An Open Letter to US Sen. Michael Bennet

November 18, 2014

Dear Senator Bennet,

I am a rapper with the band Flobots, based here in Colorado. Maybe you have heard of us. We had a song on the radio once.

I am also one of your constituents. Actually, I have even campaigned for you. In 2010 I knocked on doors for you in Park Hill. I even changed my facebook profile to your little blue square logo thingy. It was hard on my rapper/hipster cred but I did it.

This weekend I learned that you plan to vote to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. You’ll be one of only several Senate Democrats to do so.

If the pipeline is built, it will facilitate the extraction of oil from Canadian tar sands, a move intensely opposed by environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and concerned citizens from around the globe. Climate scientists call the tar sands “the biggest carbon bomb on the planet” and say the tar sands project would mean “game over” for a stable climate.

Um…..are you sure you are on the right side of history on this one?

I don’t think you are. That’s why yesterday I joined with several hundred people in a rally outside your Denver office. Your staff met with us in groups. One by one, we asked the same question: If Sen. Bennet is not a climate denier- why would he vote like one?

Your staff were patient and responsive, but they were not able to provide a coherent  answer. If anything, we left even more bewildered by your position. This is not because your staff are bad at their jobs. This is because your position actually makes no sense.

At one point in the midst of our friendly conversations, I asked your staff to take a picture with a sign I was holding. They declined. The sign said simply “Protect our Planet”. Is even this a controversial position for you now?

Senator Bennet, what in the world is going on??

In light of all of this confusion, I put together a list of questions for clarification. I know you are busy, so I made them multiple choice to keep things easy. See below.

I would very much appreciate your timely response. 2016 is just around the corner. If you no longer plan to be an advocate for climate stability, it would be helpful for us to know now so we can start investing in candidates to run against you in the primary.


Jonny 5, Flobots

10 Questions for Senator Michael Bennet

 1. Do you agree with the phrase “Protect our Planet”?

a)        Yes        

b)        No

 2. Do you believe addressing climate change is important?

a)        Yes        

b)        No

 3. During the Copenhagen Conference in 2009 world leaders agreed we shouldn’t let global temperatures rise more than 2 degrees Celsius.

Do you agree with this goal?

a)        Yes        

b)        No

 4. Climate scientists, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, say we can only allow between 565 and 967 gigatons of Carbon Dioxide to be emitted by 2050 and still have a reasonable hope (80% chance) of staying below 2 degrees.

Do you trust these scientists?

a)        Yes        

b)        No, I have a different understanding of the science

Please explain:__________________________________

 5. Scientists say that the amount of CO2 emitted by burning the fossil fuel reserves currently “on the books” and slated to be burned by Fossil Fuels companies and petro-states is 2795 gigatons. This is way more than the we can allow to be burned. This presents an obvious challenge.

How should we respond to this challenge? 

a)        Seek to LIMIT carbon emissions while investing in strategies for a just transition to a renewable economy 

b)        Seek to INCREASE carbon emissions by facilitating new projects with no regard for their environmental impact.

c)         We should seek to limit emissions while also supporting projects which increase them


 6. The Environmental Impact Study you point to says that the Keystone XL pipeline’s impact will be minimal because even without the pipeline, the tar sands oil might still be extracted and burned.

Do you favor or oppose the extraction of Canadian tar sands oil?

a)        Favor. It is the right decision for our children’s future.

b)        Oppose. I just think we should let a pipeline be built anyway.

 7. Rosebud Sioux President Cyril Scott announced last week that he considered the vote to approve the Keystone Pipeline “an act of war” and threatened to close the borders of the Sioux nation if any attempt to build the pipeline is made.

Do you believe the US government should respect the Sioux nation’s sovereignty in the Black Hills?

a)        Yes

b)        No

 8.  This election cycle, the Koch-brother funded group “Americans Energy Alliance” put considerable resources into advertisements shaming Sen. Mark Udall for “opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline”.

How much did a fear of being targeted by outside money influence your decision?

a)        Strongly influenced

b)        Somewhat influenced

c)         Not at all. Approving the Keystone XL pipeline is the right decision for our children’s future.

9. Due to the influence of programs such as House of Cards, some people might naively imagine that your vote in this case has less to do with heartfelt principles and more to do with political posturing.

Which best describes what this vote is truly about?

a)        I am paying back another colleague for supporting me on another issue in the past which benefitted the people of Colorado

b)        I received promises of future political favors which will benefit the people of Colorado.

c)         It is not like that. I believe approving the Keystone XL pipeline is the right decision for our children’s future.

 10. Do you guys have wi-fi in your office?

I’m gonna come by later and get your answers on all of these. I might try to get some work done in case I have to wait around.

a)        Yes        

b)        No

U.S. House of Representatives and TransCanada Corp try to force the continuance of the Keystone pipeline.

“The House of Representatives approved a bill as expected on Wednesday declaring that a presidential permit was not needed to approve the Canada-to-Nebraska leg of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a move that would take a decision on the project away from the Obama administration.

The Republican-controlled House voted 241-175, with less support from Democrats than during the most recent attempt to speed up pipeline approval.

The bill faces an uphill battle because it would have to pass the Senate with enough votes to overcome a promised veto from President Barack Obama.
TransCanada pipeline would link Alberta’s oil sands production with refineries and ports along the U.S. Gulf Coast. The pipeline would transport about 830,000 barrels per day and cost some $5.3 billion to construct.

The Alberta-to-Nebraska leg needs presidential approval because it crosses a national border. It has been pending with the administration since 2008 and is now undergoing a second round of review by the State Department.
The pipeline’s southern leg, for Texas to Oklahoma, is more than halfway built.

The project has been hailed by the energy industry as part of the U.S. push toward energy independence. It is also supported by many unions because it would provide thousands of construction jobs.

Environmentalists have vociferously opposed the pipeline, saying it would raise greenhouse gas levels and lock the United States into long-term dependence on fossil fuels.”

read more:

Krista wanted me to post this conversation just for the purpose of her to reblog it
  • I've been talking to a guy recently and this is an excerpt from our most recent conversation about meeting up this weekend
  • Me:wait, so how tall are you?
  • Him:5'6. You?
  • Me:(not sure if he's joking around with me or not) oh okay so we're the same height then
  • Him:I mean, I'll be 2 feet shorter than you for most of the night cause my head will be between your legs.
Data shows link between oil workers and violence against Native women

March 18, 2013

Data shows link between oil workers and violence against Native women

Last week we reported that Sam Hirsch of the US Attorney General’s office announced in a private meeting that a lawsuit may be filed against VAWA. The Violence Against Women Act had been passed each year since its introduction in 1994, until provisions protecting Native American women were introduced last year. The bill was supported by many politicians of both parties, but some representatives refused to vote it back into law unless the tribal provisions were drastically changed. After an unpopular attempt to reword the language, VAWA passed with full tribal provisions early this year.

As previously reported, several groups and individuals associated with the oil company Koch Industries, Inc. have been protesting the bill, claiming that holding rapists accountable to the Native reservations they commit crimes on is unconstitutional. This has caused some readers to question what the motives of these anti-VAWA activists are.

Sources now claim that the oil workers coming into Native American territories are responsible for the upsurge of rape in those areas.
As Keystone XL Dominoes Fall, Time to Arrest Tar Sands Industry - Waking Times « Waking Times

As it becomes increasingly clear that Keystone XL’s northern leg is not going through, it is time to set our sights on ending all tar sands exploitation.

Keystone XL in Violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 -

Because Keystone North would cross treaty territory, its construction would blatantly violate the “bad man” clause, an arrestable offense the Great Sioux Nation will not abide.

“If bad men among the whites, or among other people subject to the authority of the United States, shall commit any wrong upon the person or property of the Indians, the United States will, upon proof made to the agent, and forwarded to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs at Washington city, proceed at once to cause the offender to be arrested and punished according to the laws of the United States.”

The #kxlpipeline is among us. We have only one day to ensure our stances are made! Remember it is only our voice than can help stop this; remember that we are responsible for the world we leave to our children and their children. The dependancy on fossil fuels and complete disregard for the health of this earth blows my fn mind. Seriously. Become educated if you aren’t and please contact your state representatives! @davidvitter ← #stopkeystoneXL #nokxl! #pollution #greed #bigotry
….the notion that this pipeline will help us in any way is a seriously delusional, short term thought…
Montana's Oil Boom Has Made Reservations More Dangerous for Women

Early on the morning of January 7, Sherry Arnold, a popular schoolteacher from Sidney, Montana (population 5,436) was jogging down a road when she was abducted. News of the incident shook the rural community. Sixty-year-old Helen Bighorn was in a supermarket when she first heard of Arnold’s disappearance. “I cried; I didn’t care where I was at,” she said. “I prayed for the family and prayed they’d find her, because I knew they’d need some kind of resolution.”

Six days later, two drifters lured to the area by potential employment in the Bakken Oil Shale boom area were arrested and charged with kidnapping. (They were later charged with her murder; they have pled not guilty.) Arnold’s body wasn’t found until mid-March.