Thursday, August 14, 2008

Due to the overwhelming interest in the Republican National Convention

Republican Politics, American Style
Published on August 14th in Metro Eireann By Charles Laffiteau

Today I want to offer a bit more in the way of commentary on the current Republican administration’s attitudes regarding the environment as well as members of my own Republican Party’s noticeably thin skin as their time in office grasping the levers of power in Washington DC slowly dwindles away.
Regarding the environment, I should note that the United States EPA report on the effects of global warming due to green house gases emissions that I referenced in previous columns was generated in response to a 2007 US Supreme Court ruling against the Bush administration. In response to a lawsuit by state governments, the Bush administration had originally told the US Supreme Court that the EPA would not set standards for CO² emmisions even if was supposed to do so under the US Clean Air Act. When the Court finally ruled on the states’ lawsuit it came as no surprise (to anyone except for Bush and his political hacks) that the US Supreme Court doesn’t like being told that a government agency won’t do what it is mandated to do under US law.
That is why the Supreme Court ordered the EPA to issue a report about the effects of these emmisions on public health and to develop standards to regulate such emmisions. But the Republican led Bush administration effectively controls the EPA, which is supposed to “independently” establish regulations and enforce the US’s air quality standards, because it is an agency run by Bush presidential appointees. So what do you think happened when the EPA complied with the US Supreme Court ruling and issued its health report and a proposal to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act?
Well the EPA e-mailed the health report and its proposal to regulate CO² emmisions to the White House Office of Management and Budget which was supposed to review it on behalf of the President before it was delivered to the Court and then released to the general public. So what did the White House then do with this report?
The White House never even bothered to open the documents, much less review them, and instead instructed the EPA to retract it. So EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson backed off from the “independent” conclusions that he and the EPA staff had reached and instead decided to issue an “advanced notice of proposed rulemaking” that invited public comment on the question of how the EPA should regulate the CO² emissions that cause global warming. The EPA then issued the report the Court ordered it to in answer to the question “Does global warming pose a threat to human health or public welfare?”, but took no stand on the issue even though the EPA report clearly showed that global warming was a threat to both US human health and public welfare.
I have to tell you, this current Republican President and his lackeys beat anything I have ever seen. Whether its through sheer arrogance, stupidity or both, this bunch is bound and determined to do nothing to protect the American public or risk offending the US automotive or fossil fuels industry interests that they answer to during the waning days of the Bush administration. Maybe I shouldn’t be so amazed by such manipulation, but in all honesty President Bush and company continue to amaze me with their antics.
On a more hopeful note, two weeks from today I will be at Mile High Stadium in Denver Colorado listening to Senator (and soon to be President) Barack Obama deliver what I think will be a truly memorable and historic Democratic National Convention acceptance speech as the Democratic Party’s nominee to become the 44th President of the United States. In fact I was lucky to get press credentials to cover the Democratic Convention because of the overwhelming demand for credentials from media figures both at home and abroad.
On the other hand, I wasn’t worried about press credentials for the Republican Convention because I’m a registered member of the Republican Party and had previously attended conventions. I also knew that the Republican National Convention had received only a third of the number of requests for press credentials that the Democratic National Convention had so I knew granting Metro √Čireann’s request wouldn’t be a problem at all. Or so I thought.
So I’m waiting to receive my press credentials for the Republican Convention, when I received this unsigned email on July 21, 2008.
Dear Special Press Credential Applicant:
Thank you for applying for credentials to cover the 2008 Republican National Convention. We appreciate your interest in covering this historic event. Unfortunately, due to the overwhelming interest in covering our convention, we are unable to accommodate your request for Special Press Credentials. We hope you choose to follow our proceedings through other means, including our live-stream at www.GOPConvention2008.com.
Sincerely, Special Press Credentials Office 2008 Republican National Convention.
I sent the following reply to Hayden Pruett, the gentleman who we had been corresponding with regarding Metro √Čireann’s request for my press credentials to cover the Republican Convention.
Dear Hayden, You refused our request “due to the overwhelming interest in covering our convention”? Surely you jest! Sorry Hayden, but I know better. Even though I'm a life-long Republican and still registered as such in Texas, I guess I should have expected this kind of media snub from my Republican co-horts though. Well I will still wish you all the best with the convention in St. Paul anyway. Take care now. Best Regards, Charles Laffiteau
While I could be wrong, I am fairly certain that the Republican Party has identified this columnist as someone who is not interested in furthering their interests. If you consider the Republican Party’s interests and the current Republican President’s interests to be one and the same, then such sentiments would be accurate. But if you place the interests of your nation and the traditional values of the Republican Party ahead of the President’s own interests, then this would not be accurate. What do you think?