Bush’s Lack of Faith in Americans

I started this post over a year ago, got distracted, and it sat in my “drafts” file until now. I seem to be in a “cleaning out” mode which is giving everyone the impression that I’m getting ready to leave. That’s not my intent, although if I had a really terrific offer elsewhere I’d surely consider it, especially if I could relocate to the U.K.!

My topic back then, and I feel it is still relevant which is why I didn’t delete the draft, is that although Bush claims to not want to sign any agreements or regulate industry emissions because it might hurt American industry and thereby our economy, that premise is simply not true. If he truly believed in American ingenuity, technological and industrial abilities he would say that of course it will require change, and innovative thinking, but we can do it! He apparently has no trust or faith in the ability of Americans to come up with economically feasible ways to curb greenhouse gases, protect environmental health and build the economy. What about all the jobs that would be created to design new technology to meet regulated requirements in industry? What about the new products that would be designed and produced? Remember way back in the 1800’s the Patent Office was closed for awhile because “we had invented everything already?” Wow! That’s what Bush sounds like! He thinks we’re through thinking — oh, well, looking at it from his perspective…. better not go there.

The world is going to move on without us because they believe in their people. Europeans believe that it is possible to have economic and material prosperity while setting strict environmental standards. Their innovation and community spirit have surpassed ours and that will be the subject of a post another time. Asia, China for example, will move forward industrially, whether we like it or not. They want what we have. If we had a leader with vision and understanding he/she would be willing to sit down and work with all leaders (Kyoto — opportunity lost) and have serious cooperative discussions/negotiations. Any suggestions where we can find that type of leader?

USA Today had an article (below) back in 2006 about this very thing — industry was ready and willing to make the move, just waiting for someone to tell them do it now. That didn’t happen so we’re still stumbling along two years later, with very little progress. If we had started then just think about where we might be now. Oh well, better late than never — unless we just keep waiting, as is the Bush Plan.

A very good thing

The Bush administration stirred global controversy by refusing in 2001 to sign the 1997 Kyoto treaty, which would have required the U.S. to sharply reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2010.

President Bush has repeatedly insisted that mandatory emissions curbs like those contained in the treaty would cost the U.S. economy too much. “I walked away from Kyoto because it would have damaged the American economy, it would have destroyed the American economy, it was a lousy deal for the American economy,” he said in a July interview with British TV network ITV.

Government and private estimates of the annual cost to the $13 trillion U.S. economy of implementing the Kyoto restrictions range from $125 billion to $400 billion.

Yet, the leaders of major U.S. corporations such as General Electric and DuPont say addressing climate change offers the technology-rich USA a chance to make — not lose — big money.

One year ago, Jeff Immelt, GE’s chief executive, unveiled a plan to cut his company’s greenhouse-gas emissions by more than 40% by 2012. At the same time, Immelt said GE would double its annual revenue from a broad portfolio of environmentally sound products to $20 billion by 2010.

GE identified an opportunity to boost profit by concentrating on environmental technologies after customers in many industries and many countries began demanding help meeting tougher regulations, says Lorraine Bolsinger, the executive in charge of GE’s Ecomagination initiative. “I don’t see the downside. I know folks say there will be some kind of economic tax. … I’m not sure anyone who worries about that has done the full analysis,” adds Bolsinger.

At DuPont, a previous brush with environmental controversy shaped an early embrace of the climate-change issue. In the late 1980s, the company came under pressure to stop producing chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons, which were blamed for depleting the ozone layer. In 1988, DuPont agreed to do so. That experience helped shape DuPont’s response to calls for action to combat climate change, says Linda Fisher, the company’s vice president of environment, health and safety. DuPont set its first goal for reducing greenhouse gases in 1991. By 2003, it had trimmed its emissions by 72%.

Along the way, it racked up savings of $3 billion through energy conservation. Example: In plants in Alabama, Tennessee and Missouri, DuPont is replacing natural gas with methane from landfills in its industrial boilers. Elsewhere, the company redesigned scores of industrial processes to squeeze efficiencies from every step of chemicals manufacturing.

“What started as an effort to address our carbon footprint has turned out to be financially a very good thing,” says Fisher.

This fall, DuPont expects to start using corn to produce a chemical called PDO, which is used to make clothing. The Loudon, Tenn., plant will use 40% less energy than traditional oil-based processes, the company says. The resulting reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions is equivalent to removing 22,000 cars from the roads.

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“Why are We Talking About This in the White House?”

Many of us knew that this truth would eventually be revealed. The following quote is from Dan Froomkin’s White House Watch blog on the Washington Post (4/10/08):

Top Bush aides, including Vice President Cheney, micromanaged the torture of terrorist suspects from the White House basement, according to an ABC News report aired last night.

Discussions were so detailed, ABC’s sources said, that some interrogation sessions were virtually choreographed by a White House advisory group. In addition to Cheney, the group included then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, then-secretary of state Colin Powell, then-CIA director George Tenet and then-attorney general John Ashcroft.

At least one member of the club had some qualms. ABC reports that Ashcroft “was troubled by the discussions. He agreed with the general policy decision to allow aggressive tactics and had repeatedly advised that they were legal. But he argued that senior White House advisers should not be involved in the grim details of interrogations, sources said.

“According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: ‘Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.'”

Those at the highest levels in the administration, minus the president who was probably fishing, if only in his mind, were the core enablers of the interrogation decline into torture, the darkest side of humanity. Centuries and cultures throughout time have been called “dark ages” because of the acts of human against human. We talk, we read, but do we understand? Are we talking, reading and understanding now? These people, who should be of the highest calibre of our society have pulled us to the lowest moral point where the human being becomes an object to which we can do whatever we want. This should be a front page, screamingly huge headline on every paper, on every news channel. We should all be ashamed that these people continue in their decision-making and leadership roles. There are people recently who have been asking that Condoleeza Rice be the Vice Presidential candidate. She was there. She called the meetings as National Security Adviser. This is the kind of person you want as Vice President? There are many who call for impeachment. Why aren’t there more? Yes, George, “the buck stops here” sign was in the President’s office ! Oh yes, and as Mr. Rumsfeld so astutely put it, that was “a different time, . . . a different era . . . a different place . . . .”

What Could Have Been

solar-system.gifThe September 18th issue of Newsweek has a thought-provoker by Jonathan Alter entitled “An Alternative September 11 History” describing post 9/11 events as they “could have been.” Who knows, perhaps this is the way events unfolded on an Earth in a parallel universe–the one through the wormhole. We always thought that the universe through the wormhole was the “evil twin” but perhaps it’s the other way around. I have it! We really are the good folks from the good Earth, but we’ve been sucked through the wormhole and have ended up on this evil mirror world where greed and hate, intolerance and fear are the underlying values rather than the compassion and openness, charity and peacefulness of our home world. Sigh. Now, how do we get back home? earth-1.jpg

Bush’s Homeland Security

While the bombmakers were making plans during the last few months to blow up several airplanes bound for the busiest cities in the United States from Britain, the Bush Administration’s Homeland Security blokes were busy spending money in the high risk target areas such as Tiptonville, Tenn. (for an ATV, defibrillators and protective suits) and Converse, Tex. (for a “security” trailer used to transport riding lawnmowers to the lawnmower races).  In addition to discounting the terrorist attack risk to cities such as New York City, home to 8 million people, because of what the Dept. of Homeland Security refers to as a lack of national icons and spending money on surveillance cameras for Dillingham, Alaska, a port town of 2,400, these same people who are responsible for and have the directive for Homeland Security were debating (for four years) on whether or not to send small explosive detection devices to foreign airports where flights to the U.S. originate. 

John Solomon, writing for Associated Press in an article posted on the AT&T Worldnet Service news site, points out the administration’s budget tactics that essentially put ankle chains on research and development for our domestic security.  “The administration’s most recent budget request also mystified lawmakers. It asked to take $6 million from Homeland S&T’s 2006 budget that was supposed to be used to develop explosives detection technology and instead divert it to cover a budget shortfall in the Federal Protective Service, which provides security around government buildings.”

In addition to moving $6 million from explosive detection technology research to cover budget shortfalls instead, “the department failed to spend $200 million in research and development money from past years, forcing lawmakers to rescind the money this summer.” 

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that the Department of Homeland Security is in charge of keeping us safe.  We should all be very grateful that the Brits at least care.

Voltaire’s Absurdities and Atrocities

Voltaire said, Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

Just a couple of examples of each (yes, I will restrict myself to only two apiece):

First, Absurdities

  1.  George W. Bush, Radio Address, October 5, 2002:  The danger to America from the Iraqi regime is grave and growing. The regime is guilty of beginning two wars. It has a horrible history of striking without warning. In defiance of pledges to the United Nations, Iraq has stockpiled biological and chemical weapons, and is rebuilding the facilities used to make more of those weapons. Saddam Hussein has used these weapons of death against innocent Iraqi people, and we have every reason to believe he will use them again. Iraq has longstanding ties to terrorist groups, which are capable of and willing to deliver weapons of mass death. And Iraq is ruled by perhaps the world's most brutal dictator who has already committed genocide with chemical weapons, ordered the torture of children, and instituted the systematic rape of the wives and daughters of his political opponents.
  2.  George W. Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003:  Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised.

Atrocities

  1.  From The Washington Post, Dec. 8, 2004:  "A former U.S. Marine staff sergeant testified at a hearing Tuesday that his unit killed at least 30 unarmed civilians in Iraq during the war in 2003 and that Marines routinely shot and killed wounded Iraqis."
  2.  From NPR's  Steve Inskeep and Peter Kenyon, June 2, 2006:   "The U.S. military confirms it is investigating a report that American troops killed Iraqi civilians in a Sunni village northwest of Baghdad. The news comes amid allegations that American Marines killed 24 unarmed civilians at Haditha."

Bush and the ‘Inconvenient Truth’

Here is a film that urges all people (targeting primarily Americans, however) to face the ‘inconvenient truth’ that what we do affects the Earth and ultimately our life on Earth. President Bush, always a champ of deep thought, doubts that he will see Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth and wants us to stop bothering ourselves regarding the source of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. The Center for American Progress posted this on May 23rd in The Progress Report:

BUSH URGES AMERICANS TO ‘SET ASIDE’ GLOBAL WARMING SCIENCE: President Bush was asked yesterday if he will watchbush_globalwarming.jpg former Vice President Al Gore’s new movie on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth. “Doubt it,” the President answered. He went on to argue that we need to “set aside whether or not greenhouse gases have been caused by mankind or because of natural effects.” Bush’s response attempts to cast doubt on the scientific consensus that global warming is caused by human activity. “Why should we set aside the global scientific consensus,” Gore responded. “Is it because Exxon Mobil wants us to set it aside? Why should we set aside the conclusion of scientists in the United States, including the National Academy of Sciences, and around the world including the 11 most important national academies of science on the globe and substitute for their view the view of Exxon Mobil. Why?….”

Interestingly enough, in 2003 Bush called in the scientists. He actually convened a group of environmental and climate scientists selected by the NAS in response to pressure for an explanation of the US withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol to study his administration’s climate strategy. They weren’t kind. “… Lacking vision, and wasting time and money on research questions that were resolved years ago… lacks most of the basic elements of a strategic plan: a guiding vision, executable goals, clear timetables and criteria for measuring progress, and misses the opportunity to cooperate more with other countries on research,” are samples of the comments made in the panel’s report.

In 2004 The Independent/UK published an article blasting the climate policies of the Bush Administration. ‘US Climate Policy Bigger Threat to World than Terrorism’ states, “Advisers to President Bush have suggested climate change is a natural phenomenon and criticized climate researchers for suggesting that rises in global temperatures are the result of man-made emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.”

Bush’s chilling record with the scientific community is traced in a statement titled “The Bush Record on Science” issued by Scientists and Engineers for Change.

No wonder our President won’t see the film — Al Gore actually respects science! He defers to science and scientists over corporate oil and big business. Besides, our man Al won the popular vote in 2000 so why would Dubya want to see his film?!

That Nasty Habit….

This from Center for American Progress Action Fund’s Progress Report May 17th:

At this year’s State of the Union address, President Bush declared, “we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil.” What Bush didn’t mention is that his policies have made the situation worse. Last summer, he signed energy legislation that included billions of dollars in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry but provided meager support for alternative energy and efficiency. The plan was written, for the most part, by Vice President Cheney’s energy task force, which consulted extensively with “petroleum, coal, nuclear, natural gas, and electricity industry representatives and lobbyists,” but did not have “any substantive meeting with environmental or energy conservation advocates.” (Oil companies subsequently spent $367 million over two years lobbying Congress to pass the legislation.) President Bush claimed the Cheney plan (95 percent of Cheney’s recommendations are now law) would reduce energy prices and our reliance on foreign oil. Since that time, the price of a gallon of gas has doubled — from $1.46 to more than $2.90, the price of heating oil is up 162 percent, propane is up 105 percent and natural gas is up 46 percent. The average American family will spend about $1800 more on energy in 2006 than in 2001. Meanwhile, dependence on foreign oil has increased substantially. In 2000, the U.S. imported 58 percent of its oil. Now, we import 65.5 percent. Had enough? Today, American Progress is launching KickTheOilHabit.org, a campaign to expose our dysfunctional energy policy and promote a new, progressive alternative. Visit KickTheOilHabit.org, learn more, and take action.

See also http://thinkprogress.org/2006/05/17/kick-the-oil-habit/

So, as a result of Dick Cheney’s secret energy task force and the resulting legislation we now have higher costs for oil products and increased dependence on oil. One of the few items on Cheney’s wishlist that has not been legislated is ANWR drilling. That always elicits a snarl and a sneer from Dick as he refers to the environmentalists who he considers responsible for locking up this national treasure.

“Q: A couple of policy questions here before you go: In his focus on energy independence last night, for the first time in a long time, the President did not refer to drilling at ANWR. Is that off the table for you all? THE VICE PRESIDENT: No, it’s not off the table by any means. We’ll keep pushing it because we think it makes eminent good sense. And we came very close in the last session to getting it, and we’ll keep working on it.” ( “Vice President Cheney Comments on ANWR”, http://www.anwr.org/archives/vice_president_cheney_comments_on_anwr.php )

Cheney has little respect for the ideal of conservation — but then, we already knew that, right? When he outlined the Bush Administration’s energy plan at a meeting in Toronto in 2001 (see “Cheney’s energy plan focuses on production”, USAToday) he said telling Americans to do more with less is not enough. “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy.” Of course not! Conservation doesn’t make money for oil stockholders! Between 2001 and 2006 nothing has changed except the price of gas and oil and the dependence on those same products and those changes have been increases!

The only thing they say that I agree with is that it is an addiction and we, The People, WON’T, not can’t,  even try doing without or with even a little less of it! We MUST change our attitudes!