News Anal. for Mon 3/6/17

newsanal

Guy on Facebook to #NoDAPL: Oil Heats Our Homes, Fuels Our Cars

Since hearing about it via Democracy Now last September, I’ve been a supporter of #NoDAPL, the resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of North Dakota.

Until yesterday, what I didn’t realize is that the oil going through such pipelines… get this… serves a purpose.

When a friend of mine shared the CNN story “Pipeline 150 miles from Dakota Access protests leaks 176,000 gallons” on his Facebook timeline, some guy showed us all by commenting, “The evil pipeline. My goodness there are a million. That’s why you have heat and can drive your cars.. has everyone lost their heads in their asses?

I did the research… and it turns out the guy is right.

The oil actually is converted to gasoline to fuel our cars, and kerosene to heat our trailers, and it makes electricity, and aqua net hairspray to solidify our glam metal hair when we feel like rockin’ to Dokken. It also makes Vaseline petroleum jelly. “Petroleum” is just a fancy British word for oil.

pipeline

And here we thought the oil was just a bunch of evil black pollution juice, and the oil companies were destroying the environment for no reason at all, and laughing like Skeletor every time a pipeline ruptured or an oil rig exploded.

Should stop driving cars and trucks and using heat,” the guy continued, “Then we won’t need pipe lines.”

In a related story, those of us who are opposed to war should go over there and live and see how we like it if we hate America so much.

Four Stories Illustrating How the GOP Uses Government as a Weapon in a Class War

The GOP isn’t for “small government”. They’re for removing any remaining parts government that benefit the public and replacing it with a government that works in favor of the rich. Here are four examples from this week’s news of the GOP using government as a weapon in a class war against the American public.

1. Trump Proposes a $54 billion Increase to the Already Bloated Pentagon Budget

When will the Reagan lunacy end? Here we are, decades after B-movie actor Ronald Reagan ushered in a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union, massively increased government spending (primarily on the Department of Defense) while slashing social programs under the laughable ruse of “trickle down”, increased the debt 15%, effectively presiding over the largest government in US history. Reagan cut social programs for the poor, and violently increased spending and militancy with the War on Drugs, which has always been literal Class Warfare on the Poor.

The United States is the most powerful empire in world history. Our military budget is almost twice the amount as the next four countries combined. Military contractors get rich and we constantly need an enemy to justify this fear rhetoric and spending. The Bush Jr. and Obama administration policies of civilian mass murder in the Middle East created the conditions for ISIS. Trump uses ISIS to justify his $54 billion increase so military contractors can continue to loot the public, as well as the veterans. The GOP votes down bills that will aid veterans again and again, but vote in favor of military budget increases so their campaign financiers can continue to get rich. And the Hell created by the US empire continues.

From Reuters:

Officials familiar with Trump’s budget blueprint said the plan would call for cuts to agencies including the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

…more money for shipbuilding, military aircraft and establishing “a more robust presence in key international waterways and choke points”…

That could put Washington at odds with Iran and China. The United States already has the world’s most powerful fighting force and it spends far more than any other country on defense.

About one-sixth of the federal budget goes to military spending.

2. Trump Jumps in the Climate Change Limo and Tells the Driver to Floor It

Trump appointed leading Oil Whore, Oklahoma’s former Attorney General Scott Pruitt, to head up the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt sued the EPA 13 times because the fossil fuel industry doesn’t cause enough pollution or earthquakes in his home state.

The EPA exists to regulate industry so that it doesn’t pollute the environment. That’s what a Government of the People would do. To the extent that it fails to protect the environment from the ravages of greed, it’s a result of regulations that weren’t tough enough, usually because legislators are paid by polluting, insanely greedy pig-run industries to leave them alone. And that’s why we have to get money out of politics.

The GOP wants to do away with protections to the environment so the people who fund them, mainly the psychotic fossil fuel industry, can get rich before quite possibly making the planet literally uninhabitable for their own grandchildren. On February 3rd, House Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida introduced a bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency on December 31, 2018.  Here’s the full text of the bill:

The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

This week Trump announced anti-science, pro-idiot initiative that would cut 17% to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, the home of the robot voices who give you the weather on the police radio. They also have extensive research programs studying climate, which of course is bad for the fossil fuel industry. And it’s also a bad agency for people who like to stay stupid, misinformed, and/or ignorant.

The funding slash would hamper NOAA’s research funding and satellite programs while eliminating altogether funding for smaller programs on coastal management and estuary reserve efforts, among others

Among the satellite programs facing the largest cuts is the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service, which houses climate and environmental information through the National Centers for Environmental Information. Researchers in that program have studied the continuing rate of global climate change. Another would be the Sea Grant program, which currently supports university research programs at 33 institutions nationwide.

The proposal highlights the Trump White House’s continued effort to undermine environmental research funding and regulations.

In this instance Trump and Pruitt are using government to collude with the fossil fuel industry to profit in the short term from making the environment uninhabitable for the human species in the long term.

I would say that’s bad.

3. The GOP Wants Your Tax Dollars to go to a Far Less Fiscally Conservative Healthcare Plan than Single-Payer/Medicare for All

There is a lot of fucked up shit about the Affordable Care Act. It’s costing small business an arm and a leg. It’s costing people in a certain income bracket an arm and a leg, especially in states like Oklahoma, where the idiot governor refused federal funding to implement ACA (no, I’m not fucking kidding).  It continues to make asshole insurance company CEOs rich off of sick and dying people.

The answer to Obamacare’s problems is a single-payer healthcare system. As Bernie Sanders and I (especially me) have been pointing out for years, every other prosperous nation guarantees healthcare to all its citizens.

And study after study shows a single payer plan would be MORE fiscally conservative than what we have now, and what we had before Obamacare. Specifically the administrative costs that would be eliminated with the massive, complicated insurance industry would be more than enough to pay for the plan. Most businesses would save money because they wouldn’t have to provide insurance to their employees. American citizens wouldn’t potentially be financially ruined over a car accident or a disease or a broken leg.

This article originally appeared in the Rochester Post Bulletin in February 2016, now carried on the website of Physicians for a National Health Program, a bunch of doctors who understand that for-profit healthcare is shit (and they’ve seen some shit):

Studies have shown such a program, if enacted, would reap huge savings — about $400 billion annually — by eliminating all the wasteful paperwork associated with our current (and very complex) multipayer system of paying for care.

The money we’d save by setting up such a streamlined, nonprofit system would be plowed back into covering everyone, improving benefits and retraining insurance company workers into more socially beneficial tasks such as providing actual care.

It’s not difficult to see why surveys have repeatedly found that two-thirds of Americans support this kind of “Medicare for All” approach when it’s been explained to them. It’s simple, efficient and equitable.

Instead of fiscal conservatism, Republicans want to continue to allow the health insurance companies to further loot sick and dying Americans and provide them less and less coverage. Instead of improving ACA, the Republican preliminary plan is to cut back ACA’s Medicaid expansion, eliminate the mandate which again allows lapses in coverage – but only this time allows insurance companies to charge 30% more after a lapse in coverage, and force people to rely on “Health Savings Accounts” which John Oliver described as a “fancy piggy bank” so rich people with massive disposable income can save for bloated American healthcare expenses.

Once again this isn’t an example of the GOP getting government out of our way, it’s the GOP using government as a tool to help health insurance giants to stomp on sick and dying Americans and their families.

healthcare

4. Trump and the GOP Exaggerate Domestic Terror Threat from Foreigners: Government Propaganda to Justify Police State, Defense Department Looting, and Steve Bannon’s Wacko Worldview

First of all, violent crime in the United States has plummeted since the 1990s. According to the FBI, the violent crime rate in 2012 was about half of what it was  It’s safer for your child to play unsupervised at a park today than it was when you and I were children. 

The reason you can’t believe this right now is the 24 hour news cycle has manufactured fear to trick viewers into believing the opposite has happened. Our elected officials played upon those fears to justify building prisons to hold nonviolent offenders, increasing police militarization, and spending billions of tax dollars on useless wars that only made the American people less safe.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the new GOP king is lying about violent crimes committed by foreigners on US soil to justify his racist immigration policies.

From Thinkprogress.org:

Trump inaccurately depicted the domestic attacks as committed by people from the countries included in the Muslim ban…

But more importantly, foreigners pose less of a threat to Americans than right-wing extremists on domestic soil. In a 2015 New York Times article, University of North Carolina Professor Charles Kurzman and Duke Professor David Schanzer found that Islam-inspired terror attacks accounted for 50 deaths since 9/11, but that “right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities.”

What the GOP is doing here is refusing to use government to protect us from actual threats, and instead using government to not only justify massive military spending, but to justify the racist Camp of Saints philosophy of of right wing nutjob hack, Steve Bannon.

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