Right out of the chute, we got what appears to be Mr. Lizney's standard road-show talk on the subject of American democracy. I can't do it justice in writing, but Mr. Lizney's key points were:
- The American Constitution was designed primarily to empower the movers and shakers of the day to exploit the natural resources of continent as quickly and efficiently as possible (which it did amazingly well
- While our system of Constitutional government was unarguably great for overriding state, local, or tribal opposition to unbridled economic development in our nation's early years, those same Constitutional features, together with the empowerment of corporations (see, e.g., corporate personhood, Citizens United, etc.), now frustrates almost all efforts to control our fates at the community level when some corporation comes to town with an industrial hog farm, landscape-scale fracking, or LNG export project
- Four decades of environmental activism within this Constitutional framework have accomplished little except to allow the large environmental non-profits to collect billions of dollars in donations, and to at best delay projects while they force corporate proponents to go back to dot i's and cross t's in their permit applications
- Going forward the only way community's can hope to truly control their destinies is to attack the problem at the Constitutional level through efforts in concert with other concerned communities
The good news is that the Coos Commons Protection Council is gathering signatures to put The Coos County Right to a Sustainable Energy Future on the May 2016 ballot, and we sincerely hope they succeed.
But getting that proposition on the ballot is far from a guarantee of success -- not in our little community where local sympathizer-apologists are daily serving as (paid?) mouthpieces for the Canadian corporation behind the Jordan Cove-Pacific Connector LNG project.
If you have any doubt, just compare the amateurish Coos Commons Protection Council PR effort with the slickly produced and well-funded "Boost Southwest Oregon" website. You can't help but me reminded of the way the Nazis would so skillfully employ local collaborators to serve as the public face of their oppression while they lurked in the shadows and worked the puppet strings.
At the end of the day, Mr. Lizney's talk only reminded us that under our system of state-, federal-, and corporation-dominated governance, the only thing that will stop the Jordan Cove-Pacific Connector LNG project will be a business market determination that its owners won't make money on it ... just as a lack of commercially exploitable natural resources was the only thing that could finally stick a fork in Shell Oil's decade-long arctic drilling mechanations. Everything else is just eyewash.
No one is sorrier than me that I can't be more encouraging.