed, working in conjunction to achieve specific political goals — goals that would otherwise be unpopular with the general public. I realized that we out on the street were not protesting against the president’s agenda: We were part of the president’s agenda.

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Top Rated Comments   
I've felt for the longest that our current environmental movement is funded by oil exporting countries who are attempting to keep the industrialized west from exploiting oil and gas resources, building more nuclear power plants, and using coal. IOW, reducing these countries back to the third world back waters they used to be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
How much fun it would have been to wade into that crowd in a costume featuring pumped-up muscles and a faux-leopard loincloth, bearing a sign that said, "Me Tar-Sands. You Insane."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
God, I love a Zombie special photo essay.

I get great neck exercise, because I find myself repeatedly shaking my head and I run the gamut of emotions, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.

We elected...twice...a four decade soldier from the protest cutlure...and they fauxtest him, so that the media can provide him cover, for a hoax about climate, that doesn't solve any of the issues they are fauxtesting about.

I don't know where we went wrong, but the feeling's gone and I just can't get it back.

I love Zombie...but, I'm beginning to really not like much of what used to be my country.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (47)
All Comments   (47)
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Sorry about your parents,dude; but "Old Timer's" disease can be cured. There are support groups for the relevance challenged. After withdrawing them from years of dangerous secondhand opinions and overdoses of libroidium, many can
actually relearn to think for themselves. It isn't easy,and there can be side effects-loss of social approval from former "comm-reds",removal from dinner party guest lists,and so on. The benefits,however are enormous;as one of our former officials said: "a mind is a terrible thing not to have".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Zombie is a very large part of why I come to this site [along with VDH]and it's always A Hoot to see what she's up to lately.
Since people-watching in all their various forms,crowds and flavors [even the disgusting ones] is one of my most enjoyable 'hobbies', " Z " posts are always a treat for my old, tired eyes.
Your revelation regarding make 'me do it' is now pounded into my brain.
For that alone, I thank you profusely. But truly,... this 'is all good' and revealing to the max.
Kudos and Hoo-Rahs to you............
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Huh!ok!!!!!!Uncle Kevvie.................................Liz
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That would be 3030 Pacific Avenue, not Pacific Street. Pacific Street is in Chinatown.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Good catch. I've fixed it to say "Avenue" now. Easily avoidable typo -- it even says "Pacific Avenue" in the very map-picture I was referring to.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thanks for the pictures ... seeing the age of the ave liberal in San Fran ... Pelosi represents them ... fitting ... interesting ... we all grow old ... where will we go ... all of us have to pass through death ... to death or life ... yea, "Jesus Christ superstar, who in the world do you think you are" ... rather, Jesus "who do you say I am?" ... Peter "you are the Christ, the son of the living God."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
kind of interesting to notice than in latin and italian, "Credo" means "I believe".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
More in sorrow than in anger, unfortunately. If backed up against the wall, all proggies will bow down to their shiny idol. Stupid commies, no carbon for you.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Another great one Zombie! I loved the comments about how the protests are part of the Obama campaign machine. I wonder if any of the average lefties on the streets even realize this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Excellent reportage.
Those billionaires sure know how to own the crowd.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Environmental zealots have an odd relationship with China. They clearly want cheaper oil for China, even though that means it will be shipped instead of carried in a safer pipeline. On the other hand, they would rather have everyone in China and India just die. That or have everyone in Asia, Europe, and North America come to desperate poverty, unable to support large urban centers, where everybody would die anyway. Those would be about the only options to limit carbon emissions to an environmentally significant level.

Also, the anti-capitalists who confirm the death of socialism are probably only anarchists in their romantic versions of themselves. In reality, they're fascists; wanting the state to bend the productivity of free-ish markets to the will of state.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It explains the media’s otherwise inexplicable glorification and attempted legitimization of the Occupy Wall Street movement; it explains the media’s desperate demonization of the Tea Party (so as to prevent the impression that it was a mass movement); it explains all sorts of outrages and protests and petitions and marches by the American far-left “against” a president whose agenda is identical to theirs.

Agree that's true. And it's an international phenomenon. That's why you see 'protest' mobs in Egypt, or Palestine or Greece or wherever, holding up signs for the cameras - in English! They're not protesting for local effect, they're counting on the media wing of the Democrat Party to take their outrage, or 'sufferings', or demands for 'rights', to the TV sets and papers of the West, where world opinions that count are manufactured.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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