Political Nutz

Observations on the pathetic state of American politics

Category Archives: Environment

The GOP Agenda; a Refresher

It’s difficult to keep track of all the things the Republicon Party is against these days.  The Party of No has such an extensive list of things it finds objectionable.  So I’ve made a short list just so I don’t forget.

The GOP is AGAINST:

… abortion rights
… same sex marriage
… universal health care
… clean energy
… unions
… teachers
… public education
… immigration reform
… planning for climate change
… efforts to lower unemployment
… repairing/upgrading America’s infrastructure
… low interest rate student loans
… filling open positions on federal courts
… protecting the environment
… birth control and family planning
… minimum wage
… unemployment benefits
… food programs for poor children

The GOP is FOR:

… tax cuts for the rich
… tax cuts for the rich
… tax cuts for the rich
… no taxes on corporations
… burning more carcinogenic dirty coal
… waging war anywhere in the Mideast
… more guns for everyone
… taxpayer/lobbyist funded junkets for members of Congress
… taxpayer subsidized great health insurance for members of Congress

oh… and Tax cuts for the rich….

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Grand Canyon Saved Again–Republicans Outraged

Kudos to Interior Secretary Salazar who following in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt today extended a 20 year ban on new mining on federal lands near the Grand Canyon.  The outrage of the mining industry and the GOP congressmen is reminiscent of the original battle to make the Grand Canyon a national park in the first place.  Just a century ago, industrialists and their congressional lackeys fought federal protection of the Canyon for a decade insisting on their right to turn a federally owned, national treasure into the world’s biggest open-pit mine.

Grand Canyon, October 2011

Why Regulation is a GOOD Thing

I get so tired of the Republicons incessant harangue that environmental regulations “kill jobs.”  They would have us believe that if we just let companies pollute the water, foul the air and pocket more taxpayer dollars unemployment will go to zero and we’ll all be as wealthy as the average GOP Congressman.  However,

it turns out that sensible environmental regulations are actually good for business, as well as for the trees, fish and birds. Smart regulations create new jobs in industries that make pollution-control equipment or that provide environmental services. They encourage businesses to employ the most efficient equipment and methods. They help other industries to flourish that couldn’t otherwise, such as fishing, agriculture and tourism. They increase productivity by keeping workers alive and on the job. They benefit our children by keeping them free of poisons that can weaken their bodies and minds.

Exxon Misled Montanans about Oil Spill

Surprise, surprise?  These guys should be booted out of the U.S.

Exxon Oil Spill…. Again!

Is Exxon just totally incompetent or is there some kind of perverse corporate strategy to spill oil into fragile ecosystems at regular intervals?  Just fourteen months after the beginning of BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico Exxon has now had a mishap sending thousands of barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River.  These companies have to be put on some kind of probation and fined billions every time one of these incidents occurs on U.S. soil.  Maybe at some point,Exxon should be banned from operating at all in the United States.

The President Makes another Turn to the Right

The President’s Wall Street Journal article on reforming the U.S. regulatory system is another big right turn in Mr. Obama’s presidency. The rhetoric sounds good on the surface and I’m sure CEO’s around the country are pleased as punch.  But I’m sorry: really, it’s a goofy article with hollow arguments.  The President repeats the GOP mantra that regulation is killing innovation and economic growth.  Mr. Obama needs to read some of the other pages of the Journal; he might notice that America’s mega corporations are thriving and are awash in record profits. What innovations does he think we’re all missing?  That he couldn’t think of any is evidenced by his saccharin example:

“For instance, the FDA has long considered saccharin, the artificial sweetener, safe for people to consume. Yet for years, the EPA made companies treat saccharin like other dangerous chemicals. Well, if it goes in your coffee, it is not hazardous waste. The EPA wisely eliminated this rule last month.”

So has removing saccharin from the hazardous substances list inspired innovations and ignited a boom in hiring?  And later he writes about getting input from “experts, businesses and ordinary citizens.” What are the chances anybody who doesn’t wear a starched white shirt to work will have any influence on corporate regulation?

It pains me to see the President writing in the same newspaper that so often features the likes of Rove, Limbaugh and Palin. Maybe the White House will open a branch on Wall Street.  And maybe the Democrats will nominate someone else to run in 2012 because Obama will be the Republican candidate.

Ethanol Lunacy to Continue?

It looks like federal subsidies for ethanol will continue for the next two years. A growing number of experts and former supporters, including Al Gore, have recognized that ethanol –especially corn-based ethanol— is neither an environmentally nor economically sound approach to reducing U.S. oil dependency.  But the corn lobby led by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley continues to get what they can for their local constituents and just won’t do the right thing for America.