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Paul Wellman: GOP continues to put its head in the sand

I would like to add a bit of Orwellian information to Paul Krugman’s commentary in the Aug. 24 edition of the Steamboat Pilot & Today, “The GOP’s climate of paranoia.”

Although Mr. Krugman goes off into a state of paranoia of his own, with his babble about Russian collusion, show me the evidence it is not “alleged.” This Russia-phobia will prove to be on par with Pizzagate or Qanon in its absurdity. Meant only to keep our eyes on the glitter and horror of the political theater.

He does hit the nail on the head when it comes to the GOP’s stance on climate change.

From the ranting of Sen. James Inhofe to today’s resurrection of clean coal, giving our national treasures to the fossil fuels industry to exploit, to the destruction of our remaining national forests, they continue to hold their heads in the sand.

Note the recent encounter with the “paranoid fantasy” here in Steamboat Springs when the ethically-challenged U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke talked about the necessity to go to war for energy and blamed “radical environmentalists” for the 100-plus wildfires mostly out of control around the country. When Steamboat residents Sallie Holmes and Jesse Brucato, who were attending the dinner, tried to challenge his policies, they were escorted from the room. This truly shows “their rage against elitists, who continue to point out inconvenient truths” as Mr. Krugman describes. Truly disconcerting.

These poor souls are able to hold this level of hallucination until the water level in their sand pit reaches their nostrils, and they are water boarded by the real truth.

Following Hurricane Harvey, which swamped Houston and parts of the coast knocking out a quarter of the area’s oil refining capacity, many Republicans argued that protecting Texas oil facilities belonged at the top of Washington’s national security spending list. The typically outspoken critics of federal spending like Texas Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz both backed using taxpayer funds to fortify the oil facilities’ protections and the Texas coast. Cruz called it “a tremendous step forward.”

The proposals approved for funding originally called for building more protections along larger swaths of the Texas coast, but they were scaled back and now deliberately focus on refineries.

Brandt Mannchen, a member of the Sierra Club’s executive committee, said “The oil and gas industry is getting a free ride. You don’t hear the industry making a peep about paying for any of this and why should they? There’s all this push like, ‘Please Senator Cornyn, Please Senator Cruz, we need money for this and that.’”

This is happening in other parts of the country threatened by rising water levels, including on New York’s Staten Island, around Atlantic City, New Jersey, and in other communities hammered by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

The fossil fuel industry should pay for the fortification of the Gulf Coast and anywhere else it is needed to pay reparations for their actions.

Paul Wellman

Clark


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