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In San Francisco, marchers protested the Keystone XL pipeline and U.S. energy policy Sunday.
Organizers and others estimated the protesters in Washington, D.C., Sunday urging President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline at 35,000 to 40,000. Meanwhile, some 4,000 protested the pipeline in San Francisco Sunday and called for a shift to clean energy. Prominent among them were dozens of American Indians from several tribes— Pomo, Ohlone, Blackfeet, Lakota, Maidu. In Canada and the United States, First Nations people have played a prominent role in the opposition to Keystone. A contingent of 10 of us SF Kossacks were also on hand.
Protesters in San Francisco

The 1,700-mile pipeline, a 36-inch steel conduit, would carry diluted bitumen from the Alberta tar sands deposits to the Texas Gulf Coast where it would be refined into oil, mostly for export. From extraction to combustion, tar sands oil is a dirtier source than conventional oil.

And while coal is far dirtier, tar sands oil is considered by many environmental activists to be both a symbol and the reality of what is at stake in the effort to reduce the impacts of the climate chaos that is a product of burning hydrocarbons—coal, oil and natural gas—and the growing concerns about the release of methane from melting permafrost and other sources.  

Among the speakers at the Washington rally were Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island who told the crowd they could help encourage Obama: “We are going to have the president’s back and he is going to have our back. We

First Nations people made a strong appearance
 at Sunday's San Francisco rally protesting
the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
are going to look at our grandchildren and say ‘Yes, we did.’” Kossacks Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, and Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, also spoke. Both men were arrested last week along with other protesters for tying themselves to the White House fence to demonstrate their opposition to the $8 billion pipeline.

Printed and homemade signs and banners at the California protest—which began at 1 PM PT with protesters marching around the State Department building two blocks from the San Francisco Ferry Building—included: "Stop Subsidizing Fossil Fuels," "Ban Fracking," "Stop the Tar Sands Pipeline," and "President Obama: Say No to Keystone."

Some critics have argued that the opposition to Keystone is misplaced and that actions against hydraulic fracking of shale formations to get at natural gas and oil deposits and against coal-fired power plants and coal exports to China are more important, and the pipeline is just a sideshow in the overall scheme of things. But K.C. Golden at Grist spoke to the crux of the matter in her recent commentary, The Keystone Principle: Stop making it worse:

After a year of unprecedented destruction due to weather extremes, the climate fight is no longer just about impacts in the future. It’s about physical and moral consequences, now. And Keystone isn’t simply a pipeline in the sand for the swelling national climate movement. It’s a moral referendum on our willingness to do the simplest thing we must do to avert catastrophic climate disruption: Stop making it worse.

Specifically and categorically, we must cease making large, long-term capital investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure that “locks in” dangerous emission levels for many decades. Keystone is a both a conspicuous example of that kind of investment and a powerful symbol for the whole damned category.

It’s true that stopping a single pipeline—even one as huge and odious as Keystone — will not literally “solve” climate disruption. No single action will do that, any more than refusing to sit on the back of a single bus literally ended segregation. The question — for Keystone protestors as it was for Rosa Parks — is whether the action captures and communicates a principle powerful enough to inspire and sustain an irresistible movement for sweeping social change.

Stopping Keystone nails the core principle for climate responsibility, by preventing investments that make climate disruption irrevocably worse. [...]

SF Kossacks showed the colors at the Keystone XL protest in San Francisco. Left to right, TLO™,
remembrance, patg, Lorikeet, Meteor Blades, dharmasyd, citisven, kimoconner,
 Glen The Plumber. (Our 10th protester, navajo, took the photo.)

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011Resistance continues in Libya, Bahrain. Violence and fatalities spread:

Unconfirmed reports on social media, via telephone and by email say that protesters over the past two days in several cities in Libya have clashed with armed security forces as well as "greens," civilian enforcers of the mishmash ideology contained in dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi's "Green Book," a windy treatise on social, political and economic issues. Witnesses say that hospitals are filled with wounded protesters and that in the cities of al-Bayda and Benghazi in eastern Libya at least 14 dissidents have been killed.

In Tripoli today, a few hundred anti-government demonstrators appeared in the Green Square downtown while anti-government protesters gathered on streets in several parts of the city. There were reports via social media and texting, all of them unconfirmed, of minor clashes.

In Benghazi Tuesday night, after an arrest of an opposition leader brought 2000 people into the streets, security forces responded, witnesses said, with tear gas, water cannon and bullets. Protesters threw stones at police, trashed some government offices and burned several vehicles. Unverified reports say the regime flew troops to Benghazi Wednesday night and has planted snipers on rooftops in key locations.


Tweet of the Day:

Marco Rubio: "There is absolutely no way I can support Barack Obama's immigration reform plan unless it has my name on it instead"
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