26 June, 2009

Happy Hour Discurso

Today's opining on the public discourse.

Yes, we're very late today. That's because I've been at Discovery Park, playing with sea critters and hiking my very legs off. When there are blue skies in Seattle, it's best to enjoy them pronto.

See that? That's blue sky, that is. I snapped that photo with a POS elderly digital camera, and it's not been modified. That's sky so blue it makes the treeline look fake.

Happily, the House set our feet on the first steps to maintaining those blue skies:

From the NYT:

"The House passed legislation on Friday intended to address global warming and transform the way the nation produces and uses energy.

The vote was the first time either house of Congress had approved a bill meant to curb the heat-trapping gases scientists have linked to climate change. The legislation, which passed despite deep divisions among Democrats, could lead to profound changes in many sectors of the economy, including electric power generation, agriculture, manufacturing and construction.

The bill's passage, by 219 to 212, with 44 Democrats voting against it, also established a marker for the United States when international negotiations on a new climate change treaty begin later this year.

Huzzah! In fact, we even have a handful of Republicans to thank:

Despite promises that Republicans would rally against the bill, several members defected to support it, including Reps. Dave Reichart (R-WA), Mike Castle (R-DE), Mary Bono Mack, Mark Kirk (R-IL), Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and John McHugh (R-NY).

Smart Republicans, those. I think I know why Dave did it - people in the beautiful town of Bellevue, WA, like their earth global-warming free. And he had the good grace to work with my own beloved Jay Inslee to get the job done. I think running against Darcy Burner smacked some sense into the boy. (Speaking of Darcy Burner, she's got a must-read post up at C&L, fyi.)

Now if only someone had smacked some sense into the rest o' the Cons...
Listening to the House debate over the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) is a surprisingly frustrating experience. It's probably better that most Americans don't actually see these debates -- it would undermine faith in our system of government.

At one point today, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) noted, "It is very difficult to find common ground if the other side rejects the science of our times." Truer words, never spoken.

Take, for example, Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). Broun is perhaps best known for telling reporters late last year that he fears that President Obama may establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist dictatorship on Americans. He added at the time that Obama reminds him of Hitler. Today, the Georgia Republican shared his thoughts on the environment.

"Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.... And who's going to be hurt most [by ACES] the poor, the people on limited income…the people who can least afford to have their energy taxes raised by MIT says $3,100 per family.... This bill must be defeated. We need to be good stewards of our environment, but this is not it, it's a hoax!"

The "$3,100 per family" line has been debunked over and over again -- the MIT scholar Broun cites has specifically tried to explain to Republican lawmakers that it's completely bogus -- but they just can't seem to stop using it.

Bogus never stopped these freaks from spouting off lies, damned lies, and pure insanity. And, following their beloved leader Rush "Obama's just like an African colonial despot!" Limbaugh's lead (with a little help from his sidekick Glenn "Cap and Trade supporters are treasonous!" Beck), they're on a rather bizarre autocrat meme. Here's Rep. Gingrey playing off the "Cons are just like the poor Iranian protesters!" theme:

Last week, several Republican House members compared themselves to Iranian protesters, claiming that being in the minority in Congress was just like being violently oppressed in Iran. “I wonder if there isn’t more freedom on the streets of Tehran right now than we are seeing here,” said Rep. David Dreier (R-CA). Reps. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) and John Culberson (R-TX) made similar comparisons on Twitter.

Despite the online uproar that followed the egregious comparisons, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) went even further today. Complaining about the proposed rules for debate on clean energy legislation, Gingrey compared Democrats to the “forces of darkness” in Iran and North Korea:

GINGREY: Madam speaker, thank you. I rise in opposition to this rule and to the underlying legislation. I’m just not sure to which I’m more opposed. Americans are watching as from Iran to North Korea, the forces of darkness are attempting to silence the forces of democracy and freedom. The irony is on this day, the Democratic process and the nation’s economic freedom are under threat not by some rogue state, but in this very chamber in which we stand. Good people may disagree on the impact or the merits of this bill. But no one can disagree with the fact that the speaker and her rules committee have silenced the opposition.

Um. I refer you to the previous item, in which the opposition blathered, babbled and made utter fools of themselves, only to receive applause from their "silenced" fellows. Also, a question: which Dem leader is it, exactly, who's called for your execution if you continue to protest, Mr. Gingrey? What's that? None? That disqualifies you from being just like poor oppressed Iranian protestors, who have been threatened with execution, not to mention shot in the streets. I would suggest you shut the fuck up now.

So should you, John McCain:

During an appearance on a local radio station in Phoenix, AZ this morning, a caller asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) when Republican leaders were going to emerge in Congress to “wake the American people up” to the “cap-and-tax” bill. “Why can’t we get the House members and the Senate members to just walk out on what the Democrats are doing?” the caller asked. In response, McCain said that the GOP lawmakers — particularly his House colleagues — have to stay and fight, even though they are working under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) authoritarian rule:

McCAIN: We’re fighting every single day. You don’t want to leave the arena; you want to stay in it and fight. And I guarantee you we are using every parliamentary possibility we have and I have great sympathy for my friends in the House because it’s almost under an autocracy now with Speaker Pelosi.

Do you Cons want to live under an autocracy? Is that what would make you happy? Because you all seem to be fantasizing about it an awful lot. It's not healthy.

While I'm handing out free advice to frothing insane Cons, I might as well throw some to not-Joe the Plumber. Joe, it's probably not a good idea to do shit like this:
Americans for Prosperity, one of the wingnut welfare outfits behind the Great Teabagging, held an event in Wausau, Wisconsin yesterday, keynoted by the man who best personifies the Teabagging movement. [snip]

Wurzelbacher has a reputation for being a blunt, politically incorrect speaker. Referring to Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., more than once, Wurzelbacher asked, "Why hasn't he been strung up?"

I'm not sure I'd use the term "politically incorrect" for calling for the lynching of a sitting US Senator. But don't stop him, he's rolling.

Just ask Sean Hannity's old pal Hal Turner how well threatening federal officials works out.

There's much more nutty goodness floating about the intertoobz tonight, but after several miles of hiking in the sunshine, I'm needing a bath. So I'll just leave you with this gem:
We learned yesterday, by way of Rush Limbaugh, that Mark Sanford's sex scandal was President Obama's fault. If it weren't for the administration's economic policies, the argument goes, Sanford would have been more optimistic about the future, wouldn't have cheated on his wife, and wouldn't have secretly left the country to see his mistress.

Who can argue with air-tight logic like this?

Today, Limbaugh's right-wing colleague, Michael Savage, takes this one step further. Obama didn't just inspire Sanford to betray his family; the White House conspired to make this scandal happen in the first place.

"The fact is, Obama's team is taking out potential [2012] rivals, one after another," Savage argued. "Just last week, the media jumped on the story of Sen. John Ensign (R) of Nevada and his infidelity. He was considered to be a possible Republican presidential candidate in '12. Now Sanford, who had similar ambitions, caught in a similar situation.

"This is politics at its worst, brought to us by the worst administration, the meanest administration, the most closed administration, the most incompetent administration in American history."

As Steve Benen notes, it's pretty impressive that such an incompetent administration could make not one, but two, prominent Cons run out and get caught with their pants around their ankles in the space of a week. That "stimulus package" must have been some pretty potent stuff, eh?

When the Dems pass healthcare reform, I think they need to include a few trillion dollars for restoring the Cons' mental health. It's obviously getting much, much worse under their current insurance.


Cujo359 said...

I think cap and trade will be the best policy for reducing greenhouse emissions, provided the right goals are set. Schemes like cap and trade change market priorities to give more value to reducing emissions. This bill will set goals for the economy to achieve, and leave the means up to the imagination.

Relying on market forces may have been what made this bill acceptable to those Republicans.

Last Hussar said...

Lots of climatologists are against cap and trade, as it doesn't necessarily reduce the emissions, but merely redistribute. We actually have to force emmissions down- punishment will affect ordinary people too much, as taxes will be passed on by pollutors, so it will need more carrot than stick.

Two bright points though
1) The designers of a hydrogen fuel cell car intend to make the plans public domain, to encourage communities to build, rather than centralise production. This will also mean more people trying to improve. Instead of selling makers will lease you the car, along with the refueling (especially a problem until a network set up- which such a model will help) and repairs. This will encourage cars to be fuel efficient (more fuel = less lease profit) and longer lasting, thus helping reduce manufacturing consumption.

2) The REALLY REALLY good point is if the Cons are right about oppression you are allowed to run over Rush in a tank

Cujo359 said...

Cap and trade is just a means to regulate levels of a pollutant. If you set the levels too high, they won't work, no matter what the method used to regulate. There's also something to be said for letting the market find the greenhouse gases that are the most economical to eliminate, instead of making everyone adhere to one standard no matter how much it might cost.

The less economically painful it is to reduce a pollutant, the more likely it is that the pollutant will actually be reduced. Systems like cap and trade try to do that.