Trump will have blood on his hands by eliminating California’s emissions waiver

It is no secret that Republicans despise California because the majority of its people hold beliefs contrary to everything conservatives love. It is particularly true that Trump hates California whether it is because the state’s economy is humming along after the people voted to raise taxes, or because the majority of the people recognize that Trump is a worthless charlatan, or because the people love and desire clean air and water enough to support environmental regulations.

There is not much Trump can do about the majority of Californians detesting him on general principles, something he knew before his poorly attended inauguration. But he and Republicans have punished the people for raising taxes by eliminating their ability to deduct them on their federal income tax returns.

Now Trump is preparing to punish Californians’ health and welfare, and their economic lives,  by revoking the Golden State’s authority to set its own vehicle emission and fuel efficiency standards; actions that would provide no benefits whatsoever for the people. It is just one reason why the majority of Californians abhor Trump.

There are a couple of reasons Trump is punishing Californians this time; likely one reason is to repay the oil industry for its electoral support. The oil industry does oppose environmental regulations nearly as much as they hate the idea of higher fuel efficiency standards. There is also the issue of California refusing to force its law enforcement agencies to become de facto ICE and Border Patrol agents. Trump’s obsession with eliminating anything beneficial to the American people that occurred during a real President, Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House is also a contributing factor in his decision to inflict serious harm on Californians.

The rumors thus far are that Trump is going use the EPA to bring a screeching halt California’s ability to set its own fuel efficiency standards, and put the brakes on the state’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles in place under the Clean Air Act (CLA). In 2009, California earned a waiver under the CLA allowing it to set emissions standards for cars and trucks that exceed those of the federal government. States’ rights Republicans opposed the waiver because the Koch brothers oppose the concept of emissions standards as a matter of course.

The idea of putting a halt to higher fuel efficiency standards will impact more than just Californians because Trump, like the oil industry, wants all Americans to buy more fuel; Trump’s assault on fuel efficiency will be a nationwide affair. Although the economic injury of paying more for transportation is not necessarily life threatening, but ending California’s ability to set higher car and truck emission standards is.

According to the World Health Organization, California’s San Joaquin valley, a region known as “America’s salad bowl,” has the worst air pollution in the entirety of the United States. That pollution in and around fertile farmland providing much of the country’s, and the world’s, fruits, nuts and vegetables is also the cause of higher rates of cancer, asthma, and several hundred premature deaths every year.

The World Health Organization also reported that in 2012 alone, “premature deaths from air pollution” was responsible for over 7 million deaths worldwide. The number of premature deaths in the San Joaquin portion of the “Great Central Valley” number several hundred every year and that is in spite of what Republicans claim are devastating air quality regulations that include vehicle emission standards. Those mortality numbers will only increase with Trump’s deregulatory crusade, but those deaths and health issues mean nothing to Trump, Republicans, and the oil industry.

Anyone who has spent any time in the San Joaquin valley can attest to the effects of pollution caused primarily from oil drilling, traffic and farming; most recently car and truck tailpipe emissions have been identified as the leading cause of pollution with oil drilling overtaking the damage from agricultural chemical pollutants.

It is true that California has a robust air quality resources agency, but “regional” air pollution control districts in “the valley” districts represented by Republicans Devin Nunes, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and special interest puppet Jeff Denham play according to special interest rules.

Those Republican-dominated regional “air quality representatives” pander to businesses vehemently opposed to clean air and water regulations. This author can attest that those local air quality representatives lie like Trump by asserting that state and federal environmental protections are “highly destructive” and are killing off “family” businesses responsible for pollution.

For example, during an editorial board meeting a few years ago at a McClatchy newspaper serving the San Joaquin Valley, the Republican from the local air resources board complained bitterly that California emission standards were destroying too many “family businesses” up and down the valley; particularly the southern part of the valley. After a brief but heated exchange with this author, the air quality representative conceded that the “family businesses” were really oil drilling and refining operations run by some of the nation’s largest oil companies. As an aside, the Koch brothers contribute more to Republican candidates for state offices, including local air quality boards, in California than any other state. The Kochs are also responsible for all manner of “ballot initiatives” seeking to eliminate the Golden State’s environmental protections.

As the director of Sierra Club California, Kathryn Phillips, rightly noted: “They are conspiring to change the [air quality] standards so things don’t look as dirty as they are.”

The only glimmer of hope Californians have to cling to is, according to Dan Sperling of the California Air Resources Board, “We have the law on our side, as well as the people of the country and the people of the world.”

An attorney for Earthjustice, Paul Cort, concurred with Mr. Sperling:

California has done the math, and it’s concluded that the only way to meet both its greenhouse gas goals and its ozone targets is to move away from fossil fuel-based transportation. The law is very clear about California’s authority to set these standards, and for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to try to narrow it now means they have an uphill battle.”

Whether Trump likes it or not, Californians are like most Americans who want vehicles with higher fuel efficiency as much as they want clean air. The latter is an honest-to-dog existential issue and the former is economic. The only people in America that lust for lower fuel efficiency vehicles are the Koch brothers and their dirty oil industry cohorts. They are also the primary drivers of the conservative anti-environmental movement condoning higher cancer rates, respiratory problems, birth defects, and premature deaths if it increases their profits. Of course Trump is as inhumane as the Koch brothers and he hates California, but this atrocity is as much about reversing another good thing President Obama provided the people as it is Trump’s flagrant disregard for human life.

There is little doubt that Trump will publicly revel in aiding the fossil fuel industry with what is being touted as a major deregulatory action, with the value-added treat of punishing Californians. The real question is whether he will celebrate publicly that his obsession with eliminating President Barack Obama’s life- and environment-saving actions means he will have California residents’ blood on his hands.

 

Celebrating Pruitt’s departure ignores the danger of his replacement

The endemic corruption permeating Trump’s administration is so ridiculously mind boggling that describing the so-called “swamp” as a rotting special interest cesspool is an understatement. Trump and the GOP’s plan to hand the government over to special interests was glaringly apparent immediately after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration based on the insertion of special interests throughout the federal government.

It is safe to say that there are no federal agencies or departments in Trump’s cesspool that are not infested with greedy special interests or industry lobbyists intent on dismantling the organization they were tapped to lead into ruination. That particular outrage is best represented by evangelical malcontents Betsy DeVos and Scott Pruitt. In Pruitt’s case, the sworn enemy of environmental regulations is now the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the celebratory mood on the Left is curious indeed.

Although there is an abundance of glee that Pruitt was allegedly pushed out over a dozen or so ethics investigations, it is clear that cheering Pruitt’s exit as some kind of victory is incredibly foolish. Obviously the people celebrating Pruitt’s “removal” are unaware that his temporary replacement is just as hazardous to the environment, and Americans’ health and welfare, as Pruitt. The new anti-environment crusader will be much worse simply because he is a seasoned Washington insider and fossil fuel  industry lobbyist who knows how to achieve Trump’s goals without drawing attention to himself or Trump’s corrupt administration.

It was reported shortly after news of Pruitt’s exit as EPA head that the only reason he was “forced out” was the optics of one of Trump’s operatives being perpetually investigated for ethics violations  – not his job performance and not because he was an unethical cretin like his boss in the Oval Office. In fact, Trump has praised Pruitt profusely for decimating environmental regulations at the behest of the fossil fuel and chemical industries which is the only reason he was appointed in the first place. Who better to eviscerate environmental regulations, and dismantle they EPA, than a special interest puppet whose self-professed claim to fame was suing the federal agency he wanted abolished to sate the greed of the fossil fuel industry.

Now that Pruitt is no longer doing the heavy lifting for the Koch brothers et al, no sane American should breathe a sigh of relief that the EPA will suddenly fulfill its mandate and revert to protecting the environment and Americans’ health and welfare; especially not with a coal industry lobbyist running the show.

Despite the bluster and claims that he was decimating, especially “Obama-era,” environmental protections, by all accounts Scott Pruitt was as inept as he is corrupt and evangelically extreme. The man serving as acting EPA chief, Andrew Wheeler, is anything but incompetent. Of course he lacks whatever sense of ethical obligation to help protect his fellow Americans from the dirty filthy fossil fuel industry. That being the case, it should be no surprise that Wheeler shares Pruitt’s “passion” for completely deregulating the fossil fuel industry; he has spent the great majority of his lobbying career on behalf of the energy industry and, in particular, the dirty filthy coal companies. His particular speciality was lobbying Republicans to expedite the industry’s demand that Republicans “weaken federal regulations” if not abolish them with prejudice. Like Trump and Pruitt, Wheeler thinks he is smarter than 97 percent of the Earth’s scientist and denies the existential damage of ignoring global climate change.

As noted by many pundits and environmental activists, Wheeler is the epitome of a Washington insider who works “behind the scenes” to help “kill off regulations” the fossil fuel industry and other industrial polluters complain are restricting their profits. And unlike Pruitt, Wheeler will not be announcing which regulations protecting Americans’ water and air he just abolished. In effect, Wheeler will “reshape America’s environmental policies to benefit his powerful friends in the energy industry” at the expense of Americans’ health and welfare. Don’t believe it?

Even before being appointed as “acting” EPA chief, while Wheeler worked for Murray Energy he heavily lobbied the Department of Energy to start using taxpayer dollars to provide federal  subsidies for coal producers. Fortunately, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rightly “struck down the proposal” despite intense pressure from Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

Wheeler was also part of the lobbying team that pushed Trump to open up Big Ears National Monument in Utah to a uranium mining company’s operation. Wheeler was a determined proponent of exempting industrial plants from adhering to pollution controls after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and he waged a ferocious battle to shield polluters from liability for the harm they caused by the release of toxic chemicals into the air and water.

Look, there is little doubt that Scott Pruitt, like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, did not represent the scum of the Trump administration cesspool; both because Pruitt is unethical and because his intent was only ever serving the special interests in the fossil fuel, chemical and manufacturing industries. Now, there is a very competent, behind the scenes, kind of scum that will fight against protecting the environment with the same zeal as his lobbying effort on behalf of the country’s largest private coal company. The results will be the demise of the nation’s environmental and public health regulations that Trump and the Koch brothers want eliminated. It is true no-one in their right mind will miss Scott Pruitt, but they will likely miss being aware of exactly what damage the head of the Environmental Protection Agency plans to wreak on the environment and the American people.

400-year-old trees cut down with blessings of Trump’s BLM

It is fair to claim that Republicans have done nothing positive for the American people over the past couple of decades at least; what can be termed “in the public interest” is of no use to Republicans. In fact, it is also a fair claim that Republicans have been relentless in taking away anything good about America no matter how popular or beneficial it is to the population, or how long it has been a crucial part of America.

With Trump in the White House, Republicans have been on a tear attacking anything of interest to the people, but it is not all down to dunce Don Trump. Republicans have crusaded, often in the shadows, to abolish decades-old programs created specifically for the people such as Social Security, workplace protections, social safety nets, financial regulations and anything remotely connected to FDR’s New Deal.

According to Republicans, and now Trump, there is nothing in or about America worth protecting or preserving any longer whether it is the New Deal, public land, or a 400 year old stand of trees on public, federally protected land, Nothing is sacred to Republicans or Trump if it involves the “public interest,” and a travesty in Oregon is a clarion call for action to preserve Americans’ land and their natural, national treasures.

Since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, there has been a concerted effort to sate the land and natural resources lust of Utah Mormons and the Koch brothers who are funding the GOP’s “public land grab” for their vast lumber, mining, and fossil fuel industries’ profits. This raping and pillaging of the public’s land did not begin with Trump or his dirty Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke; it has been as important to the fossil fuel, mining, and lumber industries as the drive to wipe out the Environmental Protection Agency.  In fact, over that past few years, Republicans have enthusiastically embraced Mormon Cliven Bundy’s crusade to seize the public’s land and it is no coincidence that Trump went to Utah first to deliver precisely what the Utah Mormon’s have demanded for years – possession of federally protected public lands.

Before commenting on why there is a tiny minority of the population vehemently opposed to the concept of “public land,” and who is behind the highly-unpopular “land grab,” it is worth noting why this new policy of giving public land over to corporate interests is an atrocity.

Earlier in the month in Oregon, a private lumber company senselessly  wiped out a stand of 400-year-old trees on the public’s land. As noted by conservationists, some of the trees were old-growth cedars and Douglas firs and cannot be brought back anytime within the next two or three centuries. To make the matter that much more infuriating, the trees “were” home to an endangered species, the Northern Spotted Owl. And the denuding occurred without the public’s knowledge or input.

And just in case the public did discover what was about to transpire, Trump’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) allowed the private timber company, Lone Rock Resources, to build gates to keep the public and the media from even approaching the public’s land. Local residents were not amused and complained that the entire affair was done behind closed doors; likely because the outrage and protests would have been robust.

One outraged group on Facebook fairly summed up the entire process that is going to be occurring regularly in Trump’s America to sate Utah Mormons, Republicans, and the Koch brothers. The group rightly said:

Your public lands are being handed away behind closed doors without your say so, and regardless of protest.”

The regional director for a conservation group, Cascadia Wildlands, stated how outrageous of an insult, and serious assault on natural treasures, this action was:

It’s very rare to find old-growth forests like this, and it’s going to be cut down for a senseless road.”

The private lumber company needed a “senseless road” to easily access a few acres of plantation land it intends to  clear cut (denude}, so it “legally” wiped out a stand of “rare” old-growth trees with the blessings of Trump’s Interior Department. The issue isn’t only the blatant disregard for trees older than America, or wiping out the habitat of an endangered species of owl, or that Trump’s BLM under Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is keeping the public unawares that their lands, and their natural resources, are being decimated to profit a private enterprise. It is that it is being done on the public’s land and against the public’s wishes; all to profit a private company. And although that land won’t be “public ” much longer, no groups will be happier than Utah Mormons and the Koch brothers. And it is not just this author’s opinion either. And no, there is no author bias against Mormons; just their belief that the federal government cannot own and protect the public’s land.

Some Americans may recall that the main complaint of Mormon extremist Cliven Bundy of the infamous “Bundy Ranch Standoff” was what he called the abomination of “public land” under protection of the land’s owner, the federal government. That “standoff” incited Republicans to join the Mormon and Koch brothers crusade to force the federal government to cede its ownership of protected “public lands” to Republican controlled states to sell off to private interests.

Republican governors and members of Congress jumped at the opportunity to aid the Bundy Mormons’ demand that the federal government immediately cede ownership of all national forests and public lands to the states; going so far as anointing Bundy as a true American hero and patriot. Bundy’s bent about the federal government owning land was, and still is, a longstanding issue with Mormons. But Republicans joined the fight to aid the Koch brothers.

In fact, Republicans would likely write and pass legislation forcing the government to hand over its land directly to the Koch brothers, but that may raise suspicions among Americans that Utah Mormons and Republicans in Congress exist to enrich the Koch brothers. It is particularly true since several Utah Republicans have cultivated a reputation as honest-to-dog “public lands enemies.”

Where the Mormon’s believe their god-given destiny is taking all land in the West, the Kochs believe they are destined to take all of the nation’s natural resources; no matter whose land it is. As Christine Colbert confessed in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Mormons believe religiously that their crusade to force the federal government to relinquish ownership of the public’s land is simply “an effort to ‘take back’ what they believe is rightfully theirs.” Based on the staggering amount of money the Kochs are investing in the Utah Republicans’ land grab agenda, they obviously believe the nation’s natural resources are “rightfully theirs.”

This land grab, and decimation of the public’s national treasures, is a highly unpopular proposal. To belabor the point, last year Zinke’s EPA solicited public comments hoping to find that most Americans were like Utah Mormons, but he discovered that 98 percent of respondents were not only favorable about keeping public land, monuments and national parks as they are now, they “favored” expanding them. Shortly after learning of the public’s favorable opinion about their federal land, Zinke went directly and recommended that Trump modify (read shrink) at least 10 National Parks and Monuments.

Now, if anyone is curious about which demographic makes up the 2 percent of the population opposed to public lands, parks and monuments, consider that Mormons in America make up 1.7 percent of the population. It is likely no stretch of the imagination that the remaining 3-tenths of one percent are in the mining, lumber and fossil fuel business. As noted by people keeping score, it is primarily the Mormons and Koch brothers driving the GOP’s land grab agenda and plans to sell off federal land, national parks and monuments to private enterprise.

Some Americans may think cutting down 400-year old “natural monuments” is no big deal, even if it was to profit a private timber company. But what happened in Oregon is already in the works across the nation and along its coastlines. There are big plans to begin mining highly-toxic uranium in Utah and the Grand Canyon, and besides despoiling Americans’ land, threatening their health and their national treasures, the plans will primarily benefit a Canadian uranium producer, Energy Fuels. It is unclear if Energy Fuels is following China’s and other foreign nations’ lead and bribing Trump for favors, but it is not out of the realm of possibility whatsoever.

Look, the public lands, national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas belong to all Americans; it is one of the things that really “made America great” because they benefit all the people. But what the people want is of no consequence to Trump, Republicans, Utah Mormons or the Koch brothers; especially if it is beneficial to all the people. In fact, it almost appears that Republicans are crusading to take the public’s land and hand it over to corporate ownership simply because the overwhelming majority of people have a highly-favorable opinion of their public land. But the truth is that there is big money for the Kochs, and religious satisfaction for the Mormons; neither will be sated until they have stolen the entirety of Americans’ lands to rape and pillage at their pleasure.

Koch Republicans Inch Closer Towards Replacing the Constitution

In a nation governed by a supreme law of the land, a “law” every politician recites a “so help me god” oath to support and defend, it is a sad state that the political party running the government rejects that “supreme law” out of hand. Even worse, since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, more Republicans are coming out against the U.S. Constitution with no outrage among the population. The party’s standard bearer, dirty Don Trump, boldly claimed the “supreme law” is bad for Americans and “archaic” to set the stage for Republicans to create a new modern law of the land. As of late, an increasing number of Republicans claim their truly archaic religious rule book, or some bastardized interpretation of it, supersedes the law of the land; anything in the Constitution stating otherwise is “unconstitutional.”

It is unfortunate, but the number of politicians dreaming of abolishing the U.S. Constitution for a new set of “god-bestowed” laws includes the entirety of the Republican Party; the Koch brothers have been greatly increasing their already very substantial funding for the campaign to “rebirth the Constitution.” This movement has been in the works for a long time, and of course the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been instrumental in the crusade to transform the current Constitution into a document amenable to the demands of the libertarian Kochs and Christian Dominionists. The movement became mainstream in GOP circles when the RNC included an entire section devoted to creating a new evangelical and Koch-friendly constitution in its official 2016 platform.

Of course then, like now, many Americans claim a Republican platform is just a “guideline,” or wish-list of their Utopian vision of more perfect GOP Union. But they are well beyond a “guideline” and well on their way towards “replacing” the U.S. Constitution. Like Americans’ apathy at the creeping theocracy threatening their way of life,  there is little to no outrage or abject fear in the population at the demise of the document that informs this nation.

There is a concerted, and very well-funded, crusade among Republican-controlled states to be proactive in anticipating the addition of 5 states to successfully call for a constitutional convention. The requirement to convene a constitutional convention is 34 states and exactly a year ago Wyoming became the 29th state to pass a resolution “requesting a convention of the states”  to rewrite the law of the land.

There was little-to-no reporting about two weeks ago that another Republican state joined the others in passing an initiative to convene a constitutional convention to conform to the Koch brothers’ vision of America. In Iowa, the Senate passed “Joint Resolution 8” calling for a convention of the states to impose the Koch-libertarian-evangelical created Constitution on the American people.

This action is not by a rogue state or outlier by any stretch and if Republicans gain control of four or five more states, they will invoke Article 5 of the current Constitution and begin dismantling the administrative state (government). And because they intend to create a new constitution, they will enshrine protections to ensure the federal government will never return.

Iowa Republicans claim their intent is imposing “fiscal restraints” to limit federal government spending to only what Republicans want, and severely limit the authority and the jurisdiction of the federal judiciary and Congress. This is a common theme among the states’ “initiatives,” but as Bill Meyers noted, when Republicans states are the sole participants in “amending” the Constitution, they will not limit their efforts to one item and a “runaway convention” will be a certainty.

If Americans were aware of what the Kochs and evangelicals really intend for the new law of the land, they may wake up and revolt. But the population as a whole is inherently ignorant or we would not be on the brink of a new America and a two-bit corrupt celebrity would not be in the White House.

Of course the Kochs and evangelicals intend to have a federal government, but only to tax the people just enough to pay for an army, a federal police force, and the church. If any American doesn’t believe it, consider that “fiscal responsibility” is code for the Republicans’ long sought-after “balanced budget amendment.” Republicans will mandate a budget that cannot exceed tax revenue, and according to the earliest reporting on the recent and drastic revenue shortfall due to the Heritage Foundation’s tax reform, there will not even be enough budget to fund the military or federal police; of course “the church” funding has not been affected. Any part of government unrelated to waging wars or religion will have to be eliminated for lack of revenue according to the Koch’s libertarian agenda.

What may be worse is the insertion of what Republicans denote as “god” rights and laws. An excerpt from the 2016 RNC platform clearly portends an end to equal rights, religious freedom and signals the imposition of an evangelical theocracy as the law of the land. It says that the new “rebirthed” Constitution will guarantee:

That God bestows certain inalienable rights on every individual; that government exists first and foremost to protect those inalienable [god] rights; that man-made law must be consistent with God-given, natural rights; and that if God-given rights come in conflict with government, court, or human-granted rightsGod-given, natural, rights always prevail.” (author bold)

It doesn’t take a genius to notice the number of “god” references or that, as evangelical fanatics scream mercilessly, that “god” prevails over everything. What that means for a new America is that all laws will have to conform with “god” law and the concept of church-State separation will cease to exist. Republicans and evangelical leaders have claimed loudly that god created America and he is the law of the land and that absurd notion will be the new law of the land’s overriding theme. Those radical  evangelicals directing Republicans will not pass up a chance to make the Bible the constitution and America a Christian nation.

As Mr. Moyers points out, since Republicans states will convene the constitutional convention, they will have the right to set the rules and the agenda. That includes creating a new ratification process by reducing the number of states needed to approve the new Constitution and removing Congress from the approval process altogether. Republicans can, and will, reserve participation to Republican leaders and their corporate and evangelical advisors, and there is nothing any Supreme Court, U.S. Congress, or masses of people can do to stop them. In fact, there is even talk of the new Constitution allowing states to nullify any past, present or future Supreme Court ruling that the evangelical right or Republicans don’t consider valid or “god” approved. It would not be a shock if they just disband the federal judiciary and adhere to the Oathkeepers’ mentality and make the Constitutional sheriff the sole criminal justice system and arbiter of the law of the land.

Republicans are serious about transforming America and the Koch brothers and a few oligarchs provide unlimited funds, much of it dark money, to accomplish the dirty deed. Evangelicals do their part by supplying voters, and Trump created a perfect conduit for corporate money to influence elections through tax deductible church SuperPACs.

It is stunning that this truly existential threat to Americans’ way of life, and their nation as it has prospered for over 230 years, has progressed this far to actually become a terrifying reality. It is not pleasant to contemplate, but America’s days as a nation other country’s citizens admired are over. Sadly this pitiful country is only five Republican states away from officially being over as the Founding Fathers created it. Because without the current U.S. Constitution there is no United States of America. This like everything else happening to Americans was in the works long before Trump, but he has done his part by declaring the Constitution is “bad for America” to make the Kochs, evangelicals, and Republicans heroes for crusading to replace it.

Trump Is Expanding the Koch War On Renewable Energy

America as a world leader in anything other than waging wars and bi-monthly gun massacres is declining rapidly since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration. If it isn’t the Trump administration agencies refuting science on a variety of topics, or an honest-to-dog rush toward an evangelical theocracy, America is devolving and reverting to a by-gone era when fossil fuels were the only source of reliable power on Earth. Part and parcel of that lurch backwards is sating the greed of the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel cabal that demands eliminating any energy sources that are alternatives to fossil fuels. It does not matter one iota how cheap, plentiful, environmentally friendly or beneficial to the people’s health and welfare clean and renewable sources are, Trump and the Koch brothers want them to go away.

Two weeks ago when Trump announced steep tariffs on solar panels he lied and swore the purpose was to save and create a wealth of American jobs. Of course that was pure mendacity because the number of American jobs in manufacturing solar panels is far less than 2,000 in America for two specific reasons. First, the solar cell manufacturing process is highly mechanized and requires hardly any human labor. Second, advanced nations such as China began investing in solar manufacturing at about the same time the Koch brothers tasked Republicans with killing the renewable energy industry. America as a solar cell manufacturing power never took off because there was no urgency in investing in or developing a new technology that did not enrich the fossil fuel industry.

That idiotic lack of action allowed China to take an American invention and develop it into a highly profitable industry that left America behind and elevated China as the world leader in solar panel manufacturing. Trump’s imposition of tariffs was solely to make solar energy more costly for Americans according to the Koch brothers’ demand. The solar industry said Trump will also have killed off a tad over 23,000 good jobs in the solar installation and maintenance industry, and an untold number of related jobs according to conservative estimates released a couple of days ago.

At the time of Trump’s assault on solar, many commenters said Trump was really only preserving “American jobs for Americans” in the renewable energy sector. They also claimed there was no dastardly intent to harm renewable energy, and that Trump was not doing the bidding of the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohorts. It should have been enlightening to those commenters that Trump is fossil fuel’s puppet when he sang the praises of something that does not exist during his speech to Congress – “beautiful clean coal.” According to the leading coal industry CEO Trump panders to for support, “there is no such thing as clean coal.”

Now, to verify that Trump is not only targeting solar and that he is on a crusade to kill off renewable energy for the Koch brothers, the White House is proposing to drastically slash Department of Energy (DOE) funding for research and development of renewable energy; regardless if it is solar, wind, geothermal or bioenergy. The Washington Post got a copy of the draft document showing Trump wants to eviscerate any and all DOE programs related to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including drastic Energy Department staffing cuts.

As surrogate for the Koch brothers, Trump wants a 72 percent cut in spending for the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), including a massive cut in the DOE labor force. That labor force is responsible for conducting “research, development, grants and more aimed at developing and deploying energy efficiency and renewable technology.” The DOE has played an important role in “dramatically reducing the costs of solar power” and energy efficiency across the board and it explains why the Koch brothers are not about to allow it to go any farther now that they own the federal government.

The Koch administration also demands, and Trump wants to deliver, an 82 percent cut in research on fuel efficient vehicles, an 82 percent reduction in bioenergy technologies, and a 78 percent cut in solar energy technology research. It is, no matter how one assesses it, an all-out attack on renewable and clean energy for the sole benefit of the Koch brothers and their fossil fuel cohort’s continued profits and monopoly on energy.

Trump also intends on slashing funding for research into other alternative energy sources like wind, hydro and geothermal power because they are clean, cheaper, renewable, create new jobs and industries, and most importantly, they reduce the need and use of dirty fossil fuels. Obviously, those alternatives to fossil fuels also aid in combating anthropogenic climate change and a world of health issues killing off over 200,000 Americans unnecessarily every year.

To get a better grasp on just how far the new Koch-run White House is crusading to profit fossil fuel, the Trump administration is also demanding that Congress “abolish the weatherization program” because it both trained and employed thousands of workers and aided in reducing utility costs for tens-of-thousands of homeowners; mostly elderly and lower income Americans.

One EERE employee who spoke anonymously out of fear of reprisals said Trump’s proposals “show that we’ve made no inroads in terms of convincing the administration of our value, and if anything, our value based on these numbers has dropped.” That is not an accurate depiction of what is transpiring. If anything, it shows that Trump and his fossil fuel masters do indeed see the value of the EERE because better energy efficiency and cheaper renewable energy is cutting into fossil fuel’s profits and monopoly on energy.

As a fair number of commenters noted, Trump will probably not succeed in wiping out renewable energy in America over the long term, and it is just as likely that a few Republicans in Congress will not go along with all of the DOE cuts the Koch brothers want. However, there is no denying that Trump’s tariffs will kill jobs and raise the cost of solar energy, and coupled with any cuts to the EERE, any progress America has made in embracing renewable energy will be retarded to protect fossil fuel’s monopoly on energy.

Possibly worse for this backward nation is that while the rest of the civilized and developing world progress technologically and economically on into the 21st Century, America under Trump and the Kochs is reverting to dirty 20th Century technology to benefit the fossil fuel industry. It is worth mentioning that Trump can never claim the cuts to the DOE’s renewable energy activities are borne of cost-cutting because the fossil fuel industry will still garner tens-of-billions in taxpayer subsidies – partially paid for with cuts to renewable energy programs.

Trump Is Helping the Kochs Kill America’s Solar Industry and Jobs

It was, or rather it should have been, no surprise that Donald Trump lied when he announced a tariff on solar panels early this week, especially his claim the move was an integral part of a new aggressive trade policy. The move had little to do with trade policy and everything to do with Trump and Republicans’ love affair with, and indebtedness to, the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry and the Republicans’ decades-long assault on renewable energy.

Although Trump is the culprit in putting a tariff on solar panels, Republicans in Congress have maintained a relatively steady assault on renewable energy since another dirty Republican, Ronald Reagan, declared war on clean power sources. That Republican war on solar power was gaining steam at about the same time China realized that the future of energy independence and a highly profitable and job-creating industry was in solar power. While Republicans were blocking progress on solar power, one forward-looking advanced nation  took the number one solar energy spot away from the world power that invented and developed solar panels while it was embracing more costly and dirty fossil fuels. Over two decades later, nothing has changed except an escalation in the Koch-Republican war on clean renewable energy.

First, Trump said imposing steep tariffs on solar panels was solely to “helps to create jobs in America for Americans.” That was a bald-faced lie and only a moron would believe otherwise.  The only result of Trump’s action will be crippling the solar industry by raising the cost of solar panels “in the years ahead and drastically slow adoption of the renewable energy technology and kill thousands of jobs.”

Experts in the solar energy field report that in America; “solar manufacturing now represents just a tiny fraction of the overall jobs that have developed around the solar industry.” The numbers don’t lie, and although way more than  a quarter of a million Americans are working in the solar energy sector, far fewer than 2,000 of those employed in the United States are working manufacturing solar cells and modules.

The great majority of those solar jobs, about 258,000 of them, are highly-skilled and manual labor installation and maintenance projects that the Solar Energy Industries Association say require expertise, are labor intensive and impossible to automate; unlike the manufacturing process. It is also noteworthy to mention that the two companies reportedly lobbying Trump for the high tariffs are subsidiaries of foreign companies. The two companies, Suniva and SolarWorld said they needed high tariffs on primarily Malaysian and South Korean competitors to help preserve the less than 2,000 solar panel manufacturing jobs in the United States. Trump has no interest in preserving the quarter of a million solar jobs affected by the higher cost panels, because the tariffs were not to preserve or create jobs; they are an escalation of the Koch-ALEC-Heritage Foundation war on renewable energy.

For some time now Republicans, with valuable aid from the Koch brothers’ American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Heritage Foundation, have been waging state-level wars against what is known as “renewable portfolio standard” (RPS). Those RPS have helped create tens-of-thousands of new renewable energy jobs, fill state coffers, and grow state economies as well as combat anthropogenic climate change. In states that attempted to expand RPS and create more jobs and bring in more revenue, Republicans have blocked the moves to earn hearty congratulations from ALEC and Heritage.

It is noteworthy that Trump, Republicans in Congress and state legislatures are attempting to do exactly what the Koch brothers tasked ALEC and Heritage Action to do; end renewable energy’s expansion by any means possible. Trump imposing tariffs on solar panels is part of the Koch war on clean and renewable energy, the environment, jobs, and economic growth to further enrich the fossil fuel industry. In fact, the Heritage Foundation has been touting victory for the fossil fuel industry and celebrating  “the death of the renewable energy movement” for a few years. In fact, Heritage recently praised the “colossal coal comeback” even as renewable energy, particularly solar power is a raging success in providing cleaner, cheaper, and ridiculously abundant energy from the Sun.

The war on renewable energy began when President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels on the White House roof in the midst of an oil shortage; Ronald Reagan removed the solar panels as a nod to big oil that renewable and inexpensive energy would not be allowed to impact fossil fuel profits. Republicans have never supported renewable energy because Koch brothers and their ilk cannot claim ownership of, or profit from, the Sun. If the Kochs could charge Americans to use the Sun, then every building in America would be fitted with solar panels and they would be furnished by the Koch brothers.

When Jimmy Carter unveiled the White House solar panels to the press, he said:

No one can ever embargo the sun or interrupt its delivery to us. A generation from now, this solar can either be a curiosity, a museum piece, an example of a road not taken, or it can be a small part of one of the greatest and most exciting adventures ever undertaken by the American people; harnessing the power of the Sun to enrich our lives as we move away from our crippling dependence on foreign oil.”

It is likely that President Carter never imagined in his wildest dreams that American politicians would deliberately block access to the Sun’s energy. Nevertheless, that is what Trump’s imposition of tariffs on solar panels was meant to do precisely like the Koch brothers’ attacks on voter-approved renewable energy standards. For their part, Republicans in Congress have religiously blocked national renewable energy standards while doling out a healthy $21.5 billion in taxpayer-funded  subsidies (corporate welfare) to fossil fuel every year.

It is a sad commentary that in a crusade to serve the interests of one specific industry, a technologically advanced nation like America is reverting to inefficient, costly, and dirty power sources. Of course it is tempting to blame Trump, but like nearly everything disastrous that happened over the past year, he is just a typical Republican doing the bidding of the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation.

Don’t Blame Trump – Republicans Are Destroying America

There is a misconception among many Americans that the country is being rapidly dismantled from within and doled out to a few special interests because Donald Trump is in the White House. It is also erroneous to believe America is being radically transformed into something unrecognizable because a reality show host is setting domestic policy and a legislative agenda, and signing executive orders only his base believes are inspired by god. While it is true Trump is complicit in the impending and systematic  demise of America as it existed for 80 or so years, he is nothing more than a very convenient distraction, and a clueless rubber-stamp for the conservative movement’s evil machinations.

It is noteworthy that no small number of political opinion writers predicted the Republicans would do precisely what they are currently doing when they owned the government; only to be mocked as fear and conspiracy mongers. It turns out those pundits and opinion writers were spot on and not because they were prophets, but because they saw what the Koch brothers and their ilk demanded from Republicans sworn to do their bidding.

Everything happening in Washington, from tax reform to privatization to theocratization to deconstructing the federal government is a decades-long dream of America’s conservative oligarchs and it doesn’t matter which Republican is in the White House; a Republican majority in Congress guaranteed the current dismantling of the nation. In fact, dirty Donald Trump is so insignificant to the deconstruction of America that it will not be surprising when Republicans throw Trump to the impeachment police the instant they realize his usefulness as a distraction is unnecessary or too costly.

It is beyond refute that everything Republicans are doing since Trump’s poorly attended inauguration have been in the works long before Trump came on the scene. It is why Mike ‘preacher’ Pence works closely with and depends on the Heritage Foundation to provide a framework for “his” domestic policy reforms. Heritage has been instrumental in providing Pence and Trump with a harsh budget and current tax reform for the rich, as well as nominating blatantly partisan federal judges. Add to those horrors the Heritage Foundation was instrumental in selecting Trump’s cabinet and agency heads who are determined to dismantle those agencies and departments before handing control of the government over to special interests.

Trump is a bungling imbecile on his best day, but he is also too lazy and too stupid to have done the necessary research into which cabinet nominees were best suited to do the theocratic, corporate, fossil fuel and financial sector’s bidding; and why should he? The Heritage Foundation and a couple of special interest groups already had a wish list prepared to serve the needs of the corporate, theocratic, fossil fuel and financial sectors with a view towards destroying them from within . As Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman noted, this assault on America “is not a story about Donald Trump, bad as he is. The rot pervades the whole Republican Party.”

That rot has existed for decades, by the way, and the tax giveaway to the rich and corporations is just the beginning of the end of the country as most Americans know it. And it is worth pointing out that within that “tax reform” legislation are extra gifts to the Koch brothers that begin taking apart social safety nets such as Medicaid and Medicare as well as public education. And there is a special gift to the evangelical movement that has nothing whatsoever to do with tax reform and everything to do with setting a federal legal precedent necessary to completely eliminate the concept of women’s reproductive rights.  It’s a plan that the great majority of Americans are completely unaware of and was contrived in the 1970’s while Donald Trump was “fighting his own Vietnam trying to avoid contracting sexually-transmitted diseases because women’s vaginas are landmines.

Everything happening to America right now, and will continue unabated until they finish, are long-sought-after conservative movement goals and have nothing to do with Trump. In fact, even if Trump is thrown out of office, there are any number of successors who will toe the Republican line and do exactly what the “movement” orders.

Most of the conservative movement’s orders will center around ending “pillars of the safety net” created in the 1930’s (New Deal) to aid and protect the American people from fascist corporate assaults. The “movement’” has attempted to dismantle, and eliminate, such programs as Social Security, unemployment insurance, minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, workplace safety standards with as much fanaticism as they have attacked clean water, air and safe medicine standards. Now that they have complete control of the government, all of those programs are being targeted along with myriad assaults on anything the rich and corporations believe is either a burden to their profits, or belong to them because it means more wealth. Look at anything this administration is doing and it is glaringly apparent its raison d’être is handing control of the nation over to a nasty un-American cabal of special interests.

Right now there is a world of warranted attention on the GOP’s tax giveaway to the rich and corporations, but it is all in vain. Although Trump will benefit as much as any other member of the wealthy elite, and despite his claim that the tax cuts will really hurt him, it is something Republicans planned no matter who was president, Republican or Democrat. Now they have a Republican rubber stamp and it doesn’t matter what the rubber stamp’s name is, the trickle down attack was always the plan.

In fact, three years ago while Kansas’ economy was dying due to Governor Sam Brownback’s trickle down tax cuts, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Brownback it was exactly what Republicans wanted to do in Washington when they controlled Congress and the White House. The only difference between Brownback’s tax cut disaster is the level of severity; Republicans included unrealistic cuts in the current federal “trickle down reform” that actually raise taxes on the poor. The results of the federal reforms will be significantly more severe than those that decimated Kansas, but they were created to serve the exact same purposes; enrich the wealthy, punish the poor, and shrink the government into oblivion by starving it of revenue.

Look, no matter how bad Trump is, and he is admittedly as bad as they come, he is not driving the Republicans’ assault on the nation and it is a monumental mistake to even pretend that’s the case. The blame for the attack on America and the government that has somewhat protected the citizens for over eighty years belongs to Republicans devoted to the libertarian Koch brothers. Everything Republicans are planning to do to the nation, from assaulting social programs to privatizing the government to wiping out any form of regulatory oversight make up the policy proposals and dream agenda of Charles Koch’s campaign for the vice presidency in 1980 as a libertarian. Suffice it to say, the Kochs demand the abolition of the entire federal government and anything remotely related to providing for the “general welfare of the people.” The Heritage Foundation and Republicans are of the same mind and it is why they provided Trump with the personnel to dismantle every federal agency and department from within.

It is noteworthy to remind anyone who thinks Trump is running domestic policy that he told prospective vice presidential candidates that in his administration they would run domestic and foreign policy giving Trump time to focus on being CEO of making America great. It is safe to say that Pence isn’t running domestic policy unilaterally. He is too focused on making America an evangelical theocracy to concern himself with tax reform, social program cuts, or government privatization; the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation are running domestic policy and Republicans in Congress are, and will continue, executing their agenda. Paul Ryan actually said now that Republicans are close to raping the people with “tax reform,” they will shift their focus to making Draconian spending cuts concurrently with the planned major cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, and supplemental nutrition programs.

Americans have no idea how much the nation is going to change, for the worse, now that Republicans control the country. Any program created since the New Deal that served the interests of the people, whether social programs, workplace protections, medical safety standards, financial regulations or environmental protections are going to be assaulted with a view towards abolishment. Everything Republicans in the states have lusted after, such as turning over National Parks, protected wilderness areas, national monuments and public land to corporations is already in the works.

Republicans have dreamed of privatizing the government and agencies like the U.S. Postal Service, public education including higher education, public transportation, the prison system, and public health agencies and they are all currently under assault. Tragically, there is nothing whatsoever anyone can do to stop them. It is worth noting that everything that Republicans and Trump want to do are highly unpopular and they know it; but they also know there is no-one with authority to stop them, including the electorate.

Anyone who believes getting Trump out of the White House will change the way Republicans are governing is a fool. The Republicans’ agenda has not changed in decades and now that they own the government, it doesn’t matter who lives in the White House. They will take America apart and give the wealth of the nation to the rich and corporations with or without Trump; they could not care less who signs the nation’s death warrant, so stop blaming Trump and focus on the existential danger to America; the Republican Party.

 

Perfectly Safe KeystoneXL Pipeline Springs Another Leak

For at least the second time in a few months a foreign corporation-owned oil pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil in South Dakota. The leak occurred mere days before neighboring Nebraska decides whether to issue a permit for the oil export pipeline’s construction across part of America’s agricultural heartland as well as a massive aquifer supplying water to millions of Americans and farmers.

A spokesman for South Dakota’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Brian Walsh, said “this is the largest Keystone oil spill to date – in South Dakota.” In April of last year TransCanada “released” 16,800 gallons of oil that leaked from the “perfectly safe” Keystone Pipeline. Walsh said it only took two months to clean up “the majority of the spillage” from that leak; “the largest Keystone oil spill” to date at the time.

Mr. Walsh said that as of Thursday, a few hours after the leak was discovered, that there “were no initial reports of the oil spill affecting waterways, water systems, or wildlife. It is a below-ground pipeline but some oil has surfaced above ground to the grass. It will be a few days until they can excavate and get in borings to see if there is groundwater contamination.”

It is uncertain whether Nebraska will consider “groundwater contamination” in deciding if the pipeline can proceed through the state, but another Keystone pipeline leak within a few months will probably not influence Nebraska’s decision. The state is scheduled to announce this coming Monday about whether to permit the foreign corporation (TransCanada) to expand construction through Nebraska.

The foreign corporation that owns and operates the “perfectly safe” Keystone pipeline, TransCanada released the same kind of statement they did in April when Keystone leaked. “The safety of the public and environment are our top priorities and we will continue to provide updates as they become available.

It was particularly nice of the foreign corporation to assure the public that it was working with state and federal agencies when they should have worked diligently to make sure their leak-prone pipeline was secure. No doubt TransCanada is frantically “working” diligently on Nebraska state agencies and officials who will announce on Monday whether to allow their state to host a “perfectly safe” pipeline; something Greenpeace said should be an easy decision.

The environmental activist group said this “latest” spill “shows that another section of the pipeline in Nebraska should not be approved.” Rachel Rye Butler spoke for environmentalists and sane Americans saying:

The Nebraska Public Service Commission needs to take a close look at this spill. A permit approval allowing Canadian oil company TransCanada to build Keystone XL is a thumbs-up to likely spills in the future.”

Kelly Martin is the director of the Sierra Club campaign, “Beyond Dirty Fuels,” and reiterated what no small number of environmental groups have known is a fact of life about oil pipelines:

We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us. This is not the first time TransCanada’s pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won’t be the last. There is no such thing as a safe tar sands pipeline, and the only way to protect Nebraska communities from more tar sand spills is to say no to Keystone XL.

Despite warnings of spills, and President Barack Obama’s rejection of TransCanada’s permit to build the pipeline, the fossil fuel industry running the government is not going to “say no to Keystone XL” even if Nebraska rejects the project. Republicans and Trump claim the pipeline is crucial to eliminating America’s dependency on foreign oil, but they know the foreign-owned pipeline is a transit medium for toxic oil-sands from Alberta Canada on a route through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska; where it will eventually “feed Texas Gulf Coast refineries.”

After refining and processing, much of it by Koch industries, that oil is already slated for export to China and Europe. None of that oil was ever intended to reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil because it belongs to a foreign corporation, and the Koch brothers, who are going to profit by selling it to foreign nations.

It is noteworthy to mention that if America is so desperate to end its dependency on “foreign oil,” then why did congressional Republicans lift a 40-year ban on selling American oil on the foreign export market last year? As of February of this year, American oil exports to “foreign nations” were at record levels because America is flush with oil and the industry wants more profits.

In fact, in May of this year, Trump proposed selling off half of America’s emergency oil stockpile and the entire backup gasoline supply – to foreign nations. Trump’s head of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, said at the time that it was “the responsible thing to do … especially when we have increased domestic production like we have today.”

Even an imbecile should demand to know why, if America is so damn dependent on foreign oil, is the Trump administration anxious to sell off half the emergency reserves and why is the oil industry selling record levels of American oil to foreign nations? And how in dog’s name is a foreign-owned pipeline carrying foreign oil across prime agriculture land and one of the nation’s “most used aquifers” en route to more foreign nations helping reduce the country’s dependency on foreign oil?

The Keystone XL pipeline is for the sole benefit of a foreign corporation, the Koch brothers, and the oil export industry. Not only are Americans not going to see that oil except for when the pipeline leaks, in order to process tar sand through the pipeline it will take a significant amount of already processed oil to keep it moving on its way to the Gulf for refining and export to foreign nations. And besides endangering the Ogallala Aquifer and prime agricultural land, oil industry experts predict it will increase the cost of diesel fuel at the pump by about 25-cents per gallon for American consumers. Likely worse, though, is the existential cost to the planet of developing tar sands (bitumen) that leading climate scientists say means “game over for the environment.

There is no good reason for allowing a foreign corporation to construct a leak-prone tar sand pipeline across America’s “agricultural heartland” that endangers the environment, creates health risks, raises gas prices and decimates the climate. The only reason the pipeline is going forward, and it will go forward, is because the fossil fuel industry now holds comfortable majorities in both houses of Congress and own the rubber stamp in the Oval Office.

Pruitt’s Clean Power Repeal Means Death for Americans

Shortly after Trump’s poorly attended inauguration, scientists at several federal agencies said they were told they can no longer speak to the media or use social media because the new administration rejects science – they claim it hurts Republicans’ fossil fuel donors.  Over at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), staffers were notified that going forward any scientific work would have to be reviewed by fossil fuel advocates appointed by Republican politicians to stop scientists’ attacks on the dirty energy industry.

Yesterday, the Republican whose prior claim to fame was thwarting the EPA by keeping the agency tied up in the courts ignored science the EPA depends on to protect Americans. In fact Scott Pruitt boasted often that he was “the leading advocate against the EPA,” but because he still doesn’t have the authority to unilaterally destroy the agency he runs, he used his position to repeal the agency’s Clean Power Plan to put a rapid end to the critical effort of reducing carbon emissions. Remember, the mission of the EPA is “protecting human health and the environment by issuing regulations and enforcing the nation’s environmental laws.” Scott Pruitt rejects the concept of protecting human health and the environment because he is a shill for the fossil fuel industry.

Pruitt went to Kentucky on Monday and proudly announced that as the man tasked with protecting the nation’s environment, he is unilaterally repealing the Clean Power Plan – because it was founded on science and created to protect the nation’s environment and not the Koch brothers’ wealth. The Clean Power Plan was also put in place to protect current and future Americans by aiding the effort to reduce the effects of anthropogenic climate change Trump says is a Chinese hoax. Trump claims the preponderance of atmospheric and oceanic scientists are lying about global warming because he saw snow falling someplace.

Pruitt’s action is just one of the reasons why the fossil fuel industry contributes millions to elect Republicans, and as expected their dirty investments are paying off.  The Koch brothers, in particular, have called for abolishing the EPA for well over 30 years and no doubt they are getting antsy to see the agency abolished. Now that they are co-owners of the government with the religious right, their prayers to the fossil fuel gods are being answered by a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical whose fealty to fossil fuels rivals his devotion to evangelical radicalism.

Pruitt claims his action will end the “war on coal” and the industry will explode. But as the industry has admitted often as of late, nothing Trump or Pruitt does will halt the “decline of coal” or create jobs that have been replaced by mechanization. Coal’s decline is also evident according to the explosion in green energy jobs and cheaper electrical generating costs as more utilities and states have shifted to cheaper and cleaner wind, natural gas, and solar to save money. Many states are going forward with targets set by the Clean Power Plan because of the health and cost benefits of not using dirty coal-fired electricity generating plants. Coal is responsible for “about one-third of America’s carbon dioxide emissions.”

Pruitt and Trump both lie profusely that their attacks on the EPA and advocacy for dirty fossil fuels is good for America and helps their crusade to protect the people and the environment. However, as former EPA head Gina McCarthy notes:

Pruitt’s proposal does nothing to protect public health and the natural resources we need to survive and thrive. It’s not smart or economically sound. It ignores the investment opportunities and health benefits of our country’s transition to cleaner energy. And it ignores climate change solutions that are plentiful, less expensive than traditional fossil fuels and producing jobs 12 times faster than the rest of the economy.”

Colorado’s Governor, John Hickenlooper noted that his state is already surpassing their goals with jobs and a cleaner environment after “closing coal plants and developing wind and other renewables.” He added: “We have dramatically cleaner air and we are saving money. My question to [the Pruitt] E.P.A. would be ‘which part of that don’t you like?’”

This latest environmental abomination comes on the heels of the Department of Energy’s plan to subsidize (give taxpayer dollars) coal plants by “revamping (controlling) electricity markets.” Apparently Republicans do not really advocate for “free markets” if they intend on giving the coal industry taxpayers’ dollars the same way they do the dirty, and filthy rich, oil industry.

The director of the environmental law program at Harvard Law School, Jody Freeman, said that coupled with taxpayer-funded coal subsidies, repealing the Clean Power Plan is a glaring signal that Trump’s administration is  “putting its thumb on the scale in favor of fossil fuels.” Ms. Freeman added:

You see a pretty powerful message. Disavow any effort to control greenhouse gases in the power sector, and instead, intervene in the market to promote coal. It’s a wow!”

It is an expected “wow,” and an abomination for Americans concerned about the damage they see every day from the effects of climate change, or those enjoying cleaner air and water as well as lower electricity bills, or the explosion of well-paying jobs nationwide. According to the EPA’s assessment prior to being run by Pruitt, the Clean Power Plan would prevent about 3,600 premature deaths and 90,000 childhood asthma attacks every year. But Pruitt and Trump could not care less about those statistics; damn the effects of climate change, damn clean air and water, and god damn the American people’s health and welfare.

No matter the economic and health benefits of combatting climate change, Republicans are bound and determined to wipe out those benefits regardless of the adverse effects to the people’s health, climate, and America’s economic well-being. They are also gleefully wiping out any chance of saving the next few generations from the already occurring devastation of global warming because they owe the Koch brothers’ fossil fuel industry a world of favors. They know without the Kochs’ largesse Republicans would not control the government or the ability to negatively impact Americans’ lives; a goal looking more and more like the only reasons the Republican Party exists.

Koch-Republicans Unleash Attack on Labor in Time for Labor Day

One might think there is some sort of irony in the news that Republicans and their Koch-funded belief tanks are attacking America’s labor force on the federal Labor Day holiday, but with an anti-labor government, it isn’t ironic, it is expected. If Republicans had any scruples, they would make themselves scarce today and avoid public celebrations of Labor Day like plague, but since they don’t have any scruples, they will likely show their greedy faces and offer worthless platitudes to the American worker.

Labor Day was created to acknowledge the organized labor movement (unions) and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It is allegedly meant to be a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

However, now that Republicans and the Koch brothers control the government, workers are facing some seriously barbaric assaults on any and everything to do with labor. Republicans and the Kochs have been on a tear to demolish workers’ rights and wages for nigh onto two decades. But now they have the means and authority to send the American workforce back to the early 20th Century. To achieve that important Koch goal, they recently announced a vicious assault on organized labor to accompany their attack on workers’ rights – including the right to a living wage.

According to several reports, as expected, a Koch-funded and ALEC-affiliated network of 67 conservative ‘belief’ tanks with activists in all 50 states announced a “breakthrough campaign” devised to “strike a mortal blow against the American left.” And they will commence their attack by “defunding and defanging” organized labor as an important first step “towards ensuring the permanent collapse of progressive politics;” and any labor protections for American workers.

The outfit taking the lead in assaulting the labor force is the State Policy Network (SPN). SPN is a national conservative organization closely tied to the Kochs, Americans for Prosperity, and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). It consists of 67 different “non-profit foundations” in the states with a mission, in its own words, to be “idea factories” for state-based conservative policies. However, they are “idea factories” pushing the Koch and GOP’s national anti-government policies to “innocent sounding state foundations” that pretend they came up with ideas of their own accord. The Center for Media and Democracy’s ‘Source Watch’ reported:

“In the states, SPN groups increasingly peddle cookie-cutter ‘studies’ to back the cookie-cutter ALEC agenda, spinning that agenda as indigenous to the state and giving it the aura of academic legitimacy. Many SPN groups have been accused of lobbying in their states in violation of IRS rules for non-profit ‘charitable’ organizations.”

The big push to abolish union labor will be spearheaded with a monumental attempt at passing right to work prohibitions in all 50 states, and theright to workcrusade will sound appealing to the stupid people who dependably elect Republicans. However, besides lowering wages, the goal is to destroy unions, and with no unions the concept of prevailing wage” will vanish. Oh there will no doubt be a “prevailing wage,” but instead of a living wage that lifts other workers’ pay, it will do the opposite and bring all wages down in line with whatever Republicans and Kochs decide is best for corporate profits.

No American should think this is an isolated attack on labor. In Missouri this past week the minimum wage workforce in cities that raised the minimum to $10 per hour saw their hourly rate slashed to $7.70 as dictated by the state’s Republican legislature and governor. Not to be outdone, wealthy business failure Trump cut a raise for federal workers.

Republicans in Congress have done their best to keep wages low by refusing to entertain a federal minimum wage hike, and some have called for abolishing the minimum altogether and allow corporations to set the minimum wage. A couple of years ago, House Republicans attempted to pass legislation eliminating overtime pay, and in Wisconsin, Republicans eliminated weekends to allow employers to work their employees without a day off to rest.

In fact, when Republicans get rolling, they will eliminate every worker benefit and labor protection going back to the New Deal. Without unions, living wages, benefits, and worker protections would have never been enacted; the Koch crusade to “defund and defang” unions is a critical step in taking America’s labor back to dire workplace conditions prior to the New Deal.

It isn’t clear if the Kochs, ALEC, Americans for Prosperity, and the State Policy Network believe that destroying unions and cutting wages to poverty level is going to make people stupid like the typical Republican voter, but that appears to be their strategy. Of course their goal, if accomplished, might deprive the left of support from organized labor, but it doesn’t seem reasonable that driving more of the population into poverty is going to endear them to vote for Republicans and against their own best self-interests. However, although Americans have demonstrated they are a productive workforce, they definitely aren’t the wisest voters. If  they had any sense of self-preservation they would not continue electing Republicans to cut their  wages, eliminate their weekends off and overtime pay, and eliminate their ability and right to collectively bargain with corporations for a living wage.

Workers should enjoy this Labor Day, and reflect on why they have lunch breaks, bathroom privileges, overtime pay, industrial accident coverage, weekends off, and a forty-hour work week; it is because of unions. It is difficult to know if there will be any reason to celebrate Labor Day next year. If the Koch brothers, ALEC, Republicans, and the State Policy Network have their way, the first Monday in September will be just another day Americans have to work for slave wages and without any workplace protections; it is exactly what the labor force has to look forward to with the Kochs and Republicans running the government.