If you shut your eyes for just a moment while reading this latest HuffPo piece by Robert Kennedy, Jr., you can almost hear the gobs of spittle smacking his monitor as he wrote. There’s really nothing like the pungent aroma of blue blood at full boil.
As you may recall, Kennedy is an attorney, activist and Senior Staff Luddite with the Natural Resources Defense Council. He also serves as president of RiverKeeper, an anti-fracking activist group that has wisely and benevolently saved New York State from the ravages of shale gas jobs and prosperity.
In his stream-of-semi-consciousness screed, Kennedy blames Republicans, conservatives, Climate skeptics and religious fundamentalists for a lack of progress on the Left’s environmental agenda. But he reserves a special place in hell for “Big Oil” (although it doesn’t really know who Big Oil is). It’s all a conspiracy, you see: Big Oil are the puppetmasters standing between us and the Green Future Kennedy envisions.
Filled with quasi-religious zeal, Kennedy apparently dispensed with the laborious process of fact-checking, editing and proofreading before clicking “Publish”. The results are nothing short of comical.
Early on, the careful reader stumbles over an apparent neologism in the second sentence of the post (uncorrected as of this writing, over 24 hours after publication):
In doing so the Republican senators broke their earlier promisadditione to move McCarthy’s nomination if she answered an unprecedented 1079 written questions, a quest she completed.
A “promisadditione”? Is it a typo, or a new flavor of gelato?
Kennedy takes on Senator David Vitter (R-LA):
Vitter is an unabashed mouthpiece for the petroleum industry and record breaking receptacle for petrodollars having received $1.2 million in oil company largesse during his public service career.
Also, as Wikipedia notes: “In 2005 Kennedy was criticized for hypocrisy, because he receives royalty payments for participation in two family-owned oil drilling companies, and also for using private jets while lecturing about the perils of global warming.” I wonder if Kennedy’s political contributions qualify as petrodollars?
Kennedy’s writing style brings to mind a bar mitzvah boy using his new thesaurus, as the awkward prose trudges off the page. Forget about Hydraulic Fracturing. Let’s ban Syntax Fracturing! To wit:
With cash gushers of oily money cascading down their open gullets, the Republican leadership’s mercenary devotion to Big Oil shouldn’t shock us. However, the boldness of the party’s most recent assault on the public interest might cause us to ponder how GOP’s honchos’ knee jerk slavishness to petroleum interest has infected its rank and file. …
Those studies illustrate the extent to which the right wing has become the ideological sock puppet of Big Oil and the GOP’s army of right wing Christian fundamentalists oil industry foot soldiers. … Craven hatred of all things environmental has made the labels “clean,” “green” or “efficient” pariah among GOP acolytes. …
Anointing rapacious behavior with religious gloss is an old strategy for both right wing conservatives and the extraction industry.
[Emphasis added. Sic^3.]
Fact-checking, anyone? Not for Robert, as he takes on “Big Oil”, sort of:
In reality, there is nothing patriotic, moral or religious about Big Oil. A storied history of perfidy and greed has distinguished these companies among the most treasonous and piratical of all American business enterprises. Halliburton’s decision to relocate to the Cayman Islands after fattening itself on $9 billion worth of inherently crooked no-bid, cost-plus contracts during the Iraq War is only one of many examples of their shaky loyalty to our country.
Cool story, except for the facts. Halliburton is not “Big Oil”, it is a big oil service company. Halliburton never relocated to the Cayman Islands: HAL is an American corporation, co-headquartered in good old Houston, Texas and in Dubai, where it maintains an executive office to oversee its extensive operations in the Eastern Hemisphere. And according to the Wikipedia link, Halliburton broke ties with its logistics/engineering arm, KBR, in 2007, apparently tired of hearing the Left’s grousing about KBR’s Iraqi contracts.
Back to Big Oil:
Before it vaulted onto the bandwagon of patriotism, Texaco flew not “Old Glory” but the “Jolly Roger” over its Houston headquarters, proudly adopting the pirate flag as the emblem of a pirate industry.
Firing up The Google, I was able to find just this relevant reference:
In 1913, Joseph “Buckskin Joe” Cullinan flew the pirate’s flag of a skull and crossbones over the Petroleum Building in Houston to protest the decision to move his company’s headquarters to New York. Cullinan’s company, which he founded in 1902, was the Texas Co., now known as Texaco Inc.
1913? That’s one hundred years ago! Sainted Kennedy grandpappy Joe Sr. had yet to smuggle his first case of hooch in 1913, and his admiration for the Third Reich would not be in full flower for a generation.
Texaco was acquired by Chevron in 2000.
Our oil jones has us funding both sides of the war against terror!
[Not going there.]
With low cost disruptive technologies like cheap, fast and efficient electric vehicles [Where? – Ed.], and solar and wind technologies poised to displace Big Oil [How? – Ed.], the [oil] industry is using its hold on the Republican Party to permanently embed itself in our economy while subverting science, American democracy, free market capitalism and our sacred belief in an ethical God.
“Last refuge of a scoundrel.”
As a parting note, Wikipedia documents that this is only the latest episode in Kennedy’s history of tinfoil-hat-ism:
An outspoken opponent of vaccination, in June 2005 Kennedy authored an article in Rolling Stone and Salon.com alleging a government conspiracy to cover up connections between the vaccine preservative thimerosal and childhood autism. The article contained a number of factual errors, leading Salon.com to issue five corrections and ultimately to retract the article completely on January 16, 2011. The retraction was motivated by accumulating evidence of errors and scientific fraud underlying the vaccine-autism claim. Previous to this retraction, sometime in 2010, Rolling Stone had also deleted Kennedy’s article from their archives without explanation. As of January 2011, the original, uncorrected, version of the article was still posted on Kennedy’s website, including his factual errors which Salon had corrected.
I love the smell of a search engine in the morning.
Cross-posted at evetsyelam.com.