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House of Representatives approves drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
August 1, 2001 10:25 PM   Subscribe

House of Representatives approves drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
posted by solistrato (85 comments total)

 
Oh, yes, and billions of dollars in tax breaks for energy companies, and the total rejection of stricter fuel efficiency standards.

I'm just...ugh. I said in an earlier thread that it's a hoot to see the puppet strings on Bush and his cronies. Now, it seems, the joke's on me. And us.
posted by solistrato at 10:32 PM on August 1, 2001


Those fuckers.

It's probably a badly thought out response, but it's all I have to give in response to something as badly thought-out as a plan to drill in should-be protected areas of nature. And all of that other stuff. Well, I guess it isn't "badly thought-out". It's probably "well-planned", and we all just have to watch helplessly as one government body after another does things to our world that we can't do anything about.

Sigh.
posted by sammy at 10:33 PM on August 1, 2001


Remind me -- where does the Senate fit into this?
posted by raintea at 10:40 PM on August 1, 2001


I don't see how many incumbent republican representatives and senators will be able to survive the coming elections, this year and next.
posted by crasspastor at 10:47 PM on August 1, 2001


Well, I certainly didn't see this comming.
Say..... it's almost as if oil companies had some sort of clout, or something....
posted by dong_resin at 10:50 PM on August 1, 2001


resource management. interesting experiment.
posted by greyscale at 10:57 PM on August 1, 2001


[resource management. interesting experiment.]

It'll never work. Too many reactionaries.
posted by revbrian at 11:28 PM on August 1, 2001


Bloody hell. There's nothing more to say than bloody hell.

How is this issue polling as of late? Aren't a vast majority of americans against it?
posted by mathowie at 12:51 AM on August 2, 2001


Click here to learn more about the Arctic Refuge. And if you don't want to bother, let me just point out one teeny thing and quote two places:

[teeny thing] The Naval Petroleum Reserve No. 4, just a short drive from the refuge, is about twice as big. The government punched a bunch of holes here in the 40s and 50s before it found larger deposits outside the reserve. Oops...

[quote 1]The Arctic Refuge is the only area on Alaska's North Slope where petroleum development is specifically prohibited by Congress. The rest of the region is available for oil and gas development through administrative decisions by the Secretary of the Interior on NPR-A and the Beaufort Sea, or by the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources on State lands and waters.

[quote 2] The 100-mile wide 1002 Area [A coastal section of the reserve where oil deposits have been located] is located more than 30 miles from the end of the nearest pipeline and more than 50 miles from the nearest gravel road and oil support facilities. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, possible oil reserves may be located in many small accumulations in complex geological formations, rather than in one giant field as was discovered at Prudhoe Bay. Consequently, development in the 1002 Area could likely require a large number of small production sites spread across the refuge landscape, connected by an infrastructure of roads, pipelines, power plants, processing facilities, loading docks, dormitories, airstrips, gravel pits, utility lines and landfills.

Reader, suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.
-- Mark Twain
posted by Bixby23 at 1:11 AM on August 2, 2001


> Aren't a vast majority of americans against it?

A large majority of Americans are short-sighted, self-centered, and greedy. If they are told to choose between either a small chance of very slightly lower gas prices now or the preservation of a huge beautiful wilderness forever, they will clutch at the faint chance of a cheaper drive to Wal-Mart this weekend.

That's why it's important to have a president who is smarter and better than the average American. Instead, America chose Mr Cheesehead.
posted by pracowity at 1:25 AM on August 2, 2001


Well, technically, I think Jeb Bush and the Supreme Court chose Mr. Cheesehead. The American people chose Mr. IinventedtheInternet...

smarter or better than the average American...dubious...but I doubt if he would've promoted foraging for energy in a natural preserve.

Reminds me of a funny 2000 campaign prediction NPR ran: if GW gets elected, he will work to revoke Roe vs. Wade, Brown vs. the Board of Education, and seven or eight constitutional amendments.

Seemed funny at the time...
posted by Bixby23 at 1:38 AM on August 2, 2001


I don't see how many incumbent republican representatives and senators will be able to survive the coming elections, this year and next.

Yeah, because, you know, members of Congress always vote in ways that will get them unelected at the earliest possible opportunity. States and districts which elected Republicans to represent them almost always get upset when their elected representatives vote in Republican ways.

That's why it's important to have a president who is smarter and better than the average American.

Yeah, because, you know, that's what democracy is all about -- people smarter than you telling you what to do for your own good.

The American people chose Mr. IinventedtheInternet...

Actually, nearly half the American people didn't care enough to vote, and those who did couldn't (as a group) make up their minds between Gush and Bore. (The final tally of popular vote was within the margin of error, I believe, making it essentially a tie.)
posted by kindall at 1:51 AM on August 2, 2001


Well, technically, I think Jeb Bush and the Supreme Court chose Mr. Cheesehead. The American people chose Mr. IinventedtheInternet

Well, technically, you're wrong.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:04 AM on August 2, 2001


*sigh*

Why oh why did some Americans elect Bush?

Just wait until he gets his greasy mits on Antarctica :-( :-(
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:17 AM on August 2, 2001


No, no- democracy is people having their government accountable to them. People [allegedly] smarter than you telling what to do for your own good is Objectivism. :)

I believe a vast majority of Americans are against ANWR drilling, or other environmentally questionable stances, because the vast majority of Americans are principally concerned with a decent quality of life for themselves and their community. And most of us consider environmental protection, even when it comes with a moderate economic cost, to be a critical quality of life issue for ourselves and our posterity and we are ready to make the sacrifices that are necessary.

However, there's a fringe element, a loud and well-moneyed media pundit and thinktank elite (those folks telling us what to do for our own good!) which have framed this as if there's much debate among most "Americans" regarding the importance of the environment. They suggest that "Americans" would never accept even slightly higher mileage requirements on their cars as an alternative to ANWR, as if "Americans" would never accept a technological shift with short term economic pains for a long term benefit, as if "Americans" would take to the streets in bloody revolt if their vehicles were required to get better mileage to counteract rising gas prices. I think this image of greedy insatiable Americans is a complete myth (ex: note how quickly and easily Californians practiced conservation measures when they needed to, or how those Texans organized a grassroots resistance when their water reservoir was about to be privatized; most of us recycle without worry, because we only needed to be educated before we did what we instinctively know to be "right") and this myth stems from an underlying contempt for "Americans" held by this generally rightward pundit elite, but that's beside the point. Personally, I believe that most of America generally is left-leaning on the environment, but the lack of outcry isn't because there's a "I can't stand higher gas prices!" demographic but more a "of course we're apathetic- as this latest vote suggests, there really isn't much we can do about things" resignation.
posted by hincandenza at 2:24 AM on August 2, 2001



Well, technically, you're wrong.

Mind explaining that? I agree though, BushII 's head isn't technically made of cheese. Technically though, a man who was NOT elected president is now holding that office. You really want to argue that?

It's like arguing whether Clinton had extramarital affairs during his presidency. Nobody can deny it.
posted by crasspastor at 2:39 AM on August 2, 2001


This is about damn time, if you ask me.

And hincandenza: You really need another hobby besides picking on Objectivism. It's getting old.
posted by dagny at 2:42 AM on August 2, 2001


Go read your Ayn Rand.

Objectivism works only in a universe akin to computer simulation. When you add in the real life variables of natural disasters caused as the byproduct of everyone acting selfishly it becomes more complicated. Leave the variables out and it's smooth sailing, other than that earth science is completely unaccounted for in objectivism. Earth Science as in what we do now/how does that affect the Earth/environment far into the future and why should we care about the future now? Should sacrifices be made to insure safe healthy lives for our offspring? Objectivism does not satisfactorily address this.
posted by crasspastor at 3:04 AM on August 2, 2001


There is a very short piece in this week's New Yorker magazine on OPEC and "our" oil companies--they are working as one--which I can not post because it is not on-line. The piece points out that we have in the past and can now if we want compel OPEC to stop acting like a cartel and rigging prices up and down (through productivity) against our best interests and at the same time we claim globalization and a levelling of the playing firld for all nations. But we seem not to have the guts or the desire
Gas prices at the pumps just began to drop and OPEC now announces a cutback to drive the prices back up. Why do we station so many troops in Saudi Arabia and in Kuwait, mostly at our expense, to "protect" the region? What do they give us in return other than fixed prices we must pay.
posted by Postroad at 3:10 AM on August 2, 2001


Anyone there still thinks that Bush and Gore are basically the same?
posted by matteo at 3:11 AM on August 2, 2001


But the House rejected calls for more stringent fuel efficiency requirements for popular sport utility vehicles, minivans and trucks - a move viewed by many environmentalists as the single most effective way to curtail energy demand.

Since we saw the passage of the CAFE requirements in the 1970's, approximately 7,700 people have died for each mile-per- gallon boost in fuel economy. This has resulted in about 46,000 additional deaths.

Why? The best way to increase fuel efficiency is to make lighter cars. The lighter the car, the less protection you have in an accident.

[Source: USA Today, July 8, 1999]
posted by gd779 at 4:45 AM on August 2, 2001


> The lighter the car, the less protection you have in
> an accident.

The faster the car, the more likely it is that people will die, not just in the speeding car, but in other cars, on bicycles, and on sidewalks. People worried about death rates should push for lower speed limits.
posted by pracowity at 4:54 AM on August 2, 2001


Technically though, a man who was NOT elected president is now holding that office. You really want to argue that?

We've been over this a million times. The man who received more votes in Florida is now in office. I'm sorry you can't accept reality.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:08 AM on August 2, 2001


I haven't seen anyone bring up the role of the Teamsters, who supported the drilling - the thinking is
it will bring some trucking jobs.

Hopefully, the Senate will block this plan
posted by brucec at 5:17 AM on August 2, 2001


gd779: That is an extraordinary, jesuitical argument. And you haven't addressed the question of tanks.
posted by Mocata at 5:27 AM on August 2, 2001


We've been over this a million times. The man who received more votes in Florida is now in office. I'm sorry you can't accept reality.

Substantiate it all you must with substanceless platitude. But you're wrong. You're quite wrong. The only thing talk that provides, is paving the way that one day, your individual horrible choice at the polls will one day be muted itself. Progressives, my friend, care as much about you and your freedoms as much as they do theirs. To not do so would be dishonest. And to be dishonest would serve to not be politically progressive, of by and for the people--of which is the most central of tenets in progressivism.
posted by crasspastor at 5:34 AM on August 2, 2001


The best way to increase fuel efficiency is to make lighter cars. The lighter the car, the less protection you have in an accident.

... against a heavier car. if all the cars were lighter (and more efficient), there would be fewer fatal accidents. when was the last time you saw two bicycles annihilate each other?
posted by rabi at 5:51 AM on August 2, 2001


Hicandenza got it right. It's the money = free speech thing. The more money a corporation or individual the greater the value of his/it's ideas. Anyone else see a problem with this besides myself? We need to restrict the power of money to influence public policy, especially corporate money!
I think we can all agree that the House acted in contradiction to the wishes of the large majority of the American people. The polls have never been clearer on this. Why? To serve the interests of those covered with the stench of crude oil (ala Cheney, Dubya, Exxon/Mobil, etc.) and the sweet smell of money.

is this the way to "vote Republican" Kindall? If so, many Americans may want to consider changing their party affiliation.
posted by nofundy at 5:53 AM on August 2, 2001


My country makes me sick sometimes. Americans are so freaking selfish. Maybe it shouldn't surprise me that people aren't willing to sacrifice costs, different fuel sources, or increased use of public transportation to save one of the few refuges left.

Enter your zip code, and do some good right now (or do it by state).
posted by gramcracker at 5:55 AM on August 2, 2001


mocata: Heh. I didn't see that thread. But I'm not necessarily drawing any conclusions from the fact that 7,700 people die for each mile-per-gallon boost in fuel efficiency. I'm not making an argument at all, it's merely a fact that you need to consider if you're going to argue for higher fuel efficiency.

As for your tanks argument: If I wanted to argue this seriously, I might point out that tanks would destroy our infrastructure (because they're too heavy), that they wouldn't fit on our roads, and that they're a prohibitively expensive way to improve safety. But I'm not going to say those things. Instead, I'll say this: It is true that, if safety is your main concern, you should drive a tank. It is also true that, if the environment is your main concern, you should not drive at all. When you sell you car, I'll look into buying a tank.

Until that day comes, we need to balance safety concerns against environmental ones. I don't deny the environmental implications of automobiles; you shouldn't deny the safety implications of fuel efficiency laws. Let's consider both concerns and make a balanced decision. That's what I was trying to convey with my original post.
posted by gd779 at 6:03 AM on August 2, 2001


yeah! let's sell out long-term sustainability for questionable short-term convenience and certain economic gain to a few patricians here and there. As a nation, it seems we've finally become as useless, bloated, and stupid as the Roman Empire in its waning years. The only thing saving us now is that the Canadians aren't the military force the Visigoths were. :)
posted by Vetinari at 6:24 AM on August 2, 2001


nofundy: We need to restrict the power of money to influence public policy, especially corporate money!

Know how you can achieve that in less than a second's time? Restrict the power of government when it comes to corporate money! In other words: to take money out of politics -- take politics out of money.

What corporations are doing, is simply playing along the horrible rules which have been -- and continue to be -- set. You can't blame them for that. Rather blame the politicians who set up regulations in the first place.
posted by dagny at 6:25 AM on August 2, 2001


Progressives, my friend, care as much about you and your freedoms as much as they do theirs. To not do so would be dishonest. And to be dishonest would serve to not be politically progressive, of by and for the people--of which is the most central of tenets in progressivism.

crasspastor rocks!!
posted by mac at 6:41 AM on August 2, 2001


gd779: ...shouldn't deny the safety implications of fuel efficiency laws.

The big implications are, in my opinion, that it'll cost the auto companies more R&D to come up with truly fuel efficient vehicles. If they go ahead with that, and keep vehicle prices in line, then you're talking lower profits. This also ripples over to the petroleum industry: fewer fillups equals fewer profits. It seems that no politician nowadays wants to touch the profits of private industry, even when doing so is arguably in the best interests of the public.

Now then, let's say Ford dumps cash into making the Excursion a 50mpg vehicle, but the price jumps to $95k. That's simply where Ford needs to price the vehicle in order to make a consistent profit. The result is that fewer people will buy it, and that puts the focus and spotlight on cheaper fuel efficient vehicles, and/or public transportation.

In addition, if fuel efficiency jumps that much, I'm certain gas prices would get in line with the rest of the world's - that is, $3-$4 a gallon. Americans will only accept that if we have truly fuel efficient vehicles, or a reliable, dependable public transportation system. But those things don't make money like the auto and petroleum industries do.

It's just business. That's all that's behind the Refuge drilling, too. If we don't want to pay for our lifestyles by paying a "true" price for cars and gasoline, we're going to pay through the drilling and eroding of our national resources.

America: capitalism will eat itself.
posted by hijinx at 6:46 AM on August 2, 2001


My country makes me sick sometimes. Americans are so freaking selfish. Maybe it shouldn't surprise me that people aren't willing to sacrifice costs, different fuel sources, or increased use of public transportation to save one of the few refuges left.

Just playing devil's advocate here (isn't that what we're always doing?) - But how is America trying to tap into it's own crude oil resources any more greedy than the countries we currently purchase our oil from? In other words - do you also find Kuwait to be selfish and sickening?

And perhaps the motivation isn't lower fuel costs - perhaps this IS long term thinking. Look, for now and the fairly distant future, Oil is how we operate. It's our transportation, our heat, our electricity...etc. Is it really such a good idea to keep relying on Countries we don't exactly get along with to procure the stuff?

Remember, this is not necessarily my opinion, I'm just feeling it out. And since so far this thread has just been a bunch of fist-pumping homogeny....
posted by glenwood at 6:52 AM on August 2, 2001


This'll be a big test for Daschle. Hopefully this never even reaches the Senate floor. The basic logic leap involved in believing there's nothing wrong with drilling in a wildlife refuge shows the idiocy of the Republican party.
posted by owillis at 7:03 AM on August 2, 2001


bush stole that election fair and square.
posted by clavdivs at 7:09 AM on August 2, 2001


Can anyone dig up a URL that shows how the House zombies voted on the bill? Trying to find this via House.gov is of course a maze. (Huh, wonder if that's intentional.)
posted by fleener at 7:30 AM on August 2, 2001


as the onion reported, are jenna bush's federally-protected wetlands open for public drilling?

and yes, i do believe that bush and gore are the same. gore only pretends to care. bush obviously doesn't give a hoot. i voted green.
posted by adampsyche at 7:33 AM on August 2, 2001


Substantiate it all you must with substanceless platitude. But you're wrong. You're quite wrong.

Crasspastor, you're welcome to live in the fantasy land you've constructed all you want. Your platitudes about 'progressivism' and its ability to lead us all into a bright, happy, shiny place don't change the fact that the statement to which you replied is factually correct.
posted by ljromanoff at 7:40 AM on August 2, 2001


Gd779: If I wanted to argue this seriously, I might point out that tanks […]'re a prohibitively expensive way to improve safety. Unlike SUVs?

[I]f the environment is your main concern, you should not drive at all. When you sell you car, I'll look into buying a tank. I don't have a car. See you at the arms fair.

More seriously, I don't understand how someone can wheel out a utilitarian argument against fuel efficiency without factoring in the vastly more unpleasant side effects of massive fossil fuel consumption – which probably already has and in the long run certainly will cause more suffering. Not to mention that only commodity in the world with more blood on it than cocaine is petrol.
posted by Mocata at 7:43 AM on August 2, 2001


Roll call here. And I do find the titles of these bills -- "Securing America's Future Energy Act" -- pretty damn pompous.

In other words - do you also find Kuwait to be selfish and sickening?

That's actually an interesting question to raise. The instinctive response is that the Kuwaiti desert is, well, a desert, whereas the ANWR is a biologically diverse coastal plain; but no desert is entirely barren.

The further question is whether this is at all logical as anything other than a means of establishing the principle that all Alaska is up for grabs. ("We drilled here, so why not there?") The US will remain in hock to OPEC even if every drop of crude is sucked out of Alaska (one disadvantage of that swaggering belief that energy demand is a sign of national strength); and the strategic direction of most oil companies is towards central Asia and Africa, where there are national contracts to be bought out from usefully corrupt regimes.

It just smacks of a burglar leaving a turd on your carpet.
posted by holgate at 7:47 AM on August 2, 2001


Here's the Congressional Record for yesterday including various discussions of the bill.
posted by bkdelong at 8:09 AM on August 2, 2001


What a great thread! Let's see, it's managed to incorporate such favorites as:

*Is Bush really stupid?
*Is congress really stupid?
*Darn it, who did we vote for again?
*You Republicans are stupid!
*No, you Democrats are stupid!
*Actually, you guys, capitalism is stupid.

Sigh. C'mon MeFi Pro.
posted by Skot at 8:13 AM on August 2, 2001


Skot: you forgot the "This thread sucks!" part.
posted by hijinx at 8:22 AM on August 2, 2001


is this the way to "vote Republican" Kindall? If so, many Americans may want to consider changing their party affiliation.

And if that happens in droves, we'll know you're right. Haven't seen it happening yet, though. Although some Republicans do seem annoyed with Bush, it appears to be Bush himself they're annoyed with, not Republican policy in general.

Progressives, my friend, care as much about you and your freedoms as much as they do theirs. To not do so would be dishonest.

Then there are a whole lot of dishonest people calling themselves "progressives." Now, wait, what was the resolution to that logic puzzle about the liars and the truth-tellers? You can't just ask progressives if they are dishonest, because the dishonest kind will lie and say they're not...
posted by kindall at 9:03 AM on August 2, 2001


Anyone there still thinks that Bush and Gore are basically the same?


Yes. The real difference is that Gore and the Democrats would make us feel pretty before raping us and the land. The problems would come over time, and we wouldn't notice a lot of the bad things before it was too late.
Georgie basically takes it right out, spits on it and shoves it right up our tailpipe! At least we're quicker to realize now that we're being screwed.
posted by themikeb at 9:14 AM on August 2, 2001


Has anyone yet presented any arguments showing how this drilling will benefit us, the American people, who own this land? I am waiting...
posted by norm at 9:18 AM on August 2, 2001


But how is America trying to tap into it's own crude oil
resources any more greedy than the countries we currently purchase our oil from? In other words - do you also find Kuwait to be selfish and sickening?


Touche, glenwood. Maybe selfish isn't the right word; it's just frustrating that our current administration's energy plan is to dig and mine and disrupt one of the final places in our country that seem to be relatively free of much human intervention. It seems that there are other ways to conserve energy or provide more of it: requiring higher standards of fuel efficiency in cars/closing the SUV loophole, encouraging conservation and stopping waste, and better public transportation. Sometimes it just seems like our country is centered so much around excess: everyone has their own car, lots of clothes, shopping, buy, me me me. It's a cultural thing, and I don't know exactly how to change the attitudes, but something needs to change. We create 25% of the world's waste, yet we're not willing to try to lower our emissions and polutants when the rest of the world is. Our reason: it would hurt our economy (one of the strongest in the world, if not the strongest?) too greatly.

I just see such a negative future. Maybe it's unwarranted, but what if we get to a point where the world is too late to save, and it's America's fault? And, specifically, ours?
posted by gramcracker at 9:36 AM on August 2, 2001


There's a pretty good article about 1002 in the August National Geographic Magazine. There's also an Online Supplement... the most interesting thing I learned is that much of the "energy crisis" is because of a lack of natural gas, not petroleum. And the Prudhoe oil field actually pumps something like half of our daily natural gas requirements back into the ground because there's no pipeline for it....

sigh.
posted by kidsplate at 9:36 AM on August 2, 2001


One of Gore's campaign promises was to not drill, and here's an alaskan's perspective on that.
posted by mathowie at 9:37 AM on August 2, 2001


This is how wildlife should be. Don't they look happy?
posted by mathowie at 9:39 AM on August 2, 2001


This means nothing. The Senate will not let it pass. That's my wild prediction for the week.
posted by rschram at 9:47 AM on August 2, 2001


I would like to repeat the question again:

Polls show the vast majority of Americans oppose drilling the ANWR and corporate welfare. I think can all agree on this.

Why would our elected representatives vote contrary to the people they supposedly represent?
posted by nofundy at 10:25 AM on August 2, 2001


Why would our elected representatives vote contrary to the people they supposedly represent?

Now that's an interesting question. Should our representatives merely be the organ of the momentary popular will, or should they follow their own ideology and be judged when they stand for election - even if that means they support something unpopular because they believe it is right? I prefer the latter generally, but there is a valid argument for the former view.
posted by ljromanoff at 12:05 PM on August 2, 2001


People should always vote their conscience, especially in Washington D.C. We elect representatives, not mouthpieces. If they don't vote the way you want, you can vote them out the next election. That's the way the system works. Being swayed by all the polls shows a weak will, and a lack of the necessary qualifications to get my vote in the first place.

Oh, and President Bush won the election. The electoral college voted, and he was named as our President. That is the only vote that counts. It amazes me hwo many fools think that they actually voted for the President.

My favorite bumper-sticker, lately, is "Don't blame me! I voted for (list of democratic electors)"
posted by dwivian at 12:31 PM on August 2, 2001


Polls show the vast majority of Americans oppose drilling the ANWR and corporate welfare. I think can all agree on this.

That isn't necessarily so. A poll by the Christian Science Monitor of 803 likely voters found them in favor of petroleum production in the ANWR by a margin of 54% - 38%. That poll was taken last October, before the worst of the energy crunch hit.

Also, here's a quote from the LA Times:Alaskans have long pushed for the ANWR to be opened for oil exploration, and in Bush they’ve found an ally.

Alaskans, who know better than anyone about the character and value of the ANWR, favor drilling between 66% to 75% depending on the poll. Most other Americans, by contrast, never have seen and never will see the ANWR - which, unlike the images you see in the so-called corporate media, is a vast, desolate tundra.

Granted, there are polls that go the other ways too, but just because you and all your friends agree on something doesn't mean you represent all "the vast majority of Americans," and your opinion is not necessarily a foregone one.
posted by mikewas at 12:42 PM on August 2, 2001


"If they don't vote the way you want, you can vote them out the next election.

The electoral college voted, and he was named as our President. That is the only vote that counts. It amazes me hwo many fools think that they actually voted"


hwot?
posted by xammerboy at 12:51 PM on August 2, 2001


Alaska will also be getting federal money if they drill ANWR, so their motivation is suspect...
posted by owillis at 12:52 PM on August 2, 2001


A poll from the Christian Science Monitor of 803 likely voters! Wow!
posted by xammerboy at 12:54 PM on August 2, 2001


Why would our elected representatives vote contrary to the people they supposedly represent?

An interesting question. Some would argue this very fact in an attempt to clarify whether GW or Clinton is/was the better president. GW Bush, has thus far done just about everything he has said he would do (for better or worse) , while Clinton was probably the most heavily focus-grouping/polling presidents EVER.

Ironically, though I didn't vote for GW and am fairly displeased at what he's done thus far, it's interesting to actually watch a guy take leadership by the horns and say 'goddamnit, i'm gonna lower taxes and do the missle defense thing and I'm gonna drill in Alaska. I think that's best, and I was voted the leader so here I go'.

I think this is how it should be, theoretically. We should elect a President who will do what he/she feels is best, without regard to current sentiment-at-large. Otherwise we wouldn't need a president at ALL. We could just take polls and a robot could spew out the math on each decision. Which is kind of against the point.

And besides that, your claim that most Americans are against drilling in the ANWR is complete speculation.
posted by glenwood at 1:01 PM on August 2, 2001


I often wonder... what if Congress is using these high profile and highly volatile issues (even if they are eventually voted down to become a 'nonissue') to distract us from something ELSE they are trying to pass/do that will go overlooked in all the hullaballoo (what a great word). Or should that be a 'what if'???
posted by thunder at 1:02 PM on August 2, 2001


Well, since you can get up-to-the-hour updates on what's doing on the House floor (and in the Senate), I don't think Congress is using these issues as a distraction. The media might be focusing on some things more than others, but I don't think, say, the House comes up with agendas just to distract the citizenry.
posted by binkin at 1:11 PM on August 2, 2001


Thank you, glenwood. Thank you for refusing to view the world solely through the lens of ideology. And thank you for being objective about a politician you don't like. We don't see enough of that.
posted by gd779 at 1:39 PM on August 2, 2001


hwot?

It's pretty simple. The people only get to vote for representatives, senators by recent change (they used to be appointed by the states), and electors to the electoral college.

You can vote out your senators, representatives, and aldermen, but you only vote for the EC reps once, and they only sit for one election. They, not we, elect the President.

And, it isn't even required that we elect our electors -- the States *COULD* appoint them. This was an issue of possibility in Florida, in fact, should the election been held up long enough. The Constitution only says that the states shall pick them -- not how.
posted by dwivian at 1:39 PM on August 2, 2001


There is no shiny, happy rainbow land at the end of progressive political agenda. It's more a vow to continue working and advocating. There will never be a time when "progress" isn't needed. Therefore, no belief in a utopia for which to slam one for, for believing so.

And no, once again LJR, your terse claims that BushII gained office fair and square are in fact not factual. You believe it as such. But to follow with my own terse claim, the Supreme Court had everything to do with who is president today. And, I'll also bring up that the argument that the "fools" who think that "they actually" have voted for president is completely moot, because of that same partisan ruling made by the Supreme Court. It was a statistical tie in Florida. Nobody won. Also shall we throw in the purges of names, disenfranchisement, disparity in polling place technology? Of course not, because I and millions of others are overreacting.
posted by crasspastor at 1:40 PM on August 2, 2001


I read the report on the disenfranchisement. Didn't see any names of anyone who was turned away at the polls improperly. Some people felt bad about going, but that is their own issue to overcome.

Purges of names should be done in every state. Too many people are improperly registered, and it would go a long way towards giving us a real idea of the percentage of voters that actually vote. And, it would clear out felons, the dead, and other problem registrations.

Now, the fact that this was done badly is immaterial -- the board in Florida asked for it to be done, and despite objections by the company doing the work that the data wasn't really ready, they deleted names. The deletion isn't at fault -- the methodology is. In time, maybe it will be better.

The ruling of the SCOTUS was 7-2 (reported elsewhere, even in MeFi) so I don't buy the partisan thing. The Florida Supremes broke their own rules, and needed to step back and review. SCOTUS didn't give the election to Bush -- Gore did, by not being a more effective candidate.

IT SHOULD HAVE NEVER COME DOWN TO 500 VOTES. When it does, nobody will be satisfied with the declared winner. I can tell you right now that the mess that Gore was whipping up in Florida would have made for just as much "Hail to the Thief" commentary as Bush's win, for the same reasons. From the "recount every vote that I won, but not all the votes" to the "disallow military ballots where possible, even though Federal law supercedes Florida law in allowing them", Gore ran a nasty post-election bid. After that, I would have been ashamed to be seen with a Gore bumpersticker.

Fortunately for me, I voted for Harry Browne. At least I can say that I voted my heart, knowing full well that my vote didn't make a difference.
posted by dwivian at 1:50 PM on August 2, 2001


Anyone there still thinks that Bush and Gore are basically the same?

Basically, yes. There would have been slightly more pressure from from the white house to make a slightly less evil bill, but I'm certain the drilling would still be in the bill along with the tax breaks. Maybe there would be a token bit about electric cars or something to save face, but Gore's presence wouldn't magically change the House or the nature of politics in modern day america.
posted by skallas at 1:55 PM on August 2, 2001


the Supreme Court had everything to do with who is president today.

That is only true in the sense that they rightly put an end to unconstitutional actions on the state level. They hardly anointed anyone, ancient Rome style.

completely moot, because of that same partisan ruling made by the Supreme Court.

The ruling was bipartisan, 7 - 2.

It was a statistical tie in Florida. Nobody won.

There's no such thing as a statistical tie in elections. You win even with a one vote plurality.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:10 PM on August 2, 2001


skallas
Don't you think that President Gore would have vetoed a bill like that?
posted by matteo at 2:12 PM on August 2, 2001


There's no such thing as a statistical tie in elections. You win even with a one vote plurality.

You're right, at least about American elections. However, when the counts for the leading candidates are so close that the difference is within the margin of error for the vote-tallying method, calling it "a statistical tie" is pretty accurate.
posted by binkin at 2:13 PM on August 2, 2001


glenwood: ideological consistency is one thing; after talking long and loud of "bipartisanship", it appears a little foolhardy. And that kind of disenfranchisement extends beyond the inquiries at the polling station.

We should elect a President who will do what he/she feels is best, without regard to current sentiment-at-large.

Should Clinton's healthcare plan have been pushed through in 1993, on a greater electoral mandate than that of Bush, because he thought it best?

Anyway, I like what Machiavelli had to say about "those who solely by good fortune become princes from being private citizens":

Such stand simply upon the goodwill and the fortune of him who has elevated them- two most inconstant and unstable things. Neither have they the knowledge requisite for the position; because, unless they are men of great worth and ability, it is not reasonable to expect that they should know how to command, having always lived in a private condition; besides, they cannot hold it because they have not forces which they can keep friendly and faithful.

Fortunately, the US constitution is pretty decent at ensuring that the support of 50% plus one doesn't equal elective dictatorship, as long as the fix isn't in.

The ruling was bipartisan, 7 - 2.

Which ruling, ljr? The one that made any further recount futile was 5-4.
posted by holgate at 2:16 PM on August 2, 2001


The ruling was bipartisan, 7 - 2.

Which ruling, ljr? The one that made any further recount futile was 5-4.


The constitutionality ruling was 7-2. The only disagreement among the 7 who ruled that the Florida SC's actions were unconstitutional was over remedy, with two of them holding a differing opinion on how to resolve the ongoing unconstitutional actions.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:22 PM on August 2, 2001


For the love of God, could we keep the election conversation in election-related threads? This thread is to talk about evil Republicans in congress, not the evil Republican-run supreme court. Dig?
posted by owillis at 2:36 PM on August 2, 2001


Don't you think that President Gore would have vetoed a bill like that?

Nope, not if you look at his record. I think Gore's enviromentalism is about as credible as Bush's compassionate conservative/uniter rhetoric. There would be defintite differences in how the bill would be handled and its details because of a veto threat, but it would have been essentially the same beast.

Its a moot point anyway, he's not president and never will be. The time I wasted writing should have been spent writing my local congresscritter a mean letter. Which I will today. I suggest everyone else does the same instead of rehashing the election. Yeah, I know that that sounds preachy but its probably a good idea.
posted by skallas at 2:59 PM on August 2, 2001


Its a moot point anyway, he's not president and never will be.

if the democrats can't find a better candidate in the next presidential election than gore, they (and all of us) will find themselves looking at another four years of repulicans in the white house, regardless of anwr or other issues.
posted by lescour at 3:17 PM on August 2, 2001


I sent my letter, anyone too lazy to type up their own can have a copy of mine. Email me for the file. Email is spam protected btw, just use @hotmail.com as the suffix.
posted by skallas at 5:55 PM on August 2, 2001


and never will see the ANWR - which, unlike the images you see in the so-called corporate media, is a vast, desolate tundra.

Vast desolations can be some of the most beautiful places on Earth. There's something satisfying and inspiring about a stretch of land so harsh, so hostile, that it overpowers us: a land we can visit, but never inhabit. Protect it, I say: I may never visit the place, but it makes me better able to tolerate city life if I know the wilderness is still out there.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 6:32 PM on August 2, 2001


this would benefit us by providing jobs and oil. so it seems norm--in response to your query. i don't really understand the environmental movement and feel no guilt in advocating drilling in any of the reserves. not that i am, or am not advocating it. i just have zero problem with it. i think it is an interesting experiment. i take the bus almost daily, and ride my bicycle extensively, yet i still own and drive a car.
posted by greyscale at 6:59 PM on August 2, 2001


Mars just summed up the reason why people went to the Lake District to write poetry in the late 1700s. The word is sublime. I can think of other vast, desolate areas, such as the stretch of road between Manhattan and Newark Airport, which don't quite inspire lyrical praise.

tomcosgrave mentioned Antarctica. How long before the current agreements break down, and the heavy machinery moves in? It only takes one of the claimants -- hell, one of the non-claimant signatories -- to say that the Antarctic Treaty represents "Cold War thinking", and everyone will be fighting for a piece.

Is everything made to be sold, and sold quickly?
posted by holgate at 7:01 PM on August 2, 2001


I may never visit the place, but it makes me better able to tolerate city life if I know the wilderness is still out there.


This is pretty dramatic. ANWR is an absolute SPEC in the vast expanse of Alaska.
posted by glenwood at 8:14 PM on August 2, 2001


Mars:

Regardless of what happens in the ANWR, there's still puh-plenty of land in Alaska, which, you may recall, is darn near about as big as the 48 contiguous states all put together.

Even if we tried, we couldn't use or develop most of it. So rest assured - your vast desolation, and even some rather nice desolation, will still be there, no matter what this adminsitration does on the Prudhoe Bay.
posted by mikewas at 10:08 PM on August 2, 2001


... and the rest of Alaska is open to, and currently is being drilled. That's why they set aside this area as refuge.
This seems so utterly ridiculous to me - ten years of exploration and drilling in a protected area for what will amount to meeting the US oil demand for six months.
posted by spandex at 2:18 AM on August 3, 2001


Even if we tried, we couldn't use or develop most of it.

Um, no--things like the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (which is well past its planned lifespan and failing rapidly now, doing things like, this summer, leaking oil into the lake that provides the drinking water for the whole Prudhoe Bay complex) occupy huge swaths through the entire state. The reach of the Exxon Valdez oil spill was the equivalent of from Boston to the Chesapeake and you can still go out in the Sound, turn over a rock and find oil. The terminal at Valdez is so decrepit now that they can't keep a fully-equipped loading berth running. There is still no spill response in place for the dangerous entrance to the Sound (where the US Coastal Pilot notes 50' tidal overfalls occur) and they pulled back the response barges moored near the entrance because they kept breaking their moorings inthe winter gales. So it's not just some ugly ol' empty place that lacks all the ammenities you feel make a place deserve preservation--however much most Americans fail to understand the value of air you can still see through, the smell of fresh land untainted by a billion farts, and the knowledge that the earth perseveres in these few wild places. What is this, unfathomable to most, as stacked up against it costing a few cents less to get to Wal-mart? Which won't happen either.

The laugh in the whole thing, here, is that the entire North Slope and pipeline are controlled by a non-US-owned company. That's right: it's British Petroleum's. Phillips is a totally weak element in everything going on up there now. And the management is straight out of the UK and the majority of the profits go right back there.

That "majority" of Alaskans in favor is bullshit bought and paid for by extremely limited polls conducted by (you guessed it) the Alaskan Republican Party. Ask ol' Randy Ruderich (ex-ARCO Alaska, now head of Republican Party) who he asked and he'll tell you: all his old buddies who have moved up from the 70s-80s oil business into politics.

Sorry--if you believe this piddly little bit of oil at the cost of huge environmental terrorism is going to "Secure America's Energy Future" (or whateverthehell the phrase is--it makes my brain short out and I can't remember it), then you probably believe that the income tax prebate is real money too. Gack.
posted by salt at 9:31 AM on August 3, 2001


I used the link above to send a letter to my representatives, and have gotten one response from the two:

From: Senator@hutchison.senate.gov (Senator)
Date: Fri Aug 03, 2001 09:24:19 AM US/Central
Subject: Re: Protect Arctic Refuge! Vote NO on Drilling & H.R. 4

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge. I am glad to hear from you on this important issue.

As you may know, the 107th Congress will be asked to approve energy
development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska.
Preliminary research data suggests that there are 5.7 billion to 16 billion
barrels of oil located in the designated drilling areas. With the major
energy problems developing in the United States, highlighted by the recent
electricity crisis in the Western states, it is in our best interest to
focus on more domestic energy exploration so that we can be sure that the
cost of oil and gas can be offered at an affordable price.

However, if energy development is approved in Alaska, it must be done
in an environmentally safe way in order to protect the integrity and
tranquility of America's wilderness. I will take all of these concerns
into consideration when legislation concerning the Arctic National Wildlife
Refuge comes before the full Senate.

I appreciated hearing from you and hope you will not hesitate to
contact me again on this or any other issue of concern.

Sincerely,


Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
**********

Oh, that makes me feel much better. :-|
posted by Spirit_VW at 7:49 PM on August 3, 2001


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