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Wind turbine blades on the road west of Albuquerque, New Mexico (Photo by Meteor Blades)
Environmental advocates have mixed feelings about the Obama administration. One day it's the precedent-setting Environmental Protection Agency's rules curtailing coal plant emissions and the next it's opening up more deep-water oil drilling. But there's no question the administration has taken forward-looking action on both energy and environment in ways that no president has done since Jimmy Carter. And, now, with the general election campaign in full swing despite the GOP nominee's not yet being officially crowned, administration heavyweights are making the rounds with speeches tying environment to the economy and pushing back against Republican claims that Obama is doing too much on one and not enough on the other.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar delivered two speeches apiece last week that challenged the GOP claims that the administration has put the brakes on the economy by implementing environmental over-regulation and keeping too much public land off-limits to oil and gas drilling.

At American University on Friday:

“Our mission day in, day out, is to protect the health of the American people, by keeping pollution out of the air that we all breathe, by keeping toxins out of the water that we all drink, keeping harmful chemicals out of the lands where we build our homes, and our communities, our schools, our churches,” Jackson said.

“The work that we do each and every day is focused on ensuring that our economy works for the American people,” she said.

And then there was Salazar who said at an April 24 National Press Club luncheon address that Republicans and other critics were living in a fantasy energy world:
"I think that those who have stood in the way of solutions are going to find the ground shifting under their feet," Salazar maintained. "The energy world is changing, with or without them. Whether it's our oil and gas technology, our solar power plants, or our auto manufacturers, the pace of American innovation is staggering. The US is determined to lead in the new energy world."
It's easy enough to argue, from the left and from a "greener" perspective, against various aspects of what both Jackson and especially Salazar are saying. Or with what Obama himself has said and done regarding opening up public lands for more drilling.

But, at the same time, the administration has put more billions of dollars into green energy projects than any presidency, ever. It's the closest thing the U.S. has to a desperately needed industrial plan.

Republicans would like to make that all about wasteful spending. But, in fact, it's an investment in the future with a big payoff. And it complements what many states are doing. In Iowa, for instance, wind power now generates nearly 19 percent of the state's electricity. That's in large part a result of the federal Production Tax Credit that gives incentives to the renewable energy industry by giving investors some certainty about their return on investment.

The PTC expires in eight months, and Republicans seem determined not to renew it despite the fact that it already generates tens of thousands of jobs nationwide. Government investment in new battery technology also provides jobs and lays the groundwork for many more in the future. These are just a few such investments that aren't only about jobs and energy "independence," important as those are: They are also about reducing our impact on the atmosphere by cutting carbon emissions.

Republicans and other myopic critics never seem to understand that the economy and the environment are not separate entities.  They are inextricably entangled. The failure to acknowledge this, not just in rhetoric but also in policy, is yet one more arena of GOP fail. That's a message the Obama campaign team is right to keep pounding whatever its own shortcomings in the matter.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:51 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (125+ / 0-)

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:51:49 AM PDT

  •  Making "green" (money) while being "green" (37+ / 0-)

    (eco-friendly) makes Republicans "green" (envy). It's the trifecta of "green".

    All my sig lines are hand-crafted by demented elves living in my skull.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:57:56 AM PDT

  •  There's No Lack of Understanding By the Critics. (20+ / 0-)

    Their funders make their billions from the same science that explains climate change and resource bottlenecks & depletion. They're denying it because they're committed to maintaining the supply of weath created by accelerating habitability destruction and they're fine with the unfolding consequences.

    Only the evangelicals, and it's not all of their leaders either, actually disbelieve so much science.

    Good on the Admin for doing more but the core scientific fact of our time remains far too radical for them to include in the adult conversation. This country sorely needs a Democratic leader who, like FDR, JFK and LBJ all did, would speak of needs and goals beyond the immediately possible, even though they themselves might not be able to address them sufficiently in their times.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:02:39 AM PDT

    •  This is one of those rare times I disagree with... (36+ / 0-)

      ...you. I think the Obama administration is doing a decent job of speaking to environmental and energy goals beyond the immediately possible. And not just speaking about it, but actually doing something in that regard. Is Obama doing enough (or all he could do in the face of a foot-dragging Congress)? Not in my opinion. But if you follow his energy speeches and the administration's action on the green energy front, he's being even more far-sighted than Carter. I don't like his approach on fossil fuels, including coal exports. But the push solar and wind has been amazing given we have no congressionally backed comprehensive energy plan.

      Personally, I'd like to see energy/eco jobs boosted with a modern WPA. But that is not going to happen, sad to say.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:19:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We spent $20,000 out of our life savings (10+ / 0-)

        on solar grid tie because it was the right thing to do, AND because of the Obama Admin tax incentives....

        Have to agree here.

      •  But to propose it, as a campaign position? (13+ / 0-)
        Personally, I'd like to see energy/eco jobs boosted with a modern WPA. But that is not going to happen, sad to say.
        That would be part of a long-term vision offered to the voters. Plus it might well garner enough votes down-ticket to make it closer to happening; maybe even make it happen.


        The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

        by Jim P on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:49:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes. That's an argument I've been making... (25+ / 0-)

          ...not just on WPA but also on other issues since Obama stepped into the Oval Office: Make a persuasive case with people for what you would do if you could and you'll get more people to vote for you and other politicians who support what you want to do so you can. The counter-argument is that this these proposals will be losers in the current circumstances and that people don't like losers.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:11:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The counter-argument is weak, and ill-founded. (11+ / 0-)

            And senseless, come to think of it.

            You stand for something creative and positive, and if you make even a little headway but still don't get it, then you stand for it again ... repeat the cycle. Voters eventually come around.

            That's what the Republicans did since Goldwater got trounced, and now they more or less have everything Economic- and Foreign-Policy-wise going pretty much their way. They had a Vision (or a Nightmare) and they stick with it, even though they kept losing until 16 years later with Reagan. And they've made gains since then. We've got Democrats talking about cutting back Social Security and Medicare now.


            The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

            by Jim P on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:36:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that's neither clear nor what Obama believes (0+ / 0-)

              but feel free to find and support a candidate who will take the other position.

              There is a big difference between selling a point of view based on bigotry and resentment with the aid of limitless right wing funding and corporate media complicity - and selling a point of view that asks people to work together for the common good in the face of the marketing for the first point of view. What is effective in the one space is not necessarily effective in the other space.

              It would be useful if people were a little less confident that they were in possession of the obvious method of building a progressive majority- an obvious method that everyone else is too dumb, too cowardly, or too deluded to grasp.

              favorite band: twisted gloating

              by citizen k on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:22:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  A persistence of vision (9+ / 0-)

            ...by the President on the energy issue is essential for another reason:

            At the end of the day -- energy resource management is the key issue from which all other policy springs forth, including foreign policy and monetary policy.

            As in many of the President's policies, like health care for example, there has never been a cohesive vision that could be repeated by any guy on the street. A five-year plan, for example, that can be clearly stated, and which logically leads to the next five year plan.

            Possibly this is because five-year plans have become propagandized as a "government take over" or a form of "communism." And without such a vision that is also known and understood by the people, significant public works cannot be achieved -- such as a space program.

            Which is why we don't have a space program and China does.

            We must face the fact that Our Overlords have made the decision to continue to asset-strip North America for the benefit of private owners of our resources -- so they can sell them on the commodities markets, where we are forced to buy them back at the very highest prices.

            This is a flaw in our Constitution that fails the people, turning them into colonists rather than citizens vested with a commonwealth. Until that is addressed, we will continue to circle the drain -- doing a little here and a little there on the way down.

            I wish the solution was as simple as electing more Democrats. But unless a Democratic President makes an effort to work with the asset strippers, they are rapidly dismissed as another Jimmy Carter.


            Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ― Isaac Asimov

            by Pluto on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 12:08:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Pluto, I'm with MB on the need for the President (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4Freedom, Pluto, Eric Nelson

              to give the American people a positive vision for the future.   There are many "green" evangelicals.  If sincere, energy independence, as it relates to the economy and jobs, could be a winning ticket for reelection.

              Let's find common ground where we can agree.  The President can speak from the pulpit as a continuation of his famous call for unity.  

              •  Can you define "energy independence" for me? (0+ / 0-)

                How do you think most Americans would define it?

                It's important to keep in mind that Americans do not own the resources that come out of American soil. They are privately owned.

                In light of that, what is "energy independence?"


                Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ― Isaac Asimov

                by Pluto on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:35:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Good question Pluto, I can't speak for everyone. (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Pluto, Calamity Jean, Eric Nelson

                  Imho, energy independence means moving from the current models of both fossil, and nuclear fuels.  

                  Most Americans are being programmed to define independence as "drill, baby drill", oil and gas.  Many are claiming nuclear is clean energy (What do you do with the waste products?  How do you deny water contamination?)

                  We need to move the action to a local level.  Every community in the US, and elsewhere, needs to support an economic model that supports going "off grid", imho.

                  •  I agree with you. (0+ / 0-)

                    But the words "energy independence" create a bad meme.

                    For most folks it means Americans not buying oil from foreigners -- and powering the nation off of our own resources -- which means digging, pumping and finding all of them.

                    I'm not sure what the point of that is -- since it will not save America one cent to use our own resources. We still have to pay the global commodity spot price for every barrel of oil we use.

                    As long as American oil is privately owned, the vast wealth it produces for the owners will be used to bribe our politicians and poison the minds of Americans against alternative energy investments -- and against any talk of environmental issues.

                    I don't see how OUR vision will gain any traction with any speed -- until every last drop of American oil is pumped and every lump of coal burned. There's still money on the table for the private owners.

                    No President, Republican or Democrat, will rock that boat. Nor will they ever again suggest a national investment program in alternative energy.

                    There's a flaw in our system of government that allows this.


                    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ― Isaac Asimov

                    by Pluto on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 04:22:55 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Good quote in your sig line. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              4Freedom, Pluto

              OT: Been thinking about the Constitution: how about an Ombudsman role, or a (or many) Tribune(s)?

              So we don't have the position like we have now where there are few if any democratic outcomes in response clear majorities among the voters.
               


              The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

              by Jim P on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:19:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is something I have considered for some (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Pluto

                time: a Civilian Review Board for every level of government, from local to national. How to pick members of that board, and what powers to grant them would need to be formulated.

                There is too little accountability in government. Several trips to the voting booth won't fix this. Strategic thinking is needed on how to create an oversight board that is both valid and uncontaminated by monetary influence. This seems an easier route to take than an attempt to form a third party in this bifurcated environment. Republicans talk about accountability all the time. Lets bring it on!

                If we can't hold our government accountable for its actions, and those actions continue to be dominated almost solely by vast economic interests that don't represent the majority, the economic decline will continue. Working Americans will continue to lose economic power, and the monied so-called elites will continue to degrade our society.

                If we want economic and social justice, we are going to have to devise a better operating system to oversee our economy. Right now it is unbounded greed ransacking the future of a nation.

                I want that to stop and am willing to work to make that happen, if and when there is an action plan beyond voting and demonstrations.

                If you want to sleep well at night, it's best to avoid watching the making of sausages or politics. ~ Otto von Bismarck

                by 4Freedom on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:50:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Even Justices on the current Supreme Court (0+ / 0-)

                ...would advise other nations to ignore the US constitution when revising their own.

                It is dysfunctional for the 21st century and is far too stingy on human and civil rights.


                Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ― Isaac Asimov

                by Pluto on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:38:17 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I think we're on the cusp. I think the gop is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4Freedom

            trying to stall until they get control of the WH and Congress back, then they'll pivot and facilitate things going forward in a way which further guarantees Wall Street privilege.
            I think if Obama beats them and esp. if we win back the House, it will be game over. Even if they try the obstruction they won't have the mojo for it.
            I think something like a WPA is possible in a second term, but for now, I think the comprehensive policy/political strategy you outlined is pretty much on the mark.
            The PTC is important out in West Texas. I went through a literal Boom town, tiny little Roscoe, that was being dwarfed by the wind farm activity. It's a wedge issue in red states and the gop is really going to screw up if they continue to oppose it.

            I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

            by David54 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:21:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I think the most important progressive goal (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            4Freedom, Calamity Jean, Eric Nelson

            relative to green energy has to be small scale solar on every building, starting with schools, hospitals, airports, gov. buildings, and then on every building where it's feasible.
            The reason is that it's a hedge against the "hidden tax" of utility costs, and helps public schools, hospitals reduce costs, and is a boost to the working man and middle class.
            There are other reasons it's good, reducing demand on the grid, for instance, as well.
            Wind farms and big solar are good, but they're going to be generating most of their benefit for Wall Street.
            We should be screaming at Obama to "put solar panels on the White House", both literally and figuratively.

            I'd rather have a buntle afrota-me than a frottle a bunta-me.

            by David54 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:29:18 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  "Decent job" is actually pretty lame @ buildings (0+ / 0-)

        The Administration has displayed a sad lack of interest in buildings end-use energy efficiency, having assigned it a minor role (i.e. weatherization of single-family residences), while blowing off opportunities to capture significant economic advantages via retrofit of commercial structures. Most of USDOE's buildings energy staff are holdovers from the GWB administration and they have been showing the same initiative and drive they had been infused with back then. Yes, there has been a significant uptick in R&D funding for the National labs, but most of those dollars have gone into embellishments of the National Lab's facilities and salaries for the Lab's relatively high-priced staffs. This newfound fed interest in the Labs has come at the expense of abandonment of partnerships with states and regional efficiency entities. Once, under Bush, USDOE co-funded leading non-National-Lab R&D institutions at the state level. Now, USDOE just drives by them on the freeway in-between speaking engagements. When it comes to energy-efficient buildings lately, USDOE seems to have been busy re-inventing wheels instead of admitting that some sub-national entities (e.g. NY, CA, MA, IA and even the Municipality of Anchorage) were leaders of the pack going into the Obama years and partnering with those entities to keep the forward progress going. And for those few times when they have looked down from their Ivory Tower, the feds have annointed sub-national entities w/o much in their portfolios to be the mentors. That's resulted in the blind leading the bland.

        Sure, the GOPers in the House have been jerks about all this, but there are some things the Administration can do without asking Congress' permission. For example, for routine federal building O&M, why not purchase innovative off-the-shelf efficiency products that have been proven in extensive field tests? Why not use green job training curricula that were paid for with fed money when training federal building managers how to "go green"? Answers---1) You can get more money from Congress for your agency budget if you blow off the knowledge base that already exists and 2) the "not invented here" syndrome.

        Energy security should be job #1 for the feds b/c we get our oil from our enemies, the front-line logistics are nasty for our troops, and climate change implies some new and dangerous national defense scenarios. But it isn't b/c no one in the chain of command seems to be able to read the riot act to the Joint Chiefs. Yes, there are a few enlightened souls in DOD who get it, but until they get the promotions instead of the laggards, the climate change deniers and energy ostriches in the brass will continue to call the shots.

        Energy efficiency and demand response should be "first in the loading order" as a matter of policy, otherwise big chunks of the expensive investments in renewables go to prop up wasteful use. And what's the point of a smart grid if the buildings are stupid? A more systems-oriented approach doesn't have to cost more and makes a lot more sense than the current path.

        Leading by example doesn't have to mean "only the feds can are capable of R&D," "only federal demonstrations are valid," and "the role of states & local governments is to tell the public how brilliant the feds are." Leading by example can instead be done in partnership with others (real partnerships, not fake ones).

        Don't believe me? Try a simple experiment: Go to http://www.pierpartnershipdemonstrations.org/... and ask yourself if any of the innovative solutions discussed therein have found their way into federal buildings and, if so, how extensively. Good luck w/ that.

        Energy efficiency 1st in the loading order

        by Left Foot Forward on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:41:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree with you about (13+ / 0-)

      "too radical for them to include in the adult conversation." Our country tragically lacks both that conversation & the prequisite adults in office to stay away from illusory kiddy themes & proffered candies.

      On the other hand, MB is right...

      It's easy enough to argue, from the left and from a "greener" perspective, against various aspects of what both Jackson and especially Salazar are saying. Or with what Obama himself has said and done regarding opening up public lands for more drilling.
       But, at the same time, the administration has put more billions of dollars into green energy projects than any presidency, ever. It's the closest thing the U.S. has to a desperately needed industrial plan.
      This country....

      Atlatl Cauac...Jatz'om K'uh.

      by catilinus on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:20:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  They really need a non-Democratic leader to do (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      that, along the lines of the old saw "It took a Nixon to open the door to China."

      There is no reason on God's green Earth why the environment should be a partisan issue.  There is not left or right there.  Plenty of room to argue the appropriate role of government, etc, but I want my kids to grow up and prosper as much as you (for those who haven't figured it out -- I'm neither a Democrat nor a liberal) want yours to.  I want them to have a world worth living in and a life worth having.

      GOP party line on energy and that of many so-called conservatives is now straight multinational oil company party line.  It is bought and paid for politics, not conservative politics.

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:59:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent post, MB. (13+ / 0-)

    You explain the ups and downs of a green perspective on Obama's admin.  

    It's easy enough to argue, from the left and from a "greener" perspective, against various aspects of what both Jackson and especially Salazar are saying. Or with what Obama himself has said and done regarding opening up public lands for more drilling.

    But, at the same time, the administration has put more billions of dollars into green energy projects than any presidency, ever. It's the closest thing the U.S. has to a desperately needed industrial plan.

    Campaigning on the good aspects is important.  

    I'm from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner Wing of the Democratic Party!

    by TomP on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:08:04 AM PDT

  •  It all boils down to cornered rats. (11+ / 0-)

    Cornered rats are nastier than regular rats (who can actually be quite congenial).

    As my grandmother used to say, only the guilty protest too much, and only when they know they're in the wrong.

    Santorum: Man on Dog; Romney: Dog on Car. Ren and Stimpy: Dog on Cat equalitymaine.org

    by commonmass on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:09:30 AM PDT

  •  anyone seriously claiming (18+ / 0-)

    that Economy is separate from Ecology does not understand how the planet works. Especially in this day and age, with all the information so openly available, there's no excuse for such a 19th Century worldview, and I really hope that the days when people could win elections on either such ignorance or willful deception are over. This being the US of A, I'm only slightly optimistic here though. ;-) Good for the Obama Administration to go on offense here, it's a winning proposition!

  •  This: (15+ / 0-)
    In Iowa, for instance, wind power now generates nearly 19 percent of the state's electricity.
    And going for more.
  •  And, Republicans totally ignore or dismiss that (6+ / 0-)

    something like 80% of economic output comes from the natural world, often for free or at minimal cost.

  •  There are a lot of Christians besides (7+ / 0-)

    Evangelicals who believe Jesus will save/rescue them all. I'm including Catholics and the different Protestant faiths. I have listened to their baloney for decades. They really throw a fit when they're reminded that Jesus told them they are the stewards of this Earth & responsible for their environmental nest.

    I'm a life-long  progressive futurist. I've been waiting for years for this country to show what it's capable of regarding enviro/eco/green policies. I'm still waiting, hate to say.

    T and R!

    Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

    by orlbucfan on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:36:04 AM PDT

    •  Some of them have a hard time ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ericlewis0, Pluto, 4Freedom, New Rule

      ... distinguishing "stewardship" from "subdueing the earth."  They prefer to believe God gave them the Earth for the taking and they are obligated to take as much as they can.  

      After all, look at the Native Americans.  They weren't doing anything with the land.  It was the Christian duty of the Europeans to take it from them and make it do things.  For them, of course.

      On the other hand, there's my fellow Episcopal parishioner with the "I'm a Democrat Because I'm a Christian" bumper sticker.  

      :-)

      "The fears of one class of men are not the measure of the rights of another." ~ George Bancroft (1800-1891)

      by JBL55 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:13:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A Vision of Building a Kinetic Energy America, (13+ / 0-)

    constructing wind / water / geo / solar facilities, and conducted on the level of a Manhattan Project would sure garner a lot of votes, I'd think. Make part of the Project a national contest to develop better batteries/storage systems and better grid distribution.

    For one thing, there's no vision being pushed for how we get out of our economic mess and continually lowered standard of living.

    For another, clearly our various World-Wide Wars of National Suicide exist in large part because of a Great Game to control the Middle East & Central Asia's fossil fuels.

    For a third, even climate change deniers (some) are willing to admit that pollution degrades life, practically and aesthetically.

    Putting forth a Vision which simultaneously addresses all three... has anyone focus-grouped this yet? To me, it sounds like an Electoral winner.


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 10:46:17 AM PDT

  •  Like many here and on the left (8+ / 0-)

    I view politics, the Democratic party, and Obama, through two different sets of lens (lenses?). One is the "purist" sense, in which I harshly criticize and object to many of his policies, actions and words. No need to elaborate too much as most everyone here probably knows what I'm referring to (FISA, prosecutions, drones, caving, etc.). And I firmly believe that these are legitimate and serious criticisms.

    The other is the "pragmatic" sense, in which I realize that we don't live in a purist world and in most cases, at least in the short to mid-term, we have to choose between two and only two options, a very imperfect Democratic party and its less than ideal leader, or a simply loathsome and extremely toxic Republican party and its creepy crazy cretinous leaders. Which is a no-brainer. Period.

    And I should add that it's not simply a choice between the lesser of two evils, because, as this diary shows, there are many things that Obama & Dems have done and continue to do that is very commendable, not just optically but also substantively. Rather, it's a choice between totally unacceptable and a mixed bag of great, good, so-so-, ech and bad. And, living in the real world (or preferring to believe that I do), the choice is profoundly obvious.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:07:14 AM PDT

  •  not that GOP cares... (5+ / 0-)
    Republicans and other myopic critics never seem to understand that the economy and the environment are not separate entities.
    but GOP also does not care that environment is not separate from economy or from health care, civil rights, human rights, and quality of life, and often how long one lives and bad environmental pollution and degradation and contamination kills many thousands each year.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:07:42 AM PDT

  •  Isn't it incredibly silly (7+ / 0-)

    how Republicans don't even think of this sector as "business"

    Their "I'll use all the god-damned energy I want to" stance BLINDS them to just about everything.

    I hope this new Obama assault drives a wedge between Conservative Christians like my brother-in-law, who think that taking care of the planet "God gave us" is the right thing to do, and Tea-partiers who are selfish, greedy bastards.

    THAT would be very cool.


    may we not be strangers in the lush province of joy - Charles Wright

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:22:28 AM PDT

  •  nice picture, MB (8+ / 0-)

    I could not figure out what happened to the body of that poor truck. Glad it had a clear caption. :) Nice shot.

    Just Win, Baby. -- Al Rodgers, Feb. 24, 2012

    by OLinda on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:26:06 AM PDT

    •  Yes, at first glance (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OLinda, Eric Nelson, Pluto, 4Freedom

      it looked like a fuel tanker that was imploding.

      Took me a good 10 to 15 seconds to process what it was I was seeing.

      “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” - Sherwood Rowland

      by jrooth on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 12:06:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good News. Lets hope they all remember the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse

    idea after the election.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 11:50:34 AM PDT

  •  Not to mention climate change's impact on jobs. (6+ / 0-)

    Take, for example, agriculture during the Great Dust Bowl.

    •  Yes -- there needs to be a lot more talk about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pontechango

      both sides of that: the potential of many, many jobs generated by building a green energy based economy, and the dreadful impact on the economy as parts of the continent are desertified, food production is curtailed, water becomes scarce, etc.   THe economy, human health, all those other species,  survival...those little things matter.

      President Obama can't stand up and tell people, over and over, the full story of the disasters that we face.  Nobody wants a prophet of doom, and Americans don't elect them.  He can talk some about the environment, and the need for green energy and a green economy, but he can't really raise consciousness in the way it needs to be raised.  The rest of us have to do that.  But I'm damned if I know how.  

      THere's lots of education going on, in small ways, in gradual ways -- but what can we do that matches our true situation?  

      Damn, it would help if we had honest media.

      --------------- --------------- --------------- "Every part of you belongs to you." -- from a story of Virginia under the Personhood law. Read it here.

      by Fiona West on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:20:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Small correction to diary's last paragraph (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Eric Nelson, 4Freedom

    The Environment and the resources and conditions that it provides stands alone, comes first, and is the basic beginning of anything to do with economics.

    Economics starts with people applying work to what the Environment provices.

    If you see what I mean.......Economists have been over-reaching (as have Dominionists) when they claim supremacy (or even imagined partnership) with The Environment.

    •  You're wrong. (0+ / 0-)

      Economics affects the environment ... the claim that there is no "partnership" with the environment is one of the wackiest arguments against AGW, that somehow people are "arrogant" to claim that we have affected climate and the environment is serious ways.

  •  One of THE BIGGEST THINGS keeping a (4+ / 0-)

    consortium of businesses from setting up a wind turbine parts manufacturing park in Muskegon RIGHT NOW is the uncertainty in the renewable energy future and the Production Tax Credit.

    That manufacturing park would create HUNDREDS of jobs here, and we would be EXPORTING parts worldwide.

    I was on a panel with one of the executives of Energetx which makes wind turbine blades in Holland, Michigan....he explained that the pace of growth for his successful business hinges on the production tax credit.

    Seriously.....if the Republicans take the white house and keep congress, this new industry would die in its crib.

  •  Coal is a major push from Obama (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Cassiodorus, chipmo, 4Freedom, Agathena

    Coal Exports from Obama Leases in Powder River

       Six potential coal export projects in Oregon and Washington could ship roughly 157 million tons of coal from Montana and Wyoming's Powder River Basin a year, more than double current U.S. exports.

    More than doubling US coal exports would have a bigger impact on Climate Change than even the Keystone XL pipeline would,

    See: Coal Mega Ports planned for Northwest could surpass CO2 impact from Keystone XL

     This isn't just a regional problem for the Pacific Northwest, it is a national and international problem. All Americans have a stake in reversing this stupendous policy blunder by Obama.

    •  yep. As noted, it's a mixed bag of policies... (4+ / 0-)

      ...from the Obama administration on energy/eco.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 01:04:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think of it at a mix of near-term and long-term (0+ / 0-)

        solutions to a single problem: Powering the economy.

        Have you noticed?
        Politicians who promise LESS government
        only deliver BAD government.

        by jjohnjj on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 01:29:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Buffett Rule (0+ / 0-)

          Warren Buffett and Bill Gates stand to make huge profits from their stake in Burlington Northern Railroad which will be moving that coal.  It's part of the Buffett Rule:  Them with the money rule the Obama Administration.

          •  Capital Gains... (0+ / 0-)

            Investing Daily:

            On November 7th, a fleet of nine private jets touched down in the sleepy town of Gillette, Wyoming. Population: 30,000. Two of the world’s wealthiest men were among the arrivals. They stayed only one day, and refused to give any interviews. They were here for a very specific reason and saw something that one of them called “fascinating.”

            Who were these men and why were they in Wyoming, the least populous state in the nation?

            As the title of this article reveals, one of the men was Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B). The other was his bridge-playing buddy, Berkshire director, and fellow billionaire Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft (NasdaqGS: MSFT). The purpose of their surreptitious trip was to visit the Black Thunder Mine, owned by Arch Coal (NYSE: ACI). Black Thunder is the single largest coal mine in the U.S. with an annual output equaling 10% of total U.S. coal production.

  •  And a break for the little guy/gal inventor - TCG! (3+ / 0-)

    ..The ptc is an excellent move, but the treasury Cash Grant sounds like a real winner too for the little guy/gal garage tinkerer/inventor who's ideas may be sitting in a notebook on a shelf:
    What is the Treasury cash grant?

    The cash grant is an option for ITC-eligible projects to receive the value of the ITC as a direct grant instead of as a tax credit. Eligible technologies can receive a cash grant covering up to 30% of the capital investment. Since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) allowed PTC-eligible projects to elect the ITC instead, those projects can also elect to receive the cash grant.
    Because this would help individuals (not just largers outfits) to get a chance at the next tech discovery.
     Like the garage tinkerer who has a great new idea but has to choose between not having the $'s to develop it or the usual route - having a larger corporation take the idea for themselves.

    mea culpa: I'm partail to the tinkerer :)

    Thx MB    

  •  Salazar: Utah land grab defies common sense (4+ / 0-)

    Before his speech at the National Press Club, Secretary Salazar was asked about a new Utah law---passed by Republicans and signed by a Republican governor--that directs the state to sue the federal government if Washington doesn't

    transfer all federal lands not designated as wilderness or as a national park to state control by 2014. The effort has the backing of top Utah officials, including Governor Gary Herbert, Senator Orrin Hatch, and Rep. Rob Bishop [and the rest of the Republican delegation.]
    The Utah law, by the way, would also mandate transfer of the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument---designated by Bill Clinton in 1996.

    Governor Herbert thinks the bill is such a good idea that he is calling for a conference of fellow Republican western governors to suggest they do the same thing.

    Salazar called the Utah land grab just "political rhetoric in an election year," but it's the kind of thing that's been par for the course since James Watt was Herr Reagan's Interior Secretary.

    Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

    by willyr on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 12:41:44 PM PDT

  •  THAT explains it! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Pluto, 4Freedom

    That must be why the following 3 stories are currently on the Fox News front page:

    Researchers discover wind farms heat the ground underneath them at night and may contribute to global warming
    Proof global warming isn't making weather wackier?
    URGENT: Al Armendariz, the top EPA official in the South and Southwest, resigns after coming under scrutiny for his 2010 remarks in which he suggested the EPA should 'crucify' oil companies to make examples of them.

    "These are not candidates. These are the empty stand-ins for lobbyists' policies to be legislated later." - Chimpy, 9/24/10

    by NWTerriD on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 12:44:37 PM PDT

  •  For those who say there is no difference between (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom

    Romney and Obama, MB, you have nailed one of the most crucial differences right here.

    EPA/Interior/Energy/Environment

    Kudos.

  •  New Drilling is a rear-guard action (0+ / 0-)

    I don't mean this disparagingly at all. We have a world economy heavily dependent on oil as an energy source, and we will be dependent on petroleum as long as we have an industrial civilization for petroleum byproducts (plastics, etc.)

    The reason why new oil drilling makes sense, as long as it's done in concert with promoting renewables, is it protects our economy from sudden shocks. By adding to the supply while we broaden our energy base, we're helping prevent the use of oil as a wedge weapon by our foreign adversaries as well as hedging against sudden economic shocks due to price disruptions.

    It may be counterintuitive when we all agree we have to wean ourselves off oil as an energy source, but in a world where energy production drives political stability, new drilling actually helps us by preventing (or at less lessening the possibility of) political paroxysms that could derail longer-term economic development goals towards sustainability.

    Some people are intolerant, and I CAN'T STAND people like that. -- Tom Lehrer

    by TheCrank on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:09:05 PM PDT

  •  Lisa Jackson mentioned in a FP Dkos article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew

    bring me a fainting couch.

    favorite band: twisted gloating

    by citizen k on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:16:16 PM PDT

  •  I just realized how Obama's going to beat Romney (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4Freedom

    Not that he needs to do it as I think he'd win anyway purely on likeability and character, but he, or more accurately his people, er, SuperPAC, are going to "Swiftboat" Romney by hoisting him on his own petard, by attacking him on his alleged area of greatest competence and skills, turning failing companies and projects around. They're going to run targeted ads with dark graphics and ominous-sounding sound effects, and testimonials of people who lost their jobs, houses and lives to Romney's Gordon Gekko-like corporate raiding efforts in the 80's and 90's. They're going to make him the poster boy for all that went wrong during that era that still dominates the economy to this day.

    It's so obvious, the ads almost write themselves. They will destroy him.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:27:43 PM PDT

    •  Please don't forget Citizens United, (0+ / 0-)

      disenfranchisement, proportional representation of electoral votes in states with Dem majorities, and other issues that affect election outcomes that have nothing to do with the candidates. In the real world, Obama cannot win "purely" on personal characteristics, and he is certain to lose if the left remains in la la land.

      •  Not quite sure what you mean (0+ / 0-)

        His campaign is certainly going to use the CU decision to run SuperPAC ads and I think this will be one of the main ways that they'll do it. Who's in la la land here? You think only the GOP knows how to run attack ads?

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:43:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You are in la la land. (0+ / 0-)

          You think Obama will match Karl Rove's corporate sponsors? Really? And I mentioned two other factors that Republicans have pushed for which there is no Dem counterpart. And over and over I see people on the left attacking Obama or talking about their disappointment and how, even if they vote for him, they aren't doing phone banks this time ... the "enthusiasm gap" of 2010 remains a real problem.

          I used to respect your intelligence, but your comment here is quite stupid and tosses a ridiculous strawman at me ... no, I don't think only the GOP know how to run attack ads, jackass.

  •  Meteor Blades, update diary to include the fact (0+ / 0-)

    that the Production Tax Credit shows up as lower income taxes paid by corporations, not as Federal spending.  Most readers here will not make this connection as to how the PTC works or how it does not show up as Federal Spending.  The PTC is an example of what is call a "Tax Expenditure".

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:30:56 PM PDT

  •  has put more billions of dollars into green energy (0+ / 0-)

    is not the benchmark.

    How much you get out is the benchmark.

    That's why things like Solyndra and (to-date) the Chevy Volt suck.  Lots of money, little benefit out.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:53:43 PM PDT

    •  Did you skip over the Iowa wind farm... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, Calamity Jean, JeffW

      ...results so you could hammer the RW talking point on Solyndra? Not all investments work out, private or public. That's why investment counselors always tell you not to put all your eggs in a single basket. Some of the government's investment in energy R&D and commercialization is not going to pay off. But your argument about no little benefit from renewable energy spending sounds just like Ronald Reagan's did when he was shutting down much of the Solar Energy Research Institute in 1981. Money invested in renewables over the past 30 years —public and private—IS paying off. Since you're not a right-winger, please don't talk like one.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:06:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I made no argument about little return from (0+ / 0-)

        renewable energy spending -- and wind farms are a winner.

        Bad "investments" however are another matter.  Due diligence should be doubly expected when spending public money, and bang for the buck rules.

        Solyndra, talking point or not, is not a good poster child for energy policy, and all the "some investments go bad" talk in the world won't change that.

        As to the Chevy Volt -- I simply think it's the height of public irresponsibility to subsidize expensive cars for the well-to-do on a per-vehicle basis. And that's without reference to any subsidies that went into the power train on a non per-vehicle basis.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 05:56:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Chevy Volt was developed during (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW, dinotrac

      the Bush administration.  

      Renewable energy brings national global security.     

      by Calamity Jean on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 06:19:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Then bad on Bush. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        It (the subsidy for buyers) remains a bad idea, though...

        interesting, because, if you want to hang the Volt on Bush, then you have to give him some environmental points.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:39:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  You're being too nice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, Eric Nelson

    The Republican Party is OWNED -- lock, stock and barrel -- by the oil and gas interests.

    This, to them, is the issue, the only issue. Do everything possible on every level of government to prevent crossover -- to keep solar and wind and geothermal and biomass from becoming price-competitive with oil and gas.

    It won't work. We are only a few evolutionary steps away from getting solar down below the cost of grid energy. The DoE says it will be 2015. GE says 2016.

    The Administration is doing a passive-aggressive game here of giving the oil industry all the rope it wants while at the same time feeding green energy interests the aid they need to go forward.

    As activists, our job must be to force all GOP candidates to wear the facts. Oil production is up. NatGas prices are at all-time lows. Solar is 3-4 years from reaching crossover. And you've fought it every step of the way.

    http://www.danablankenhorn.com

    by Dana Blankenhorn on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:55:33 PM PDT

    •  "Solar is 3-4 years from reaching crossover."... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson

      ...Maybe. We've heard that claim many times in the past 20 years. Let it be so.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:07:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It already has in 20 states. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JeffW, Eric Nelson
        "Solar is 3-4 years from reaching crossover."
        http://thinkprogress.org/...

        Renewable energy brings national global security.     

        by Calamity Jean on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 06:42:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I highly recommend this pro-solar... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Eric Nelson

          ...article regarding grid parity.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 09:12:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for the link. The article made (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JeffW

            several good points regarding grid parity.  

            One thing it didn't say is that electric companies should give rooftop solar (as opposed to big solar farms) a small "bonus" value for requiring little or no extra transmission hardware, because rooftop solar is generated literally on top of where most of it will be used.  

            Renewable energy brings national global security.     

            by Calamity Jean on Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:49:05 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  As you know, not one alternative electrical (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

        generating technology is going to do it all on it's own. The largest obstacle to overcome is intermittenticy. Even the Danes, who pride themselves on wind generated juice, rely on the hydroelectric plants in Norway to cover the slack.

        But dams are just natural pumped storage generators. There is no reason that artificial ones can't be built, that take advantage of surplus electricity during off-peak times to lift water for later use.

        Folks in the Midwest are familiar with water towers that are used to provide adequate pressure to deliver potable water to their homes and businesses. Imagine similar towers whose purpose is to come on-line in micro-seconds to generate electricity from the water rushing down to earth. Power meant to even out the inconsistent supply from alternative generation sources.

        Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

        by Spud1 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:35:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I think fracking, deep water drilling, and the (0+ / 0-)

    pipeline from Canada down to Texas can be done in safe, environmentally benign ways.  

    Most of the gas produced by fracking replaces coal or oil.  You can pollute a little ground water and still come out ahead compared to coal mining and the acid drainage it commonly produces.

    Deep water drilling could be pretty safe if you learn from the multiple mistakes BP made in the Gulf of Mexico.

    That sandy oil from tar sands has a bigger carbon footprint than most oil, and the sand apparently wears out the pipes from the inside, but leaks can be avoided with enough care, or at least minimized.  That oil will mostly replace oil imported from less reliable parts of the world than Canada.  Balancing environmental risk against geopolitical risk is subjective, but often it's better to have more options.  

    Strong regulatory oversight can make all the risks I've put in bold italics -- if government is allowed to work.  There's a decent chance government will work right under a Democratic administration.

    We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

    by david78209 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 02:59:57 PM PDT

    •  Many - maybe most - Americans typically drive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, david78209

      their cars within the range of a plug-in vehicle's limit. Put recharging stations at their place of work - where the vehicle sits for 6, 7, 8 plus hours, an voila! Even if companies charged for the juice instead of offering it as a perk, it would change the dynamic.

      Largest use of oil is to move vehicles. We need to think beyond that.

      Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

      by Spud1 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:22:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just when FOX "News" says windmills are bad (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Seriuosly, they came out with an article today saying that windmills warm the earth. I won't link to it because it is so stupid. Basically, by their line of reasoning, anything that sticks high up in the air (like trees) can potentially warm the ground nearby because it slows the wind down.


    i just baptized andrew breitbart into the church of islam, planned parenthood, the girl scouts and three teachers unions. - @blainecapatch

    by bobinson on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 03:50:22 PM PDT

  •  When three turbines were to be built on an island (0+ / 0-)

    off the coast of Maine, the components rolled through my town on the way to the barge at the harbor. The pieces being large, the routes they took were carefully planned - but that doesn't mean that you can't miss a turn. With photos.

    Form follows function -- Louis Sullivan

    by Spud1 on Mon Apr 30, 2012 at 07:12:46 PM PDT

  •  All well and good... (0+ / 0-)

    ... however the truth is brutal. It's rapidly becoming too late for well meaning, politically sliced and diced efforts to reverse the coming global climate catastrophe.

    To save ourselves will require a massive, world-wide commitment to a radically different way of living, and a dramatic reduction in human population.  I see no chance we will do this sensibly, but rather expect continued magical thinking, and then a nightmare of famine and war as we face a ravaged environment no longer able to feed us.

    These are hard realities to face for humanity.  The answers one hears when the facts are presented follow a predictable pattern:

    "Yes we must do something at some distant point in the future, but right now it just too scary to think about and we mustn't forget profits, and jobs, and the price of gas, and maybe all we have to do is eat organic grains, and insulate our houses a bit better, and everything will work out, because after all it's part of God's plan, etc., ad-nauseum........ "  The terrifying truth is, solar cells and windmills aside, each and every one of us is responsible for tens of tons of carbon pumped into the atmosphere every year. Assuming that all of the hopeful solutions discussed here were to come to pass BILLIONS of tons will still have been burned in the meanwhile.

    And unfortunately, our political leaders including President Obama are so busy crafting easy solutions and compromise they lose sight of the most serious ecological crisis in human history.  We should have listened to Paul Ehrlich and Jimmy Carter, but we didn't.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Tue May 01, 2012 at 04:21:42 AM PDT

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