Tyson Slocum of Public Citizen writes that Chevron is banking on a profitable political agenda:
With 43 lobbyists and a federal influence-peddling budget of at least $35 million this past election cycle, Chevron must have an ambitious agenda for the politicians in Washington, DC. The company just paid $4.3 billion to acquire Atlas Energy and its extensive holdings in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale so first and foremost on the company's agenda will be fighting any efforts to have the federal government regulate hydraulic fracturing.
Second, Chevron produced 260,000 barrels of oil and natural gas per day from the Gulf of Mexico, so preventing Congress from reforming offshore drilling rules in the wake of the BP disaster will be key.
Third, Chevron will join forces with the US Chamber of Commerce and others to demonize pending Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, and continue opposing efforts for the US to lead the way in battling climate change.
Fourth, look to Chevron to help lead the chant of "Drill Baby Drill!" as the company seeks to exploit the Presidential race to open new areas to oil and natural gas drilling.
Fifth, expect the company to take evasive action against efforts to revoke billions of dollars in oil company tax breaks and royalty relief.
Finally, Chevron will probably seek to protect investments overseas from meddlesome foreign government actions on prioritizing the environment and workers' rights by getting the US to enact favorable trade agreements.
Chevron's lobbyists are a Who's Who of former government officials. DC's rule of thumb: corporations ensure better access to lawmakers when they put their former colleagues from government on their payroll.
Chevron pays the Breaux Lott Leadership Group of the law firm Patton Boggs $135,000 every three months to lobby members of Congress. That means former Senators John Breaux and Trent Lott hobnob with their Senate contemporaries, and ask whatever Chevron tells them to ask for. Chevron has lobbyist Richard Hohlt on retainer, close friend of Karl Rove, and the kingmaker of a monthly gathering of GOP leaders inside DC called the "Off the Record Club." Chevron pays the law firm Akin Gump $90,000 every three months to take advantage of the firm's Democratic stars, including Al From, and former top staffers to Senator Max Baucus and Rahm Emanuel. ...
So why does Chevron bother spending this kind of money on the political system? Because, dollar for dollar, nothing provides a better financial return than investing in politicians. With environmentalists pushing to hold oil companies accountable for their pollution, corporations like Chevron would be forced to spend millions of dollars to make their oil and natural gas drilling operations and oil refineries cleaner and safer.
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At Daily Kos on this date in 2009:
To recap: [Jeffrey] Rosen printed an attack on Sonia Sotomayor based completely on anonymous sources; he used the same attacks outlined in a Republican-generated memo; he admitted he hadn't bothered to read enough of Sotomayor's opinions to verify the veracity of the claims; and his article was widely refuted, even as conservatives latched onto it as a "basis for opposing" Sotomayor.
And despite all of this, Rosen is given a prominent platform in The New York Times to give his very serious thoughts ... from the liberal point of view ... on the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. Once again the traditional media rewards insiders and gives them legitimacy despite their previous blind or biased work.
? ? ? ? ?
Today would have been the 100th birthday of Hubert H. Humphrey - there was a great remembrance today in the New York Times by Rick Perlstein here (and I always liked this campaign ad for Humphrey/Muskie in 1968...amazing how timely it still is)...
...and hey, check this out...seems like Gov. Lex Luthor wanted to eject "liberal-looking" people from his budget-signing "private" event - sorry, can't dig that scene, so it sounds like "splitsville," daddyo; ya' think he was worried about people like this?...
...and happy birthday to Bruce Cockburn (wonder if he's also one of the people Scott was scared of?)...
...and here's something from this decade - best wishes for a nice long weekend to one and all.
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Historian Rick Perlstein has a terrific article in the New York Times commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Hubert Humphrey.
But the article is also about us, Democrats and progressives, the road we took in the Johnson-to-Clinton years, and the road we didn't. In the process, Prelstein reshuffles the list of "saints and sinners" who got us to this place. For many, chief on the sinners list is Hubert Humphrey.
Humphrey is one of the most misunderstood Democratic politician of the 20th century (along with, in my view, Robert Kennedy and that old Pendergast fellow, Harry Truman). Humphrey's reputation went through three stages. He started as a strong Minnesota New Dealer and fierce advocate for civil rights, rose as a prominent Senate liberal to become Lyndon Johnson's VP, then became tarred by the Vietnam War prosecuted hard by Johnson's determined muscular anti-communism.
By 1968, when he was eventually nominated for president, he was either an old-style FDR pol in the eyes of older voters, or a Johnson-picked sell-out in the eyes of younger ones. He narrowly lost to Nixon and never attained the national stage again.
Humphrey's "third age" occurred again in the Senate, where he argued unsuccessfully for economic (New Deal?style) coalitions in a time poised between (1) the New Dems of the then-present, whose push for quotas in hiring threatened to split the interests of struggling whites from those of struggling blacks, and (2) the coming white-collar pro-corporate types for whom Jimmy Carter (a current saint) is John the Baptist to both Reagan and Clinton.
All in all, it's a fascinating look at how we, as Democrats, made the journey from FDR to Clinton, seen through the career of the last surviving faithful New Deal political. He was screwed by Johnson (my term, not Perlstein's) but in many respects, the shifts in Humphrey's reputation is a mirror in which we read ourselves.
I'll close with one of Perlstein's observations:
In 1976 [Humphrey] joined Representative Augustus Hawkins, a Democrat from the Watts section of Los Angeles, to introduce a bill requiring the government, especially the Federal Reserve, to keep unemployment below 3 percent ? and if that failed, to provide emergency government jobs to the unemployed.And the Fed's been theirs ever since.
It sounds heretical now. ... ?Government cannot eliminate poverty or provide a bountiful economy or reduce inflation or save our cities or cure illiteracy or provide energy,? President Carter said in his 1978 State of the Union address, a generation before Bill Clinton said almost the same thing, cementing the Democrats? ambivalent retreat from New Deal-based government activism.
Mr. Carter saw to it that only a toothless Humphrey-Hawkins law passed ? one that made fighting inflation the government?s implicit policy goal while the toll of high unemployment was given much lower priority.
With unemployment once again at 9 percent, inflation minimal, corporate profits at record levels even in the face of criminal perfidy by bankers, the trade deficit at $48.2 billion and racial resentment running as high as ever, shouldn?t we perhaps spare a thought, on Hubert Humphrey?s 100th birthday, for his road not taken?The "road not taken" is shockingly, once more an option. Shall we take it? After all, a progressive coalition that unites economic interests is how Cairo came to Wisconsin.
Title: Hungry Freaks DaddyArtist: Frank Zappa &The Mothers Of Invention
Friday Freak Out!
An unafraid, untamed truth-telling voice has gone from our midst. Let's remember the best of what he gave to us, and use his memory as inspiration to carry on in that spirit.[...]
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I've just about decided to cede the title of state with the most dumb as a box of rocks wingnut politicians to Kentucky, based on the almost daily sightings being reported by YD. But California has posted a formidable new contender in the individual stupidity category, one that even surpasses Jim Inhofe when it comes to blathering about something he knows nothing about... climate change.
We all had a good laugh when Inhofe built his little Al Gore igloo and claimed there was no such thing as global warming because it was by God snowing where he was that day and until today, that probably stood as the most vivid example so far of the absolute total ignorance of the reprehensibly unqualified sluts that we keep right on sending to Washington.
But today... at least in my humble opinion... Inhofe was knocked off that perch and even better, by someone from MY state. Our winner... and new champion is Congresswhore Dana Rohrabacher (R-Buffoon County CA) who according to Wonkette Jr. actually put on the display described below.
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher is a senior member on the House Committee on Science, so it's no surprise that he's ... uh, insane? This is Rep. Rohrabacher's big idea about how to fix the Global Warming crisis: "Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rain forests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?"
He posed this compelling scientific question to the Obama Administration's climate change envoy - we have an envoy for that? - during a congressional hearing on global warming. It's good, we guess, that all the Republicans aren't totally denying there's such a thing as global warming and melting icecaps and drowning baby polar bears. But maybe they shouldn't think about it at all.
"Or would people be supportive of cutting down older trees in order to plant younger trees as a means to prevent this disaster from happening?" [Rohrabacher] continued.
Forestry experts were dumbfounded by Mr. Rohrabacher's line of questioning, noting that the world's forests currently absorb far more carbon dioxide than they emit - capturing roughly one-third of all man-made emissions and helping mitigate climate change.
"From the Times story being cited:He's seriously confused," said Oliver Phillips, a professor of geography at the University of Leeds in Britain and an expert on terrestrial carbon storage. "He's just got half of the equation. Natural things decay, of course, but they also grow."
The idea that cutting down forests would result in a net reduction of emissions is "crazy," Dr Phillips added. "The need is to reduce deforestation."
Beverly Law, a professor of forest science at Oregon State University, found another hole in Mr. Rohrabacher's logic. Roughly 75 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the natural world come not from above-ground biomass, but from the soil, she said. "You don't even want to give this guy another wacky idea, but he forgot about soil," Dr. Law said.
And then, they heard a ga-Zump! They looked and saw something pop out of the stump. It was sort of a man. Describe him? ... That's hard. I don't know if I can.
He was shortish. And oldish. And brownish. And mossy. And he spoke with a voice that was sharpish and bossy.
"Mister!" he said with a sawdusty sneeze, "I am the Lorax.. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues. And I'm asking you, sir, at the top if my lungs ..."
And then Dana Rohrabacher had the Lorax charged with Patriot Act violations/Environmentalist Terrorism. And a few decades later, the Lorax died in his aluminum cell at Guantanamo Bay, his little head resting in the lap of Bradley Manning.
Somewhere, not so many miles away in Florida, Barack Obama played a round of golf, where the grickle-grass grows. [NYT]
...and it went a little something like this:
President Obama: Pre-1967 borders with mutual swaps.
Prime Minister Netanyahu: We won't go back to 1967 borders.
President Obama: I said "pre-1967."
Prime Minister Netanyahu: Oh, ok.
President Obama: With mutual swaps.
Prime Minster Netanyahu: Well, we want pre-1967 borders with mutual swaps, but only if Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
President Obama: You're right. Palestinians must recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state. And that's what i said.
Prime Minister Netanyahu: Oh, well, then we agree.
President Obama: Yes, we do.
Republican Noise Machine: Obama sucks! BOO!
Republican Noise Machine: Netanyahu rocks! YAY!
As if the Middle East peace process wasn't already a big enough challenge without the GOP running interference.
Many policymakers and pundits claim ?we?re broke? and ?can?t afford? public investments and policies that support workers. These claims are meant to justify efforts to scale back government programs and public sector workers? wages and benefits. The ?we?re broke? theme also implies that America?s working families should be satisfied with the status quo in terms of wages that have been stagnant for 30 years.
Despite the rhetoric, it is clear that ?we? as a nation are not broke. While the recession has led to job loss and shrinking incomes in recent years, the economy has produced substantial gains in average incomes and wealth over the last three decades, and economists agree that we can expect comparable growth over the next three decades as well. Between 1980 and 2010, income per capita grew 66.4%, and wealth per capita grew 73.2%. Over the next 30 years, per capita income is projected to grow by a comparable 60.6%. In other words, ?we? are much richer as a nation than we used to be and can expect those riches
to rise substantially in the future.
So who is the we in the ?we?re broke? mantra? The recession has certainly been a rough patch of road for many families, but the output produced by corporations in the private sector has already recovered to pre-recession levels, and these firms? profits were 21.7% higher overall, driven largely by the 60% jump in pre-tax profits enjoyed by firms in the financial sector.
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Some clarification on a subject that's on a lot of our minds, via Good Environment:
This incredible satellite video from NOAA shows all of the vortexes throughout April as red dots. Watch the historically unprecedented month unfold:
For any concerned and conscientious soul, it's hard to mentally and emotionally put the pieces together of these connected, but distinct, disasters.
There's the climate change question, of course, which has been answered unsatisfyingly dozens of times already. Short answer: we don't really know. It's complicated.
- When discussing extreme weather and climate, tornadoes should not be conflated with the other extreme weather events for which the connection is considerably more straightforward and better documented, including deluges, droughts, and heat waves.
- Just because the tornado-warming link is more tenuous doesn?t mean that the subject of global warming should be avoided entirely when talking about tornadoes.
In other words, it'd be irresponsible to make a straightforward connection between tornadoes and climate change. But it'd also be irresponsible not to discuss the potential for a connection and to work to better understand that potential.
Candidates with electoral resumes as thin as Herman Cain's have very poor track records, but candidates with polling that looks like Mr. Cain's despite low name recognition have an exceptionally good track record. We can't really resolve this empirically.
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