Trashing The Country

I see that Scott Pruitt intends to roll back the Clean Power Plan put in place during the Obama administration.  Pruitt’s devotion to fossil fuel interests and his determination to eviscerate the agency he heads is, if anything, stronger than ever. To hell with clean air and water, or for that matter, the future of the planet.

The Guardian recently looked at another of the Obama-era regulations that Trump and Pruitt reversed.

A ban on bottled water in 23 national parks prevented up to 2m plastic bottles from being used and discarded every year, a US national park service study found. That is equivalent to up to 326 barrels of oil worth of emissions, 419 cubic yards of landfill space and 111,743lb of plastic, according to the May study.

Despite that, the Trump administration reversed the bottled water ban just three months later, a decision that horrified conservationists and pleased the bottled water industry.

Donald Trump’s primary policy motivation has been clear from the moment he assumed office: the erasure of Barack Obama’s legacy, no matter what the policy, no matter how good for America, no matter how good endorsing it would be politically for Trump himself. If Obama did it, Trump is determined to undo it.

For whatever reason–Obama’s skin color (Trump’s racism is no longer in question), his devastating take-down of Trump at that correspondent’s dinner, or some other motivation lurking in Trump’s clearly disordered mind–the only consistent thread in the disaster that is this administration is the determined and vicious assault on Obama’s legacy.

Did Obama want clean water and breathable air? Then those things aren’t important. Did he want to protect our national parks from pollution and despoiling? “Freedom” means letting plastic bottles proliferate!

The plan to curb pollution in America’s most famous wilderness areas was spurred when arguably its most famous park, the Grand Canyon, banned the sale of plastic water bottles in its gift shops, according to the report. Approximately 331 million people visit US national parks each year.

The program was meant to support a “life cycle” approach to plastic, which activists say is the largest global threat to the environment behind climate change. One million plastic bottles are sold per minute, according to a Guardian analysis. The top six drink companies in the world use an average of just 6.6% recycled plastic.

At the same time, new research has shown that plastics which find their way into the sea have entered the food supply. Scientists have found plastic particles in sea salt, honey, fish, beer and tap water.

When the parks began banning bottled drinking water in 2011, they installed hydration stations with free water. But that didn’t stop the bottled water industry from accusing the government of “infringing the freedom of families to decide for themselves how to hydrate.”

Think I’m kidding?

“It should be up to our visitors to decide how best to keep themselves and their families hydrated during a visit to a national park, particularly during hot summer visitation periods,” said the acting service director, Michael Reynolds.

You can’t make this shit up.


  1. But it is NOT new with Trump. The Republicans have long been in favor of rolling back any and all clean air, clean water, clean food .. environmental regulations. FREEDOM to breath dirty air. FREEDOM to give your family dirty water. And so on. YAY for Freedom I guess?

  2. Today’s subject fits with yesterday’s, “Talking About What We Understand”. The miracle of plastics and their convenience in so many ways had taken over our lives before we knew the process to manufacture them required oil or that they are not biodegradable, never rot into the earth, thus forever harming our environment and are hazardous to wildlife. The damage to our oceans and waterways equals the hazards they cause on land. The noxious fumes from burning plastics is one of the causes of death in all fires.

    Recycling is helpful but it simply melts down plastics and we reuse it in another form. The dumping of refuse and hazardous manufacturing waste into our waterways and ground sites is no longer protected; working their way into wells and from there into homes. Two days ago there was another article in the Star about two members of a Bargersville, IN, family suffering from cancers; Bargersville is in Johnson County where there are nearly 40 cases of different forms of cancers where contaminated groundwater is suspected by all but public health, as being the cause. Hazardous dumping is a bigger problem in rural counties; plastics in all forms are part of the problem even from private homes.

    How many centuries did we manage to survive and keep ourselves hydrated before the invention and proliferation of plastics?

  3. Trump and Pruitt will keep going (while congress looks away) and will make it easy for China, Germany and others to become the world leader in the fight to preserve our natural systems. They’re not oblivious to this, so one can only conclude that they are intent on making the US a second rate power and a third world economy. Trump supporters: What do you say about that?

  4. Trump’s motive for rolling back Obama’s rules and regulations is clearly a case of feeding his nasty ego by getting revenge. But those around him, the entire Republican delegation in Washington and those at the helm of state governments, have a different goal. They exclusively represent and do the bidding of big business and industry, interests that are based on having the freedom to make as much money as possible regardless of the damage to anyone else. While we all focus on the crazy man in the White House, the real enemy resides in the board rooms of America’s businesses. And shame on them!

  5. Freedom of choice is great when it doesn’t harm others and the planet we all share. There are laws against littering plastic bottles and other garbage on public space and people accept that “infringement” on their “freedom” – perhaps because the result of littering is obvious and under their noses. If they could see the islands of plastic in the oceans, maybe they’d think twice about the proliferation of plastic and accept that some rules and laws are just good for everyone and not a threat to “freedom”. But it’s really not all about freedom of choice. Of course it’s about freedom of industries to make more money.

  6. Unbelievable. We’re one sick country. The Planet can’t afford us. We don’t care about its future.

    Don’t waste your time. There’s no problem here. It’s all about our afterlife in heaven.

    All we need is Donald Trump and evangelical preachers. Amen.

  7. Lest we not forget, 60% of the Christian churches in Germany swore their oath to Adolph Hitler, who by the way, was much more SANER than Donald Trump.

    sane (san) adj. [L. sanus, healthy] 1. mentally healthy; rational 2. sound; sensible—sane’ly adv.
    ~Webster’s New World Dictionary

    Would a nuclear exchange bring us to our senses? Probably not.

  8. At 80, my single social life should now pick-up, since lifespan should no longer be a significant factor in any relationship while Donald Trump is President.

  9. The operative word in your essay today is “SHIT”. No, you can’t make it up. Capitalists make it up because they see profit in it. Trump/Scott, et. al., care not a whit for anything but money and profits for their paymasters. The legal bribery in this country is total shit. The people mentioned in your essay are shit too. Our silly Electoral College and 62 million people who voted for shit have NO compunction about their racism anymore. They, therefore, are shit too. The 92 million people who didn’t vote? Well, you can hear the national intestines grumbling….

  10. O.K. I may have gotten carried away….a little. But the Trump administration is combining the worst of all human instincts and recapitulating all the worst crimes of our industrial explosion. Scott Pruitt, in a way, is the right hand of the devil. Karl Marx has got to be either writhing in ecstasy as he sees his prophecies about capitalism coming true under this collection of fools, or weeping that nobody took him seriously enough because of his invention of communism.

    Plastic water bottles…. I had my science students work up a simple problem about cost of bottled water. At the time, gasoline was costing over $3 per gallon. They could purchase bottled water out of the school vending machine for $1 per pint. Yes, the water was costing $8 per gallon. The math should tell us all we need to know about this scam of bottled water. Oh, and the water itself? It had the same chemical makeup as most city tap water. You could almost hear the DUHs coming from the kids. The solution? Fill up your personal water bottles (with plastic straw) at the drinking fountain.

    In my book, “Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status”, I discuss this and other seemingly obvious issues that are eating the guts out of our nation. The worst part is that we’re doing to ourselves while the corporatists and their lackeys are laughing all the way to the bank.

  11. Vernon,

    “In my book, “Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status”, I discuss this and other seemingly obvious issues that are eating the guts out of our nation. ”

    You hit it right on the money in your book. This “stinking mess” goes back to Carl Rove and George Bush. I was there when Rove got his big start in Texas. From a historical sense, Donald Trump might well be described as just another player.

    I’m looking forward to receiving a copy of your book from Amazon.

  12. Meanwhile if someone littered on the property of their multimillion dollar mansion, they’d surely expect that person to be fined or arrested. Goose. Gander. The hippocracy is really quite amazing.

  13. This terrible WEBWAR we are now facing, started in one place, especially after the assassination of JFK.

    Dallas is the COG or Center of Gravity of the Religious Right/Far Right controlled”body politic” of the U.S. whether from its being politically influenced, at one time or another, by: the KKK , the power center of the John Birch Society [the Koch Brother’s father was one of the founders], the financial power of B. R. (Black Bart) McLendon and H. L. Hunt, the subversion of Gordon McLendon and Bunker Hunt, the Dallas Cowboys of Clint Murchison, the Southern Baptist Convention of W. A. Criswell and finally, not the least of which, Governor Bill Clements, President George Bush and Carl Rove.

    Center of Gravity
    Mechanics. the point through which the resultant of gravitational forces on a body passes and from which the resultant force of attraction of the body on other bodies emanates: coincident with the center of mass in a uniform gravitational field.
    a person, thing, or idea that is the vital or pivotal focus of interest or activity within a larger entity.

    ~Merriam Webster Online

  14. Ohh, there is more from the Guardian: Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint – where water is undrinkable. While Flint battles a water crisis, just two hours away the beverage giant pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles.

    In the tiny town of Evart, creeks lined by wildflowers run with clear water. The town is so small, the fairground, McDonald’s, high school and church are all within a block. But in a town of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer. This is where the beverage giant Nestlé pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles that are sold all over the midwest for around $1.

    To use this natural resource, Nestlé pays $200 per year.
    Nestlé had $92bn in sales in 2016, and $7.4bn from water alone. Nevertheless, the company pays nothing for the 150 gallons per minute it already pumps from the ground in central Michigan. The $200 per year is just an administration fee.
    The aquifer that Nestlé taps into should be considered as the property of the state. A resource like water is simply too important to allow private industry to exploit it. National and State Forests are being seen as another resource to exploit.

    IMHO it is not so much that the Trumpet is trying to overturn Obama’s actions when he was President. The Trumpet is in the camp of Steroid Capitalism, where there are no rules, except those that allow him to declare bankruptcy and walk away from debts.

  15. The fundamental issue at stake here is profits over people. It is far more important that the rich and corporate class make lots of money than it is that the rest of us (the 99.9) survive. Somehow the word hasn’t gotten around to the rich and corporate class (and especially the results of their policy on their progeny) who with the rest of us have to deal with oceans of plastic and oceans that are themselves warming rapidly as our biggest reservoir of carbon dioxide. Just last night on TV I heard a coal executive deny that CO2 is toxic! Apparently he hasn’t read of people dying in garages when their cars’ engines were running and the garage doors were closed. Note to this profit-at-all-costs coal executive > try this experiment out in your garage. Duh!
    Capitalism as practiced today and joined at the hip with paid-off politicians is not the capitalism of Adam Smith, Ricardo or Thomas Malthus. It is greed on steroids masquerading as “freedom” under some grotesque view of libertarianism run amok, but freedom for whom? Which, finally, is more important – human survival or aggregation of assets in the hands of the few (aka profit)? I vote for people, but the people we elect vote for profit. Solution? Vote out the people who vote for profit over people, and do so quickly, before these issues become moot as all of us are smothered in our own refuse.

  16. Gerald,

    “Just last night on TV I heard a coal executive deny that CO2 is toxic! Apparently he hasn’t read of people dying in garages when their cars’ engines were running and the garage doors were closed. Note to this profit-at-all-costs coal executive > try this experiment out in your garage. Duh!”

    I watched the same news program on PBS. Can you believe that guy? That’s called intelligence?

  17. Marv – If that’s intelligence, then I agree with one of our fellow commentators that we are, in fact, doomed. You are right – it was on PBS – and his framing as a coal lover and its use as good for poor working people and the economy left me on the edge of regurgitation. Coal is on the way out and this rich cluck is just trying to elongate the inevitable for a few more years of profit – never mind that it is a prime factor in the destruction of our environment. GRRRR!

  18. Gerald,

    I’m thinking back to the old school days when Spelling B’s were in vogue:

    How about D-Y-S-T-O-P-I-A?

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    For other uses, see Dystopia (disambiguation).
    See also: Utopian and dystopian fiction

    A dystopia (from the Greek δυσ- and τόπος, alternatively, cacotopia, kakotopia, or simply anti-utopia) is a community or society that is undesirable or frightening. It is translated as “not-good place”, an antonym of utopia, a term that was coined by Sir Thomas More and figures as the title of his best known work, Utopia, published 1516, a blueprint for an ideal society with minimal crime, violence and poverty.

    Dystopian societies appear in many artistic works, particularly in stories set in the future. Some of the most famous examples are George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Dystopias are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic decline in society. Dystopian societies appear in many sub-genres of fiction and are often used to draw attention to real-world issues regarding society, environment, politics, economics, religion, psychology, ethics, science, or technology. However, some authors also use the term to refer to actually-existing societies, many of which are or have been totalitarian states, or societies in an advanced state of collapse and disintegration.

    Maybe we need to change the name of some of our beloved songs, such as “America the Beautiful.”

  19. I think this is culminating in a coup d’etat. Republicans ignored the constitution and refused to appoint Merrill Garland. Gerrymandering makes some legislators immune from accountability to the electorate. The Supreme Court opened the floodgates to corporate influence in elections by declaring them persons with interests to protect and equating dollars to speech. I don’t see anyone moving in an effective manner to counteract any of this and wonder what to do? Maybe democracy is too hard to maintain

  20. As for dystopias, try Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban, 1980, and that classic, A Canticle for Liebowitz, by Walter Miller, Jr., 1960. Those will cheer you up…Or maybe not…when I contemplate the entirely plausible worlds invented by these and other ‘science fiction’ writers, I am foolishly but definitely cheered by the enduring Startrek – a much, maybe less plausible but nice to imagine, happier vision.

    I am becoming somewhat less anxious about Trump – here is my current reasoning – if the ugly herd of trumpets can undo these good ideas (enacted around a crazy at the time) congress (still crazy), someone can re-enact them once the political landscape has changed; it begins to seem that the larger mass of your citizens are willing and able to recognize the utter, ugly, destructive behaviour of Republicans over the past decade (plus); those of you able and willing to resist appear to be an ever increasing and active mass; the increasing numbers – despite the frighteningly quickly appearing challenges – are not giving up on their activism, thus supporting a real hope that change will (perhaps faster than eventually) arrive. As I often describe myslf: this is your resident ‘Pollyanna’…still, I believe that hope is a reasonable response.

    My much nastier self imagines the chief trumpet humiliated in front of the world – not nice, right, and not necessary, as he too will pass, along with his consciousless crew, and the better angels of our nature will prevail. Plus, isn’t he already totally humiliated…

    Cheers to you all!!!

  21. I was channel surfing and stopped at PBS and caught that guy saying carbon wasn’t toxic and couldn’t believe that Judy Woodruff didn’t stop him mid sentence. As I changed the station, I remembered who owns PBS and thought…we doomed. Seriously where are the damn liberals on the media? Gaaaa

  22. Aging Girl – Where are we liberals? Why, we’re tut-tutting all the way to the edge of the cliff. Perhaps Marv is the smarter lemming in this parade with his call for action – real action. The French know how to do it. When government becomes abusive issue by issue, they pull a general strike. Can we hope for such unity of purpose and effort or will all the trumpets show up for work and, though limping, lead us lemmings back into the parade to the cliff, or more concretely stated, are we so close to the edge that we cannot afford to wait until November, 2018? Has greed and nihilism already won?

  23. I don’t know Gerald. I’m just trying to survive with hubby still in Europe and can’t even get an interview at my age. We’re doomed and i’m Tired of no new ideas. And outrage fatigue.

  24. Over my public service career I have facilitated more removals of more discarded containers than most people cleaning the White River and it’s adjoining waterway corridors preparing for the Indy Greenways system than most.
    The amount of plastic we are dumping into our environments and drinking water sources is shocking, I don’t believe we will never stop the convenient container business but we can raise the awareness of the problem to our young people by engaging them in the problem and future solutions. Old habits are hard to break even among the educated and nearly impossible among those without the understanding of accumulative effects.
    Start looking at the roadsides when you exit interstates in both urban and suburban areas,
    I believe we can chart the economic condition of communities by what you find at exit ramps , ” ah to be 20 again to do that research”.
    As a CCC member I created 14 neighborhood Assn’s in my old Southside district, my number one goal was to clean up trash, broken infrastructures and securing absentee owners properties in the neighborhoods. My belief is that there is a lot of personal investmrnt money if they see opportunity with a small piece of property. That opportunity is created by cleaning up, boarding up, and repairing curbs, sidewalks, streets, signage and other viewed infrastructures and make the place look like something great is happening.
    Even government want invest when they see no change occurring, after all there is only have so much money and will put it where it will do its best for them.
    Cleaning the environments is the first way to show people the opportunities, something worth restoring or protecting valuable assets that’s been over looked. .
    I do not believe the Republicans have been the steward of our natural resources and view them as business opprotunities for immediate profits, not the long term values of conservation.
    Consertive value is not the actions and beliefs of the so called Conservative party and that must change or be replaced with a more progressive agenda.

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