Thursday, October 05, 2006

Inhofe Goes After CNN...Again...

Jim Inhofe took to the airwaves again this week to hammer CNN for their piece on his global warming crusade. This time, he confronted Miles O'Brien head on. Check it out...highly amusing.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

James Inhofe Parades his “Senior Advocacy” Award from Pharmaceutical Industry Front Group

Earlier this week, Jim Mountain Inhofe issued a press release praising himself for receiving the Guardian of Seniors’ Rights Award for “his continued support of seniors’ rights during the 109th Congress.” The organization that presented Inhofe with this award, the 60 Plus Association, is described in the release as “a non-partisan seniors’ citizens association [that] advocates a prescription drug benefit for seniors as well as tax fairness, fiscal responsibility, and other current seniors citizen issues.”

In fact, 60 Plus is anything but a senior’s advocacy group. According to the AARP, the largest and most recognized group representing America’s seniors, and Public Citizen, a non-profit public interest organization, 60 Plus is actually a conservative front group for the nation’s pharmaceutical industry, namely PhRMA, the drug industry’s chief trade association. According to an investigation conducted by the AARP Bulletin, virtually all of the contributions to 60 Plus in recent years have come from the same source – America’s pharmaceutical industry. 60 Plus is actually one of three front groups for the industry, according to that study and one conducted by Public Citizen. The other two are United Seniors Association and the Seniors Coalition. From AARP: “All three organizations claim to be nonpartisan, though they support – almost without exception – the campaigns and causes of one party.” Bet you can’t guess which one!

Indeed, lobbying disclosure forms filed by 60 Plus reveal that the group has spent inordinate amounts of money, well over $14 million since 2000 on issues such as repealing the estate tax (a well-known Republican priority), private accounts for Social Security, CAFTA, the Patriot Act, conservative judicial nominations, drilling in ANWR, and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, which was widely criticized as a giveaway to drug companies. (Baltimore Sun, 12/1/03; Chicago Tribune, 10/30/03; St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 11/26/03; Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/26/03; News and Observer, 11/23/03)

When President Bush spoke at the signing of the Medicare bill, he specifically thanked the president of 60 Plus, Jim Martin, along with the chair and CEO of United Seniors Association, for their hard work on the legislation. (Washington Post, 12/8/03)

In addition, Mr. Martin, along with other 60 Plus representatives, have penned a variety of interesting editorials over the years in the name of 60 Plus, but many of the issues he endorses aren’t exactly your run-of-the-mill serniors’ issues. They include: “Global Warming: Emissions treaty would devastate the US economy,” (Kansas City Star, 7/17/05); “One man, one woman, no compromises,” (Scripps Howard, 4/23/04); USA Patriot Act: It’s about safety, not snooping.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/9/03); “Over-due drilling in ANWR,” (Washington Times, 2/2/03); and my personal favorite, “Don’t blame ‘Big Oil’ for high energy costs,” (Herald News, 11/27/05).

It would take a conservative front group to recognize a senator like Inhofe for his supposed crusade for seniors. Inhofe has most certainly sided more with the drug industry than with seniors. Surprising, since, at 71, he's a senior himself. Inhofe voted against allowing for the negotiation of lower prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. (Senate Roll Call Vote 50, 3/15/06) He penalized seniors by repeatedly voting against extending the deadline for enrolling in the Medicare prescription drug plan. (Senate Roll Call Vote 5, 2/2/06; Senate Roll Call Vote 342, 11/17/0/5) He voted for significant cuts in Medicare and Medicaid with his support of the Budget Reconciliation package. (Senate Roll Call Vote 303, 11/3/05) And, of course, he voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit bill, largely a giveaway to drug companies at the expense of America’s seniors. (Senate Roll Call Vote 459, 11/25/03)

Congratulations Senator, guess you earned it.

CNN on Inhofe's Global Warming Attack...

This morning, CNN anchor Miles O'Brien aired a piece on Jim Inhofe's recent Senate floor rant on the media and global warming. According to Inhofe, the media has falsely hyped the existence of global warming and have become environmental advocates and (his favorite word), "alarmists."

"I am a realist. I want to challenge the news media to reverse course and report on the objective science of climate change, stop ignoring legitimate voices in this scientific debate, and stop being used by the hysterical left. Breaking the cycles of media hysteria will not be easy since hysteria sells and it is very profitable, but I really believe the issue is getting worn out. They have not been able to come up with anything to support their side. ," he said. Borrowing a term from a British group, Inhofe told the media to give up their "climate porn."

O'Brien covers the highlights of Inhofe's speech and offeres rebuttals from scientists and even Republican Congressmen Chris Shays of Connecticut. O'Brien also notes, "In the recent five year period, Inhofe has received more than $850,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industry. Inhofe challenged the media to get their story straight in his speech. But when we asked for an interview with him, we were told he's just too busy to speak with us."

See for yourself.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Jim “Iraq is nothing short of a miracle” Inhofe Could Take Over Armed Services Committee


There has been much speculation lately over which Senators would take over which committees when Congress convenes next session. Due to term limits, some senators are being forced to step down and others will rise to the helm. Interestingly enough, this could mean the end of Jim Inhofe’s reign as Environment and Public Works Committee chairman, but unfortunately could elevate him to the powerful position of Armed Services Committee chair. Yes, that’s right, the same man who called what’s happened in Iraqnothing short of a miracle” would be in charge of all defense related issues.

According to a recent story in Roll Call, Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) will have to step down as Armed Services chairman due to Republican term limits. But, according to the article, “Warner may have the option to oust Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) from the chairmanship of the Environment and Public Works Committee, because Warner outranks him.”

Now, I know what you’re thinking…this calls for a celebration! But don’t whip out those party hats just yet. When Warner steps down, Sen. John McCain is expected to take over. But, McCain is largely expected to run for president in 2008, and many have questioned whether or not he can juggle such an important chairmanship while running for the highest government office in the country. So, another senator may have to take over for him. “And, eventually, if McCain remains a viable candidate in the presidential race, he could take a leave of absence from the chairmanship and choose an interim successor. One option may be Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the third-most-senior Republican on the committee.” (Arizona Republic, 9/19/06)

That’s a little bit scary. Jim Inhofe doesn’t exactly have the sanest record when it comes to defense. Just for fun, let’s review:

  • Inhofe claims that what’s has happened in Iraq is “nothing short of a miracle”

Recently, Inhofe said that “what’s happened [in Iraq] is nothing short of a miracle.” This has largely been contradicted by both newspapers and testimonials from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. This, even though Inhofe has been to Iraq 11 times. (Tulsa World, 8/22/06)

  • Inhofe said “civil war is not going on” in Iraq

Earlier this month, Inhofe gave a grossly inaccurate picture of the state of the Iraq war on the Senate floor. He argued that immense progress had been made, that violence was not, in fact, quickly escalating, and that Iraqis were actually quite happy about the American presence. “Civil war is not going on,” Inhofe insisted. (Congressional Record, 9/6/06) This in the face of a dismal Pentagon report that asserted, “Conditions that could lead to civil war exist in Iraq, specifically in and around Baghdad, and concern about civil war within the Iraqi civilian population has increased in recent months.” (Associated Press, 9/1/06)

  • Inhofe was more “outraged by the outrage” over the Abu Ghraib prison controversy than by the abuse itself

During the hearings on the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in 2004, Inhofe created quite the stir when he said he was fed up with all the “humanitarian do- gooders” making such a fuss over the inhumane treatment of prisoners. (Washington Post, 5/12/04) He said he was “more outraged by the outrage than by the treatment of the prisoners. (New York Times, 5/12/04)

  • Inhofe is displeased with the conditions at Guantanamo…because they’re too nice!

After visiting the compound at Guantanamo Bay, Inhofe said that the conditions were much better than the prisoners deserved. “We’re dealing with terrorists here,” he said. (Wichita Eagle, 1/26/02)

  • Inhofe suggested that the 9-11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against America for failing to defend Israel

In a speech on the Senate floor in 2002, Inhofe explicitly suggested that the 9-11 attacks were a form of divine retribution against the US for failing to adequately defend Israel. “One of the reasons I believe the spiritual door was opened for an attack against the United States of America is that the policy of our Government has been to ask the Israelis, and demand it with pressure, not to retaliate in a significant way against the terrorist strikes that have been launched against them." He went on to cite the most important reason for defending Israel: “Because God said so.” (Congressional Record, 3/4/02)

Really? This is the guy they’re going to choose to serve as the chair of the Armed Services Committee? Be afraid, be very afraid.


Cross-posted at SenateMajority.com


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do We See a Pattern Here? Jim Inhofe Invites Another Controversial Author to Testify at Environment Committee Hearing


It seems Jim Inhofe is up to old tricks in the Environment and Public Works Committee. Tomorrow, the committee Inhofe chairs will hold a hearing on the Asia-Pacific Partnership, a six country agreement to boost private investment in climate technologies. The partnership is designed to help member nations reach strategies for improving energy security, reducing pollution, and addressing climate change. Inhofe has decided to invite as his star witness Bjorn Lomborg, controversial author and professor, best known for his book The Skeptical Environmentalist, which was widely criticized by environmental scientists. (Greenwire, 9/18/06) Looks like this could be a Michael Crichton repeat!

The Skeptical Environmentalist challenged the claims of the world’s environmentalists, characterizing them as grossly exaggerated. The book received much criticism from the scientific community. (Oregonian, 8/21/06) In fact, after a group of scientists brought formal complaints against the assertions made in the book, the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty, a body under Denmark’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, found that the book was scientifically dishonest, citing among other things: fabrication of data, distorted interpretation of conclusions, plagiarism, and deliberate misinterpretation of others’ results. (BBC News, 12/22/03)

A number of science publications, including Scientific American, Grist, and Nature Magazine published extensive criticism of the book. The Nature critique argued, “the text employs the strategy of those, who, for example, argue that gay men aren’t dying of AIDS, that Jews weren’t singled out by the Nazis for extermination, and so on.” (Nature, 11/8/01)

In addition, the Union of Concerned Scientists strongly criticized the book, claiming it to be “seriously flawed and fail[ing] to meet basic standards of credible scientific analysis.”

It is no wonder that Jim Inhofe, renowned climate change skeptic, invited someone like Bjorn Lomborg to testify at a hearing concerning climate change and pollution reduction. After all, this is not the first time this has happened. In a 2005 Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on climate change, Inhofe called as his star witness author Michael Crichton, and tried to make his book, State of Fear, required reading for all senate members, arguing, “while ‘State of Fear’ is a novel, it is fiction, the footnotes are incontrovertibly scientific.” (Congressional Transcripts, 9/28/05)

In fact, the book had been largely dismissed by the scientific community and the science employed in the book was dismissed as distorting actual research. “The best face I can put on this is he doesn’t know what he’s doing. The worst is that he’s intentionally deceiving people as he accuses environmentalists (of doing) in ‘State of Fear,’” said NYU physics professor Martin Hoffert. (Saint Paul Pioneer Press, 1/28/05)

With Inhofe at the helm and skeptic Bjorn Lomborg the featured guest, this promises to be a circus hearing aimed largely at debunking the current science on climate change and global warming.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Another Conservative Admits the Effects of Global Warming

Yesterday, Saxby Chambliss, a typical opponent of greenhouse gas reduction, finally came around on the issue, admitting that “there really is something to it.” Chambliss made that statement upon returning from a trip to Greenland to view melting polar ice. Chambliss has long been opposed to forcing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources. Last year, he was one of 60 Senators to vote against legislation that would have set caps on emissions from industrial polluters.

Yet, as evidence mounts showing the devastating effects of global warming, and more Republicans admit that it is a serious problem, Jim Inhofe continues to fight against capping emissions. In fact, he was so angered by California’s decision to regulate greenhouse gases, that just last week he introduced new “Clean Air” legislation that would have denied California some of the federal highway funds. He removed the bill from the Environment Committee’s agenda a few days later due to opposition within the committee.

How many conservatives will it take to convince Inhofe that this problem needs to be addressed?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Inhofe Drops His Crusade Against California…For Now


Last week, Sen. Jim Inhofe announced that he had introduced an update to the Clean Air Act to “improve air quality for the dirtiest areas of the country.” The bill, entitled, the Clean Air Attainment Enforcement Act, was nothing more than a veiled attempt to get back at California for enacting an apparently offensive global warming legislation. According to Inhofe’s press release, “This bill is a narrow amendment that targets only those areas of the country that are out of compliance with multiple pollutants and will not come into compliance by their attainment deadlines.” What the release doesn’t mention is that, according to the EPA’s ozone designations, the only areas affected by this legislation are the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley. This move came just a week after California enacted a ground breaking bill to cap emissions on manmade greenhouse gases, which Inhofe failed to hide his disdain for. As the Contra Costa Times notes, if Inhofe were anyone else, “he’d be on his dust farm throwing a tantrum.”

Apparently Inhofe realized he wasn’t fooling anyone, because, according to today’s Environment and Energy Daily, he has removed the bill from the committee’s markup agenda. Democrats objected to the bill and argued Inhofe “had not properly vetted the measure.” (Environment and Energy Daily, 9/12/06)

Perhaps Inhofe has dropped his retaliation war for now, but we’re assuming there’s much more to come from Senator Inhofe, (R-Exxon).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Inhofe Says No To Alternative Fuel Production


At a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing yesterday on the possible use of ethanol, Sen. Jim Inhofe made clear his refusal to invest in alternative fuel production.

“Corn cannot be the answer,” Inhofe said, suggesting that consumers would pay additional costs as a result of ethanol production. (Reuters, 9/7/06)

What is more telling is the amount of money Inhofe has received from the oil and gas industry since he has been in office; perhaps that is who he is protecting. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Inhofe has received nearly $900,000 from the industry since 1989. Seems it would be in his best monetary interest to hate the corn…

Yet even President Bush, arguably one of the largest receivers of oil money, has endorsed the use of ethanol as an alternative fuel source. In an energy speech last year, Bush said:

“We've got to be aggressive about finding alternative sources of fuel. And one such source is ethanol. Ethanol comes from corn -- and we're pretty good about growing corn here in America, we've got a lot of good corn growers. Therefore, it makes sense to promote ethanol as an alternative to foreign sources of oil. Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to produce a clean, efficient fuel.”

Sick of paying record gas prices while the oil and gas companies reap the benefits? Then give old Inhofe a shout. I’m sure he’d love to hear from an angry constituent.