For the Record: Inhofe Says Pruitt Is Ideal For EPA

I’ve always had mixed feelings through the years of going through the hassle of noting the right-wing extremism in this place on the blog since it’s so obvious, especially to people who live out of the state, but I’ve always felt it’s important for the historical record.

Now it’s more important than ever. The Internet Archives, for example, recently announced that it’s moving a copy of its material to Canada to protect it from possible censorship by President-elect Donald Trump, who has apparently at least blustered that he might be interested in “closing off parts of the internet.” More on this later in the post.

For the record, then, on the right-wing extremism issue, here’s Oklahoma’s own infamous global warming denier U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe official statement about Trump’s selection to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), who is none other than Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, another climate change skeptic:

Scott Pruitt is the ideal candidate to lead the EPA. Pruitt has seen first-hand the abuses of power at the hands of this agency and has fought back to ensure environmental quality without sacrificing jobs. Scott is an expert in constitutional law, and understands the fundamental element of balance necessary between the states and the federal government. I look forward to working with Chairman Barrasso and the EPW committee to move Scott’s nomination swiftly and fairly through the committee and to the Senate floor.

What does this “balance” even mean? This is what I believe it means to Inhofe and Pruitt: States with deep fossil-fuel reserves should be allowed to damage the planet in local ways, such as all the earthquakes caused by the fracking process here in Oklahoma, to the larger concern of rising sea levels because carbon emissions are accelerating the greenhouse effect, which leads to the melting of arctic ice. My argument is that Pruitt and Inhofe believe the profits of oil and gas companies render environmental arguments and evidence obsolete. Maybe they truly believe in their position, despite huge evidence that global warming is harming the planet, or maybe they simply don’t care.

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Mixon Attorney Wrote Rant Against TLO, Okie Funk

The Lost Ogle blog exposed the latent hypocrisy of a local Crowe & Dunlevy attorney who was critical of the blog’s founder, Patrick Riley, and even me in what appears to be a one-post shame rant a while back.

The attorney, J. Blake Johnson, really went after Riley and TLO mainly in a solitary 2015 post more than me, accusing the blog of, among other things, “latent misogyny.” (If you click on the link note the deceptive url.) It turns out Johnson represents OU running back Joe Mixon, who broke a woman’s face at Pickleman’s Gourmet Café in Norman on July 25, 2014. The graphic video of the incident, as just about anyone who is reading this knows, was recently released to the public.

In breaking news, as I write this, Mixon declared yesterday he’s done with Oklahoma, which all makes sense, and is now, in his view, is hopefully headed to the NFL to make lots and lots of money. In other words, he came to this state, revealed how spineless and unethical our leaders remain when he violently attacked a woman and they did nothing significant in response and is now thinking he’s taking all his baggage and athletic talent to the house for a personal, financial touchdown. We’ll see how that goes. I digress.

Actually, to his credit Johnson referred upfront to Okie Funk as “generally thoughtful” in his piece, but went on to criticize my celebration of TLO in a post as writing that adds spice to the dull and conservative media here, a belief I stand by. Johnson tore into TLO, however, with vengeance, calling it “indecent” and “mean spirited,” all of which really doesn’t matter on a larger level. Who hasn’t been angry at TLO or Okie Funk once in a while or even more through the years? Who even cares? Johnson seemed to want to create an internet flame war without any fire. That’s why I ignored Johnson’s post altogether when it first appeared.

I have more to say or maybe more to ask about the Mixon case, University of Oklahoma President David Boren and Crowe & Dunlevy in this post so I won’t rehash the TLO post in great detail. Here’s the link again. The post is irreverent, uses TLO’s colorful, sarcastic language and doesn’t hold much back, but then, as Riley points out, “The hypocrisy is strong with this one.”

The Mixon case, I believe, is just another case of a privileged athlete getting preferential treatment in an abuse case. Although Mixon still faces a civil suit in the case, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and received a one-year deferred sentence, some community service and counseling. Under the plea, the charge could eventually be expunged from his record.

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Listening To Fred Harris

Politico published an excellent article on Oklahoma’s former senator Fred Harris a few days ago, and for those of us old enough here, it overwhelms the senses with nostalgia, bringing back a time when truth still matter at least somewhat in the political realm and when a person defined as a populist really described someone who cared about working-class people.

Harris, 86, who represented Oklahoma in the U.S. Senate as a Democrat from 1964 to 1973, was and remains a true populist, and he laments both the election of President-elect Donald Trump and how the word “populist” is often twisted and distorted to describe him. In Harris’ view, according to the article, “Populism is simply about voting for your own interests instead of against your interests—with the knowledge that your interests are the same as the interests of everyone else.” None of that describes Trump, who is self-interested to the brink of narcissism and will work to protect the interests of fellow millionaires and billionaires. Maybe he’ll give his base supporters a war to feed their nationalistic cravings, but that’s about it on a major level, in my opinion.

Richard Linnett, who wrote the article, describes the argument over the word populism like this:

When Harris looks at Donald Trump’s campaign, he sees a vision of populism fundamentally opposed to the way he saw the movement. In the 1970s, Harris aimed to build political clout by creating new coalitions across boundaries of race, gender and class, uniting people on the basis of their shared struggle.

I don’t envision Trump building “new coalitions across boundaries of race, gender and class.” In fact, I see Trump obviously dividing people along those boundaries, and I also view him as a misogynist, who objectifies women based on their physical appearance. His supporters apparently don’t care about this aspect of his nature when it comes to women, or agree with it, or think it’s just locker-room banter.

Linnett goes on the describe Harris’s 1976 run for the presidency in which he ran a truly grassroots populist campaign, staying overnight at people’s houses while campaigning across the country. Many people here, especially younger folks, don’t realize that Oklahoma was once a populist bastion that produced such heroes as Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie and, of course, Harris himself, who is retired now and lives in New Mexico.

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