Streetwise Professor

January 11, 2015

Twitter Lunacy on Keystone Makes The Bigtime: The Senate Floor. Which Is No Coincidence.

Filed under: Climate Change,Commodities,Economics,Energy,Politics — The Professor @ 1:22 pm

A few weeks ago I ridiculed one of the arguments raised against Keystone XL: Namely, that oil transported on the pipeline will be exported. I pointed out that this is idiocy. The very purpose of the pipeline is to transport it to the very complex refineries at the Gulf of Mexico. These refineries are clearly able to outbid anyone for oil sands crude transported on Keystone XL, and they will. Moreover, export through the Gulf to Asia, is far more costly than export to Asia via Canada’s west coast.

The main targets of my ridicule in that post were various Internet and Twitter economic geniuses. Hardly an august group. But their voices have been heard! For now the Democrats in Congress are making this argument the centerpiece of their opposition to pro-Keystone legislation:

As Republicans revive the Keystone debate in Congress, opponents are trying to shift the focus to where the Canadian pipeline’s oil will end up once it reaches Texas: China or U.S. gas tanks?

Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey stood on the floor of the Senate this week next to a giant sign reading “Keystone Export Pipeline” as he argued against a bill to approve the project.

Ed Markey. I should have known.

You can just see TransCanada CEO Russ Girling’s frustration at having to deal with such economic inanity:

Russ Girling, head of pipeline builder TransCanada Corp. (TRP) issued a lengthy statement saying it doesn’t make any sense to export the oil once it reaches the U.S. coast of the Gulf of Mexico, home to the world’s biggest concentration of refineries.

But TransCanada has concluded that this argument, inane as it is, is politically effective:

Girling said the company’s internal polling shows the export issue raises the most concern for Americans. In an interview last month with Bloomberg News, Girling acknowledged that critics found a “nerve that resonates” in that argument.

So much for the influence of economic reasoning on political debate.

I mentioned the Twidiots earlier. There’s something interesting here, and clearly illustrates a pattern. Specifically, that there are no coincidences, comrade. Especially in social media. Or to put it differently, there are too many coincidences for them to be coincidences.

The Twitter storm of the Keystone export meme coincided closely in time with Obama making the same point, and led into the Democratic leadership making this argument the center of their anti-Keystone campaign. In combination with other such “coincidences” strongly suggests manipulation of social media to support political strategies, and in particular administration political strategies. The Twitter storm that broke out in support of the (equally inane) administration free community college initiative over the last few days is another example.

Meaning that pushing back on Twitter stupidity may not be a waste of time. For such stupidity is often merely the handmaiden of some asinine political agenda.


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  1. A Senator brings a sign with him to a debate in the senate? Has nobody told him he’s not at student rallies any more?

    Comment by Tim Newmam — January 11, 2015 @ 4:02 pm

  2. @Tim-Sad to say, such idiocy is commonplace. Representatives and Senators frequently use such demonstratives. Though what they mainly demonstrate are their mental limitations.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 11, 2015 @ 5:39 pm

  3. An even scarier thought is that the arguments (if that’s the word) these days flow *from* the twittersphere *to* the senators bringing signs to the Senate. And it’s plausible, too. What do those senators’ intern staffer chicks read, musty old books?

    Comment by Candide III — January 12, 2015 @ 4:01 am

  4. @Candide-The direction of cause and effect is very much an open question. I think it runs both ways, most likely. Senators, administration, etc., (and yes, especially the staffer chicks and dudes!) follow Twitter to see what the base is saying, they use that to shape their own strategy, and then they use various methods to get messages that support that strategy trending on Twitter. It shouldn’t be too hard to ignite momentum, use bots, etc. The fact that the hive swarms in such synchronicity with political initiatives originating in the White House does raise suspicions.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 12, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

  5. While we’re reminding Markey that he’s not at a student rally; we might remind Obama that he’s not in the faculty lounge currying favor for tenure. Markey’s 70s haircut tells all you need to know about his mental state. An embarrassment, as always.

    Comment by The Pilot — January 12, 2015 @ 7:18 pm

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