Yale Climate Opinion Maps

Yale Climate Opinion Maps.

Outstanding look at various opinions on global warming, as collected by various political/geographic entities.

I’d be interested to see this data weighted by income.  My assumption is that, if we did so, opinions would be very much tilted *against* the notion that this is happening.

My assumption goes that way because the legislature goes that way…so there’s the logic behind the illogical.

 

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Iran, Oil, Israel, the NDAA, and the 2012 Election : A Primer

Let’s start this off with a curious conjunction of news articles as presented by the Google News algorithm.

That's why they do it

That's why they do it

And I also ran across this article over on Juan Cole’s site.

Will his New Sanctions on Iran Cost Obama the Presidency?

Posted on 01/03/2012 by Juan

A sharp drop in the value of the Iranian currency as a result of new American sanctions may sound like good news to hawks in the US. But actually this development may signal ways in which Americans will also be harmed, and Obama may have put a second term in jeopardy, cutting off his nose to spite his face.

An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act signed by President Obama this past weekend will seek to slap third party sanctions on countries and enterprises that deal with Iran’s central bank. It will go into effect this summer. In effect, the law says that if you buy Iranian petroleum, you cannot do business with American financial institutions. Since the United States is still over a fifth of the world economy, and most institutions with capital need to deal with it, the hope of Congress is that Iran will be left without customers.

The measure, pushed by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on behalf of the government of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, might well be a trap for Obama. In an election year, he could not refuse to endorse new sanctions against Iran (the Republican candidates in Iowa are practically running on promising that if elected they will launch a war on Iran; and they are lambasting the president as weak on this issue).

[full story]

There’s a couple of interesting things about this line of thinking and Cole explores the direct results on this in his post.

Those two factors, the likelihood of rising Asian demand for petroleum in 2012, and investor nervousness about how tensions with Iran will play out, will probably keep petroleum prices at historically high levels in 2012, and some analysts believe that there could be a return to the overheated pricing of 2008 before the crash.

It would be much better for the American economy if prices sank back down to the levels of only a few years ago, of $50 a barrel or less.

If the Congressional sanctions actually worked, and took Iran’s roughly 2.5 million barrels a day in exports off the world market, that would take out 80% of Iran’s export income and deeply hurt the regime. But it would also send world petroleum prices through the stratosphere, deeply harming Western economies already teetering on the edge.

The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012) which has people all a-twitter about the AUMF made real, also includes the language that essentially declares economic warfare with Iran.  You know how all those little dollars say “Federal Reserve Note”…well…when it comes to being the one that redeems property, one tends to have some control over who gets to officially use it for business.   The NDAA (of FY 2012) essentially says that anyone who uses our money, can’t use it to buy their oil (or anything else they sell).

This was added to the NDAA by a flake.  Literally, Jeff Flake (R-AZ).

Washington, D.C., Dec 9, 2011 – Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona’s Sixth District, today along with 22 House Members sent a letter to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R, CA) and Ranking Member Adam Smith (D, WA) urging them to retain during conference negotiations with the Senate provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would levy sanctions on the Iranian financial sector, including the Central Bank of Iran, in an effort to severely limit the funding sources available to the Iranian regime for use in developing nuclear weapons.

You will be unsurprised to find out that Flake was one of the 81 Congressmen (only 21%) who did, in fact, take an all expense paid weeklong [edit 9 day] vacation to calm and relaxing Israel during the summer break.

Don’t worry though, no taxpayer money was (directly) used to pay for this.  Lobbyists covered the whole thing.

Sponsor(s) – American Israel Education Foundation
Dates – August 18, 2001 – August 26, 2001 (9 days)
Location(s) – Israel 

Purpose – Educational mission
Notes – Spouse Cheryl Flake accompanied. Other costs not specified.

Travel Cost – $7,183.20
Lodging Cost – $2,023.70
Meal Cost – $1,391.30
Other Cost – $986.00
Total Cost – $11,584.20

Additional family members – Yes

[full data on the Flake]

And just so you get an idea of how much of a flake this Flake guy is…

Flake was first elected to what was then Arizona’s 1st congressional district in 2000, after Republican incumbent Matt Salmon stepped down in honor of a self-imposed term limit. The district was then renumbered to the 6th district as Arizona gained two Congressional seats due to the results of the 2000 census.

In his campaign in 2000, Flake had pledged to serve no more than three terms in Congress, leaving no later than January 2007, but in early 2005, shortly after being elected for a third time, Flake announced that he had changed his mind and would in fact run for re-election in 2006. “It was a mistake to limit my own terms,” Flake said.

[from the wiki]

So…long story short…get ready for much higher gas prices this summer and the Republicans constantly blaming Obama for it.   There’s a decent chance that the actual reason for the rise in prices will not be a constraint in supply, but instead an increase in middleman costs caused by the sanctions leading to a run-up in the price of oil…if not a full-on closing of the Straight of Hormuz by Iran (if the sanctions work too well  and they realize they are fucked either way.)

Whatever the reason, higher oil prices (even if only caused by the threat of increased hostilities…raising risks raises prices) will slow the already crawling economic recovery in the U.S., leaving it, most likely, continuing to sputter along like an old car running low on…well…gas.

What I find really funny here (funny in an ironic way), is that while Obama will be in actuality taking a political hit from the slowing economy from increased oil prices, he’s also going to continue to be hit for “throwing Israel under the bus” even while taking the economic hit that comes with directly targeting the money supply of Iran.

Pretty funny, if you think about it.

I still don’t think it’s going to be enough to convince more Americans to vote for Romney than Obama, however.

The election is going to be literally a Wall Street Tycoon vs a Community Organizer.

Ask your average Tea Party member which one of those they support (using those labels), and do it while they are community organizing for even greater lulz.

A beautiful blonde, the CIA and America’s lies about Iraq

http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article7132341.ece

I hope that film can add its unique qualities to the journalistic record on this set of events, so that Americans can truly understand one of the most important, dramatic and personally intense intersections of principle and personalities in their own recent history — a history that is not behind us but that still comes home to us, wounded or maddened or accompanied by officials bearing a wrapped flag to loved ones, week after week after week.

Should be an interesting flick. The way the press attacked Wilson, while ignoring the data (or lack thereof) was shameful, and one of their worst failures in modern history.

UPDATE:  There is also an interesting aspect of the film, in that they actually get to explore what it was that Vallerie Plame was *doing* as CIA operative.  This isn’t something Plame can talk about, and hasn’t, and isn’t something the CIA will confirm or deny.  It is only in the creative world of cinematic reality that it can be explored.

And it should not be forgotten here, a man (well, a Scooter) got sentenced to prison for doing this.  Yes, I know, Bush commuted his sentence, but even Bush wouldn’t pardon the guy.  What they did was wrong, and it was done to silence critics and facts and sell a war of agression.

Impact and size of Gulf oil spill still in question

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gIXWYBTpLtSayJtg41LKXpxSxVPAD9FO17L00

Oil has been spewing since the rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20, killing 11 people and sinking two days later. The government shortly afterward estimated the spill at 210,000 gallons — or 5,000 barrels — a day, a figure that has since been questioned by some scientists who fear it could be far more. BP executives have stood by the estimate while acknowledging there’s no way to know for sure.

After seeing the video in the leak, which seemed to shooting out hundreds of gallons a second (200 gallons a second = 12000 gallons an hour = 288000/day), I’m less than confident in BP’s revised estimate (which was revised on day three or four). If they were off, we have to multiply the total by days since the explosion and the new estimates.

Considering the 5,000 feet the oil has to rise, and the natural tides of the Gulf, there seems to be some serious “iceberg” potential in this catastrophe (i.e. We can’t see 90% of the problem).

Finally, when cosidering this news item and your feelings re: BP, weigh the environmental impact of this event vs the environmental impact of all those commercials where BP was patting themselves on the back for being so “green”.

Clearing off the desktop…

…sometimes I fall behind.  So to catch up, I just dump a lot of stuff with short commentary and reboot the browsers so my computer can think again.

Here goes…

First up is an acknowledgement of the change to Arizona law.  This took away the worst of it, but I’d expect the rest to be bad enough to fall on its own.

Here’s some of the local reaction to the immigration law.  The march took place before the changes.

Some Fox revisionism.  Seriously, WTF.

The smoke monster gets lose in the gulf.

They caught some guy who doesn’t know how to make a good bomb.

Who did what now?  You don’t say.

Federal money is only *sometimes* evil.  How very Hindu of you

No need for that extra $130 for a 3G iPad.  $99 3G iPhone works fine.

Some speculation by a sci-fi guy about Jobs hatred of flash.

More on the immigration law change in Arizona.

Tattle tales!  How silly.   I say let people strip in the name on art, like that.  This’ll get tossed.

The global warming witchhunt continues in VA via the Cooch.

A good Street Fighter movie? Unpossible.  Possible…

It’s like a cliche now.

The Tea Party takes the Republicans to a new dimension, and beyond.

The alternate question about who “introduced” nukes to the Middle East.

Wonderful reading about the longest living organism(s).

Let’s Talk about Socialism (and the sub-text Totalitarianism)

Let’s Talk about Socialism (and the sub-text Totalitarianism)

Wow, where to start with this one.  I’ve been reading a lot, as per, regarding what used to be a debate about much needed health care reform in this country.  That debate has since devolved into mad, crazy fear-mongering and nutjobbery about the creeping tide of communism/fascism/LOUD NOISES coming to our country.

A quick stat for you: here’s a nice graph of all the companies that Obama has nationalized…

OMG! The Horror!

It should also be noted that of the nationalized business assets, the leaders of each corporation went to Washington D.C. and *begged* to be nationalized.  In no case that anyone has seen has Obama, nor anyone in his administration been aggressive in this regard.  We’ve even begun to see a profit on some of the money we invested.

To compare and contrast, take a look at Hugo Chavez. You’ll also note that in the case of Chavez, and every other historical power monger, they have had no fear of loudly declaring their intentions.

Sadly, to those of the crazed and dazed right of this country, it is in fact Obama’s lack of saying he wants pull any of this crap that means he really wants to.  I know, I know, that doesn’t make any sense to sane and rational people, but that’s where we are at nowadays.

One of the major fears that opponents of health care reform (and more the point, foes of Democrats in general, as that who is really driving the “debate”) is the generalized fear of government that all Americans now seem to hold near and dear.

This fear tends to be illustrated by the mantra, “what has government ever done right?”

When I hear this, I’m always reminded of a wonderful scene from a movie about a guy who wasn’t quite Jesus.

The argument here, however, isn’t that government is the end-all, be-all solution to all problems.  No one, outside of the Hugo Chavez’s of the world is making such an argument.  The point here is simply that while often inefficient and frustrating, it’s nice to have clean water, and go the store and buy clean meat, and turn on the TV and have clean signals, and the list go on for a while.

Back to the greater point, what about totalitarianism?  This is the actual fear that many Americans have, that an all powerful government will watch their every move, torture them, re-educate them, and the destroy their economy.

The really funny thing about contemporary Republicans (not to be confused with conservatives, who have largely been left out in the cold by the extremists) is that when this was actually happening, and the government was conducting warrantless wiretaps, torturing people, and destroying the economy by borrowing a trillion dollars to conduct a war sold on lies, there come from the right a defeanening silence, if not outright cheers.

Indeed, many decided that torture was all right for their safety, and warrantless wiretaps were needed for their safety, and invading countries that didn’t attack us was necessary for their safety.   Back then (all the way back in 2008) the President needed to have all these powers and this vast leeway in order to protect the United States of America.

It was terribly frustrating to make the argument at that point that no, we really shouldn’t be starting a two-front war when the first front is stalled, and no, we really shouldn’t be torturing people, and no, borrowing money to blow stuff up was a bad idea, as anyone who stood up to this trend was quickly branded a Godless Treasonous Anti-American.   I would politely (well, relatively politely) point out that whatever powers were handed or conceded to Bush, would by proxy be handed to the next President, which at the time looked to be another Clinton.

This would generally generate a moment of pause, and then the nationalistic ferver would again take over and the “Love it or Leave it” chants would come louder.

Now the shoe is on the other foot, and finally many can see how poorly it fits their conception of our nation.

So rather than deal with it, and work to get these policies revoked, they’ve instead decided that NOW it is UnAmerican to pay their taxes, and NOW it is UnAmerican to have their kids in school.   I will give Dick Cheney a bit of credit though for consistency though, he still thinks torture is awesome.  His only problem is that the Obama Administration isn’t learning the tactic and is, gasp, actually looking to prosecute some of the folks that did it.

Where can we go from here is the question that probably bugs me most.  We have an entrenched class of  nattering nabobs who have convinced nearly half of the Republican party that our President isn’t even really an American.

What can you say to the deluded that brings them back down to reality?   What can you do when evidence placed directly in front of their faces in ignored?  How can you convince those convinced they are fighting the next Hitler/Mao/Stalin to take a deep breath, relax, and use their right to vote in the next election, and actually trust in the very fiber of our Democracy and trust in the Constitution they profess to love so much?

I certainly don’t know the best answer to these questions, but luckily I can accept comments and suggestions as to the right path.  I know there is one, somewhere.

Perhaps I believe so because somewhere along the way, as I was protesting against the war, and the torture, and listened to those absolutely sure Bush would stage an attack to secure a third term, and then found them to be horribly mistaken, somewhere along that way I learned to breathe, and I learned to relax,.  And I remembered to vote for what I thought was right.

I learned that change can come.  Now that change is here, and the fear it brings came right along with it.

Paging Palin, Petroleum Pundit (Cap’n Trade Dissection)

To catch you up *real* quick, I’ve been away and Sarah Palin quit as Governor of Alaska.

A number of other big things have happened since I last wrote, and we’ll be addressing a number of those in short order, but as I like to talk a bit about policy and big things from time to time, let’s focus on Cap’n Trade and the newly minted petroleum pundit, Sarah Palin.

There was, to be sure, a good bit of discussion on the future of the former Miss Alaska, and it seems she has put those questions to action in the form of this op-ed piece in the Washington Post.   As I’ll be using that for the dissection and discussion, a quick read would be useful.

Her op-ed piece is about this piece of legislation (H.R. 2494) which would be the first legislation to seriously address the issue of global climate change, and set the U.S. on a road to a 21st century energy infrastructure.  As the bill itself bills itself…

To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.

The bill has passed the House, in a major victory for Obama, and is now on the way to a filibuster-proof Senate (Hahaha!, Al Franken is a Senator).   I, for one, am happy about this, as I see global warming and energy issues in the 21st century (including things like peak oil) as one of the central issues facing our nation and the world.

Global industrialization also poses its own risks, particularly in the environmental arena, as 2,000,000,000 plus people are brought into the present within a couple generations of real time.

Now, just to be clear, this legislation is mainly addressing the issue of climate change.  It is addressing the idea that we can’t continue to pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as if it has no effect.  We know it has an effect, we have been measuring it, and it is something that simply must be addressed.  That’s what this legislation represents, a solution to that problem.

Since talking directly about legislation and the specifics therein is boring and mostly left to legislators, I’m going to go along with Palin’s lead and go for the more emotional aspects of the argument.

Which brings us directly to Palin’s petroleum punditry.   She kicks it off with a bang, which is a great way to start…. (and BTW, I use Palin because she makes a great foil to illustrate the idiocy of certain ideas, and she’s cute, which helps)

There is no shortage of threats to our economy. America’s unemployment rate recently hit its highest mark in more than 25 years and is expected to continue climbing.

Indeed, and we have some particularly bad leadership to thank for that.

Our nation’s debt is unsustainable, and the federal government’s reach into the private sector is unprecedented.

Indeed, the Patriot Act, borrowing money to go to war, and the warrant-less wiretaps championed by the previous administration were assaults on our liberty and future that should not be tolerated.  I, too, am calling on the Obama Administration to begin full investigations and prosecutions, if necessary.

But first things first, let’s settle some personal scores….

Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges.

Indeed.

So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind and where my focus will be:

I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy.

And this is where we lose her.   See, you’ll note in the rest of the essay, she spends nary a sentence on the reason the legislation exists in the first place, (“reduce global warming pol.   This is fairly similar to writing an essay on why you support the death penalty, when you’ve been given evidence that a particular inmate is innocent and scheduled to be executed at midnight…and you’re the governor.

Ummm, governor?  You have the evidence in front of you, yea, I know you love the death penalty, but this guy is innocent.

Which is to say, we have ample evidence that a real and abundant threat to our economy already exists in the form of global climate change, and this legislation is meant to begin to deal with it.

American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy. Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security. Consequently, many of us in this huge, energy-rich state recognize that the president’s cap-and-trade energy tax would adversely affect every aspect of the U.S. economy.

This is where, for those not knowing the context of discussion, one might be inclined to agree with the former Mayor of Wasilla (meth capital of Alaska).  After all, who doesn’t like prosperity.   What does this have to do with global warming?  Nothing.  Well, outside the fact that abundant, cheap energy has contributed greatly to the problem.

The entire concept of a cap AND TRADE system is to allow the market to apportion costs more efficiently.  The fact is that by spewing huge amounts of pollutants into the air, the energy-rich are dumping a standard waste product into the air we all breathe (and the one that moderates and regulates our planet).  This cost is the one being addressed through the cap and trade system.

Palin’s argument is that there is no cost here, and the solution is to burn more, faster.

We must move in a new direction. We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil. Just as important, we have more desire and ability to protect the environment than any foreign nation from which we purchase energy today.

Of course, Alaska is not the sole source of American energy. Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source. Westerners literally sit on mountains of oil and gas, and every state can consider the possibility of nuclear energy.

This is what really gets me about this part of the essay.  She mentions “more desire and ability to protect the environment” but doesn’t mention THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE LEGISLATION.

She then does it again a moment later.

We have an important choice to make. Do we want to control our energy supply and its environmental impact?

YES, DANGIT!  That’s the whole point of leading the world on this issue.   That’s the whole point of coming up with a compromise, where we set both limits and allow market forces to provide incentives to create innovative solutions.  That’s the “Trade” part of the cap and trade system.

And with what can only be called a rhetorical flourish, Palin finishes with some plagiarism and a bit of find and replace argumentation.

Yes, we can. Just not with Barack Obama’s energy cap-and-tax plan.

Ha!  See, that’s why she doesn’t get it.  She doesn’t understand what “trade” means.  Nor, does she offer any particular insight into the actual problem the legislation is addressing.

Can someone please put that on her tutoring schedule?

Original and real name here

A Bit or Twenty About My Political Views

[this is an excerpt from a private conversation with a friend, who wish to remail anonymous, I think]

This is a much more civilzed conversation, but I really do prefer to have these conversations in public, as, you know…I’m a struggling writer. Really struggling.

To summarize…I’m not a Democrat and don’t follow their agenda. I saw Obama admitted a mistake with Dashle, which is why I like Obama. Bush couldn’t think of a mistake he made after four years…which was a sad joke.

I think both Cavuto and Olbermann are loud mouthed windbags who treat politics like college football. Cavuto is damn near retarded and Olbermann is a pompous windbag.

I enjoy watching and responding to, the Sunday morning talkers. NPR is one of the better sources of info. I usually scan Google News, which is run by an AI and then research from there to do my writing.

I don’t think News and Opinion should be mixed, which is why I think Fox, MSNBC, CNN, etc. are a joke. Cronkite could say more with the raise of an eyebrow than most of these modern schlubs can say with a ten minute rant. All of them are first and foremost a BUSINESS and in the media game to make money. They are not after Truth, at all, they go after ratings, which is why they suck.

I blame Bush and Cheney for making a series of huge strategic blunders that pushed our country to bankruptcy. That was the goal of AQ, BTW, to bankrupt the country. It worked. Bush is an anti-intellectual fool who picked party over principle again and again and again. He picked image over substance and should be in jail for endorsing and pushing torture.

Morals are still important. 9/11 didn’t change that. We’ve killed tens, if not hundred of thousands of innocent people in response. That, I feel, is very immoral.

I’m against torture because I have friends in the military. I also believe in the Golden Rule, as it has been “discovered” by every major religion on the planet. If one endorses torture for others, they endorse it for their friends. I don’t want anyone tortured and think there are much better ways to get information. Study how we “interrogated” German and Japanese Generals during WWII for some good examples.

I can, and have, sat down with people, been honest with them, and have had them telling me their secrets in under 20 minutes. Torture only makes people tell their torturers what the tortoree thinks their torturers want to hear. It’s not a good avenue to get at the truth. It’s torture, and it’s wrong. No matter who does it. Jack Bauer is a fictional character and a number of lecturers at the U.S. War College had to make a public statement about it, because of bunch of keyboard commandos think we should torture more people.

It won’t work, and you also might want to read up on the Japanese we executed for war crimes after they water-boarded Americans. It’s just not right. We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one.

As Martin Luther King said, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” He got assassinated for that view.

I’m not a big fan of Clinton. He sold his soul to be President. Watch, or read “Primary Colors” to see how that worked.

I’m currently reading McClellen’s book on Bush, and consider it to be one of the more accurate readings on what went on in that White House.

I’ve also read two of Obama’s books, and consider him to be a very intelligent, very well read, and very good leader. I don’t agree with the Limbaughian traitorous stance that seems to be dominating the GOP. I also think “Joe the Plumber” is a tard and have written extensively about him.

I’m curious about your view of Islam, which I have a great deal of respect for, and am also critical of in my book.

BTW, would you like to buy a book? I hate to give my writings aways for free to people, as I believe them to have real value. I am an independent thinker, and wish to stay that way.

Regardless, I hope this finds you well. And I VERY MUCH appreciate the more respectful tone this conversation now has.

Peace,
-Roy