Texas -- O Karl Rove, Karl Rove, birder thou never
wert. If George W. Bush loses the election narrowly
in November, put it down to the birders. You read
it here first. What was Rove thinking when he
allowed William Haynes II to be nominated to the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth
There are all the usual reasons for rejecting
a Bush judicial nominee -- he's only tried one
case; no understanding of the Constitution; author
of the "enemy combatant doctrine" that allows
American citizens to be held in prison without
trial, without counsel and without knowing the
charges against them. But the fatal faux pas is
the feather-blowing tale of Haynes' role as the
top Defense Department lawyer in the case of the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
DOD wanted to use an island in the Marianas for
bombing practice, so Haynes' team of lawyers argued
that bombing the bird haven would not break the
treaty and that the bombing would actually enhance
bird-watching because people "get more enjoyment
out of spotting a rare bird than they do spotting
a common one." By this logic, we should drive
every bird on earth to near-extinction and just
think what a thrill we'd get out of ever seeing
one. According to The New York Times, "Mr. Haynes
says he only supervised the case and was unaware
of the bizarre claim." He only supervised
Well! If you have never seen a flock of enraged
birders, you don't know what danger is. These
people don't watch pewits and tweety-birds, they're
into raptors, too -- falcons, eagles ... they
know how to swoop and strike. If we find Rove
beaten to a pulp with binoculars, it will be no
surprise. How could he ignore the immemorial warning,
"Beware the wrath of the birding legions!"
Back to business. There's no way to keep up with
the Bush administration's assaults on the environment,
they're just endless. Most notable lately was
the decision to let mercury pollution, which is
extremely toxic, continue. With current technology,
we could cut mercury emissions by 90 percent in
four years. Instead, the Bushies chose a plan
that will reduce it by 50 percent over 14 years,
thus saving millions for their big campaign contributors
in the power, coal and chemical industries. To
make up for it, they warned pregnant women not
to eat tuna. But that's not all:
-- The U.S. Forest Service is going to eliminate
any reviews of its actions by outside agencies
for compliance with clean water, endangered species
and historical preservation laws.
-- The Department of Energy is moving to overturn
a court decision on standards to clean up the
country's most toxic and radioactive waste.
-- The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector
general has concluded that senior Bushies at EPA
have repeatedly made misleading statements about
purported improvements in drinking water quality.
(Oh no, not Bushies lying!)
Other actions way too numerous to mention here
can be found on the websites of assorted environmental
To counter this ghastly record, the GOP put out
a "talking points" memo for Republican members
of Congress. In it, the congressmen are advised
to inform their constituents that: A) global warming
has not been proved, B) there are no clear links
between childhood asthma and air pollution (in
what I assume was an unintentionally hilarious
slip, the memo advises R's that the links are
"cloudy"), and C) America's rivers and lakes aren't
nearly as polluted as the EPA says they are. The
EPA says at least 40 percent of our streams, rivers
and lakes are too polluted for drinking, fishing
Sen. Jim Jeffords of Vermont observed: "It's so
incredible that they have this denial of any responsibility
for the serious situation we have in this country
as far as the environment goes. They have a head-in-the-sand
approach to it. They're just sloughing off the
human health impacts -- the premature deaths and
asthma attacks caused by power plant pollution."
One of the weirdest environmental developments
of late is the attempt by right-wing anti-immigrant
groups to take over the venerable Sierra Club.
The latest fad among these anti-immigrant groups,
many of which have ties to disgusting racist groups,
is to blame immigrants for our environmental problems.
I see a lot of Mexican immigrants, and some must
be illegal, gardening in this country, but I don't
know of many who run power plants that spew tons
of mercury into the air. You hardly ever see an
illegal Mexican immigrant on a snowmobile in Yellowstone.
Illegal Mexicans are seldom in charge of timber
companies that want to clear-cut the national
forests. It's not often that illegal Mexicans
run chemical companies that dump toxins into rivers
and wetlands. It's rare to find an illegal Mexican
in the Bush administration deciding to end the
Superfund cleanup program or to lower air and
water quality standards.
I don't know about you, but I don't think we can
pin this one on them. Reckon these folks have
some other agenda?
To find out more about Molly Ivins and read features
by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists,
visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
COPYRIGHT 2004 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Posted: April 2, 2004