Green Party Endorses Detroit Candidates

Green Party Endorses Detroit Candidates

Wayne County Greens support Mayoral, Clerk, and City Council Candidates

Wayne County, Michigan

On Tuesday, June 13th, the Wayne County Green Party officially endorsed the candidacies of Detroit Mayoral candidate, Ingrid LaFleur; City Clerk candidate, D. Etta Wilcoxon; City Council candidate for the 1st District, James Eberheart Jr; City Council candidate for the 7th District, Joanna Underwood; and City Council At Large candidate Beverly Kindle-Walker.

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The Republican Carbon Tax Plan

A group of Reagan and Bush era Republicans, publishing in the name of a newly formed “Climate Leadership Council,” have proposed a national carbon tax and dividend coupled with a “significant rollback” of environmental regulations which seek to limit carbon dioxide emissions. If you want to read their publication directly, it can be downloaded from their website.

The poison pill in this plan is the elimination of environmental regulations. Apparently, it is not enough for them that the American oil and gas industry is exempt from the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking water Act and several other federal laws. (See http://www.frackfreecolorado.com/oil–gas-exemptions-from-federal-laws.html) They also want to eliminate controls on emissions from coal-powered generating plants, mileage requirements for vehicles, and anything else that regulates emissions directly.

They would like to sell us on the notion that the carbon tax can accomplish the task all by itself. In theory, it can, provided the tax is high enough, is applied strictly and with absolutely no exemptions for the military or other government agency, absolutely no exemptions for any nation and absolutely no exemptions for any company or industry. Their publication of course does not mention the possibility of any such exemption.

The possibility of exemptions still exists. Mentioning it would not help sell their idea of “rollback” (i.e., elimination) of environmental regualations. Therefore, it is not mentioned.

There is no actual need to eliminate specific environmental regulations in order to have a carbon tax. There’s nothing inherently incompatible between the two ways of controlling emissions.

For instance, a carbon tax and mileage requirements for vehicles both push in the same direction. A carbon tax and limits on smokestack emissions for coal-burning power plants both push in the same direction. If the carbon tax has compelled automakers to exceed minimum mileage requirements and has forced utilities to shut down coal-burning plants, that’s not really a problem for the goal of reducing emissions.

Let’s picture the situation if environmental regulations have been eliminated, and then there’s a financial/economic crisis similar to to the one that happened in 2008. It did happen in 2008, and restrictions on banking intended to prevent a recurrence are being dismantled, so it’s certainly a possibility that a similar crisis will repeat.

Oh, no! Layoffs! Unemployment! Major companies losing profits and going bankrupt! Stock market crash! We have to take whatever measures are needed to revive the economy immediately! Let’s eliminate the carbon tax! it’s clearly a big drag on the economy!

Hey, there’s a crisis, so this is no time to talk about bringing back environmental regulations. Besides, the agencies that used to do inspection and enforcement have been closed down, technical experts have found different jobs, enabling laws repealed, laws repealed … it’s just impossible to put environmental regulations in place quickly.

In other words, in Phase 1, eliminate environmental regulations because with a carbon tax, they are “not needed.” Then, for Phase 2, eliminate the carbon tax. Mission accomplished.

That is, in my opinion, the intention of the Republican carbon tax plan. A carbon tax is great idea if it is in addition to environmental regulation. It’s a terrible idea if it’s just an excuse to eliminate them.

If anything in current environmental law should be rolled back, it’s  exemptions granted the oil and gas industries.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

What is Neoliberalism?

Watching the video will be an hour well spent.

George, in the Q & A session, starts around 51 minutes:

“…and this is also a problem for Marxism. Keynes has absolutely nothing to say about the environmental crisis, which is the biggest crisis – by far – that we confront. The Keynesian fiscal stimulus accelerates the environmental crisis. Under the Keynesian vision, just as under the neoliberal vision, salvation is indistinguishable from catastrophe. Everything that is good economically is bad environmentally because you are stimulating economic growth which is the fundamental driver of environmental destruction.”

At a little over an hour, he gets into discussing the European Green Parties, and how difficult it is to distinguish their approach from that of other leftish parties. It’s something we should no doubt be working on.

GPMI and Public Education

Written by Sherry Wells; posted by Art Myatt

Even before its 1837 statehood, Michigan had a superintendent of public instruction. Both its 1908 and 1963 Constitutions provided for a State Board of Education, as the “planning and coordinating body for all public education, including higher education,” and “instructed it to advise the legislature as to the financial requirements.” The Governor was made an ex-officio member without voting rights, but all this provided balance between those entities.

The State Board was decimated by Governors, beginning with Republican Engler. Democrat Granholm promised to restore those parts, but returned only the MEAP test. Gov. Snyder ripped out the Reform and Redesign Office, despite the Board’s expertise, to inject more charter schools and his contractor buddies across the state. We see how that’s “working” for the Detroit students.

Since 1999, the State twice took over the Detroit Public Schools, both times robbing it of its surplus and sending student achievement from better than the state average to the depths. It closed new and renovated buildings paid for by the citizen-passed millage and gave them to charters. School districts with majorities of low-income students know they are next on the chopping blocks. Continue reading