Clean Energy Advances Despite Washington’s Worst Efforts

Tea Party leaders like to paint clean energy and climate action as issues that matter only to elite Democrats living in coastal cities. This claim would come as a surprise to the 38,000 autoworkers building fuel efficient cars in Michigan, the 80 companies involved in the wind supply chain in Iowa, and the more than 100,000 Americans working in the solar industry across the nation.

But even if the Tea Party isn’t interested in genuine opportunities for job growth, it can’t ignore where the latest climate action is coming from: Texas and GOP statesmen.

Both are wellsprings of conservative values, and when Texas residents and Republican elders start talking about clean energy and global warming, it’s time for moderate lawmakers to listen.

As of October 1st, Austin, Texas became the largest city in the nation to rely entirely on renewable energy to power all of its facilities. The city of Houston still purchases a larger amount of renewable energy, but Austin leads the way in meeting all of its energy needs from clean sources. City officials said they pushed for these changes because they wanted to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality for residents.

Governor Perry may still live in Denialville, but the rest of Texas has joined the global community. The state is converting its West Texas wind into power and money, and it now gets 8 percent of electricity from renewable sources. As Van Jones says: that’s not hippy energy, that’s cowboy energy. And it reflects rangeland values of independence, resourcefulness, and putting a resource to use instead of wasting it.

A growing number of luminaries in the Republican Party share those values. Earlier this week, the National Journal reported on a quiet campaign among elder GOP statesmen to call for climate action.

John Warner, the former Virginia senator and former Secretary of the Navy, is a senior advisor for the Pew Project on National Security, Energy, and Climate Change and he has been speaking at military bases to draw attention to the security threat posed by climate change and oil dependence.

George Shultz, President Reagan’s Secretary of State and an advisor on President George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign, is also a member of Pew’s climate project. Shultz says Republicans can no longer ignore evidence coming from places like the ice cap in the Arctic. He says people like climate deniers like Perry are “entitled to their opinion, but they’re not entitled to the facts.”

Shultz wields a considerable amount of influence. Last year, when Texas oil companies funded California’s Proposition 23 to defeat the state’s global warming law, Shultz told the National Journal his response was: “We’re not just going to beat these guys, we’re going to beat the hell out of them. We conducted a vigorous campaign. It was a lot of fun.”

And it was wildly successful. Californians defeated Prop 23 by a ratio of 2 to 1. More people voted on Prop 23 than on anything else on the ballot, including the gubernatorial and Senate races, and even counties that backed Republican candidates shot down Prop 23.

Men like Shultz and Warner—along with Former Representative Bob Inglis (R-SC), Former Representative Sherry Boehlert (R-NY), and others—share the goal of making our nation strong, secure, and independent. They know the politicization of environmental issues is a recent phenomenon, and they are not afraid to say fighting climate change should be part of the Republican platform.

I admire these leaders; I only wish their campaign wasn’t so quiet. I want to see them on Meet the Press and Face the Nation. If they make their voices louder, they will help create the political space for Republican candidates to start confirming climate science and advocating climate action.

Right now, the Tea Party has the megaphone. People like Rick Perry are yelling that climate change doesn’t exist and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is shouting that Congress must dismantle the Clean Air Act and rob the EPA of its authority to set limits on carbon pollution. This would upend a law signed by President Nixon signed and strengthened by President George H.W. Bush. It would also endanger the health of millions of Americans.

This overheated rhetoric is pushing our nation into a more disrupted and more dangerous climate. We have to bring it back from the brink. I remember back in the 1980s, my mom watched infomercials in which Susan Powter would shout: Stop the Insanity.

Cities like Austin, Texas, and leaders like George Shultz and John Warner are adding much needed sanity to the climate debate. They remind us that protecting our nation from climate change and putting Americans to work in the clean energy sector are not elite, partisan issues. They are the building blocks of the 21st century.

GOP Not Eager To Help Hurricane Victims

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is arguing that any federal money used to help victims of Hurricane Irene must be offset by budget cuts elsewhere.

 

The high stakes in CA-36

Full Disclosure: I'm the media consultant and senior strategist for the Janice Hahn for Congress campaign.

Special elections usually attract a lot of attention. They're correctly seen as referendums on the direction of Congress; a chance between election cycles for people in one part of the country to send a clear message to those in power.

May's special election in New York-26 is a perfect example. Voters in the district overwhelmingly rejected the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. In a historically Republican district, voters backed Democrat Kathy Hochul and in so doing told John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan to take their hands off Medicare, which was a major issue throughout the campaign.

That message to Republicans was unmistakeable. So you would think that for maybe just a second after NY-26 Republicans recognized that Americans weren't going to re-elect people who sacrificed their healthcare to service a far right agenda. Unbelievably, that doesn't seem to be the case. As the Washington Post's Greg Sargent points out, Republicans are in "total denial" that their Medicare plan is deeply unpopular.

It's a good thing we have another chance on July 12 to make it clear how wrong Republicans are on Medicare.

In California-36, Democrat Janice Hahn is facing off against Republican Craig Huey. The stakes couldn't be higher. And yet, this race is not receiving nearly the attention it deserves. It's time to tune in to this campaign and stand up for Medicare. Millions of people across this country are counting on Democrats to defend it. This is your chance.

Craig Huey is running on an extreme agenda. As I wrote recently, Huey has a long record of shady business dealings including working with clients to market a ponzi scheme and targeting seniors with products that claimed to "cure" Alzheimer's disease. Huey got rich off these scams while taking hard-working Americans to the cleaners. So it should be no surprise that Huey supports a similar scheme to turn Medicare into a voucher program leaving seniors vulnerable to the skyrocketing costs of healthcare.

We simply cannot trust someone like Huey in Congress. Giving Huey and his extreme ideas a seat at the table in Washington will enable Republicans to continue down the path towards slashing Medicare.

The contrast between candidates in this race couldn't be more stark. Democrats have an experienced, practical and ethical alternative.

Janice Hahn has promised to protect Medicare while making smart cuts in Washington and investing in tomorrow's jobs. That's the type of leader we need right now. Someone with common sense solutions who is not beholden to an extreme political dogma. Someone who fights for hard-working people.

In four days, we have the chance to stand up to John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan. By sending Janice Hahn to Congress we can force the Republicans to face reality. They will have no choice but to see just how many people across this country are against their Medicare scheme. We can send Paul Ryan's plan into a tailspin on July 12.

Janice needs your help in the final days of this campaign. Donate. Spread the word. Volunteer if you're in Southern California.

The stakes couldn't be higher.

Eric Cantor: Whatever Happened to ‘Compassionate Conservatives’?

We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Wise words. Words that set the US apart from all other nations when written, but teetering dangerously close to losing their meaning today. The idea of shared beliefs that translate into shared pain and generosity do little to “promote the general Welfare” today. We’ve become a nation of skinflints and screamers whose idea of sharing is limited to how to get a 110% refund on our taxes while using services those taxes are designed to build and “promote (for) the general welfare”. We’ve become 311 million independent nationettes that use the few remaining examples of “the Blessings of Liberty” to ruin any trace of importance in the words, “we”, “common”, “ourselves”, or “our”.

My opponents often remind me that, in their opinion, I’m not one of “the people”. But since I escaped Michele Bachmann’s FEMA-run concentration camps and allowed myself to be counted – I like to think I’m citizen 311,382,611, with a valid long-form birth certificate and everything  – I believe I’m entitled to join the exclusive club of US citizens whether I believe health care, religious freedom, or speaking to your Muslim neighbors is the thing to do or not. So here’s my two cents worth:

I’m appalled at House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Obstructistan) demand that aid for families lashed by two of the worst tornado outbreaks on record must wait while Congress goes argues over whether oil company aid or health care should be cut to balance the budget.

This is not how a nation supposedly “ordained and established” as a “perfect union” behaves. It’s how a despot owned and operated country in the throes of the Arab Spring acts. And it is disgraceful.

Yes, we are a nation with big problems – problems partially caused by many of the same people who spent us into the hole and now trumpet no taxes uber alles I might add. We do need some government reorganization with more transparent accountability and proper authority. We do need to set spending priorities more in line with our “shared” needs. We do need to cut spending. All of that is inarguable. But should these victims of acts of nature be forced to sit in their heavily mortgaged piles of rubble” without the help of their 311 million neighbors, regardless if they live in the heartland of Tea Party fever and Cantorian nonsense?

I think not. Let’s come together to make this the American Spring before zealotry, hyper-partisanship, and incompetence violates our”established and ordained” prescription to “insure domestic tranquility”, before we become de facto members of the Arab Spring.

That is what “we the people” were “ordained” to do.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

 

 

Lawmakers Consider Alternative Plan to Break Budget Impasse

Washington – Details of a secret Congressional plan to break the long-standing deadlock in budget negotiations leaked out Thursday. US lawmakers are considering the use of an unorthodox method favored by the Kyrgyzstani Parliament – sacrificial sheep.

Although Kyrgyzstanis use it for banishing the twin devils of ethnic strife and revolution, Kyrgyzstani oil lobbyist Zhogorku Kenesh said the ritual could be redesigned for US budget purposes for as little as KGS 7 billion Kyrgyzstani som and an arranged lesbian marriage of President Obama’s eldest daughter Malia Ann Obama to Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbayeva.

The initial proposal, offered by Republicans, called for 6 sheep to be slaughtered and placed on a huge altar recently dedicated at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, CA. However, the proposal immediately met resistance from members of the Republican’s own Christian conservative wing.

“We’re not so bothered by the pagan ritual – after all, it’s for debt reduction and tax incentives for conservative Christian churches – but slaughtering 6 sheep is totally unacceptable,” said Bryan Fischer, Director of Issues Analysis for the American Family Association.

666, The Mark of The Beast
“The number 6 is an important, symbolic number for Christians. It constitutes one-third of the dangerous mark of the beast, 666. By allowing this number of the Muslim devils in this most unholiest of ways, we are inviting doom and total annihilation by one-third of the Islamic radical empire,” Fischer said.

In order to save the fledgling compromise, Sen. Harry Reed (D-Asslandia) stepped forward with a proposal to raise the number of sheep to be slaugtered to 7. However, Tea Party activists in the Republican caucus killed the idea.

The Partiers insist on cutting the sheep budget by 99% and the abolishment of President Obama’s signature health care bill. According to the Republican Institute of Financial Analysis, the sheep cut alone would erase the Federal deficit within 90 days. Republican officials described the Institute’s findings as, “very insightful”.

“We have to watch out for this sort of insidious attack on our freedoms,” said Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Moronohoma). “First we’ll be required to sacrifice sheep every evening before dinner and once lulled by the aroma of the devilish flesh, carted off to concentration camps operated by the socialist Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

Liberals were equally disappointed with the plan. Broadcaster Rachel Maddow, speaking on condition of anonymity on her news show, floated the idea that all sheep be supplied by local, humane farms that do not use hormones on their animals.

Maddow Touts Sacrificial Celery
“I’m vegetarian, so I’d prefer they sacrifice stalks of celery myself. However, I advocate bipartisanship with those asswipes over at the RNC,” she added. “Anything to make those skeevy bastards look bad.”

Further problems are expected from a Republican-sponsored rider to the bill. Called the “Rich People Are Better Than You Act”, it requires most of the leftover carcasses be distributed to the Top 0.999% of wage earners, along with a $356,000 tax credit just because.

Democrats object to the best meat going to the wealthy, wool-clad elite while only the offal, eyes, and tail are promised to the bottom taxpayers.

The Republican plan calls for middle-income families to pay a 37% tax on all orders of lamb chops or rack of lamb served at the haute Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. Democrats also expect Republicans to cut the entitlement after its passage and repossess the sheep parts when low-income families default on their orvis aries windfall. The low-income families will likely be taxed an Offal Abatement Fee of about 69% to cover the costs of removing the left over pig.

With the new proposal already on bumpy footing, Republican lawmakers have called for Newt Gingrich to mediate the ongoing disputes.

“Newt’s the perfect man for the job. Very fair. A very learned man. And, he’s a hell of a Republican,” said House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Sheep Sexingville, VA).

“Not partial in what so any way, except in his strong American belief in the truth,” Cantor added.

Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!

 

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