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332 Landslide

332 Landslide

April 15, 2008

EPA Missing in Action - and FEC and FHA and ...

By Margaret Kriz The National Journal
Monday 14 April 2008

"The Environmental Protection Agency is failing to live up to its name these days, its legions of critics agree. At a time when the nation's top environmental regulators face increasingly complex pollution problems, President Bush is pushing for dramatic cuts in EPA's budget, his administration's strained, pro-industry interpretations of environmental laws have repeatedly been laughed out of court, and the White House is widely perceived to be running roughshod over agency scientists and lawyers.

Environmental experts charge that the agency's vanishing act is undercutting environmental statutes and delaying much-needed new efforts to clean up the nation's air, water, and land as well as aggressively tackle global warming. "There has been a steady drumbeat of actions that this administration has taken to weaken clean-air protections in this country," says S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents state and local pollution control officials. "Their actions have had very serious and substantial adverse impacts on our ability to provide health protection in this country." "

Democrats Sue FEC over Mccain Finances

by Peter Overby
Morning Edition, April 15, 2008 · "The Democratic National Committee has sued the Federal Election Commission, saying the commission failed in its obligation to investigate Republican John McCain's campaign finances. It's another consequence of the FEC's being nonfunctional in the midst of the biggest fundraising season in history — unable to act because it lacks the necessary number of commissioners. "

"Here's the legal part of the case: Democrats say McCain has violated campaign finance law and that he's getting away with it because the enforcement agency, the FEC, has not been able to function. The panel needs four commissioners to make decisions, but it only has two, thanks to a standoff between Senate Democrats and the White House over confirmation of three nominees. "

"Meanwhile, as if to emphasize the plight of the FEC, former chairman Robert Lenhard has asked that the White House withdraw his name from nomination to one of those empty seats on the commission. While he was waiting to be confirmed, he was hired by one of Washington's top law firms. "

"FEC watchers say that if the stalemate isn't broken before the Senate's July recess, the commission will be out of business for the rest of this election year. "

What do these scenarios have in common? 8 years of republican leadership. Less government, let the 'free market' take care of things. Well, there you go. Take away the money for government agencies and things will go downhill, FAST. We all complain about paying taxes, but we aren't really against taxes and the things they provide, we are just against all of the waste, overspending and abuse. We all like the sewer and water systems, decent roads to drive our cars on, police to show up when something goes wrong, firemen when things catch on fire and yes, election commissions to keep us informed and candidates honest, environmental protection agencies to ensure our home is safe and thriving for us and our children, a housing agency to keep home ownership, one of the best investments for people and communities a fair and accessible thing for everyone. How is it that we find ourselves railing against taxes, and then when the taxes go down we rail that our government agencies aren't working? The facts are that if we didn't all pay for these services, the cost for them would be MUCH higher. Don't fool yourself into thinking you won't still need these services because you will, but now the cost will be on you alone. YOU hire an attorney before every transaction to secure your interests, YOU hire a security guard for your home, YOU install and maintain fire fighting equipment on your property and hire someone to stand around in case a fire breaks out. You hire teachers for your children, be sure to buy a good solid off road vehicle as the roads will likely go to hell pretty quickly. I wonder how much satellite access will jump to for your cell phone use...getting the picture? So if you are feeling that 'big government' shouldn't be getting in your way, there are 2 things that could be happening. A) You are not participating in your government. You are not studying the issues, talking with people, attending meetings, supporting candidates that speak for you, voting for candidates that speak for you, running for local office so your voice is heard. If you find yourself saying "who has time for that?" then you need to quit complaining, you have placed other things higher on the list. By this I mean that if you are paying for a 3000sf house for 3 people, have 2-3 cars and a garage for each, a summer home, several $200 purses or a $3000 suit, or maybe you have full home phone service and full cell phone service and full satellite service and high speed internet service.... and you go to work early, stay late, you both work....well then you have chosen to have those things over making your voice heard in the community. It only takes a couple hours a day to keep yourself informed, to write letters to your officials, to attend meetings. B) You have something to hide. Since WE (Americans) make up our government, vote on our laws and regulations and our leaders to represent us, if you are concerned about one of US going over your business practices then that raises a red flag for me. If our rules are in place to make people safe, to safeguard our economy, our rights, our ideals and our soil and if there is something that you are doing that might jeopardize any of those things, then YOU are the reason our laws are in place and you should reconsider your plans. The idea is not to proceed until you get caught, and try to change the rules that might tangle you up along the way.

What we need and what I think we all want is a massive "SURGE" of audits and revamps, putting new technology into play, to overhaul the systems and programs we have in place to make them more efficient. Make a final accounting and restructure that will retain all of the excellent work we have done so far in building a network of support for our public that allows all of us to benefit from safety and security in our homes, schools and places of business - that allows us to eat foods from all over without fear of harm - all of the things we have set in motion over the last 200 years, much of which none of us would be able to supply for ourselves alone. With our dollars used more efficiently, and more people put to work in these endeavors, tax increases would slow yet services would remain and quality of life for everyone gets better.

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