Hysteria & Reality/Bush & Our Environment

I am not saying President Bush is the only champion of the environment. I am saying is that he is part of a 30+ year trend of environmental progress to which this administration is very much a contributor. Overall, the U.S. environment has improved under George W. Bush. This is part of the trend. Where he has been less successful, such as CO2, he also carried on trends of previous administrations. There is no sharp departure for good or ill.

Had we elected Gore, the rhetoric would have been different, but not the practical results. Although I believe that President Bush's market based initiatives such as Methane to Markets or the cap and trade for mercury will be better in the long run, I prefer to stick to the fact of today rather than speculate on what could have of might be.

Bush made some PR blunders about the environment. The Clinton Administration negotiated Kyoto knowing full well the U.S. would never implement it. They never submitted it to the Senate and the Senate in 1997 preemptively voted to reject to reject Kyoto in the form Clinton negotiiated.

Keep in mind two things here. This was 1997. You can’t blame Bush. And 95 Senators voted. You can’t blame Republicans.

But it was a mistake for Bush to be so open in rejecting it. He should have been mendacious like Clinton or the Europeans. He should have claimed he wanted to follow it and think of excuses when we failed to achieve the goals. But Bush played it straight. He did not, however, kill Kyoto in a practical sense, since Clinton/Gore had never done anything about it - in a practical sense.

Many of Bush's percieved environmental problems are the result of mendacity of others. Take the example of the arsenic levels in water.

How many of you think arsenic rules in drinking water were relaxed under Bush? This is the way it really was. In the last days of his presidency, Bill Clinton made lots of decision, like the pardoning Marc Rich. President Bush froze last minute Clinton rules that obligated his administration, subject to review, a sensible step. Clinton had done the same thing to Bush I. Among those rules was one that lowered the arsenic concentrations allowed in water from 050 ppm to 0.010 ppm.

You read about this. Headlines screamed about the reversal (that wasn't a reversal BTW). In any case, in November 2001, Bush finished the review and ENACTED THE LAW AS CLINTON HAD PROPOSED . You didn’t know that, did you?

Here's another thing you have not heard of. In 2002 Bush pushed through a proposal to reformulate diesel fuel. Or the regulation of off road engines used in construction and on boats.

How about Mercury? In March 2005, the U.S. became the FIRST COUTNRY IN THE WORLD to regulate mercury from power plant emissions. This is the first time ever mercury has been regulated from power plants. The rule calls for very deep cuts, 70% cuts in emissions.

Critics complain that it doesn't get rid of all mercury or fast enough, but you can’t call this bad news. Rember - FIRST EVER means nobody, not Clinton, not the Euro environmentalists, did it before.

I don't believe in long posts. I will end now. I expect lots of posts as I know this will Gore some sacred cows. Let me repeat, so you don't have to, I am not praising the President beyond others. I am saying he is part of a long trend in the U.S. that started with Nixon and continued through Democrats and Republicans until today. A clean environment is a mainstream virtue. It no longer belongs to self proclaimed environmentalists.

Posted by Jack at February 21, 2006 8:35 PM
Comments
Comment #128359

Environmentalism is a Democrat Virtue. Now that New Orleans is underwater and Polar Bears are starving, Republicans are trying to flipflop on the issue.

Posted by: Aldous at February 21, 2006 9:31 PM
Comment #128360

You can tell me the guy’s environmentalist when he backs forest clearing to prevent fires that goes for the trees that provide the most fuel, rather than allowing foresting companies to go after mainly fire-resistant old growth. Did I mention that this “Healthy Forests” initiative is supposed to try and protect residential neighborhoods? Yet much of the forest Bush’s program goes after is in the middle of the forests far away.

Mining companies dump their wastes improperly A government official complains. Who gets punished? Hazard a guess and I’ll tell you who Bush considers a discipline problem.

The pollution trading is simply a shell game. even if it works, what happens is big companies buy up the pollution permits for their oldest factories, and everything evens out. It’s just one more way for these people to make money off of the government.

And of course, if you discuss Global Warming in the Bush administration, you have to word things carefully. You can’t really admit it’s anything but just a theory. Did I mention that despite the universally recognized cosmic background radiation and other evidence for the Big Bang, that’s also just a theory?

It’s funny to me that in almost every case, the science that the Bush administration uses conveniently portrays industry activities as harmless.

Of course, this is not unlike the defense the Republicans put up about Tobacco, until Jeffrey Wigand’s revelations put that to paid.

At issue here is where the responsibilities of this government lies, and who they are responsible to. Not all corporations are evil, but there is a drive inherent to the obligations of a corporation to make money that if left unchecked by law and professional ethics, not to mention personal morality, can create a vicious feedback effect of economic expedience, where profit motive shapes behavior even in the face of people’s better judgment.

Don’t get me wrong. The solution isn’t to put business in a straitjacket. It is to put laws and regulations in effect that counterbalance the obligation to make money, with the requirement that it be made in a manner that does the rest of society some good. We cannot allow economics to hold all other values hostage in our society, including scientific skepticism and inquiry.

If we are presented with the choice between jobs and the environment, we should remind ourselves that there are costs to a degraded environment that can destroy the short term benefits of letting business do what it wants. Then we should get creative and do our best to strike a compromise that works. Economies do not exists apart from their societies, and the good of those societies can often feedback into the good of the economy.

Let’s try and be an innovative people once again, rather than a bunch of low-watt bulbs trying to cheat a system that really can’t be cheated.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 21, 2006 9:33 PM
Comment #128361

Far better story than before.
Thanks

How Ever the other side has real news.
Listed under the title
FOUR BASES FOR DEMOCRACY.

The Truth is out there.

Posted by: Honey P at February 21, 2006 9:34 PM
Comment #128365

Off the top of my head, the Bush administration and Bush’s EPA appointees have: crippled the Endangered Species Act, weakened mileage standards for trucks, tried to open the national parks to offroad vehicles, weakened mercury emmission regulations,cut air and water quality standards, cut Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act spending, is attempting to do away with about 1/3 of our national forests, opened the Arctit National Wildlife Reffuge to oil drilling, cut forrest protections, cut factory farm pollution fines, is trying to prevent the reintroduction of the grey wolf back into Yellowstone, consistantly rejects strong state environmental laws, delayed ozone protection innitiatives, rejects about 75% of lawsuits filed against polluters, refused to stop use of the pesticide Lindane (a dangerous pesticide recently banned in Mexico and Canada), refuses a national “dirty list” for nonnative species introductions (in favor of industries who would have to pay for more research), innitiated a wild salmon plan in favor of dam building, and generaly manipulates science in favor of Republican agenda.
This is the reality of Bush and our environment.

Posted by: dbpitt at February 21, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #128367

Stephen

I know trees and forest environments. They don’t work in the Bambi way urban environmentalists think they do.

The cap and trade successfully addressed acid rain in the 1990s. It was more successful than proponents hope and of course much more than opponents feared. There is a good EPA PowerPoint show.

Besides remember this FIRST TIME EVER for regulating mercury from power plants. Bush is the pioneer on this one.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 10:00 PM
Comment #128370

Dbpitt
And yet the actual environment improves.

You might not want to talk off the top of your head, or at least read the post. Bush did not weaken mercury regulation, for example, because he was first to regulate power plant emissions of mercury. I bet he personally stays up late thinking about the gray wolf, which is a largely cosmetic wildlife management decision BTW.

If he is going to sell off a third of our national forest land, it will go cheap. Where can we get in line to buy some?

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 10:12 PM
Comment #128372

Jack,

Sorry for the cutand paste. But perhaps you could educate me as to how the following facts square with Bush being “part of a 30+ year trend of environmental progress…”:

1/10/05 — A report by the National Academy of Science, ordered by the Bush administration, concludes that it is safe for people to drink water with as much as 20 parts per billion of perchlorate –- that level is 20 times the standard recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency two years ago.
11/15/04 — The EPA accepts the recommendation of an industry-funded scientific review to downgrade the chemical captan from a “probable” human carcinogen to “not likely.”
8/31/04 — Bush administration proposes relaxing safety standards on the toxic metal selenium, which causes mass deformities and death in waterfowl.
8/15/04 — Bush administration turns down a petition by health advocates to strengthen health standards for beryllium, a metal that OSHA concluded causes cancer and lung disease.
8/13/04 — EPA criticized by Congress for issuing a rule that allows industry to treat toxin-laden towels as laundry, rather than as hazardous waste.
5/21/04 — EPA recalculates the “safe” level of formaldehyde used in plywood manufacture to 10,000 times below the previous level — after relying on a on a risk assessment provided by the chemical industry. A month later, the World Health Organization finds that formaldehyde is carcinogenic to humans, with sufficient evidence of nasopharyngeal cancer in humans and strong evidence of leukemia in humans. The pertinent studies were all in the published scientific literature before EPA took its action.
4/23/04 — Federal court reprimands EPA for relying on an industry study in deciding that fertilizers can safely contain higher levels of toxic residue.
4/7/04 — Evidence surfaces that the Bush administration downplayed the effects of mercury while working with EPA officials to write regulations for coal-fired power plants.
4/6/04 — EPA allows pesticide industry to block regulatory initiatives that would protect children and wildlife from unintentionally ingesting rat poison
4/1/04 — Bush administration, in cooperation with the U.S. chemical industry, weakens a European Union plan that would have required chemical manufacturers to test their products and disclose any potential health effects before selling them in Europe.
3/11/04 — EPA’s inspector general reports that agency officials repeatedly made misleading statements about purported improvements in national drinking water quality.
10/31/03 — EPA decides not to restrict the use of the pesticide atrazine, which is known to cause cancer, and reduces its monitoring to only a small number of contaminated watersheds.
9/9/03 — EPA inspector general reveals that Bush administration officials instructed the agency to downplay the dangers of air pollution in the aftermath of the World Trade Center collapse on September 11, 2001.
4/28/03 — Bush administration imposes a gag order on EPA officials from publicly discussing perchlorate, a rocket fuel ingredient found in drinking water.
1/21/03 — EPA declares that drinking water 12 times more contaminated with the herbicide atrazine than allowed by law does not pose a health problem.
10/8/02 — Bush administration rejects renowned scientists for service on a Centers for Disease Control federal advisory committee, replacing them with individuals who have ties to the lead industry.
9/17/02 — Bush administration replaces officials and committees from the Department of Health and Services with members who have strong ties to regulated industries.
9/02 — Industry-funded group removes critical information on the dangers of perchlorate from a government scientific journal.
7/19/02 — EPA determines that organophosphorous pesticides pose no danger to children. Instead of using the typical 10-fold safety standard for tests, however, EPA uses only a 3-fold safety margin.
7/8/02 — EPA allows Louisiana rice growers to use Carbofuran, one of the most toxic pesticides in existence. The pesticide, banned since 1998, has killed tens of thousands of birds.
11/8/04 — Bush administration continues to resist regulating greenhouse gas pollution despite two newly released studies that confirm global warming is already drastically affecting conditions in the United States.
9/22/04 — EPA records reveal, for the third time, that the agency’s proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants copied passages — in some cases word for word — from memos written by a law firm representing the utility industry. It just so happens that the head of EPA’s air program and his chief counsel were both partners at the firm before President Bush installed them at the agency.
2/4/04 — Former EPA employee reveals that the agency knowingly used unreliable data when denying a petition to stop the use of sewage sludge as farm fertilizer.
1/30/04 — EPA proposes extremely weak mercury emission regulations, much of which is transposed — sometimes verbatim — from memos submitted from a law firm representing the utility industry.
10/17/03 — EPA announces it will not regulate dioxins from land applied sewage sludge, despite findings that dioxin exposure poses a threat to human health.
6/23/03 — Bush administration forces EPA to remove a clause on the harmful effects of climate change, from the first-ever comprehensive report on environmental problems facing the United States.
11/9/02 — Top Bush administration political appointee at Interior reverses earlier findings that air pollution from a proposed coal power plant in Kentucky would significantly hamper visibility at the nearby Mammoth Cave National Park.
1/28/05 — BLM approves construction of 50,000 new natural gas wells in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming, despite the threat to national parks and local air quality.
11/26/04 — Records reveal that EPA deleted comments that referred in a negative manner to the Bush’s proposed rollback of the roadless rule.
11/15/04 — Evidence surfaces that Bush administration quietly changed rules, allowing oil companies to skip environmental requirements when drilling in National Parks.
11/10/04 — Former BLM employee sues the bureau for wrongfully firing him when he refused to comply with orders to downplay toxic and radioactive dangers at a Nevada copper mine.
10/27/04 — BLM overestimates the potential amount of natural gas underneath Colorado’s Roan Plateau, stating that the gas reserves could power the country for nine months. A USGS report concludes that the tapped gas supplies could actually power the country for only 6 days.
4/29/04 — EPA experts accuse Bush administration of altering science on poor air quality over National Parks.
2/24/04 — Mine Safety and Health Administration demotes and relocates a top official for accusing the agency of covering up facts during the investigation of a massive coal slurry spill in West Virginia.
4/7/03 — Bush administration deletes key information in letter urging the United Nations to remove Yellowstone from a list of endangered World Heritage Sites.
1/17/03 — Bush administration claims that environmental laws restrict energy development in the West despite government findings that the vast majority of public lands are open for oil and gas drilling.
1/17/02 — Interior Department claims that polar bears can be adequately protected from oil drilling in the Arctic Refuge despite government studies showing the opposite to be true.
1/3/04 — Bush administration grants a Kentucky coal company a reprieve from obeying federal law, allowing mining to continue without a permit.
2/9/05 — Hundreds of government wildlife scientists report political pressure, scientific distortion
12/18/04 — Court records reveal that a Bush administration political appointee in the Interior Department conspired with industry lobbyists to support the California Farm Bureau’s lawsuit against her own agency. After a series of emails and telephone calls Deputy Assistant Interior Secretary Julie MacDonald tried to scuttle scientific recommendations that favored protecting endangered fish and wildlife habitat by limiting the amount of water diverted for irrigation.
10/2/04 — NOAA orders federal biologists to rewrite a report that had concluded harmful effects on endangered salmon from a federal plan to divert millions of gallons of water from rivers in Northern California to the southern part of the state.
7/20/04 — USFWS fires Florida scientist who publicly criticized the agency for using faulty science when approving eight development projects in the critical habitat of the endangered Florida panther.
5/21/04 — Government biologist resigns after accusing the Bush administration of politicizing science, and illegally disregarding his advice leading to the massive fish kill in the Klamath River.
5/3/04 — Evidence surfaces that USFWS employed false data to conclude that the Florida panther’s survival is not in jeopardy — when in fact the panther population is severely dwindling.
4/15/04 — Federal officials deleted information used in a cost-benefit analysis of its recovery of the endangered bull trout, falsely concluding that protecting the species would cost hundreds of millions of dollars.
11/1/02 — Bush administration admits to hiding three reports regarding Klamath River policies, which suggest that protecting water levels would benefit both wildlife and the economy through recreation. However, the administration later chooses to divert water for agriculture, leading to a massive fish kill.
10/28/02 — NMFS whistleblower accuses the Bush administration of forcing his agency to violate the Endangered Species Act by overruling concerns that diverting water from the Klamath River for irrigation would harm fish. Subsequently, a massive fish kill resulted that later was linked to the administration’s decision.
8/22/02 — Industry lobbyists convince the Mineral Management Service to weaken sperm whale protections, which they complained hindered the oil and gas industry.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at February 21, 2006 10:18 PM
Comment #128376

Oh, and Jack —

Here’s what Bush’s trailblazing in mercury managment really does for us:

• Delays affordable reductions in mercury pollution from power plants by a decade, and allow six to seven times more mercury into the nation’s air than the Clean Air Act requires.
Allow some plants to avoid cutting mercury pollution by purchasing pollution credits from other cleaner plants. The Clean Air Act does not allow this, and it increases the chances that toxic “hotspots” could develop.


• Ignores more than 60 other toxic air pollutants from power plants, such as dioxin and arsenic, which also pose significant health threats.

Pioneer, my ass.

Posted by: Mister Magoo at February 21, 2006 10:31 PM
Comment #128379

As the Daily Show said,

“The Facts on the ground have an anti-Bush Bias.”

As such, reality itself is a liberal attempt to bash the Bush Administration. It should be ignored in favor of more friendly venues like fantasy and wishful thinking.

Posted by: Aldous at February 21, 2006 10:40 PM
Comment #128381

Magoo

Most of these are procedural and many represent normal bureaucratic give and take. You can find that in any institution. Where did you cut and paste? A link would be better.

Just reading through, however, I find a few anomalies.

1/30/04 — EPA proposes extremely weak mercury emission regulations, much of which is transposed — sometimes verbatim — from memos submitted from a law firm representing the utility industry.

4/7/04 — Evidence surfaces that the Bush administration downplayed the effects of mercury while working with EPA officials to write regulations for coal-fired power plants.

9/22/04 — EPA records reveal, for the third time, that the agency’s proposal for regulating mercury pollution from power plants copied passages — in some cases word for word — from memos written by a law firm representing the utility industry. It just so happens that the head of EPA’s air program and his chief counsel were both partners at the firm before President Bush installed them at the agency.

This would be the 70% reduction planned in the FIRST EVER regulation of plant emissions. I guess all this didn’t hurt, maybe helped.

2/4/04 — Former EPA employee reveals that the agency knowingly used unreliable data when denying a petition to stop the use of sewage sludge as farm fertilizer.

Sludge (biosolids) are a great way to make waste into growing plants. Our use of them is well regulated. In fact, it is hard to get them for your land.

You might want to read about them. biosolids

I got this from Australia (so you need not suspect the Bush boys)

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 10:47 PM
Comment #128382

BTW - your alternative is to do what with that sludge? This is really a good environmentally friendly recycling solution.

Are you a city boy? Not a problem. I am too. But I have learned a little about agriculture (tree farming). Shit can be your friend.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 10:52 PM
Comment #128388

straussian spin. the ‘noble lie’ in action. the counter to the ‘noble lie’, of course, is the humble truth; bush is eco-friendly like cancer is health-friendly.


Posted by: diogenes at February 21, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #128391
Shit can be your friend.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 10:52 PM


Sounds like a great republican slogan for 2006…..

Posted by: Paul D at February 21, 2006 11:25 PM
Comment #128392

Strauss is the composer of The “Beautiful Blue Danube” and I was listening to “An Artist’s Life” on my I Pod just today. You guys seem to know a lot more about this other Strauss than I do. I have heard from others that even though I never heard of the guy until someone on this blog told me about him, that I am still a follower. Sort of like original sin. I don’t believe in original sin. I don’t think liberals have the orginal sin or Marxism. I think I will put “Tales of the Vienna Woods” on my I Pod.

One thing I do believe, however, is that some liberals have taken on the mantle of puritanism. They believe in original sin in the intellectual sense and they seem to find sinners all over the place.

You are a city boy too, I would guess. I think I should take a poll. My guess is that most people who call themselves environmentalist and almost all vegetarians would be urban, while conservationists and hunters would be rural. Contact with actual nature changes your point of view.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 11:30 PM
Comment #128396

we all know the value of assumptions.

…and i would suggest that, if you do not in fact know the origins of the views which you espouse, you should familiarize yourself with them posthaste. (it is unwise to endorse that which you do not understand.)

as per those origins, many within the current administration are straussians - and all (current) neocons find their roots in straussian theory. fyi, much like the neolibs are conservatives, the neocons were originally liberals (a disheartening fact which makes most neocons cringe).

global warming is a fact which bush has tried to inter and/or discredit since he learned of its existence. global warming is a concern of the only *true* ‘champions of the environment’, not to mention, *all* (actual) scientists the world over. i doubt you would have to look very hard to find bush’s view on global warming.

Posted by: diogenes at February 21, 2006 11:49 PM
Comment #128397

a rather intriguing implication of your post…

“My guess is that most people who call themselves environmentalist and almost all vegetarians would be urban, while conservationists and hunters would be rural. Contact with actual nature changes your point of view.”

so your best guess is that those who have no contact with nature tend to be environmentalist vegetarians - and the more contact with nature a person has, the more they want to eradicate it? certainly underscores your appreciation for the environmental movement. (you make bush sound like a hippie.) not all hunters are conservatives, and not all environmentalists are liberals. that’s a fact, not an assumption.

Posted by: diogenes at February 21, 2006 11:56 PM
Comment #128402

Jack:

Re: Uses for Sewage Sludge (that sounds like a setup)

I was involved in constructing a waste treatment facility for a small city in Mississippi. We built a simple gravity driven system which flowed the sewage through marsh plants. The plants served to filter out the pollutants resulting is waste water requiring only minimal purification. The best part is that this system was affordable, costing less than one third of a traditional chemical treatment plant. And as the town grows the system is expandable.

I guess that my point is that affordable, sustainable results come from solutions that work in the real world.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 22, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #128403

Latest news re: Bush/EPA/Mercury and other Pollutants

Former EPA Officials Under Bush
Tell Leahy And Jeffords That White House
Is Going Easy On Big Polluters… EPA Announces Doubling Of Mercury Exposure In Newborns

WASHINGTON (Fri., Feb. 6) – Former EPA officials who served under President Bush told Sen. Patrick Leahy and Sen. Jim Jeffords Friday that the Administration is inadequately enforcing the Clean Air Act, allowing coal-fired power plants and other big polluters to spew millions of tons of mercury and other deadly poisons into the air over Vermont and other states.

Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said, “The public needs to know and has a right to know that the Bush Administration is not keeping the public’s health in mind. The public needs to know that their voice is being drowned out by the owners of old, dirty power plants.”

Leahy, the ranking Democratic member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and long the Senate’s leader on mercury pollution issues, said: “The Bush Administration has used every one of its public relations tactics — sneaking out bad news on Fridays and around holidays, obscuring the facts, and denying the truth – to try to keep the American people from noticing that they are riddling the Clean Air Act with huge new loopholes, while handing get out of court free cards to corporate polluters. When it comes to pollution, this Administration seems to have a new slogan: Don’t Give A Hoot — Pollute.”

A year and half ago, Jeffords and Leahy held a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Environment and Public Works Committee to get Administration officials to answer basic questions about how their changes to the Clean Air Act would affect public health, current lawsuits and EPA enforcement. During that hearing few of the senators’ questions were answered. Friday, several of the witnesses questioned the Administration’s past testimony

Former News about Bush/EPA/Mercury

New EPA Mercury Rule Omits Conflicting Data

Some quotes from the article:

When the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a rule last week to limit mercury emissions from U.S. power plants, officials emphasized that the controls could not be more aggressive because the cost to industry already far exceeded the public health payoff. What they did not reveal is that a Harvard University study paid for by the EPA, co-authored by an EPA scientist and peer-reviewed by two other EPA scientists had reached the opposite conclusion.

That analysis estimated health benefits 100 times as great as the EPA did, but top agency officials ordered the finding stripped from public documents, said a staff member who helped develop the rule. Acknowledging the Harvard study would have forced the agency to consider more stringent controls, said environmentalists and the study’s author.

Asked about the Harvard analysis, Al McGartland, director of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, said it was submitted too late to be factored into the agency’s calculations. He added that crucial elements of the analysis were flawed.

Interviews and documents, however, show that the EPA received the study results by the Jan. 3 deadline, and that officials had been briefed about its methodology as early as last August. EPA officials referred to some aspects of the Harvard study in a briefing for The Washington Post on Feb. 2.

The Harvard study concluded that mercury controls similar to those the EPA proposed could save nearly $5 billion a year through reduced neurological and cardiac harm. Last Tuesday, however, officials said the health benefits were worth no more than $50 million a year while the cost to industry would be $750 million a year.

GAO Says EPA cooked mercury rule, agency inspector reports
Staff ordered to work backward from goal to justify the proposal

Some quotes from the article:

The Environmental Protection Agency ignored scientific evidence and agency protocols to set limits on mercury pollution that would line up with the Bush administration’s free-market approaches to power plant pollution, a report released Thursday by the agency’s inspector general showed.

EPA staff members were instructed by administrators to set modest limits on mercury pollution and then had to work backward from the goal to justify the proposal, Inspector General Nikki Tinsley’s report said.

Although industry scientists said Tinsley had exceeded both her mandate and her expertise, two staff members at the agency involved in the rule-making said the report accurately described the pressures placed on staff by political appointees.

“I don’t think anyone has ever seen as much political influence in the development of a rule as we saw in this rule,” said one EPA staff member, who attended meetings between administrators and staff. “Everything about this rule was decided at a political level.

The staff members, both of whom asked for anonymity, said that instead of considering a range of possibilities, staff members were told they had only one.

“Maybe we would have come to the same conclusion (anyway), but we didn’t necessarily look at the other options,” the second staff member said. “We were driven by one option.”

The inspector general’s report criticized both ideas. It said the free- market approach did not fully account for “hot spots” — regions that could end up with more pollutants under the cap-and-trade system — and several specific health concerns, including the effect on American Indian tribes.

The 25 percent reduction target in the other option was smaller than it should have been, the report said, and was obtained only after scientists were given the number and told to find ways to justify it. The report said EPA staff members had discussed various scenarios to justify the “predetermined target.” The inspector general’s report criticized both ideas. It said the free- market approach did not fully account for “hot spots” — regions that could end up with more pollutants under the cap-and-trade system — and several specific health concerns, including the effect on American Indian tribes.

The 25 percent reduction target in the other option was smaller than it should have been, the report said, and was obtained only after scientists were given the number and told to find ways to justify it. The report said EPA staff members had discussed various scenarios to justify the “predetermined target.”

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 12:28 AM
Comment #128405

Union of Concerned Scientists Report:
Scientific Integrity in Policymaking: Bush’s Misuse of Science

Don’t miss this page of comments by previous political appointees from past Republican administrations, senior science advisors to Republicans and Democrats, and long term civil servants from federal agencies:
An Unprecedented Pattern of Behavior

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 12:32 AM
Comment #128409

January 11, 2006
Opposition Surging Against EPA’s Proposed Toxics Reporting Cutbacks

Some 50,000 public comments have poured into the EPA since it announced last fall a proposal to cut back its Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), the 20-year old program which has reported annually on the amounts of toxic pollution released and disposed.

OMB Watch, which has been tracking the response and working with other groups to generate opposition, noted this week that Kim Nelson, EPA’s chief information officer and a champion of the cutbacks, has resigned from the agency amidst the growing backlash to the proposal.

The EPA plan would reduce toxics protection in three ways: (1) Allow companies to release 10 times the amount of toxics before requiring detailed reports; (2) Permit companies to withhold numerical data on small disposals of some of the most dangerous chemicals, e.g. lead and mercury; and (3) Track toxic pollution only every other year instead of each year, as has been done until now.

“By moving away from annual reports, the EPA would open up a gap every other year during which companies could pollute as much as they want without reporting,” said Eric Schaeffer, head of the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and formerly EPA’s top air pollution officer (Schaeffer resigned in protest of other Bush Administration cutbacks).

Clearing the Air: Why I Quit Bush’s EPA
By Eric Schaeffer


Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 12:48 AM
Comment #128410

Jack, nice article. Those air pollution stats you cite show an increase in particulate matter pollution since 2000.

The clean air trend tapered off under the Bush administration. I guess it just takes a while to actually reverse the process — but Bush has a few more years to go. He’ll get us there.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 22, 2006 1:00 AM
Comment #128429

AP:

You do know Bush removed Carbon Monoxide as a pollutant, right? That’s why the stats show a reduction. They literally reclassified some of the pollutants as “non-pollutant”.

Posted by: Aldous at February 22, 2006 2:26 AM
Comment #128432
Shit can be your friend.

Posted by: Jack at February 21, 2006 10:52 PM


Sounds like a great republican slogan for 2006…
Posted by: Paul D at February 21, 2006 11:25 PM

Paul,

Priceless! :^)

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at February 22, 2006 3:47 AM
Comment #128444

Diogenes

I will not be bound by the ideas of someone I have never read. I am not a recent grad and I understand the interaction of ideas and practice better. The attempts to label are silly. You believe in original sin (at least in the intellectual sense) I do not. You really have a nice conspiracy theory, however.

And did you notice the your prejudice? A conservationist want to preserve and live with nature. Hunters do not want to eradicate their game and have been among the people most responsible for the preservation of the environment. Of course, I am writing this as I listen to Strauss “Tales of the Vienna Woods”.

Aldous

The figures show CO2, which argues against your assumption that they have been eliminated. I specifically mentioned CO2 as rising. Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

JayJay

When I wrote that I knew people would make fun of it. It is funny, but it is true. Too many people treat waste like … waste. A properly designed process will do as the natural environment does and treat waste as an input to something else. Shit makes the plants grow. Properly applied it is a benefit. Improperly used it is a curse.

The difference between a medicine and a poison is in the use and the dosage. Inexperienced people see things as good or bad. This is not how things work.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 7:03 AM
Comment #128456

Jack,

I have to admire the desperate, “Charge of the Light Brigade” quality of your thesis. Bush’s lousy enviromental record is so amply documented you may as well argue that he is a peacenik. (Actually I guess you made that argument once…)

Your claim that he is acting the same as Gore is pure speculation, and pretty ridiculous at that. We all know that he is the conservatives’ hero for bringing “balance” and “good science” (=Drill Away!) to environmental policy. If he had acted like Al Gore, his industry supporters would have dropped him like a bad date.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 22, 2006 8:14 AM
Comment #128459

Oops, my link got screwed up. It is about how federal biologists (who now call themselves “biostitutes”) are being diverted from conservation work to support drilling permits. Maybe Al “Earth in the Balance” Gore would have done exactly the same thing, but I kinda doubt it…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/21/AR2006022101793.html?sub=AR

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 22, 2006 8:19 AM
Comment #128463

Jack-
Leo Strauss the philsopher, not Richard Strauss the composer.

I think we have more than enough evidence to conclude that your points are selective interpretations at best, or that you were lied to. You should research what facts we have given you. I have often found that as distressing as it is to find out you’re wrong, it’s even less pleasant to have to argue with others who are aware of that fact.

Time after time, the Bush administration has censored or contradicted its own studies and those of reputable sources in order to produce polluter friendly legislation and regulations. Time after time, the Bush administration has failed to get in the way of those who value their profit motives more than their responsibility to the community and to the ecosystem that supports our sustained existence.

The Bush Administration is even going so far as to overrule state laws that create stricter standards on vehicle emissions(among other things). That speaks to an active opposition to environmental law that even goes so far as to contradict the true conservativism you seem to espouse.

But if you want to support Bush, I guess you have to conclude that this all just liberal nonsense. Otherwise, there’s quite a record to lead you against him.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 22, 2006 8:28 AM
Comment #128466

” The attempts to label are silly. You believe in original sin…[and] conspiracy theories…”

labels are very silly… agreed.

you *are* bound by ideas which you have never read - those of every mind who has ever made a contribution to western thought - and more so by those whom you voluntarily choose to follow. if you believe everything that this administration disgorges, then you should know the philosophical origins from whence this misinformation stems.

there are straussians in this administration, and all neocons are straussians; i have heard you label yourself a neocon, and i know very well that you support this administration. now, if someone calls themselves a communist, is it unfair to suggest that they read up on marx to develop a more firm grasp on communism (to help them understand why it is a failed philosophy)?

i am not labeling you, you have already done this, yourself. check into the belief system to which you have subscribed (is all that i ask).

Posted by: diogenes at February 22, 2006 8:43 AM
Comment #128479

I’ve been away from blogsphere for a while, but it was very eye opening to see the last two post on the conservative side of the ledger both use “hysterical” in the title.

I won’t have time to read through all of these, but I don’t need to, as the titles give them all away.

To me, it’s symptomatic of where the conservatives are going: they can’t argue on the facts, so call the opponents “hysterical.”

Posted by: Steve K at February 22, 2006 10:14 AM
Comment #128482

Jack,

“My guess is that most people who call themselves environmentalist and almost all vegetarians would be urban, while conservationists and hunters would be rural. Contact with actual nature changes your point of view.”

On the subject of air pollution;
I would submit that those that are urban dwellers are probably the first to actually see with their own eyes, the positive or negitive results of any pollution policy.

I grew up in Southern California, outside of Los Angeles, during the ’50s and ’60s, and have seen and smelled the brown clouds as they rolled in.
I have lived in Phoenix since ‘74, and have seem those same clouds move steadily eastward ever since, until Phoenix, which has also been producing a brown cloud of its own, now has hazardous pollution days.

Now, while I have to say that my observations are anything but scientific, I don’t need a meteorologist to tell me it’s raining when I can look out the window and see that it is so.

No, Mr. Bush cannot be blamed for the massive population growth in the urban areas of the west.
I place the blame on both parties for not pushing an agenda that actually addresses the pollution problems we “urban dwellers” face.

We all are going to have to bite the bullet and face the unpopular, and now very expensive reality of mass transit.

BTW, Jack, shit is only good for the environment if it is produced by herbivores, which leads me to the question;
Why do we continue to feed our livestock, which are all herbivores, animal protein, when the evidence is so clearly against it?

Posted by: Rocky at February 22, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #128493

Diogense

Anyone who understands himself is not a very complex individual.

I am going to give this Strauss thing more space than it probably deserves because I feel it is a silliness aimed at me personally and it is emblematic of the sophomoric lefty thought that is so common today.

First left-wingers are more slaves to political ideologies than normal people, so they look for the mirror in others. Marxist and socialists, for example, would put Marx and Adam Smith together as if they were prizefighters. I guess because they believe in dialectics. Marx was the father of Marxism. There is no such thing as Smithism. There just is no parallel.

Now to my own case. The first time I heard of Strauss that was not the composer was on this blog when somebody said I was a follower of his. I looked him up. Some things he says makes sense; others don’t. He would not be on my list of top books.

So I never read anything he wrote. How could I have learned it? My formative situation was not like yours. When I was young, I didn’t even care about the 20th Century. I studied ancient history (Greek and Latin) and forestry. The people I was interested in were either dead for 2000+ years or spent most of their time staring at trees. Thucydides was more or less the beginning of my political ideas. I understand that many Strausians also like ancient history, so you may find parallels, but the arrow of causality does not go in the direction you think. When I couldn’t find paying working in my fields of study (who can believe that?), I studied for an MBA in marketing/marketing research. Most of the people I read were management theorists, mathematicians, statisticians and salesmen. Since I understand that Strausians are free market types, this may be where you find another parallel. I also understand statistics, which evidently separates me from many other people.

What about now? I picked up the books near my chair that I have read recently (I am untidy so they tend to accrete). The list includes: “Paris 1919”, “Good to Great”, “Common Sense Forestry”, “A Sand Country Almanac”, “The Americanization of Ben Franklin”, “My Year In Iraq”, and “Winston and Franklin”, along with a long publication on biosolids. I don’t know if any of these are Strausians. Maybe the author of the biosolids book.

You can see my general list of favorite books and movies on my bio sheet. I didn’t know the “Big Lebowski” or “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” were stealthy Strausians, but if you say so, I will have to take your word for it that you believe it.

So you are asking me to believe that I am more influenced by someone I never read than by all the thousands of things I actively studied.

And you wonder why I have little use for lefty analysis.

Steve K

I have included links to the statitics and background information. I am trying to show the facts.

Rocky

I have no disagreement with you in general. Arizona has become worse, as we discussed. The point of this article is that (1) the environment as a whole has been improving for about 30 years (you will agree that while Phoenix is worse, LA is a little better & I know many eastern cities that are a lot better) and (2) that the trends have continued under Bush.

The numbers bear out this analysis. I don’t have a problem with people who want to do more or better. I take mass transit or bike to work. I would not mind making others do the same. But if we are to solve problems we have to understand where we are. It is bad to be underestimate problems, but equally bad to vastly overestimate them. Both will make it harder to come to a good solution.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #128495
Aldous

The figures show CO2, which argues against your assumption that they have been eliminated. I specifically mentioned CO2 as rising. Do you have any idea what you are talking about?

Jack, Aldous said carbon monoxide was eliminated as a pollutant. What does that have to do with CO2?

Posted by: Schwamp at February 22, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #128499

Setting the record straight on Bush and Arsenic:

Democrats blast Bush over arsenic rules March 31, 2001

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush is leading a strategic assault on the environment after he announced plans to rescind a Clinton-era regulation limiting the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water, a Democratic governor said Saturday.

Washington Gov. Gary Locke said Bush is in the pocket of big business and is taking his cues from the energy industry.

“It is the wealthy donors and the special interests that helped put him in the White House who want to loosen environmental controls,” Locke said in the Democrats’ weekly radio address. “As a result, their problems are his problems, and the environmental regulations that are in their way, are in his way too.”

The comments were in reaction to Bush’s announcement this week that he will pursue a reduction in the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water, but not before more scientific studies indicate where the level should be set.

The current standard, set in 1942, allows a maximum of 50 parts per billion. Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency recommended reducing that to 5 parts per billion as demanded by many environmentalists, but President Clinton directed that the standard be set at 10 parts per billion.

The Bush administration says it will withdraw the Clinton standard, which would have taken effect later this year.

6/29/01: The Natural Resources Defense Council filed suit against the E.P.A. for allegedly unlawfully suspending stricter limits for arsenic in drinking water.

7/30/01: The House of Representatives voted last week to cut the amount of arsenic allowed in U.S. drinking water.

8/32/01: Senate voted 97-1 to make the Environmental Protection Agency immediately impose a lower limit on the arsenic allowable in many drinking water systems.

11/1/01: EPA Administrator Christie Whitman announced that her agency would adopt the Clinton administration rule to limit arsenic in drinking water to 10 parts per billion, down from 50 parts per billion.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 11:36 AM
Comment #128501

Sierra Club: How the Bush Administration is Exposing America’s Waters to Harm

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 11:43 AM
Comment #128503

It appears the author has not seen the reems of factual information and facts supporting the contrary that are being posted on the other blog under ‘Republicans and Conservatives’.

This simply, blatently, false.

Posted by: RGF at February 22, 2006 11:52 AM
Comment #128505

Jack wrote:

I have included links to the statitics and background information. I am trying to show the facts.

Yeah, I know. And global warming isn’t real either.

Posted by: Steve K at February 22, 2006 12:03 PM
Comment #128508

Here’s some things of note about the “Clean Skies” initiative that I learned in one of my recent Ph.D. classes: That 70% reduction in mercury is to be achieved by 2050. The original proposed mercury regulations under the Clean Air Act (which the Clean Skies initiative replaced) would have required 90% reductions by 2010.

You tell me which set of regulations would have been better.

Posted by: J. R. Milks at February 22, 2006 12:09 PM
Comment #128509

Adrienne

Once again you are supplying information that supports my arguement. I even mentioned it in the original post. The part you missed was that it was part of a general review of last minute Clinton decrees and when it passed it went into effect.

We have once again a bottom line. Arsenic levels were higher under the Clinton Administration than under Bush. Clinton never saw fit to make the standard higher when he was actually in office.

You don’t need to credit Bush. My only argument is that the trend toward a cleaner environment has continued under Bush and so all the gnashing to teeth about how bad things have become is just that.

I think what we may have is a legitimate difference in methods. To me, however the environment gets better is okay. I think cap and trade is a good way to go (and we can build on the successful SO2 reductions program enacted by Bush I and implemented by Clinton). You are evidently arguing for an absolute standard for all sources of pollution. Yours is more ideologically pure, but results in less reduction at greater cost (my opinion). Market based solutions are less tidy ideologically and may be “unfair” (an overall reduction may mean local increases) but it cleans more air.

Swamp

I misunderstood Aldous’ post. But none of the measures I mentioned were total pollution. We have reduced the big ones such as SO2 and NO, acid rain producers. CO is a local problem and can be very bad, but it is in a different category. So rather than go through all the research, I will assume Aldous is right. My argument, however, is not that everything is great or that Bush is godlike, but only that the environment now is pretty much along the trend lines you would have expected given the 30 years of progres.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 12:10 PM
Comment #128513

Steve K

read the posts and the former ones and tell me where I said global warming or CO2 was not a problem. In fact I addressed it specifically in the post. You may want to read it.

JR Milks

Re the PBS link above and you will see the debate.

The question I would have is that if we had these better rules and Mercury could be cleaned up so easily, why didn’t it happen under Clinton?

My point - once again - is that trends from the last thirty years have continued under Bush. If you were mad at Clinton, you should be mad at Bush. Otherwise not. The gnashing of teeth is not justified.

You can argue generically that you want better standards, but please refer to above paragraph.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 12:17 PM
Comment #128538

“The part you missed was that it was part of a general review of last minute Clinton decrees and when it passed it went into effect.

We have once again a bottom line. Arsenic levels were higher under the Clinton Administration than under Bush. Clinton never saw fit to make the standard higher when he was actually in office.”

I disapproved of many of Clinton’s environmental policies, thus, I feel no need to defend them.
And yet, obviously you didn’t read the link I put up, or you’d have noted this paragraph:

Health and environmental groups have been campaigning since 1996 to reduce the standard. The EPA acted as part of a court settlement after the National Academy of Sciences found in 1999 that arsenic in drinking water can cause bladder, lung and skin cancer, and might cause liver and kidney cancer.
Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 1:13 PM
Comment #128539

mister magoo
If the sperm whale is weakened, aty least there is Viagra.

Jack
“Shit can be your friend”
Maybe that is why the best friend the Republicans have now is the Democrats like Dean, Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Lahey, Schummer, et.al.

Posted by: tomh at February 22, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #128545

Adrienne

The Arsenic and Clarifications to Compliance and New Source Contaminants Monitoring Final Rule was published in the Federal Register (66 FR 6976) on January 22, 2001.

No matter the history, would you not find that a little convenient?

If it was so important, Clinton had eight years before that, or maybe at least in 1996 when the trouble began?

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #128546

i can certainly appreciate your disdain for labels, and thusly, it is all the more ironic that you use them so frequently, and as your sole defense.

you eroneously assume that i am a liberal - the logic on which you base this nonsensical sentiment is equivocal at best. this is not ‘lefty logic’, simply because it does not mesh with your own beliefs.

your dismissal of all views not your own, based entirely on labels, proves to me the true importance of such labels within your own reasoning.

if you have no good answer, deftly avoid confronting the topic by dismissing your opponents’ views as biased. twist the facts to suit your cause. lies are just if they are ‘noble’. strauss 101.

all views are necessarily biased - some, however, manage to be correct (or largely correct) despite this bias. one can only recognize the difference upon close analysis of differing views - not by blind adherence and denial.

“So you are asking me to believe that I am more influenced by someone I never read than by all the thousands of things I actively studied.”

nowhere did i ask this of you - yet one does not have to study a thing to be influenced by it. this is self-evident. in this instance, however, the more salient issue is that you align yourself with those who *have* studied strauss. therefore, if you wish to truly understand the arguments which you relate, you would be well-advised to study the underlying source.

“Anyone who understands himself is not a very complex individual.”

anyone who refuses to try is not a very complex individual either - nor do they inspire much faith in their contentions.

Posted by: diogenes at February 22, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #128551

I am an independent. I’ve always felt that the Republicans were heartless bullies, and the Democrats were ineffective weaklings. Not much of what I’ve read here today has done anything to change my viewpoint. What I’ve seen in these posts is excuses from the Republicans for the irresponsible actions of George Bush, and idle banter without viable alternatives from Democrats, like the kid at the playground saying “I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you”. When is someone going to cut through the bullshit party lines and admit that George Bush is a lousy President and the Democrats wouldn’t have done any better with Kerry, or Gore for that matter?

Posted by: Kevin at February 22, 2006 1:40 PM
Comment #128562

“If it was so important, Clinton had eight years before that, or maybe at least in 1996 when the trouble began?”

Copy of an article that appeared in the NYT in March 2001: Arsenic & Old Laws

From the article:

The Bush administration said this week that it intends to withdraw new drinking water standards designed to protect the public from arsenic pollution. This rash move could threaten the health of 13 million Americans whose drinking water has elevated levels of arsenic.

The administration now says “scientific indicators are unclear,” implying that the new standard was not justified. I was in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency office that developed these new standards under rigorous scientific review. Arsenic exposure is closely linked to lung and bladder cancer and many other adverse health effects. The Environmental Protection Agency approved the new permissible standard for arsenic in drinking water of 10 parts per billion in January, after a decade’s worth of work and a lengthy public process. The old standard of 50 parts per billion was established in 1942, long before new research on arsenic’s effects.

The National Academy of Sciences completed the most recent analysis of arsenic in 1999, concluding that the old standard was more than 100 times less protective than other drinking water standards. The academy did not recommend a new number. But it urged the federal government to move quickly to revise the World War II-era rule to protect public health. Even Congress expressed frustration with the slow pace of revising the arsenic standard, and in 1997, Congress directed the E.P.A. to set a new arsenic standard.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #128574

Adriene

Then why didn’t Clinton do it in 1997? Why wait until January 22, 2001? This January 22 date, what happened about then?

Diogenes

I have no doubt that you understand yourself very well, but don’t try to extent that to people you don’t know.

Sorry if I thought you were a lefty. In discussions with lefties, I often find my practice pitted against their theory. And at some point, they stand up on their hind legs and tell me that I am actually representing the thinking of so and so philosopher. Since that is what you did, I put you in that group. Sorry if it is not true. (Although, I still doubt you vote Republican or Libertarian).

Re the noble lie, I don’t do it. I have never written anything on this blog that I did not believe to be true (except when obviously using humor or irony). I have been wrong on occasion, although less often than some people think. I defend my position and I take postitions I want to defend.

In this case, my simple assertion is that environmentalism is bipartisan and it doesn’t change much based on who is in the White House. The numbers seem to back me up. Look at the charts in the PowerPoint I wrote to Stephen. Can you tell which Administration is in office?

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 2:35 PM
Comment #128594

Jack:
“Then why didn’t Clinton do it in 1997?”

Because he wasn’t as good as he should have been with environmental issues? Who knows. Gore wouldn’t have waited so long, I do know that.

“Why wait until January 22, 2001? This January 22 date, what happened about then?”

After a decade worth of research and findings about how dangerous arsenic is, who would have thought anyone would try to undo a law that had been that long in the making? Nobody.
But that is exactly what Bush tried to do — until so much public pressure and outrage was expressed that Bush’s EPA was finally forced to accept it.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 3:11 PM
Comment #128598

Adrienne

If you bought a business and found a bunch of checks written to various people on the day you took over, would you not want to do a little due diligence to see if they were valid?

The other thing about the asenic is that people were still saying that he had rolled back the standard years after. Dunesberry carried cartoons about it in 2002. Kerry used it in 2004. Nobody ever rolled it back. And it rolled forward a ten months later.

The “rollback” was in the headlines. I don’t recall even seeing notice that it passed. In fact, I didn’t even know about it until I was researching for this article. Did you?

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 3:19 PM
Comment #128603

Yes, the smell of desperation is strong. I predict big gains in the mid-term elections for the opposition party. The people are waking up, and it is morning in America.

Posted by: mental wimp at February 22, 2006 3:33 PM
Comment #128613

Good point elfish, we need to all live like cavemen or completely trash the planet. If only we were all so smart.

Posted by: Schwamp at February 22, 2006 3:59 PM
Comment #128622

Jack:
“If you bought a business and found a bunch of checks written to various people on the day you took over, would you not want to do a little due diligence to see if they were valid?”

That doesn’t apply in this case. The EPA is a government agency whose scientists (up until Bush’s election anyway) were highly intelligent and dedicated civil servants whose whole focus has been on protecting the environment, and ensuring public health and safety. Public standards for arsenic were first enacted in 1975 using antiquated data that had been collected back in the 40’s. Many, many EPA scientists then spent a decade researching that topic and making tests and collecting vast amounts of data.
Personally, I’d have trusted that decade’s worth of solid scientific data and research.
But Bush obviously has other ideas about “Science”.
Indeed, as that Union of Concerned Scientist’s link I put up earlier pointed out, Bush has been hiring ideologues without very much experience, but with a predetermined set of political and corporate-friendly objectives to serve in top positions formerly occupied by highly respected scientists.

“I don’t recall even seeing notice that it passed. In fact, I didn’t even know about it until I was researching for this article. Did you?”

Yes. As I’ve told you before, my Dad is an epidemiologist who used to work for the EPA and he’s always sending me current news and info in his e-mails about these kinds of issues.
He thinks W is worst president this country has ever had regarding the environment — even worse than Reagan.
I trust his judgement.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 4:21 PM
Comment #128630

Jack,

Admit it, you’re way outclassed by Adrienne. The facts and education are on her side. It’s like watching a 1970’s Mohammed Ali beating the crap out of Tiny Tim.
Bush is pro-corporation, always has been, environment be damned. We all know it, now just admit it.

Posted by: Dave at February 22, 2006 4:46 PM
Comment #128632

Jack; I don’t have time to read thru all these posts, but I would like to know why, without anyone saying anything about your topics prior to your posts, you feel it necessary to defend the Bush administration. jcp

Posted by: jcp at February 22, 2006 4:53 PM
Comment #128634

Adrienne

Clinton did the same sort of freeze to Bush I. It is the due diligence phase. And I would suspect too if I knew they waited from 1997 until the very day they left office. Wasn’t that a Federal holiday?

You may have heard about it, but clearly it was not well publicized since Kerry and whoever writes Dunsbury were still harping on it years later. The news of the rollback was big, however. But anyway, the standards are higher now than they were. I am not sure really needed to be that strict anyway, but they are so the question is finished.

Re getting worse, I would once again point to the charts and numbers.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 4:57 PM
Comment #128636

JCP

All this is inspired by an exchange on the other side under “America’s Future” where some people claimed that the environment had gone to hell under Bush. Interestingly, they provided a study that showed that SO2 had declined by 29% and NO by 10%.

I could not make them understand that lowering major pollutants can’t be counted as getting worse, so I checked into other stats. That is why I wrote this one and the one before.

I wanted to be clear that I am not saying that Bush is been great, but that they can’t say that things have gotten worse, because in fact they are better. The stats back this up. People have been fighting my numbers with rhetoric and they feel good about it. We are all satisfied that ever one of us is above average.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 5:02 PM
Comment #128637

Dave:

Everyone doesn’t find Adrienne’s style of argumentation compelling. Personally, I find that Jack’s arguments are lucid and nonemotional.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 22, 2006 5:04 PM
Comment #128643

Dave

Her arguments make sense to those who don’t remember their statistics. Been away from the field for awhile, have you?

Question: In general is the U.S. environment worse today than in 2000? Answer - NO.

None of you has been able even to come near arguing with that statement. I get a lot of passion, stories. As I semi quoted in the last post, “the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Even in the above exchange, based on what you read are arsenic levels in water stricter today or in 2000? If you answer 2000, you won’t understand why you are wrong.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 5:18 PM
Comment #128646

Dave,
Thanks for the praise, and the laugh! :^x

Jack:
“The news of the rollback was big, however.”

Of course it was. After the EPA, the environmentalists and the general public had been waiting for that much needed legislation to be passed — you’re damn right the rollback was considered big.
It has been one of the very few times since he gained office that Bush has ever had to back down from giving his Big Corporate friends exactly what they wanted.

“But anyway, the standards are higher now than they were. I am not sure really needed to be that strict anyway, but they are so the question is finished.”

Before the EPA was turned into a pretty much of a sham by the Neocon’s, their studies had shown that the standard to protect the public’s health needed to be stricter — 5% lower than it now is.

“Re getting worse, I would once again point to the charts and numbers.”

The majority of Bush’s charts and numbers on anything don’t reflect the truth — which is in turn, very often a reflection of his desire to aid his buddies and big campaign contributors.

Your twisting of the facts surrounding the charts and numbers that I previously provided you with don’t reflect the truth, either. They only reflect your desire to protect Bush from a great deal of well-earned criticism.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 5:29 PM
Comment #128661

Adrienne

The charts generally come from the EPA. My original numbers came from YOUR report (page 39 and page 49). If the standard for arsenic was not good enough, why did Clinton do it. You expect from Bush not only what Clinton didn’t (but should have) done but more. Do you believe that number?

If you don’t believe any of the numbers, even those you gave me, what can you believe?

I know you think Bush is terrible. I know you have lots of stories and lots of testimonials. Your point was that things have gotten worse. You are just wrong and in all the times you have written, you have not even tried to address that point except with passionate intensity and telling me that I was a liar and full or horseshit. Or misunderstanding what an average means.

We could argue fovever whether Bush is bad or not. We can argue whether or not things may get worse. We can’t really argue about whether or not they have because we have evidence they did not.

It is really funny how you guys analyze information, giving more weight to pictures and exectutive summaries than you do to data.

I respect your passion and committment, but passion and commitment are not substitues for facts. You know if we had exactly the same data, under a president Gore, you would be hailing it. I would be saying exactly the same thing I am now. The trend is thirty years old. This Administration has not significantly changed it.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #128667

“…(Although, I still doubt you vote Republican or Libertarian)”

show me a libertarian candidate. i have voted for various parties, but none of them represent my beliefs. i simultaneously support libertarian, socialist, liberal, and conservative ideals on different and often conflicting levels - i reconcile many of these differences through my adamant support of federalism and the necessity of letting people decide their own laws to live by.

as it stands, i am the purest independent. your assumption of my ideology ostensibly relies on my disgust with the current administration. in the past two elections i have voted for no party. i have voted for no candidate. i have voted *against* bush. if you were to confer with some libertarians, you would find that they are on my side.

“Re the noble lie, I don’t do it. I have never written anything on this blog that I did not believe to be true”

i do not doubt that you believe the views you advocate, for you often do so eloquently and always with conviction… therein lies my concern. you champion these causes, but do you consider their source? - it is not necessary that you recognize a lie, for you to effectively convey it to others.

Posted by: diogenes at February 22, 2006 6:10 PM
Comment #128674

Diogenes

Once again, the concept of original sin. And now we are treading on free will.

Before I was infected by Strauss, I read St. Augustine on the subject. He believed in free will (with some caveats), but I guess you don’t.

But since I am so completely unfree, I must continue to do what I do. Of course, if you don’t believe in free will, you must also be similarly decieved.

I am glad you are the purist independent. I figured you for a puritan.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #128681

Puritan? come on Jack…

There are good and bad when it comes to the current administation’s environmental policy. I have to say I agree with a little on both sides regarding this issue.

If we had more federal funds we could pass oversight legislation as well as incentive legislation. The left like the oversight side (fining) and the right tend to like incentive legislation (tax credits, etc). I think a combination of both should be used. However, either takes cold hard cash. The only thing this administration tends to “charge” are wars and infrastructure repair costs (Katrina).

Bottom line….get the federal debt and budget deficit under control then talk to me about how we handle the environment. No one will “charge” this….it’s a cash-only deal because there are no immeidate returns. I disagree with this philospy but that’s just the way it is.

Posted by: Tom L at February 22, 2006 6:47 PM
Comment #128686

Global Warming is not a problem. At least, not for humans, plants, and animals. The majority of scientists agree global warming is probably not caused by people, and the “greenhouse effect” is complete bullshit. global waming is NOT caused by industy—- 17,000 SCIENTISTS signed the Oregon Petition AGAINST Kyoto because they, like most real scientists, agree it is not a problem. So please, for the love of God, don’t cite global warming as a sign of the apocolypse caused by evil america, because it makes you sound incredibly ignorant.

Posted by: CommonSense at February 22, 2006 7:36 PM
Comment #128699

Jack:

Perhaps you are a pod neo-straussian. That would explain why you are unaware of your straussian nature.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 22, 2006 8:24 PM
Comment #128706

Yes. I have several Strauss waltzes on my I-Pod and I have been to Vienna recently. More importantly, I first went to Vienna in 1989 and ate at a place called the Three Hussars. Get it - three Hussars. But it wasn’t in English. I think it was something like Drei Husaren And as I recall, I ate cabbage. And I liked it.

Diogenese, what does that signify? Could the body snatchers have got me then. I didn’t like cabbage before.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 8:36 PM
Comment #128707

Commonsense,

“17,000 SCIENTISTS signed the Oregon Petition AGAINST Kyoto because they, like most real scientists, agree it is not a problem.”

Really?

From an article at;

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Oregon_Institute_of_Science_and_Medicine#Case_Study:_The_Oregon_Petition

“The Oregon Petition, sponsored by the OISM, was circulated in April 1998 in a bulk mailing to tens of thousands of U.S. scientists. In addition to the petition, the mailing included what appeared to be a reprint of a scientific paper. Authored by OISM’s Arthur B. Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Willie Soon, and Zachary W. Robinson, the paper was titled “Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide” and was printed in the same typeface and format as the official Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Also included was a reprint of a December 1997, Wall Street Journal editorial, “Science Has Spoken: Global Warming Is a Myth, by Arthur and Zachary Robinson. A cover note signed “Frederick Seitz/Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A./President Emeritus, Rockefeller University”, may have given some persons the impression that Robinson’s paper was an official publication of the academy’s peer-reviewed journal. The blatant editorializing in the pseudopaper, however, was uncharacteristic of scientific papers.”

Some of you may want to follow the link and make your own conclusions on the validity of these claims.

Posted by: Rocky at February 22, 2006 8:40 PM
Comment #128717

rocky, not to discount your message, being myself a long time resident of southern california, since 1955 till present. we started close to la. the smog was so bad as you say. people were still burning there trash and yard waste then. so in the fifties they said stop the trash burning and all of the brown stuff will go away,as you know it did not happen. brushed under the rug. the 70s were the worst you could not see a hand in front of your face .then believe whatever you want epa, or big business, kaiser steel, shut down. 120,000 lost their jobs,goodyear shut down 65,000 jobs,gone. firestone shut down 50,000 jobs gone. uniroyal closed 18,000 jobs gone. ford and chevrolet shut down 55,000 jobs gone,i could go on and on, the smog today much better, but the herbivores (COWS) still here, all 250,000 of them and their poop, the ground water is polluted, the dairy farmers who are dutch. will hate me. hey my family came from holland!. rodney brown

Posted by: rodney brown at February 22, 2006 8:47 PM
Comment #128722

rodney,

“but the herbivores (COWS) still here, all 250,000 of them and their poop, the ground water is polluted, the dairy farmers who are dutch. will hate me.”

I remember when Lakewood was nothing but dairy farms. I have friends that live there now and suburbia has definitely taken over. Even in Chino the cows are disappearing rapidly.
I grew up in Riverside, so we got Kaiser, and LA and every other city’s smog, as it blew through on the way to the desert.

Posted by: Rocky at February 22, 2006 8:56 PM
Comment #128730

Rocky,

That source is soo far to the left that it has a different zip code. I’m not saying that I think the petition is valid or bogus. I don’t know, but CDM isn’t very credible.

Posted by: goodkingned at February 22, 2006 9:16 PM
Comment #128735

kingned,

Are you really a king?

I haven’t seen any other links that dispute this guys claims.
I can’t accept that 17,000 scientist claim on face value, especialy if the quotes from the NAS director are correct.

All I can say is that we still don’t know how we are affecting our environment and I would probably err on the side of caution.
All of these strawmen put up by the far right pundits that “how dare we think that we could harm the earth”, I am not worried about the earth, the earth will survive.
I am worried about humans, I like to breathe.

Posted by: Rocky at February 22, 2006 9:32 PM
Comment #128736

Jack:
“If the standard for arsenic was not good enough, why did Clinton do it.”

Why did Clinton do what — finally pass that legislation?
Well, the standard for arsenic had been a poor since 1975 and everybody knew it. As my previous link showed the EPA had been doing a decade worth of research and went through a lengthy public process before issuing their official opinion on arsenic.

“You expect from Bush not only what Clinton didn’t (but should have) done but more.”

I expect all presidents to have concern for public health and have it reflected in their policies. Clinton waited too long, and didn’t go far enough. Bush tried to roll back legislation that had been a decade in the making with the ridiculous claim that somehow the science wasn’t there! Fortunately the outraged reaction that came from Congress and the public was embarrassing enough for them back down from that position.

“If you don’t believe any of the numbers, even those you gave me,”

Your still twisting here. I never said I didn’t believe the numbers I gave you. I said the statistics would have been better if Bush had not undermined the Clean Air Act.

“Your point was that things have gotten worse.”

Yes, worse than they would have been had we had the kind of president who respected the environment and public health and understood something about science. Bush has shown by undermining environmental laws and slowly undoing so much of the good (on behalf of his big polluter buddies/campaign contributors) that came from strict regulations on emissions and various other forms of pollution that he does neither.

“You are just wrong and in all the times you have written, you have not even tried to address that point except with passionate intensity and telling me that I was a liar and full or horseshit.”

This whole time you’ve been arguing from a dishonest position by responding to me as though I had disputed statistics that I myself had provided in a link. For this reason you are indeed a liar in this debate, and yes, using such a tactic ranks as horseshit.

“We can argue whether or not things may get worse. We can’t really argue about whether or not they have because we have evidence they did not.”

For me it depends entirely upon what evidence you’re talking about. I believe statistics which came from the EPA before Bush’s tenure, and some just a bit after he was elected. By the time we reach 2002 though we have people quitting the EPA in protest and scientists being driven away from the agency.
As of now, it’s pretty clear we have an EPA that is run by Bush appointees who are not in the least interested in protecting the environment and public health. They suppress information and real, indepth scientific studies and omit data to suit their purposes. They set predetermined goals and ask staff to work backward from those goals to justify their proposals. They have become so shameless, that they’ve actually been caught quoting whole passages directly from industry provided reports in what are supposed to be official EPA produced documents.

In short, we can no longer trust what the EPA under Bush says. We can no longer rely upon what passes for “science” with these people in charge. And because of this, we must now question the charts and statistics they give the to the public.
Scientists of all stripes and political persuasions realize this.
My Dad realizes this. Many people in this country and right here within this blog realize this, including me.

“It is really funny how you guys analyze information, giving more weight to pictures and exectutive summaries than you do to data.”

More twisting and dishonesty. But I see right through it.
You do this to protect a president who does not deserve to protected, and only for partisan purposes.

“I respect your passion and committment, but passion and commitment are not substitues for facts.”

What a joke. I’ve been the one laying out all the facts.

“You know if we had exactly the same data, under a president Gore, you would be hailing it.”

Gore would never have done what Bush has done to the environment or the people. Never.

“The trend is thirty years old. This Administration has not significantly changed it.”

Pure BS.

That’s all. I’ve stuck the fork in this argument and its over for me. Now if you want to continue to deny the facts, you can do so all by yourself.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 22, 2006 9:41 PM
Comment #128755

Adrienne

All you had to say was that you accepted the statistics that show that the environment is cleaner now than before, but this is the first time you have done it without equivication.

My understanding of your position was that the environment has become dirtier under Bush, NOT that it has become cleaner under Bush but not as much as it could have.

So can I sum up what you now believe?

The environment is cleaner now under Bush than it was under Clinton, but you believe it could have been cleaner still.

The hypothetical that things are better now but could have gotten better still is a legitimate argument, but it is not the one I believed we were having. Re the latter point, I just pointed out that trends continued. I didn’t address details.

My (and your) statistics showed that the environment in the U.S. had become cleaner since Bush became president. I specifically told you that you didn’t have to credit George Bush if you didn’t want to. I stuck very close to my statistics. For that you called me a liar and said it was horseshit.

Maybe you should be more careful about calling such things, when you intend to come around to that postition by and by.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 10:49 PM
Comment #128758

“Once again, the concept of original sin. And now we are treading on free will.”

where do you come up with this nonsense?

“He believed in free will (with some caveats), but I guess you don’t.”

free will? at what point have i mentioned free will, original sin, or anything even remotely akin to these topics?

“But since I am so completely unfree, I must continue to do what I do.”

ignorance breeds apathy? i see.

“Of course, if you don’t believe in free will, you must also be similarly decieved.”

there’s a difference between us…

“…Anyone who understands himself is not a very complex individual. “

the difference betwixt you and i…is that i try.
my level of ignorance must therefore necessarily be lesser than your own. you are a slave to your own misconceptions and faulty logic.

“I am glad you are the purist independent. I figured you for a puritan.”

hmm purist, purest - semantic word play. and you don’t read strauss? sounds like a spin on the ‘noble lie’… but you don’t *tell* noble lies!? - or is that yet *another* noble lie?! sometimes i wonder if your flawed reason has taken yourself as its first victim?

let’s play semantics. neocon…
if neo = new, con = con artist

then neocons are what, a new breed of liar?

there is but one ‘father of lies’…
neocons,
who’s your daddy?

Posted by: diogenes at February 22, 2006 10:57 PM
Comment #128772

Diogenese

You said that I was telling lies without knowing it. If I am doing something like that it implies lack of free will.

In this case, with this exchange, I am just having fun. Sorry if it makes you mad, but you started with the silly Straussian crap and so a figure you deserve it.

Posted by: Jack at February 22, 2006 11:32 PM
Comment #128774

i’m sorry if you inferred incorrectly, however, i made no such implication. (one wonders about your other factual interpretations).

not mad, just disappointed. i expected more from you… just goes to show, we can all be wrong from time to time.


Posted by: diogenes at February 22, 2006 11:42 PM
Comment #128838

Anyone who labels me as a follow of a thinker i have not read read and then follows up with the idea that I am lying without knowing it, doesn’t really have the right to feel disappointed.

Beyond that, just because I inferred what you don’t believe you implied does not mean that the words you chose did not make the implication.

One thing that is true (I don’t know if it is Strausian) is that communications is a two way process and always subject to intepretation you did not intend. That happens to me sometimes. Sometimes it is because the person doesn’t understand because they don’t have the background (this happens with statistics etc), sometimes it is because I didn’t make it clear.

You didn’t use statistics, did you?

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 8:07 AM
Comment #128841

Commonsense-
This is a link to the Wikipedia article on your Oregon, particularly to the criticisms.

Among those criticisms listed are these:

1)Article only mentions Catastrophic Warming, not merely Global Warming. There’s a difference.

2)According to an informal study by Scientific American, Only 1400 of the scientist held a PhD in climate-related sciences, of which only a core group of 200 are active Climate Researchers.

3)It’s covering letter is seen as many as deceptive, indicating that its a peer-reviewed article and a reprint when it’s not.

4)The National Academy of Sciences says that it has nothing to do with it.

5)The basis of the petition’s article is flawed:

The text also states, “Indeed, over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly.” This was based on comparison of satellite and balloon data from 1979-99. At the time, this was not true: the data showed warming (+0.058 °C/decade). Since then the satellite record has been revised, and shows even more warming.

This smacks of more culture war nonsense, especially with the deceptive means used to get the desired results It’s meant to fool all those people out there who don’t differentiate between one scientific discipline and another, and was also meant to give the casual scientist reading it an impression of it that really didn’t accord with the source material, which was an editorial as another Commenter above pointed out.

Too much of the way the Right approaches science centers around politics, and trying to manipulate consensus by putting up shockingly counterintuitive information like this that their pundits can slam the brakes on their opponents with. Since most debates happen in real time, this is a useful means by which Republicans bring changes in consensus they haven’t really earned.

In short, this is the victory of rhetoric over research, of propaganda over meaningful information. Trouble is, it allows the Republicans, everywhere its used, to live a lie, and to fail to do what needs to be done until it hits them in the face. We must not confuse victory in debate with positive outcomes in real life. What we can argue successfully to another person isn’t necessarily what’s the case. Our eloquence and cleverness can find gains that the facts alone would not deliver us.

Science is meant to filter as much of that as humanly possible out, to separate what we think ought to be the case from what things actually are. Unfortunately, we aren’t always so scrupulous about the distinction in everyday life, and we often suffer for that.

We need not suffer for the blind insistence of some on an environment dull to the activities of man.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2006 8:22 AM
Comment #128845

Adrienne,

You should know by now it’s pointless to argue with Jack. He cherry picks what he wants then ignores or bails on any contrary data.

Example: “statistics showed that the environment in the U.S. had become cleaner since Bush became president”

Answer: Perhaps. I don’t know what statistics were picked to support whose position. What I do know is that Bush has installed his people in numerous uncounted positions of authority where seemingly the only required skill is “loyalty”. I do know he is dismantling the environmental protections we have and the results of that will take years to dispplay themselves.

His absorbsion to the pod is complete. To point to today and ignore lessons of the past and ignore how what’s being done today will effect tommorow is, well, as Diogenes said:

it is not necessary (for him to) recognize a lie, for (he) effectively convey(s) it to others.

Posted by: Dave at February 23, 2006 9:19 AM
Comment #128857

Dave, yup I think you pegged it. Right on.

I have, for the same reasons you illuminate, been trying to get Jack and especially rahdigly to ask themselves what it is they are ‘conserving’ when they consider themselves conservative.

We have the answer: They invent it. It is the invetions themselves that they are conserving…provided they approve of the inventor.

To borrow from Jack himself, crediting Bush with being pro-environment on any level is utterly “counterfactual.”

Perhaps Jack has forgotten the first act of the Bush Presidency, almostt simultaneous with his pro-ENRON energy bill…he cut ALL federal spending for grants and research into alternative energy. We lost 4-5 years of progress. Who knows? We might have been able to be driving twice or three times as many Hybrids by now. We’ll never know what we lost.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 23, 2006 10:37 AM
Comment #128860

Personally, I find someone who’s reality allows them to think of Bush as an Environmentalist… well, hysterical.

Posted by: tony at February 23, 2006 10:54 AM
Comment #128863

Dave and RGF

What part of less pollution don’t you understand? My contention is simply that there is currently less pollution in the major things we tradionally have measured (with the exception of C02) than there was in 2000. Further that trends have continued over about 30 year. If you guys can’t understand statistics (acually just arithmetic), you can call me a liar and be wrong about it.

I have cherry picked all the major things we measure. My statistics can’t measure stupidity, so you guys may be right that things are worse.

Since I am a more reasonble person than you are, I recognize a legitimate argument that things could be better still.

So you guys should put up information or stop the name calling.

It is you in the pod, in the sense that it evidently prevents you from being able to count.

Maybe someday you will reread this and be ashamed of you ignorance.

I expect you will now revert to name calling or long distance pyscho analysis rather than going after statistics and numbers.

Your argument is the same as grouho Marx said, “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 11:08 AM
Comment #128868

You folks all missed those jobs that “Bush” sent overseas with the improving environment. Less smog, no jobs. It will be lovely when the environment is so pure once again and we can all move to our individual mountaintops and live on goethermal energy. Import all our own food and goods from someplace else and blame all the absence of jobs on that evil ‘Bush’.

Posted by: pige at February 23, 2006 11:28 AM
Comment #128871

Jack
What part of devestated forests, drill rigs in National Parks and a total sell-out of the National Lands don’t you understand??
Just as the effects on the measurable pollution are not yet being felt — Look to the POLICIES and ACTTIONS taken by this administration (just go higher in the posting, there are plenty of references to the ACTIONS taken by Bush and co-horts)
I love how you insist on merely looking at a few measures that take decades to reflect big changes on the ground and conveniently ignore the ACTIONS and DECISIONS made by Bush that are purely anti-environment.
Your not blind, you just have blinders on!
Ciao

Posted by: Russ at February 23, 2006 11:49 AM
Comment #128873

“Anyone who labels me as a follow of a thinker i have not read read and then follows up with the idea that I am lying without knowing it, doesn’t really have the right to feel disappointed.”

where to start… again, i did not label you - the only labels i used in reference to you were the labels which you have previously applied to yourself. i did not claim that you were “lying without knowing about it,” lying obviously implies that you know about it - i stated that the ignorance you exhibit pertaining to your ‘factual interpretations’ were false, due to your naive acceptance of the lies of others which they are built upon.

and i have every right to feel however i wish. don’t worry though, these recent discussions have lowered my expectations of you significantly.

“Beyond that, just because I inferred what you don’t believe you implied does not mean that the words you chose did not make the implication.”

the words i chose have an infinite number of potential implications depending on the interpretation. your interpretation, not surprisingly, was entirely specious. (not surprising because, as you have demonstrated, regardless of whether or not you have studied strauss, you have intentionally emulated his technique - but not very well.)

“One thing that is true (I don’t know if it is Strausian) is that communications is a two way process and always subject to intepretation you did not intend. That happens to me sometimes. Sometimes it is because the person doesn’t understand because they don’t have the background (this happens with statistics etc), sometimes it is because I didn’t make it clear.”

again, you may chose to incorrectly infer anything you wish - as i previously said. the fact that you have deduced something from my words that i did not intend to imply makes your inference spurious and manipulative. this is painfully obvious to most anyone.

words have many meanings - sentences exponentially increase that ambiguity.
it is straussian to take advantage of this fact, and manipulate the words a person uses to change the meaning, often to the exactly opposite intent of the speaker. this technique is quite weak when recognized and called out.

“You didn’t use statistics, did you?”

statistics are highly suspect and often unreliable. this is a fact. it is quite easy to manipulate them to suit your purpose, which is likely *exactly* why you are so fond of them.

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 12:00 PM
Comment #128888

Jack,

Perhaps someday you will read this and be ashamed of yourself.

I never said you were stupid, although you said I am. (BTW: Tickle.com says otherwise).
You also said I’ve “been away form statistics for a while”. I actually use them daily and am very familiar how statistics don’t lie but statisticians do.
You also said liberals were slave to ideaology (now that’s the ultimate hypocracy from an idealogue such as yourself)
You also said I’m ignorant. My degress would say otherwise. They aren’t in the ecological sciences, however. Are yours? Listing a bunch of books doesn’t say anything other than you have a library card.
All you’ve done is be defensive and insulting, which is the recourse of the weaker mind.

Additionally;
I never said things were more polluted today than in 1999, nor did I say the opposite. You point to some numbers, so does Adrienne. I believe her more, but that’s my personnal bias.

What I did say was you only focus on the one set of numbers that support your contention. What was also said is that facts and figures from the Bush administration, and that includes all gov’t departments, are commonly manipulated and issued by people with political agendas and debt rather that scientific knowledge. That puts your numbers in serious doubt. But that hasn’t been my focus.

Your contention is that the ecology is better now and Bush gets credit. It takes years for effects to show themselves. These effects came from past actions.

What I will say is you are ignoring the future impacts of the rules changes being imposed by Bush. And that is the difference. You give credit to Bush as being a good steward whereas all the data shows him to be a money whore undoing decades of progress. You failed to prove your point.

It will take years for the damage to show up, but by then Cheyney will have reclassified this thread to SECRET so noone will point out how truly ideological and selfrighteous you were. You do remember the Ministry of Truth?


Posted by: Dave at February 23, 2006 12:51 PM
Comment #128896

Russ

Since Bush has been president, I have driven coast to coast five separate times, plus lots of little trips. I have been to several of the National Parks and many national forests. I travel my own state to inspect forests as part of my advaction on my state’s forestry association.

I don’t see these devastated forests. Maybe you don’t know what a healthy forest looks like. Or maybe you don’t understand forestry management.

There is a school of thought that prefers to let the bark beetles eat the trees and then let them burn. Nature will take care of everything, no matter what, if you wait long enough.

There are places that we leave alone. But not every place should be set aside. Humans can and should live with nature. We can and should use resources wisely. The forest policy in place under Reagan, Bush and Clinton has strengths and weaknesses. It protected forests from development, but maybe it protected too much and sometimes it caused destruction of those very forests by not allowing proper management.

So the question comes down to whether or not you consider humans a plague on the environment or part of it. Most people’s view fall somewhere between the ends, but extremists tend to run the debate. When you talk about devastated forests, you are probably listening to them. Land I recently bought was clear cut in 2003. It is truly amazing how in even a couple of years it has come back. There is more wildlife there than before, a lot more. You don’t want to clearcut everything or all the time, but if you want to establish shade intolerant species such as most pines, Douglas fir etc, you have no choice. This is what nature accomplished with really big forest fires. Some people prefer the fires because they think they are natural. I agree they are natural. So is polio.

Diogenes

You should choose a different name.

I think you must be a Straussian, since you seem to know so much about it and use the techniques.

I won’t bother with the philosophical discussion. They are arguments that can go on forever.

The statistical one however is easy. That is why is making everyone so mad. They want to believe that the U.S. is much worse than it was before Bush. I simply point out that the evidence indicates they are wrong. They try to pull into those philosophical, hypothetical and anecdotal arguments that have no end. I don’t mind arguing those things.

But these are hypothetical. I just come back to that everyone who wants to can look up. I am guessing that many people have and after they saw the same things I did, they returned to anecdotes and hypothetical.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #128898

Dave

Sorry if I am being unpleasant. It is frustrating to repeat again and again.

I am glad you believe Adrienne’s numbers because I USED THE SAME ones. Page 39 and page 49 of her report.

I specifically told Adrienne that she does not have to give credit to Bush. You don’t have to either.

You can argue about what the future will bring. Maybe you will be right.

The hysterical part of the argument is not these this.

The hysterical part of the argument is that the environment today, February 2006, is dirtier than it was in 2000. This is empircally false.

I have kept the statistics simple. I have kept the question simple. Adrienne more or less admited it was right and then argued the points I did not.

So you also admit that the environment today - Feb 2006 - is overall cleaner than it was in 2006? How is that a lie? Whether you like it or not.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 1:37 PM
Comment #128899

Dave

Sorry if I am being unpleasant. It is frustrating to repeat again and again.

I am glad you believe Adrienne’s numbers because I USED THE SAME ones. Page 39 and page 49 of her report.

I specifically told Adrienne that she does not have to give credit to Bush. You don’t have to either.

You can argue about what the future will bring. Maybe you will be right.

The hysterical part of the argument is not these this.

The hysterical part of the argument is that the environment today, February 2006, is dirtier than it was in 2000. This is empircally false.

I have kept the statistics simple. I have kept the question simple. Adrienne more or less admited it was right and then argued the points I did not.

So you also admit that the environment today - Feb 2006 - is overall cleaner than it was in 2006? How is that a lie? Whether you like it or not.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #128901

Dave

Sorry if I am being unpleasant. It is frustrating to repeat again and again.

I am glad you believe Adrienne’s numbers because I USED THE SAME ones. Page 39 and page 49 of her report.

I specifically told Adrienne that she does not have to give credit to Bush. You don’t have to either.

You can argue about what the future will bring. Maybe you will be right.

The hysterical part of the argument is not these this.

The hysterical part of the argument is that the environment today, February 2006, is dirtier than it was in 2000. This is empircally false.

I have kept the statistics simple. I have kept the question simple. Adrienne more or less admited it was right and then argued the points I did not.

So you also admit that the environment today - Feb 2006 - is overall cleaner than it was in 2006? How is that a lie? Whether you like it or not.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 1:56 PM
Comment #128902
I don’t see these devastated forests. Maybe you donⴠknow what a healthy forest looks like.
Typical response. Do you still beat your wife?
They want to believe that the U.S. is much worse than it was before Bush. I simply point out that the evidence indicates they are wrong.
Bullshit. Actually, there are no remaining national forrests as they were all sold to Haliburton so Dick could shoot more hunters in the face without getting caught this time. And, Nessie was caught yesterday by Bush on a fishing trip in Crawford. And, Dean’s dick fell off while taking a viagra that Dole gave him while Hillary and Laura looked on comparing notes on Bill’s weiner. Posted by: Dave at February 23, 2006 2:13 PM
Comment #128906

Jack,

The 2:13 post was sent long ago. Some computer glitches are apparent this afternoon.

For the real part of the debate:

So you also admit that the environment today - Feb 2006 - is overall cleaner than it was in 2006? How is that a lie?
I don’t remember taking issue one way or the other on this point (I assume you meant 2000). Where did I “admit” this? Also, I never said you lied. I said statisticians lie, I didn’t intend to assign you to that class.

My points to this dialoge are narrow.
(1) Bush deserves no credit for past actions by other administrations and
(2) Using the current state of the environment in his defense is irrelevent. Especially given that this administrations data are goal driven, not fact driven, and therefore suspect.
(3) Bushes current actions are, in fact anti-environment.
To summarize: IMO Bush is not part of the trend, he is part of the problem.

Posted by: Dave at February 23, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #128907

…in general, it seems that i try to point out the flaws in your reasoning (of which there are a great many), and you regurgitate the same flawed reasoning as its own defense.

i no longer consider your arguments worthy of debate.

Posted by: diogenes at February 23, 2006 2:37 PM
Comment #128914

Hey elnish,

Look up this: http://www.earthship.com/

…And I’ll not only live guilt free, but don’t be suprised if I lambast you NOT being an environmentalist.

If YOU can’t turn on lights or drive or live…that’s not just your problem. That’s ALL of our problem. But don’t assume I am saddled the same way YOU ARE. I guess I’m a little smarter than you. Wise up and join us.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 23, 2006 3:17 PM
Comment #128916

I feel the need to get this said.

Perhaps the greatest environmentalist President this country EVER had, was a REPUBLICAN:

TEDDY ROOSEVELT.

Where is the GOP now? What happened? Why?
Whe you pursue these answers, you find out some interesting things. You find out what I found out that is what now makes it impossible for me to be a Republican. This party went to the dogs long ago, I just didn’t know about it until later in my life. Now, I know better.

Why is it that whenever you talk about Bush these days with fellow Americans, the people who voted for him will so often start with:

“Well, I don’t like Bush either, but…”

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 23, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #128917

rocky, norte dame, poly, ramona,la sierra,rubidoux, rcc,ucr, the parent washington navel, the world famous, mission inn built by city father frank miller, citrus capitol of the world, well at one time .riverside ca. i know it very well, richard nixon and pat nixon were married at the mission inn. as a kid we would sneak in the mission inn and get kicked out, rodney brown.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 23, 2006 3:28 PM
Comment #128933

The air quality in Houston, for example is now worst in the nation. It is the equivalent of two pack a day smoking habit.

L.A. used to be the worst in the country. Has Houston goten worse, or L.A. better in the last ten years? …depends on what point you are trying to make, I suppose, doesn’t it. How can we find out the real answer? somebody post it if they can, please.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 23, 2006 5:00 PM
Comment #128936

Dave

I disagree that the Bush Administration is bad for the environment. I am very happy with the healthy forest initiative, Methane to Markets, Cap and trade for mercury etc. I don’t think he has done much of anything on greenhouse gas, but neither did (or does) anybody else. There is lots of talk, but (I don’t want to be statistical) the results are not good either in Europe (which talks about the issue) or the U.S. (which talks less).

My problem was (is) when people talk about it like things are terrible now. Just look at “America’s Future” and you will see stories about people getting sicker etc from the environment. This whole thing started when I argued that you can’t get sick from from potential effects. That set off a firestorm.

You may not be among them, but for some people it is morally imperative that Bush be wrong and that he be wrong already.

It is the same sort of argument that says that the economy went bad the same year Bush took over. This is true for many of the indicators, but it also shows that Bush didn’t do it, since his policies would not have a chance to have taken effect.

I also don’t think it is appropriate to blame or praise any president too much for changes. When I look at the charts of economic activity, environment etc, it is very hard to see when one administration left and another started. If something was going down, it kept on going down. The same for going up.

In my former post, I included a chart of unemployment for 40 years. You just don’t see a political pattern. The same is true of environment.

It just takes a long time to turn the U.S.

You may be right that we will look back and see that the environment went bad. I don’t think so, but it is possible. Today the evidence is against it.

We have cleaned the environment beyond the dreams of the people who set up the EPA in 1970. Our challenge now is not the same sorts of pollution we worried about back then. The biggest problem will be CO2, which was not considered a pollutant back then. Solving this problem will require technological changes and higher prices for energy. I have written about that subject too.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #128942

rgf, newest list on cnn. com .10 most polluted cities 1. los angeles,ca. 2.visalia ca.3.bakersfield ca. 4. fresno ca. 5.houston texas. 6. merced ca.7. sacramento ca.8. hanford ca. 9. knoxville tennessee 10. dallas/fort worth. rodney brown

Posted by: rodney brown at February 23, 2006 6:33 PM
Comment #128945

Thanks, rodney brown.

I’m glad to know my former hometown is no longer at the top of the list. I grew up in Houston.

The sky in Pasadena, south of Houston, still glows an iridescent pink, even on new moon nights, from all the has-mat in the air. I know because I was there for a new moon night about four months ago. So, I guess the areas that are worse than Houston must be pretty bad. Thanks for the list.

RGF

Posted by: RGF at February 23, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #128953

dave, was that howard dean? and hillary? has not seen that in years. example the house in new york.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 23, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #128974

Jack-
Try telling Alaskans there’s no such thing as Global Warming. They see the Permafrost march miles northward as year round freezing temperatures become a thing of the past. Glaciers melt faster, ice pack withdraws north.

Okay, what if this is a natural cycle? Well, part of it is, no doubt, but the natural cycles are not arbitrary things, and things like levels of greenhouse gases can have profound effects.

There’s a world for the big worry we have about the atmosphere: Metastability. It’s like a pile of poorly stacked boxes. Within a certain range of jostling, the boxes remain on top of one another, staying at least within a configuration. It takes more energy to jar things out of that than it takes to keep them there. But if you jostle things hard enough, the complexity of the arrangement works against you, and the boxes fall into a new arrangement as conditions permit. This new arrangement represents the new center of gravity for the system. The old norms no longer apply.

If indeed the cycle is partly responsible, that by no means that the system can’t be forced out of its comfortable arrangement into another one.

We know this, because it’s happened before. We know this because of all the ancient evidence of these severe climate shifts, including the infamous Snowball Earth. Even in recent times, we’re dealing with the profound changes that brought us out of an ice age and into the extended interglacial period we know and love.

The amount of CO2 we put into the Atmosphere dwarfs nonhuman sources of it. It puts real stress on a system we don’t fully understand. Already, the CO2 that has accumulated over time has had its effect, and the change has its moment. The question is, will we crest that point where nothing we do will make a difference, or will we fall short of that?

The Republicans are gambling that we will. The upside of the gamble is that nobody has to do squat in order to prevent anything. the downside is, of course, a hefty penalty for being wrong.

The Democrats and others see that as a foolish gamble. At the very least we can benefit from the new technology that our self-discipline creates, even if it’s not needed. It will allow greater efficiency from our economy, just as computer technology has brought. There is nothing wrong with developing our ability to do more with less.

As I see it, we can be ahead of the curve here, or behind it. The Republican positions puts us behind it, on the futile dream that things can remain as they are.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 23, 2006 8:50 PM
Comment #128983

Stephen
I believe in global warming.

I am just telling you that nobody is working to solve it now except energy companies. Kyoto will not much affect anything and even its propoents know that.

Clinton/Gore didn’t do anything more than Bush beside talk more. Clinton never submitted the treaty to congress and even in that case the Senate Voted 95 - 0 to reject it preemptively.

We should do some things. We should invest much more in nuclear power. We should keep the price of energy high to encourage alternatives.

One simple thing the government could do is to mandate that new cars be dual fuel to jump start alternative fuels.

But only changes in technology will do any good. We can’t conserve ourselves to success and the alternatives currently are not up to the task.

So the single best thing any president could do is an agressive program to build new Nuclear plants and improve nuclear technology.

I may also buy some land in the UP Michigan, or should we say the Malibu or Lake Superior.

Posted by: Jack at February 23, 2006 9:18 PM
Comment #129005

jack , rgf, stephen,type in search web co2 in our earth click on article, esa science & technology ; co2 bands in earths atmospehere. you will find some pictures taken from our rosetta satellite.from march 2005.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 23, 2006 10:24 PM
Comment #129020

“Hysteria & Reality/Bush & Our Environment”

After reading your post, Jack, I believe the hysteria part of your title. Your statements were certainly hysterical.

“I am not saying President Bush is the only champion of the environment.”

Bush is a champion of and for Big Business, especially those that exploit our environment. I am no environmental nut case, but I can examine the facts for a policy trend. If Bush were a college basketbal star and the environment was a pretty co-ed, the administration’s environmental policy would be a “date rape drug.”

“I am saying is that he is part of a 30+ year trend of environmental progress to which this administration is very much a contributor.”

If you can allow for utter contempt for clean water, clean air, EPA standards and the opinions of the best available environmental scientists as “progress,” then you really have pegged the trend.

I have two friends that work for the EPA… Both are frustrated as hell because they are pretty much told to keep their professional opinions to themselves under penalty of job loss and career disaster. NASA is not the only place where Bush has scientists muzzled.

“Overall, the U.S. environment has improved under George W. Bush.”

I call upon you to support that with indisputable proof of the statement. Do me a favor and start with acid rain; then discuss water quality available to most Americans; then focus on the water quality of the five major rivers in the CONUS; then discuss the loss of heritage forestation; and conclude with dumping at sea…. Notice I didn’t even ask you to discuss mining operations and oil exploration, petroleum spills and contaminations, heavy metals in water and soil, lead paint issues, or regulatory roll backs.

“This is part of the trend. Where he has been less successful, such as CO2, he also carried on trends of previous administrations. There is no sharp departure for good or ill.”

Obviously you have not seen recent maps of the artic ice cap and compared it to maps 10, 20 or 30 years ago. Again, it is obvious that you haven’t seen images of Greenland and Iceland where glacial ice is melting at a rate that we haven’t seen in centuries. And of course there is the Kyoto accord…

“Had we elected Gore, the rhetoric would have been different, but not the practical results.”

Again, I call upon you to support that statement with facts, figures or credible expert opinions.

“Although I believe that President Bush’s market based initiatives such as Methane to Markets or the cap and trade for mercury will be better in the long run, I prefer to stick to the fact of today rather than speculate on what could have of might be.”

The trouble with you Jack is that you actually think you have stated some facts, relied upon some facts, or even know the facts. I did not see any reliable data, summaries of the research or even professional opinions cited. You’re spouting but the geyser is passing through the latrine before erupting.

“Bush made some PR blunders about the environment. The Clinton Administration negotiated Kyoto knowing full well the U.S. would never implement it. They never submitted it to the Senate and the Senate in 1997 preemptively voted to reject to reject Kyoto in the form Clinton negotiiated.”

The reason the Senate would not approve it is that it is entirely controlled by anti-environmental, pro-big business ultra-conservatives that think a sound environment is having a big green lawn… or a hunting ranch where you can shoot quail or Whittington.

“Keep in mind two things here. This was 1997. You can’t blame Bush. And 95 Senators voted. You can’t blame Republicans.”

Let’s stop blaming and start working for a policy that works to balance our business, energy and environmental needs.

“But it was a mistake for Bush to be so open in rejecting it.”

I must have missed the 30 seconds that Bush was open about anything. This administration “open”????? Seriously Jack, you need to share some of that stuff you are smoking. The fantasy you are living in can only be produced by a hallucinogenic herb.

“He should have been mendacious like Clinton or the Europeans. He should have claimed he wanted to follow it and think of excuses when we failed to achieve the goals. But Bush played it straight. He did not, however, kill Kyoto in a practical sense, since Clinton/Gore had never done anything about it - in a practical sense.”

Okay Jack. I challenge you to come up with a better plan. Quit yer bitchin, cut out the finger pointing and put out a solution that will work. Don’t apologize for Bush or blame Clinton… work the problem.

I was going to add more to this feedback, but I fear that we have ranted enough. I now have enough bovine excrement that I can fertilize all of the gardens in a 10 mile radius. Enjoy the day.

Posted by: Jim Downey at February 23, 2006 11:26 PM
Comment #129111

Jack-
If Kyoto is so flawed in your mind, what is Bush’s alternative? Does he have one?

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at February 24, 2006 8:18 AM
Comment #129131

Yes he does, as a matter of fact.

The first step is the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

Generally, however, the problem will not be solved by overarching international agreements or by governments in general. Technological change and improvements will make Kyoto look like the Synfuels initiative or the Nuclear Freeze Movement.

Posted by: Jack at February 24, 2006 10:13 AM
Comment #129243

“Try telling people in Alaska the Earth isnt warming”

ok, i will
http://www.awra.org/state/alaska/nregion/2002/aknr0301.html

Try telling Antarctica the Earth is falling into a cataclysmic warming spell

http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=851

or how about New Zealand

http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2005/03/growing_glacier.html

maybe you should rephrase… some glaciers are shrinking and others are growing, which is natural and what they should do.

but then, how would Al Gore get back into office!?!?


Posted by: Common Sense at February 24, 2006 5:47 PM
Comment #129295

common sense,how would gore get back in office? he found 75 million dollars of tobacco stock that he and his father owned. his daughters signed another contract with MTV to get out the vote!. after 40 years, he realized tipper was a horse after all. his new found friendship with the saudis.and there money. he never relinquished his crown from the 2000 elections. this time bill clinton really promised his help in 2008! he promised he would appoint jimmy carter as vice president.

Posted by: rodney brown at February 24, 2006 10:02 PM
Comment #129315

Yeah, the bush administration is a contributor alright; to the demise of the environment.
Give me a break!
This admin’s environmental report card has gotten an F every year since he has been in. We have seen environmental protection rolled back decades since this guy came to power.
It’s only because they could no longer change data and get away with it that they are doing anything positive (abeit miniscule) for the environment, and they will never even get back a small part of what progress they have destroyed.
Bushco is the worst enemy of the environment that we have had in modern times.

Posted by: Cole at February 24, 2006 10:55 PM
Comment #129327

This is just weird… I don’t know if neocons actually believe this, or if they’re deliberately deceptive. Only neocons would label a law designed to allow more pollution the “Clear Skies Act.”

It’s weird because it is complete bogus, but some people are so committed to believing that Bush and the neocons are good for the country that truth and reality goes out the window.

It would be like if democrats and liberals were declaring six years ago that Clinton actually was a faithful husband who would never commit adultery.

Posted by: John at February 24, 2006 11:26 PM
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