American billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer really hates the oilsands, but he also really loves the environment, but he also doesn‚Äôt seem too fond of the Chinese.
Steyer, through his environmental organization NextGen Climate Group, has bought ad time during Tuesday‚Äôs state of the union speech by President Barack Obama to argue against TransCanada‚Äôs Keystone XL pipeline, apparently basing the pitch on Americans‚Äô deep-seated xenophobia.
‚ÄúChina‚Äôs become one of the biggest players in Canadian oil,‚ÄĚ a narrator growls, warning that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a ‚Äúsucker punch‚ÄĚ to America‚Äôs ‚Äúheartland,‚ÄĚ whatever that means.
Most alarmingly, China is apparently ‚Äúcounting on the U.S. to approve TransCanada‚Äôs pipeline to ship oil through America‚Äôs heartland and out to foreign countries like theirs.‚ÄĚ
Get it? China is a foreign country, among others!
Oil! Heartland! Communism!
Obviously there are real environmental and labour concerns about the Keystone pipeline, such as the pipeline‚Äôs proposed path through what environmental groups say is ecologically sensitive territory. The number of jobs the project will create has also been questioned.
But Steyer and NextGen aren‚Äôt making those arguments, or even pushing for cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. Instead they‚Äôre stoking a red scare.
The ad will play on MSNBC before and after the president‚Äôs speech Tuesday, aimed at Obama supporters who might be convinced to call their Democratic politicians about how much they fear Chinese oil through the heartland.
The best part of this anti-pipeline campaign, however, is the interactive part. After the ad airs Tuesday, viewers will get to vote on which hashtag best articulates the rejection of Keystone XL. The contenders are:
It‚Äôs all rather reminiscent of a previous era of U.S. economic paranoia, back when Japan was going to take over the world and drink America‚Äôs milkshake. But at least we got the excellent B-movie Samurai Cop out of anti-Japanese sentiment.
[NextGen Climate Group]