Free Markets, Free People
Yes, yes, we were assured that the “climate change” portion of any energy bill was dead in this Congress. More popularly known as the “cap-and-trade” portion of such a bill, we were assured by Democratic leaders that it just wasn’t something that was possible or probable during this session of Congress.
Well, like most things they tell us, don’t ever believe anything:
Carol Browner, the White House’s top energy and environmental adviser, refused on Sunday to shut the door on passing climate change legislation this year — even though Senate Democratic leaders have conceded they lack the votes and have punted on the volatile issue.
Browner said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" that President Barack Obama is still committed to pushing the bill through the Senate, and that there was "potential" for the bill to come up in a post-election, lame-duck session of Congress.
Browner’s remarks will almost certainly give ammunition to Republicans who say Democrats are plotting to do mischief in a lame-duck session — even though top congressional Democrats have thrown cold water on an overly ambitious lame-duck agenda.
Agenda politics is agenda politics and the power shifts to the loser with a majority if in fact Democrats get drubbed in November. I mean, what do they have to lose at that point. So it will truly become more about agenda and party (and not what is best for America) – even more so than it is now.
Never, ever, ever think or believe the left is done with something they want badly. Ever. Even though the economics of an additional tax on energy at the height of a recession is absolutely the dumbest thing one can imagine doing, that won’t deter the ideologues from their agenda.
By the way, the EPA is attempting to do by fiat and interpretive regulation what the Congress hasn’t yet been able to do by law. And, God bless ‘em, Texas has told them to go pound sand.
The Senate just pulled the plug on including cap-and-trade, even on a limited basis (only utilities). Any energy bill will be a scaled back version not including climate change legislation.
Senate Democrats pulled the plug on climate legislation Thursday, pushing the issue off into an uncertain future ahead of midterm elections where President Barack Obama’s party is girding for a drubbing.
Rather than a long-awaited measure capping greenhouse gases — or even a more limited bill directed only at electric utilities — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will move forward next week on a bipartisan energy-only bill that responds to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and contains other more popular energy items.
And, if the “drubbing” comes through – as it should – the possibility of that window opening again any time soon is poor.
But that doesn’t mean the Dems won’t at some point attempt it again – whether supported by the people or science.
I mean, look how many times they took a run at health care.
Cap-and-trade is on life support. Or so says Politico, and, frankly, the clock. With the August recess rapidly approaching and no bill yet on the floor of the Senate, it appears that the Senate won’t be passing an “Energy and Climate” bill this session.
That’s mostly because of the cap-and-trade provisions and the greenhouse emissions portion of the bill. Because of those provisions, the necessary Republican votes simply aren’t there. The bill, sponsored by John Kerry and Joe Lieberman, is scaled back from the original intent to have cap-and-trade apply to a broader sector of industry to only the energy industry.
As you might imagine, that industry isn’t at all pleased with the focus solely on them. Lieberman and Kerry haven’t yet convinced them to sign on to the bill nor have they found the sweetners which would entice them.
Meanwhile, apparently some of the Republicans in the Senate have made it clear that this rush through of major legislation shouldn’t happen:
“He’s waiting until we have, like, two or three days to tackle a subject that usually takes seven or eight weeks,” GOP Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander said of Reid. “That makes it very difficult.”
“Can I be very candid with you?” Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) asked. “This whole thing is very cynical. Anybody who’s been in the Senate for any period of time knows there’s no way — no way — an energy bill can get done between now and the election or even now and the end of the year.”
The “he” referred too in the quote is, of course, Senate Majority leader Reid. And apparently – at least it seems so now – the “we’ve got to rush this through” ploy is not going to carry the day.
Some Senators think that Reid should take the cap-and-trade provisions out of the bill:
“If they’re serious about bringing it up next week, they’ve got to show it soon,” said Bill Wicker, spokesman for Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.). “You can’t release it late Friday and expect people to read it and be prepared to debate it on Monday.”
But of course, Reid and the Democrats have never really cared one whit about debate or, in fact, anyone having the chance to read anything. Witness the health care fiasco and even the financial regulation bill. Both over 2,500 pages and what passed for “debate” was a farce.
Lieberman still hopes that the Senate will deal with the bill – even in a lame duck session. Calling them “big and important issues regarding energy independence, pollution reduction, job creation”, he hopes the Senate won’t be constrained by some “artificial schedule.” But time doesn’t stand still for anyone and reality is reality. The possibility that this will pass this session isn’t at all good – and that’s good.
Says one source:
A former Senate Democratic aide said climate advocates need to start gearing up for 2011, which will require a big push from Obama, Democratic control of the House and support from Senate Republicans to have any chance of success. “The window is definitely almost shut, and if it closes without action in the next few weeks, a lot of advocates will need to take stock about when this could be realistically attempted again,” the former staffer said.
When can it realistically be attempted again? In it’s present form not until the Democrats again have an overwhelming majority in the Senate. And that, hopefully, won’t be for decades if at all.
In a version with cap-and-trade stripped out of it? My guess would be something heavily influenced by the GOP will pass in the next Congress (and that should be, relatively speaking, “a good thing”).
And that message: is if your political opponents are in a hole of their own making, don’t throw them a rope.
That’s precisely what Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was in the middle of doing prior to this past week. He was the lone Republican Senator working on the “climate” bill with Senators John Kerry (D-VN) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT). Additionally, he was also the only Republican Senator working on immigration.
This past weekend, Graham pulled out of the cap-and-trade “climate” bill, leaving it in doubt – although word now has it that it was Harry Reid (D-Desperate) who decided it must wait for immigration. That would actually make sense since it is Harry Reid who is in re-election trouble in a state with a large Hispanic population who’ve complained Democrats haven’t done anything with immigration.
Graham seems to have finally awakened to the fact that he has an opportunity to slow both cap-and-trade and immigration down and hobble the administration’s agenda in this Congress. Today he made it clear that immigration was off the table, as far as he was concerned, for this year – if not next:
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the sole Republican working on a bill to legalize illegal immigrants, in effect put the bill on the shelf on Tuesday, saying that a debate now would destroy any prospects for passage and that the issue needs to wait until 2012.
The remarks likely signal the end of any serious chance for broad immigration legislation to pass this year, since Mr. Graham, South Carolina Republican, was the best hope for a partnership with President Obama and Democrats who want to write a bill.
Unlike the cap-and-trade bill, there has been no immigration bill yet written. So, given the process, even given priority, legislation would take months and months before passage. Graham was the forlorn hope of Reid and the Democrats on immigration. He effectively slammed that door in Reid’s face yesterday. And he’s playing some smart politics in how he’s framing his decision. He’s tapping into that latent anger within much of the country about the refusal of the federal government to secure the borders.
“It is impossible for me and any other serious Democrat to get this body to move forward until we prove to the American people we can secure our borders,” Mr. Graham told Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who was testifying at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
“I believe we can do it by 2012 if we’re smart,” he said.
Ms. Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona, disagreed with Mr. Graham’s evaluation of border security. She said she knows the southwest border as well as anyone and, by every measure Congress has laid out, the border is more secure: Fewer illegal immigrants are being apprehended, and more fencing and infrastructure have been deployed.
But under close questioning by Mr. Graham, Ms. Napolitano could not say whether she would declare the border secure if she were still the governor of Arizona. She called it an “unfair question.”
“It is a fair question, and I’ll give you my answer: I don’t think it is,” Mr. Graham said. “I think since the last effort to solve immigration the border situation has deteriorated.”
Popular position that plays well to the Tea Partiers and again points to ineffective government. Essentially, in one week, Graham has made the completion of the Democratic/Obama agenda much, much more difficult – if not impossible – during this session of Congress.
There is no one out there that won’t agree that government has gotten us into a debt-ridden fiscal mess. Note I said government, meaning both Republicans and Democrats. And now, on a spending binge from hell, we’re starting to see how this particular administration plans to address the growing concern over the debt. Given some choices -cut spending, cut the size and cost of government or increase taxes – it appears it will choose the taxation route. And Paul Volker is just one of many who will be making the case. Reuters reports:
The United States should consider raising taxes to help bring deficits under control and may need to consider a European-style value-added tax, White House adviser Paul Volcker said on Tuesday.
Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax “was not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.
Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes,” he said.
Should we? Or should we approach it from a different direction – such as the first two choices. But the expansion of government is an ideological choice of the party in power. Don’t believe it, check out this article about hiring. The government is seeking to add 193,000 new jobs in the next two years. So, uh, it’s up to you to pay off the deficit and get those entitlement costs under control. And, of course, notice that Volker points to both a VAT and a tax like cap-and-trade as “necessary”. Note too that neither tax is a direct income tax although both would directly and expensively impact income of all consumers by making virtually everything cost more. However, the charade of “95% of you won’t see your taxes go up by a dime” will be maintained.
What voters need to do this November is make the Congressional races about the difference between the choices I’ve laid out. And, unlike Volker’s conjecture, we need to make the VAT and cap-and-trade as electorally toxic as possible to those that support them while rewarding those who take the alternative approach. There is no reason that increasing taxes should or must be the only solution to the unchecked profligacy of government. Perhaps, instead, it is time to limit government’s ability to spend us into oblivion and put the people in office who can start that process rolling.
Another brick falls from the crumbling facade of “climate science” in support of AGW:
E-mail messages obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that NASA concluded that its own climate findings were inferior to those maintained by both the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) — the scandalized source of the leaked Climate-gate e-mails — and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climatic Data Center.
The e-mails from 2007 reveal that when a USA Today reporter asked if NASA’s data “was more accurate” than other climate-change data sets, NASA’s Dr. Reto A. Ruedy replied with an unequivocal no. He said “the National Climatic Data Center’s procedure of only using the best stations is more accurate,” admitting that some of his own procedures led to less accurate readings.
“My recommendation to you is to continue using NCDC’s data for the U.S. means and [East Anglia] data for the global means,” Ruedy told the reporter.
And we all know the story about East Anglia’s CRU data. That’s a pretty damning admission by NASA. I think it should be fairly clear to anyone who isn’t a warmist zealot that there are multiple documented reasons to now doubt the “science” that supports the claim – and that’s all it is at this point, having never really been peer reviewed – that the globe is warming and man is the reason. The usual disclaimer is in order – the globe may very well be warming but it may just as easily be the result of natural cycles than man. And NASA and CRU do the AGW side no favors with their admittedly inaccurate and fudged data sets. NASA, at least, seems to understand the problem:
In an updated analysis of the surface temperature data released on March 19, NASA adjusted the raw temperature station data to account for inaccurate readings caused by heat-absorbing paved surfaces and buildings in a slightly different way. NASA determines which stations are urban with nighttime satellite photos, looking for stations near light sources as seen from space.
Of course, this doesn’t solve problems with NASA’s data, as the newest paper admits: “Much higher resolution would be needed to check for local problems with the placement of thermometers relative to possible building obstructions,” a problem repeatedly underscored by meteorologist Anthony Watts on his SurfaceStations.org Web site. Last month, Watts told FoxNews.com that “90 percent of them don’t meet [the government's] old, simple rule called the ’100-foot rule’ for keeping thermometers 100 feet or more from biasing influence. Ninety percent of them failed that, and we’ve got documentation.”
In other related news, IPCC chief and railroad engineer Rajendra Pachauri has refused to resign, but is saying he plans to change his behavior:
He admitted it had been a mistake to give the impression, in many interviews, that he was advocating specific actions to cut emissions. Last year, he called for higher taxes on aviation and motoring, said people should eat less meat, and proposed that hotel rooms should have electricity meters to charge people extra for using air conditioning.
Speaking in London yesterday, he said he would focus in future on presenting the science on climate change rather than advocating policies.
“I will try to clarify that I’m not prescribing anything as a solution. Maybe I should be more careful [in media interviews] in laying down certain riders. One learns from that and I’m learning.”
Of course it is the “science” that is under fire and the IPCC report has been found to contain claims from non-scientific articles which were presented as science. Glacier melting and rainforest destruction claims both were found to be unsubstantiated scientifically. As noted above Pachauri has claimed people should eat less meat to lessen man’s effect on the climate. That too has been called into question:
In a presentation before the 239th national meeting of the American Chemical Society, Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California said the misleading claims emanate from a 2006 U.N. report, which said that livestock was “responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions,” describing the figure as “a larger share than transportation.”
According to Mitloehner, the claim is inaccurate because the numbers for livestock were calculated differently from the transport figures.
In the report, the livestock emissions included gases produced by growing animal feed; animals’ digestive emissions; and processing meat and milk into foods. But the transportation analysis factored in only emissions from fossil fuels burned while driving, and not all other transport-lifecycle related factors.
“This lopsided analysis is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue,” he said.
“We certainly can reduce our greenhouse gas production, but not by consuming less meat and milk,’ he told the American Chemical Society meeting in San Francisco yesterday, reported The Daily Mail.
All of this has certainly had an effect. For instance, look at Germany:
Germans citizens are rapidly losing faith in global warming following the Climate-gate scandals, according to a new report in Der Spiegel.
The report indicates that just 42 percent of Germans are worried about global warming, down substantially from the 62 percent that expressed concern with the state of the environment in 2006.
German news site The Local analyzed the results from the poll, conducted by polling company Infratest for the German newsmagazine. Many people have little faith in the information and prognosis of climate researchers, The Local explained, with a third questioned in the survey not giving them much credence.
This is thought to be largely due to mistakes and exaggerations recently discovered in a report of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the site.
Of course the last to understand how shoddy the science is seems to be our politicians.
Today, the President gives a speech on energy issues, focusing on expanded offshore oil and gas drilling, which has broad backing as one way to boost domestic energy production.
This is all part of an effort by the White House to stir more support for the work of three Senators, John Kerry (D-MA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Lindsay Graham (R-SC), who have been trying to put together what might best be described as a “grand compromise” on energy issues.
The reason that a different legislative plan of action was needed on energy was because the original drive for a Cap and Trade bill simply isn’t going anywhere in the Senate.
If President Obama is going to get an energy bill through the Congress, then it will have to be something that allows for more offshore energy exploration, more nuclear energy initiatives, and also some efforts to clamp down on carbon emissions that produce greenhouse gases.
You could call it Cap and Trade Lite, framed as an energy bill.
Of course, the off-shore drilling expansion is an attempt to draw that 60th vote from among Republicans (not that this administration wouldn’t slow walk any execution of that expansion as they’re doing now in the interior of the US). And, of course, there’s Lindsey Graham to oblige. The good news is a few Democrats are adamantly against such an expansion. So, for the wrong reason, they might end up blocking it. But here’s the point – if the bill passes, cap-and-trade, even just applicable to utilities, is in place. It’s expansion, then, is much easier.
And based on what? The garbage science produced by those above – “science” that is constantly being questioned and disproved. Do you suppose if the Democrats ram this bill through (as they did health care) in the face of this growing proof of the questionable science (and it becomes clear that utilities will raise their prices to offset the tax) even while more and more of the public becomes aware of that questionable science (see Germany), that it will be any more popular a bill than HCR?
As I mentioned on the podcast last night, I’ve quit looking at how Democrats or Republicans react to a particular poll. Their reactions are all too predictable. If the Dems are for something by 86%, the Reps will be against it by 90%. Nothing to learn there. Nope, I pretty much zero in on how the independents feel about a particular issue to try to figure out who has the most support. And as I’ve mentioned, more and more the independents seem to be siding with the GOP. That’s not good news for the Dems, no matter what Chuck Schumer thinks.
That brings us to another key to electoral success. Key demographics. We heard so much made of the “young vote” in 2008. They were a key because they actually turned out for once and voted mostly Democratic. One of the most coveted demographics, however, is that of the elderly – over 65. That’s because they always vote.
So, with that given, let’s take this poll if FL as an example of what’s happening out there. Yes, it’s a temperature check of the citizens of that state at this time. We all recognize it can change. With that disclaimer out of the way, the usefulness of this poll is found in the information about how independents view recent events. It also contains info on the key elderly demographic. For objective observers there are no real surprises.
Florida voters dislike the new healthcare law so much that President Barack Obama and the state’s top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, are paying a hefty political price, according to a new survey and analysis by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research.
Only 34 percent of Florida voters support the new law while 54 percent are against it, according to the poll. Opposition is significantly strong among two crucial blocs: those older than 65 and voters with no party affiliation. Seniors disfavor the bill by a 65-25 percent margin, while independents oppose the law 62-34.
The poll, conducted last week, is the first to be taken in Florida since Obama signed the healthcare reform bill into law.
If you’re wondering why the president continues to try to sell this thing and why Nancy Pelosi has told Democrats headed out on Easter recess to do the same, this Florida poll gives you a nice indicator. Independents as a whole oppose the bill almost 2 to 1 and elderly independents show the same level of opposition. It certainly doesn’t appear that the president’s umpteen speeches or the assurances of Congress that this bill is wonderful have met with much success. Apparently only the Dems bought into the Bill Clinton assurance that everyone would love them once they passed that law.
Why they think that’s going to change if they just push a little harder, especially with the corporate write-downs in the news, is beyond me (and why is Henry Waxman keeping those write-downs in the news with hearings?).
A couple of other results from the poll to mull:
It shows that Floridians have a more negative than positive view of Obama by a margin of 15 percentage points. And they oppose his so-called “cap-and-trade” global warming legislation as well as the new healthcare law.
Why are FL voters opposed to cap-and-trade?
Only 35 percent believe global warming is proved, while 57 percent say it isn’t an established fact. By a 34-50 percent spread, voters oppose the cap-and-trade legislation. And five times as many voters believe it will raise the cost of fuel.
And I have to say I believe the majority to be correct on all counts.
This has had an effect on the numbers for Democratic Senator Bill Nelson as well. His approval rating has dropped a significant 18 points. His only saving grace is he has until 2012 before he must again run. The bad news may be he’ll be on the same ballot as Obama. As for his sudden unpopularity, this was the reaction of his spokesperson:
“If there’s a dip in the polls, it’s due to this inaccurate and unfair bashing for sticking up for these seniors,” McLaughlin said.
Of course it is – and they’re too dumb to know it, aren’t they Mr. McLaughlin? It is that persistent little thread that I see throughout the Democratic reaction (the dumb rubes are being hornswoggled by the slick Republican pitchmen) to bad poll numbers that indicates they’re still deceiving themselves. The old “it’s not the message, it’s the delivery” fantasy that Dems continue to believe.
In the meantime, the polls continue to tell the same tale, over and over and over again.
I’ve noted any number of times that government taxes comprise 14% of the national income and government spending is at 25% of the national income. That’s as high as its been since WWII I believe.
The point, of course is there are three obvious choices here – cut spending to the income level (and beyond, really, if you plan on paying off debt) or increase taxes to the spending level (and beyond, again, if you plan on paying off the debt) or a combination of both.
Watching this current administration, it appears option two is in the works. Lots of lip service about “unsustainable” spending, etc., but the only movement I’ve seen is legislation that increases that. And, also, plans to increase taxes.
Cap-and-trade, and now “Son of Cap-and-Trade” being sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham and John Kerry significantly raises taxes on utilities (which means everything will cost more for consumers).
Even the FCC is getting in the act, proposing to helpfully tax the internet – something all governments, state and local, have wanted to do for some time. Presently 18 states have laws taxing sales on the ‘net. The feds want to make it 50 (or 57 in Obama’s America) plus a little for Uncle Sugar. The purported reason for such a tax is to “expand internet access”. As Kelly Cobb wonders, how in the world do raising taxes and thus the cost of access help expand access. In answer I offer the one word coda of this administration: redistribution.
The point of this post is to raise awareness that we are too the place where it is critical that the two numbers I’ve cited at the beginning of the post begin to move toward each other, not further away. It appears to me that the decision has been made by this administration to move the smaller number toward the larger number via taxation. In other words, your priorities for your income will be secondary to their desire to cover for their inept and inefficient profligacy. And the profligacy has been committed by both parties.
It is far past time for these people who’ve committed us to this disastrous path to have their priorities reordered. It is high time that their first priority become cuts in spending to bring that in line with their income. Until and unless they begin that onerous and necessary job, nothing will change. The “crisis” they’ve created will remain. I don’t care who did it, what was “inherited” or why we’re in this shape. That’s history. Now is the time to do something about it before it’s too freakin’ late. And taxing everything that moves isn’t the solution I’m talking about.
This is one of the major reasons the Tea Parties exist, for heaven sake – and any politician who isn’t yet figuring this out deserves to join the unemployment line in November. Hopefully the anger that is driving the protests won’t abate before November (or after November for that matter) and put people in Congress (and later the White House) who understand and act on the new priority.
Until then, hold on to your wallet, because the taxes are coming and they’re going to be coming hard.