Sunday, April 01, 2007

Drowning the EPA in a bathtub causes toxic blowback.

When Grover Norquist famously said "My goal is to cut government in half in 25 years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub." few thought to ask "who's half?"

The Washington Post: Extinct Sense : A troubling report from the Interior Department

According to numerous accounts collected in the inquiry, Ms. MacDonald has terrorized low-level biologists and other employees for years, often yelling and even swearing at them. One official characterized her as an "attack dog." Much of this bullying, the report suggests, was aimed at diluting the scientific conclusions and recommendations of government biologists and at favoring industry and land interests. Ms. MacDonald's subordinates said she has trenchantly resisted both designating new species as endangered and protecting imperiled animals' habitats. She defended her interventions in an interview with the inspector general's staff, saying that she kept Interior's scientists accountable, according to the report. But the evidence available suggests she was at the least too aggressive.

H. Dale Hall, director of the Fish and Wildlife Service, recounted a battle he had with Ms. MacDonald over the Southwest willow flycatcher, an endangered bird. Biologists in the field concluded that the bird's nesting range, which determines how much land the government should protect as habitat for the species, was 2.1 miles. Mr. Hall claims that Ms. MacDonald insisted on lowering that to 1.8 miles so that the nesting range would not extend into California, where her husband maintained a family ranch. The inspector general noted that she has no formal training in biology.
Bush Appointee Said to Reject Advice on Endangered Species - washingtonpost.com
In a few instances, federal judges have overturned decisions that MacDonald had influenced. After she declared that the endangered Santa Barbara and Sonoma salamanders were no longer "distinct populations" entitled to protection, William Alsup, a judge on the U.S. District Court for Northern California, ruled that MacDonald had arbitrarily instructed Fish and Wildlife scientists to downgrade the two species even though an agency scientist concluded that "genetics state otherwise."

"This is not to suggest that the Secretary of Interior has no role in the ultimate decision," Alsup wrote. "If the Secretary wants to re-assess the evidence, he may choose to do so, but, in doing so, he must set forth a discernible rationale."


Discernible and defensible, I would add, as well as being an accurate statement of the genuine rationale. This is all oldish news for those who deal with EPA related concerns, but it parallels similar shenanigans at the FDA, The Justice Department and of course, the Department of Homeland Security.

In the most blunt and obvious ways, it has become clear that no amount of reality, scientific evidence, Constitutional checks or the legitimate concerns of constituents donating less than 50,000 dollars concerns this administration. It is all of a piece - a complete subversion of our government processes to serve the most selfish, vicious and predatory members of the far right - and in that, they have not just betrayed our nation, but the greatest value of Conservatism - prudence.

The widespread ideological dismissal of everything that has been set up to put checks upon greed, rash actions and intrusions upon the privacy and liberty of the people is - aside from unethical with scattered clouds of evil - imprudent.

And I mean, "Imprudent from the perspective of anyone wishing to ever serve at the pleasure of the American people, ever again."

I mean "Imprudent, if you wish to avoid civil liability if not actual criminal prosecution,"

I mean "Imprudent, if you wish to not bear the brunt of the outrage of a bitterly disappointed and betrayed American People.

For in their arrogance and contempt for all arms and aims of government that do not immediately and slavishly conform to their kleptocratic ideology, they have gone so far as to dismiss the idea that they can be held accountable for anything - even things that are not merely wrong, not just evil, not just expressly forbidden by law, treaty and constitution, but things that are explicitly treasonable;

Actual, mindful, deliberate betrayals of National Security Assets in the name of political payback. This is not a matter of opinion - it's a matter of established fact.

The CIA leak case is about the obsession and ideology that disrespects facts, and disrespects truth, and declares Mafia-like vendettas against those who make good faith and professional efforts to ascertain them. The CIA leak case is about using partisan and political pressure to distort and pervert the search for truth, which is what good intelligence is all about, and the CIA leak case is about what goes wrong when these cardinal principles, time honored for every intelligence service on earth, are violated.


I want to be very, very clear here. The American people are impatient. They are not willing to "wait and see" what investigations may bring, when there are already enough damning facts in evidence to warrant decisive action. There are more than enough reasons to impeach the president. Anyone, of any party in the House or Senate that wishes a political future had best adapt to that reality. For, if it becomes yet more clear that there is no circumstance in which the members of the House and Senate feel that Constitution and Law trump political advantage, there is no reason to continue paying their salaries.

For now, more than any time before in American history, the American people have the capacity to judge the issues for themselves and come to their own conclusions. If those conclusions are at substantial variance with their representatives, they WILL seek more faithful representation.

If Congress will not execute it's Constitutional duties in such a manifest crisis of law and confidence, the people have every right to call a Constitutional Convention and establish a new Congress that will. The mechanisms for this are well understood by everyone involved, that "Government exists due to the will of the people."

This government - in particular, this Administration, but the list of offenses goes back at least fifty years - has come perilously close to becoming the "won't" of the people. That is a line that if crossed, cannot be uncrossed, nor is it a battle that the rich and powerful can win.

Never mind violent opposition; I'm speaking of widespread, general lack of co-operation. I'm speaking of entire states rejecting federal mandates. I'm speaking of entire law-enforcement bodies refusing to co-operate in any way with federal authorities, including the refusal to recognize credentials. I'm speaking of large numbers of individuals choosing to hold their savings in gold or offshore currencies, taking whatever means are needed to evade federal regulations and oversight of funds. I'm speaking of large numbers of people choosing to go "off the grid," with no visible credit, energy usage or "legitimate" jobs that require any reporting. I'm talking about a huge, passive refusal to comply with the control-freaks in DC.

In other words, I'm speaking of the internal collapse of The United States, because those in charge of maintaining it's unity cannot be trusted. The first signs of this are already clear. New York City has it's own Foreign Intelligence division, with it's own agents and foreign assets. That is what is known. I'd warrant that there's much in New York City that is unknown to the state or the federal government, and that is at the choice of the Mayor and responsible department heads.

I'd be stunned if California had not taken similar, subtle steps to ensure it's own security, particularly in the energy sector, after the state was nearly bankrupted by the manipulation of it's energy markets by the Bush Cronies at Enron. It's pretty clear that that no Blue states will get any priority in emergency or terrorist attacks when the Red gulf states were denied any real aid post Katrina.

All of this is more expensive than a working central government - but far LESS so than one that charges twice what it's worth, and does less than half of what it concienciously should. So the Federal Government should be on notice - and especially it's political leadership. You CAN be replaced. And if you are, you can fairly much assume that your career of public service is at an end. Indeed, the results might be more comprehensive than that; there was a reason for the large emigration of Tories to Canada after the Revolutionary war.

However, I do note that in this instance, Canada is less likely to welcome such refugees, save perhaps on behalf of The Hague.

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