Monday, December 20, 2004


The Greens will never approve no matter what the GOP does anyway

Environmental activists wanted two things to happen on Election Day—they wanted President Bush to lose and their cause to be a big reason why. They got neither, and that may bode well for the future of environmental policy reform. Surveys taken before the elections showed that the environment was far down on the list of voters' concerns. For example, a Gallup poll taken earlier in 2004 ranked it 11th in importance among 12 issues. The election-day results bore this out, as the environment was barely on the radar compared to security, the economy, health care, and other issues. Overall, it is safe to say that environmental issues played no role in the outcome, and that probably would have been the case even if Bush had narrowly lost.

This was not for lack of trying. The big green groups, most of whom maintain only a pretense of nonpartisanship, began their attacks as soon as Bush took office and never let up during the ensuing four years. When the President wasn't poisoning the children with arsenic in drinking water or mercury in fish, he was handing over national forests to loggers or walking away from the international consensus to fight global warming. The elite media gave these and other factually questionable allegations ample publicity and minimal scrutiny.

The League of Conservation Voters handed Bush a grade of F on the environment, and at a press conference expressed regret that there was no lower grade to give. Natural Resources Defense Council activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. called Bush "America's worst environmental president," and was far from alone in doing so. The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CBS, NBC, and ABC gleefully ran with nearly every hit piece the green groups fed them. And Democratic politicians tried to make the most of these attacks.

But on Election Day, "America's worst environmental president" lost very few votes because of the environment. The eco-vilification could not have been any more intense, yet politically it amounted to nothing. It wasn't, as green activists now assert, that voters were simply distracted by other issues—the electorate also demonstrated skepticism towards the anti-Bush environmental hyperbole.

There are lessons for both parties. The Democrats were proven wrong in thinking that they could beat up Bush and the Republicans with a green stick. Indeed, many congressional Democrats even grandstanded against Bush's least controversial environmental reforms, such as the wildfire-reducing Healthy Forests Restoration Act. They thought they would score political points, but it clearly did not happen. Perhaps Democrats will finally realize that they don't gain from knee-jerk opposition to Republicans on environmental matters.

Republicans have lessons to learn as well. Despite the howls from the environmental left and the media, the real story of the Bush environmental record thus far is one of timidity and fear of criticism. With only a few exceptions, the administration has declined to take bold action to fix the many outdated, costly, and ineffective federal environmental measures enacted over the past three decades. Such efforts would have sparked opposition from the environmental old-guard, who see any fundamental change as change for the worse, even in programs with a poor track record.

Beyond struggling in vain to avoid criticism, Bush also tried to court environmentalists with occasional "me too" measures no different than ones an Al Gore administration would have enacted, such as the tough new emissions controls on diesel equipment. Of course, the Republicans never came anywhere close to placating the greens, and the election results show that they need not have bothered to try.

Looking ahead, the environmental activists will certainly continue their over-the-top attacks, but President Bush and the Republican-led Congress have little reason to be concerned. At the very least, they can safely engage in obstructionism and stop environmental policy from getting worse.... Better still, the administration and Congress could also engage in reforming existing policy. "The environmental regulatory system in the United States is broken and needs repair," says Jonathan Adler, Associate Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law......

More here


After years of cowardly pandering to environmental and animal rights activists, at last industry is fighting back. Groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and the Wilderness Society have long been getting away with twisting the truth and using questionable methods to push their agendas. Many other groups have become power-crazy bullies using a compliant media to expand their influence. But last week, in a twin blow for fairness, the Tasmanian timber company Gunns Ltd filed suit against 20 activists, alleging they have told lies and sabotaged the company; and Italian clothing giant Benetton refused to cave in to PETA threats and boycott Australian wool. Not only that, but the Australian Wool Innovation group last month launched legal action in the Federal Court to stop PETA threatening clothing retailers.

Gunns filed its $6.3 million lawsuit at the same time as the ABC's Independent Complaints Review Panel upheld three complaints that a Four Corners program in February, Lords Of The Forests, was inaccurate, showed bias and lacked fairness. That's putting it mildly. But it was just this kind of inaccurate, unfair hyperbole that fuelled Opposition Leader Mark Latham's ill-fated visit to Tasmania's forest with Greens leader Bob Brown. Maybe the ALP should join Gunns lawsuit. Gunns, Tasmania's largest employer, is suing 20 groups and individuals, including Brown, Tasmanian Greens leader Peg Putt and Wilderness Society national campaigns director Alec Marr. The company accuses them of a sustained campaign of vilification, vandalising machinery, disrupting operations and seriously damaging crucial business with Japan. Tasting some of his own medicine, Brown went purple at the intimidation. "They can take every penny," he told the ABC. "They can take every peaceful night's sleep. They can take every home comfort. They will never stop me campaigning against their vile destruction of Tasmania's forests and its wildlife." Gunns shares rose to an all-time high at initial news of its legal action, reported Hobart's The Mercury newspaper.

Meanwhile, in Chicago on Friday, PETA made good its blackmail threat to Benetton: boycott Australian wool or face a corporate vilification campaign. Protesters paraded red sheep and bloody videos titled United Cruelty Of Benetton outside Benetton stores to convince shoppers to boycott the label. PETA's target is Australian wool, because it claims the age-old practice of mulesing by Australian farmers is cruel. Mulesing is the removal of loose skin around the sheep's anus to prevent painful, even fatal, attacks by blowflies and maggots. As yet, there is no viable alternative, farmers say. Already, US retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has buckled under PETA pressure and promised not to use Australian wool.

Make no mistake, wool is the new fur and PETA will not rest until it has destroyed our wool industry, in much the same way it has been pulverising the Indian leather industry by persuading shoe and fashion retailers, such as Nike, Reebok, Gap, Marks & Spencer and J.Crew to boycott their leather. India's leather industry is its second largest employer. But PETA, like its fan, the artist known again as Prince, couldn't care less about people. On his new album, Prince poses in fake wool under the words: "To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being."

Right. It's about time activists were forced to take responsibility for their actions, instead of blithely threatening other people's livelihoods in order to make themselves feel good or enhance their social lives. If you tell lies or break the law, you should face the consequences, because the company, its workers, contractors and shareholders certainly do.



Many people would like to be kind to others so Leftists exploit that with their nonsense about equality. Most people want a clean, green environment so Greenies exploit that by inventing all sorts of far-fetched threats to the environment. But for both, the real motive is to promote themselves as wiser and better than everyone else, truth regardless.

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