Friday, March 17, 2006

Callous death warrant for animal species

Republican sloganeers trying to soften the party's image after the pre-emptive attack on Iraq thought they had crafted a winner by claiming the GOP is an ardent defender of "the culture of life."

But which life?

Except for their harsh anti-abortion laws that would make criminals of physicians and pregnant women in the guise of protecting "life," Republican leaders actually seem to be in the vanguard of movements that are distinguished by an utter disregard for life.

The latest outrage is a death warrant of incalculable callousness, which is in the hands of the U.S. Senate. The Senate is preparing to act on a House-passed measure that would roll back wildlife protections of the Endangered Species Act and remove hurdles for land speculators.

No surpise: The sponsor of the House bill is California Republican Rep. Richard Pombo, who places rights of real estate developers over wildlife species and whose hostility to wildlife protections has become almost fanatical. The prospect of species being snuffed out through dislocation or starvation doesn't move him.

In a reaction of horror to the legislation, 5,738 biologists have signed a letter to senators, urging them to consider consequences of Pombo's unconcealed effort to gut species protections and thus remove obstacles to land developers.

The attack on the ESA is another on a long list of anti-life action and inaction in the Bush administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.

Global warming, which scientists say has begun to have a profound negative impact on the world's oceans, weather, agriculture and human comfort, still is dismissed as crackpot science by key GOP politicians who have deleted climate change from the country's legislative agenda. To force industry to help stem global warming would pinch profits, they argue. Thus, profit and loss ledgers take precedence over the health of the Earth.

The same group of anti-science, anti-life firebrands also regards U.S. public parklands as an expendable supply of raw material for industrial exploitation, not irreplaceable treasures to be preserved, as an earlier and wiser Republican, President Theodore Roosevelt, demanded.

Stem cell research that could save and prolong life is also no-no with this group.

In combination, these malevolent political whims constitute an indictment of the GOP's "culture of life" jingle.

If this aggressive disregard for the life of the planet and its inhabitants continues unchecked, generations yet unborn will inherit a world made bleak and joyless by political footmen who could see only as far as the next lobbyist handout.

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