So let's start off by reviewing the basic statement:
"Clean coal is a dirty lie," says environmentalist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who calls President Barack Obama and other politicians who commit taxpayer money to develop it "indentured servants" of the coal industry.
Let us stop here, for a moment. This isn't about clean coal, per se. That debate is actually irrelevant to this post. Also irrelevant - for this post - is whether Kennedy meant anything racial by use of the term 'indentured servant.' You can decide for yourself whether that was a code phrase for 'slave.' But what we have to establish here is that Robert F Kennedy referred to the President of the United States as an indentured servant to the coal industry. So conceded that it happened?
Good. Let us move, as they say, on.
Kennedy has been screaming this particular term of art out for some time, actually. He used the quote in 2005:
The industry and the great big polluters and their indentured servants and our political process have done a great job. And their PR firms and their faulty "biostitutes," and all these think tanks on Capitol Hill, have done a great job over the past couple of decades of marginalizing the environmental movement, of marginalizing us as radicals, as tree huggers or, as I heard the other day, pagans who worship trees and sacrifice people.[*]
And in 2007:
Now we've all heard the oil industry and the coal industry and their indentured servants in the political process telling us that global climate stability is a luxury that we can't afford.
And in 2008:
Well, you know, these are what I call the incumbents: oil and coal and nuclear energy. They've been able to use their political power, the huge amounts of money that they have, to capture the political process. They put hundreds of millions of dollars into basically making half of Congress their indentured servants on Capitol Hill. They have a gigantic lobbying effort, which if you walk two blocks here you'll see—you know, you'll see all these clean coal advertisements.
So, I think that it's fair to say that when Robert F Kennedy Jr. talks about 'indentured servants' his meaning is clear: he's referring a group that includes politicians who he thinks are being controlled by energy companies involved with oil, coal, and nuclear power. That's a eminently reasonable description of his rhetoric, and I don't see where you can quibble about it. Which makes this next part (also from the 2007 speech) all the more worrisome. Revisiting the aforementioned controlled politicians:
The most important thing you can do is to get involved in the political process and get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington D. C.
Who are nothing more than corporate toadies for companies like Exxon and Southern Company, these villainous companies that consistently put their private financial interest ahead of American interests and ahead of the interests of all of humanity.
This is treason and we need to start treating them now as traitors.
Really, Bob? How, exactly, did you want to treat the President of the United States, then? Seeing as you think that he's a traitor, and everything. I am absolutely fascinated to hear what your plans in that regard are; for that matter, so would the US Secret Service. You know, I think that it's an excellent time for the environmental movement to start getting extremists like RFK Jr under control, or possibly sedation. Because when you get to this level of rhetoric, violent extremism isn't too far away.
Or so I keep getting told.
*Trust me: you're doing a great job on your own.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.