Posts tagged "Environmental Protection Agency"

Reasonable people who don’t follow politics closely can be forgiven for dismissing Democrats’ focus on the Koch brothers as just a political tactic– not unlike the Republicans’ attacks on George Soros. They’re all rich and politically active. So what? 

Senator Bernie Sanders begs to differ–and so should we. Sanders points out that the brothers are worth 80 billion dollars (including an increase of 12 billion in the last year alone), and he points to the extent of their involvement in the political process–and the degree to which they have used their enormous resources to misinform and confuse, most recently funding political spots that flat-out lie about the Affordable Care Act, which–along with Medicare and Medicaid– they are intent upon repealing. (I guess when poor people get health care, it offends their peculiar version of justice.) 

David Koch ran as the Libertarian Party’s vice-presidential candidate in 1980. And Sanders suggests we take a look at the platform on which he ran: 

  • “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.” 
  • “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.” 
  • “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.” 
  • “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.” 
  • “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.” 
  • “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.” 
  • “We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.” 
  • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.” 
  • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.” 
  • “We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.” 
  • “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.” 
  • “We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.” 
  • “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.” 
  • “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.” 
  • “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.” 
  • “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.” 
  • “We demand the return of America’s railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.” 
  • “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called “self-protection” equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.” 
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.” 
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.” 
  • “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.” 
  • “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.” 
  • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.” 
  • “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.” 
  • “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.” 
  • “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.” 


The Koch brothers want to repeal every major piece of legislation that levels the playing field or protects the middle class, the elderly, children, the sick, and the most vulnerable in this country, and thanks to Citizens United and McCutcheon, they can spend unlimited amounts of money to buy the American government they want. 

They’ve realized that the Libertarian party can’t deliver their particular version of “liberty”–but properly funded, they hope the GOP can. 

They may be right.

H/Y: Sheila Kennedy at Peacock Panache

Today on the 700 Club, televangelist Pat Robertson claimed that the recent cold snap in North America and a ship stuck in Antarctica prove that climate change is nothing but a myth. Of course, both of his assertions are extremely dubious. While the New York Times notes that “97 to 98 percent of working climate scientists accept the evidence for human-induced climate change,” Robertson claimed that the scientists are merely lying to make money…something Robertson would never do.

“It’s getting warmer in Jupiter—and they don’t have any SUVs driving around in Jupiter—it has nothing to do with greenhouse gases it has to do with the action of the sun, there’s either two much sun or not enough sun,” Robertson said. “Think about how much money is involved. It’s money, they’re going to get a river of money.”

“Then you have politicians who want to take control and the progressives always want control, just like with health care, they want control; the EPA in America wants control of all of our energy.”

From the 01.07.2014 edition of CBN’s The 700 Club:

h/t: RWW

Gun Owners of America – which prides itself in being to the right of the NRA — has been pushing the creative conspiracy theory that the Obama administration is using the Environmental Protection Agency to institute backdoor gun control. GOA’s story goes that a Missouri lead smelter that shut down rather than comply with clean air regulations was in fact forced shut by the Obama administration in order to suppress the supply of lead used for manufacturing bullets.

The first problem with this story is that, as Steve Benen pointed out, the EPA started going after the plant in question during the Bush administration.

The story gained so much traction, though, that the NRA felt compelled to issue a statement earlier this month reassuring its members that “this particular facility’s closure should not have the dramatic impact that some have predicted.”

The word of the great conspiracy also reached a major bullet manufacturer, which itself issued a statement saying that its “supply should not be in jeopardy” and that the Missouri factory’s closure presented “no reason for alarm,” as the conservative outlet NewsMax reported.

But according to Gun Owners of America, these denials just serve to confirm the group’s suspicions. GOA spokesman Mike Hammond told NewsMax yesterday that the NRA and the manufacturer’s dismissals of the EPA-gun control conspiracy theory “only drive home his point.”

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

In a blog post this week, former Florida congressman Allen West gets behind a conspiracy theory that holds that the Environmental Protection Agency is launching a “clandestine” and “backdoor” assault on the Second Amendment. The gist of the theory is that President Obama used the EPA to shut down a Missouri smelter that refused to comply with anti-pollution regulations, thereby creating a scarcity of bullets and, in West’s words, “destroy[ing] the Second Amendment.”

Of course, there is no actual evidence to support West’s claim. In fact, the EPA first went after the smelter in question in 2008, the year before Obama became president. Steve Benen notes: “If enforcement of environmental safeguards was used to secretly undermine access to ammunition, the plot was launched by the notorious gun-grabbers in the Bush/Cheney administration.”

Despite the lack of evidence and the fact that the smelter was targeted before Obama even took office, now Gun Owners of America is also embracing the patently bogus conspiracy.

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

As the nation’s talking about the federal government being shut down (which the GOP/Tea Party extremists led by Ted Cruz and John Boehner caused BTW), KFTK radio host and conservative liar Dana Loesch celebrating the disastrous GOP-caused shutdown by falsely blaming the Democratic Party for allowing it to happen and even cheered the EPA being shut down.

As of Tuesday and continuing until further notice, the United States government has been shut down for the first time since 1995-1996. 
Guess who’s to blame for the shutdown? It’s the GOP and the Tea Party 100 percent.
They are absolutely harming America by playing games with our economy and pandering to hard-right Tea Party members rather than find a solution to help the American people out, such as their insistence on defunding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). 
This political stunt by House Speaker John Boehner, Sen. Ted Cruz and their right-wing cronies may end up handing the keys to the House of Representatives over to the Democrats in the 2014 elections. This event also serves as a reminder to vote out all Republicans next year.
Her tweets that baselessly attack Democrats on the government shutdown:
Media Matters For America debunked the false right-wing spin that “Harry Reid’s ignoring children who have cancer” was originated by the conservative-biased Washington Free Beacon and then spreads to the rest of the RWNJ apparatus.
Conservative media are selectively and deceptively quoting from an exchange between CNN’s Dana Bash Senate and Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to make it appear as if he dismissed the plight of cancer-stricken children being denied access to clinical trials due to the shutdown of the federal government. In fact, Reid said that legislators should fully fund the government, rather than force different groups to fight over funding. 
Specifically, conservatives are claiming that Reid replied to a reporter’s question, “If you can help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you?”  by saying “why would we want to do that?” In fact, Reid was responding to Sen. Chuck Schumer, who had interjected, saying “why pit one against the other?”
On October 1, the federal government was shut down after conservative Republicans refused to pass legislation funding operations unless that funding was tied to the defunding or delay of Obamacare.
The Democrats DID NOT shut down the government, you low-life fucking liar! The GOP voted for it
Tea Party members/supporters are NOT the majority of the country; however, they are a majority of the GOP’s support base. Another lie from you, Mrs. Loesch. 
Yes, it’s the GOP’s fault, you stupid turdbreath!
WRONG. The GOP did.

(cross-posted from DanaBusted.blogspot.com)

A Fox News anchor suggested that since the majority of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) employees have been furloughed under the government shutdown, we should simply do without them even after it has been resolved. However, EPA employees furloughed include those in charge of cleaning up hundreds of hazardous waste sites and enforcing clean air and water laws.

On Wednesday, Fox News’ America’s Newsroom noted that less than 7 percent of the over 16,000 EPA employees would be working during the government shutdown (about 1,000 total employees). Co-anchor Martha MacCallum laughed that “some” have “asked why we need the other 15,000 EPA workers at all,” adding that these were “valid questions.”

The “some" who are asking this are several Republican lawmakers behind the government shutdown. For instance, Rep. Steve Stockman who has rallied for the shutdown, tweeted a Washington Examiner article suggesting furloughed employees may be “non-essential” long-term, and re-tweeted a follower celebrating the idea that they wouldn’t return:

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) tweet on EPA shutdown

And Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who also voted for the bill that led to the shutdown, once again cheered the shutdown because it would prevent the EPA from issuing new regulations:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) tweet on EPA shutdown

However, in addition to employees that are fulfilling the EPA’s legal obligation to set standards under theClean Air and Water acts according to the most up to date scientific understanding, there are many other furloughed EPA employees conducting important work for the agency.

For instance, only 182 of the 804 employees in charge of enforcing “regulations by taking legal action against an air or water polluter” are exempted from furloughs, according to Reuters

h/t: MMFA

Senate leaders struck a tentative deal in the 11th hour to confirm seven presidential nominees to executive positions without the use of the nuclear option.

In short, Republicans would confirm nominees to all seven positions, a big concession for the GOP. But in a concession for Democrats, they would replace two recess-appointed nominees to the National Labor Relations Board — Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, pictured below — with new nominees under the following condition: Republicans pledge to confirm any two replacements by President Obama to the board by Aug. 27.

The nominees who would be confirmed in the deal are Richard Cordray to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Gina McCarthy for the Environmental Protection Agency, Tom Perez for the Labor Department and Fred Hochberg for the Export-Import Bank. Under the terms of the deal outlined by Reid’s office, Mark Pearce would be confirmed to the NLRB while Block and Griffin would be replaced.

Texas — a state famous for its size and stature — claims an outsize share of the country’s industrial accidents. As of May 2012, the state held 1,827 facilities deemed at risk of toxic or flammable chemical accidents, about one-tenth of all those in the nation, according to data from the EPA’s Risk Management Program as tabulated by the Right-to-Know Network, a non-profit government watchdog. Yet the state was responsible for nearly 50 percent of the evacuations and property damage costs caused by accidents at such plants over the previous five years, according to a Huffington Post review of the data.

Al Gore, environmental activist and former vice president, said he was “very pleased” to hear President Barack Obama pledge to combat climate change in his inauguration speech. He urged the president to “follow through” on his commitment.

“There are some actions he can take that do not require congressional approval,” Gore said in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

Gore argued the president should expand current Environmental Protection Agency regulations, saying such action would be protected by the Supreme Court.

“There is a law on the books that requires the EPA to regulate pollution. The Supreme Court has agreed with the obvious interpretation that global warming pollution is pollution,” he said. “It’s been applied to new coal plants. It should be applied to all facilities.”

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council have also called on the president to keep his distance from Congress on climate change.

(via reagan-was-a-horrible-president)

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential pick, is a virulent denier of climate science, with a voting record to match.

favorite of the Koch brothers, Ryan has accused scientists of engaging in conspiracy to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” He has implied that snow invalidates global warming.

Paul Ryan Promoted Unfounded Conspiracy Theories About Climate Scientists.In a December 2009 op-ed during international climate talks, Ryan made reference to the hacked University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit emails. He accused climatologists of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Because of spurious claims of conspiracy like these, several governmental and academic inquiries were launched, all of which found the accusations to be without merit. [Paul Ryan, 2/11/09]

Paul Ryan Argued Snow Invalidates Global Warming Policy. In the same December 2009 op-ed, Ryan argued, “Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow.” [Paul Ryan, 2/11/09]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate EPA Limits On Greenhouse Pollution. Ryan voted in favor of H.R. 910, introduced in 2011 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) to block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas pollution. [Roll Call 249, 4/7/11]

Paul Ryan Voted To Eliminate Light Bulb Efficiency Standards. In 2011, Ryan voted to roll back light-bulb efficiency standards that had reinvigorated the domestic lighting industry and that significantly reduce energy waste and carbon pollution. [Roll Call 563, 7/12/11]

Paul Ryan Voted For Keystone XL. In 2011, Ryan voted to expedite the consideration and approval of the construction and operation of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. [Roll Call 650, 7/26/11]

Paul Ryan Budget Kept Big Oil Subsidies And Slashed Clean Energy Investment.House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution retained a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion, while slashing funding for investments in clean energy research, development, deployment, and commercialization, along with other energy programs. The plan called for a $3 billion cut in energy programs in FY 2013 alone. [CAP,3/20/12]

H/T: Brad Johnson at Climate Progress