Sunday, December 31, 2017

Let The Retrospectives Begin! (Cont.)

We'll do one more round of this before we turn the page to what is bound to be a decisive year in our nation's history. As always, please go to the links for the full articles.

Mark Sumner at Daily Kos looks back at what was lost in one short (but in most ways excruciatingly long) year:
What’s amazing now is just how far away events from a year ago feel. At this time last year, Barack Obama was still president. The EPA was still staffed by scientists engaged in protecting the nation’s air and water. The United States was still a signee of the Paris agreement, still a respected member of the world community, still a trusted ally and valued member of NATO. The Department of Justice was still fighting to protect voter’s rights, educational access, and workplace equality. The Department of Energy was overseeing record increases in renewables and record cuts in pollution. The Internet was still protected by Net Neutrality rules. And you had never heard of Anthony Scaramucci, Rob Goldstone, George Papadopoulos, or Natalia Veselnitskaya.  
There were also a few regulations in effect a year ago that are gone now. Like, it was still illegal to sell mattresses that could catch on fire from a dropped cigarette. Gas fireplaces had to meet minimal efficiency standards. A class of pesticides known to be carcinogens were banned around children. Coal waste couldn’t completely obstruct flowing streams and rivers. Restaurant workers got to keep their own tips. Oil companies had to report on how much methane they allowed to leak into the air. And it was illegal to kill wolf pups and baby polar bears while they were snoozing in their dens with mom. 
Oh, and regulations to improve safety and reduce environmental impact from fracking were underway … those were killed yesterday, just to round out the year.
Sumner then provides some additional retrospectives from other observers in his round- up.

Media Matters has collected 10 of the most egregious pronouncements on climate change and the environment by right- wing media;  gas giant "Oxycontin Rush" Limbaugh shows up twice on the list, including this particularly loony episode:
As Hurricane Irma barrelled toward Florida, Limbaugh spun conspiracy theories and told his listeners that hurricane warnings are part of a scheme to benefit retailers, the media, and people like Al Gore who want to "advance this climate change agenda." Notably, Limbaugh didn’t have any skepticism about the danger Irma posed when it came to his own well-being, as he fled from his Florida home to Los Angeles before Irma made landfall. It's not the first time Limbaugh has spouted irresponsible conspiracy theories about hurricane forecasts. He was criticized last year for doing the same thing during Hurricane Matthew, earning himself a spot on the 2016 edition of this list.
Ian Millhiser at Think Progress looks back and gives thanks... that "We are ruled by stupid goblins who lack basic math skills":
There are many reasons why the apocalypse never came. The Resistance to Trump began early in his presidency, with a series of massive demonstrations that emboldened his opponents. Groups like Indivisible seized upon this energy, channeling rage at America’s groppenf├╝hrer into a sophisticated grassroots lobbying campaign. Women and voters of color organized. Black voters in Alabama did the unthinkable — electing a Democrat to fill Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’ old Senate seat. 
But the Resistance could not have achieved so much without one crucial ally — incompetence. Time and time again, Trump and many of his fellow Republicans revealed that they have no idea how to govern. They understand little about policy. They turn their backs on key potential allies. And they seem allergic to the very idea that politics is a game of coalition building. 
America is a healthier, wealthier, far safer place today than it would have been if Republicans weren’t so godawful at their jobs. 
Unfortunately, we can't rely on these numbnuts to continue to fail, because in so many important ways they've already succeeded in changing our country for the worse. So, we must all make a resolution to continue to resist them, to organize against them, and come November 6, vote their asses out of every office in the land that we can.

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