imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Obama?s Continued Failures on the Environment and Jobs

by Steven Argue Tuesday, Sep. 06, 2011 at 7:04 PM
steveargue2@yahoo.com

[Photo: Bridge in Felton, California built by workers in the Works Progress Administration which employed 3.8 million people from 1935 to 1941 and built 11,000 schools, 122,000 public buildings, 77,000 bridges, 285 airports, 24,000 miles of sewer, and 664,000 miles of road. Photo by Liberation News]

Obama?s Continued Fa...
wpa_bridge.jpg, image/jpeg, 1200x1600

Obama’s Continued Failures on the Environment and Jobs

By Steven Argue

On Friday September 2, President Obama directed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator, Lisa Jackson, to withdraw proposed regulations on ground level ozone. Ground level ozone is the main component of smog. Obama’s decision overruled the position of the EPA and the unanimous opinion of its panel of scientific advisors in the Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee (CASAC). Obama’s instructions for the EPA to ignore the findings of the CASAC are a violation of the law as established under the Clean Air Act.

Scientific American Editor Dave Biello commented on the move saying, “The Obama administration has withdrawn regulations that would have prevented at least 1,500 deaths per year from unhealthy levels of smog in the air.”

In response to Obama’s illegal action the American Lung Association is reviving its lawsuit against the U.S. government. They had dropped their lawsuit in 2009 due to Obama’s promises to end the violations of the Clean Air Act that occurred under the Bush Administration. Obama’s latest move is exactly the same as Bush’s decision to ignore the CASAC in 2008. In response, American Lung Association CEO Charles Connor stated, “For two years the Administration dragged its feet by delaying its decision, unnecessarily putting lives at risk. Its final decision not to enact a more protective ozone health standard is jeopardizing the health of millions of Americans, which is inexcusable.”

In taking legal action, Connor further stated, “The American Lung Association now intends to revive its participation in litigation with the Administration, which was suspended following numerous assurances that the Administration was going to complete this reconsideration and obey the law. We had gone to court because the Bush Administration failed to follow the law and set a protective health standard.”

Keystone XL & Climate Change

Obama’s pro-smog decision follows by one week an August 26th ruling by Obama’s State Department that the Keystone XL pipeline would bring "no significant impacts" on the environment. This despite the fact that the 800,000 barrels of tar sands crude that the pipeline will be carrying daily has, according to EPA estimates, 80 percent higher carbon emissions than the average crude oil refined in the United States. Despite fake controversy in American corporate run politics, it is well known in science that carbon emissions are a greenhouse gas causing global warming. Global warming is the single most significant environmental problem humanity is facing, rapidly raising the Earth’s temperatures higher than anything ever experienced by humans and bringing with it all kinds of catastrophes and potentially even ending human civilization. The XL pipeline, despite the lies of Obama’s State Department, will have a significant impact on the environment. This State Department ruling of “no significant impact” also comes despite the fact that the crude oil being obtained for the XL pipeline comes from highly destructive strip mining in Canada.

Despite the clear position of Obama’s State Department in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline, Obama still has the authority to veto the project and over a thousand people have been arrested in civil disobedience protests in Washington DC demanding Obama do so. This kind of visible movement that attempts to embarrass Obama and brings people together demanding action on climate change starts creating needed pressure on the Democrats and could also potentially start building necessary political alternatives to Obama and the Democrats.

When elected Obama repeatedly promised to have the EPA regulate greenhouse gas emissions, but failed to make any attempt to do so. Likewise, Obama failed to take any action on creating a significant jobs program after he was elected, despite having a full two years when the Democrats controlled the House and Senate.

Deregulation and Austerity Don’t Equal a Jobs Program

Obama’s excuse for not following the law on regulating smog and not properly regulating greenhouse gas emissions is to allow more economic growth. Theoretically, according to Obama and the Republicans, less regulation will supposedly provide more jobs. Yet, Obama has also extended Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy with the same excuse while those tax cuts do not create anything but more wealth for the wealthy. I contend that like the tax cuts for the wealthy, Obama is not fighting against environmental regulations to create jobs, but instead he is doing it to make more money for his capitalist contributors who got him elected, just as the Republicans do. While condemning thousands of people to painful deaths by violating the Clean Air Act, Obama’s move will save the car manufacturers, electronic companies, and other capitalists billion per year according to EPA estimates.

While the EPA regulations would have cost big polluters billion to fix the problem, not changing it will, besides killing thousands of people and harming the health of many more, cost an estimated 0 billion dollars in yearly health care costs. Meanwhile, Obama’s unpopular changes to health care mean that many Americans still do not have health care; American health care remains double the price of countries with socialized health care due to capitalist insurance profit in the United States; and insurance capitalists remain in a position to unfairly and illegally decide who lives and who dies by denying payment for needed procedures. Medicare for all would have fixed this problem, but Obama was always opposed to any real solutions on health care. And instead of Medicare for all, Obama has made cuts to Medicare as well. While Obama portrayed those cuts to Medicare and Social Security as the result of a forced compromise with the Republicans, Obama has always been saying that cuts to those programs were on the table in the pursuit of reducing the national deficit. Meanwhile, the real cause of the national debt is the trillions of dollars that Obama and the Republicans have squandered on war. Obama’s policies are clear. Obama supports the profits of the big polluters, insurance companies, and armament industries over the good health of the American people.

Obama’s illegal instructions to the EPA and cuts to Social Security and Medicare are the same sort of deregulation and cuts to essential social programs that the Republicans also claim create jobs.



The New Deal and How it Was Won

Yet, history shows an entirely different way to creates jobs. In 1935, at the height of another economic depression, the Democrat Party under Franklin Delano Roosevelt carried out a jobs program that improved the condition of the working class. Key components were Social Security in the Social Security Act of 1935, the first minimum wage (40 cents an hour) and the 40 hour work week in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, and jobs organized through the Works Progress Administration of 1935 which employed 3.8 million people from 1935 to 1941 and built 11,000 schools, 122,000 public buildings, 77,000 bridges, 285 airports, 24,000 miles of sewer, and 664,000 miles of road.

These reforms took place not when there was a massive excess of money to be spared by the ruling rich for the working class majority, but instead in the heights of the Great Depression. So what is different between 1935 and 2011?

Before 1934 the labor movement of the United States was taking a beating and unable to effectively fight back due to the conservative leadership of the labor unions. It was a situation very similar to today. In 1934 this all changed when socialists took the leadership of three important unions and, unlike the entrenched union bureaucrats, were able to lead successful strikes. These were the San Francisco longshoremen’s union led by the Communist Party, the Minneapolis Teamsters led by the Trotskyist Communist League of America, and the Toledo Auto-Lite Strike led by the left socialist Workers Party. General strikes also took place in San Francisco and Minneapolis.

These victorious strikes were the three most important strikes in U.S. history. These 1934 victories (along with the tactics used) inspired the great labor upsurge that formed the CIO and made many gains against the employers. This is what created the climate that forced one of the parties of the ruling rich, the Democrats, to give the working class the “New Deal”.

The Socialist Program Vs Roosevelt & Obama

Still, left socialists, including Trotskyists, were not satisfied with Roosevelt’s new deal. They fought for far more, and in doing so got the gains that were achieved. Roosevelt, on the other hand, was a racist imperial president who installed the Somoza dynasty in Nicaragua, locked up Japanese Americans in internment camps, sent Jews back to their deaths in Europe, entered the war in Europe only after it was clear that the USSR would win the war, jailed Trotskyists and banned their newspaper during WWII for Trotskyist warnings that the U.S. could go fascist, and ruled over a country where, without Roosevelt’s intervention, the south was a semi-fascist state ruled by the KKK, Democrat Party, and local police who kept Black people in terror and prevented union organizing. American capitalist wealth has been achieved through slavery, the slaughter of American Indians, massive land theft from Mexico, the exploitation of labor, the exploitation of the environment, and the continuation of the U.S. imperialist empire. Roosevelt maintained and expanded U.S. imperialist exploitation of the underdeveloped world where Roosevelt installed and supported murderous dictatorships, like Somoza in Nicaragua, repressive governments friendly to American capitalist interests in cheap resources and labor.

To this day the ruling Democrats and Republicans have little disagreement on the U.S. subjugation and exploitation of the world. For instance, following in Roosevelt’s footsteps, the Obama administration participated in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of President Zalaya in Honduras in 2009 after that government raised the minimum wage and formed friendly relations with Venezuela. The new government the U.S. has helped impose on the people of Honduras murders journalists and union leaders and is generally more friendly to U.S. imperialist interests. Like the Somoza dynasty imposed by Roosevelt, the power of the new death squad government in Honduras is maintained though repression and fraudulent elections with that government’s brute force backed up by U.S. military aid.

Obama is doing the same as Roosevelt to protect U.S. capitalist interests around the world. This is also the true meaning of Obama’s war in Libya where, in the name of protecting civilians, NATO and the U.S. have put racist rebels in power that have committed mass murder against Black Africans and driven 750,000 Black Africans out of the country.

In addition to opposing the imperialist policies of the Democrats and Republicans, the socialist program is one that can create full employment. It does so by removing corporate / capitalist ownership of the means of production and eliminating private profit. Instead of private profit, in a socialist society public ownership means that production can be geared for the public good to meet human and environmental needs. By eliminating capitalist private profit, a socialist United States will be able to easily provide everyone with a job, housing, health care, an education, and an emergency environmental program on climate change. With the exception of addressing climate change, this was done in the Soviet Union where socialism turned one of the poorest countries in the world into an industrial powerhouse capable of defeating two major imperialist invasions, including that of Nazi Germany, and able to rebuild providing everyone with a job, housing, health care, and an education. What was lacking in the USSR, however, was real workers democracy, an essential component of socialism needed to prevent abuses of power and to give the majority a better say in how society is run.

The New Deal certainly fell far short of what socialists fought for, but it was enacted largely as a result of socialists and militant workers fighting. Despite falling short, the New Deal and labor contracts won by labor in the 1930s were historic gains of the working class. Yet today, instead of spending money on jobs, social programs, and the environment, Obama, like Bush, squanders trillions on maintaining the U.S. imperialist empire.

The key difference between now and the 1930’s is that those reforms were enacted at a time when a militant labor movement was forcing the ruling capitalist parties to do so. That militant labor movement contrasts sharply with the present day where house broken labor “leaders” generally refuse to lead effective strikes and refuse to maintain effective strike funds and instead give union dues to the same Democrats who are dismantling the gains of the New Deal as well as other gains that have come since.

In contrast to Roosevelt, Obama failed to attempt any kind of real jobs program in his first two years in office when the Democrats had control of the House and Senate. Likewise, Obama failed to take meaningful action during that period on the single biggest environmental problem facing humanity, climate change. This despite repeated promises that he would have the EPA regulate greenhouse emissions. Instead of doing anything, however, Obama suddenly dropped the question without taking action. Likewise, the Obama administration expanded drilling to 20 million more acres in the Gulf after the British Petrolium spill, showing Obama’s continued commitment to the oil interests who helped get him elected.

A meaningful jobs and environmental program, in contrast to the deregulation being given to us by Obama and the Republicans, would include the rebuilding of needed infrastructure and the building of a greener economy, but to make these gains, and possibly more, will take a fight against the Democrats and Republicans. To wage such an effective fight we need to get our unions stop giving our union dues and union support to the Democrat Party. Instead, more money needs to be put into strike funds so that labor will be better prepared to fight like unions did in the 1930s. Also, environmentally minded people need to stop giving money to environmental organizations like the Sierra Club who give support to anti-environmental Democrats, including Obama, helping keep the status quo while ignoring pro-environmental “third party” candidates and by doing so helping keep them out of power. Instead of giving money to that type of organization we should take action building groups in our communities that are pro-environmental and pro-labor and willing to organize mass actions, direct actions, and strikes to effectively fight for change.



*****

This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:

(The next Liberation News article will be on defending of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Don’t miss it.)

https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news



Also see the following related articles from Liberation News:

Climate Change is Increasing the Number and Intensity of Hurricanes

http://climateandcapitalism.com/?p=5277

Why We Should Oppose the Imperialist War on Libya

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/03/25/18675579.php?show_comments=1

The Case for Socialized Medicine in the United States, and the Struggle to Achieve It

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/02/18469739.php



Report this post as:

LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
what is THIS? 'green house gasses' Tuesday, Sep. 06, 2011 at 11:44 PM

Local News

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A12 5:39PM

lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 6:38PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

Resolution of the Rent Strike in Boyle Heights M01 6:28PM

What Big Brother Knows About You and What You Can Do About It M01 3:30PM

Step Up As LAPD Chief Charlie Beck Steps Down F14 2:44PM

Our House Grief Support Center Hosts 9th Annual Run For Hope, April 29 F13 12:51PM

Don’t let this LA County Probation Department overhaul proposal sit on the shelf F13 11:04AM

Echo Park Residents Sue LA Over Controversial Development F12 8:51AM

Former Signal Hill police officer pleads guilty in road-rage incident in Irvine F09 10:25PM

Calif. Police Accused of 'Collusion' With Neo-Nazis After Release of Court Documents F09 7:14PM

Center for the Study of Political Graphics exhibit on Police Abuse posters F07 9:50AM

City Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Claiming Pasadena Police Officer Had His Sister Falsely Arre F04 3:17PM

Professor's Study Highlights Health Risks of Urban Oil Drilling F04 12:42PM

Claims paid involving Pasadena Police Department 2014 to present F04 10:52AM

Pasadenans - get your license plate reader records from police F03 11:11PM

LA Times Homicide Report F03 1:57PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Doxa du lobby A25 2:03AM

Tech workers organize A24 6:24PM

Architect Stephen Francis Jones A24 3:01PM

UN Forum Wrestles with Economic Policies 10 Years After Financial Crisis Islands Call for A24 12:34PM

Xyloglossie attitudinale A23 8:07AM

Shadowgun Legends Hack and Cheats A23 7:24AM

What does the Quran Say About Islamic Dress?? A21 4:15PM

Biodiversité ou la nature privatisée A20 11:22AM

The Market is a Universal Totalitarian Religion A20 7:14AM

Book Available about Hispanics and US Civil War by National Park Service A19 5:52PM

The Shortwave Report 04/20/18 Listen Globally! A19 4:01PM

The Republican 'Prolife' Party Is the Party of War, Execution, and Bear Cub Murder A19 11:48AM

Neurogenèse involutive A18 9:21AM

Paraphysique de la dictature étatique A16 10:13AM

Book Review: "The New Bonapartists" A16 3:45AM

The West Must Take the First Steps to Russia A14 12:25PM

Théorie générale de la révolution ou hommage à feu Mikhaïl Bakounine A14 3:30AM

The Shortwave Report 04/13/18 Listen Globally! A12 3:50PM

“Lost in a Dream” Singing Competition Winner to Be Chosen on April 15 for ,000 Prize! A12 3:48PM

The World Dependent on Central Banks A12 4:43AM

Ohio Governor Race: Dennis Kucinich & Richard Cordray Run Against Mike DeWine A11 9:40PM

March 2018 Honduras Coup Again Update A10 10:52PM

Apologie du zadisme insurrectionnel A10 3:33PM

ICE contract with license plate reader company A10 1:14PM

Palimpseste sisyphéen A09 11:23PM

Black Portraiture(S) IV: The Color of Silence...Cuba No...Cambridge Yes A09 5:32AM

Prohibiting Micro-Second Betting on the Exchanges A09 4:18AM

Prosecutors treat Muslims harsher than non-Muslims for the same crimes A08 10:33PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy