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Imagine if there was one single issue of such import and magnitude, and on which the Democrats were so clearly paradigmatically better than the Republicans, that it could by itself recast the entirety of our national political dynamic. Imagine if it were an issue about which the facts were so clear, and unlike so many political issues scientifically verifiable, that there was no legitimate debate, with the Democrats clearly accepting the reality of those facts and that science and the Republicans denying them. Imagine if that Republican denial was of such a degree that their behavior was not only stupid and dishonest but of grave and impending danger to the very nature of not only our economy but our society and culture as well. You would think that the Democrats would want to discuss that issue, wouldn't you? You would think that the Democrats would want impress those facts and that science over and over, at every opportunity, both to educate the public and to create perhaps an unprecedented electoral political dominance. You would think.

The reality is that there is such an issue, the Democrats are that much better on it and the Republicans that incomprehensibly bad, and yet the Democrats almost never talk about it, and in fact allow the facts and the science to be ignored, distorted and denied as if there is legitimate scientific debate, which there is not. It's baffling and infuriating. It's not only about the issue itself, which to any responsible observer takes primacy and precedence, but it's also about the politics; and even the most calculating politician ought at the very least to be passionately eager to take advantage of what could be such a uniquely powerful political advantage.

The issue is climate change, and the mere mention of it often causes even many elected Democrats and Democratic activists to cringe, sigh, or otherwise turn away and hide. But it shouldn't. To many it is a given that climate change is at best a political irrelevance, and at worst a political loser, and this includes many if not most Democrats who do understand the reality of the importance of the issue itself. But they don't know how to play it, politically. Or they are afraid to play it, politically. And thus do Democrats fail not only the issue but also their own political self-interest.

The facts and science of climate change are clear. In the scientific community there is no debate about the reality of climate change. Humans are causing it. The burning of fossil fuels is the primary means by which humans are causing it. The consequences will be of the most devastating magnitude, and while the scope of the complexity of those consequences is beyond our full understanding, what we do understand is that those consequences are happening faster, and are of even greater danger than had been anticipated.

The professional denialists, who are well-funded by the most cynical, cruel, and craven special interests, can always find some deliberately dishonest stooges who have some semblance of scientific credential to spread false propaganda, but that small number of fools and liars is but a tiny fractional minority among the thousands of scientists who do accept what now is as settled science as are the theories of gravity and relativity. And that that small number of fools and liars never manages to get their false propaganda published in peer-reviewed science journals, because whatever their alleged credentials to speak on this issue they are not in fact conducting scientific research on this issue. The weight of evidence in peer-reviewed literature is overwhelming. The people who do actually study climate science are in broad and deep consensus, and the only scientists who ever succeed in publishing anything even remotely contrary fill their own reports with numerous caveats about the holes in their own evidence. How deep and broad is the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change? The number of scientific societies that acknowledge the reality and danger of human-caused climate change includes:

National Academies of Sciences, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, American Association for the Advancement of Science, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), American Physical Society, American Geophysical Union, American Chemical Society, American Meteorological Society, Geological Society of America, American Institute of Biological Sciences, American Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant Biologists, American Statistical Association, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers, Botanical Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, Ecological Society of America, Natural Science Collections Alliance, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics, Society of Systematic Biologists, Soil Science Society of America, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Science Academies of the G8+5 (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa), European Academy of Sciences and Arts, Australian Institute of Physics, and International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics
Any seeming debate on the basic fact of the existence of human-caused climate change is wholly concocted by the professional denialists and their also witting stooges in the irresponsibly execrable traditional media. But the public is not fooled. The public already overwhelmingly supports responsible action on climate change, which means that the public already understands the reality that the Republicans so assiduously deny. In other words, although making climate change an issue of primary importance to the widespread public won't be easy, the widespread public already has taken the first steps, all on its collective own.

Some leading climate activists were astounded in disappointment that the president did not specifically mention climate change in his Earth Day 2012 proclamation, but there was better news just days later, in the president's Rolling Stone interview:

James Hansen, NASA's leading climate scientist, has said this about the Keystone pipeline: that if the pipeline goes through and we burn tar sands in Canada, it's "game over" for the planet. What's your reaction to that statement?

James Hansen is a scientist who has done an enormous amount not only to understand climate change, but also to help publicize the issue. I have the utmost respect for scientists. But it's important to understand that Canada is going to be moving forward with tar sands, regardless of what we do. That's their national policy, they're pursuing it. With respect to Keystone, my goal has been to have an honest process, and I have adamantly objected to Congress trying to circumvent a process that was well-established not just under Democratic administrations, but also under Republican administrations.

The reason that Keystone got so much attention is not because that particular pipeline is a make-or-break issue for climate change, but because those who have looked at the science of climate change are scared and concerned about a general lack of sufficient movement to deal with the problem. Frankly, I'm deeply concerned that internationally, we have not made as much progress as we need to make. Within the constraints of this Congress, we've tried to do a whole range of things, administratively, that are making a difference – doubling fuel-efficiency standards on cars is going to take a whole lot of carbon out of our atmosphere. We're going to continue to push on energy efficiency, and renewable energy standards, and the promotion of green energy. But there is no doubt that we have a lot more work to do.

Part of the challenge over these past three years has been that people's number-one priority is finding a job and paying the mortgage and dealing with high gas prices. In that environment, it's been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we're going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way. That there's a way to do it that is entirely compatible with strong economic growth and job creation – that taking steps, for example, to retrofit buildings all across America with existing technologies will reduce our power usage by 15 or 20 percent. That's an achievable goal, and we should be getting started now.

While some environmentalists do consider Keystone itself a make-or-break issue, and while the specifics of what the president meant by taking further steps in a serious way remains typically opaque, his specific mentions of the obscenely well-funded anti-science climate denialist industry, of climate change as a campaign issue, and of responsible action on climate change as a means of economic growth and job creation was very heartening. As I've previously written, with President Obama we are at least in an honest paradigm on climate change, while with the Republicans we are not. As he is on so many issues, Mitt Romney has been all over the map on this issue, and is very cozy with leading fossil fuel industry climate deniers. Two years ago, every Republican Senate nominee was some flavor of climate denier, and there is no reason to think this year will be different; even dishonestly self-styled moderate Scott Brown is just another cookie-cutter anti-science Republican climate denier.

The differences between the two major political parties on this most critical issue remain paradigmatic. The Democratic Party has not as of yet taken an aggressive approach to addressing this issue, but the Republican Party refuses even to acknowledge that this is an issue that needs addressing. If the Democrats were to get aggressive on the politics it would enable them to get aggressive on the necessary policies. If the Democrats were to get aggressive on the politics they would galvanize the public, and relegate the Republicans to the political septic tank in which they belong. But to do that the Democrats need to start talking about climate change at every opportunity. They need to treat it as the issue of primary importance that it is. The political framing is simple and accurate:

  • The scientific consensus on climate change is overwhelming.
  • The Republicans deny the scientific consensus on climate change, and undermine all efforts to address it responsibly.
  • By denying the scientific consensus on climate change, and by undermining all efforts to address it responsibly, the Republicans undermine national security.
  • By denying the scientific consensus on climate change, and by undermining all efforts to address it responsibly, the Republicans court economic devastation.
  • By denying the scientific consensus on climate change, and by undermining all efforts to address it responsibly, the Republicans endanger hundreds of millions of lives, and risk the geopolitical consequences that come with the endangering of hundreds of millions of lives.

The case should be made at every presidential campaign stop, and by every Democrat who manages to get face time on TV. The president and all Democrats should speak to what people already are experiencing, specifically mentioning the extreme weather patterns that are shattering records across the country and around the globe. More and more Americans already link extreme weather to climate change, and while the president and every other Democrat should emphasize that while scientists have been cautious and hesitant about linking specific weather events to climate change, these specific weather events so accord with what has been expected from climate change that more and more and more of the scientists now are drawing the link. The president also ought at every campaign stop to draw attention to the climate scientists active in almost every state, telling people they should be proud of the research being done by people in their own communities. He and all Democrats also ought to highlight the continuous and consistent flow of new scientific research, thus underscoring with constantly updated data just how overwhelming is that scientific consensus on climate change.

The media behave recklessly and irresponsibly on climate change, and the president and all Democrats also ought to emphasize that, and challenge them to report the scientific facts and stop dishonestly acting as if there is legitimate debate on the issue. The science is there, and the science should be endlessly emphasized and reiterated, and any members of the media who cherry-pick from the miniscule number of denialists who have some sort of scientific credential, or who ignore scientists altogether in an effort to make of climate change but another partisan political argument, ought to be called to account. When the media fail to report honestly, they should be shamed and discredited for it. Just as the Republicans should be shamed and politically obliterated for it.

The scientific facts are clear, and the only remaining scientific questions are about the consequences of climate change, for the intricacies of climate are so much larger than we humans can comprehend, and those consequences are in fact turning out to be worse (pdf) than had been predicted. The public already is awake to the realities of climate change, and the Republicans deny and lie about those realities. By elevating the profile of climate change as a political issue, the Democrats can devastate the Republicans politically. And by politically devastating the greatest enemies of responsible action on climate change, the Democrats can thus make it not only politically possible but politically imminent for responsible action on climate change to happen.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I don't think there's anyone denying climate nt (12+ / 0-)

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:05:25 AM PDT

    •  clever (15+ / 0-)

      it's an accepted term for those who deny climate change. but thanks for the comment.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:10:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This was the best article I've read here, (7+ / 0-)

        I am very much in agreement. I will use it in my day to day.

        I don't say "climate change" because it seems to change all the time. [I am not confusing climate with weather, but I don't want to risk an opponent doing so.] I say "climate aberration" because facts back up the reality that we are directly altering our own environment.

        Just for example, it is impossible to ignore that carbon monoxide is a frequently chosen means of suicide.

        Time to reread your article, I will definitely distribute it.

        That man behind the curtain is me — on election day! (See you there.)

        by Says Who on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:37:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's global warming (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Amber6541, RonK

          which leads to climate disruption. I also like your term, "climate aberration." I think "change" is too mild.

          Whatever it's called, the imbalance that causes the earth to retain more heat energy is what's behind the problem. There may be a communication problem with the public because of the lack of understanding about the relationship between heat energy and temperature. Some of the excess of heat energy goes to evaporate water and some to melt ice.

          •  A law of physics is that each action has an equal (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            METAL TREK, cocinero

            and opposite reaction (I'll take any correction a scientist can give me here). Have you ever been with a closed-minded person on a cold (30° or so) October day say something like, "so much for global warming, I'm freezing my ass off."?
            Well, the problem will not be simply warming. This is a physical environment hurling through space, directly connected to the Sun. All warming will be counteracted, and the equal and opposite reaction will not just be cooling, it will be a physical reaction of every magnitude present — it will be natural reaction of earth to unnatural force created by mankind, industry, science, neglect, ignorance, [your factor here].

            I could see Mother Earth and The Sun conspiring to alter earth's orbit oh so slightly, just to forever knock this unwelcome parasite, Mankind, off its surface permanently, just to preserve life as earth knew it, long before something as wicked as people evolved to pillage its harmony, convert its resources, and destroy its viability.

            Just thoughts, I'm not a scientist or a doomsayer, or a crank. But physics will indeed have its say, and that is why I believe in this diary by Laurence Lewis, and want its message politically measured.

            Name a more vital issue than the destruction of our home. When would be the best time to consider it if not now? Polar bears are clinging, islands are sinking, god-almighty insurance companies are refusing policies in Florida.

            Wake the fuck up already?

            That man behind the curtain is me — on election day! (See you there.)

            by Says Who on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:10:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Think of that scene from the first Superman movie (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              happymisanthropy, Says Who, RonK

              where Jor-El is imploring the government/scientists (who are all in denial) to see that Krypton is doomed & something MUST be done about it. He says "It's suicide. No, worse, it's GENOCIDE". I sometimes think we're in that EXACT same situation.

              A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

              by METAL TREK on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:25:47 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The only way I'll agree with climate deniers is if (0+ / 0-)

                I can spend 50 years at their Fortress of Solitude, and that has to include golf, tequila, jazz, shakespeare, bbq, cycling, da Bears, hot tub, Daisy Fuentes (before), tapioca, NPR, croquet, coffee... need I go on.... ?

                That man behind the curtain is me — on election day! (See you there.)

                by Says Who on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 01:06:14 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  The greenhouse effect is basic physics (5+ / 0-)

              From The Crisis in Physics Education:

              Only 1/3 of US high school students take physics. This is far less than in most countries with which we compete economically.  Many countries require all students to take physics.  To bring the US to their standard would require a fivefold increase in the number of physics teachers.  
              It's more than just understanding the science behind global warming.
              Physics, more than any other subject in high school, teaches quantitative and analytical reasoning skills. Math is an important tool, but physics makes math "real".
              It's basic scientific reasoning. Something that seems to be in short supply among too many Republicans in Congress and state legislatures.
      •  where's your tip jar? :-) Agreed 100% (8+ / 0-)

        Climate-change is a nice wedge-issue for Democrats. Even Huntsman (R) recognized anthropogenic climate-change as a concern. Unlike some other issues that divide Moderates/ Independents/ Centrists/ Swing-voters (MICS?) from DailyKos activists, climate-change divides the Republicans.

        I worry that the DailyKos community is losing its emphasis on winning elections, and becoming a "community of victims," each pushing his/her own needs and agenda.

        A focus on science also feeds into economic issues like improving America's competitiveness.

    •  Just imagine!! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Imagine if there was no such thing as "hypothetical."

      I think you're some kind of deviated prevert.

      by ColBatGuano on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:40:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, that's one of my pet peeves, too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      eXtina, Hopeful Skeptic

      kinda makes "our" side look very idiotic as well.

    •  No, let's go bigger. It's the GOP 'controlled' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      Congress and SCOTUS which is at the root of our troubles.  Obvious in House and SCOTUS, but GOP 'controls' Senate via filibuster.  It's a GOP controlled Congress.  Run against them.  They are at root are the problem.  Obama should ask for a Dem Congress so he can get something done, having thus far been blocked on everything.

      Romney: Wrong on GM. Wrong on bin Laden. Wrong on fiscal austerity and wrong for America. I voted for change. Where is my vote?

      by SGWM on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:53:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm amazed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm amazed that anyone still thinks Climate Change is a big winning issue. Regardless on what one thinks about it, the independent voters in the middle have shown that it will not move their votes, but that doing things to raise their living expenses related to energy consumption will - by making them vote Republican. Apocalyptic statements like saying it's 'Game over' if the tar sands are burned don't help, either. That sort of language has been used for a long time and most people now tune it out.

    •  um (34+ / 0-)

      the whole point is that if the democrats simply pointed to people's real life experience with changing climate, emphasized the science, and emphasized the impacts, it would be a big winning issue. it's not now because the democrats aren't using it politically the way they could.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:12:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your evidence? A survey conducted... (29+ / 0-) Yale, Public Support for Climate & Energy Policies in November 2011, found that 44 percent of registered Republicans, 72 percent of Independents and 85 percent of Democrats said global warming should be a very high priority.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:27:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder at what that really means though. (6+ / 0-)

        People can say that they support such priorities but look at what happens when gasoline goes up a few pennies. Are these people going out and insulating their homes or putting solar panels on their roofs? They seem to be forsaking their SUV's to some extent; that's something, I guess. But overall, Americans expect to get their energy cheap and they don't seem too concerned that most of it comes from fossil fuels.

        So I wonder whether these numbers really reflect sentiment rather than commitment. Would Obama be re-elected if he proposed a carbon tax? I think not. People want positive change often just as long as everything can stay the same.

        The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

        by Anne Elk on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:42:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  AnneE - I agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          billmosby, Anne Elk

          The first energy priority of Americans is that they would like it to be cheaper so they could use more. It would be great if it was greener, but the first priority is cheaper.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:24:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Sort of like my dad the environmentalist (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gator Keyfitz

          Subscribes to Sierra Club and Audubon, constantly talks about how important the environment is, but then drives around a humongous Suburban and keeps a humongous salt water aquarium that uses enough electricity to power a small town.  

          Being in favor of the environment is sort of like being a Christian.  Christians lie, cheat, steal, and love war just as much as non-Christians, but they do it very piously and with a bit of guilt afterwards.  

          "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

          by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 01:10:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Global Warming (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gator Keyfitz

        or Climate Change as it's been repackaged, is one of those touchy-feely things that people say they care about because they have been conditioned to say it, but that have no idea what it means and when given the chance, will vote against efforts to deal with it if their pocketbooks are impacted.

        •  It's touchy feely... (0+ / 0-)

          ...until the hurricane, Atlantic, Mississippi, etc. crashes through your front door.

          Then it's personal -- and that may be the most powerful political hook.

          Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four.  If that is granted, all else follows. -- George Orwell, 1984. Now on Twitter.

          by kindler on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:21:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think there is a difference between Americans (0+ / 0-)

        increased understanding of climate change versus recognizing the need for a call to action.

        See recent Gallup Poll earlier this year: In U.S., Concerns about Global Warming Stable

        I wish the perceived import and magnitude of climate change matched the real import.  But until more of us make a real clamor for change, I don't know if the pols will get behind this.

      •  Did you see the survey sampling for this poll? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Registered Voters: Political Party
        Generally speaking, do you think of yourself as a…
        Percent Sample size
        Democrat 38 298
        Independent 26 207
        Republican 23 186
        4 33
        No party/not interested in politics
        9 71
        Total 100 795
        Way too many Democrats polled in this vs. Republicans.  I just don't feel good drawing conclusions off of this.
      •  see also this (0+ / 0-)

        story in Science News.
        It's a study from OK State, looking at what leads people to be climate-change deniers. (It isn't lack of scientific understanding.)

        (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

        by PJEvans on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:43:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  very interesting, even when cost penalties are (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        worked into the question, people still seem to respond favorably.

        I'm stunned.

        big badda boom : GRB 080913

        by squarewheel on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:19:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There is a paradigmatic tapestry that could be (4+ / 0-)

      woven that includes climate change, jobs, and the unsustainability of the Wall Street racketeering that passes for capitalism these days.
      The 21 Century infrastructure that we need for decades of new economic growth includes high tech, energy efficiency, and a new architectural model that maximizes small scale solar.
      This is where the new job creation will be.

      The recent great recession began when oil speculation drove energy prices out the roof. That popped the credit default swap bubble that was stretched to the max.

      The Dems have to start putting together this comprehensive, forward looking, optimistic/realistic, way of looking at things and force it into the media narrative and the daily news cycle.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:41:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Zornorph - you are exactly right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zornorph, Gator Keyfitz

      What Americans want is cheaper energy and if it was cleaner they would be happy to embrace it too. I have seen no market evidence that enough Americans support greener energy, if it costs more, to make this a winning issue for Dems.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:22:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  the Prius sells (0+ / 0-)

        at a big premium

        •  Old Surgeon - if you added up all the sales (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zornorph, Gator Keyfitz

          of the Prius, and all other all-electric plus all the hybrids, it would equal what percent of total car and light truck sales in the US? I think it's a small single digit number. Would the total even be greater than the sales of cars with V8, or larger, engines? I doubt it.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:46:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Cannot expect hybrids to capture the market (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            up front. Now all majors are producing hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Check out the Chinese - they are running something like 6 million electric scooters and motorcycles. It hasn't helped much since they make the dirtiest electricity imaginable,  but my point is there is an accepting and growing market in hybrid technology. Adoption of the automobile over the horse and buggy took decades, not years. Anything so widely distributed throughout the population will not - cannot - change over night.

          •  Worldwide, in 15 years... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            ...the Prius will have sold 4 million units by the end of this year. Toyota expects to sell 250,000 Priuses in the States in 2012; about half of all hybrid sales in the U.S. are Priuses.

            So, half a million hybrids for 2012 (approximately). Current estimates for total sales of cars and light trucks for 2012 in U.S.: 14.5 million. In other words, 3.6%.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 01:06:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The Pious (0+ / 0-)

          It produces too much smug. :)

    •  I already spend more. I live in a Natural Gas (6+ / 0-)

      state and I spend more on Propane and gasoline. It doesn't save me the money that the Oil Companies make it out to be.

      And the reason that we cannot afford new, green technology is because the government is too busy subsidizing OIL, and CORN. End of story.

      I also pay more for Home Insurance now, thanks to an increase in EF-4 and 5 Tornadoes, and Large Hail in our Thunderstorms. We always had severe weather, but not like it is now.

      Climate change affects me directly.

      I cannot get straw for my barn right now. It ran out early this year because of last year's drought and wild fires.

      When Suburbanites and Urban people wake up, will be when the food on the shelves goes missing and not a moment before.

      The rest of us who live closer to the land either due to our location, or our jobs know already what's coming.

    •  The Republicans are genuinely afraid of this issue (8+ / 0-)

      Check out this legislative response from North Carolina that would prevent state agencies from using predictive models in assessing sea level rise. As one of these morons claimed the predictions are "just a guess".

      The denial is moving from promoting inaction and intimidation of scientists to actual suppression of scientific tools. We might as well shut down the Hurricane and Tornado prediction centers since they're obviously guessing as well. Oh wait - they tried that as well. Now we're talking lives saved as well as property saved.

      Then there's national security where the Pentagon's security projections are necessarily planning for a future stressed by climate change.

      The failure of Democrats to craft a message that paints the Republicans as either morons or criminals also illustrates the general failure of the Democratic Party to treat this election for what it is - an existential fight for the future of Americans - and the increasing efforts by Republicans to shut down the debate, and now move to legislate against reality is right out of the Soviet Union.

      Sure - opinion polls may show weak support for this approach right now - but that's largely because questions themselves are so weak. I'm sure when put more aggressively - "Would you support removing funding from Hurricane prediction even if it cost American lives?" - but of course they don't do that. However - attack ads certainly can ask those questions and should.

      •  The Pentagon KNOWS climate change is an issue (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        I've seen reports where they're studying ways to fight the wars that rising see levels will cause. I also read somewhere the Navy is slowly but surely switching to alternative fuels for many (f not all) of their vessels.

        So in addition to linking this to the ECONOMY, we should also link it to national security.

        A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

        by METAL TREK on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:36:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Zornorph: How will using alternative energy (0+ / 0-)

      supplies significantly raise one's living expenses?  The price of crude oil can change dramatically overnight which has an instant impact on living expenses. With alternative energy supplies perhaps very expensive wars protecting the flow of oil won't be so enthusiastically embraced.  

      I think those who "tune it out" are the uniformed individuals who have some need for an authoritative presence telling them how and what to believe: such as faux and rushbo.  

      Creating innovative ways to reduce man's influence on the climate will create new jobs and will certainly benefit our environment.  Working to reduce man's influence on the climate is not going to increase living expenses as much as the next middle east war.  

      "It took us a couple of days because I like to know what I'm talking about before I speak." President Barack Obama 3/24/09

      by sfcouple on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:40:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not a winning issue, for three reasons: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Zornorph, ebrann

      I. Science is hard, so for most people its findings would have to be taken on faith.
      2. What science asks us to believe contradicts the comforting religious faith most voters have had drilled into them since early childhood. This is why we see the spectacle of US Christians going through the most grotesque contortions in order to insulate their religious faith against scientific reality.
      3. Acting on such problems as anthropogenic climate change would require inconvenience-- reduced profits for business, more limited choices for consumer. Most Americans will never stand for that. They're not even willing to pay taxes.

  •  Silence is the best you can expect from Dems (4+ / 0-)

    Given their druthers most of them would be right there with the GOP.

  •  I wish you were right (18+ / 0-)

    I a professional scientist also.

    But when a substantial fraction of the population believe the earth is 6000 years old, the bible is literally true and millions of scientists are involved in a  worldwide conspiracy to grab research grant money, I do wonder.....

    People have no fucking idea what their cat is thinking, but they're sure they have a God all figured out. — @Wolfrum via web

    by IgnoreAtYourPeril on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:09:43 AM PDT

  •  It is sadly ironic that a state like... (16+ / 0-)

    Oklahoma uses state of the art science like Dopplar radar storm tracking and tornado modeling to (successfully) war residents - yet they elect Sen. Inhofe, one of the most anti-science, anti-climate change politicans anywhere.

    Don't these people have children and grand children?

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:10:20 AM PDT

  •  It is not physically possible... (15+ / 0-)

    ...for me to agree with you more.

    Any elected official who is afraid to tell the clear truth, and act on it, deserves to be shamed and hounded from office.  

    When Obama came out for gay marriage, he moved the polls on the issue almost overnight.  Just imagine what he could do on climate change.  

    Democrats can push America to confront this enormous issue -- all they need is the courage to tell the truth in the face of powerful, loud and effective liars.  

    Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four.  If that is granted, all else follows. -- George Orwell, 1984. Now on Twitter.

    by kindler on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:11:57 AM PDT

    •  Democrats have a moral obligation (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfcouple, owlbear1, happymisanthropy

      to warn of the dangers of global warming. But don't expect them to ride that issue back into power. Voters will continue to dwell in denial.

      As for stopping global warming, James Lovelock thinks it's already too late to do that, and that all we can do at this point is start looking for ways to adapt that allow us to maintain civilization. No one yet knows how to do that, and it would likely require far more investment and sacrifice than a little cap-and-trade and increased production of solar panels.

      •  Critical to make a distinction (0+ / 0-)

        Can we stop all warming at this point?  No -- some has begun already, of course.

        But there is a very real prospect of stopping the kind of runaway climate change that will be utterly catastrophic, once some of the reinforcing effects (like the melting of the permafrost releasing massive amounts of methane, which is twenty times more powerful as a GHG than CO2) kick in.

        The difference of a few degrees of total global temperature change matters.  There is a lot we can and must do -- while we must immediately work on adaptation, we cannot afford to waste any more time delaying mitigation actions at the same time.

        Freedom is the freedom to say two plus two make four.  If that is granted, all else follows. -- George Orwell, 1984. Now on Twitter.

        by kindler on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:31:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have a dairy farm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        I use a lot of electricity to run the barn equipment, milking equipment, compressors, etc.  I looked into wind and solar, but it would cost over 400k to install a windmill that would power the farm.  At that price, I can't even consider it.  The first thing that needs to be done is get renewable energy pricing to be a viable option because as it stands now, it can be nothing more than a pipe dream.  I would gladly invest 100k in wind power and make a monthly payment on the equipment in lieu of paying the utility company, but 400k is impossible to afford.

        •  While typing that... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          If the government ordered wind and solar en-masse, it might bring the pricing in line with what the small business could afford.

        •  Why you have that large of an expense... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

 because the money that should be used to pay that expense is busy being paid through government diversion of tax money into subsidies for oil, coal, and nuclear, none of which run solely on what us users pay directly for the power they way you would have to directly pay for that windmill.  None of those three, nuclear especially, could exist financially if they only were taking in money from our electricity bill payments.

  •  great diary Lawrence! just posted diary on (8+ / 0-)

    S of S Clinton leading US fight on climate change.  I agree this should not be a politicized debate..but right now it is.

    Macca's Meatless Monday

    by VL Baker on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:15:37 AM PDT

  •  We'll raise your gas prices (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What a great idea - make fixing climate change your main issue.  Democrats can say "elect us - we'll double your gas prices now".  Of course gas prices are going to go up whatever politicians do, but they are smart enough to know that know that promising enormous economic pain now is not a good way to get elected.

  •  The Republicans made a bet. (11+ / 0-)

    They bet that climate change would not become undeniable before the 2012 elections. It's looking like a very bad bet.

    Combine that with their slavish support for the bankers who ruined our economy. The fact that their economic "austerity" prescription has failed in Europe.

    Why can't we hammer them to death with these facts?

    GOP: Bankers, billionaires, suckers, and dupes.

    by gzodik on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:18:21 AM PDT

  •  Their votes will change when crops from Texas (12+ / 0-)

    to Canada mostly fail.  Their votes will change when isn't enough water to supply Los Angeles AND the Imperial Valley and crops in the Imperial Valley fail.

    Unfortunately, once things like this happen, votes won't matter.

    One in four people in the United States suffers from chronic anxiety, a mood disorder, or depression—which seems to me to be a normal reaction to our march toward collective suicide. Welcome to the asylum. ~ Chris Hedges

    by Saint Jimmy on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:19:08 AM PDT

  •  1984 - We Are The Priests Of Power (8+ / 0-)
    'We are the priests of power,.....(the) thing for you to realize is that power is power over human beings. Over the body but, above all, over the mind. Power over matter -- external reality, as you would call it -- is not important. Already our control over matter is absolute.'

    For a moment Winston ignored the dial. He made a violent effort to raise himself into a sitting position, and merely succeeded in wrenching his body painfully.  'But how can you control matter?' he burst out. 'You don't even control the climate or the law of gravity. And there are disease, pain, death --'

    O'Brien silenced him by a movement of his hand. 'We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation -- anything. I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature.' .....

    'But the rocks are full of the bones of extinct animals -- mammoths and mastodons and enormous reptiles which lived here long before man was ever heard of.'

    'Have you ever seen those bones, Winston? Of course not. Nineteenth-century biologists invented them. Before man there was nothing. After man, if he could come to an end, there would be nothing. Outside man there is nothing.'

    'But the whole universe is outside us. Look at the stars! Some of them are a million light-years away. They are out of our reach for ever.'

    'What are the stars?' said O'Brien indifferently. 'They are bits of fire a few kilometres away. We could reach them if we wanted to. Or we could blot them out. The earth is the centre of the universe. The sun and the stars go round it.' 'For certain purposes, of course, that is not true. When we navigate the ocean, or when we predict an eclipse, we often find it convenient to assume that the earth goes round the sun and that the stars are millions upon millions of kilometres away. But what of it? Do you suppose it is beyond us to produce a dual system of astronomy? The stars can be near or distant, according as we need them. Do you suppose our mathematicians are unequal to that? Have you forgotten doublethink?'

     .....We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:21:15 AM PDT

  •  The issue is Global Warming, not Climate Change (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JosephK74, Gooserock, DeminNewJ

    Climate Change is a term coined by Republicans to lessen the impact to the public.

    When Obama said he supported same sex marriage, the polls immediately changed.  Sometimes leading on an issue can really change peoples minds.  I think this is one of those issues!

    Besides, this is FAR too important to play politics.  You have to get into the public's face and tell it like it is.  If you build it, they will come.

    Here's a diary I just posted awhile ago showing what is happening in my area, and what I believe is an effect of Global Warming.

    The High Park fire

    •  it's climate change (11+ / 0-)

      because the climate is changing. it's also global warming, but unfortunately a lot of people see that as a linear whereas with climate change you get the entire range of impacts, from extreme weather events to record colds in winter.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:25:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry, we need a hammer, not a feather. (4+ / 0-)

        If we're going to be political about this, we have to go all out.  Almost everyone knows that climates change very slowly, like dinosaurs living in jungles millions of years ago, and  Mammoths living in the ice age thousands of years ago.

        Climate Change implies a slow change, Global Warming implies a train speeding at us.  This is why the Republicans came up with Climate Change instead of Global Warming.  It will take an extra step to convince the public that Climate Change doesn't mean change over thousands of years.  As Al Gore says, we are in a "planetary emergency", and we should speak like it.

        •  climate change (5+ / 0-)

          means the complexity and depth of the catastrophe. too many of the usual suspects point to record cold winters and then blither that they prove there is no global warming.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:47:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Complexity and politics are mutually exclusive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            roubs, happymisanthropy

            I worked with climate scientists for several years, and you are speaking like a very good scientist.  When you're dealing with the voting public, you better chose your terms very carefully since you have about 3 sentences to get your message across, but not nearly as carefully as scientists do.

            The right uses inflamed language for a reason, it works on the general public.  As contrary as it sounds, the fight for the scientific hearts and souls of the public has to be an emotional one, not a fact based one.  Of course you can't mislead the public about the facts, but you have to phrase the argument to scare the living F*&^k out of them!  And the best way to do that is to tell them it's going to hit them hard in the pocketbook.

      •  Winter before last, we had record snow in N. Texas (6+ / 0-)

        Then we had the record blistering ball-broiler of a drought and heat wave last summer. Then we had a mild and wet winter, incredible growth of winter grasses, etc, followed by a heavy early infestation of army worms.

        Everybody knows something's up, even the deniers.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:54:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Season Creep is already here (5+ / 0-)

        I have several species of flowers that are blooming way to early and will be spent, just in time to deprive the Monarch Migration through these parts of important food.

        This could also create a dearth for Bee keepers, because so many of our flowers bloomed early and simultaneously.

        If everything blooms early and there is nothing left for fall, that means there is nothing left for bees to build up on over the winter. And that could mean more colony losses for bee keepers who didn't realize that we had a dearth in the fall, not because we lacked rain or were too hot, but because our spring was so warm, so early that the soil warmed to such a degree, that flowers bloomed out of season.

        This could also change the success of crops as well. Certain crops prefer cooler soils and others warmer. If we cannot predict what the season is doing, and plant wrong, eventually we could suffer the same fate as colonist in James Town.

        Only instead of a handful of people we are talking billions starving.

    •  I keep reading your first sentence (5+ / 0-)

      or something like it in dkos diaries (about climate change being a denialist phrase).

      Factually that simply isn't true.  It is widely used in the scientific community.

      I agree wholeheartedly with the rest of your comment

      "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

      by matching mole on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:27:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Factually it is indeed true and coined by Luntz (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DeminNewJ, happymisanthropy
        "The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science," Mr Luntz writes in the memo, obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based campaigning organisation........


        The phrase "global warming" should be abandoned in favour of "climate change", Mr Luntz says, and the party should describe its policies as "conservationist" instead of "environmentalist", because "most people" think environmentalists are "extremists" who indulge in "some pretty bizarre behaviour... that turns off many voters".

        Memo exposes Bush strategy
        •  Do you have a date for this? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The quote only indicates that this guy advocates for the term rather than coining it.  I heard scientists advocate for the term climate change over a decade ago as being more accurate as the situation is not simply one of it getting warmer everywhere.

          That doesn't mean it is the best term to use.  If you want to argue that it isn't a good term for political reasons I can buy that.  But it is a perfectly valid term used by lots of knowledgeable people in the scientific community.

          "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

          by matching mole on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:34:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  March 2003 and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I'm talking pure politics here, not science.  Scientists don't, and shouldn't talk like real people.  As the Republicans started using "climate change", rather than global warming, support for doing something started falling off.  Republicans do as they always do, and changed the terminology to muddy the waters.

            I'm really talking 2 different worlds.  The scientific community and the public discussion.  Now, the Obama administration is actually avoiding both terms in favor of just talking about "clean energy".  It's a good economic approach, but the public must be informed about what's going to happen as the atmosphere warms.

        •  you are so wrong (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kindler, pollwatcher, susanala

          the "intergovernmental panel on climate change" was started in the 1980s.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:55:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  you are right, I should not have said "coined" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I did not mean to imply that Frank Luntz created the phrase "climate change", but rather, he changed the public use of "global warming", with its instant and strong meaning, to the science communities more broad "climate change".

            To some, the term climate change can even mean cooling.  Here's something from a NASA article.

            To a scientist, global warming describes the average global surface temperature increase from human emissions of greenhouse gases. Its first use was in a 1975 Science article by geochemist Wallace Broecker of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory: "Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?"


            Broecker's term was a break with tradition. Earlier studies of human impact on climate had called it "inadvertent climate modification."2 This was because while many scientists accepted that human activities could cause climate change, they did not know what the direction of change might be. Industrial emissions of tiny airborne particles called aerosols might cause cooling, while greenhouse gas emissions would cause warming.

            But global warming became the dominant popular term in June 1988, when NASA scientist James E. Hansen had testified to Congress about climate, specifically referring to global warming.


            Hansen's testimony was very widely reported in popular and business media, and after that popular use of the term global warming exploded. Global change never gained traction in either the scientific literature or the popular media.

            What's in a name

            Hansen caused the use of Global Warming to explode, and it created a political problem for the Republicans.  Luntz muddied the waters by bringing back the term "Climate Change" for public use which could be interpreted as cooling, or just natural change.

    •  Millions of People Have Gay Family or Friends They (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Only Needs a Beat, Gator Keyfitz

      didn't know about, and there's been a steadily increasing rate of coming-out. I don't think any other issue of the past half century has seen public opinion move this quickly, and the personal/family connection is a much better explanation than a Presidential position announcement. We've had many of those along the way.

      Carter's energy independence announcement for example was followed shortly by the election of Reagan.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:38:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Climate change is more accurate (3+ / 0-)

      Since some regions of the Earth are going to become cooler, not warmer.  Also, if we use "global warming", then whenever it's cold outside people will either think global warming is a good thing, or they'll think it's bunk.  Just like whenever there's a winter storm, Fox News personalities start cracking jokes about "Al Gore's global warming", har har har.

      "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

      by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:16:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Climate Change vs Global Warming (3+ / 0-)

      Climate change and global warming are both terms widely used in the scientific community and both have a long history of usage. There are examples of journals with either term in their title. The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) was founded in 1988. It is also true that Luntz encouraged Republicans to prefer usage of one term over another. It would be best to ignore this propagandist. This argument over semantics is all a huge distraction about marketing (unfortunately effective on the uniformed). Just label it "job destruction" and declare victory.

    •  not really (0+ / 0-)
      Climate Change is a term coined by Republicans to lessen the impact to the public.
      This is plain not true.

      Here is the term "climatic change" used by a climate scientist in 1975.

      it's a fine term.

      "climate chaos" or "climate disruption" would catch people's eyes, of course.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:53:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You have it exactly backwards. Climate change (0+ / 0-)

      replaced global warming because the climate is always changing and hence you can never be wrong if you claim that it is.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:36:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The brainwashed will eat their own children. (10+ / 0-)

    The Religious fanatics will eat their own children, if that is what Rush, Glenn, and Fox News requests.  These people are in fact, killing their own grandchildren.

    Climate change is being challenged by those that stand to lose money.  Those that stand to lose money, are paying elected officials to vote against what they know is wrong.

    Fox News is the leader of climate change deniers, and it's too bad we don't have the balls to remove them.

    Fox News and the GOP are destroying the planet, and we are allowing it.

    Too bad.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:22:50 AM PDT

    •  This is it right here (4+ / 0-)
      Fox News and the GOP are destroying the planet, and we are allowing it.
      Back when I was a kid the FCC would have shut these bastards down. Continued, demonstrative lying is simply unacceptable on the airwaves, which still belong to the People. Time to stop playing "nice" with people of evil intent.

      "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

      by US Blues on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:51:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Guess when the FCC stopped being the FCC ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I can tell you the exact date and why.
        November 20th, 1988

        This is when Colin Powell's brother was handed the job of Chairman of the FCC.

        Many things went wrong with the FCC during his time.  The biggest change was how one can own many, rather than many can own one.  

        This is when one opinion or agenda was repeated, across many different programs, masquerading as independent opinions.   Michael Powell opened the floodgates for clearchannel to own as many stations as they could afford.

        This was the beginning of the end of independent news.

        The other missing component to the FCC is how they do not have jurisdiction over pay television.

        Now that 90% of homes have pay television, we need to adjust the rules, and allow the FCC to play the missing part of "Umpire"

        Fox Television has too many stations.  

        " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

        by EarTo44 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:29:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was Powell's son, and it was 2001, not 1988. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          In 1988 the Chairman was Mark Fowler.

          Michael Powell was in there from 2001 to 2005.

          You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
          - Jessica Mitford

          by Swampfoot on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:08:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh my !!! Thank you for correction. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            I not only blew it with his "Son" not his Brother, but I went over an old article and incorrectly read it.  I skimmed it, for no reason, I was not in a rush.

            In fact, yes.  He was Powell's son, and he took the chairman job in 2001.

            Always happy to point it out when I made an error.

            Love the hive mind.

            " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

            by EarTo44 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 01:19:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Another zero rec minority view (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rp, Gator Keyfitz

    The end of the world is not a winning issue.  In really bad economic times, people see their world ending with more certainty and along a shorter interval.  They also see us moving climate change from scientific fact (which it is) to ideology (which is a different beast) -- and people distrust ideology.  

    A winning issue would be a vision of a sustainable world, where our wealth is not another person's poverty.  As in, we stand together or hang apart.  Climate change should be part of that.  But people who have dinner and a sense of security in society (which I think we tend to have, even if we are eating ramen and not too sure about how things will go) should consider how this all plays to folks who have utterly internalized "swim little fishy or die".  

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:23:34 AM PDT

    •  so you emphasize the scientific facts (4+ / 0-)

      and you emphasize that the economic and national security issues will be much greater if we don't do anything about it. given that the polls already show a majority wants something done about it, you present yourself as forward thinking rather than anti-science or timid.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:29:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, Laurence Lewis

        I think what Jessica is saying there is that climate change should be part of a mush larger narrative, not a single issue that could be used as a winning political weapon by itself. "We stand together or hang part" could be a universal rallying cry that includes many issues Dems care about and one that is nearly impossible to attack.

      •  sure (4+ / 0-)

        But it isn't just a political game, or a thing we are right about, it is vast ecological change in progress.  And we're not going to "win" it, at this point.  

        What we can argue is that honesty about science will let us face the future with hope and agency.  We can also argue that our world is in for some truly dreadful resource shortages, and it is not a time or place for jingoism or narrow vision.  I think it is probably incumbent on us to argue those things, as loudly as we can.  

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:45:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Really? The end of the world is not a winning (10+ / 0-)

      issue? I beg to differ.

      The Dominionists have been selling the Rapture at a premium now for generations.

      Everything in our current Western Culture bespeaks a loss of hope, and a resignation to the notion that the end is nigh and there is no reason to take action, because it is inevitable.

      They sell this END OF THE WORLD CRAP daily, as Soul Insurance, to goad people into bashing women and gays, or taking their rights away, all in order to insure a place in Heaven when the final curtain is drawn, after the battle at Meguiddo.

      They inspire apathy, by communicating to their followers, that there is no point in taking decisive action now, because it only flies in the face of their prophecy. No one seems to understand on that other side, that this is a Self Fulfilling Prophecy, that every action they fail to take, brings this end closer and closer.

      It's not gods judgement that they need fear, but their own, brought by their own hand after being played like cheap violins and taken for every penny and piece of land they have.

      They have traded their souls for 9 Magic Beans and don't even know it.

      They aren't afraid of the end of the world, they are hoping for it. It will be an end to their misery and fear. It's a mass suicidal ideation.

      We are being pummeled by the forces of apathy. They aren't going to actively kill themselves. They have opted for the climatological version of Suicide by Cop.

      Only problem is, we are stuck in the car/on the planet with them.

      •  that's what I meant about ideology (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gator Keyfitz

        While everything you say is in some sense true, it isn't the way to tell people about physical, scientifically described change unless they already agree with everything you have to say.  Judgement and choice and all that are one thing.  Failure to form CaCO3 in ocean organisms is another.  Part of the power of science as a medium of understanding is the fact it skips the value judgements, and we'd be wise to do the same.

        No, the end of the world is not a winning issue.  Ask any high school debater about "drag those dead babies across your flow".   If you bring out the big overwhelming disaster, people distrust you.  It's like "everything I say after this is a win, because my harm is SO HUGE".  If it is that huge, for reals, worse still -- you've still got the harm and you've lost your audience.

        I agree with you about the matter.  Go lemmings go.  But we aren't going to change people's minds by starting with the end of the world, and I do not trust the choices or ideologies people adopt when faced with existential doom.  Whether we go down or not, the emphasis should be how we treat each other along the way.

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:49:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm surprised to see (10+ / 0-)

    a lot of climate change denialism in this very comment thread.  That shows just how far we have to go and how much even our own democrats have their heads in the sand on this issue.  The greatest threat to our existence and peoplenhere are talking about what's politically expedient.  Nice.

  •  Science has been out of vogue since disco. (6+ / 0-)

    Its heyday was when we were catching up to Sputnik; that gave science enough momentum to retain people's attention until a few months after the first moon landing. Then ending the war took over, then ending Nixon, then ending Carter, and so on.

    The nearest most people get to appreciating science these days is when using cool physics-based apps like Angry Birds.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:29:31 AM PDT

  •  great post, Turk (5+ / 0-)

    If the POTUS can publicly change his position on gay marriage, Dems can surely finally come out strongly in favor of action on the climate issue.

    Like actually talk about it and stuff.

    Anyway, what's the worst that can happen?

    Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    by LaughingPlanet on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:31:44 AM PDT

  •  Conservatives don't live in the world G-d made (3+ / 0-)

    On one hand, you're perfectly right:  This issue should be front and center.  It is the major issue of our day, and will affect future generations far more than deficits or religious hatred.

    On the other hand, as a political issue, the bad guys seem to have won the day.  Al Gore made the environment a major issue in 2000, and was widely scorned and ridiculed by just the people who should be most concerned.

    That climate change should be of great political concern, there is no doubt.

    And Democrats (and even liberal Republicans) should be all over this issue.

    Religious leaders should be all over this issue:  The Bible clearly states we are stewards of G_d's creation.  We are failing on a theological level, and those who put faith in the lord should be pushing as hard as anyone.

    But they're not... because it doesn't make a good sound bite, and the conservative news media has been harping on the wrong issues for too long.  Denialists are whining, but they're winning.

    The large, political, problem is:  It's not that Conservatives are stupid, but that they're proud to be stupid.

    "What doesn't have credibility today is the truth." -- Bill Moyers, The Daily Show 6/22/05

    by Baron Dave on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:35:08 AM PDT

  •  Electorally, I Say Absolutely Dead Wrong. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pfiore8, sfcouple, Gator Keyfitz

    You don't market to people by linking your product to something else they aren't sold on either.

    Now you have to make two sales.

    The greatest political weapon we've had since the Great Depression is the Republican War on Women. It personally threatens over half the electorate, and another 1/4 of the electorate strongly sides with them.

    Great political weapons are issues that are maximally emotional, personal, immediate and well known to mainstream voters. Climate change and the larger war on science is none of those things. The Republican War on Women is all of those things.

    The Democratic Party has been out of the voter education business for over 30 years. They let the corporations and the right inform the people, and strive to win elections by convincing conservative moderates that they'll do a better job than Republicans.

    For the sprint to election the party should stick to what it knows how to do which is mostly to point at Republican excesses; maybe it can experiment some with a little voter education but it should limit itself to emotional issues where large numbers are already on board.

    Long term yes we do need a Democratic Party to begin to champion appropriate response to climate change, but not right away.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:35:33 AM PDT

  •  I must confess how chagrined I am (12+ / 0-)

    by the response of so many to this diary.  This issue really dwarfs all others.  If we have any claim to be rational beings this should be at the top of our agenda.  It can be made a winning political issue if the work is put into making it one.

    "We are normal and we want our freedom" - Bonzos

    by matching mole on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:36:28 AM PDT

  •  Not with the science, but I disagree. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roadbed Guy, sfcouple

    Laurence Lewis has nailed many topics here for years.
    This election, I don't agree the GOP war on science could be "the greatest political weapon".
    Sadly, there is a difference between scientific fact and political truth. Paul Krugman can't even get agreement on the historical fact that reducing the deficit during an economic crisis has been proven wrong. He has the facts. He's convincing. Yet there's the Paul Ryan budget.
    Yes, it's a fact that climate change is "one single issue of such import and magnitude." No, it could not by itself recast the entirety of our national political dynamic. At least, not in the way Lewis is implying.
    Should this be part of the Democratic arsenal on the campaign trail? Yes. Certainly. Of course. Is it the "single issue" that could politically change everything?

  •  LL, I promise I'll read the entire post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    again since I only skimmed it, and quickly skimmed the comments. Now Im depressed. Well, more depressed. :P

    Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

    by Lady Libertine on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:50:42 AM PDT

  •  Dunno Laurence....If Dems started touting climate (4+ / 0-)

    change then Inhofe would say they are idiots......And Dems hate to be called idiots.....(snark)

  •  The problem with global warming (3+ / 0-)

    is that for nearly two decades the battle has been environmental activists carrying the message from science vs a well funded denialist operation.
      If we want to move the issue into the politcal issue and solve it, we need a program, as in: Here's the problem. Here's the proof. Here's what we propose to do about it.
    That moves the issue into "What should we do about this problem?" Rather than this sterile debate about whether there is a problem in the first place.
      Let the denialists explain exactly why they're against solar power and thicker insulation, or higher gas mileage requirements.
      As it is, the denialist industry has made claims that we're advocating some vast restriction of freedom and/or massive tax increases.
      If people understand that we're proposing small, relatively inexpensive steps, we'll make a lot more progress.

  •  At a moral level, we must give our best (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    roubs, sfcouple, Calamity Jean

    efforts to ameliorating climate change. As a practical reality, we are not going to achieve anything significant. We just blew through 400 ppm and climbing. How long have the nations of the world been talking about this issue now? And we haven't even slowed down.

    So the best thing the administration could do now is to start telling people to prepare for some real damage. Start talking to coastal Floridians about how to deal with rising sea levels. Start talking to Texans and Oklahomans about super-tornadoes. The way to address this issue is to begin to visit the consequences. Right now warming is global. It has to become local. Fear is a great motivator.

    The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:58:20 AM PDT

  •  Public's support for action is misleading (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gator Keyfitz

    Sure, if you ask them in a poll, "do you support action to slow or reverse climate change?" they will say yes (but not an overwhelming majority).  But if you start asking about specific policies that would slow climate change, they don't really care so much.  

    Doing anything about climate change requires effort and investment, i.e., short term costs, and Americans don't want to pay anything.

    The other obvious problem is of course the media.  They always balance the "opinion" of a scientist with some paid think tank corporate shill.  Thus the public believes that expert opinion is split 50/50, and so both sides are right, or wrong, or they're just dumb or like to bicker.  

    I'd bet history is not going to be kind to our media's worship of balance and fairness instead of truth and honesty.

    "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

    by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:02:14 AM PDT

    •  no one (6+ / 0-)

      makes the case about the economic impacts of not doing anything. we need our democratic leaders to teach and lead and tie the issue to economic risks and economic opportunities.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:10:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Those economic impacts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Gator Keyfitz

        of no action are far off in the future.  Americans are busy thinking about how they can afford a new iPhone.  

        Even babies being born right now will not bear the brunt of climate change, it's going to be their children's children who will die in wars or famine.  Humans just aren't wired to care about events so far in the future.  

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:49:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not true. climate change is here now. (3+ / 0-)

          2011 had  the most billion-dollar weather disasters of any year in the USA.

          ask people who've been flooded out, have sold their herds, have had their crops die, whether the impacts are far off in the future.

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:00:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't say it wasn't here now (0+ / 0-)

            I said even babies born right now will not bear the brunt of climate change.  Sure, they will be affected by climate change, many of them severely, but they will not suffer its worst effects.  Understand?

            "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

            by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 01:13:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  "economic impacts are far off in the future" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Calamity Jean, Neighbor2

              the economic impacts of climate change are here now.

              An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

              by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 02:40:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And they are (0+ / 0-)

                At this point the economic impact of global warming is subtle.  It's very difficult to ascertain exactly how the economy is affected by global warming.

                In a couple of generations it won't be so difficult.  


                "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

                by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:03:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Nothing subtle or remote about an 80% decrease (0+ / 0-)

                  Just saw this in today's Boston Globe:

                  Sediment stirred by increased rainfall in New England over recent years is threatening the marine food chain in the Gulf of Maine, scientists said.
                  The Gulf of Maine is a really important fishery. Feeds lots of people and a major source of employment in Maine and Massachusetts.
                  In a study published this month in the Marine Ecology Progress Series, the scientists documented a five-fold decline in the growth rate of phytoplankton, the single-celled plants that support life throughout the region’s waters, including everything from lobster to cod.
                  The cause? Increased runoff from heavy rains in the past five years, i.e., climate change.

                  Elizabeth Warren, yes the Elizabeth Warren, speaks passionately about the need to protect fishermen's livelihoods from stringent catch limits (to prevent overfishing), but not a peep from her about protecting against the threat of climate change. Of course, the fishermen don't want to hear it -- neither do I -- but I'll bet they would respect it.

                  Lawrence Lewis is right.

                  Since plague became in this way some men's duty, it revealed itself as what it really was; that is the concern of all. --Albert Camus

                  by Neighbor2 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:57:19 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Annual precipitation in Maine has been declining (0+ / 0-)

                    for more than a century:


                    Where are we, now that we need us most?

                    by Frank Knarf on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 12:56:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  But not in the past 5 years. (0+ / 0-)
                      About 4.5 feet of rain fell over those years on average, about a foot more than the average annual rainfall over the past century, and the scientists attributed the increase to climate change
                      Your NOAA link doesn't provide plots, so I don't know where you got your information.

                      Since plague became in this way some men's duty, it revealed itself as what it really was; that is the concern of all. --Albert Camus

                      by Neighbor2 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 05:39:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  The NOAA data are clear (0+ / 0-)

                      The past 5 years were far above the trend and the wettest since records began. This is consistent with the figures cited in the Globe article.

                      Erosion and dispersal of sediments are caused by actual rainfall, not trends, and it's been very high for several years.

                      Since plague became in this way some men's duty, it revealed itself as what it really was; that is the concern of all. --Albert Camus

                      by Neighbor2 on Mon Jun 11, 2012 at 06:11:05 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm an early riser (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Earth Bear

    and generally have the radio on (BBC overnight).  This morning, Krista Tippett ("On Being") interviewed Sylvia Earle.  Audio found here.

    Krista's program deals with religions -- she asked one question related to religion which Sylvia responded re: ethics.  That was it.

    If anyone wants to listen to an intelligent discussion of the effects of climate change on the oceans -- listen to this woman who is funny, a genius and a pioneer on so many levels.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:02:15 AM PDT

  •  No one gives a damn because they're out of work. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Stuart Heady, Gator Keyfitz

    No one cares about climate change. They care about making rent, paying bills, sending their kids to college, and paying their car or health insurance. Everyone is so fucking desperately scared on an economic level (which is exactly where the 1% wants us, by the way) that nothing else will matter. You cannot tackle climate until unemployment is back around 5%.

    •  you tie climate change (9+ / 0-)

      to those exact issues. if we made massive investments in green tech, people would have more job and economic opportunities. if we continue to ignore climate change, their opportunities will continue to grow fewer.

      it's not a complicated case to make.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:14:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not complicated for you (0+ / 0-)

        That's great.  The problem for people who perceive themselves to be living in a place with few options, is to do what they know how to do in order to have economic opportunity.

        That tends to mean ignoring large scale issues that localities or individuals feel they can do nothing about.  

        The disconnect is that scientists won't connect local bits and pieces of weather data to overall global trends.  Newspapers carry that story nearly every day.  

        Given the intense need to develop real estate or to do something else that has been proven to work to generate local economic activity, it is tough to sell the need to change based on data that isn't determinative at the local level.  

        That is the problem.  It isn't political primarily political but economic.  

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:36:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That does work (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        dems have tried it in the past, it gets drowned out by industrialists howling about job losses and higher prices.  Sadly, the public believes corporate CEOs more than they do environmentalists.  

        "When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions" ~ Kurt Cobain, Territorial Pissings

        by Subterranean on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 01:14:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There is an opportunity (8+ / 0-)

    sitting right there on the table right now.  This past winter changed a lot of things, imho.  People have been talking about climate for months and it is something that is on their mind, unlike in the past.  Everybody is talking about how they wonder what the summer will be like, following this past non-winter.

    The opportunity is there.  

    But how do you square policies that support fracking all across the country and at the same time use climate change as a huge game-changing issue in your campaign?  How much energy industry money is coming into Democratic Super PACs?

    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:12:54 AM PDT

  •  there are (6+ / 0-)

    serious economic costs to ignoring the impacts of Climate Change too.

    It's just the Cherry on the 'Climate Change' Sundae
    by jamess -- Jun 02, 2012

    There ARE Costs of Doing Nothing ... about Climate Change
    by jamess -- Aug 21, 2011

    The sleeping giant, ignore these changing global trends, at their own peril.  

    One of these years the shelves will be bare.

    One of these years we will be fighting geo-political wars for clean water.

    One of these years, everything will cost $20 a unit.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:14:57 AM PDT

  •  Southwestern states of denial (0+ / 0-)

    Across the Southwest there are numerous overlays of history and culture.

    One of them is about development.  This is the goose that lays golden eggs from Southern California through the Phoenix and Tucson area, through Albuquerque and Santa Fe over to El Paso, San Antonio and the large cities of Texas.  

    In the New Mexico legislature, which has been embroiled with budget shortfall issues for several years, the progressives see dependance on developers and their ability to expand the tax base through building more suburbs as the ultimate solution.

    Given the economic circumstances, climate change is a very guarded subject.  

    The wild fires currently burning in the SW part of NM recently carried a haze of smoke with a dust storm and the winds that fanned the flames across the state.  At sunset the sun was blood red in Albuquerque.

    To me, this is what global cllimate change looks like.  The "old growth" trees in this part of the country have grown very slowly and are small and thin compared to old growth trees in other places.  Burn whole forests in the mountains down and regrowth will take many years, if there can be regrowth.  

    People will liken this to regrowing trees in places like Colorado or Montana after wildfires.  The public discussion will center on forest management practices which kept fires from burning and allowed fuel to pile up.  The scientists point out that local experience isn't necessarily a symptom of the global amalgamation of data that show rises in degrees of temperature for the whole system.  

    That allows people to think about something else, and the political people follow the crowd.  

    There isn't any percentage in killing the goose that lays the golden eggs if there isn't any clear reason to.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:18:24 AM PDT

  •  The public is already taking action, however (0+ / 0-)

    it seems that the Democrats lack the political will on this matter to make a coherent stand against the forces of idiocy.

    But it appears to be an issue across the board, including the War on Women, the assault on public education by Dominionists, and this notion of a living wage or even decent insurance benefits for any given worker.

  •  I hate "climate change". (0+ / 0-)

    I seriously doubt that humans are causing most climate change.

    Global warming?
    We're driving that like James Dean on his last night.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:22:20 AM PDT

    •  Um..... 'global warming' DRIVES (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfcouple, mightymouse, Calamity Jean

      the 'climate change' we are talking about.

      Human-induced global warming is just too many words for americans, so we say "global warming" OR "climate change".

      I don't need a rec on this comment

      The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

      by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:01:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "The climate change we are talking about" (0+ / 0-)

        Except people don't say "The climate change we are talking about", they just say "climate changes" -- which muddies the picture and rightfully invites skepticism.

        The only climate constant in earth's history is change.  It's always changing, always has, and likely always will.

        Most of that change is stuff we can't do much about.

        However -- we can do something about the crap we're dumping into the atmosphere, the warming it causes, and the climate consequences of that warming.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:38:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  why do you seriously doubt it? (0+ / 0-)

      what else would it be?

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:01:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny you should ask that, as I was asked last (0+ / 0-)

        night how I could be sure about global warming when climate change -- even radical climate change -- was happening long before people walked the earth.

        My response was , "Yup, but we are making worse, and we're doing it far faster than most natural processes."

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:34:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  what are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

          An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

          by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:50:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Climate change predates humans by billions (0+ / 0-)

            of years is what I'm talking about.  It's one of the reasons I hate the use of the mushy "climate change" instead of the more correct "global warming".  The specific climate changes we are talking about are the ones brought about by deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 02:56:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  both have happened in the past (0+ / 0-)

              from non-human causes.

              still don't get your point though.

              we are talking about current day anthropogenic climate change. is there some doubt about this?

              An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

              by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 05:46:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Ah --- I think I understand the problem. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                My apologies ---

                I wasn't talking about the topic per se, merely grousing about the term.  I much prefer "global warming" to climate change because I believe it to be a more correct and precise description of the topic, and....

                MUCH easier to sell.

                Which is not, of course, to say easy.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 08:07:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  promoting (8+ / 0-)

    mass-transit, lite-rail, fuel-efficiency standards,

    should be a no-brainer for Dems.

    These create jobs, save money, help the environment.

    Yet somehow even these common-sense ideas,

    have morphed into a new "third rail of politics" ...

    As the Dems cower in deference to the Know-Nothing, Do-Nothing, Pass-Nothing, Obstructionist GOP Congress.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:24:10 AM PDT

  •  Facts don't matter (4+ / 0-)

    More and more this is a proven truth.

    A couple of weeks ago, a woman presenting herself as a "reasonable Republican" alternative to the Tea Party crazies, was on a Sunday morning talk show.  At one point, she mentioned that it was clearly not true, as the climate change "advocates" claim, that "human intervention is the only reason climate has ever changed."    (this one is not an exact quote, but I'm too lazy to look it up.)

    Now was the time that not even a liberal spokesperson, but a reasonable facsimile of a journalist, would have asked, "Who says that?"

    Unfortunately, no journalists were present, only David Gregory.  As is so often the case when Republicans are making wildly inaccurate statements, he was busy reading his notes on the next subject, or something, and the statement just hung there.

    This is what we have now, and have had for the last 30 years.  Republicans and their shills can say anything, and there is no one to challenge them.

    Which is why I simply don't bother watching the so-called news programs any more.  Bringing this up in this forum is fine, but not exactly new to anyone here. . .

    "Some ... facts are true for no reason. They are accidental, lacking a cause or deeper meaning." Gregory Chaitin

    by Noziglia on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:29:13 AM PDT

  •  I will put some blame on you. Yes you. (0+ / 0-)

    You are the one that went to church today.

    You are the one that added fuel to the fire today.

    You are the one that needs to stop and think about how your part plays into the larger part of how religion is funding and fueling the fight against science.

    If you, like me, reject religion, and are an atheist, then I not only don't blame you , but feel you are what might rescue this planet.

    " With religion you can't get just a little pregnant"

    by EarTo44 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:31:58 AM PDT

    •  plenty of religious people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jam, Calamity Jean

      also support action on climate.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:46:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, this is the essence of the problem (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      You can write a book, but if the people you most want to reach won't pick it up and read it, a book isn't the way.

      You can write an article, but if they won't read that magazine or newspaper, you can't reach them that way.

      You can be on the radio, but if they don't listen to that station, it won't matter.

      You can write a blog post, but if they don't read blogs, that won't reach them.  

      THe problem of communicating in our time is that there is no easy way to reach people, no matter what the message.  

      Where money might be involved, opposition can quickly mount a countervailing effort that is immediate.

      Probably the whole term "leaders" is a misnomer.  People in politics can not be leaders because if they were, they generally would be voted out of office. THe only option is to follow the ripening trends and only act when there is enough consensus that action can be supported by enough voters.

      So we are back to reaching the public.  Where are they?  Indeed.  

      hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

      by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:55:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  IE: who controls the media the people access? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean

        Clearly not democrats...

        The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

        by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:57:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The answer has been developing in front of us (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfcouple, EarTo44

          IT has taken some forty years, but the special interest conservatives and the religious right have invested in, bought up or otherwise established organized ways to influence the media that have become effective.

          It took a lot of efforts over a long time to do this.  Suddenly we wake up and see it, thinking it must have happened overnight.

          We are possibly misled by the fact that the conservative epithet, "the liberal media" remains as a left over from the early 70s and is still used to mobilize conservatives.

          hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

          by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:15:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  A couple of points... (0+ / 0-)

    As long as the democRATs are as scientificly illiterate as the republiCONs they will remain too stupid to make any cogent arguments.
    Also, as long as the same democRATs have the false belief that one religious nutcase will vote for them if they appeal to the same religious nonsense that passes for reason these days democrats will not gain any credibility with the sane and scientific among us!

  •  Many here don't want to consider it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    think about it, or deal with it, but.....

    The GOP's war on Marijuana (as opposed to Democratic tolerance and cooperation with it) is a part of/influenced by/an example of the GOP's ongoing denial of science (except for them they can cherry-pick something that suits their needs).

    And that should be part of ' democrat'sd greatest political weapon'.

    How many states have decriminalized already?

    How many states have medical marijuana laws already?

    How many more states will have have marijuana issues on the ballots in 2012?

    How does that NOT represent significant public interest in altering the Republican's war on marijuana?

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:42:51 AM PDT

  •  It is the democrats' greatest weapon! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Calamity Jean

    Like we should bet the safety  of the entire planet ---and everybody on it ----on whether or not the republicans are right---- when it comes to climate change!

    "Power is a fleeting thing. One day your souls will be required of you." Bishop Peter Storey---Central Methodist Mission, Johannesburg, June 1981

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:46:46 AM PDT

  •  It's the f'ing JOBs stupid (0+ / 0-)

    that's going to matter in the next election. Stop wasting time.

  •  It's not just climate denial; (5+ / 0-)

    it's denial of scientific evidence in many areas.

    Ideology trumps evidence in
     • economics
     • education policy
     • national security
     • health care policy and public health
     • and, global warming

    That's especially true when the ideology advances corporate interests.

  •  The right wing's exploitation of the (3+ / 0-)

    so-called "Climategate" seems to have caused great harm to the idea of global warming. Somehow they have made people believe that scientists have more of a vested interest in promoting global warming than corporations have in opposing it, which is absurd to me.

    I've noted in today's popular culture that characters in TV shows will mention global warming or climate change, but imply that it is inevitable--nothing can be done about it, so we'll just have to accept it. I think that's the aim of the propaganda machine pushing against action to try and halt man's impact on our climate.

    "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

    by Lily O Lady on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 09:59:51 AM PDT

  •  Looks like both parties are denying Climate Chaos (4+ / 0-)

    It's not exactly a top campaign issue for the Dems either. And yet it will have such a strong impact on their issues, like jobs and the economy.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:11:09 AM PDT

  •  When lazy idiots claim both parties are the same (0+ / 0-)

    just mention the GOP position on GW, which IMO makes them illegitimate and treasonous.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:39:42 AM PDT

  •  Democrats in the aggregate are a sorry bunch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    well we knew that.

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:44:54 AM PDT

  •  no university can excuse support for GW denial (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Calamity Jean

    aand their broadcasting of sports on RWradio is a big factor making RW radio credible in Their communities and maintaining that enabling made-to-order denier constituency.

    Making it iunacceptable for unis to associate with and endorse the loudest denial tool would go along way to fixing this and making it the winning issue it needsto be.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and partisan lying by broadcasting sports on Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 10:54:29 AM PDT

  •  The Real Problem Is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, billmosby

    That scientific, medical and theological issues have been taken over by politicians and ordinary people who are not scientists, doctors, or theologians.   That's the tip of the iceberg.  Most people (especially politicians) have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to certain matters.  George Bush and Dick Cheney set themselves up as military and naval experts and geniuses, and people like Sarah Palin all of a sudden become "professors" of American history.    

  •  it's climate chaos (4+ / 0-)

    The arctic ocean is bubbling like champagne from the melting methane hydrates. Look in your rear-view mirror, folks. That fuzzy thing you see? That was the tipping point and we flew right by it. But look on the bright side. The resumption of human evolution may be in sight. Bottlenecks are a bitch, but that how species either move forward or go extinct. Maybe we'll make progress in spite of ourselves.

  •  Outstanding Post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    Should be required reading for every elected or wants-to-be-elected Democrat.

    Please forward to your representatives!

  •  Nonsense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis

    Don't you know that 40 years worth of climate change research was clearly refuted when three scientists from the University of Pennsylvania created one graph which normalized the data using accepted methods?

    "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." - Originally said by someone who can do neither.

    by bondibox on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:15:35 AM PDT

  •  Link green energy to jobs. Picture the commercials (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Calamity Jean

    Obama and the Democrats can say "We can put solar panels all over the country. Somebody has to make them. Somebody has to install them. Somebody has to service them. All that can be done by American companies with American workers. Create AMERICAN jobs AND save the world" (insert pictures of moms, dads, kids, and puppies beneath an American flag).

    THEN  they can say "Meanwhile, Repukes want to give tax breaks to BILLIONAIRE oil barons who get their oil from MUSLIMS" (insert creepy music & grainy black & white imagery).

    Go Willie Horton (figuratively) on their asses, just like they've done to US. And the best thing about it is it's the TRUTH. No more bringing knives to gunfights.

    A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

    by METAL TREK on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 11:21:46 AM PDT

  •  Don't call it "climate change" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Call it human-induced global warming

  •  climate (0+ / 0-)

    obama needs to be re elected first. then he needs to appoint al gore as czar of climate. then repeal the 22th amendment and keep re electing president obama.if need be declare a national emergency so congress & the courts can be ignored. we must save the planet

  •  The speed at which the political system moves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    Climate change is an issue that, like slavery and civil rights, or women's rights, could take a normal course of decades and centuries to ripen to a point of mass consensus.

    That has been the normal speed of the political system.  Culture has to be influenced first, and in the culture there are a mix of things going on that have to get worked out before politics get involved.

    Public education has to go through pro and anti back and forth that may require generations.  Some consensus emerges and then there is a debate about how it accords with religious traditions.  

    After a while, the population moves sufficient for the ripening issue to become political.  Now, with 300 million in America and 7 billion on the planet that is more cumbersome than ever.  

    But in terms of climate, it is obvious that this process is way too slow.  

    The problem is how to speed it up.  In the age of the internet, more people online blogging and communicating are in fact, speeding this process up.  But it still is not fast enough.  

    What is really slowing the process is the money the selfish corporate interests are putting into it for short term profit, and the way the religious right has taken on the project of slowing things down as a crusade.  

    I think a lot more pressure simply has to be heaped on those two groups.  Shame the profit-centric and the selfish.  Shame the information-lite, anti-scientific born agains.

    We really cannot afford to be slowed down.  We also need to target where the problem is.  Politicians will move when they see the public moving.  The factors that are slowing things down need to be addressed.  

    We cannot allow greedheads and religious people whose critical faculties are disabled to get in the way.  We don't have a generation or two.  We should not limit the discussion to the Daily Kos blog.  We have to figure out how to take the argument to the groups that are aggressors in the effort to slow down our responses to climate change.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sun Jun 10, 2012 at 01:09:28 PM PDT

  •  The Last Gasps of a Dying Species (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    atana, Dracowyrm

    The climate change theory is as close to fact as other theories, such as gravity, plate tectonics, and evolution.  Species extinction is also a strongly proven tenet.

    There is absolutely no rule in place that states that homo sapiens will reside and rule this planet forever.  In fact, there are untold number of cases where a species, through inability to adjust properly to its own environment, was an active participant in its own demise.

    Best case, if projections continue and our impact on the environment doesn't change, is the economic collapse of civilization as we know it, perhaps to some feudal state.  Worst case is obliteration.

    However - - if the Democratic Party brings this up in the current election cycle - - they wil lose.  The well-funded Republican propoganda machine will decimate Democrats on this issue, treating any ouspoken proponents of climate change as tree-hugging long-haired hippie commune-dwelling 'libruls'.  You may have already heard undertones of the looming conversation on this - - Republicans stating that the 'adult' view is the sensible one where we support the job creators, aka big business such as big oil.

    This is our reality - the inability of world governments to react in cooperation, let alone our own government, will result in, at best, too-little too-late reaction.  Maybe the end-of-the-world survivalists have it right, almost accidentally; the world will end not in the way they think, but end nonetheless.

  •  climate change Democrats biggest weapon (0+ / 0-)

    It can't be because it already is A BIG LIE.

  •  Climate change (0+ / 0-)

    Democrats are not using the climate change debate because
    It can be easily refuted,this line of debate is as bad as blaming Bush for the economy. the public including me remember global cooling from the 70's  We may have global warming but it has been proven that the sun drives our climate.

  •  The warnings of scientists did have some effect (0+ / 0-)

    back when the US was a democracy. That's why we banned DDT, created the EPA, and passed the Endangered Species Act.

    But that was 40 years ago. None of those things could happen today.

    It doesn't matter what the public wants now. The public wants Single Payer. The public wants the banksters punished for robbing us blind. The public wants a lot of things the public will never get, because the US government is now of, by, and for the richest people only.

    And they don't even have to be US citizens -- e.g. the Vatican can dump as much money as they please onto candidates who hate birth control, choice, and women. And, one assumes, they do.

    The US government is open for business to the world; it's one dollar == one vote now.

    So if you want sane climate change policy, you have to buy it. Don't try to reason or offer facts or evidence, because no one in Washington is swayed by anything but money, and the opinions of the US public are irrelevant.

  •  This diary does not reflect political reality. (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, the Republican war on science is real. Yes, anthrogenic climate change is real. And the impacts described are certainly coming.

    Does this translate to a great big political weapon for Democrats? It does not.

    The diarist presumes that overwhelming scientific consensus is persuasive to voters. But by and large, this is not the case. It is a fact of human nature--an inherent one, not a choice--that immediate crisis will take precedence for attention and action over long-term crisis. While most Americans do believe in anthrogenic climate change, it is far down the list of their current priorities (like all environmental issues, sadly). What motivates action right now is economic issues: job creation, business recovery, the foreclosure/property value crisis, etc.

    By no stretch of the imagination can climate change be "the Democrats' greatest political weapon", and it would be foolhardy for them to drop everything to start focusing on it. In the abstract, in terms of risk analysis, it would absolutely be the right call, but that's not how human beings work. We will address climate change--if at all--when the industrialized nations have the economic security to do so. Until then, it will not be a top-drawer issue. That may mean insufficient action until it is too late.

  •  Bush "created his own reality" (0+ / 0-)

    His reality was a delusional, Dick Cheney wet dream of WMDs, wars and torture, but damn it those maniacs had the courage to go after their goals.

    Dems watch the polls and play political games over and over when they should be leading.

    Good to see you back on environmental issues. I was afraid we lost you into Kos' election black hole.

    look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

    by FishOutofWater on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 12:51:05 PM PDT

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