Stephen Lendman, Contributor
For years, America has been on a fast track to tyranny. Duopoly power runs things repressively. Government of, by, and for the people never existed and doesn’t now.
Homeland repression is policy. Police state laws target resisters. Elections are farcical, rigged, and illegitimate. People have no say. Corporate-controlled electronic voting machines decide for them. Money power is firmly in charge. Democracy is illusory, not real.
Corporate/party boss-run Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) members exclude alternative voices. Money power operates secretly with no public oversight. A sham process repeats each electoral cycle.
Alternative party presidential candidates risk arrest for showing up to watch debates. Participation is out of the question.
On October 16, Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates learned firsthand. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala were arrested, detained, and held handcuffed uncomfortably to metal chairs for hours in a remote police warehouse.
They were charged with “obstructing traffic.” None at the time was visible. That’s how tyranny works. Challenging authority risks prison or worse. Many are tortured and abused. Some end up dead.
Obama appointed himself judge, jury and executioner. He decides who lives or dies. Romney won’t change a thing. No matter who wins, expect police state America to be more repressive than ever post-election.
If presidential challengers can be arrested and abused, what chance have ordinary people. Step out of line and expect the worst. Stein learned firsthand a second time. Her web site explained.
She supports activists opposing the environmentally destructive Keystone XL (KXL) project. More about it below.
In east Texas, she was arrested and handcuffed for bringing food, Halloween candy, and supplies. She was detained in Wood County jail. Authorities charged her with criminal trespassing. She and others were involved.
“They were not warned of imminent arrests; and the arresting officers did not self-identify as police.” Stein said she’s willing to face arrest in support of blocking KXL.
It’s a controversial 1,661-mile Alberta, Canada to Port Arthur, TX pipeline. Earlier, hundreds of environmental activists protested in front of the White House against it.
If completed, it’ll carry toxic tar sands oil from Western Canada to refineries on America’s Gulf coast. It’ll pass through environmentally sensitive areas in six states.
They include waterways and the Ogallala Aquifer. It’s one of the world’s largest. In America, it supplies about 30% of the nation’s irrigation ground water. It’s also used for human consumption.
Friends of the Earth says Keystone XL “will carry one of the world’s dirtiest fuels: tar sands oil.” Moreover, its route “could devastate ecosystems and pollute water sources, and would jeopardize public health.”
If completed, it’ll double America’s dirty tar sands oil supply. At the same time, environmental toxicity will increase exponentially. No matter the stakes, Big Oil wants it. So do Republicans and many Democrats. Obama once again conceded.
TransCanada Corporation is building it. It’s spill-prone construction record assures trouble. It promised its Keystone I pipeline would leak once every seven years. In year one, it leaked 12 times or once a month on average. It was unprecedented in US pipeline history.
TarSandsBlockade.org asks “Why Oppose KXL?”
For many reasons, it states. NASA scientist James Hansen calls it “a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet.”
All pipelines spill. Avoidance is impossible. Large-scale environmental damage is too great a price to pay. TransCanada said up to 700,000 gallons of tar sands crude could leak without detection. In other words, safeguards are weak and ineffective.
Pipeline construction abuses eminent domain. TransCanada “intimidated landowners” along its route to contractually accede to its demands. In addition, the company “fraudulently steals land from private citizens through eminent domain.”
Water contamination is certain. The Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer (CWA) is threatened. In March 2011, water resources & environmental engineer/consultant Lawrence Dunbar said CWA spillage would be environmentally disastrous. Human and natural resources would be impacted.
Release of enough tar sands contaminants would make affected water resources unfit for human consumption. CWA “is one of the greatest assets of the East-Central region of Texas. It provides water for agriculture, industry, and human consumption and use.”
It’s far too valuable to contaminate. KXL assures it. Remediation would be hard to impossible to achieve.
According to Cornell University’s Global Labor Institute, KXL will also destroy more jobs than it creates. Its September 2011 “Pipe Dreams?” report said job creation claims lack credibility.
At best up to 4,650 temporary ones will be created. In two years or less they’ll be gone. “KXL will not be a major source of US jobs, nor will it play any substantial role at all in putting Americans back to work.”
Moreover, diverting tar sands oil “now supplying Midwest refineries, so it can be sold at higher prices to the Gulf Coast and export markets (means) Midwest (consumers) could be paying 10 to 20 cents more per gallon for gasoline and diesel fuel.”
Doing so will adversely impact other spending and cost jobs. KXL will also have “a chilling effect on green investments and green jobs creation.”
Thus far, green economic spending generated “2.7 million jobs in the US and could generate many more.”
Cornell, the Natural Resources Defense Council and other independent assessments say KXL assures higher gas prices.
Exporting tar sands oil won’t reduce US dependence on foreign supplies. Prioritizing exports is planned. At issue is selling at the highest possible price.
KXL violates tribal sovereignty. The Indigenous Environmental Network’s “Mother Earth Accord” supports and urges opposition to tar sands development. At issue is preserving the integrity of US and Canadian First Nations and tribal lands.
TransCanada won’t disclose an analysis of chemical dilutants used to facilitate transporting tar sands oil through KXL. At issue are human and environmentally destructive substances.
The Pipeline Hazardous Material Safety Administration told Congress that pipeline regulations weren’t crafted with tar sands oil in mind. They’re woefully inadequate and require strengthening. At a time of deregulatory extremism, don’t expect it.
The State Department, not EPA, conducted KXL’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Hillary Clinton has close ties to TransCanada lobbyist Paul Elliot. He was one of her main 2008 presidential campaign officials.
EIS analysis was rigged. Its methodology lacked credibility. Results claimed minimal environmental contamination risk.
KXL’s southern area “Gulf Coast Project” failed to conduct its own environmental assessment. Issues related to the Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifer, wildfires, droughts, and others weren’t examined.
Connect the dots. Omnipotent money power, permanent imperial wars, corporate empowerment, rigged elections, homeland repression, and government of, by, and for the privileged few characterize today’s America.
Even independent presidential candidates challenging a system this corrupt, venal and dysfunctional risk arrest, abuse, and possible imprisonment.
On November 6, consider your options. Boycott America’s duopoly. Vote independent or stay home. Change depends on ordinary people struggling long-term. Nothing else works. Not now! Not ever!
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected] His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/