On ABC’s This Week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Y) will be in a contest to see who is the nuttier of the two (I think it will be a tie). ABC News’ Martha Raddatz speaks with House Intelligence Committee Chair Rep. Mike Rogers, (R-MI) about Ukraine. Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Republican strategist and ABC News contributor Ana Navarro, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, and former Obama White House senior adviser and ABC News contributor David Plouffe will join the roundtable to discuss the week’s political topic.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken will talk about the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, and what’s going on in Ukraine. Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York will talk about Pope Francis’ first year. California Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition Ralph Reed, senior political columnist and editorial director at the N, Ron Fournier, and NBC News chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell will join the roundtable to discuss Ukraine, Russia and the annual Crazy Fest (aka CPAC).
On CBS’ Face the Nation, Darth — er, Dick Cheney will discus how President Obama is handling the situation with Russia and Ukraine. (Really? You brought him back from the dead to spew his BS about this?) Retired Marine Corps Gen. Jim Jones, a former NATO commander in Europe and former National Security Adviser to President Obama and former Secretary of State James Baker will also be discussing the situation in Ukraine. Paul Ryan (R-Usuckistan) will discuss President Obama’s budget proposal. According to Paul, with his budget, the President is “moving farther left.” (Oh, boo-to-the-hoo!) And the roundtable, with Rich Lowry of the National Review, CBS News State Department correspondent Margaret Brennan, Peter Baker of the New York Times, and Jeffrey Goldberg of Bloomberg View will discus the week’s news topics.
CNN’s State of the Union has White House’s Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken discussing the latest in Ukraine. Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist will talk about the extremism of the Republican Party. Then, Donna Brazile, AB Stoddard and Ben Ferguson will discuss this year’s CPAC freak-fest.
It’s been a busy week in politics — even without all the CPAC follies — so let’s get right to it.
In the House, Republican Darrell Issa, who chairs the Investigate Obama Until We Find Something To Impeach Him Over Committee (I think that’s what it’s called, at any rate…) held a hearing over the alleged abuses at the Internal Revenue Service.
Reportedly, he was recalling Lois Lerner to testify because she was going to answer questions. How do I know this? Because Issa himself told me, on one of last Sunday’s political talk shows. But when she did appear, she took the Fifth again. Behind the scenes, her lawyer had been working on a deal with Issa in exchange for testimony, but the deal fell apart. This annoyed Issa no end, and after asking her question after question, he abruptly gaveled the hearing to a close and tried to walk out.
Representative Elijah Cummings tried to speak, but Issa continually cut off his microphone and tried to beat a hasty retreat from the room. Cummings kept on speaking, getting visibly more annoyed at being silenced in such a fashion. Watch the video, it’s pretty cringe-worthy.
This is a new low in Congress, where Republicans now apparently feel that they are the only ones who will be allowed to speak. So much for all that “democracy” stuff, I guess. Issa reportedly apologized to Cummings after realizing what a bully he had been… but then described what Cummings did in an interview as a “hissy fit” — so maybe he hasn’t really seen the light quite yet.
In other news from the Republican House, Paul Ryan would like you to think that he cares about poor people. He’s not going to do anything for them, of course, he just wants you to think he cares, that’s all. In fact, if he had his way, he would make life much harder for poor people, to “free” them from what he calls a “poverty trap.” Tough love, in other words. Or, in more-accurate terms, a giant “Tough luck!” to all poor people.
Ryan released a report which purported to show how spending federal money on poverty programs has been useless. The only problem is that Ryan cherry-picked his data to make his case so shamelessly that it was eviscerated by pretty much all and sundry (examples abound, from New York magazine, Salon and Salon again, while Huffington Post ran a very comprehensive wrapup of links to all others who performed brutal takedowns of Ryan’s “facts.”)
The Ukraine erupted in crisis during the past week, as Russia’s Vladimir Putin essentially grabbed the Crimea in his own hissy fit. President Obama, of course, has very limited options for dealing with Russia over the Crimea, in precisely the same way that President George W. Bush had very limited options to react to Russia moving troops into Georgia. Back then, nobody complained much about Bush’s actions, because they knew there was little the United States could (or would) do to change the situation on the ground in any meaningful way.
Now, of course, with a Democrat in the White House, Republicans loudly criticize President Obama, essentially saying it is Obama’s fault that Putin did what he did. Carping Republicans have no better answer for what to do now (other than insisting that Obama take actions which he’s already taken, which doesn’t really count), but that doesn’t stop them from declaring that it’s all Obama’s fault anyway.
Here’s a news flash for all these Republicans: the United States is not going to threaten Russia militarily. It’s just not going to happen. Bush knew this, and Obama knows it. So what, exactly, is the big complaint?
Lindsey Graham (of course) took this to the extreme, laying the blame for the Crimea on (wait for it…) Benghazi. This was too much for Michelle Malkin, who chastised Graham publicly, tweeting: “UGH. @grahamblog, you are an embarrassment to all who truly care about Benghazi. Just stop”.
Hillary Clinton got caught in a pushback of her own, by pointing out the similarities of Putin going into the Crimea “to protect the Russians there” and Hitler doing the same thing for the Germans in his land-grabs leading up to World War II. This comparison annoyed some, apparently.
This was also CPAC week, which is a big get-together of conservatives and their lunatic fringe, and is also a showcase for any Republican eyeing a 2016 presidential run. Call it the audition process for who gets to be in the clown car, next time around. Think I’m being too harsh? Hey, Donald Trump was a featured speaker (who mistakenly referred to Jimmy Carter as dead) — that pretty much sums it up right there.
Several sites have amusing “best of” lists from CPAC, or have highlighted the most bizarre statements spoken there. My favorite is a photo of a session on minority outreach, which shows an absolute sea of empty chairs. Guess that minority outreach thing just isn’t that popular among the conservative faithful, eh? Continue reading Friday Talking Points  — CPAC Follies And More
It’s another day in the never-ending saga of the menacing IRS agents against the beleaguered Tea Party, some four years after the first set of applications made their way to the Cincinnati Tax Exempt Determinations Unit. The implication thus far has been that a small band of reprobate IRS agents from Cincinnati were intentionally obstructing the patriotic work of our most loyal citizens. This image is perpetuated by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee with the most extreme rhetoric, stronger than anything we’re seeing in the media. It doesn’t conduct the investigation in a fair and impartial manner, which oddly enough is what the investigation claims was done to citizens. Instead, it leaks testimony, verbally insults witnesses, cuts off the microphone of committee members, and blasts a blatantly political heading, charging: “The IRS: Targeting Americans for Their Political Beliefs.”
This is unacceptable and false on so many levels. What’s worse, this completely bogus inquisition, put on by Congressman Darrell Issa, is maligning the integrity of so many agents doing nothing more than ensuring political organizations do not intentionally evade taxes they are required to pay. The only intentional “targeting” going on is by groups pretending they aren’t going to engage in campaign activity when they know they are.
Who are these government workers who are actually under criminal investigation, thanks to Chairman Issa? They are citizens like Elizabeth Hofacre, an Army veteran, Boston University MBA, and IRS employee since 1999. She was the “emerging issues coordinator” in April of 2010 and was one of the first to be confronted with the uptick in Tea Party applications. She did not say liberal cases were not processed, as has been misinterpreted by the media. She said they were not part of her role as an “emerging issues coordinator.” In her own words, she sent “those applications to general inventory since they were not within the scope of the Tea Party emerging issue.”
She coordinated with Carter Hull, an IRS tax law specialist in Washington DC, at the Rulings and Agreements office that has oversight of the Determinations Unit in Cincinnati. Carter Hull is a Vietnam veteran who received his degree in 1965 and then gave 48 years to the IRS. In his testimony, he states he received two test cases that he reviewed with Elizabeth Hofacre and then “drafted documents stating my recommendations and analysis.” He was charged with developing a template letter that would ensure a consistent line of questioning for groups that might illegally engage in lobbying and campaigning. In the fall of 2010, the Cincinnati manager, Cindy Thomas, a 35-year IRS veteran, told Holly Paz, a Washington DC manager, that this letter was not prepared. No cases were processed during this time, meaning no “emerging issue” organization was denied tax exempt status for any reason.
These actions were reviewed by supervisors Elizabeth Kastenberg and Judy Kindell. Judith Kindell received her JD from Columbia Law School in 1986, an LLM in 1995, and has worked as a tax law Specialist at the IRS since 1991. Interestingly enough, she wrote the IRS Rules for Exempt Organizations in an Election Year, which was used as a reference during Darrell Issa’s witch hunt against ACORN’s activities.
Between April 2010 and July 2010, a system was materializing to identify groups that claimed social or educational status that might be political in nature. Terminology was added to the database in the form of a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) list which has four tabs. “Emerging Issues” is one of those tabs, and where the Tea Party keywords were entered into the spreadsheet. As was later acknowledged, there were BOLOs for “Progressive,” “ACORN successor” and “Emerge”, although those keywords were entered into a separate tab as they were not new organizations with new issues.
By July of 2011, the use of group names had come to the attention of Holly Paz in Washington DC. Holly received her JD at University of Pennsylvania Law School, and spent her years in private practice and the IRS focused on exempt organizations. She reported the information to her superior, Lois Lerner, who has now become notorious for invoking her Fifth Amendment rights. At that point, a teleconference was arranged to correct the keywords to “political,” “lobbying “or “advocacy.” Holly Paz became aware of another set of inappropriate changes to the BOLO database in January 2012, and reported it to Lois Lerner. According to the TIGTA report, the Cincinnati office thought the July 2011 criteria were “too broad” and added policy positions in order to tag groups that might be involved in campaigning. Continue reading IRS Agents ‘Sabotage’ Tea Party Activists? It’s FALSE NEWS!
The real story in Ukraine is what happens when somebody doesn’t play by the rules. It is one of the great examples of conflict resolution unresolved. It is frothed with personalities and political interests, historic sleights and economic targets, military force, diplomacy and big money rolled into a global storm. It’s also an old-fashioned tale. So far, without terrorism.
The old Cold War, which the Ukraine conflict resembles, was always about resources and territory—hegemony—never about markets and state collapse or ideological goals. The old Cold War displayed raw, unvarnished power. The annual military parades in Moscow with the latest Soviet hardware and massed troops in lockstep were designed to reassure its citizens at home and the world abroad of its power and fierceness and its absolute domination within its sphere.
The Soviets’ largest Cold War failure came in Afghanistan. Attempting to prop up a puppet regime, the Soviets were dragged into a long-term fight that proved unwinnable for the same reasons the Americans later discovered.
The December 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union, surprisingly, was swift and without violence or troop movements—unlike what we see in Ukraine. Its most notable feature was the orderly transfer of power to new national entities. In less than a month, new governments were in place in the 12 republics that were its former satellites.
The Soviet flag had been taken down, the Russian flag hoisted. Mikhail Gorbachev had resigned and handed power to Boris Yeltsin.
Russia’s actions in Ukraine represent a backward step from the rule of law, the recognition of the democratic rights of people to pursue self-determination, and the right of state sovereignty and inviolate national borders.
The Russians made their move too soon. They showed up in unmarked uniforms like thugs. But I’m getting ahead of the story. It begins with the moral and political failure of the elected Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a Soviet puppet whose gift was greed and a taste for big ticket extravagance, especially palatial residences. His weakness was an utter forfeit of skills for leadership and leveraging Ukraine’s national interests in its courtship by West and East.
To both sides, Ukraine is a vital interest.
He only had eyes for Russia.
The people of the Ukraine saw their future differently. Why be linked to a country whose economy was backwards, mired in the 1930s, without modern manufacturing, no thriving tech sector, no robust consumer sector, and failing infrastructure—and no plans for modernization?
Ukraine, on the other hand, with roughly 30% of Russia’s population, is in the top five global grain producers. With broad plains of fertile farmland, it is attractive to a Russia that still has trouble feeding itself. With modern market reforms, including financing credits, risk insurance, land reform, mechanized farming, this sector could increase its production and economic returns dramatically.
Ukraine also has well established industries in machine goods and aerospace.
But energy is Ukraine’s sweetest spot. And many of its energy projects and facilities are located in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, the areas with the largest numbers of ethnic Russians, areas showing support for Russia’s intrusion. Ukraine is a scatterwork of gas and oil pipelines, many leading to Europe, mostly supplied by Russian production in gas and oil. Ukraine is a big buyer of Russian oil and gas, and also a big reshipper through its critical pipelines.
These pipelines are what Putin eyes as the prize. In offering $15 billion to Ukraine before the president turned chicken, left the country while claiming the powers of office, holding press conferences on Russian soil, Russia planned on leveraging its economic assistance for hegemony over Ukraine’s energy sector, especially its pipeline rates. Moreover, Ukraine oil reserves rank it 50th in the world. Yet it imports all of its natural gas supplies from Russia. Already, Putin has ended Ukraine’s pricing discount. Continue reading Ukraine: No Rules, No Foul
Already a month overdue, the President’s budget proposal is expected to drop Tuesday. Various House committees are already poised to posture, pontificate and proclaim their dismay, disgust and dudgeon, or – as it’s known in Washington – hold hearings.
The Senate will follow suit, and the liveliest of its proceedings will probably be the Wednesday appearance before the Armed Services Committee of Defense Secretary Hagel and Joint Chiefs Chair Dempsey. The witness panel will have the “best” seats in town at the pathetic spectacle of Republican committee members snuffling about that uppity President trying to destroy America’s ability to defend itself. Any day now, James Inhofe or Saxby Chambliss will realize that the President’s proposed cuts could leave the nation wide open to invasion… by Kenya.
Benjamin Netanyahu comes to Washington this week. His Monday schedule includes meetings with President Obama and with Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, plus a meeting and press conference with Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner. Netanyahu’s standard call for a hard line against the supposedly grave and gathering threat of Iran might not garner much enthusiasm from American politicians suddenly more concerned with reality in Ukraine than hypotheticals in the Middle East. Tuesday, though, Netanyahu addresses this year’s AIPAC conference, where he’ll undoubtedly find plenty of people very, very enthused.
Work is slated to begin Monday morning on a two-year, $60-million restoration of the Capitol Dome, the first such work there since 1960. A covered walkway in the Rotunda during renovations will ensure safe passage into and out of the Senate and House, which will themselves remain broken indefinitely.
However, DC is expected to receive between five and eight inches of snow this particular Stormy Monday, so the restoration schedule could be off to a rough start. Weather has already been cited for the postponement of a planned Monday evening Senate cloture vote in the confirmation proceedings of controversial nominee Debo P. Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ. Continue reading Stormy Monday, 3/3/14
On ABC’s This Week, Secretary of State John Kerry will be on to discuss the situation in Ukraine. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, (R-IL), CNN Crossfire co-host Van Jones, National Review editor Rich Lowry, and ABC News’ . . . → Read More: Sunday Talks, 3/2/14
President Obama is giving an address on the situation in the Ukraine as this is being written, so we’re going to wait until next week to draw any conclusions for American domestic politics, just to warn everyone up front.
Instead, we’re mostly going to focus on what appears to be an astonishing amount of Republican self-inflicted political wounds from the past week. It’s as if someone somewhere gave Republicans an order: “Stick your foot way out, now… ready… aim… fire!” Even when Republicans weren’t shooting at their own feet this week, it appears they were conducting a circular firing squad instead. The 2014 campaign, in other words, is off to a raucous start… and it’s only February.
The Republican midterm strategy was supposed to be pretty simple. The big issue to run on was hatred of Obamacare, and to show that Republicans actually had their own ideas (instead of just being the party of “Hell no!” all the time) the House was going to pass a comprehensive replacement plan to take the place of Obamacare, as well as passing an overhaul of the tax code to show Republican tax priorities weren’t just tilted towards the ultra-wealthy. That was the plan.
That plan is getting pretty tattered around the edges. Already some Republican strategists are beginning to (very quietly, one assumes) question putting all their eggs in the “Everyone hates all of Obamacare!” basket. Especially since the Republican alternative to Obamacare now looks like it’s going to die an ignoble death in committee, if it even gets that far. One month ago, Republicans were united behind the idea, now John Boehner won’t even commit to holding a vote on it this year. They’re going to look at a bunch of ideas, Boehner said. I mean, it’s not like they’ve had four or five years to look at these ideas or anything.
The Republican tax code overhaul was announced this week as well, with little fanfare. House Ways and Means Committee chair Dave Camp announced the plan, but couldn’t get anyone else to even stand next to him in support. His plan actually could have been the basis for honest negotiations with Democrats, even though major changes would have been necessary to gain Democratic support. But it was a forthright starting bid in the negotiating process. As such, it was immediately shot down by his fellow Republicans. Mitch McConnell pronounced it dead on arrival. John Boehner, when asked about the details of the plan, responded (you can’t make this stuff up, folks): “Blah, blah, blah, blah.” When asked if it would reach the floor for a vote, Boehner replied: “Ah, Jesus.” Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has the snarkiest take on the whole drama. Then Wall Street found out that the plan would institute some sort of “bank tax,” which led to heavy-handed threats to stop all Republican campaign donations, immediately.
Added to this disarray is the ongoing Tea Party versus Establishment Republican battles over the Senate (which I wrote about this week, a day before the AP reported a similar story). The Tea Party, not to be deterred, celebrated its fifth anniversary this week, although attendance was reportedly pretty sparse. Remember when they could turn out thousands of people for a rally in Washington? Now a couple hundred people are all that show up. How times have changed, eh?
Before we get on with the “Republicans saying stupid things” list, let’s take a quick look at the marijuana news this week. The Washington Post ran an astonishingly detailed story on the evolution of public acceptance of marijuana (with a fantastic chart) this week, and has also held a serious back-and-forth debate on its op-ed pages as well, which is one indication that the political class is beginning to take the issue a bit more seriously than before. Lincoln Chafee, governor of Rhode Island, has a great idea which could go over very big with the East Coast public (especially right about now): “pot for potholes.” Legalize recreational marijuana and then take the tax revenues and spend it on fixing the roads. Brilliant! In the not-so-brilliant category, however, is the Maryland cop who was giving testimony to his state legislature, and quoted a story from fake news site The Daily Current with the entirely-fictional statistic that “37 deaths” occurred “from overdose on marijuana” on the first day Colorado legalized recreational marijuana. For the record, total deaths in all of human history for marijuana overdoses: zero. Annapolis police chief Michael Pristoop eventually was forced to retract his statement and apologize for repeating an “urban myth.” Continue reading Friday Talking Points  — Republicans’ Foot-Shooting Party
Rape. Sexual violence. Guns. Denial of health care. Food stamps. Religious liberty. Gays. Immigrants. Jobs. Deficits. Defense. Is Arizona the new Mississippi?
Do you really practice your religious beliefs in business? Is there a religious doctrine that prohibits a believer, of any faith, from doing business—selling goods and services—with others who believe or live by different tenets? Is there a commandment from God that prohibits trade and business interactions with groups outside of your faith, or those whose behavior is interpreted as anathema to your faith and personal beliefs?
Did Moses miss a tablet?
Does your faith practice apply equally to giving and receiving? How far does your practice of rejection go? Will you reject a sentence or fine from a gay judge? Will you refuse treatment by a married gay doctor? Or not get your hair done by a married gay beautician? Will you send back a meal brought by a gay server? Will your gay radar constantly ping the world around you, causing you to be the flippered ball in the machine?
Does your personally decided prohibition of faith include members of your family, as it does in Dick Cheney’s household, where love had nothing to do with it and his and his daughter’s stance against gay marriage left him with a house divided.
Is this article of religious faith—no business interaction with gays—a personal inconvenience that challenges you and makes you uncomfortable, so you blame the victims of your prejudice, rather than acknowledge the inadequacy of your faith and the paucity of your good will?
Who passes these laws?
Not even the Dead Sea Scrolls or the Gnostic Gospels said shun the gays; do not sell to them. For faith is not affected or demonstrated by interactions, but by actions: the way I act with those with whom I interact is the real witness of my faith and belief!
This latest Arizona law seems a little creepy and paranoid. It substitutes personal preference for faith principle. Under the law’s hallelujah principle, it allows each believer to set the tenets of their own belief. If some Christians will sell me flowers if I marry or have a same-sex partner, other Christians may refuse. And if they do, I should make the sign of blessing and rejoice that I have not put their faith to the test or impinged on their freedom.
We are back in the looking glass zone.
In that bright tunnel, my elaborated personal beliefs are the source of my freedom and faith. Freedom is no longer a social promise that we mutually defend, lifting it higher. It is personal only. By law. There is no mutual trust. No common ground.
Society’s claim on freedom actually lifts freedom to its highest level: it allows me to believe while I help others who do me no harm. But if my freedom results in injury to you by debasement, missed economic opportunity, the denial of services and goods, I have not paid freedom forward. I have discriminated. I have sinned. Continue reading Is Arizona the New Mississippi?
The three Democrats running in Illinois’ 13th Congressional district primary recently answered my questions about climate change and energy issues. It’s one of the hottest Congressional races in the nation since freshman incumbent Republican Rodney Davis narrowly won with merely 46.5% of the vote in 2012.
The central Illinois district is a complicated place to talk energy. Coal mining is no longer a major employer, but the industry still wields social and political influence beyond its economic impact. It contains the resting places of the two most significant coal mine union organizers in American history, Mother Jones and John L. Lewis. It’s also a farming district with agribusiness giant ADM based (for now) in Decatur. The metro-east St. Louis region is a center for refineries.
The 13th district also includes over a dozen colleges with young and educated voters increasingly concerned about climate change as the urgent crisis of our time. Environmentalists are organizing to become a bigger political player, particularly in response to the threat of increased coal mining and fracking.
All three Democratic candidates agree on the need to address climate change, promote clean energy, and protect the public from the negative impacts on fracking. Their responses reveal where they differ on details.
The Gollin and Callis campaigns asked for questions in writing. What follows are their responses in full.
First, George Gollin’s response:
Q: Rodney Davis has questioned the scientific consensus that man-made pollutants are contributing to the climate crisis. How would you differentiate yourself from Davis on the issue of climate change?
A: The scientific evidence for climate change is strong and alarming. It demands our immediate and continuing attention: we must reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. Climate change poses an existential threat to our civilization, and it is irresponsible of Mr. Davis to pretend that this is not the case.
Q: Do you have a preference for how Congress should tackle the climate crisis, such as cap-and-trade, a carbon tax, more stimulus spending on clean energy and conservation, or another approach?
A: The problem needs to be attacked simultaneously from many different directions. I support a carbon tax, as well as a crash program to further develop solar, wind, and fusion energy sources. I also support addressing the problem of radioactive waste in the form of spent fuel from conventional fission reactors using “accelerator driven subcritical fission transmutation,” which shortens the cool-down time of the spent reactor fuel by a factor of one hundred, while releasing substantial amounts of usable energy.
Q:Do you support ending federal subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, including President Obama’s call to eliminate oil subsidies?
A: I support ending subsidies.
Q: Several studies have brought the climate change benefits of natural gas into question due to methane leaks. Do you see natural gas a solution to climate change and how would you address the environmental threats of fracking proposed in Illinois?
A: I am glad that we are using more natural gas and less coal to generate electricity–this reduces greenhouse gas emissions. But the problem of methane leakage is worrisome, and in need of constant oversight and tough regulation. I do understand the economic benefits of producing energy at home.
This is a perfect example of why we need more scientists in Congress. I don’t think we know enough about fracking, and I think that’s partly on purpose. I will push for legislation to require all fracking operations to disclose in advance the chemicals and other substances pumped into the ground, and to require continuous testing of groundwater, and publication of the test results.
I will also call on the National Academies of Science and Engineering to make a comprehensive study of the state of the science on the seismic and environmental risks of fracking. The study would yield a definitive report on the reliability of the geology and other analyses used to determine the risks of fracking, including how realistically we can assess the risks of groundwater contamination, induced seismicity, methane leakage from well heads, and–perhaps most importantly–how well fracking operations can be regulated in the face of a Republican Party which will try to cripple oversight by withdrawing funding for regulatory agencies.
If the conclusion is that the safety of fracking operations cannot be firmly established, or maintained in a hostile political environment, then I would immediately cosponsor legislation to ban fracking. And even if the NAS concludes that it can be done safely, I would cosponsor legislation requiring full disclosure of the contents of fracking fluids, and the results of pre- and post-fracking water assays. I would also sponsor legislation requiring the termination of fracking operations should regulatory oversight become inadequate because of funding cuts. I would sponsor legislation requiring a fracking operator to pay the costs of enforcing regulation, and the costs of mitigating any environmental problems attributable to fracking.
If careful, honest scientific analysis shows that we cannot prove that fracking is safe, then we should ban it. Let’s get the science figured out.
Next, the response from Ann Callis:
Q: Rodney Davis has questioned the scientific consensus that man-made pollutants are contributing to the climate crisis. How would you differentiate yourself from Davis on the issue of climate change?
A: I believe in the vast scientific evidence that man-made pollution is contributing to climate change. This winter has shown us the volatility of our current weather, and by looking at 30 year trends there is no denying the rapidly changing environment. I will work to preserve our natural resources and protect the air we breathe and the water we drink. We must leave our world in a better place for future generations, and that starts with reducing pollution. Continue reading Illinois Democratic Congressional Candidates Callis, Gollin, Green Talk Climate Change, Fracking
House Republicans return to Washington this week, and among a host of very bad things, will attempt to expedite the ALERRT Act. While it might sound like yet another example of famously bad rightwing spelling, “ALERRT” is an acronym for “Achieving Less Excess in Regulation and Requiring Transparency,” which means the bill is actually just another example of famously bad rightwing ideas.
Also on the GOP House agenda is a bill to improve (meaning hobble) the CFPB, and the equally craptacular Stop Targeting of Political Beliefs by the IRS Act, which of course is intended solely to stop what Republicans consider targeting of conservative political beliefs.
On Thursday, animatronic has-been Mitt Romney will be shipped to Boston and temporarily uncrated for a Republican Governors Association fundraiser. This is being spun as a show of support for the increasingly radioactive has-been-in-the-making Chris Christie, who chairs the RGA. How can you tell he’s radioactive? Because various fellow Republican governors are already making it a point to tell the press that he isn’t.
In a move almost comically emblematic of the term “military industrial complex,” on Tuesday the President will announce two new so-called innovation institutes, one in Chicago and one in Detroit. The institutes will be developed and funded through a partnership of private industry and the Department of Defense. Can’t see any downside to this. Nope.
Wednesday, the President heads to St. Paul’s splendidly refurbished Union Depot for another in his continuing series of speeches on the economy, this one focusing on “transportation and transit issues.” The White House website notes that he will “announce a new competition encouraging investments to create jobs and restore infrastructure as part of the President’s Year of Action.” Continue reading Stormy Monday, 2/24/14