Benghazi! Climate Change

November 23, 2015

Republican William Ruckelshaus, 83, appointed by Dick Nixon in 1970 to be first head of the EPA (the Guardian):

“The Republicans aren’t helping, they are just responding to the convictions of the base that climate change isn’t a real problem and feeding that back to them — it’s a vicious cycle
“Instead of treating it as a serious problem they are going through all the stages of denial. They are now at the stage of saying that it’s too expensive to do anything about climate change, which is no solution at all, they may as well just deny it’s a problem.”

SurrealPainting(Illustration found here)

Tomorrow, Ruckelshaus is set to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, during a White House ceremony. He’ll be among 15 others, including Yogi Berra and Willie Mays, movie director Steven Spielberg, and singer James Taylor.
Ruckelshaus was commenting on Republican behavior toward logic and reality — the facts support the attention. Every turn of the GOP screw is to confuse, or outright deny, the problem humanity faces due to climate change.
On a scientific, historic level, the GOP makes getting a handle of a warming planet that much harder, if not impossible. Especially now, as the UN’s Paris climate talks are set to start next week, a most-important meeting, considered vital to curbing the worst parts of global warming.
And the horror is that Republicans don’t seem to give a fat-rat’s ass — from Grist:

Meanwhile, in a clownish stunt that is unusual for a senator but sadly typical for the Senate’s leading climate science denier, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has said he might show up in Paris “and be the bad guy, the one-man truth squad, and tell the truth, that they’re going to be lied to by the Obama administration.”
Inhofe wants to warn other countries that his party will not let Obama fulfill his climate promises.
Inhofe did the same thing in Copenhagen in 2009, and by all accounts made a fool of himself.
In other countries, you see, politicians who reject climate science aren’t treated as if they hold a legitimate mainstream viewpoint.
A reporter for Der Spiegel, a prominent German news magazine, told Inhofe, “You’re ridiculous.”
But why should that stop him?
This is a guy who brought a snowball onto the floor of the Senate as evidence that climate change isn’t happening.

Playing at being ‘ridiculous‘ without a single dash of regret. A result to the dismay and disarray of America, and not only with climate science, but beyond-the-loop shit of fringe, now prime time — Charles P. Pierce explains the ugly phenomenon at Esquire this afternoon.
Noted point:

Anyway, one thing that dawned on me at the Family Leader Forum the other night is that it is now a capital mistake to believe that conservative extremism is in any way incoherent or divided in the most basic articles of its faith.
What once was considered beyond the pale now has set up shop in the town square.
What were once backburner reactionary notions are now absolute litmus tests.
And I’m not talking about individual issues, like reproductive choice or the bloated military budget, I’m talking about a fundamental philosophy of how the Republic is supposed to function.
And there’s no camouflage left to it.

They just don’t seem to give a shit.

In the climate-change matter, though, it’s not just the horror of racism and other ugly qualities, but a humanitarian horror, a worldwide calamity now happening, involving the lives of millions upon millions of people. Working against the needs of mankind — shitty, huh?
Which makes the recent US House GOP-inflamed ‘Benghazi’ craziness with Hillary Clinton appear as a pretext to the main event — climate change. David Roberts at Vox at the end of October detailed the ugly:

The thing is: The Benghazi committee is not even the worst committee in the House.
I’d argue that the House science committee, under the chairmanship of Lamar Smith (R-TX), deserves that superlative for its open-ended, Orwellian attempts to intimidate some of the nation’s leading scientists and scientific institutions.
The science committee’s modus operandi is similar to the Benghazi committee’s — sweeping, catchall investigations, with no specific allegations of wrongdoing or clear rationale, searching through private documents for out-of-context bits and pieces to leak to the press, hoping to gain short-term political advantage — but it stands to do more lasting long-term damage.
In both cases, the investigations have continued long after all questions have been answered. (There were half a dozen probes into Benghazi before this one.)
In both cases, the chair has drifted from inquiry to inquisition.
But with Benghazi, the only threat is to the reputation of Hillary Clinton, who has the resources to defend herself.
With the science committee, it is working scientists being intimidated, who often do not have the resources to defend themselves, and the threat is to the integrity of the scientific process in the US.
It won’t take much for scientists to get the message that research into politically contested topics is more hassle than it’s worth.

Read the whole piece, which goes into specifics of Smith’s panel, and how at a crucial point in history, we have a bunch of assholes trying to fuck-up the process.
And with an end, as Roberts notes:

To summarize: The chair of a House committee is using his newly expanded subpoena power to go fishing through the work of the NSF, forcing it to breach its storied confidentiality, searching for bits and pieces of decontextualized information that can be leaked to right-wing media to make the executive branch look bad, on behalf of an ideological quest to cut research funding.

But the science committee is going after individual scientists, who rarely have the resources on hand to defend themselves from unexpected political attack.
It is doing so without any rationale related to the constitutional exercise of its oversight powers — not with a false rationale, but without any stated rationale, no allegations of waste, fraud, or abuse — in service of an effort to suppress inconvenient scientific results and score partisan political points against the executive branch.

Additional review of this whole mess by Phil Plait at Slate last week:

But here’s the key point: In my opinion, Lamar Smith doesn’t care why the changes were actually made.
He made that point extremely clear when he jumped right to conspiracy theories.
He could’ve asked any number of scientists — hundreds of them, quite literally — why those changes were made.
Heck, he could’ve Googled it!
Instead, he subpoenaed NOAA, doubled down on his conspiracy ideations, and issued a press release making it all very public in a colossal waste of time and money.
Smith’s game here, as I see it, is to make the science look bad, make the scientists look bad, by floating rumor-mongering accusations that will tend to stick in the minds of voters.
This is what deniers do. They don’t have facts on their side, they don’t have data on their side, they don’t have science or reality on their side.
That means all they can do is distract, sow doubt, and smear.

All that war-crime crazy and the reality of what’s happening to our environment makes for nightmares. In a interesting piece found at the end of October at CounterPunch by Christopher Ketcham, explains these changes via the bottom-line: extinction of animal species.
And this pitiless core of climate change:

I’ve found conversation with my biologist sources to be terribly dispiriting.
The conversation goes like this: Homo sapiens are out of control, a bacteria boiling in the petri dish; the more of us, demanding more resources, means less space for every other life form; the solution is less of us, consuming fewer resources, but that isn’t happening.
It can’t happen.
Our economic system, industrial consumer capitalism, requires constant growth, more people buying more things.
“I will go so far as to say [that] capitalism itself may be dependent on a growing population,” writes billionaire capitalist blogger Bill Gross, Forbes magazine’s Bond King.
“Our modern era of capitalism over the past several centuries has never known a period of time in which population declined or grew less than 1 percent a year.”
Growth for growth’s sake, what Edward Abbey called the ideology of the cancer cell.

Benghazi that ugly bitch…

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