Republicans and "Big Business" are environmentally conscious

Don’t listen to Democrats foaming from the mouth over how “Big Business” executives don’t feel they have a moral obligation to better society, and how the Republican dominated government is “trampling” the environment—those Air America stalwarts probably have rabies anyway.

Recent findings suggest that a sizeable number of billion dollar conglomerates, as well as the federal and state governments, are interested in the greater good:

Fox News is reporting, in a two part series chronicling the escalating interest in hybrid vehicles, that not only are the federal and state governments offering incentives packages for qualified citizens who purchase hybrid cars—such as the IRS tax credit with a handsome $3,400 ceiling—but some businesses are “wooing workers by offering matching incentives to government offers to get their employees to purchase hybrids.”

According to the article, Google is awarding workers $5,000 and $2,500 to purchase or lease a hybrid, respectively, and Bank of America is dishing out $3,000 to employees, matching the federal tax cut.

Furthermore, the “Pew Center on Global Climate Change” established the Business Environmental Leadership Council (BELC) “under the belief that business engagement is critical for developing efficient, effective solutions to the climate problem.” BELC touts that they are “now the largest U.S. based association of corporations focused on addressing the challenges of climate change, with forty members representing $2 trillion in market capitalization and over 3 million employees.” A few companies allied with BELC include IBM, Whirlpool, Boeing and John Hancock.

But BELC isn’t the only group of economic Big Whigs expressing an unadulterated concern for the environment. According to CNN, the New York Times reported that Wal-Mart is exceeding environmental standards by forcing suppliers to conform to more environmentally-conscious procedures and ethics.

Just to reiterate, Wal-Mart, perhaps the most frequently lambasted company in America, is “going beyond” set environmental standards.

Moreover, the CNN article reports that Weyerhaeuser, a paper manufacturing company, is flaunting a plan that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by the year 2020; although the article notes that the move is overtly economic.

But does it really matter? People all too often dwell on the fact that not all companies have legitimate intentions. So what? The important part is that these companies are helping the environment—whether motivated by money or humanity is irrelevant, quite frankly, because as long as the environment benefits, impetus and incentive play second fiddle.

On a more subliminal note, CNN reported back in 2005 that some hotel chains are changing their sheets less often for extended-stay guests. The hotels, cleaning fewer sheets less often, use less hot water, detergent and bleach, supposedly to help the environment. Whether or not the hotels are actually concerned with the environment is debatable, but the chains assert that the move is environmentally driven.

The actions of the noble businesspeople affiliated with BELC and the rest of the aforementioned companies are indicative of a dramatic shift in Corporate America’s environmental awareness. Exit the age where the business world sits idly by as Earth gets disturbingly hotter, and enter a new age of environmental preparedness and vigilance.

Thus far this column has characterized Corporate America’s broad tributes to the environment. But what measures are the specific oil and energy industries, two pivotal contributors to the global warming situation, pursuing to support the environment?

Most notably, BP, a prominent oil and energy conglomerate, is trumpeting a prodigious environmental campaign aimed to “promote environmental sustainability.” The plan, unequivocally visible in the public eye, offers “sustainability reports” for potential consumers to read, outlining current environmental progress while forecasting future progression. BP also boasts a planned allocation of 8 billon dollars, spread out over 10 years, to develop alternative energy solutions, including solar, wind, gas and hydrogen power.

This rare consumer transparency speaks volumes of the moral fiber of this particular oil and energy company, profoundly debunking the misconstrued belief that the oil and energy industries bear little regard for the environment.

In addition to a general shift in business mindset, state governments, even Republican states, are passing their own legislation with the environment in mind:

“Specifically, Virginia, Utah, Georgia and Florida allow drivers with hybrid vehicles to travel in HOV lanes with qualifying permits.” (Fox News)

The above affirms the notion that not every GOP-laced, money-loving entity, whether commercial or public, fits into the stereotypical mold of environmentally impotent. In fact, there are many Republicans, Watchblog’s own “Jack” included, who believe in bettering the environment.

But a fundamental disparity exists—not whether we should better the environment—that much is a generally accepted necessity—but, rather, how we should go about doing it.

The Gore-mongering side of the aisle, the disillusioned faction dangling one foot off the left side of the cliff, is wholly convinced that the world as we know it will end if global warming is not expunged. On the opposite side, the far right generally debunks global warming’s mere existence, unconditionally chastising any and all who support the notion. In the middle, where most of America seems to reside, lie the rational, lucid individuals who acknowledge global warming’s existence but reject the façade so eloquently elucidated with catastrophic images of ice careening off the edge of a smoldering glacier and confounding pie charts depicting astronomically exponential temperature gains.

I affiliate myself with the rational, lucid individuals genuinely concerned with global warming. And speaking for my particular constituency, I believe that the proper course in handling the global warming quandary is to, borrowing a line from our beloved Commander-in-Chief, “stay the course”: award individuals, whether through tax cuts or unfettered road trips, who contribute to the betterment of the environment, and let the concerned corporations like Google, Bank of America, IBM, Whirlpool, Boeing and John Hancock, among others, boisterously flaunt their philanthropy and humanitarian concern—at the very least, it’s good for public relations.

But why, you ask, should we be so concerned with this issue? One word: partisanship, and its insidious reverberations are paralyzing mainstream America, engrossing millions of genuinely sincere voters with its narcissistically enthralling yelps and wallows, indoctrinating these seemingly hapless individuals, instilling an impenetrable pretense of smear and deceit. Democrats will be looking for a clincher issue in the November mid-term elections, and they’ll undoubtedly turn to Al Gore’s careening ice and global warming for the deciding votes, as they attempt to label the GOP environmentally inept, among other things.

This, my conservative cronies, cannot transpire. Arguably, America hasn’t been so fiercely divided since the Civil War, so this is no time for bipartisanship. If the GOP is to maintain its federal dominance, higher court dominance, and Congressional dominance, we must stand together for one last partisan hurrah, because (almost) any conservative has a more apt view of the world than a liberal.

Call me partisan, call me biased, but it’s the truth, and it must be effectively elucidated in the mid-term.

We can beat global warming, and we can beat the Democrats, but meddling with the economy and damning the individuals who don’t champion the environment isn’t the way—leave that to the imps with rabies—they’re usually good at making themselves look like fools anyway.

Posted by Alex Fitzsimmons at July 6, 2006 12:44 AM
Comments
Comment #165172

Alex:

The important part is that these companies are helping the environment—whether motivated by money or humanity is irrelevant, quite frankly, because as long as the environment benefits, impetus and incentive play second fiddle.

As Jack is fond of saying, often times economics is a great impetus for doing the right thing. When we teach a pet to do something (sit, stay etc) we reward them with a treat. If we want a business to do something, we can reward them with an incentive, be it lower taxes, better publicity, more money etc.

I’ve heard some pooh-pooh the fact that Bill Gates has given billions away to charity, saying that he is just doing for his image, or how he gets tax breaks. So what—he is giving billions away to charity.

We need to have ecologically sound decisions make sense economically as well. Then we will be providing the incentive to do the right thing. What matters is that it gets done.

When I need my children to do a chore around the house, I care little whether they do so out of love for me, out of a desire to be rewarded after having done the chore, to get me to stop nagging them, out of respect, spite, or indifference. I care only that the chore is completed. So too it is with the ecology.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 6, 2006 9:28 AM
Comment #165173

Nice post, Alex. So many on the left side of the blog here are quick to say that corporations are by default evil in their nature, but I’ve noticed and mentioned in comments on here as well that most companies I do business with in my local community realize that as members of that community they need to give back in order to continue operating.

some hotel chains are changing their sheets less often for extended-stay guests.

Some? I travel a lot in my real job and I have been noticing that for a couple of years now every hotel I’ve been in, save one, has this policy and it is posted in the room for all guests, not just extended-stay guests, that if they want clean sheets they need to ask for them otherwise they won’t be changed.

Business, in and of itself, is not good or evil. It’s a matter of the management of the company that determines it’s level of community involvement and environmentally aware policies. More and more managers are becoming aware that they need to be good stalwarts and the constant attack on ‘big business’ is simply a political movement that lacks vision and understanding of the workings of the business community at large.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 9:33 AM
Comment #165174

Oh, and as a side note, as a conservationist I use to routinely as that the hotels not change my sheets while I was at the hotel (unless I was there for more than a few days) for the last ten years or so. I am very happy to not have to explain this to them anymore, there was often a lot of confusion when I asked and some would still change them anyway.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #165178

Rhinehold, perhaps that’s why lice are making a big comeback. Anyone want a little DDT? I know this guy in Juarez who can get some.

Posted by: gergle at July 6, 2006 9:53 AM
Comment #165183

I would only be too happy to see the Republicans outcompete us on doing good for the environment. It’s much better than both sides racing to the bottom to see how many corporate lobbyists they could appease and suck up to.

I just hope these are more than just pretty words. One can argue one’s own vindication all one wants to, but in the end actions speak the loudest and the longest. Take what action is necessary to safeguard our environment, and we shall join you in competing to make environmental protection so consistent a behavior in American politics that no one can point to another and say we do more than them.

I don’t believe corporations are evil, but I do believe that they can become narrow in their perspective on the consequences of their actions, or corrupted by a lack of moral leadership from the executives and the management. Social, financial and regulatory means should be employed to make sure that these engines of purpose and economic gain remain integrated and in harmony with the greater communities around them- the towns, cities, states, and nation they call home.

The ideal at work, hopefully, is that the few do not profit off the misery of the many, but instead that both work together to mutual profit. I have no problem with those taking on greater responsibility getting a greater share of the profits, but they must carry out their responsibilities in a humane, thoughtful way, and not be careless with other people’s lives and fortunes.

If the Republicans were to quiet their own views of what we believe long enough to hear what we have to say, they might find that our views are more moderate than they believe them to be.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 6, 2006 10:17 AM
Comment #165184

Joebagofdonuts, for the record, it’s poo-poo. Pooh-pooh would be two of Christopher Robin’s friend or a really nasty vision of what a fictional bear does in the woods.

Posted by: gergle at July 6, 2006 10:22 AM
Comment #165185

That is so cool. Perhaps restaraunts should follow suit and only wash their plates and silverware once a week.

Posted by: DOC at July 6, 2006 10:25 AM
Comment #165188
Rhinehold, perhaps that’s why lice are making a big comeback. Anyone want a little DDT? I know this guy in Juarez who can get some.

*sigh* they wash them between guests, gergle.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 10:41 AM
Comment #165191

Corporations are not evil. They are neither pro or anti-environment. They follow the money. To think this is just good will is naive. Let us not forget Lee Raymond of Exxon poured millions of dollars into research to disprove global warming.

Their biggest fear is govenrment regulations that will impose burdens and costs. So to avoid regulations, they attempt to fix the problem themseleves. But it is camaflouge. If the regulations are already in place, then they look for loop holes in the law and claim they are in compliance.

A good example is emissions. Old Plants are exempt from new emission controls if they perform maintenance. Upgrades to old plants or building new plants are not exempt. So, they do not build new plants and they never upgrade old plants. Only do maintenance. of course upgrades and maintenace are a matter of opinion….

Or their Marketing department sees changes in consumer trends and perceptions and they sell environmentally freindly products.

The question is, are corporations moving fast enough and in the right direction? Without a comprenhensive national energy plan with tax incentives and disincentives, we are driving in the dark and may not meet our energy needs in a timely fashion.

Posted by: Stefano at July 6, 2006 10:45 AM
Comment #165192
If the Republicans were to quiet their own views of what we believe long enough to hear what we have to say, they might find that our views are more moderate than they believe them to be.

I think that most Americans are either good conservationists or on their way. It’s the ones who have taken the cause of environmentalism up as a religion or political foundation (ie, green) and use it as a means to attack their enemies that bother most people I think. It’s just that many do not want to ‘appear to be anti-environment’ and are afraid to call out those who take it to extremes.

It’s kind of like those who accuse anyone who doesn’t support full on governmental control of charity as being ‘selfish’ or those that think that people at this point should quit focusing on our differences and instead focus on our individuality being accused of ‘racism’, etc. It’s the perceived easy ‘moral ground’ that the intellectually lazy are so willing to take that causes the strive between most of the issues in America today.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 10:48 AM
Comment #165194
To think this is just good will is naive.

Call me naive then, because I don’t think that corporations think in a group block like you describe. Some are run by people who are genuinely environmentally conscious, some are seeking to be good partners while trying to find rewards that will help the company and others are greedy bastards that are just after the money.

It’s completely invalid, and ‘intellectually lazy’ as I mentioned in my previous comment, to assume that all corporations are strictly about the money and have no other thoughts, like programmed machines with no souls. They are run by people and can be as good, or as evil, as the people who are charged with running them can be.

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 10:52 AM
Comment #165195
Corporations are not evil. They are neither pro or anti-environment.

Stefano:

You’re right, corporations don’t have feelings, emotions and inner demons, but people do. And some of those people believe in bettering society.

We can debate all day whether or not companies better society out of greed, compassion, or both, but we’ll never reach a solid conclusion.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 6, 2006 10:54 AM
Comment #165199

Stefano,

“Or their Marketing department sees changes in consumer trends and perceptions and they sell environmentally freindly products.”

Or, their marketing department sees the changes in customer trends and perceptions, and then changes the packaging to reflect the trend.

Rinehold,

I too travel quite a bit and occasionally stay more than a few nights in the same hotel.
While it may make you and I feel good to do our small part for the environment, realistically how many people spend more than one or two nights in the same place while traveling, and realistically, how much effect will one or two sheets have on a load out of a load of laundry.
The washing machine still fills up with the same amount of water and the operator still uses the same amount of detergent for every load, regardless if the load is full or not.

Posted by: Rocky at July 6, 2006 11:06 AM
Comment #165203
The washing machine still fills up with the same amount of water and the operator still uses the same amount of detergent for every load, regardless if the load is full or not.

Rocky:

I don’t exactly have a Phd in laundry economics, but I would think that the less sheets you wash, the less loads of detergent you would need over a period of time.

Sure, your individual sheet doesn’t make a difference, but an entire hotel’s spread out over 6 months could.

But again, still working on the Phd…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 6, 2006 11:16 AM
Comment #165204

Sigh. I love how you lambast the left while condemning it for lambasting the right, and then calling for an end to bipartisanship. These “left” and “right” labels — what good do they do us? Most intelligent people I know consider each issue individually, and I think consensus can be achieved on many issues if we’d stop pigeonholing each other into narrow categories. Kennedy did have the morals of a playboy, Reagan did contribute to the end to the cold war, Clinton did show fiscal responsibility alien to the current administration, Bush did invade Iraq on flimsy pretenses, and his expansion of executive power and disregard for the rule of law is a threat to our society. I’m glad the country is coming around, somewhat, to the idea of environmental stewardship, that the debate has started to find a new center.

Posted by: Trent at July 6, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #165215

Alex

“You’re right, corporations don’t have feelings, emotions and inner demons, but people do. And some of those people believe in bettering society”.

Yes you are right. People want to do good things. But people do not do this inside corporations. You are focusing on the exceptional company, not the norm. To change a corporate direction to be more environmentaly friendly, there must be a benefit to the corporation. Whether it is profit, PR or avoiding burdensome and costly regulations. The stock holders are always protected with these decisions.

Corporations pour more money into lobbying against environmental regulations than they do to invest in new products, policies and products.

Lets look at the auto-industry. They lobby against increasing CAFE (35 miles to a gallon) on cars. Their Public reason, There is no public demand for these cars. The real reason, the cost of retooling and investing in new capital.

What abput GM subsidizing the gas you purchase if you buy a hummmer or another gas guzzling car? How is this good for the environment? But it may be good for the bottom line.

Given a choice between the company’s interest and profit or bettering the environment, The stock holders will protect thier investment. The company’s interests will prevail

This is not meant as criticism, just reality.

Posted by: Stefano at July 6, 2006 12:23 PM
Comment #165216

I suggest Corporations should be judged slightly superior in their moral/ethical behavior to ordinary citizens:

A.) I suggest we assume both Corporations & Citizens will generally behave AMORALLY in their own best interest. This means both will sometimes do things against what we want, if there are not enforced Rules preventing this (e.g. dumping into a stream vs. littering on a freeway).

B.) Both Corporations & Citizens at least occasionally do more than expected, due to Morals and/or Good PR. I suspect Corporations do this slightly more (e.g., larger businesses often pay staff to influence themselves to help Society, though hurting their Bottom Lines).

C.) I suspect Corporations are never EVIL – I have never heard a true account of a business purposely harming their own interests just to hurt the environment/citizens.

However, individuals ARE sometimes EVIL — Vandals, Graffiti, computer Viruses, Sadistic murderers & sex criminals, … leaving concrete-filled soccer balls around Germany for other to break their feet on (I just read this), etc.

Posted by: Brian at July 6, 2006 12:25 PM
Comment #165219

Holy cow a Fox news report! Put this sucker in blue and give it a red headline!

Posted by: Max at July 6, 2006 12:38 PM
Comment #165225

Vandals, graffitti, sex criminals, murderers…kinda escalated there, huh?

The reason corporations can be evil is because they have no soul. They have no conscience. They will put profit above all other considerations. Not all and not always, but certainly it does happen. Corporations absolutely do kill. Perhaps not intentionally, but when you push the boundaries of what is safe to and past the breaking point you are taking a calculated risk, and when that risk results in the deaths of innocent people you are a killer. Ask the people in Bhopal, India if Union Carbide is evil or not.

Posted by: David S at July 6, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #165227

Mr Fitz
in an article that raises some interesting, but legitamately debatable, points - we find the following gratuitious passages:

“Don’t listen to Democrats foaming from the mouth”

“those Air America stalwarts probably have rabies anyway.”

“The Gore-mongering side of the aisle, the disillusioned faction dangling one foot off the left side of the cliff”

“One word: partisanship, and its insidious reverberations are paralyzing mainstream America, engrossing millions of genuinely sincere voters with its narcissistically enthralling yelps and wallows, indoctrinating these seemingly hapless individuals, instilling an impenetrable pretense of smear and deceit. ” (- the literary pretension is breathtaking - I take it you mean the “sincere voters” are “hapless individuals”?)

“America hasn’t been so fiercely divided since the Civil War, so this is no time for bipartisanship. If the GOP is to maintain its federal dominance, higher court dominance, and Congressional dominance, we must stand together for one last partisan hurrah, because (almost) any conservative has a more apt view of the world than a liberal.”

Others have addressed some of the substantive points - i would just pose a question - if you write to be heard why all the gratuitious invective against anyone who doesn’t agree with you? this was, after all, not a reply to a nasty post - it was a position paper on an important issue. I can’t believe you are not trying to convince others of the rightness of your position for to write only for those who already agree with you is to have little but ego as a motive.

two points on the substance:

This rare consumer transparency speaks volumes of the moral fiber of this particular oil and energy company(BP), profoundly debunking the misconstrued belief that the oil and energy industries bear little regard for the environmen

You rightly praise BP for their efforts but the actions of one company does not prove anything with respect to an industry.

Wal-Mart, perhaps the most frequently lambasted company in America, is “going beyond” set environmental standards

i have not heard Walmart “lambasted” for enviomental reasons - and their good deeds here do not excuse some of the things they are accused of

Posted by: Terlen at July 6, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #165230

So Fox news has realized the democrats have a winning issue and they launch a plan to nuetralize or steal it. Alex is all over it.

The only concrete examples you give are of Google and Bank of America. Are you even sure their CEO’s are Republican? The only thing for sure in your article Alex is Republican states let hybrids in HOV lanes. Stop the press! That really took going out on a limb didn’t it?

Posted by: Schwamp at July 6, 2006 1:24 PM
Comment #165234

Charles Ross:

There are stupid Republicans and there are stupid Democrats, Greens, Independents etc. Stupidity has no party affiliation. As for the waitress, I’d say she was more ignorant than stupid, but the outcome was the same—-she did not know what she was talking about.

I talked a while ago with a Democrat about Iraq; he cited all kinds of things about WMD’s, the 1991 war etc, but when I asked him about Operation Desert Fox, he said, and I quote, “Wasn’t that the nickname for Erwin Rommel in WWII?” He had no idea that Clinton had bombed Iraq for 4 full days in the late 1990’s. Without that kind of historical knowledge, he was ignorant about the circumstances surrounding Iraq, and as a result, some of his arguments were simply incorrect. Again, ignorance and stupidity have no party affiliation.

We are all in the same boat. We trust different captains, who settle on different courses. Each side has its reasons for choosing which captain they support, but there is only one captain. The “passengers” choose the captain in a general vote every 4 years. That’s just how the system works.

Posted by: joebagodonuts at July 6, 2006 1:47 PM
Comment #165239

Terlen:

The passages you characterize as gratuitious are not meant be malicious personal attacks, but rather, merely facetious, toungue-and-cheek heckles. I didn’t intened for the facetious passages you described to be miscondtrued as attacks or taunts.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 6, 2006 2:01 PM
Comment #165245

The republican use to be champion of the enviroment going back to Teddy Roosevelt who started national park system to Nixon clean air and water, but since the regulation to inact thes policies hurt the bottom line yhey have tried to gut thse policies. I have in the Puget Sound region of Washington state. Ihave seen in my 59 years of living the reduction air pollution from paper mill so the smell is gone. The dismantaling of the Ascro smelter, but clean up of contaminated soil has stopped. The reason given that Ascro is bankrupt .The parent company is aMexican mining conglomerate. The same thing is happening in northern Idaho where minning and smeltting of the ore has polluted the rivers which flow into Lake Coeur D Alenewhich is the headwaters of the Spokane River. The Spokane aquifir is replenished by run off from these Idaho mountains. These minning opperations have filed bankrupticies so the American tax payer is on the hook for the clean up. This administration is not requiring industries to pay into supper fund so it is under funded. With the opening of great amount of land in the to oil and gas exploration and companies not paying market value for roalties who will pay to clean up mess left behind when they are done raping land. The republican moto is leave to the next generation. A T.R. Republican

Posted by: Earl A T>R> republican at July 6, 2006 2:30 PM
Comment #165260


It used to be that conservationalism was not anathema to conservatives. (They also used to like balanced budgets, I hear from the older crowd.)

Bush’s record is pretty wretched, though, and Repubs in congress have been playing along so nicely with him, I expect that the coattail effect on this issue is going to be pretty negative for Team Red.

Hey, who decides which of these articles are featured, anyway?

Posted by: William Cohen at July 6, 2006 4:09 PM
Comment #165266

I needed a good laugh today and your headline sure gave me a hearty laugh. As soon as this administration came into power, they pushed back 5 years all government-sponsored programs for new car technology. It also lowered or got rid of all the environmetally concious regulations for the logging industry and oil industry. If you follow the money trail, you get to the root of the problem. Thus, it is not surprising that now this administration is jumping into the knew “hybrid” business. Nevertheless, do not be too quick to call republicans environemt-friendly. They still think making a mess of Alaska for a 2 year oil supply is worth the mess. Nevermind that since the 50’s we know exactly how to run a car on alcohol. Also notice that I’ve written a whole message without calling anyone any funny names. Being that you belong to the so-called “party of principle” it would be nice for your writing to refflect those principles. At the Republican Convention all the speakers held a Bible in their hands. It made me wonder about the separation of church & state and about how they could possibly use the Word of God to excuse milking the eart for all its worth without recycling and avoiding environmentalist like a pest.

Posted by: Lead by Example at July 6, 2006 5:05 PM
Comment #165267

Alex:

Thank you for all the wonderful things you said about Democrats. These were very effective, considering that you think global warming should not be a partisan issue.

Anyone can find a company that is an example of anything. Companies vary all over the lot. This is no way to prove anything.

By the way, ExxonMobil says there is no such thing as global warming.

Let’s look at the Republican Party, not the way you see it, but the way it is. Bush, on top, does not believe in global warming. Republican leaders of all sorts have been mocking Gore because he wants us to take global warming seriously. One representative called global warming a hoax.

More important, Republicans passed legislation to help the oil companies; they did extremely little for alternative fuel sources.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at July 6, 2006 5:08 PM
Comment #165269

Rhinehold, Sorry, it was bedbugs I was thinking about. They say they are infesting even the nice hotels. Of Course, that’s the bed itself that’s infested, not the sheets. Sleep tight.:)

Posted by: gergle at July 6, 2006 5:12 PM
Comment #165290

Bank of America is charging credit card customers rates as high as 30% in interest. They can well afford to do a little greening PR work to compensate for their Shylock profits off the poor souls who fell victim to their bait and switch 6 month 0% credit card offers.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 6, 2006 7:03 PM
Comment #165291

Any article that starts by calling liberals “rabid” doesn’t deserve to be read. Anything that follows would simply be partisan bullshit, written with hate rather than anything of value. It’s as far as I got, so the rest is just a waste of time.

Posted by: Dave1 at July 6, 2006 7:06 PM
Comment #165294

David,

Agreed about Bank of America. And wait until the ARM insanity kicks in for millions of people this year. There are going to be some mighty fine houses available once the foreclosures start.

I have a nice, steady, VA loan and no credit cards. I got tired of paying someone else to use my own money. I do wish I had listened to my father a little sooner though! LOL

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 7:22 PM
Comment #165300

Alex,

Policy concerns me more than rhetoric.

Many Democrats, Greens, and progressives are guilty of rhetorical excess when discussing the environment, but when it comes to policy and enforcement Republicans fall far short of what most reasonable moderates should expect in terms of protecting our environment - hence feeding the rhetorical excess which you “good-naturedly” heckle.

Being distressed about corporate malfeasance with respect to the environment is NOT synonymous with characterizing corporations as evil, which I’m quite willing to stipulate some of my colleagues are too inclined to do.

We have laws prohibiting all manner of personal behavior not because all people are evil, but because without legal boundaries those who are will create havoc. This popular notion on the right and among many libertarians that “the market” is sufficient to regulate corporate behavior is just as naive and dangerous as the notion that social mores are sufficient to regulate personal behavior.

There are some differences.

Corporations are more likely to be amoral, while individuals are more likely to run to the extremes of moral or immoral behavior. As Brian noted a corporation is less likely to irrationally act for evil in spite of its own self interest. However, the acts of corporations can have enormous impact compared to the acts of most individuals, so it is reasonable for society to regulate them more tightly.

Having said all this, I will agree that the market is AN important regulator of corporate activity. As joebagodonuts commented, it doesn’t matter WHY corporations behave well when they do, so much as that they do. The market does NOT however assure that overarching environmental concerns such as global warming are addressed in a systemically sensible way. Sure it’s great PR when corporations do something to address such a concern, but ANYTHING they do can be spun as a wonderful altruistic act, while behind the scenes they may be working to eliminate regulations which are even more important.

My take on this has been consistent, here, here, and here. There may be too many (in number) regulations, some of them may be unreasonably burdensome, but there are some potential regulations (insisting on MUCH higher mpg for vehicles, for instance) which are lacking, and the penalties for misbehavior are routinely not scaled appropriately to deter misbehavior for very large corporations.

Most importantly, the notion of corporate personhood which was erroneously gleaned from the 14th amendment by the Supreme Court over a century ago continues to protect corporations from appropriate liability far too often. This should not be confused with the standard protections offered by incorporation to individual executives against the loss of their homes when the company is sued.

The rhetorical excess of the left is not polluting our air, decimating our fisheries, or causing global warming. But a failure to appropriately regulate and enforce existing regulations contributes to the degradation of our environment. It’s not because “corporations are evil” that we need to step back from the radically pro-corporate Republican agenda, it’s because of common sense.

Posted by: Walker Willingham at July 6, 2006 7:47 PM
Comment #165306


Look at our adds. We are BP, the environmentally friendly oil copany. If you care about the environment, buy our gas instead of Exxons.

Alex: You have suprised me. Aren’t the companies, you mentioned, trying to get on the right side with the Al Goreites? Aren’t they traitors to cause that you have espoused in other posts? I thought that there was no way that six billion humans could have an effect on global warming. I thought you believed that co2 was a miracle gas that was going to turn the deserts green.

Posted by: jlw at July 6, 2006 8:28 PM
Comment #165320

Wow, you noticed that the car companies just really started offering the hybrid vehicle now that gas is going up over $3.00 a gallon average nationwide. I wonder how long that is going to last, because it was the same bs, put out during the embargo in the 70’s.
Now that the oil companies make billions of dollars in profit, maybe they should take their profit and see if they can develop something to replace gas, but then again Bush and his cronies would not be having the record profits at the cost of the average american worker.

Posted by: kT at July 6, 2006 9:28 PM
Comment #165322


KT: The oil companies are working on a alternative fuel. It will be ready in about 20 years and it will generate lots of profit.

Posted by: jlw at July 6, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #165338

Alex,

The passages you characterize as gratuitious are not meant be malicious personal attacks, but rather, merely facetious, toungue-and-cheek heckles.
Ahh, the famous Ann Coultergeist “I was just joking” defense. Riiiiight.

Posted by: ElliottBay at July 6, 2006 11:01 PM
Comment #165342
you noticed that the car companies just really started offering the hybrid vehicle now that gas is going up over $3.00 a gallon average nationwide.

Erm, not only does it take years to develop a car, let alone a hybrid car, several companies had hybrids available when gas was 1.37/gallon a couple of years ago.

Just that no one seemed willing to buy them at that point in time, hence the tax incentives that were instituted. Those incentives are probably not needed nearly as much now.

The idea was the cost of fuel savings had to equal or be more than the extra cost that the hybrids were. So the government (using our tax dollars to subsidise the plan - yes I agreed with it but don’t want people to forget that fact) instituted tax incentives that would hopefully help make up the difference in cost and incent people to purchase the cars.

I purchased my last new car in 2002 and ALMOST pulled the trigger on the hybrid. But the options were a little slimmer then than they were in 2003/4 and I figured I could wait a little while longer. Still, the car that I did purchase got almost 30mpg and was much better than the car I stopped driving (a 1985 caprice).

Posted by: Rhinehold at July 6, 2006 11:20 PM
Comment #165344


Just an FYI, here is an interesting movie trailer about a fascinating electric car which of course is not a solution to all worries, but an energy consumption transfer.

The question is, by what amount would our pollution reduce based on such a concept?

Posted by: europheus at July 6, 2006 11:52 PM
Comment #165347
Let’s look at the Republican Party, not the way you see it, but the way it is. Bush, on top, does not believe in global warming. Republican leaders of all sorts have been mocking Gore because he wants us to take global warming seriously.

Paul Seigel:

Bush not believing in global warming? Is that why he allows federal tax cuts, and IRS tax credit for people who drive hybrids, and is that why he established the Energy Initiative?

And no, GOP leaders are mocking Gore b/c he champions a doomedsay conspiracy theory that states that Manhattan will be submerged in water in a few decades…it’s lunacy.

Any article that starts by calling liberals “rabid” doesn’t deserve to be read. Anything that follows would simply be partisan bullshit, written with hate rather than anything of value. It’s as far as I got, so the rest is just a waste of time.

Dave1:

Then why did you even bother posting?

I have not heard Walmart “lambasted” for enviomental reasons - and their good deeds here do not excuse some of the things they are accused of.

Terlen:

I never stated that Wal-Mart was lambasted for environmental reasons.

Alex: You have suprised me. Aren’t the companies, you mentioned, trying to get on the right side with the Al Goreites? Aren’t they traitors to cause that you have espoused in other posts? I thought that there was no way that six billion humans could have an effect on global warming. I thought you believed that co2 was a miracle gas that was going to turn the deserts green.

jlw:

I guess I don’t have a black hole in my chest where my heart used to be, like some seem to suggest.

To all:

Someone here mentioned that all of my exmaples besides the Bank of America and Google are not legitimate…to that person (I can’t seem to find your post) can you prove why my other examples aren’t legit?

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 7, 2006 12:05 AM
Comment #165352

Alex wrote -


Bush not believing in global warming? Is that why he allows federal tax cuts, and IRS tax credit for people who drive hybrids, and is that why he established the Energy Initiative?

Wow maybe that will bring us up to par with other nations?

I guess I don’t have a black hole in my chest where my heart used to be, like some seem to suggest.

The black hole could be due to global warming.

can you prove why my other examples aren’t legit?


Maybe, how about a recent checkup with our Pres?

Posted by: europheus at July 7, 2006 12:27 AM
Comment #165353

Alex,

Maybe some companies do encourage their employees to buy hybrids. But so what? That’s not proof of Republican anything. Furthermore, are the examples you cite really appropriate responses to our situation? To me this is kid stuff. This is like the point Jack keeps hammering that CO2 levels have gone down during Bush’s reign, when we still have lower CO2 emission standards than any other developed country including China. I get they lowered. I also get Republicans are obstructing us from imposing reasonable standards that would make any kind of meaningful improvement to the situation.

We’re supposed to start clapping ourselves on the back? Is Bush going to get on TV now and say the mission is accomplished? The man says he’s going to invest in research for alternative energy. He invests less instead. But you’re pointing out that he’s really a big success because of stuff like car pool lanes? I am in awe of the incredibly bed-rock low expectations you have for your own party.

Posted by: Max at July 7, 2006 12:30 AM
Comment #165355

Alex,
The problem here is that the conservative philosphy espoused by Republican Bush Supporters is wrong.

It is that simple. It is wrong.

First, Global Warming, or Climate Change, is a global phenomenon.

This runs counter to the conservative philosophy. Conservatives do not want to perceive humanity in global terms. They want to perceive in nationalistic, xenophobic terms. It is the white, male, Christians, better known as “us,” against the rest of the world, aka “them.”

Second, addressing the problem of Global Warming almost by definition requires international cooperation, which is anathema to conservatives.

Third, cooperation almost certainly will require government leadership and intervention.

Markets can eventually solve the problem, but it may be too late, and it may be in a way very unfavorable to American ideals.

Fourth, the Bush administration is a fossil fuel administration. Energy policy has literally been written by the energy industry, for its own benefit.

You are correct that many major corporations, including BP, recognize & seek to address Global Warming.

Unfortunately, the Bush administration has hitched its wagon to Exxon, which is by far the biggest opponent to action for addressing Global Warming. It is no coincidence that Exxon has become the most profitable corporation in the history of the world under the Bush administration.

To sum it up: the inherent traditionalism of conservative philosophy makes it unable to deal with large scale change. Face with a global problem demanding international cooperation, the conservative philosophy of the Republican Bush administration cannot cope.

You see the posts of Bush Supporters denying Global Warming. Pretty sad stuff. Links to articles from 5 or 10 years ago, discredited long ago. Current articles originate with a small number of Exxon funded “sceptics.”

Not all Republicans fail to recognize the problem. Unfortunately, to its lasting shame, the Republican party will be condemned for the inaction of these Bush year.

Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2006 12:36 AM
Comment #165356


Max: As a matter of fact, the president was on Larry King tonight. He said that he hasn’t solved global warming yet but he is solving it. Just think, with the president on the job, global warming will be a think of the past by 2009. Darn, I was hoping global warming would be a campaign issue for the democrats in 2008.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2006 12:50 AM
Comment #165381

Alex, research some of your “facts” if you want to write a logical argument that big business is concerned about the environment. The Republican mantra is to let the “free market” determine the extent our economy save its resources and stops polluting.

However, it is the Republican Congress that gives the largest polluters (oil, coal, lumber, chemical) huge tax breaks the the rest of corporate America could only wish for. If we stopped subsidizing to the tune of $Billions a year the Exxons of the world (and I am not exaggerating here at all) and put them on the same equal tax base as a Cisco, IBM, etc. we probably would be way along in cutting our addiction to oil.

Depletion allowance, 1880s Mining laws, etc. continue with the Republican “free market” politicians and you call this good economic policy?

Oh, by the way, what about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, what about the closed fisheries in the North West, what about the loss of oysters in coastal waters, what about the largest oil spill in the USA (under Brooklyn, NY) caused by Exxon? Let’s just leave it to the subsidized resource industries to determine when enough is enough.

Posted by: Acetracy at July 7, 2006 8:31 AM
Comment #165416
Maybe some companies do encourage their employees to buy hybrids. But so what? That’s not proof of Republican anything. Furthermore, are the examples you cite really appropriate responses to our situation? To me this is kid stuff.

Max:

I’m not sure whether or nor you read the entire article, but the companies awarding their employees was only a small percentage of my argument. Read the rest of the examples.

Alex, research some of your “facts” if you want to write a logical argument that big business is concerned about the environment. The Republican mantra is to let the “free market” determine the extent our economy save its resources and stops polluting.

Acetracy:

Sigh…my viewpoint on global warming, as stated in the article, is that although it is a legitimate concern, I reject Al Gore’s Doomesday notion. Therefore, I do not believe that a DRASTIC change is needed to solve the global warming situation, because there is not a drastic problem to begin with.

And yes, the GOP has made some less than savvy environmental decisions, but it’s all relative. You might believe that, since in your mind, global warming is an imminent danger, we should be fiercly rergulating the government. On the other hand, a Republican might believe that global warming is a concern, but that it’s not a big enough concern to meddle with the economy and regulate the government…it’s all relative.

If we can find a balance between minimal government regulation (like we have now) and individual philanthropy (like we have now), I think that will be enough…

…we probably would be way along in cutting our addiction to oil.

This is unrelated, but how do you figure that? If we hurt the gas companies, how are we going to fuel our cars? Ethanol is still in its infancy, and other types of alternative fuel are inefficient as of today. Forcing drivers to switch to alternative fuel by hurting the gas companies isn’t the way to do it…the people will follow the money, so if this alternative fuel beats out gasoline, the people will naturally purchase the alternative fuel.

It is that simple. It is wrong.

Phx8:

Well, so much for the debate, anything that follows this is wrong, so why bother…

…I’ll only direct you to my above passage about how everything is reative and how we need to find a balance…but, since it’s wrong by default anyway…

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 7, 2006 11:38 AM
Comment #165427

Alex,

How long has ethanol been successful in Brazil?

Realistically, haven’t Gore’s doomsday predictions been the reason we’re talking about this at all?

While I don’t necessarily concur with Gore’s dire predictions, I do think that we are only going to change our ways and start to truly think “green” if there is a profit to be made.
By making Gore the fool, the right is drawing attention to the issue.
Gore is probably laughing his ass off at the attention this issue is finally getting.

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 12:19 PM
Comment #165451

Alex,

GOP leaders are mocking Gore b/c he champions a doomedsay (sic) conspiracy theory that states that Manhattan will be submerged in water in a few decades…it’s lunacy.

Conspiracy? will be? So which is it Alex - should we be concerned about global warming or not? You seem to acknowledge legitimate concerns on the one hand while cherry picking cases where big business is responsive, while continuing to demean those who work to wake us up to the potential disaster as lunatics on the other. It’s you that’s trying to have it both ways. These issues are complex, and there are ignorant folks on both sides of the fence, but as I understand it Gore’s film does not predict disaster as a foregone conclusion, just one we will eventually face if we don’t reverse current trends and reverse them fast. Whether you personally believe his film to be over-hyped or not, the concerns are legitimate, and precaution demands that they not be ignored. I’ll be able to speak better to the particulars of Gore’s film after I see it this weekend, when it opens in my town.

Most of us green-leaning folk think of global warming as a tragic result of human activity too long unchecked, not as a conspiracy.

I noticed you chose not to respond to my post in your recent response. It’s so inconvenient when someone argues intelligently about substance without resorting to mischaracterizations that can be refuted. Do you believe there is a role for government policy here, or are the good will of the corporations and market forces sufficient?

Posted by: Walker Willingham at July 7, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #165477
The passages you characterize as gratuitious are not meant be malicious personal attacks, but rather, merely facetious, toungue-and-cheek heckles. I didn’t intened for the facetious passages you described to be miscondtrued as attacks or taunts.

Yeah right. Same with all the taunts from the left.

What is this featured business? Who decides that?

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 2:33 PM
Comment #165486

Alex,
Re-read your own biography in the “About” section on Watchblog. If you are unable to defend your opinions in an open debate, you might want to re-examine your opinions.

Posted by: phx8 at July 7, 2006 2:45 PM
Comment #165487

More evidence of global warming problems being recognized

Posted by: womanmarine at July 7, 2006 2:48 PM
Comment #165512

womanmarine,

Boy, that’s a scary thought.

BTW, don’t you find it interesting that the right wing posters here are all love and kisses about your service to the country,,, that is until you disagree with them over one of their sacred cows?

Posted by: Rocky at July 7, 2006 3:53 PM
Comment #165535
If you are unable to defend your opinions in an open debate, you might want to re-examine your opinions.

phx8:

I’m sorry if I don’t sit in front of a computer all day constantly checking my comments. I actually have a life, you know, where you go out and do stuff.

I’m sorry I haven’t been obsessively responding within the minute to everyone’s comments, but I will try to respond to everyone in a semi-timely fashion.

…a failure to appropriately regulate and enforce existing regulations contributes to the degradation of our environment.

Walker:

Sorry for missing this post, but I believe I have indirectly addressed this issue in other posts.

I believe that we need to find a balance between regulation (as little as possible) and personal philanthroyp (as much as possible). I believe we are moving in the right direction, based on the examples outlined in my column.

You personally may think the aforementioend is “naive”, but I think that it is enough to curtail the situation, bc I don’t believe the situation is so dire to begin with.

Conspiracy? will be? So which is it Alex - should we be concerned about global warming or not? You seem to acknowledge legitimate concerns on the one hand while cherry picking cases where big business is responsive, while continuing to demean those who work to wake us up to the potential disaster as lunatics on the other. It’s you that’s trying to have it both ways.

Walker:

Anyone who believes that the world is going to end be of global warming, like some have suggested, is either a lunatic or a conniving politician trying to scare people.

So, since according to you I can’t have it both ways, I either have to debunk global warming or agree with the lunatics? I can’t take a middle ground, recognizing its existance but believing we’re currently on the right track to beating it?

Yes, this a very complex issue, like you said, so polarizing it is simply irrational.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 7, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #165566


Alex: the republicans have done nothing but polorize this issue for years with denial after denial and road block after road block to stop any progress. Come election time and you guys start the old sham. For five and a half years, the president has weakened or eliminated every environmental regulation that he possibly could. Now it’s nearing election time and suddenly he is solving global warming. It is like this on nearly every issue that the people are concerned about. But what can you say, the people fall for the republican line time after time and the day after the election it will be big business as usual.

Posted by: jlw at July 7, 2006 7:18 PM
Comment #165582

jlw:

It seems both parties are guilty of polarization. The Dems chastise anyone who doesn’t buy into Gore’s doomsday theory, or believe in fiercly regulating the economy…you’re either with them, or against them, and there can be no middle ground (Walker’s post), and the most extreme ends of the GOP discredit global warming entirely, which is just as irrational.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 7, 2006 8:06 PM
Comment #165870

Lest we remember, if it were not for the lefty organizations consistantly reminding big business about the environmental issues, that they would rather dismiss, there would be no changes at all. With that said, I’m all for the Corporations finally getting on board and expanding their thinking beyond the finacial bottom line. But GOP the are the last group to be expected to lead on this issue. Repubs (and Dems to a much lesser extent) do what big business contributers want them to do. Period. But since some corporations are starting to see the light and giving them some cover, the GOP can now join the movements by at least looking at the issue without dismissing it out of hand.

But even with all this back slapping and self-congratulating by big business, it would be extremely tough to find a corporation that spends more on alternate energy research and conservation then they spend on lobbying and advertising. Something to consider before you pop the champagne.

Posted by: Matthew at July 8, 2006 3:45 PM
Comment #165990

Well, I admit I only got as far as the authors use of Fox News as a credible and authoritative source.
Boy, did that set me off….
I’m a registered (or used to be, until NC used their arcane & restrictive ballot acess law) Libertarian so, please don’t get me confused with all those weepy liberals.
Anybody who has done any kind of broad based research knows that the current administration stands head and shoulders above all previous administrations in their collusion with industry in order to gut any and all environmental policies that stand in the way of profit. All Hail The Jesus Taliban!

Posted by: Craig at July 8, 2006 8:31 PM
Comment #166020
Well, I admit I only got as far as the authors use of Fox News as a credible and authoritative source.

Craig:

Well, sir, all I had to do was read this statement to realize that this source was not going to be credible, either.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 8, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #166194

This is nonsense. The GOP and oil industry is deliberately suppressing scientific information on global warming. The GOP is refusing to take any significant steps towards energy independence, which would clean up the environment and make us safer. And it’s well known Bush has lowered environmental standards and turned the EPA into a pro-business, rather than pro-environment, entity.

With all due respect, your post just listed a few examples of a few corporations respecting the environment. While this is to be admired, it leaves out the big picture. And the big picture supported by facts is that the GOP is actively dismissing environmental science simply to favor a few corporations’ bottom lines.

Posted by: mark at July 9, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #166197

We can beat these environmental problems, but America will have to deal with them head on. Not by ignoring them or pretending they don’t exist, the approach largely favored by the GOP.

Posted by: mark at July 9, 2006 7:10 PM
Comment #166292
With all due respect, your post just listed a few examples of a few corporations respecting the environment. While this is to be admired, it leaves out the big picture. And the big picture supported by facts is that the GOP is actively dismissing environmental science simply to favor a few corporations’ bottom lines.

Mark:

The “few” examples I listed, which are actually a faily sizeable number, counting the 40 businesses in the BELC, represent a dramatic shift in corporate mindset. There’s a stigma that corporate America doesn’t care about the environment. Well, based on my research, a considerable number of billion dollar conglomerates actually do care. Granted, companies like Exxon will probably never change, but a lot of corporations have, and if the trend continues, global warming will be a thing of the past.

Posted by: Alex Fitzsimmons at July 10, 2006 11:22 AM
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