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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 3/3/18

Someone Tell a Reporter: the Rich are Destroying the Earth

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From Counterpunch

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"I Said Why? They Said They Didn't Know"

Let history record that on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, 14 days after climate change-fueled Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas and four days before Hurricane Irma hit southern Florida, the climate-denying President of the United States Donald Trump went to North Dakota to deliver a "tax reform" speech before hundreds of workers and managers at a major oil refinery. The president made comments so senseless and stupid that one must read them twice to believe they were uttered:

"I...want to tell the people of North Dakota and the Western states who are feeling the pain of the devastating drought that we are with you 100 percent -- 100 percent. (Applause.) And I've been in close touch, numerous times, with our Secretary of Agriculture, who is doing a fantastic job, Sonny Perdue, who has been working with your governor and your delegation to help provide relief. And we're doing everything we can, but you have a pretty serious drought. I just said to the governor, I didn't know you had droughts this far north. Guess what? You have them. But we're working hard on it and it'll disappear. It will all go away."

Then Trump got into the real eco-cidal meat of the matter -- the de-regulation of energy and the lifting of restrictions on fossil fuel extraction and burning:

"We're getting rid of one job-killing regulation after another. We've lifted the restrictions on shale oil. We've lifted those restrictions on energy of all types. We're putting our miners back to work. We've cancelled restrictions on oil and natural gas. We've ended the EPA intrusion into your jobs and into your lives. (Applause.) And we're refocusing the EPA on its core mission: clean air and clean water. (Applause.). In order to protect American industry and workers, we withdrew the United States from the job-killing Paris Climate Accord. Job killer. People have no idea...And right here in North Dakota, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is finally open for business. (Applause.) Now, what other politician, if elected President, would have done that one? They would have stayed so far away. And I did it immediately...It was the right thing to do. And that is flowing now beautifully. So it was the right thing to do. (Applause.)

"...We opened it despite so many people that were on the other side calling and asking for this not to happen: Please, we don't want it to happen. I said, why? They didn't know. There was no -- they just didn't want it to happen... So I did that. I also did Keystone. You know about Keystone. (Applause.) Another other one, big one -- big. First couple of days in office, those two -- 48,000 jobs."

Where to begin in gaging the absurdity of the president's words in North Dakota? We're "working hard" on the drought and "it will disappear"? Seriously?

His militantly anti-environmental EPA was working for "clean air and water." For real? The truth was precisely the opposite.

Job-creation? Renewable energy would generate far more and better paying positions -- jobs that would save livable ecology rather than destroy it (and there's no jobs on a dead planet).

The really mind-blowing statement for me was Trump's assertion that the people who fought the DAPL -- the tens of thousands who camped and protested in Standing Rock, the pipeline resisters (I was one of them) across Iowa -- "didn't know why" they opposed the pipeline.

What was someone supposed to say in response to something that soul-numbingly idiotic? Anti-DAPL activists spoke loudly and clearly about the reasons for their opposition: defense of tribal lands, water-protection, and climate sanity.

Trump's bizarre Bismarck address included this creepy little daddy-daughter interlude:

Donald Trump: "And, by the way, Ivanka Trump -- everybody loves Ivanka. (Applause.) Come up, honey. Should I bring Ivanka up? (Applause.) Come up. Sometimes they'll say, 'You know, he can't be that bad a guy. Look at Ivanka.' (Laughter.) ...Now, come on up, honey. She's so good. She wanted to make the trip. She said, 'Dad, can I go with you?' She actually said, 'Daddy, can I go with you?' I like that, right? 'Daddy, can I go with you?' I said, 'yes, you can.' 'Where you going?' 'North Dakota'. Said, 'oh, I like North Dakota.' Hi, honey. (Applause.) Say something, baby."

Ivanka Trump: "Hi, North Dakota. (Applause.) We love this state, so it's always a pleasure to be back here. And you treated us very, very well in November and have continued to, so we like sharing the love back. Thank you." (Applause.)"

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Paul Street ( and is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since 9/11 (2004), Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (2007), Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics (more...)
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