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The devil rides out

Have you had a bad day? Got a problem? Is your life a mess? Are you sick? Lame? Poor? Lonely? Unemployed? Or are you just fed up, listless and overwhelmed with feelings of exhaustion and hopelessness?

Well, you can always vent your frustrations by blaming your troubles on George W. Bush. Why not? Everyone else does. For everything. From perished pensioners in Paris to stubbed toes in Sarajevo to nosebleeds in Nairobi there is not a misfortune or a twist of cruel fate anywhere on the face of this planet that cannot be laid squarely at the varnished door of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

And this is all because that current occupant of the most important office in that august building went and ‘tore up the Kyoto Treaty’; the modern equivalent of snapping a ju-ju stick. Thus has Mr.Bush incurred the wrath of the angry spirits.

Of course, George Bush did not ‘tear up’ the Kyoto Treaty at all (which is a shame because it deserves to be torn up). But that doesn’t matter. We’re not dealing in truth here, we’re delving the murky, opaque depths of mythology and superstition. George Bush is for the modern left/green axis what the devil was for medieval peasants.

Perhaps Mr.Bush (or his advisers at any rate) is aware of this and decided to take advantage of the situation. After all, if you’ve been cast as the devil, you may as well go ahead and live up to the role:

The Bush administration plans to open a huge loophole in America’s air pollution laws, allowing an estimated 17,000 outdated power stations and factories to increase their carbon emissions with impunity.

Critics of draft regulations due to be unveiled by the US environmental protection agency next week say they amount to a death knell for the Clean Air Act, the centrepiece of US regulation.

The rules could represent the biggest defeat for American environmentalists since the Bush administration abandoned the Kyoto Treaty on global warming two years ago. But the energy industry welcomed them, saying they were essential for maintaining coal-fired power stations.

Now a word of caution here: the link is to the Guardian so the story may not be true at all. It may just be the product of their febrile imaginations (Next week: “Bush adds fresh babies to Whitehouse menu”). However, I certainly hope it is true and not just because it would mean good news for US industry and prosperity but also because it drives home the old lesson that being hated has its definite advantages. At a stroke, George Bush will have lifted a millstone from the neck of his country without doing the slightest harm to either his reputation or chances of re-election.

The devil may not have all the best tunes. He just has the freedom to whistle them.

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24 comments to The devil rides out

  • Kodiak

    David,

    Your weak advocacy of the poor Bush who’s treated like the devil is only ridiculous.

    Isn’t George The Second acting like a “medieval peasant” when he’s praying (!!!) at the white house, when he’s telling the whole World who’s evil & who’s not, when he’s promoting sexual abstinence & boring everyone with his lessons in supersitious moral?

    In which country do they swear on the bible (no kidding!!!)? (and why not on The Sun after all…)

    In which country can you find banknotes reading “in God we trust” (!!!) ? (and why not “The Exorcist” instead?)

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, it’s true enough, David. Here’s the same item from the Austin American-Statesman, if you prefer:

    The current rule requires plant owners to install pollution-control devices if they undertake anything more than “routine maintenance” on their plants. Industries have long said that this standard was too vague and that it hindered substantial investment in cleaner, more efficient equipment.

    Yeah, that’s right. This aspect of the Clean Air Act made companies reluctant to upgrade old, polluting equipment with cleaner, more efficient equipment.

    Unintended consequences? Counterproductive legislation? Who knew!

  • “Have you had a bad day? Got a problem? Is your life a mess? Are you sick? Lame? Poor? Lonely? Unemployed? Or are you just fed up, listless and overwhelmed with feelings of exhaustion and hopelessness?” ….. or just plain stupid. mention GW as a cause for anything and watch your IQ rise by 20 points!

  • R C Dean

    I pray on my knees that one day Bush and his team will realize that all their truckling to various lefty groups – enviros, teacher unions, you name it – in the name of chasing the center is at best a total waste of their political time . They will never get an iota of credit from any of their haters, never convince anyone of anything other than the suppleness of their principles, and not put a single vote or nickel of political capital in the bank by pushing through pet lefty laws or buckling to lefty demands. Maybe, maybe, this is a sign that Bush whatever is other flaws, will start to act as a bulwark against at least one branch of the Big Government Party.

    But I wouldn’t bet on it.

  • George Peery

    George W. Bush is considerably more liberal than his sworn enemies are likely to acknowledge. They’re even saying so at the lefty Boston Globe.

  • Zathras

    I don’t want to get all technical here, but New Source Review has been a controversial element of Clean Air Act implementation since the original regs came out in the 1970s. It had its roots in the legislative compromises needed to pass the legislation in the first place; compounding the trouble is that CAA both covers more pollutants than it used to and applies to industrial facilities of widely varying sizes in addition to the big coal-fired power plants absorbed Congress’ attention at the time it was passed.

    There are issues on both sides. Power plants and industrial facilities in some parts of the country have been pressured by EPA to treat existing facilities as “new source” when they have proposed changes that look very much like “routine maintenance.” Other such facilities have sought to expand their production (and emissions) significantly using routine maintenance as an excuse (one of the reasons this can happen is that much EPA enforcement takes place at the regional level, not in Washington). Further confusing the politics are that CAA was passed originally over the objections of powerful Democrats from the eastern coal states. In the meantime many of those states have gone Republican (mostly for unrelated reasons) and the national environmental groups have gotten the idea that they can be major players in Democratic Party politics, leaving them few allies on the other side of the aisle.

    The status quo was unsatisfactory to everyone, except perhaps the lawyers and consultants specializing in CAA compliance and related litigation. Bush has cut the proverbial Gordian knot, in effect, by coming down hard on one side, businesses’ side. Personally, I’m less than thrilled on the substance, but the issues involved are of pretty limited scope — CAA was always directed more at problems like acid rain and pollutants like SO2 than at climate change.

    As far as the idea of Bush as Victim is concerned, though….look, politics is a contact sport. If you can’t articulate the reasons for your actions you have to expect your political opponents to fill the vacuum. That is Bush’s problem on this issue, as it was on Kyoto, Iraq, and any number of other things.

  • George Peery

    I see that one of New York’s annoying senators (no, the other one) is blaming Bush for the Northeast blackout.

  • I’m glad you had the courage to post this expose. For days I have been wondering who, in fact, drunk the last two beers in my fridge. Now, I know it was George W. Bush. That evil, evil man.

  • Kodiak

    Yobbo,

    Floating a “funny” joke is one thing.

    Trying to understand why Bush is the symbol of the “why don’t they love us”-symptom that’s been affecting the US, is another thing.

  • Julian Morrison

    Yes, lick his boots, o neocon obedience fetishists. Just like you lurve the PATRIOT act, kiss the toes of Homeland Security, and think Guantanamo is all-american and a fine example to upstanding people (despite it being in red Cuba specifically to *avoid* the pesky American constitution). Bleh.

    Plenty of libertarian reasons to despise Generalissimo Arbusto and his junta. And to despise his fans, too.

  • Julian,

    I am indifferent to George Bush, as I am to most politicians. I have commented upon the phenomenon I have observed of his being blamed for just about every ill in the world and even someone like you has to concede that that cannot possibly be true.

  • rkb

    Zathras is right about the status quo in the CAA being unsatisfactory. The uncertainty about what would & would not be treated as routine maintenance was increasingly seen as a risk factor for investors. Energy production is capital-intensive … given the low profit margins that come with competition, access to loans and investment capital is necessary for major projects, so this uncertainty needed to be lessened, especially since major new investment in transmission capability is needed.

  • Alene Berk

    To support the original theme–“”blame Bush”, I would offer the following tale.

    Having been influenced by similar articles and envirowarnings, I was shocked-shocked, I say–to learn that my own *Democratic House Rep*sat on the relevant committee, and was a co-sponsor of the House version of this bill. I advised him of my concerns, and received a thoughtful response.

    The applicable graf: “Revises the new source review program to cover unit changes after 2007 and to permit the lowest achievable emission rate standard *to take cost into account.*”

    The unintended consequence (aren’t there always those) of the old rules is to punish old, grandfathered plants by imposing *new plant* standards if large maintenence efforts, which might enhance productivity without increasing, indeed often reducing, emissions, are undertaken. The cost of compliance (that is, of being required to meet the standards for newer power plants) effectively bars old plants from making significant improvements. They must stay dirty, or die.

    S. Weasel said it better. My point being that this is not a Bush thing, nor even a Republiclan thing, but a bi-partisan effort, opposed by one-note environmentalists who prefer the “die” option.

  • wayne

    David, it is true, but I haven’t seen any comments yet on those eastern attorney generals who are planning to fight this effort. (A.G. Blumenthal in CT will lead the way (as always)). This will end up being a long fight, but Bush will win this one, since most people understand that he is trying to get new tech in old plants, without causing them to go bankrupt.

  • Alene Berk

    Wayne, supporters (again, from both sides of the aisle) have just lost the first of the suits decided under current rules, filed during the Clinton administration, in a ruling from Ohio (that’s the 6th Federal District Court). And yes. the attorneys general of the downwind states were active plaintiffs.

  • Speaking of clean air, WND columnist Gordon Prather has been adavancing the theory that American should switch from gasoline to methanol.

    All the meth America could ever need is under Alaska and Canada. It produces half the smog of petrol, and anything that runs on petrol can be pretty easily modded to work on petrol. Methanol fuel cells will even run on petrol!

    Combine with nuclear and hydro and – ch’ching! – lovely clean air.

    The idea was floating around the fed around some time ago. Has it tanked?

  • wayne

    yes, they lost that one, but blumenthal came out on friday saying that this new order / rule would be immediately challenged by him and 16 other states. (god how i love living in a state with an active a.g. it just gives me so many things to complain about)

  • Chris Josephson

    It’s gotten to the point where if I read an article about something bad happening and DON’T see the US and/or Pres. Bush blamed I wonder what’s wrong!!

    Having a problem and need someplace to put the blame … hey, why not the US? Everyone else does!

    If we had existed at the time, I bet we’d be blamed for the Black Plague.

  • I’m just waiting for “Americans poisoned our wells!” and some variant of the blood libel to show up, myself.

  • Kodiak

    Yes Jeanne, the US did not “poison(…) our wells” yet, just our hopes.

  • R.C. Dean

    Your hopes for what, Kodiak?

  • Kodiak

    Hopes:

    1/ for diplomatic settlement,

    2/ for responsible conduct of world affairs,

    RC Dean.

  • Sandy P.

    –Trying to understand why Bush is the symbol of the “why don’t they love us”-symptom that’s been affecting the US, is another thing.”

    Kodiak, we’re not the country that came up w/the ad campaign, “Bonjour, Let’s Fall in Love Again” to woo our capitalistic Yankee $ back.

    We’re moving on w/being loved, that is so 60s.

    We’re moving on to respect or fear US, it’ll be your choice.

    Reasonable conduct of world affairs, like phrawnce?
    We are, we’re conducting world affairs in our best interest, like phrawnce conducts theirs in their best interest.

    Our interests diverge. phrawnce lied down w/the splodydope dogs, shouldn’t complain it got fleas.

    As to diplomatic settlement? Isn’t that how phrawnce handled it’s squabble w/Libya’s thugs and got bupkus so it’s throwing a hissy fit in the UNSC because we got more compensation for Lockerbie?

  • Kodiak

    Sandy P.,

    I’d make a new campaign for the USA: “Au revoir, we never fell in love”.

    There’s nothing to woo for we haven’t felt the powerful, unanimous boycott so far.

    “(…) we’re conducting world affairs in our best interest (…)” >>> You’re still confusing George The Butcher & his clique with your country. Sad.