Trickle-down works after all
    by Christian Livemore

To the list of things that run downhill, we can now add a new item: stupidity.

The L.A. Times reported last week that the Bush Administration is drafting a proposal
that would increase logging in the 11 national forests in the Sierra Nevada to levels not
seen in a decade. The new plan would scrap an elaborate set of environmental protection
guidelines known as the Sierra Plan, written by the Clinton Administation and adopted in 2000.

The reason? The U.S. Forest Service is complaining that the rules are too complicated.

The Sierra Plan, adopted after years of study and analysis, restricts timber cutting and
increases protections on old-growth trees, wildlife river and stream systems, which scientists
had been warning were in peril. At the same time the plan calls for prescribed burning to
prevent forest fires.

The conservationists love it, but naturally the timber industry hates it, since it prevents them
from cutting down trees at will and instead forces them to follow more environmentally
responsible, if more time-consuming, procedures.
 
Matt Mathes, spokesman for the Forest Service in California, told the L.A. Times that
the rules are so complicated that they put the Forest Rangers ďin a box.Ē

The new plan would allow cutting of trees as large as 30 inches in diameter and would
permit clear-cutting of areas as large as two contiguous acres.

All with the Forest Serviceís approval.
 
Correct me if Iím wrong, but isnít the U.S. Forest Serviceís job to PROTECT the forests?
You gotta love the logic behind the new plan.

The argument is that itís better to let loggers cut down huge swaths of trees in order to
prevent forest fires. But thatís what the Sierra Plan was created to do in the first place,
and it does it wthout gutting the forests.

Now Iím no scientist, but I think itís fairly simple that you canít have a forest fire if there are no trees.
But thereís another thing you canít have when there are no trees:  Air.

Great, Bushís logging friends make some money in the short run and we all have paper towels
and coffee tables. But the severe reduction in the number of oxygen-producing trees down the
road reduces air quality. Combine that with the hole in the ozone layer (which has, by the by,
split in two and will keep multiplying like shmoos if we continue to ignore scientistsí warnings)
and the fact that the polar ice cap is melting faster than Michael Jacksonís nose, and in a few
generations, nobody will be around to spend all that money.

Just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Bush concerns himself with gutting the Sierra Plan
in favor of more profit for the loggers and giving massive tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent
of Americans, while in the process creating the largest deficit in American history, pursuing a war
in Iraq to obtain its oil while ignoring the protests of the international community and a much more
dangerous and looming threat from North Koreaís recently revived nuclear program, and oh yeah,
whereís Osama bin Laden?

And that is the problem with Bushís thinking (such as it is) on a number of topics. He sees one step
down the chess board, when his knight takes the rook. And that rook is always money: money for
the logging industry, money from tax cuts, money from cutting school lunch programs.

The trouble is that he canít see the whole board. He canít see two moves away, when his knight
is taken by the bishop, whether that bishop is greenhouses gases or rising deficits or al-Qaeda
retaliation for war in Iraq.

And he canít see the checkmate. And with Bush in charge, that includes a whole new world of possibilities.

But Bush canít see it. Or he doesnít care. Iím not sure which is more frightening.

So it looks like the right-wingís much-loved Trickle Down theory does work. Not with economics,
of course, but it seems that Bushís lack of curiosity,  intellectual laziness and greed, at least, are all
trickling down through his administration.

So while weíre wringing our hands over the imminent war in Iraq and Bush looting the Treasury,
weíd better also keep an eye on what heís doing to the environment.

Itís kind of like a knife to the stomach, a traumatic head injury, and a gunshot wound.
Any one of them will kill you, so you have to treat them all.


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