All Hands On Deck

Last Friday’s meeting of the DNC platform drafting committee in St. Louis yielded the best evidence yet that President Obama intends to ram the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) through a lame duck congress after the November election. The TPP is the most sweeping trade agreement in history, and is opposed by Democratic Party leaders like Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Russ Feingold and Elizabeth Warren, as well as organizations as diverse as the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women, the United Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, and the National Farmers Union.

Clinton delegates at the meeting voted down a platform proposal that would have put the party on record saying Congress should not take up the TPP this year. A Sanders campaign press release included this statement:

Sanders said it was “inexplicable” why Clinton allies on the panel at a meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, voted down proposals on trade that both Sanders and Clinton embraced as candidates. “It is hard for me to understand why Secretary Clinton’s delegates won’t stand behind Secretary Clinton’s positions in the party’s platform,” Sanders said.

The reason why, in my view, is obvious: Obama intends to bring this up in the lame duck congress, and Clinton and her delegates don’t want to buck him on it.

So who will Obama call on to champion the TPP in the House? 3rd congressional district Representative Ron Kind. Kind was Obama’s go to guy on fast track authority for the trade deal last Spring, and recently re-iterated his support for the TPP when he announced his ” Dairy Action Plan.”

So what’s the best way to defeat the TPP in a lame duck congress? Defeat Ron Kind in the August 9th primary. Kind’s primary challenger, Myron Buchholz, has made opposition to the TPP wellknown since first announcing his run last February, pulling a trailer behind his van in parades all over the district with large signs that read: ” Stop Bad Trade Deals, NAFTA, Panama, TPP “ If Ron Kind is a lame duck himself come November 9th, it’s highly unlikely he’ll be a TPP champion with any clout in the House.

If you haven’t yet made a contribution to the Buchholz campaign, please donate $25-$50.

Wisconsinites deserve to know, right now, where Ron Kind stands on the prospect of the largest trade agreement in history being passed through a lame duck congress. Who do you stand with, Mr. Kind, the Dem party leaders and the many hundreds of allied organizations who oppose the TPP? Or do you stand with Wall Street and the corporate board rooms who are eager to see it pass? Which side are you on, Ron?

Some More Highlights From The Keystone XL Discussion

This morning I posted a bit on the ruling from the Nebraska Supreme Court that gives the Canadian oil company the right to seize American assets to complete the Keystone XL pipeline. But there are a few other nuggets to be mined from the original article as well. Let’s see what we find!

First, this isn’t necessarily an American idea. And this may seem obvious but it bears remembering later in the discussion:

The international (emphasis mine) pipeline is a cornerstone of the new GOP agenda in Congress.

But this oil of course will lower gas prices in America, right?

The $8 billion project, one of the largest infrastructure projects proposed for the United States, would carry oil from the tar sands of Canada through the nation’s heartland and eventually to the Gulf Coast. Much of the oil would be exported (emphasis mine).

Yes, it will in fact help the American market and help us reduce dependence on foreign oil. Just look:

But supporters argue that development of the pipeline will wean the country from foreign oil suppliers and create needed domestic jobs.

Wait wait wait…I just remembered…these are CANADIAN tar sands oil…and so far Canada, no matter how friendly they are with the US, is a FOREIGN country. So we are weaning ourselves from one foreign oil to another…assuming of course that the oil were actually staying in the USA! But I quibble…what about those jobs?

Well this article says that 42,000 construction jobs will result in completing the pipeline. That seems like an incredible amount…and other articles in the past have questioned that number as well…but it will certainly produce substantial long term jobs, yes?

While the State Department estimates that about 42,000 jobs would be created during the construction of the pipeline, permanent jobs would be fewer than 50. The 800,000 daily gallons of oil expected to be pumped are a blip on the climate change radar.

Fewer that FIFTY jobs? Really? From the ruckus in Washington you’d think this was the next major industrialization of the gulf coast…I mean really…it’s less that fifty jobs?

And I kinda glossed over that last part a little bit. Does that say 800,000 GALLONS of oil? I thought we were talking hundreds of thousands of barrels…but it’s 800,000 gallons.

So let me summarize what I understand from all of this: some foreign oil company gets to seize American property to pump 800,000 gallons of pretty mucky oil across thousands of miles of the United States…to the gulf coast so a handful of Americans can refine it and load it on tankers to send overseas?