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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 3/4/22

Are Republicans Patriotic Enough to Support a Ban on Russian Oil Imports Without Turning It Into a Hustle?

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Will Republicans rally unconditionally to Ukraine's side if it costs us more at the gas pump and raises the price of home heating oil?

Instagram #Roundseries - #out of #gas / #sem #gasolina
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Ukrainian Member of Parliament Oleksandra Ustinova asked this morning how many Ukrainian deaths do Americans have to see on TV before we stop funding Putin by buying his oil?

I'd add, how many Ukrainian deaths do we have to see on TV before Republicans stop using the Russian invasion of that country to promote the interests of American petrobillionaire oligarchs?

Germany's economic minister Robert Habeck yesterday told Deutschlandfunk radio that Germany has now positioned itself to decouple altogether from Russian oil and gas imports. Just two weeks ago this would have been unthinkable, with about 40 percent of Germany's imported gas and oil coming straight from Russia.

"We are prepared for that [now]," Habeck said. "I can give the all-clear for the current winter and summer."

He added that the three nuclear power plants scheduled to be switched off in the next year can be left running for the time being, and several coal-fired power plants that have been retired can be brought back online with minimal disruption.

Doing so means, Habeck said, "We will have to buy more gas, but also coal from other countries" which will inflate the cost of transportation and home heating, but the majority of Germans think that's a small price to pay to stop funding the assault on Ukraine.

Fortunately for Minister Habeck and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the German Supreme Court has not ruled that it's "First Amendment-protected Free Speech" for fossil fuel billionaires to own German politicians and direct their behavior in exchange for campaign contributions and other favors.

To the contrary, such behavior is explicitly illegal in Germany, where much of the cost of campaigning for elections is federally funded.

Here in America, however, since five radicals on the Supreme Court grifted us with their Citizens United decision, pretty much the entire GOP and a few Democrats (famously Sinema and Manchin) have been purchased by multiple industries, particularly Big Pharma, Big Insurance, Big Banking and Big Oil.

As a result, multiple Republicans (and a few Democrats) are calling for an end to Russian imports to the US to be "balanced" by President Biden opening more federal lands to oil exploitation and for the revival of the Keystone XL Pipeline to bring dirty oil tar from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast to process and export most of the resulting gasoline and diesel fuel (we get the pollution, they get the profits).

This sales pitch is desperately disingenuous - they all know it would take years for additional fossil fuel to come online and the XL pipeline was mostly for export - but its simplicity appeals to low-information voters and "news" agencies like Fox that have little to no regard for either nuance or truth on issues that benefit billionaires.

Russia exports around 5 million barrels of crude oil a day (12% of the world's total), earning them, at $100+/barrel, around a half-billion dollars a day in foreign "hard" currencies (mostly dollars); the US is currently buying a bit over 100,000 barrels a day of that, giving Russia a bit over $10 million a day at the current price of oil.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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