The GOP's plan for the Department of Energy
and the Environmental Protection AgencyFor decades, Republicans have sought to weaken or eliminate government departments and agencies. They're at it again. This time the target is the 40-year-old Environmental Protection Agency. And the 34-year-old Department of Energy. The scheme: Merge them.
The sponsor of the bill that would do this is North Carolina Sen. Richard Burr. So far, he's picked up 15 co-sponsors for a plan that he claims would save $3 billion a year by getting rid of waste and duplication.
The EPA has been under siege for some time, but never more so than now, with the likes of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and his fossil fuel-funded American Solutions for Winning the Future having proposed the complete abolition of the agency earlier this year. Not that Gingrich isn't serious. But, like many of his and other proposals from the right, this one gives Republicans the chance to put forth plans look moderate in comparison because they only take few steps in the same extremist direction even though they have the same ultimate destination.
A decade and a half ago, Gingrich sought to get rid of the Department of Energy. Then and now, Republicans have fought to remove renewable-energy programs from DOE, or failing that, to slash their spending. In the House Republican-passed budget, they axed $438 million in such spending while leaving fossil-fuel subsidies untouched. When temporarily stymied in their ultimate goal, Republican extremists don't go on a despairing drinking binge, they try an end run or another approach. Eventually, they find a position that will get enough votes to ensure passage. And when they've passed that, they'll begin chipping away. Check out abortion legislation for examples.
How would it work to merge two agencies with such disparate mandates, one to encourage energy innovation and handle the nation's nuclear weapons, the other to protect our health and the environment? Not every well, as Joe Romm at Climate Progress points out. Different mandates, different cultures. And if the merger gums up the works, it gives the Republicans ammunition to move toward the real goal, complete abolition of the combined agencies. Says Romm, who worked for DOE in the '90s:
Yes, they both have a General Counsel?s office, for instance ? but DOEE would still need the lawyers from both EPA and DOE since they do completely different things and require completely different sets of expertise. What this would allow the GOP to do is to cut the combined operations budget and staffing, thereby crippling both agencies, all in the name of ?streamlining.?
Equally important, this would remove a voice from the Cabinet meetings? either a Lisa Jackson or Steven Chu. These meetings are already dominated by economic agencies or those who don?t have either an environmental or clean energy expertise.
Also, combining a regulatory agency with an agency that advocates for and serves the need of those regulated industries is widely seen as a disastrously bad idea.
But this disaster serves the needs of the regulated industries. That's the whole point.
Hamstringing EPA's Supreme Court-approved regulation of greenhouse gases and its other pollution-controlling actions is precisely what's on the agenda of Burr and the other science-rejectors who have agreed to join him in this extremist proposal masquerading as "efficiency." It is, at its core, the same scheme other Republicans are running at the state level.Like Paul Ryan and his pals who want to whack Medicare and Medicaid, they can pretend this is about good government and saving the very things they are bent on demolishing. It's really all about making things cushier for their benefactors in the regulated industries. If your first proposal doesn't succeed, try and try again.
The question is, will enough Senators see through their ruse and put the squelch on it?
OMG! OMG!! Has a week already elapsed? Is today almost Saturday? Again? Is it time for that weekly digest? Inquiring minds, including your Bloguero's, want to know whether there was anything posted this week at the Dream[...]
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For those of you who read my pieces (here, and my other two regular series, Pique the Geek and My Little Town), you know that I appreciate multitalented individuals. This artist certainly fulfills that criterion. Not only a talented musician[...]
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Jim DeMint's position on the Mitt Romney/Barack Obama health care plan has, er, shifted a teeny tiny wee bit.[...]
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Last night, during a contentious interview with Bush Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, MSNBC host Lawrence O?Donnell wondered if Saddam Hussein ?was the same threat to New Yorkers that Osama bin Laden was.? With the obvious answer being, ?No,? Rice had to come up with something. Similar to President Bush?s ?You forgot Poland? line during the 2004 presidential debate, Rice said the threat from, and thus invasion of, Iraq was justified by the coalition Bush put together. O?Donnell noted that the so-called ?coalition of the willing? didn?t exactly represent the full support of the international community, but in the fog of the interview?s back and forth, Rice just started adding countries that weren?t even part of the coalition:RICE: So the Georgians who went there and the Japanese who went there and others ?
O?DONNELL: Actually had soldiers firing weapons on the ground?
RICE: This was not part of the coalition. The people who ? the British and the Australians and the Poles and all of those who ? the Canadians, all of those who were ultimately in Iraq, these were not part of the coalition?
Canada, eh? Just one little problem with that:
After months of hesitation, Canada said Tuesday that it has no intention of contributing to a U.S.-led attack on Iraq that has not been endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.
I guess it's easy to win an argument when you can just make up your own facts. Or maybe the completely false claim that Canada was a member of the Coalition of the Willing just wasn't intended to be a factual statement.
See Vyan's recommended diary O'Donnell's Grilling of Condi Rice for further discussion.
The correlation between a presidential candidate's standing in the earliest polls and the candidate's eventual share of the popular vote is far from perfect, but it is also far above zero.
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The republicans had a debate in Greenville, SC last night. I know I know,who knew? Exciting bunch those republicans, but hey, it takes two parties to make the republic go round so we have to pay attention to them.
Anywhoo, one of the candidates in the debate was Ron Paul.
Paul, I must admit, is a man who I find myself agreeing with when it comes to some of his public positions. (Public positions.) His position on the war and the legalization of drugs comes to mind.
But then, after reading an article about my friend Ron, I have come to realize that you just never know about some people.
"Ron Paul is back in the hunt for the Presidency. Many see him as an appealing candidate, one who opposes the wars, wants drugs legalized and supports fiscal responsibility. What they don?t know, is his long history of racism and connection to white supremacists. He has dodged questions on his connections to white supremacists and the newsletters, full of abhorrent racism that he put out in his name and he made millions from, spreading racism.
There has been controversy over Ron Paul?s ties to racism for some time now. Many people have pointed to Ron Paul?s Newsletters as proof of his racism. Paul has previously admitted to writing the newsletters and defended the statements in 1996, then blamed them on an unnamed ghostwriter in 2001 and then denied any knowledge of them in 2008. He has given no explanation, for how the racism entered his newsletter and has dodged questions about them without casting blame on anyone. If we are to take Paul at his word, he is guilty of at least promoting racism on a large scale. Paul earned almost a million dollars a year from the racist, conspiracy theorist newsletters. Here are some excerpts that I?ve found.
In this story Ron Paul writes about ?needlin? and blames packs of young black girls for spreading AIDS to white women. I could find no evidence of this ?epidemic? and the article seems to have no point other than to make white people scared of Black people.
In this piece he criticizes Martin Luther King as a pro-communist philanderer and says the MLK holiday is ?Hate Whitey Day.? This is in great contrast to 2008 when he told Wolf Blitzer that Martin Luther King was one of his heroes. When activists suggested naming a city after Martin Luther King Paul suggested other names such as ?Welfaria,? ?Zooville,? ?Rapetown,? ?Dirtburg,? and ?Lazyopolis? He would continue:
In another piece he blamed Black people for the riots that happened in Chicago in 1992 after the Bulls won the NBA Championship
Paul here is using false information to attack African Americans. The Washington Post reported that 1000 people were arrested but did not indicate their race. The riot, like most sports riots was multi-racial, including Blacks, white and Latinos, yet Paul used the incident to demonize African Americans. The Washington Post also reported that two officers suffered minor gunshot wounds and that 95 were injured in total, but the way Paul phrased it, it would seem most of the 95 officers injured were shot.
In this article Paul uses the ?carjacking? epidemic to put fear into white people. He advises them to carry guns and shoot ?carjackers? illegally and then dispose of their weapons. He also refers Black people as ?animals? and directly refers to his home town of Lake Jackson, Texas." [For the articles Casey Gane-McCalla is referring to go here]
Ron, I am disappointed in you. And here I thought I was going to consider supporting a republican for a change. Oh well, it's back to the drawing board for me. I wonder how my man Herman Cain did last night?
Another gem from the one and only Lee Camp. -- Ken
. . . What do you do after your Enemy No. 1 is no more? We have a choice. We can continue bombing endlessly in places like Afghanistan. We can continue to operate 900 military bases worldwide. We can continue to be the bitter, angry man who was beat up on 9/11 and now takes it out endlessly on his children.#
Or we can use bin Laden's death to conclusively move on. We've finally banged the hot chick who turned us down in high school and dumped Beefaroni in our lap in the middle of the cafeteria, causing us to self-consciously spend the following 20 years making sure nothing that humiliating ever happened again by behaving like a douchebag to everyone we ever met, just in case they had secret Beefaroni plans of their own . . .
Or, President tries to get Republicans to play fair. Your choice.
Check out the stick the dog keeps dropping at the statue's feet. Adorable (when it's not your president.)
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Well, we had the first Fox Republican debate in South Carolina this Thursday night and of course we then got treated to a Frank Luntz focus group segment for follow up. I don't know about anyone else, but I got a kick out of watching Hannity try to make amends with the members of that focus group and apologize for the potential Republican primary candidates that dissed their state and primary voters and didn't show up there.
And who did the panel say they loved during the debate? Former Godfather's Pizza CEO and "tea party" favorite Herman Cain. Tim Pawlenty can't be thrilled that someone who was considered a B-list candidate showed him up tonight.
The panel didn't react very well to Romney deciding to bow out and to the Donald, who I never thought was a serious candidate in the first place, like Palin, and him needing to finish up his television series before he can participate in debates.
It looks like the Republican primary race is off to a rocky start when Rupert Murdoch can't even summon enough of them that are actually going to run to show up for one of his debates in what is extremely friendly territory to say the least.
Here's more on Luntz's segment and their reaction to the debate -- Focus group: Herman Cain clear winner in first GOP Presidential debate:
If Frank Luntz's South Carolina focus group had their way, businessman and talk show host Herman Cain would be America's next President.
Cain's honesty and candid answers won over a large number of those present. One man said he worked for Mitt Romney in the 2008 election, but would now campaign for Cain.
Others said they appreciated the fact Cain never held public office, and his answers were not those of a polished political operative. When asked about this in the debate, Cain said he "was proud" he had never held public office.
He noted that most in Washington have held public office and asked, "how's that working out for us?"
Only one person went into the debate saying Cain was his first choice, but the vast majority switched by the end of the hour and a half long event..
Cain joined former Senator Rick Santorum, Congressman Ron Paul and former Governors Tim Pawlenty and Gary Johnson for the first GOP Presidential debate held Thursday night in South Carolina.
Santorum came in second with Luntz's group.
Other presumed candidates were not present, something the focus group did not appreciate.