Cooch’s Bleeding Heart


    News flash — the reason Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is such a raging, right-wing maniac is because — he cares so much about poor people and the environment!

    Yes, that’s pretty much what he told a crowd of state environmental officials today, according to the Richmond Times Dispatch. The enemy he is fighting on behalf of the disadvantaged is, of course, regulations and taxes on humungous multinational corporations:

    When you start to consider ANY new regulation, before you put pen to paper, go to the poorest part of your state and just drive around, then walk the streets and talk to folks.  Because broad regulations hurt the poor first and worst.

    (Hmm — as in those poor coal miners without health care whom Cooch is trying so desperately to keep from being benefited by Obama’s health care plan?)

    In classic Republican Orwellian fashion, of course, he made his point by shamelessly contradicting himself — by pointing out that “air quality has been improving for decades” without giving credit to the very EPA regulations that have directly, demonstrably caused these improvements. (Air quality, sadly, has gone down quite dramatically in the countries to which our multinationals have exported their dirty factories, but that’s another story for another day.)

    No, in Cooch’s alternative universe, environmental improvements are not due to the regulations that required them, but due purely to the marketplace:

    Economic growth underwrites environmental regulation.  We know that as societal wealth increases, the prevalence of some pollutants decreases, as the society has the money and the will to tackle environmental concerns.

    So wealth magically improves the environment?  Look, I’ll be the first to concede that money helps a lot — with everything — but sadly, what Cooch is trying to justify here is the corporate line that poor communities (and countries) have to live through a nightmarish cesspool of pollution in order to get ahead in the world. And that’s just not true. It ignores the reality of leapfrog technologies — i.e., just as people in poor countries can now use cell phones to avoid the problems of their land-line telephone systems, so can they develop through affordable renewable and clean technologies without having to recreate the “dark, satanic mills” of England during the Industrial Revolution.  Just think if we invested all the money we currently give away to oil companies in creative ways to help the poor move ahead in society with clean tech solutions.

    Cooch claims that he loves Mother Nature too because: “I have seven children who will be on this earth for the better part of this century, and I certainly have a vested interest in seeing that they have clean water, clean air, and clean land.”  I personally don’t think that our Ayatollah General should spend too much time worrying about his kids, since corporate America takes care of those who advance its agenda, and Cooch can be assured of six-figure lobbying and corporate board gigs whenever he chooses to retire from politics.  And the GOP tradition of nepotism will guarantee his kids great positions from which they can protect themselves from many of the most ferocious effects of climate change.

    But if he’s really, truly concerned about the environment and the poor, I have a few suggestions that he could follow to actually address those concerns.

    First, Mr. Cuccinelli can conclude his war on climate science, by canceling his destructive lawsuit against the EPA’s finding on the health impacts of climate change, and ending his police state style harassment of the University of Virginia and Professor Michael Mann for pursuing climate research.  

    Second, he could vow never to take any more dirty money in the form of campaign donations from coal giants with awful safety records and support for climate change denial propaganda like Massey Energy – and stop supporting their backwards agenda.

    Third, he could end his war on President Obama’s health care law and its aim of providing health insurance to the millions of underprivileged people who have been unable to get any.

    Last, but not least, he could actually do his job as attorney general – which, you may remember, before the Age of Cooch, involved something other than engaging in endless, quixotic political vendettas.  In fact, an attorney general who does his job of defending and protecting the citizens of Virginia can find endless opportunities to support poor and disadvantaged people being screwed by all sorts of villains.  

    If he spent even a little time fulfilling his job description, Cooch could do a whole more than give speeches talking about how much he loves poor people and the environment – he could help them in reality.

    Okay, I know, I’m dreaming again.  Never mind!


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