by Peter Castagno, Citizen Truth
August 19, 2019
“In a free and open democracy, the government doesn’t use taxpayer resources to keep itself in power. That’s what authoritarian dictatorships do.”
Workers at a Royal Dutch Shell plant in Pennsylvania were reportedly ordered to attend a speech by President Trump last Tuesday or forfeit their pay for the day, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The newspaper said that workers were forbidden from expressing any form of dissent: “No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. An underlying theme of the event is to promote goodwill from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”
Several union leaders told the Post-Gazette that they were not informed of the arrangement beforehand.
“I’m going to speak to some of your union leaders to say, ‘I hope you’re going to support Trump.’ OK?” Trump said during his speech. “And if they don’t, vote them the hell out of office because they’re not doing their job.”
Attendance was not mandatory for workers, but their absence meant not only sacrificing a day’s pay, but also losing overtime pay built into the workers 56-hour workweek.
Improper Use Of Taxpayer Funds
Critics noted that the speech, an official White House event, was a blatant abuse of taxpayer funds, because the president used it as a campaign rally to insult Democratic nominees like “Sleepy Joe” Biden and “Pocahontas,” in reference to Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
“In a free and open democracy, the government doesn’t use taxpayer resources to keep itself in power,” Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) told Vox. “That’s what authoritarian dictatorships do.”
Plant Will Produce Over 1 Million Tons Of Plastic
The new $6 billion Shell plant will “crack” ethane and turn it into small plastic pellets used in products like phone cases, food packaging, and auto parts. According to the New York Times, the facility will produce over 1 million tons of plastic.
The plant is one of over a dozen similar plastic-producing petrochemical plants that are being built or have been proposed around the world, despite the serious consequences of plastic pollution on the environment and human health.
As Citizen Truth previously wrote: “Large U.S.-based oil firms, such as ExxonMobil Chemical and Shell Chemical, will help fuel a 40% rise in plastics over the next decade, according to experts. These companies have invested more than $180 billion in plastic production since 2010, boosted by the boom in shale gas.”
Environmentalists and local groups have protested the new plant’s damaging impact on air quality, carbon emissions, and plastic production, as per the Huffington Post.
“It was the Trump administration that made it possible. No one else. Without us, you would never have been able to do this,” Trump said, taking credit for building the plant even though it was approved during the Obama administration.