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Archive for the 'Government Shenanigans' Category

NEWS WATCH! CONGRESS SAYS ADIEU WITHOUT ADDRESSING GLOBAL WARMING

Posted in Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, News Brief on October 3rd, 2008

BUT THEY DID LEAVE BEHIND A SET OF PRINCIPLES TO AID THE NEXT CONGRESS IN CREATING COMPREHENSIVE GLOBAL WARMING LEGISLATION

The now empty CapitolWell friends, another legislative session has come and gone and still we don’t have a simple, coherent, well thought out plan to deal with Global Warming.

What we do have is a to-do list of principles; promises basically, intended to guide the next Congress when and if they finally get around to drafting comprehensive global warming legislation.

The principles, the brain child of House members Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jay Inslee (D-WA), and co-signed by 152 of their fellow members include:

Reduce emissions to avoid dangerous global warming;

Transition America to a clean energy economy;

Recognize and minimize any economic impacts from global warming legislation; and

Aid communities and ecosystems vulnerable to harm from global warming.


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HEALTH WATCH! FDA OKAY’S IRRADIATION OF FRESH SPINACH AND ICEBERG LETTUCE

Posted in Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, Toxic Food on August 22nd, 2008

PRODUCE SUPPLIERS CLAIM MODERN TECHNOLOGY WILL PREVENT PRODUCE FROM BECOMING LIMP

spinach.jpgPotentially limp produce notwithstanding, the Food and Drug Administration has given its ok for produce suppliers to begin irradiating fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce to help in the fight against e-coli and other bacterial illnesses.

The new ruling goes into effect immediately amid significant speculation that the use of the controversial process is a poor substitute for properly maintained fields and for washing the product in the home prior to eating.

Irradiation has been around for years, though it was mainly used to rid beef of e-coli and to cure certain spices. But that was before 2006’s e-coli outbreak where three people died and 200 more were sickened after eating raw spinach.

The spinach outbreak was traced to animal contamination of the product prior to harvesting. Also being this controversial process are tomatoes and peppers, the latter the source of this summers outbreak of salmonella.

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COMMENTARY: GEORGE BUSH’S ENVIRONMENTAL LEGACY

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans, Presidential Crimes & Misdemeanors on August 8th, 2008

CAN AMERICA AND THE WORLD WITHSTAND FOUR MORE YEARS?

oil_well1.jpgAs election time rolls around again, it is important to pause for a moment and savor George Bush and the Republican Party’s environmental legacy.

The question then becomes, can America and the world stand another four years of…

ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

CONTINUED PETROLEUM DEPENDENCE

CLIMATE CHANGE

GEOPOLITICAL INSTABILITY

Please consider the above when making your decision for president this fall.

-Denis

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NEWS WATCH! CHENEY REPORTEDLY TAKES KNIFE TO CLIMATE TESTIMONY

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corruption Watch, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans on July 8th, 2008

ALLEGEDLY SHREDS THE SECTION LINKING CLIMATE CHANGE AND PUBLIC HEALTH

cheneycowboyhat.jpgEver the oilman, Vice President Dick Cheney stands accused, today, of pushing for major deletions in congressional testimony linking the health of the general public to climate change. Per a former EPA official quoted by the Associated Press in their posting on the matter, earlier today, the ‘Dark Lord’ was concerned that the presentation of the data “might make it harder to avoid regulating greenhouse gases”.

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COMMENTARY: SHOULD WE JAIL ENERGY CO. CEO’S WHO LIE ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING

Posted in Clean Energy, Conscious Actions, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, New Scientific Data, News Brief on June 28th, 2008

NASA’S DR. JAMES HANSEN THINKS SO. BLAMES SPECIAL INTERESTS FOR STALLING TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

hansen.jpgDr. James Hansen, a noted climatologist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, in a posting on the NASA Web site, has called for the incarceration of fossil fuel executives for “spreading disinformation about global warming”. Dr. Hansen, an outspoken environmental advocate, is recommending that the executives be “tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Special interests, according to Dr. Hansen, have blocked our society’s “transition to our renewable energy future.” Their “methods are sophisticated, he notes, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.” “They (the fossil fuel companies) are aware of the long-term consequences of continued business as usual,” Hansen continued, as he likened their actions to those of the tobacco companies who initially attempted to “discredit the link between smoking and cancer”.

Now, this is not the first time that Dr. Hansen have taken the heads of polluting industries to task. He has been a thorn in the side of the oil and coal industries ever since initially sounding the alarm about global warming in an appearance before a Senate subcommittee over twenty years ago. It was this appearance that is credited with helping to “raise broad awareness” of the global warming issue.

In the intervening two decades, Dr Hansen has angered the Clinton administration, advised Al Gore in his highly successful evolution into America’s environmental conscience, and been censored by the Bushies. He did all this while pissing off the fossil fuel companies to the extent that they tried and failed to have their flunkies in the Bush administration rein him in.

This took the form of everything from having senior NASA administrators attempt to coerce him to change his public statements about the causes of climate change, a move which, of course, failed, to ordering NASA public relations staff to review his public statements and interviews. The latter was instituted following a 2005 lecture at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

But the attempts to silence him did not end there. During a appearance on the iconic, 60 Minutes, Hansen revealed that White House staffers had edited his climate-related press releases with the intention of “making global warming seem less threatening”. To make matters worse, the person charged with doing the editing was a former oil company executive, who after being outed for his part in this fiasco resigned from government and returned to the waiting arms of Big Oil.

At the time Hansen commented that in three decades in the government, he had “never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public.”

Among Dr. Hansen’s other unpopular positions – unpopular for the fossil fuel companies, that is – are his calls for retiring all coal-fired power plants that don’t capture carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. Currently there is no practical technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.

His contention is that society will reach a “global tipping point” by 2016 if the human population is unable to reduce greenhouse gases.

-Denis

Read more about Dr. James Hansen

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COMMENTARY: DOESN’T THE ENVIRONMENT DESERVE BETTER THAN JOE LIEBERMAN?

Posted in Clean Energy, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, News Brief on June 5th, 2008

COULDN’T THE GREENHOUSE GAS BILL FIND A MORE CREDITABLE ADVOCATE THAN FORMER VP CANDIDATE CHAMPIONS LEGISLATION TO FORCE POWER PLANTS, STEEL MILLS AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL OPERATIONS TO CUT CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSIONS

lieberman.jpg

Sen. Joe Lieberman, for some strange reason the man that my personal idol, former Vice President, Al Gore selected to round out his ticket in the 2000 election, has allegedly turned the corner – well, at least for this week – on the dark side and is championing legislation, which if it is fortunate enough to pass Congress – a major victory in itself – would force power plants, steel mills and other industrial operations to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

Sadly, at this point in time, Senator Joe has little if any political creditability, residing as MSNBC’s Tom Curry observed, in a “political no-man’s land, neither entirely out of the Democratic Party, nor exactly in it either.” Additionally, there is that little matter of him supporting Republican Senator, John McCain for president over either Democratic Party option that has and continues to further Senator Joe’s estrangement from the party hierarchy.

The Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill – California Senator, Barbara Boxer and Virginia Senator, John Warner are the other sponsors – would create a complex system of trading carbon dioxide “allowances” between businesses. Apparently, this is a reasonably decent piece of legislation, or at least it was in its original form when it received the blessing of no less than America’s own environmental guru, Al Gore.

Missing from the list of the bill’s supporters is the previously mentioned, Senator John McCain. Presidential candidate, McCain, is reported to be holding back his support until the bill contains more handouts for the nuclear power industry. To accommodate Pappy and his ilk, co-sponsors Lieberman and Warner are said to be are considering an amendment, which would provide funding for the training of nuclear power plant workers and engineers.

So let me see if I understand this, there is no money to educate American veterans of George Bush’s wars, but there is cash to train people to work in the nuclear power industry? And to think that there are those who wonder what is wrong with our current system?

But the gifts do not stop there. Plans are also underway to add language, which would provide funding to redevelop the manufacturing of nuclear power plant components in America.”

Of all the energy businesses that this country could invest it’s taxpayers money in, nuclear is nowhere even near the top of the list. What about solar, or wind, or geothermal, all of which are far safer than nuclear? Do we need another Three Mile Island incident to refresh people’s memories as to why we abandoned nuclear the last time? Frankly speaking, the technology is not safe, at least not the way we slap things together in this country. Then there is the little matter of what to do with the nuclear material when it is no longer usable?

But then what does the safety of the many matter when it is weighed against profits for the few. Besides, someone has to pay the politicians for their labors, and the measly few hundred grand that they receive from the taxpayers is clearly not enough to buy these characters’ loyalty.

WHAT A SHAME THAT IS!

-LIB

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HEALTH WATCH! ASTHMA AND OTHER BREATHING DISORDERS PLAGUE KATRINA SURVIVORS

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corporate Responsibility, Eco Thugs, Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, News Brief, Toxic Living, Toxin Alert! on May 27th, 2008

FORMALDEHYDE FUMES IN LEVELS UP TO FIVE TIMES ABOVE THAT WHICH IS CONSIDERED SAFE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION, DETECTED IN MANY OF THE 143,000 FEMA TRAILERS SENT TO THE GULF COAST
fematrailer.jpgAs if the trauma, indignity and economic hard times that the residents of New Orleans have suffered since Hurricane Katrina was not sufficient aggravation for one lifetime, many area residents are now being diagnosed with cases of asthma and other breathing disorders, at numbers and levels higher than what is considered normal for the area.

According to an AP wire story published earlier today, formaldehyde fumes, many times at levels up to five times above what is considered safe for humans to breathe, have, as early as 2006, been found to be present in many of the 143,000 trailers sent to the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina. But for some reason, this news is only now being shared with those affected.

This is particularly upsetting because it is just the latest example of what can happen to innocent people when the government to whom they turn for aid in emergencies such as this – and who is supposed to be looking our for their well-being – doesn’t care enough to inspect the trailers before declaring them safe for habitation

But then, much of the devastation present in New Orleans and the surrounding areas could have been avoided if only the Bush administration had heeded the warnings of the Army Corps of Engineers and fortified New Orleans’s levees when the need first became apparent.

But then, this is the Bush administration we are talking about and the money that should have been used to protect the citizens of New Orleans apparently was needed elsewhere, perhaps to finance tax breaks for the wealthy or maybe it was to continue Mr. Bush’s ridiculous little war.

But this is just my opinion, What do you think? Please share in the comments section.

-LIB

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BUSH ADMIN BUCKLES AND GRANTS PROTECTED SPECIES STATUS TO THE ALASKAN POLAR BEAR

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Corruption Watch, Eco Thugs, Endangered Species, Government Shenanigans, News Brief, Presidential Crimes & Misdemeanors on May 20th, 2008

BUT DID THE RULING COME IN TIME TO SAVE THE POLAR BEAR?

polarbearice_djc.jpgWell, the good news, if you can call it that, is that the polar bear got finally some protection from the Bush Administration last week. The bad news is that in typical George Bush fashion, the ruling granting endangered species protection to the polar bear is chocked so full of loopholes favoring the oil companies and other corporate polluters that many, including Natural Resources Defense Council President, Frances Beinecke, believe that it will be years and a number of successful court battles before the legislation “offers any real protections”.

Sadly this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the workings of the Bush administration, particularly when it comes to protecting the environment. Specifically speaking, one can only wonder if the polar bears, already living on borrowed time, will even be around by the time the Bush Administration’s ruling works its way through our court system, and is challenged by every two-bit polluter and oil company despot who ever bribed a congressman, or funneled undeclared money to a lobbyist?

The facts in this matter are indisputable; as I write this, the polar bears natural habitat is melting out from underneath them far more rapidly than even the most aggressive predictions had foreseen. Now I might be paranoid in making this observation, but as I see it, the only reason that the Bush administration finally went ahead and granted endangered species protection to the polar bears, after years of stonewalling, was because they knew that by the time that the ruling had withstood all challenges, Global Warming would have destroyed most of the Polar bears remaining habitat and the matter would become moot. Either way, with less than a year remaining on George Bush’s term, this matter would be someone else’s problem.

As angry as this sort of political gamesmanship makes me, I have to keep reminding myself that we are talking about a species of animal here, and in the Bush administration and corporate America’s worldview – an all too prevalent worldview in America today – the plight of animals means little when weighed against the potential for profit.

It is no secret that the oil companies have been maneuvering for some time now to get the right to drill in the Alaskan Wilderness preserve. Millions of dollars have been spent to sell this to the American people as the only viable way to end our nation’s dependence on middle eastern oil, and by extension the problems that come along with doing business in that region

The only problem with this contention is that it is not true. Granted it sounds plausible and to a nation of people concerned for their and their family’s future, sounding plausible is often all that it takes.

For the record, the only way to break our dependence on foreign oil is for this country to get behind cleaner, more modern power technologies such as wind, solar, hydrogen and cellulosic ethanol. Corn based ethanol, the standard in this country, is a fine example of what happens when corporations are allowed to dictate policy to politicians. Not only has this movement created worldwide food shortages, but the little publicized fact is that it takes more than a gallon of fossil fuels to make a gallon of corn based ethanol. More importantly, a gallon of corn based ethanol is only about 70% as effective as a gallon of the fossil fuels that it aims to replace.

So who benefits from this exercise, other than the corporations making the ethanol and receiving generous federal subsidies to do so? Certainly not you and me, that’s for sure! But this is a matter for another posting, so we won’t dwell on it here.

Returning to the protected species ruling, the oil companies’ official position is that it will prevent them from drilling in much of the wilderness. They further note that the ruling will force the establishment of buffer zones to protect nursing mother bears and their cubs from the deafening seismic testing, frequent spills, and other distractions so much a part of modern energy exploration.

Now in a better world, this ruling would be a catalyst for change, a reason to begin aggressively developing new sources of energy. But not here! Here it is just a cause for law suits pitting well heeled hired guns against an already overworked and underpaid infrastructure, bled to the bone by a president concerned for little other than that which benefits his rich friends. Sharing the blame for this is a corporate structure that would rather exploit existing technologies regardless of their potential harm to mankind then to spend the money required to make any of the newer technologies commercially viable.

To change this will take leadership the likes of which this country has not seen in seventy years, not since the days of Franklyn Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal. To change this will take great courage, courage of the sort exemplified by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and the previously noted FDR, but which we have not seen lately in this country.

One thing is certain, we cannot continue for much longer on the path on which we are heading, not and retain the essence of what is great about this country.

So my friends, it is up to each and every one of us to make this happen. The alternative is just too horrible to consider.

-LIB

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NEWS WATCH! BUSH EASES CLEAN-AIR PROTECTIONS FOR NATIONAL PARKS AND WILDERNESS AREAS

Posted in Administrative Arrogance, Corporate Polluters, Eco Thugs, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, Health Watch, News Brief, Presidential Crimes & Misdemeanors, Toxin Alert! on May 17th, 2008

THIS LATEST GIFT TO POLLUTERS WILL MAKE IT EASIER TO BUILD POLLUTING POWER PLANTS NEAR PROTECTED AREAS

coalfiredpowerplant.jpgThe administration’s war against clean air and water scored another victory today with the announcement that Corporate America’s man in the White House is putting the finishing touches on a plan, which would make it easier to build power plants near national parks and wilderness areas.

The new regulations, expected to be finalized this summer, rewrite a key provision of the Clean Air Act as it applies to “Class 1 areas,”, Beltway shorthand for these precious natural resources.

This initiative is the latest in a series of administration efforts to weaken air quality protections at national parks.

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NEWS WATCH! JUDGE TELLS BUSH TO STOP STONEWALLING THE POLAR BEARS

Posted in Corruption Watch, Eco Thugs, Endangered Species, Global Warming, Government Shenanigans, Humane Treatment of Animals, News Brief, Presidential Crimes & Misdemeanors, Sustainable Values on May 8th, 2008

ADMINISTRATION ORDERED TO DECIDE ON POLAR BEARS ELIGIBILITY FOR ENDANGERED SPECIES PROTECTION BY MAY 15th

polarbearice_djc.jpgGood news for our furry white friends, the Polar Bears, came earlier this week when a courageous federal judge ruled that the Bush Administration had violated federal law by delaying it’s decision as to whether it will allow polar bears to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act.

In her ruling, Judge Claudia Wilken of Federal District Court in Oakland, Calif., ordered the Bushies to make such a decision by May 15th or be held in contempt of court. Additionally the judge ordered that the decision take effect immediately, setting aside the usual 30-day grace period

Currently, our nation’s polar bear population faces the threat of extinction from rising temperatures and rapidly melting sea ice, two conditions, which have caused food shortages, and led to the destruction of much of their native Alaskan habitat.

Kudos to our friends at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the Center for Biological Diversity, and Greenpeace for pursuing and financing the litigation, which led to this important victory.

Not surprisingly, the boys and girls in the executive branch have used the delay to ram through questionable gas and oil leases in the area in question.

Additionally, if I had to venture a guess as to whether the polar bears will receive endangered species protection from the Bush administration, my guess would be no. Drilling in the Artic has long been a goal of the Bush administration and granting polar bears protected status would bring an end to such activities.

Thankfully, the NRDC, for one, has pledged to continue the good fight until all of America’s polar bears win the protection they so urgently need. Should any of our loyal readers have a few spare bucks lying around – I know, what’s the chance of that in this economy – consider sending them off with a letter of support to the good people at any of the groups listed above.

- LIB

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