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RFK Jr. writes: "If American democracy is to survive, we clearly need to restore integrity and representative democracy to our electoral process and get control of an industry that is using its enormous financial power to enrich itself, destroy the planet and undermine everything we value. Last week's events are merely a foreshadowing of the devolution that is inexorably propelling us toward a corrupt venal and petro kleptocracy."

Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo: Santa Clara University)
Environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (photo: Santa Clara University)

Petro Plutocracy

By Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Reader Supported News

08 May 12


ast week, the world got a preview of America's new post Citizens United petro plutocracy with the oil lords flexing their political muscles like oil soaked body builders pumped up on a steroid drip of campaign dollars. It was all about fracking. The petro tycoons first orchestrated the forced resignation of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) top frack patch enforcer, then adeptly forced the same cowed agency to stall its release of a damaging scientific study on fracking and finally strong armed the Interior Department to open America's public lands to gas companies without prior disclosure of their frack chemicals.

On Monday, the oil industry showcased its political muscle by forcing the resignation of EPA's popular environmental enforcement chief for the Gulf region, Dr. Al Armendariz. Dr. Al was beloved by environmentalists, civic leaders, and poor and minority communities across five states for his willingness to strictly enforce environmental rules regardless of the lawbreakers' political clout. But Armendariz's courage won him powerful enemies as well. He was steadfastly undeterred by relentless pressure from polluters and their allies including political intrigue, hamstringing budget cuts, and even death threats directed at him and his family. But this week, the world's most powerful cartel - an international syndicate feared even by the Obama Administration - finally brought Dr. Armendariz down. Armendariz's mistake was promising to enforce the law against Big Oil in the shale gas fields.

Several weeks ago, a two-year old-videotape surfaced showing Dr. Armendariz addressing a group of frightened and skeptical businessmen, civil leaders and property owners in Dish, Texas, a gas patch town familiar with government's anemic enforcement record against the oil barons. Dish's citizenry were terrified that reckless, dangerous and illegal practices by shale-gas fracking companies might jeopardize their community's property values, water supplies, jobs, local businesses and human health. Dish's Mayor, Calvin Tillman, who attended the meeting, had already moved his home away from the frack fields due to the daily nosebleeds afflicting his children ever since fracking operations commenced. Armenderiz assured Dish's shaken citizens that the EPA would enforce the law strictly in order to quickly bring industry outlaws into line.

This was too much for Congress' "law and order" Republicans who apparently believe that oil companies, and shale fracking in particular, should be above the law. Lead by U.S. Senator, James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Big Petroleum's sock-puppet-in-chief, Congressional Republicans forced Armenderiz's dismissal. (As a private citizen, Dr. Al is no longer entitled to FBI protection and has had to appeal to the Dallas police for protection against continuing assassination threats.) Instead of the deterrence, for which Dr. Al had hoped, the episode sent an altogether different public message; government enforcers can lose their jobs by suggesting that the oil companies ought to obey America's laws.

The Republicans complained that Armenderiz, by way of reassuring Dish's frightened and skeptical townsfolk, referenced, as a metaphor, the ancient Roman practices of roadside crucifixion and burning villages to deter violators. Attorneys are familiar with such historical touchstones which are routinely invoked by law professors and "tough on crime" prosecutors to illustrate the concept of deterrence. If Armedariz had been speaking about any other crime than pollution from fracking, and any type of alleged criminal other than certain oil frackers, the same republican lawmakers would have applauded his muscular commitment to merciless rigor.

From its inception, hydrofracking has been an outlaw enterprise. The industry was born in a provision drafted in secret by oilman Dick Cheney's clandestine energy task force specifically exempting it from the Safe Drinking Water Act, a shale fracking method devised and patented by Cheney's former company Halliburton. The Vice President's henchmen then rammed the exemption though a supplicant post 9/11 Congress. Rough and tumble competition among fracking companies have turned the frack fields from North Dakota to Pennsylvania into modern Dodge Cities. Regulatory capture has given some of the industry's worst actors de facto immunity from their criminal behavior.

In states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, the fracking industry has flourished through habitual law breaking, including illegal dumping of horrendous toxins into public sewage treatment plants utterly unequipped to treat those poisons, using substandard casing protocols that regularly contaminate people's groundwater with carcinogenic benzene and explosive methane, and illegally filling streams to build roads, pipelines and drill pads. These species of habitual lawbreakers require the protection of crooked politicians and captive agencies to insulate criminal companies from the consequences of their illegal behavior. Oil companies are experts at using campaign contributions to purchase this class of government cooperation.

In another demonstration of its impressive power, two days after Dr. Al's resignation, the frack industry won another political battle - forcing cowed Interior Department officials to allow gas companies to frack on our federal public lands without first disclosing the constituents of the lethal fracking fluid, they intend to inject into our purple mountains' majesty and amber waves of grain.

Later that week, AP reporters documented how the frack industry was using its clout to escape, not just the laws of government, but of science. On Thursday, AP's investigators forced the U.S. EPA to admit that it had withheld - for nearly a month - a devastating study showing groundwater contamination linked to fracking from oil and gas wells in Pavillion, Wyoming. At the command of Wyoming's republican Governor Matt Mead - an indentured servant to the fracking industry - the EPA delayed issuing the report. Mead then ordered state officials to "take a hard line" on the industry's behalf. A team of tobacco scientists and biostitutes at Wyoming's Department of Environmental Quality next dutifully used the delay to gin up critical questions meant to debunk EPA's science to help soften the blow from the federal study that sent shock waves through the oil and gas industry.

Law-abiding gas patch residents like the citizens of Dish, Texas understand something that Congressional Republicans apparently don't - environmental crime is real crime with real victims. Pollution doesn't just attack water and wildlife and put fishermen out of work. It harms human health, private property and often takes human life. Oil pollution damages the brains of little children and kills both young people and adults. Emissions from burning oil and coal kills tens of thousands Americans annually from cancer and respiratory illnesses, and impose half a trillion dollars in health care damage.

Oil and coal's other costs include global warming, acid rain, mercury contamination and ocean acidification. The carbon cronies have demonstrated an uncanny talent for writing loopholes and exemptions into health, safety and environmental laws to escape the consequences of damaging private property, public health, the shared commons and the welfare of the American people. When their lobbying and drafting tricks fail to give oil titans full protection, compliant enforcement and regulatory officials dull the sting of noncompliance. It's no wonder that frightened gas field communities seek assurance that government regulators will enforce the anemic laws that still exist to protect them. In the southern gulf states, Armendariz was respected by coastal communities as one of the few public officials who had not been corrupted by Big Oil. In that sense, Armendariz is an American hero in the mold of Eliott Ness, Pat Garrett, Wyatt Earp and Thomas Dewey.

Unfortunately, most of our political leaders lack Dr. Al's courage and integrity. Instead of protecting America's citizenry from oil industry atrocities, Senator Inhofe and the republicans see their job as protecting oil company brigands from the law and its enforcers. Inhofe's reasoning is not obscure, the oil and gas industry pumps hundreds of millions of dollars annually into elections and lobbying to purchase friends like Senator Inhofe. Big Oil is now the richest industry in history. Last year, Exxon contributed $54 million to the political process. The gravities of this lucre are irresistible to politicians of a certain stripe. Exxon's record quarterly profits of $104 million per day will allow that company to dramatically increase its political investments. More importantly, the Supreme Court's Citizens United case removes all the past restrictions that once deterred Big Oil from employing these enormous profits to completely dominate America's political system. As a result of that court ruling, the oil barons will pick the winners and losers in America's upcoming elections at every level - in secret if they desire.

The industry is already poised to flood America's political landscapes with hundreds of millions of dollars in newly legalized bribery. In addition to their generous contribution to the Tea Party, CATO Institute and other oil industry front groups, and oil tycoons Charles and David Koch, on Feb. 3 pledged an extra $60 million of their private money for direct campaign donations to ensure that their oil friendly candidate wins the presidential election in November.

Chevron, Exxon, the American Petroleum Institute and other oil moguls will match the Koch brothers' largesse many times over. The oil barons must find great comfort in historic data assembled by the Center for Responsive Politics demonstrating that, in 94% of American elections, the candidate with the most money wins. It was the underlying idealism of our successful experiment with self-government that made America an exemplary nation and the template for the world's democracies. If American democracy is to survive, we clearly need to restore integrity and representative democracy to our electoral process and get control of an industry that is using its enormous financial power to enrich itself, destroy the planet and undermine everything we value. Last week's events are merely a foreshadowing of the devolution that is inexorably propelling us toward a corrupt venal and petro kleptocracy. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+11 # barbaratodish 2012-05-08 15:13
The solution to oil dependence: start walking! Instead of using cars, cars use us! When everyone begins to be lovable to themselves, they will be at peace in their own skins WHEREEVER they are instead of needing to consume distractions, i.e., go places, do things, for entertainment!
+27 # Quickmatch 2012-05-08 18:37
Wouldn't that be nice: the owners of all 250 million cars and light trucks in the US just walked one way average to work-13 miles? But not possible, so not the solution. But, smaller more efficient cars; more electric public transportation would be a stert.
+20 # NSteinson 2012-05-08 16:25
I agree with barbaratodish. Let's give us driving for at least a week and see what happens. I recall the people in Birmingham, AL, who did just that - they stopped riding the buses and that produced drastic changes. It started out little but mushroomed into the Civil Rights movement. Are we strong enough to pull this off? With R. Kennedy's help maybe. Nancy
+14 # Dave_s Not Here 2012-05-08 17:27
I'm a disabled senior who lives in a rural area about a mile and a half from the nearest public transit stop. Not only can't I walk to the bus but, I have to have a spare, working car at hand for the times my main ride is disabled for some reason.

Is there some answer for me?
+15 # Quickmatch 2012-05-08 18:20
Yes, but you'll need a lot of friends and neighboer to assist: vote Democrat.
+15 # SOF 2012-05-08 19:00
I hear that Dave. I lived a mile and three hills from the first bus stop. I fume and rattle at the $$ spent on roads. Perhaps you can find a neighbor who has to go to town and is kind enough to give you a ride. Maybe you have a skill or ? to trade? Good luck.
+7 # dkonstruction 2012-05-10 13:36
barbaratodish and NSteinson, with all due respect, giving up driving for a week is possible in cities with public transportation systems but not for most that live in surburban/rural areas with that no real public transit option. When i got laid off from my job in NYC i also had to give up my apt. and so took over my folks old place in Ct. When i got work again in NYC i was forced to drive everyday...not something i want to do but, sorry, walking 66 miles each way each day is simply not an let's get real about this stuff (and for those saying "why doesn't he take the train"...well, sorry, i work in queens and the train takes me into manhattan and would add over an hour each way to my already hour and a half each way commute not to mention the fact that monthly train fair is now over $400 a month and given that i have a hybrid it is actually cheaper for me to drive.

The demand has to be for massive investment in clean energy mass transit systems across the country.

As for the Birmingham bus boycott; one of the reasons it was so effiective is that a) african americans organized their own CARpools and so they drove each other to work (often borrowing cars that were loaned to the movement precisely for this purpose by those that owned a vehicle) and b) white women began to drive their nannies, house keepers etc., because they couldn't function without their "negro help". So, in fact, cars played a crucial role in the bus boycott's success.
-72 # MidwestTom 2012-05-08 16:30
Anyone drives or flies is forbidden to criticize the oil industry. Mr Kennedy probably burns more fuel in the family private jet in one year, than all of us reading do in several years in our cars.
+39 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-05-08 20:47
Mr. Kennedy has probably done more JUST THIS WEEK to right environmental and social wrongs in America than you have your entire life.

If he needs to be on Charlie Rose in Washington DC on Monday, and in LA for a conference on Tuesday, what's he supposed to do, walk?

He's not doing this for the money, Tommy, he could be enjoying a life-long, permanent vacation instead of working his ass off, so why don't you show a little gratitude instead of your petulant carping?
+6 # Jorge 2012-05-09 13:23
Thanks RAA. Some posts here are just the winger trolls wanting to collect the $25 per post from the Cato Institute or Koch Bros or others involved in paid- messaging (Thom Hartmann did a segment on paid trolls). There is a solution that has not been mentioned and it is available now...there are more electric vehicles that are more affordable with tax credits (state and federal) and solar power panels on work buildings/homes could be employed now for daily free charges (no coal-burning or nuclear power needed). Just need some help from real legislative representatives (not corrupt corporatists) to allow us larger tax breaks/incentiv es (we could call it the "Citizen's Oil-Depletion Allowance"). Could help eliminate the need for more oil wars that suck up billions (and trillions) of dollars.
-1 # barbaratodish 2012-05-10 02:45
[quote name="Reductio Ad Absurdum"]Mr. Kennedy has probably done more JUST THIS WEEK to right environmental and social wrongs in America than you have your entire life.

If he needs to be on Charlie Rose in Washington DC on Monday, and in LA for a conference on Tuesday, what's he supposed to do, walk?

]He could use POLYCOM! to virtually BE on CHarlie Rose!
-3 # dkonstruction 2012-05-10 13:45
Quoting barbaratodish:
[quote name="Reductio Ad Absurdum"]Mr. Kennedy has probably done more JUST THIS WEEK to right environmental and social wrongs in America than you have your entire life.

If he needs to be on Charlie Rose in Washington DC on Monday, and in LA for a conference on Tuesday, what's he supposed to do, walk?

]He could use POLYCOM! to virtually BE on CHarlie Rose!

While, i agree that the criticism of RK is unfair in this case (and i agree with you that he has been a real champion of environmental issues for decades), I think Midwest Tom raises a valid point that should not simply be ridiculed...e.g ., I am sick and tired of those such as Bono who come out as champions of the poor or the environment but then completely contradict their words with their actions (e.g., Bono's call for an end to 3rd world debt while moving most of his money out of his own country to avoid "high" Irish tax rates or talking about global warming while mounting tours for U2 that use so much fossil fuel (both electricity, jet fuel and gasoline) simply to make them "spectacles." There is nothing wrong with trying to hold those accountable who are in effect trying to tell the rest of us how we should lead our lives.

At the same time, I see nothing wrong with skipping Charlie Rose (no big loss there) altogether or at the very least appearing via streaming video from whereever
+1 # Reductio Ad Absurdum 2012-05-12 10:21
Yet you ridicule Charlie Rose — who presents an hour-long platform for the expression of the very ideas you espouse.

If Bono donned a pair of overalls and toiled in the fields for humanity, giving all his tax money to Ireland (so it can impose counterproducti ve austerity measures), canceling all his tours, then Bono would no longer have a world-stage voice to use to champion ANY issue.

YOU'RE sick of Bono? I'M sick of people sitting at home carping about activist celebrities who are at least doing SOMETHING; I'M sick of people bitching that these celebrities (who are actually making a difference!) don't live like ascetic monks. The perfect is the enemy of the good — if you're looking for the perfect champion, you're incredibly naive. Ralph Nader is the closest thing to it and in the wake of his blind zeal for ideological purity, we ended up with W. Bush and the right-wing Supreme Court.
+9 # pbbrodie 2012-05-09 07:23
Tom, what good does it do to criticize those who are doing their level best to help the situation? Are you comparing Mr. Kennedy's burning of fuel to the atrocities committed by the oil companies?
Exactly what is your point here, other than to just complain?
+9 # Eliza D 2012-05-09 16:01
Midwest-If you thought with your brain instead of your loathsome emotions, you would read before you post. The captains of industry had a chance to build electric vehicles in the early twentieth century,but decided that would not be profitable enough. Unless you are a genius inventor, you, like most of us, are at the mercy of the capitalist investors who decide with their dollars exactly what is available to us and how much it will cost. Those barons have decided that we will be transported with oil. We peasants don't have much control over this,unless again, we are inventors with heavy pocketbooks who can introduce something new to the market. Otherwise, we can use whatever political power we have to insist on other energy alternatives, which the blessed RFKJr. has been doing for most of his life. Reductio is right- Mr. Kennedy has done more good than you (or I, for that matter)have ever done. Please, couldn't we have a thousand more of him and none of you?
+36 # Vardoz 2012-05-08 16:38
This is what corporate anarchy looks like. Mafia style entities that don't give a damn about anything. Ruthless, lawless and out of control. There is no one watching the coop. The fate of our Earth and our health, safety and welfare is in the hands of polluters who like pyschopaths, will do anything they can, no matter what the consequences are to vast populations and our to wildlife. Humans seem like an experiment gone bad.
+22 # BLBreck 2012-05-08 16:51
Yes, fight them in every way you can think of. Walk or bike to work for a progressive candidate and walk straight to the voting booth, too. I'm happy to say I only put 1,000 miles on my car in the last year, and when I do buy gas I look for local stations and do not buy from the big companies like BP (which includes Valero and others, you can get a list) or Chevron, Exxon, etc.
+2 # The Voice of Reason 2012-05-08 18:17
By all means, let's give in to the oil companies and walk. How would that affect them in the slightest. they don't care.

We need to take a stand and demand vehicles that don't waste fuel. It is simple, yet contrived, mathematics: cars are designed to waste fuel, oil companies make billions an hour, and we are stupid.

This type of predator / sucker economy (where big oil is the predator and we are the suckers) should be abolished, and the oil companies and the politicians they control should all go to prison for the rest of their lives.

Hah! that'll be the day. Americans just love Pharaoh-and-his -people economics.

People need mobility, not some nozzle-head with his had in our pocket every 200 miles.

But you guys will pay all you have without blinking and think it's your fault.
+25 # Kootenay Coyote 2012-05-08 18:52
Walking is fine for Urbanites, but doesn't work too well in the country, as settlement/busi ness patterns are geared to automobiles. We need alternate power for vehicles, but at the same time we need to reorganize living & settlement territory.
+9 # jwb110 2012-05-08 19:16
Maybe the wrong people are being crucified.
+15 # colvictoria 2012-05-08 20:31
This article reminds me of what Tom Hartman had said on his radio program. He said everything here runs on oil. Our entire agricultural system is oil. Our transportation is oil.
We are so dependent on oil that our whole economy could collapse if one day we didn't have oil. This is so horrible because that means that all of these wars in the Mid East happen because our existence depends on their oil. So millions of people over there are dying and being sacrificed so that we can eat and get around in our gas guzzling cars and trucks. There is something seriously wrong with this country!
+10 # cordleycoit 2012-05-08 20:37
This is the America you inherited. The Republicans are bought off and do not care. The Democrats are bought off and pretend to care.The people know and accept this state of affairs and are too beaten to care. Those who do do something are beaten by viscous steroid filled policemen, fired from their jobs and held up to public ridicule. Newspeople are kept in extreme poverty and blamed for the demise of a an empty press. It's all paid for by big oil that gets it's money from all of us.
Keep telling the truth because "truth is our witness." -W.Eugene Smith Keep fighting.
+4 # Mamaskye 2012-05-08 22:47
Start walking??? Seriously? We might as well stop eating and drinking and shopping and and and. OIL is LIFE. At least for the moment, and walking is NOT the solution. National investment in renewables, localized supply chains, and POPULATION CONTROL are the realistic, achievable, and viable solutions. Get real. Walking to work is about as useful a suggestion as returning to the days of horse and buggy. Join the new millenium. Look to Iceland.
+3 # The Voice of Reason 2012-05-09 08:08
Oil is not life, but mobility is a vital necessity. So why do we need some nozzle head bilking $20 every time we move 100 miles? Because oil is materialism at its worst.

These fuel-based economies thrive like a cancer with vehicles designed to waste fuel, and buyers blaming themselves. Until we demand vehicles that don't waste fuel, we are helpless pawns in their fascist murderous domain.

Fuel should be free, and the oil companies and the politicians they own should all go to prison for life, and should give back all the money they took from us over the decades of 'okay, we'll pay more'
+9 # narguimbau 2012-05-09 00:49
In researching global warming issues I came to understand the the Kyoto Protocols, the Waxman bill and the Kerry bill, all predating Citgizens United, all required the oil industry to do no more than the physical consgtraints already required.

I have also come to realize that the mainline environmental groups have a "conspircy of silence" against addressing fossil fuel conservation every bit as firm as the better-understo od conspiracy of silence as to population. The mainline groups always speak in terms of "efficiency" and "alternative energy cources," knowing full well that these goals cannot result in reduction of CO2 emissions in a timely manner. That leaves the public only with a recourse they have never been educated to understand to be necessary - radical reduction of fossil fuel consumption on the personal level, BY EVERYONE, which sumultaneously makes real gains against global warming and liberates the public from the hold of the corporations. I have been writing extensively on these subjects on the Internet, and one of my better known articles predicted in 2010 that the US would be facing a 4-plus % reduction in oil supplies by 2012. Petroleum Economist Magazine reported a week ago that a 4.5%/yr drop in US supply AND DEMAND has commenced. We need your help.

US public boycotts of oil to the tune of anytning more than 4.5%/yr would bring the industry to its knees and also make real gains for the first time in the global warming fight.
+1 # Milarepa 2012-05-09 00:49
Thank you. We live in the pre-US-dissolut ion era. Nothing truly new can happen until the US dissolves. Regrettably, current Russia is no great inspiration after the USSR imploded. Certainly very few Italians would want to go back to the Roman Empire, or Germans to Hitler Germany. Everything changes. The sooner we get it over with the better.
+9 # RMDC 2012-05-09 04:59
The solution to the problem of the oil plutocracy is really in government. We need a government that is independent from the control of oil corporations -- and all other corporations. That is a huge job. Corporations own the government now. Voting will not help. the election system is corrupted. No honest politician could ever be elected.

An independent government would enact policies that moved the entire nation away from dependence on fossil fuels. We all know the solutions. They are very many in nature. more public transportation where it makes sense and alternative fuels in every sector. Fracking and oil shale recovery should simply be banned as destructive technologies. Speculation on energy commodities should be banned as it only drives up the price of oil, gas, and other energies.

I just don't see any of this happening. Someday, the oil plutocracy will collapse of its own corruption and greed. but it will not change its course.
+5 # Glen 2012-05-09 06:12
Fraking is being performed for more than just oil. Natural gas is also involved in the process, which is being touted as the finest. Ahem.

Oil is not just meant for gasoline. Oil is used in almost every aspect of manufacturing, greasing, road construction, road repair, and so forth, and is the basis for hundreds, maybe thousands, of products. Think plastics and similar.

Eliminating gas guzzling cars will not stop the industry. They are invested in much of technology, and therefore will continue as long as there is any possibility of extracting that oil.
+11 # Artemis 2012-05-09 07:17
Well, in the dreaded 'socialist' world of Europe, there are amazing networks of public transport: underground in the cities, buses, trams, and trains and buses in the countryside. And millions of Europeans use bicycles, even for long stretches. Of course, Margaret Thatcher killed off a lot of train services in Britain, especially smaller local services, and there are improvements needed everywhere, but the basic investment was made a long time ago.
America needs to consider doing the same. If the federal government can't do it, then smaller companies and groups should consider alternatives. In Iranian cities, people stand by the side of the road and taxis slow, you call out and if they're going in your direction you hop in and pay a small sum. It's fun and practical.
Oh my gosh, did I say Iran....? And 'socialist'? This must make me a suspect for something.
+5 # sol4u2 2012-05-09 09:24
Each of us need to take a stand and pick up the phone, pen or send an email to your Congressman / Senator who are the fools who vote for these bills and are allowing the destruction of the environment and our precious public lands. Tell them enough is enough. Pass the word - if each of us got one other to speak out against what is wrong with our country change can occur! We are lucky to have concerned citizens who can afford to stand up and fight for the little guy - we need more like Robert Kennedy - whether you like him or not he believes in his civic repsonsibilitie s!!
+4 # jpedone 2012-05-09 12:11
Does anybody remember "Jitneys?" (an inexpensive taxi system), usually shared by many that could serve elderly, disabled, or those who prefer not to drive and shuttle them from home to public transit. Then, of course, we need a ritious public transit system. Where are the entrepenuers for this idea? It would be a start.

John P
+3 # dkonstruction 2012-05-10 13:53
As "Who's Framed Roger Rabbit" makes clear, the public transportation system in LA (but then across the country) was consciously destroyed. Massive investment in a domestically manufactured mass transit system (look at the public/private partnership that was created in Portland to rebuild, locally, the cities trolley car system) will not only do alot for the environment but will also create the kind of locally-based and well-paying skilled jobs that we need to begin to build a sound, sustainable "green jobs" based economy. If "walk to work" is the best we can offer then it is no wonder the right-wing attracts the numbers they do.
0 # Lincoln 2012-05-13 12:47
Republican's, Republicans, so which Democrats stood up against these forces and for Dr. Al Armendariz? Who again controls the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior??? Inhofe? Who controls the Senate?
Too bad RFK Jr is still a partisan hack for the DemoRats and won't equally lay the blame. It would be good for him to point out that The DemoRats are not on our side either!
This article hides more than it shows! The word Democrat was not mentioned ONE TIME. It reads like Vote for Democrats if you want to stop Fracking and that is a frigging laugh. Jr mentions cowed department officials, again, who is in Charge of the EPA and the Dept of the Interior? Where does the buck actually stop? It stops At the Top! It at least is scrutinized by a Democrat Administration, RFK Jr can not even allude to this.
He should include both Major Parties in his criticism and, especially in this article, he does not! He does a Disservice to the casual reader and a service for the DemoRat Party and that is subterfuge in my opinion.
0 # dhsbrenda 2012-05-13 14:43
All of the solutions mentioned above should be implemented, and more that have not been mentioned. I for one have certainly reduced my use of oil by well over 4.5%, and public transportation- -not as good as Europe's, not as good as in pre-1950, but still, here now--is in Los Angeles, finally. I am dedicated to calling out both Repubs and Dems who are bought and paid for by oil companies and other corps, which means most of them. Occupy the Streets, the way they did in Iceland, and get free government back.

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