Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Climate Denialism: A Future Crime

By Steve Hynd

TP Green notes that Mitt Romney is climbing aboard the denialist crazy train in his search for GOP primary votes, attacking Gingrich in a public email for appearing in a 2008 ad for Al Gore's climate campaign.

Romney�s campaign spokesman Ryan Williams bashed Gingrich as being part of the �Soros agenda� for the advertisement:

"It is interesting to see the latest attack from Speaker Gingrich and his disintegrating campaign. Unlike Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney never sat next to Nancy Pelosi in an ad funded by George Soros on behalf of Al Gore�s global warming initiative. As recently as 2008, the Soros agenda had no better friend than Newt Gingrich. Nice try, Mr. Speaker."

For most of the world, anthropogenic climate change is settled science. We get that putting more energy into the system (a.k.a global warming) means not just an overall temperature rise but also vastly more energetic and unpredicatble weather systems leading to things like unusual cold spells and snowfalls in Winter, or to stronger tonadoes and heavier flooding in areas where such already occur. The evidence is overwhelming and the notion that climate change is some Soros-created conspiracy is just crazy. Anyone who believes otherwise has a reality-map which is so divergent from what is actually happening as to fulfil the primary requirement for a psychosis: a thought disorder in which reality testing is grossly impaired.

But the Republican Party has been bought and paid for by the Energy lobby; the Kochs and Halliburton, Exxon and the rest. Scientific shills for hire take to the pages of rightwing newspapers to push the Energy lobby's agenda and that filters down to the Republican rank-and-file as a gospel teaching to which purity tests apply. Both Romney and Gingrich, along with others in their party like McCain in 2008, have had to shift their public stances on climate change to a full-on denialism under the sway of this psychosis.

I'd understand if the GOP's position was that anthropogenic climate change was real, was happening, but that it was economically unviable to try to halt its progression. I'd disagree but at least it'd be a logically consistent position and the GOP could join the rest of us in talking about how we handle the effects of that change. Instead, their denialist intransigence is shaping up to become the greatest crime against humanity the Republicans have ever backed - and I include Iraq, their many bigotries and their "I'm alright, Jack" economic support for the 1% against the 99% in that statement. If they won't admit there's a cause, they cannot begin to formulate policies to deal with the problems.

Analyst Jack Whipple puts it succinctly:

"Taken together, the decline and eventual near cessation of fossil fuel production and that of many other minerals, disruption in global weather patterns, and the growing food and water scarcity will constitute the third great transition. Unlike the previous transitions in which life arguably got better for some, if not most, of the world's peoples, any upside to this transition seems to pale in the face of what is to come."

While a 2007 report by the centrist think-tank CNAS was rather more explicit:

In the case of severe climate change, corresponding to an average increase in global temperature of 2.6�C by 2040, massive nonlinear events in the global environment give rise to massive nonlinear societal events. In this scenario...nations around the world will be overwhelmed by the scale of change and pernicious challenges, such as pandemic disease. The internal cohesion of nations will be under great stress, including in the United States, both as a result of a dramatic rise in migration and changes in agricultural patterns and water availability. The flooding of coastal communities around the world, especially in the Netherlands, the United States, South Asia, and China, has the potential to challenge regional and even national identities. Armed conflict between nations over resources, such as the Nile and its tributaries, is likely and nuclear war is possible. The social consequences range from increased religious fervor to outright chaos. In this scenario, climate change provokes a permanent shift in the relationship of humankind to nature.

The tipping point for that 2.6�C radical change has already been reached.

As TP Green's Brad Johnson noted last year:

The Republican Party is doing its utmost to cripple our nation�s ability to prepare for and respond to climate disasters. At Majority Leader Eric Cantor�s behest, House GOP slashed clean energy investments to pay for emergency disaster relief following the Joplin and Tuscaloosa tornadoes. They cut the DHS disaster preparedness budget, including firefighter funding, in half (after Democrats raised an outcry, some firefighter grants were restored). They have blocked funding for the NOAA Climate Service, and slashed money for critical weather satellites. In states throughout the nation, conservatives are gutting clean-energy programs and attacking climate science, while local emergency services budgets are stripped to the bone.

With the security of our homeland under the clear and present threat of global warming, conservatives are choosing to cripple our defenses, simply to serve the obscene profits of climate polluters.

Climate change is the big anvil-to-be around the GOP's neck. In decades to come, their denialism for so many years will wreck their claims to be the strong party on national security, as it becomes clearer that their intransigence (and being in hock to the energy lobby) for nearly a decade in power under Bush left the US lagging behind others in facing up to the security challenges climate change entails. Mitt and the other GOP frontrunners want to repeat that crime of ommission for another term or two. Meanwhile, many people will die and others will live miserable lives. Their denialism constitutes a crime against humanity "in waiting".

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