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October 24, 2014

Us vs. Them in a Back to Basics War

~Free market under-regulated air in Beijing, China

It’s become increasingly clear in the past months that the Environmental Protection Agency is squarely in the crosshairs of the Republican Party. But it’s not just insignificant or annoying rules and regs that irritate the right. The battles being fought are elemental and huge – The Clean Air Act, The Clean Water Act, massive extraction projects that could cause harm to our country on a massive scale.

The EPA believes it is a fundamental right that citizens of this nation can breathe clean air, and drink clean water. The “nanny state” believes that children shouldn’t have asthma because they cannot escape the belching smoke of a coal fired power plant, or that a rancher should have to give his beef cattle contaminated toxic water because a natural gas fracking well destroyed the aquifer that used to provide clean safe water.

It is a battle of philosophy.

I remember when I was young, I asked my mother what the difference was between Democrats and Republicans. “Democrats are for the people, and Republicans are for big business.” It seemed like a simple enough answer for a small child. And naturally, I understood that my father, as a small business owner, employed people and that this was helpful for everyone. But my dad was small business. He hired and fired employees himself. He grumbled a little when his workers unionized. He grumbled a little more when the EPA made him jump through a lot of hoops that he thought were unnecessary. But ultimately, my dad earned a living wage, and so did everyone who worked for him. He was not a slave to shareholder profits, and he kept his humanity. Unlike a corporation, he didn’t want to pollute because it was cheaper to be irresponsible, or because he was obligated to provide maximum profits above all else.

And while it is understandable that the corporations themselves try everything to maximize profits, with blinders on to the human cost of their operations, how is it that the individuals in the Republican Party – the voters – don’t see it?

I believe if we were to ask a parent of any political party what was more important – a job, or the health and safety of her children and her neighbor’s children – the answers would be easy. Ultimately, of course, you’d want both – a good job to provide for your children, and safe air and water to keep them from being sick, incurring health costs, and the emotional stress that goes with seeing someone you love suffer. But if you could only pick one, health would always win. Without it, nothing else matters.

So, why the disconnect? Is it so appealing for the human mind to have someone to be angry at, that it trumps basic survival? Why does the average Republican voter cheer for those who want to do away with these regulations and even the EPA itself? Ask people in countries like China (if you can find it under the smog) who are suffering massive environmental contamination how grateful they would be to have an enforcement agency to protect them. They don’t have one. We do.

Corporate polluters have lots of lobbyists because they have lots of money.  Asthmatic children, and regular people who live at ground zero for environmental pollution? Not so much. Our lobbyists – the people who are supposed to be out there fighting for our best interests, and our literal survival, are those we put in office. Yes, they may have partisan agendas, but above all they are there because we put them there, and they are there to protect us, promote our well being, and defend us from those whose priorities are green (in the form of currency) over green (in the form of sustainability).

Today, the President capitulated to those who actively seek to maximize their own profits at the expense of your health, and your children’s health, by killing new rules controlling emissions proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. And the sad irony is that the new regulations, which were estimated to cost between $19 and $90 billion are cheaper than the cost to mitigate the health issues they will cause. Yes, it’s cheaper in both “green” ways to be responsible. It’s cheaper for the nation as a whole – for you and me – but not for the corporations themselves. There’s the rub. So, your government has decided it would rather lose money and compromise the health of its citizens, than to annoy the polluters by requiring them to be responsible and spend some of their massive profits to do so.

“This sudden admission by President Obama that ill- considered regulations do, in fact, have a negative impact upon our economy is a welcome breakthrough,” Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement. His committee is scheduled to vote on measures to scuttle two other EPA proposals next week.

That’s how the issue is being framed by the Republicans who are now praising the President. Obama has now seen the error of his ways. He now sees that it’s environmental regulations that are responsible for breaking the back of the economy. It’s not the Bush tax cuts; it’s not two wars the country can’t afford; it’s not corporate takeover; it’s not lack of basic health care; it’s not NAFTA. Nope. It’s the government telling giant polluters that they’re not allowed to poison us. And they’re really glad that the President has now seen the light and knows that the Republicans have had it right all along. Did you hear that, media? It was very big of him to admit that he, and those silly environmentalists were wrong.

And, of course, in reality, the President doesn’t feel that way at all. Unfortunately, he has lost the debate as he sits in the Oval Office buried in wreaths of flowers smugly bestowed upon him by the likes of John Boehner, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and every other self-interested Republican who is looking forward to campaign contributions from Big Oil, Big Coal, and Big Frackers. But then again, the President is looking for those contributions too.

Last week, I asked Alaska Democratic Senator Mark Begich’s office if he had made a statement or if he had a comment or opinion about Trans Canada’s 1980-mile tar sands Keystone XL pipeline proposal that is currently with President Obama, and about the demonstrations and arrests that have been made at the White House. So far, there have been over 700 arrests, sit-ins and demonstrations at the White House, and harsh criticism of the project from many former Obama campaign workers and staffers, important environmental groups, and political strategists. The pipeline would carry highly corrosive toxic crude oil from the tar sands of Canada, straight down through middle America, to the Gulf of Mexico in Nederland, Texas, threatening drinking water for millions of people, and farmland that feeds millions more.

In addition, NASA scientist James Hansen warned that exploiting the massive tar sands deposit could mean “game over” for staving off catastrophic climate change impacts. The stakes are high.

The response from Senator Begich’s office?

“Sen. Begich is on the record supporting this project because of the country’s energy needs and the number of jobs it would create.”

In Alaska, as in many places,  it’s generally not so much about Red v. Blue on environmental issues, because the sad fact is that with very few exceptions, politicians here are the color of oil, and the color of money.

“It will be increasingly difficult to mobilize the environmental base and to mobilize in particular young people to volunteer, to knock on thousands of doors, to put in 16-hour days, to donate money if they don’t think the president is showing the courage to stand up to big polluters,” Mike Brune, the Executive Director of the Sierra Club, told reporters last week regarding the massive pipeline project. That statement rings true not only for Keystone XL, but for many environmental issues.

We are in an environmental war, and it isn’t over how to improve where we are, or develop new technology in the face of opposition. It is a basic war of survival. We, as a nation, as parents, as human beings, will be called upon to defend not the subtleties of environmental protection, but the basic existence of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and massive resource extraction projects like the proposed Pebble Mine, and Keystone XL. It is our obligation to make our positions known to our elected officials, and to our friends on the other side of the aisle. This is not a political issue, as much as the industry and elected officials would like to make it one.

[Contact the White House and send Barack Obama a message HERE]

[To sign the Friends of the Earth petition asking the President to say no to the pipeline, click HERE]

[Details on the Saturday rally in Washington, D.C. HERE]

Comments

comments

Comments
57 Responses to “Us vs. Them in a Back to Basics War”
  1. bb says:

    I don’t know if I can keep reading or listening to the news. :-( I’m looking for a hole to crawl in.

    • benlomond2 says:

      I’m not listening to the news today.. and except for some articles about Miss Quittypants and her now apparent irrelevance to the political scene ( YEA !) am focusing on personal issues and yardwork… I’ve ranted enough for the weekend !

  2. Alaska Pi says:

    AKM- thank you for this post. I’m still poking around reading and trying to figure out what I think about all that is going on .
    I’m a bit put off that multiple commenters have said this is not a bad thing but with the exception of Polarbear have not provided information or pointed to full discussions about it all to substantiate that contention. I’ve been looking round a fair amount but must be missing something (s)?
    polarbear-
    Your argument is valid and points to what is sometimes called “excess mortality” in discussions of public policy shifts but I worry just as strenuously that allowing the job holders to set too many of the rules will result in just as rotten or worse consequences.

    • beth says:

      Well made points and concerns, Alaska Pi. My comments were based on two things: 1) The information on the link from the OP and 2) POTUSs track record. I, personally, do not believe POTUS is ‘caving’ nor do I believe he is “allowing the job holders to set too many of the rules.”

      By telling the EPA to pull the proposal, he is doing three things: 1) Jettisoning new regs that will *not* stand up to legal challenges, 2) giving the Republicans/Baggys a FALSE sense of ‘accomplishment’ that they’ve ‘won’ the battle against the EPS, and 3) buying time in which to get a reg with real teeth in it, ready for presentation and implementation. In essence, by not putting in new regs, the old ones stay (for the time being!), and it’s “a wash.”

      If we’ve learned anything about this president, it’s that he is *not* going to go the “Mission Accomplished” route by signing off on everything coming down the pike. He is going to make damn sure what he’s signing off on is in the *best* interest of all citizens AND is *legally* solid; he’s ‘wired’ that way, being an intellect and a lawyer, I guess. imho, it’s stood him in good stead — he’s made some incredible changes and had incredible accomplishments…

      i think we Progressives, sometimes, forget what he *has* done (and the method by which he did it and the time in which he did it) and grumble at him for not jumping through hoops to get to *our* individual pet project as soon as we’d like or get it done in the way we think it should be done. I shudder to think of all that we have going for us now, because of POTUSs patience, that would be held up in the courts had he charged willy-nilly ahead with ‘our’ individual pet projects, ‘our’ timelines, and ‘our’ methodology.

      POTUS, from what I see, is not one to make decisions rashly — he gathers all the facts and acts accordingly for the benefit of ALL citizens.

      [chuckle] I see that trait in you, too, Alaska Pi… you aren’t one to knee-jerk. You want all the facts before you make a decision, one way or the other. I admire that. beth.

      • Alaska Pi says:

        Beth- you made me laugh!
        If you could just see me running out the door and stomping up and down the street to shake out my jerking knees… :-)
        I am not convinced this President isn’t allowing the job holders to set too many of the rules but I am convinced he is doing ok holding ground we might well lose otherwise and likely is the strongest we can manage right now.
        Whatever the reality is that the President must deal with , I do not want to see big business call any more shots here.
        I think this writer gets hold of some of the things far better than I can.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/04/magazine/what-the-left-doesnt-understand-about-obama.html?_r=1&hp

        I am terribly upset that the failure to bring forth this overdue update to ozone rules is going to cost us in real live people who will suffer and many will die.
        I am intrigued that the Justice Dept has filed suit against mortgage bundlers who cost us all through Freddie and Fannie and I am fascinated that the new IMF chief spoke in Wyoming this week and all the austerity dippos ignored or pooh-poohed her- here and in Europe.
        I am not without hope. I am however angry that Americans will suffer and die while politicos play games.

    • Polarbear says:

      On my street in South Anchorage, in what would have been characterized as a middle-to-upper middle class neighborhood in 2007, there are 23 households, 3 of which are either in foreclosure or various states of bankruptcy management. There is one more household failing and on the verge. For three of those households, the heads of households are over 55 yrs of age. I think we are at the point where traditional precinct political organization, year ’round, may be the only mechanism to reach all the resources necessary to save our neighborhood. Since June this summer, two households on this street who owned local businesses closed their businesses and left Alaska, one to MN, and the other to CA, to a large extended-family business. This winter, if things do not improve, I believe we are likely to see the first appearance of long-term, empty, unsold homes.

  3. lilybart says:

    If you do all your homework, you will find that the EPA rules were not written well and could not be defended in court.

    AND Canada will develop the tar sands with or without the pipeline.

  4. Jen in SF says:

    I’ve always liked to argue that a US President shouldn’t be held accountable for all that happens in his ( or her, someday) tenure. So much rolls over from before, so much dealing happens behind other doors, etc.

    I’m finding myself increasingly unable to say this in full ernest.

    I hope you don’t mind a link to another blog, but I also liked an entry at Junita Jean’s — a political blog centered in Texas — on the EPA issue and the President’s potential.

    http://juanitajean.com/2011/09/03/dear-mr-president/comment-page-1

    I still want to believe.

  5. Frank Gwartney says:

    I caucused for Hilary, doubted myself and was elated with Obama’s election. At this point however, I can only hope for a strong primary candidate which usually torpedoes chances in the general. Given the nutcase Republicans running is there any event sequence to hope (or work) for?

    • benlomond2 says:

      I think if we give the President a Congress that will work with him, then much can be accomplished.. Pretty tough to get much done in a timely measure, when you’ve got to fight the 60 vote min to even DEBATE an issue, or get your appointees confirmed , so things can be done. Doesn’t mean you can’t still have Republicans in office, just change out the ones that aren’t working to govern …

      • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

        It would be insane to primary Obama given the field of rethuglican alternatives. benlomond2 is spot on here. There is only so much a president can do without congressional support and that support during the critical first two years of his present term was tepid and weak at best. Now he is confronted with an openly hostile House and the effects of their obstructionism are showing in dramatic fashion. The economy, simply put is worse now than it was in November 2010. What changed at that point? The ditto heads and tea baggers elected a bunch of corporate whores to the House. This should be clear to anyone with two neurons to rub together but it apparently is not and to add insult to injury the so called fourth estate is busily pandering to the right wing in hopes of infinitely increasing profits. Does anyone else see anything wrong with this picture?

        I don’t know what Obama will do, or plans to do, but I do have the sense that whatever it is, now is not the time. We are more than a year away from the next election. If nothing else, it is a safe bet that the electorate has a faulty short term memory, but no long term memory at all.

        I think that if everyone took a step back and actually put some thought into what is going on they might realize that when the president does something that we do not like, there may be a very good reason for it. Frankly, I am skeptical that his strategy, if it is what I think it is, will work, but I do not have the responsibility of making decisions so my opinion is really quite trivial.

        Mudpuppies should take some time and work these things out a little more carefully.

        The thing that is most worrisome and problematic in both the national and global scene right now is one major issue – jobs. How do we keep the world at work? The so called job creators have been harping relentlessly, we can’t create jobs because we are faced with the terrible uncertainty of strict ozone regulations! Horrors it could cost us $90 billion (which is chump change in terms of the $13 trillion they lost on bogus mortgages). So Obama says, okay, we’ll dump the Ozone regulations for two years, yes I know that is dumb but that is what the opposition proclaims will break the log jam. Let’s see if it does. It won’t, it is already apparent that the austerity fetish of the right wing is having negative effects. The only question that matters is can Obama effectively use this long litany of treasonous hypocrisy to tar the republicans with the layers of it that they deserve.

        We’ll have to see won’t we? I can’t predict what kind of situation will prevail in the US in late November 2012. All I can say is that I hope Obama is still at the helm. If he is not we will run aground within a year, and we may not be able to avert abject chaos.

        • leenie17 says:

          We can’t expect the President to repair this damaged ship we are all sailing on if we don’t give him the tools he needs to do so. We need to provide him with a majority in Congress that is large enough to get something done and, hopefully, reform their own rules and reduce the ability to obstruct any and all legislation like the Republicans have done. I understand that the minority party needs to have some means of blocking dangerous bills, but things have reached the level of absurdity these last couple years and nothing is being accomplished, much to the detriment and frustration of us all.

          I may not agree with President Obama, and I may be frustrated at the agonizingly slow speed at which we’re progressing, but things ARE getting better and I know that the alternative to his victory next November is too awful to contemplate.

        • benlomond2 says:

          If I remember my basic Econ 101 correctly, Capitalism functions primarily on Supply and Demand – No demand for a product, then no supply is needed. There are two major providers for Demand, Goverments and General Public Consumers. Our TeaBagger “associates” need to remember that if the General Public can not create demand if they are out of work, nor can they generate tax revenue for Goverment to pay it’s bills. Goverment, however, can generate Demand by either purchasing products, or providing jobs thru Public Works which benefit the Nation. Goverment can “go in the hole” – deficit spending- much easier than John Q. Public can.. By providing jobs thru Public Works, several items occur 1) part of the wages comes back to the Goverment thru taxes as the workers can now purchase items they would not have bought while unemployed. 2) workers now have $$ for retail items, which generate demand, causing manufacturs to increase their workforce to catch up with new demand 3) Tax Income is generated from the sale of these products,4) small businesses begin to see demand because workers have money and are working once again. – these are the small stores you see outside places like military bases, franchises, dry cleaning, small hardware stores, etc.
          Every recovery is due to Consumer spending increasing. To speed a recovery, Goverment MUST spend more to help generate consumer employment,,,, WHERE it increases it’s spending is important – increasing DOD spending only benefits a small group ( Defense Contractors) compared to Public Works Projects- which benefits unskilled labourers, tradesmen, engineering firms and heavy industries like steel and timber.and the industries which support them. Major Wars do the same, but there has to be a LARGE increase in Military personnel for that to have an effect, because you are taking a LOT of men out of the civilan work force and placing them in the Army, etc. AND paying them salaries, our current conflicts do NOT generate jobs, as we aren’t drafting men out of the civilan work force, as we did in WWII, Korea or Vietnam.
          Cutting Goverment spending right now is the worse thing we could do for our economy.. No demand, no supply needed, – which means no jobs here at home..and retailers will look for the cheapest products to sell to people struggling to make ends meet- whihc means China products instead of American products and American jobs.

          But the Teaparty and the Republicans have blinders on…. and no sense of factual history…
          OMG! two rants in one night… I need to lay off the coffee !! :)

          • thatcrowwoman says:

            thank you krubozumo,
            leenie,
            ben,
            beth,
            a fan in CA,
            and polarbear.

            Mama was right.
            Things do look better in the morning.
            Now where’s my hoe?

            thatcrowwoman

    • I am fully aware of the opposition that faces Obama every day. The last congress was the most productive since WW2 and was led by Libs. Obama isn’t Muhammed Ali and his “rope a dope” strategy,if it is strategy is causing substantial harm and he is getting raked over the coals for it. Every centimeter Obama surrenders to the nutters is progress we will never regain. He does not,IMHO,have the moxie to be Potus.

  6. Polarbear says:

    I have learned to see the neighbors around me who are suffering because of the recession. There are thousands of households in Anchorage hanging on by a thread, households managed by a federal executor. These are working families who have been absolutely hammered by the recession, are in various states of reduced employment and income, and are hanging onto to their homes by a thread. They have exhausted their unemployment. If they miss a single paycheck, they are on the street, homeless, with no cash reserves. Working families.

    Just this month the recession hammered the bush. In Kotzebue, over 60 families lost their jobs in one fell swoop as Maniilaq Health had to cut, due to federal budget cutting of IHS. The city daycare center closed. The senior center closed. Similar cuts and job losses are occuring in rural regional centers around the state. These towns are heading into winter, fuel oil at over $7.00 gal, stores with shelves not fully stocked, with growing unemployment.

    With respect, I urge you to really look at your neighbors, open your eyes, and see the suffering and hardship around you. The families on the brink are stressed, stigmatized, embarassed, and deeply desperate, all at once. President Obama sees the hardship. The measures President Obama is taking do not amount to agreement with Republicans. The measures being taken are emergency measures to save the lives of working middle class families who are about to become homeless. We are on the verge, teetering on the brink of falling back into a second recession, with a disfunctional congress. Our nation is in serious trouble. Our own city is in serious trouble.

  7. thatcrowwoman says:

    Here’s the letter I just mailed to President Obama:

    Mr. President,

    My family campaigned for you and voted for you and celebrated your election. We Hoped, we Imagined, we Believed in a better future for Everyone in our country and Worked to make it so. We’re still working on it.

    My spouse and I are closer to 60 than 50 years old. I’m a public school librarian in the poorest county in Florida. My spouse, a biochemist, is one of the millions of unemployed American workers. Our daughter is a senior in college in Mississippi. We have survived a direct hit from Hurricane Ivan that obliterated my school library (2004) and the horror of the Deepwater Horizon failure (2010). Our “mortgage” is with Bank of America. Corporations are now Citizens of our country.

    Life is tough, Mr. President, but I’m still thankful for every breath I take.
    Now that very breath is threatened.

    I was gob-smacked when I read, “President Barack Obama quashed proposed rules on ozone from the Environmental Protection Agency, agreeing with Republicans and industry to withdraw the costliest regulation being considered by the administration.” (Mark Drajem, Bloomberg news – Sep 2, 2011)

    The Environmental Protection Agency must be allowed to fulfill its mission, Mr. President, now and continuously. The Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act are crucial to the health and well-being of everyone in our country, especially our children and our elders. How many and what kind of jobs will a two year period of deregulation create? At what cost to our health and well-being?

    If “jobs” is the answer to this mess we’re in, deregulating environmental protections is not the most productive choice. Let’s serve and respect and repair and restore our country. Let’s look to our infrastructure, our dilapidated public schools and libraries and National Parks. Let’s clean up our industries and our environment. Let’s expand research and development of green/renewable energies. Let’s care for our children, our elders, our veterans, those who are differently-abled or mentally ill or sick. Let’s give high schools and trade schools and colleges and universities a mission that sustains our planet.

    Mr. President, please, invest four and a half minutes to watch this just one more time:
    Yes We Can (will i am)

    We’re still here, Mr. President, and we want to hope and we’re willing to work.

    Yes. We Can.

    Sincerely,

    *thatcrowwoman*

    I’ll be in touch with my representatives, also, too, and I’m betting the AFL-CIO is on it already.
    *sigh*

    and so it goes.
    “Arrange whatever pieces come your way.” (Virginia Woolf)

    DH Happy trapped the rogue possum that tunneled into the hen-house and killed the 2 gentlest hens, poor things. Mr. Cuddles, my nemesis and the rooster, was able to save his 3 remaining hens, and the possum looked way worse than I Ever did after a rooster attack, so I hereby take back Half the ugly things I’ve said about—and to—Mr. Cuddles.

    Storms rolling through now with Tropical Storm Lee churning up the Gulf, so I’ll probably be unplugged for most of this long weekend, but no worries, eh? The forest is full of birdsong and creatures rejoicing in the cool and damp. Overnight, everything is cleaner and greener. Happy’s cooking and pretty much spoiling me rotten. I’ve got books and dark chocolate and music and the prospect of a nap with rain falling on our metal roof. That, my friends, is what I call Shalom Bayit, Peace in the Home.

    Everyone deserves such shelter from the storm.

    *wrapping my wings as my prayer shawl around you
    and wishing you Shalom Bayit*

    and with Zyxomma,
    Tikkun Olam Shalom

    thatcrowwoman

    • scout says:

      Have I told you lately that I love you?
      Shalom

    • I don’t know that personal pleas is a good idea. If rethugs get wind of this they may sell your forest to one of their paper handling donors,like the koch varmints and clearcut you to oblivion for the halibut.On the other hand I am certainly glad you did and you have my eternal gratitude. Now run out there and kick some rooster tail for the halibut.

    • leenie17 says:

      Books, dark chocolate, music, a nap and someone else to cook for you…sounds like heaven!

      Stay safe and dry through the storms and we’ll be here when you get back!

      By the way, I had a cousin of yours spend some peaceful patio time with me the other day. I was reading in the backyard when I noticed a large shadow move on the side of the house next door. I looked up and saw an enormous crow sitting on the corner of my garage roof gutter. He sidled on over to the side closest to me, sitting about 10 feet away. I welcomed him and chatted a bit and laughed as a chipmunk peeked out from under a nearby bush, took one look at his impressive beak and ducked back under the leaves, sounding the alarm call. The crow stayed with me, turning to watch me as I talked to him, for at least 15 minutes, not even moving as I stood and walked to the back veggie garden, collected some tomatoes for dinner and returned to the patio. Hunger pains finally drove me inside and I noticed that a few minutes after I left he flew away as well. It was a lovely visit. You have a very nice family, TCW! ;)

  8. Ice Gal says:

    Don’t worry the rich will be able to buy air in a bottle…

  9. Bev says:

    Here we go again with Obama bending to the whims of the right and big business in the “HOPE” that jobs will appear.
    Not going to happen!!!

    They wanted clean air to breath so they banned smoking in public places, but no clean air to breath when it comes to big business who belches out toxins into our air, pollutes our water that poison our food?

    What am I missing here????

    • A fan in CA says:

      The fact that a real set of regs can’t get passed the current Congress. So they had a bad set created that Obama has “vetoed”. If he had moved forward with the current set it would have been very bad for making sure we really get clean air and water in the future. This was a trap and I’m glad Obama didn’t fall for it.

      It has nothing to do with bending to “big business” even if the “pundits” want you to think that. Don’t buy the propaganda.

  10. beth says:

    I was absolutely heartsick hearing on NPR today that our President ordered the proposal be deep-sixed. Why, why, why!, would he do that? What the hell’s the matter with him? Why?

    What in the world could have made him do such a bone-headed thing? Doesn’t he know EPA Regs *protect* us? All of us? The EPA is GOOD … e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g it does is good, isn’t it? Why did he order a stop to the proposal? Why, why, why?

    Because corporate and Repubs b1tched about it, he caved? He seriously put MY health in jeopardy just to appease –and please– those yahoos? He is such a wuss that he can’t stand up against the nay-sayers who don’t want an EPA reg enacted? My G-d, what happened to the man I voted for? Where is the man who I believed would be looking out for *my* best interests? Why the hell did he roll over on this? Why, why, why?

    I mean, isn’t this the man who insisted –against great! derision and scorn from Repubs and Baggers– that money could be saved and sanity restored to Medicare and Medicaid IF all the (current) rules and regulations were closely scrutinized and those that were obsolete, non-sensical, and/or redundant, be eliminated? That delivery of service would be enhanced if the junk was cleared out?

    Isn’t this the man who has ordered the agencies to go through their rules and regs, clean them up, and enforce what remains? The man who insisted/ordered that *only* those rules/regs that would *benefit* the citizen/taxpayer/consumer would pass his muster and be tolerated by his administration? Why, yes; yes, I believe he is. [Admittedly, things are moving slowly, but that is *not* from lack of committment -- it's from having to wade through years and years of piled-on bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo that ended up making the programs so unwieldy as to be unsustainable! The effort to 'get it right' goes on...]

    All this by way of saying: I’m *positive* sure POTUS did *not* “cave” on the issue; positive sure he did the *right* thing re: the proposal. I’d be willing to bet [something of great monetary value] that *although* the titles and subtitles in the regs are all lofty and lovely and for the greater good, the nitty-gritty of the proposal is so full of unsupportable and inexplicable minutia, redundancies to other regulations, contradictions to other regulations, and/or similar, that it’s a waste of time and effort. IOW, just because it looks good on paper, and works well as a *stand alone* regulation, that does *not* mean it is a good regulation. Just like the rules and regs piled on to Medicare and Medicaid, sometimes *new* regs hinder rather than help the very thing they are designed to help…I have a strong feeling the now-dumped EPA reg was just like that. And I have every confidence tossing it out was/is the right thing to do.

    I also have a feeling there is some very calculated (and brilliant) strategic manouvering going on, here. Thursday night he delivers a *major* speech on jobs and job creation. Having [air quote] caved, to the Republican/Baggy ‘demand’ the EPA reg be squashed, he can –if he plays his cards right– lord it over them and *dare* them to say he’s *not* working with business to create jobs. They won’t have a leg to stand on without looking like foolish little children throwing another temper tantrum. AND, the added bonus to this? He gets to have the EPA Reg *rewritten* so it does what it is *supposed* to do instead of bogging the agency down because it piles on to other regs –who knows, he might even be able to get it rewritten so its strong, unchallengeable, and permanent. beth.

    • A fan in CA says:

      Yes, Beth. I think you are on to something. This particular set of “regs” was not a “good” set to move forward with. They were also to be only “temporary” and rewritten shortly. Obama decided to play chess once again and hopefully now he and his administration can go forward to propose a set of “regs” that will have “teeth”. Of course, we will probably need to clean out Congress in 2012 so that a “good” set can pass.

      I’m so sick of the MSM misleading us and not telling the whole story.

      • beth says:

        What bothers me –and bothers me greatly!– is Progressives pulling support from POTUS *because* he doesn’t do things precisely as they would have him do them…in the manner and time in which they would have him do them. (DADT comes to mind.) When you look at the incredible accomplishments he has made to further the ‘progressive agenda’, even with the Republicans and Baggys digging in their heels and putting up block after block after block, you have to wonder if he would’ve been able to accomplish nearly as much if he’d played the game as it’s always been played. I don’t think he would’ve.

        I don’t know about you, but I hired the man to use his considerable intellect to get things done! In my book, he has. I also hired him to use his considerable intellect to make sure those things he got done were best for the country — in my book, he’s done that, too.

        Just because the EPA is a wonderful agency with a truly vital mission, that does *not* mean it doesn’t occasionaly have a clunker reg creep into its pipeline, any more than your grandma being a wonderful person and marvelous cook means she will *always* make melt-in-your-mouth desserts – occasionally a clunker will creep into her cooking, too. You can’t do too much about grandma’s misstep with the dessert, but you sure as heck don’t have to sign off on an EPA reg that’s a clunker.

        I surely do wish Progressives would look at POTUSs body of work in toto, and not base their support of him on whether or not he’s dared to buck the status quo [per *their* reconing] and ‘caved'; let the Republicans and Baggys continue to play checkers … Progressives ought to watch our POTUS play chess and learn from him. Leastwise, that’s how I see it. beth.

        • Cortez says:

          the president needs to do something quickly, however. He has the appearance, and the repubs are capitalizing on it, that he is soft and that they can manipulate him. I’ve tried to rationalize his actions to be that of compromise, and sometimes having to capitulate for the good of the country. But its looking more and more like he can’t or won’t take a stand. Certainly hope you are right about what he is doing.

          • beth says:

            Agreed! He should come out with statements saying why he has -or hasn’t- done whatever. Constantly.

            I don’t think he ever will, though — that’s not his style. It’s too “I told you so”, too confrontational, too patronizing. He’s never been like the older male cousin who whups your adz at Monopoly and then makes you feel bad about yourself and/or resent him by lording his playing prowess over you.

            His great flaw in this area is that he operates under the assumption that the Republican and Baggy ‘opposition’ is composed of folks with a modicum of intelligence, logic, and ‘adult-ness.’ They aren’t. They think his *not* jumping on an option is a ‘win’ for their side; his *not* signing Executive Orders to make things happen is a ‘win’ for their side; his *not* supporting inadequate and/or inappropriate legislation is a ‘win’ for their side. Their obvious absence of enough intellectual flexibility to figure out how he has pwned them is more than made up by their loud braggadocio of “Hooray for our side!”, though.

            Bottom line: He gets things done! And most importantly, he gets them done Right!

            Frankly, I’m saddened by daily seeing more and more progressives falling for the muzzy-headed nitter-natter coming from the right about how weak he is, how he can’t lead, how he is out of touch, yada, yada, yada. imho, he’s none of those things — but then again, I’ve been watching with fascination for the past couple of years, how he gets things done; it’s quite remarkable.

            Of course, the Republicans and Baggys – to include Perry, Bachmann, Palin, et.al – are counting on their repetition of how they ‘win’, to get to progressives … are counting on progressives to *only* hear their chant and *not* see the reality. Shame on us –all of us!– for letting that happen.

            Leastwise, that’s the way I see it. beth.

    • thatcrowwoman says:

      I like the way you think, beth, and hope it plays out as you expect.

      DH Happy’s grandfather, of blessed memory, would say, “Pray for a good harvest, but keep on hoeing.”

      thatcrowwoman

    • lilybart says:

      Those EPA rules were not written well and could not have been defended in court. people need to get a grip and read all the information.

  11. fishingmamma says:

    The solutions to the problems of civilized people only create more complex problems. We’re short-term thinkers in a world of long-term consequences.

    Civilization depends on masses of people making decisions that smart individuals thinking for themselves would never make.

    Science, the style of thinking practiced by people who are good at passing tests, is a complex machine for the production of poisons that nature could not produce in sufficient quantities herself.
    Science examines our efforts to destroy the air, water, land, and everything that moves upon it and devises clever ways to measure how we are doing.

    Smart people might say: We’re poisoning ourselves. Let’s stop.
    Scientists say: We’re poisoning ourselves 4.78 percent less than last year. Let’s issue a press release.

    –Quotes from the book “Duh! The Stupid History of the Human Race” by Bob Fenster.

    They seemed relevant.

  12. Bob Benner says:

    Hillary is going to run for the Dems… Obama is a buffoon and a complete failure…

  13. AKPetMom says:

    Those of us that would like to see another Democratic candidate step up as a possible opponent to Obama are told that we are basically “traitors” to the cause and we just need to “give Obama more time to fix the mess that Bush left behind”. Are more progressives changing their minds now, with this latest Obama letdown? Is that what I’m seeing and hearing? Discord amongst the masses?

    I for one would prefer a choice, rather than a “lesser than two evils” scenario. If Obama is our only choice then I guess we just hold our noses and close our eyes and vote for him? Or could there be something better?

  14. David Otness says:

    Mark Begich is the same amoral pissant I figured him for from the get-go.
    There is a foundation lacking in him and has been missing since forever. He lives for the dream of being a “policy-maker” no matter the form or direction that policy will take. About 5 years ago he was for the Knik Arm bridge because it “would bring more people to Alaska”. Say what, and why? Mike Chenault feels the same, wants his Okie cousins to have the same opportunity he does, go figure. More fish-fights, more clam fights, more hunting fights, what could possibly go wrong?
    In the 2006 election season I was driving up the Seward highway from Seward and caught Mark on a radio show advocating for the bed tax to finance the Dena’ina Center and I got through and spoke of how it really hurt people in town for medical treatment day after day.
    His response was “Well, don’t we pay local taxes when we are out in Dllingham?”
    Good to know Mark seeks medical help at Kanakanak Hospital over Providence.
    Like I come to Anchorage to sport fish? Nicely deflected by a pro and cut off before I could respond.
    He is and has been a wanna-be since he was pushing Tony Knowles into his desk as an aide to the then mayor. A true product of Alaska’s nascent “political machine”, said machine only interrupted on the Republican dynasty side by Ben Stevens’ outright arrogance. Squeezed Lisa Dynasty back in there, though. Not all was lost.

    Begich’s climb has been all about himself trying to be bigger than he has obviously proven to be. At least Al Franken had Stuart Smalley and a formidable intellect, cojones and insight to fall back on when he was not considered viable against Norm Coleman. Now that Begich is there, in “the Club”, he’s busy kow-towing to the funders of his re-election because he knows how tenuous is his seat/ass against a viable Alaska Republican candidate. Really reminiscent of Obama himself, an avatar of statesmanship, a guided policy drone accidentally massacring innocent civilians on a nightly basis as long as the policy he is a part of gets good press.
    Mark and Obama play the same game, some undefinable lose, lose, lose strategy where “we’ll really kick their asses if we get one more term”. No, Mark does not even intimate he’ll change, his handlers are not that prescient while focussing on holding onto liberal Republicans as if they still exist-well, maybe Bill Sheffield?
    Sorry , the rest of us are getting not only tired but old while awaiting solutions and the Earth is about ready to boot us into extinction because some shallow assholes (both parties) merely live for re-election, some promised land or “City on a Hill.”
    If Begich was choosing a Republican to emulate he should have paid more attention to Jay Hammond rather than Ted Stevens and Sean Parnell. But he’s a city boy in the largest rural area of the U.S. So, if it has oil, throw tax money at it. Worked for his Uncle Ted, no reason to change the rules now.
    But as a child of machine politics I am hardly surprised at his choice, moral equivalency is a way of life in his chosen heroes in spite of their protestations to the opposite.
    Sean is more than willing to fuck over Alaska in obeisance to corporate thought which tells his corporate trained mind it is perfectly alright to go against Alaska’s best interests.
    Ted (not and never my uncle) was world-class in his freedom to expropriate and appropriate. No wonder young Mark was impressed.
    But, this is why I wrote to him of why I would not vote for him in spite of having voted for both his father and mother at different times.
    I saw young Mark for what he was a long time ago.
    I always prefer a Republican stabbing me in the heart than a Democrat stabbing me in the back.
    I’m very careful of my heart these days so never exposed it when I figured he was running for his current “status”.
    While he sits where he does he still stands for nothing but himself.
    I hate being right sometimes and this is one of those times. It’s really too bad our current times are so critical and this is no time for fence-straddlers on environmental issues.
    American politics in its current degeneration allows for moral wimps of both left and right stripes to find a place to hide on the public teat in plain sight.
    Look at Sean Parnell, Exxon’s Alaska lawyer fucking over Alaskans hammered for two decades on a just settlement of the 1989 spill for the answers. The lobbyist/power-hangers-on from UFA (United Fishermen of Alaska) even endorsed him like a made man too.
    Fishermen are just as easily snagged by the forces of bait as are the fish themselves.
    Because, when you look at it up close we just take turns being the predated and the predators.
    It’s just a matter of degrees.
    Too bad humanity itself has reached those limits with such little insight as provided by otherwise intelligent human beings now elected to responsible positions for our future as a species.
    Sean always has the Rapture to fall back on, I wonder where Mark will find his escape hatch/pod of equivocation?
    Maybe he wants to come out now and endorse Pebble or perhaps will make a joint address with Obama on the subject of “national security and jobs.”
    For the record:

    ” Keystone XL is an export pipeline. The Port Arthur, Texas, refiners at the end of its route are focused on expanding exports to Europe, and Latin America. Much of the fuel refined from the pipelineâ��s heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. driversâ�� tanks.
    Valero, the key customer for crude oil from Keystone XL, has explicitly detailed an export strategy to its investors. Because Valeroâ��s Port Arthur refinery is in a Foreign Trade Zone, the company can carry out its strategy tax free.”
    http://priceofoil.org/2011/08/31/report-exporting-energy-security-keystone-xl-exposed/
    Sadly, I have no nice left in me when it comes to watching the scurrying of the self-important who do not have the courage to know when it (courage) is demanded of them at this critical juncture in time.
    We seem to have achieved a confederacy of dunces in the U.S. Congress, Bernie Sanders is one of the few statesmen still left standing.
    Bring it on, fawners and paid employees of Mark, there is a real vested interest once you have staffers getting paid the big-bucks, another great feature of the revolving door of D.C. politics-
    Staffer to lobbyist to staffer to lobbyist. And, ex-elected Senators and Congressmen as lobbyists: Tom Daschle-D stands out, Phil Gramm-R of Texass for UBS (Rick Perry’s godfather), Billy Tauzin of Louisiana (Big Pharma), even Alaska’s Jan Faiks, another former Alaska State Senate President of ill-repute, is a honcho with Tauzin (Don Young’s good buddy), as an executive for the drug industry committed to U.S. citizens’ human slavery for their profits. The same who kept single payer off the table.
    Final words: Our government is a failure, our nation is hanging by the final threads these profiteers have missed on the first pass with their self-righteous scissors.
    Mark Begich is a walking example of just this. He and Obama are determined to live in that world of winners along with Bill and Hillary Clinton.
    It’s better there where the air is always clean.

    • mike from iowa says:

      I have read that many people are unhappy with Begich for his votes for big oil and money over the objections of his constituents. Billy Tauzin,if memory serves,was the rethug in congress that pushed the bush prescription drug bill with the huge windfalls for pharmas and insurance companies and then left congress to head a big pharma. One quick side note,I hear that a certain Alaskan celeb of dubious moral and ethical standards has been spotted in Indianola,Iowa-location of Iowa’s hot air balloon festival. Coincidence? I think not.

  15. Alaska Pi says:

    This has me too upset to even ask questions right now.
    Need to go read links and think about it.

    Mr President-
    Pfffttt!

  16. I guess my opinion of the job the Potus is doing is known and I’m curious as to what other Mudpups are feeling. I waste part of my day defending the Potus and Dems on the internet while the friendlies are cutting the ground away behind me. I am not gonna keep defending those that won’t defend themselves. Rethugs and t-baggers are trying to hand control to Dems and the Dems don’t want it. 2012 should be a Progressive landslide and not one Liberal wants to lead the charge. I feel like Chief Gillespie in In The Heat Of The Night when he was commiserating with Virgil Tibbs and said he had a town that didn’t want him. The Dems don’t apparently want us.

    • ks sunflower says:

      Didn’t see the movie, but I can sympathize about how you say you are feeling.

      I heard a pundit say today that people will vote for the Dems because they seem as if they are lesser of two evils. Rats, drats, and cow pooh.

      I know there are some that are fighting the good fight but they cannot do it alone. Sigh We’re out here, but how do we get those “in there” to listen to us?

    • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

      MfI – I am not entirely sure I understand your point of view. You either defend and support your point of view or you have no point of view or adopt another.

      Above all else, it is essential that anyone with a hope for democratic government will come to reject main stream media as pure propaganda, until such time as they liberate themselves from the thrall of Faux News.

      If we can have an effect, it might be in terms of pointing out to people just how misleading and counter productive the main narratives are. I know that is a ridiculously technical requirement. People would have to actually understand the issues.

      • CG says:

        “…misleading and counter productive the main narratives are. I know that is a ridiculously technical requirement. People would have to actually understand the issues.”

        YES!
        This is our undoing. Many are simply uninformed and don’t care, believing that it doesn’t matter and it can be left to someone else. Others think they DO know, but are missing pieces that require deeper study, or lack critical thinking skills and comprehension.

      • mike from iowa says:

        KN my friend,my point is Dems and Obama remind me of a seventh grade physical science experiment I was involved in(before any one was warned about the dangers of handling mercury). We were instructed to dump some Quicksilver on a table and record our observations as we tried to collect it and return it to its rightful place. We tried to pick up small globs only to have them seperate into smaller globs and run away. So we tried to get the entire mess in one spot which was easily accomplished as it does assemble well. Of course when the damn stuff found out the reason it was rounded up was to be placed into the container it came from,the whole mess split into many small globs again. Pragmatism isn’t a suitable trait when the opposition acts like one big vacuum and can suck up the little globs at will.

  17. barbara says:

    i feel abandoned by the president. so, so disappointed. i don’t even know what to do.

    • nswfm says:

      Barbara, send a message in both of those links and spread the links around. I also was in China, in 1997 and it was a polluted mess before the BIG BOOM of the Olympics.

    • SameOld says:

      In case you hadn’t noticed your President abandoned you the minute he was elected. Do you know what a Quisling is?

      • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

        Yes, I think you would fullfill that definition. Though no, I am certainly wrong because you are clearly not posturing to be of like mind, you reference “your” president. Unless you are chuckie Koch or carlie rove you have almost certainly benefited from iniatives by this president. Do you get a pay check? If yes then 2% less has been taken out in taxes since last year. If no, then you are one of those poor suffering bastards who has exhausted their unemployment “insurance”, or you live off capital gains and dividends. Which is it?

  18. ks sunflower says:

    I can testify from our daughter’s firsthand experience that the photo of the air pollution in Beijing is accurate. In fact, even after the Big Clean Up for the Olympics, things are not that much better.

    She lived in Nanjing, China for just over a year while attending the John Hopkins Center, then moved to Beijing where she worked for an English law firm. During her time in Beijing, she would go out for lunch then return and have to blow her nose – each time the tissue would be black with coal dust and other pollutants. She had chronic migraines, sinus infections and upper respiratory problems – this from a young woman who was hardly ever sick here.

    Non-regulation in China also means a free-wheeling, anything-to-maximize profit mentality where baby formula is tainted by toxic substances that test higher for protein. Produce is tainted by human fecal fertilizers, and the meats you eat might be what are considered family pets here.

    While she was in Beijing one bun maker was put to death when it was discovered that the meat filling that made his little establishment so popular was made from human cadaver flesh. His cousin worked in a mortuary so he got his “meat” at bargain prices. I often think of that as the GOP cuts the FDA budgets and slashes the number of food inspectors. If you think it couldn’t happen here, then it may well.

    Greed is one of the ugliest human traits. It gives rise to all sorts of inhumane and criminal activity. People need to research the “Why” behind regulation. It didn’t just appear. Regulation has been necessitated by the excesses that greed engender.

    We have been fortunate to have visionary, compassionate leadership in the past that listened to scientific evidence, listened to law enforcement front-liners and the medical community to create regulations that have protected us.

    Mind you, our consumer protection doesn’t come near to the quality in Europe. They’ve learned lessons we are just struggling to master.

    What concerns me most, though, is that we cannot undo much of the damage done to our environment. We may be able to level and replant sites, but we cannot afford cleansing of polluted water tables, clean beaches drenched in oil, or create viable fishing grounds destroyed by irresponsible fishing policies and pollution.

    Greed is behind this project, not some patriotic desire to create jobs. It is only being pushed because it creates profits for the corporations involved. Jobs are only secondary to the issue. Short-term profits, long-term consequences.

    Are we really saying that we as a country, lack the imagination and ability to create sustainable jobs, create environmentally sensitive energy alternatives, and innovate solutions that enhance rather than destroy the land we live on, the air we breathe, and the water we drink? Are we really that incompetent, lazy and unimaginative?

    I don’t buy it. We have to rethink how we interact with our environment and with each other. We have to rise above greed and think of consequences for our children. We have to be responsible now – not later. — end of rant — almost

    BTW – great post. I have been signing every petition I could find on this issue for weeks and have written not only President Obama but all of my elected officials. It will only make a difference if enough of us do so. We have to make it happen. Our children cannot afford to have us support politicians more intent upon painting their toenails with little polka-dots or wearing guns on their hips. Substance, not style, counts now more than ever. – okay now end of rant.

    • Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

      Good rant. I could argue a few points with you but overall you are spot on. Keep thinking. It works.

    • The pollutants from China come wafting over Korea regularly, and the ”black-nose” syndrome exists here, too. Don’t back down; keep signing petitions and spreading the word. We must not let the anti-Clean people win; our children’s and our own health is at risk!

  19. BigPete says:

    The job-killing EPA

    “How is it that the individuals in the Republican Party – the voters – don’t see it?”

    The freedom-loving, anti-science Republicans who don’t believe in evolution and global climate change?

  20. Robert says:

    I like to think that the people we put into office are there to protect us, but sometimes I wonder…

  21. Irishgirl says:

    How disappointing.

  22. CO almost native says:

    Amen, Mike- amen. sigh.

  23. As has been stated before do not fear your enemies,you friends will do you in.

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