Tuesday, December 29, 2009

More Grist for the Mill

One of those I follow on twitter is Grist's Dave Roberts @drgrist. He is about as knowledgeable on energy politics as anyone and never afraid to speak his mind. Tonight, his tweets included this gem:
Added irony: French court nixes #carbontax because it has too many looholes. I thought only #capandtrade had those! http://bit.ly/8QsPU2
What Roberts and so many other apologists for the status quo fail to acknowledge is that legislatures, whether the US Congress or the Parlement français, whether Democratic or Republican, currently exist to create loopholes. A loophole here for a critical industry, a loophole there for a key constituency. That is how they try to stay in power. In America, it is all so commercialized. What price a vote for Climate Change?

Then, maybe Roberts's spelling "loohole" was a just bathroom carbon black humor.

Monday, December 28, 2009

60 Minutes of Fox News

I watched Leslie Stahl posture her way through the California Water Crisis last night on 60 Minutes.  To tell the truth, I found little difference between her coverage and that of Sean Hannity on Fox News, which I dissed here.  Well, maybe Stahl's was more visually impressive with her helicopter ride over the Delta with Schwarzenegger.

This is not just my opinion. One LA based freelance journalist, Elizabeth Green, managed to tweet "Hasta la vista, 60 Minutes". and linked to her short, direct criticism of Stahl.
On the subject of size, a couple of minutes, far less than 60, of checking crop output would have taken the steam out of what the program suggests is a looming almond crisis says On the public record. That and a half-way energetic intern might have put a question mark over the stuff about Schwarzenegger’s “unlikely” political alliance with the Latino Water Coalition. Here’s a Capitol Weekly report about the origins of the governor’s stage army, which the giant network credulously took as an authentic grass roots movement.
Green Party activist Lloyd G. Carter left some more direct comments regarding Stahl's in-over-her-head explanations at the CBSNews site.
For those who want a different view of what's really going in California water politics, I suggest you visit the following link to the Golden Gate University Law School Environmental Law Forum:

You will discover that the American taxpayers have showered a billion dollars of subsidies and cheap water on the problem-plagued Westlands. The fundamental problem of San Joaquin Valley agriculture is not lack of water, it is low prices caused by surplus. In the last four years, almonds have dropped from $4 a pound to $1-2 a pound. The San Joaquin Valley now has 650,000 acres of almonds. Do we really need to spend billions of dollars on new dams to grow more almonds? Which the Westlands should never have planted! Stuart Woolf should never have planted his almond orchards. At a congressional subcommittee hearing at Fresno City Hall a couple of years ago, Woolf threatened to take his 25,000-acre "family farm" operation offshore if he was not provided water.

Finally, Stahl failed to mention that big growers like Stuart Resnick, a confidante and major contributor to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is making tens of millions of dollars re-selling farm water supplies to Southern California development interests so we can grow an ever larger population in the Mojave Desert. This is a prescription for disaster.

That is right, Lloyd. It is also an opportunity for Greens who are the only party with the ideas to make this state work.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Feelin' the Spirit

Winter Solstice, showers off and on. Sun came out, go pick some persimmons, rain starts gain. Quiet now, listening to Grant Green, Herbie Hancock and Billy Higgins Feelin' the Spirit (1962).

So what was so important to write about? Copenhagen COP15 meltdown? Health Insurance Company Bailout? Maybe this: The only answer to organized money is organized people. That is an idea so important that Bill Moyers repeated it three times in an address to students at Occidental College.
The only answer to organized money is organized people.


The only answer to organized money is organized people.

And again:

The only answer to organized money is organized people.
It was even the theme for his December 11, 2009 Journal on PBS.

I do not know of any description that is better for the predicament of the GPCA this year.  It is a year of statewide election where contestants are multi-millionaires like Poizner and Whitman, or have enough connections with said money as to be able to drive all contenders out of the race like Jerry Brown did... unless millionaire Diane Feinstein decides to retire from the Senate.

Greens don't have the type of money. We don't take corporate donations. So, we had better be a lot more organized than anyone else.  Greens have the long used the term Grassroots Democracy to describe their goal but some would seem to prefer grassroots anarchy, running away from the work of organizing, protective of some internal goodness that they would rather wait for self-organizing groups to come an ask for admission.  'taint gonna happen.

We are working toward a contested gubernatorial primary and that should be the impetus to do the organizing that our working groups have talked about but not done.

Here is a simple problem.  All of us have friends, family, neighbors, co-workers.  I am sure that we all know people who understand just how broken the current system is, how the lobbyists write our legislation, how we are so dependent on big money that even Ralph Nader says that Only the Super Rich can Save Us.  So let's each of us get one of those and convince them to register Green. I am not asking for much.  Just 1 new registration. A personal plea at the grassroots level.  You don't need a flier, you don't need a table in front of Safeway.  You just need to believe. 

You have until Jan 31.  I am sure that you can do it.  Just keep track of who you register because, come Feb. 1,  I am going to ask all of you, new and old,  to do it again.

Friday, December 18, 2009

We didn't get Single Payer. So now what.

We still don't have a health care solution. We still have politicians like John McCain talking about our having the best health care system in the world, even though the objective results of that system are not so good.

I listened to Shields and Brooks discuss this on the Newshour tonight. I thought David Brooks got right to the heart of the problem.
My fundamental problem is that it is a slow, gradual building on the current system. But the current system is so fundamentally messed up. The incentive structure is such that providers are penalized for being efficient. Everybody's got an incentive to get more and more care. We're all separated from the consequences of our choices, and that you can't build reforms on top of what is really a rotten set of incentives.

And so, at the end of the day, the question is, can you pass this and get toward real reform down the road? And I fundamentally don't think so. One of the Medicare actuaries reported I think last week or within two weeks that health care spending is just shooting upwards. Was 15 percent of the GDP. Now I think it's 17.7 percent of GDP. It will be up to 22, 24.

This bill will make it increase slightly faster, not slower. And if you care about things like preschool education, state spending on any other projects, that's all going to be swallowed up by health care. And if we don't address that problem, we have missed the central problem.
So, what are out Senators doing?

Boxer's web site provides a long list of prescriptions, all of which she tells us will not cost us anything. Or if it does, we can deduct it from out taxes... assuming we make enough to be paying taxes.

As for Feinstein, she gives us a list of priorities, but Health Care is not one of them.

Californians, this has been the major topic of discussion for most of the year.  The Senate appears now to be operating under the rule of filibuster, where every bill needs to have a 60 votes rather than a simple majority.  Neither of our Senators is really engaged in the process of making fundamental reform work. And all of the quasi progressive reformists tell us that they have to pass a bad bill because not passing it would be embarrassing.

I've had my differences with Dr. Henry Duke at times, but I think he has his sights in the right place on this one.
Corporate funded Democrats like Obama, Baucus, Clinton, Kennedy, Pelosi, are playing games with you and Obama/Baucus clearly decided in January that for health care reform everything would be on the table -- except single payer or the medicare-for-all real reform supported by a majority of Americans and American Nurses and  Doctors. The people behind this "urgent" blame onto Lieberman and the Republicans are these very same insurance company puppets and shock-troops.

HCAN or Healthcare for America Now is not for single payer, and you can bet they receive lots of Big Pharmacy, Insurance, and Hospital industry money laundered through non-profit 501c3 entities like the United Healthcare Foundation, California Wellness foundation, etc.

Good people but bad politics.

Lets break the co-dependency / addiction circle: ObamaCare, the Pelosi, Baucus, and Reid bill are all not reform, they're more bailout for big insurance finance requiring taxes and mandates for workers and consumers.
 I don't think either of our Senators can give us an answer without checking with their donor list.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

State of San Joaquin

I don't often comment on Republican races but now I am getting interested in the Republican Primary for the 18th Senate District. The incumbent, Ashburn, is being termed out and maybe no one will notice since he has been something of a non-entity, though no one can match Rep. Congressman Wally "Walleye" Herger (CA-02)for being invisible.

From what I read at swingstate project, the Republican Primary contest will determine the next State Senator in a district where registration favors the Republicans by 16.5%. The thing that makes this interesting is the campaign being run by Bill Maze, once the 34th District Assemblyman termed out in 2008. Maze has a plan to divide California into 2 states: a 13 county Coastal belt running from the Bay Area to San Diego and the rest of the state. He is actually making this a campaign issue.

Most think this is crazy. But, Maze currently has no announced opposition though the Bakersfield press thinks that Assemblywoman Jean Fuller (32nd AD and not termed out) will run for the seat. If it is a race, and Maze wins, I think that signals a move further to the fringes in the San Joaquin Valley and little chance for Democratic gains. Nothing but gridlock for another 4 years in Sacramento.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Party Governor's Race

It looks like the Green Party of California will have something that the Democrats don't this year: a contested race for Governor. Both Laura Wells (NoCal) and Deacon Alexander (SoCal) have taken the initial steps to challenge for this post and both seem to be headed for a formal announcement in early January.

I had to take a couple of days to think about this one. It is not usual for the GPCA to have contested races. But, I think that we should welcome this one as it gives a chance to let everyone know just what the Green Party is all about.

Laura Wells has run for Controller before, polling over 400,000 votes in 2002. That is the most of any Green in California Electoral History. She is a strong advocate for economic justice.

Deacon Alexander is just a strong advocate for social justice, especially when that is being denied on any of fraudulent basis that our society manages to come up with.

I need to admit here that I have agreed to assist Laura in her campaign, but either of these two candidates will be a refreshing change from the two major parties where Jerry Brown's fund raising has chased everyone else from the contest and Meg E-Bay Whitman is trying to buy the nomination outright.

Greens take no corporate donations and neither candidate is a wealthy as the millionaire list that the Republicans are running (Whitmen, Poizner, Fiorina for Senator). Rather Greens will win their votes the hard way. They will earn them listing to people rather than talking at them, on their feet rather than on the airways (may I never hear another Whitman ad again... they are as jarring when listening to KDFC as are the Coit rug cleaning commercials.)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

California's ARB fails again.

When Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Mary Nichols to head California's Air Resources Board (ARB), I was skeptical. In fact, I suggested that she be fired.

Since then, the ARB has muddled along. The strongest action they have taken was to put controls on diesel engine emissions, long known to be a health risk and particularly bad in the corridors leading to the ports in Oakland and Long Beach / San Pedro. Now, even that is falling apart.

To begin with, the retrofit to older diesel exhaust systems is costly, as much as $11,000 per truck. There was a $15 million fund to provide assistance to independent truckers, but that was exhausted long before most of them got around to applying. Now those trucks would be banned from entering the port after Jan 1.

Having long ago criticized the ARB for being in-effective, Green Party of CA continued their criticism yesterday. The fact is that even if the State Government were to line up the trucks and pay for the retrofit directly, it would save the California Economy so much that it might be a good deal. After all, a study from CSU-Fullerton Economists Jane V. Hall and Victor Brajer put the cost of our bad air at $28 billion per year.

If this were not enough, we found out yesterday that much of the ARB's analysis work on rulemaking for diesel exhaust was performed by a man who lied about his academic credentials, and ARB Board Chair Mary Nichols knew it. She just decided to let it slide. It is incomprehensible to this writer that a person in her position could be so tone deaf to the political realities that she would just pass this off or hide it.

Most would agree that there was nothing wrong with the analysis done, nor the conclusions reached by the ARB but Nichols must be politically tone deaf not to understand that this was dumb.

So, everything is now delayed even more, and the costs of California's health care wil go up, emergency room visits for asthma will continue high, some might die, and there is no one to blame other than Nichols. Once again, I will repeat what I said a year ago. Nichols should resign.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

"Farmer" Stewart Resnick -- the Joys of "Bipartisanship"

Almost every stupid thing that happens in California has the fingerprints of U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein. However, the strange saga of Delta "farmer" Stewart Resnick illustrates the Joys of "bipartisanship."

Published in The San Francisco Chronicle, December 6, 2009

Major Donor Got Feinstein's Help on Delta Plan
by Lance Williams, California Watch
Wealthy corporate farmer Stewart Resnick has written check after check to U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's political campaigns. He's hosted a party in her honor at his Beverly Hills mansion and he's entertained her at his second home in Aspen.

And in September, when Resnick asked Feinstein to weigh in on the side of agribusiness in a drought-fueled environmental dispute over the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, this wealthy grower and political donor got quick results, documents show.

On Sept. 4, Resnick wrote to Feinstein, complaining that the latest federal plan to rescue the delta's endangered salmon and shad fisheries was "exacerbating the state's severe drought" because it cut back on water available to irrigate crops. "Sloppy science" by federal wildlife agencies had led to "regulatory-induced water shortages," he claimed.

"I really appreciate your involvement in this issue," he wrote to Feinstein.

One week later, Feinstein forwarded Resnick's letter to two U.S. Cabinet secretaries. In her own letter, she urged the administration to spend $750,000 for a sweeping re-examination of the science behind the entire delta environmental protection plan.

The Obama administration quickly agreed. . .

Resnick's Paramount Farms owns 118,000 acres of heavily irrigated California orchards. And since he began buying farmland 25 years ago, Resnick, his wife and executives of his companies have donated $3.97 million to candidates and political committees, mostly in the Golden State, a California Watch review of public records shows.

They have given $29,000 to Feinstein and $246,000 more to Democratic political committees during years when she has sought re-election. . .

In Los Angeles, Resnick, 72, is known as one of the city's wealthiest men and among its most generous philanthropists. He's given $55 million to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and millions more for a psychiatric hospital at UCLA and an energy institute at Cal Tech.

His wife and business partner, Lynda Resnick, is an entrepreneur, socialite and writer. Her 2008 marketing book, "Rubies in the Orchard," had attracted blurbs from Martha Stewart and Rupert Murdoch, and her "Ruby Tuesday" blog is sometimes featured on huffingtonpost.com. The couple live in a Beverly Hills mansion that writer Amy Wilentz called "Little Versailles." It's the scene of parties for celebrities, charities and politicians - governors, senators and presidential candidates. . .

In the 1990s, they gave $238,000 to Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, records show, although Resnick says he doesn't recall giving to Wilson and doesn't think he ever met him.

The Resnicks also backed the Democrat who replaced Wilson, Gray Davis. They gave Davis $643,000 and $91,500 more to oppose Davis' recall in 2003.

With Davis gone, Resnick began donating to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger - $221,000, records show - plus $50,000 to a foundation that pays for the governor's foreign travel.

Other big donations include $776,000 to Democratic political committees, $134,000 to agribusiness political committees and initiatives, and $59,000 to Republican committees. . .

In August 2000, when the Democratic National convention was in Los Angeles, the Resnicks hosted a cocktail party for Feinstein in their home. Among the guests were the singer Nancy Sinatra, then-Gov. Davis and former President Jimmy Carter, the Los Angeles Times reported.

In 2007, they gave $10,000 to the Fund for the Majority, Feinstein's political action committee. In June, another committee to which Resnick has contributed, the California Citrus Mutual PAC, spent $2,500 to host a fundraiser for Feinstein, records show.

Feinstein also socializes with the Resnicks. Arianna Huffington, the blog editor and former candidate for governor, told the New York Observer in 2006 that she had spent New Year's with Feinstein at the Resnicks' home in Aspen. "We wore silly hats and had lots of streamers and everything," she said of the party.

Last month, state lawmakers enacted a package of measures aimed at reforming the state's outmoded water allocation system. The centerpiece - an $11 billion bond to build new dams and canals - must be approved by voters.

See, all we have to do to fix things in this country is to get the "best and the brightest" Republicans and Democrats to sit down at a big table and . . .

Obama administration sacrifices credibility

Once again, in a manner that only American arrogance can pull off, the Obama administration seems to be willing to sacrifice it's hard won world-wide credibility, an attitudinal change best reflected in his being a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. It must be worth a lot to sacrifice so much in the meeting halls of Copenhagen.

According to the Guardian, the text of an agreement involving the US, the UK and Denmark has been leaked to the attendees and the world wide press.
The UN Copenhagen climate talks are in disarray today after developing countries reacted furiously to leaked documents that show world leaders will next week be asked to sign an agreement that hands more power to rich countries and sidelines the UN's role in all future climate change negotiations.

The document is also being interpreted by developing countries as setting unequal limits on per capita carbon emissions for developed and developing countries in 2050; meaning that people in rich countries would be permitted to emit nearly twice as much under the proposals.

The so-called Danish text, a secret draft agreement worked on by a group of individuals known as "the circle of commitment" – but understood to include the UK, US and Denmark – has only been shown to a handful of countries since it was finalised this week.
Sen. Boxer should call for an immediate investigation of the role of the Obama Administration in this action. CA Greens should all call Boxer's office to demand that she begin to stand up for the future beyond the next election. If Fiorina or DeVore have her afraid of acting, then she should not be in the Senate.

Greens can reach their Congress Critters, including Boxer, by going here and filling in your zip code.

US Gov. settles Indian Trust law suit

I started my blogging in 2004 with long running commentary on my then Congressman, Richard Pombo. The only thing that I ever praised him on was the fact that he pushed to have the Government settle the lawsuit brought by Elouise Cobell on behalf of Individual Indian beneficiaries of a Trust Fund that was supposed to be administered by the US Government.

The basis of the suit was the mismanagement of funds derived from mineral extraction on Indian lands that was supposed to be held in trust by the Dept. of the Interior. Over the years, the accounting for those funds was lost to the point where no one could ever know just how much was supposed to be in the trust nor how the monies were managed.

That case was brought during the Clinton Administration and originally designated as Cobell vs Babbitt since Bruce Babbitt was then the Sec. of the Interior. We are now on our 3rd Sec. of the Interior since Babbitt (Gail Norton, Dirk Kepmthorne and not Ken Salazar) and the case has only now been settled.

Details of the settlement are to be found here. Suffice it to say that the Native Americans received only a fraction (~$3.5 Billion) of what they were owed. (once estimated at $170 Billion).

Monday, December 07, 2009

A Reply to Ted Glick's New Book


It is good to present a strategy for the future that is thought out and proposes organizational and tactical recommendations. http://www.tedglick.com/books.html The debate that needs to be held really needs to be public. I have written several articles in the GREEN HORIZON MAGAZINE that presented the particular strategy of building an independent political party, the Green Party. I would be more then willing to help build for a forum on strategy for the road forward in San Francisco. I am forwarding this for Greens on the Eco-Action Committee and others to review and consider the possibility of such a forum.

The idea is not to win a debate but to review the viable strategic options that have presented themselves and how to address the lack of progress from current tactics and strategy. As you know, no one strategy has demonstrated a degree of unqualified success that puts it beyond reproach. But there have been significant gains, increased electoral experience and lessons learned in regards to questions of organization and tactics that are worth summarizing. Your proposal of a United Progressive Alliance is by no means a new proposal. Internally, Greens have had those who promote a fusion strategy for years in many different political contexts. To date, the successes have not significantly impacted on the political debate of our times.

Issues that need to be raised include: the role of the Democratic Party in the marginalization of a third party option in states they dominate, the role of progressive advocacy groups in electoral campaigns involving the Green Party, the context and role of PDA and other Democratic Party political action groups, the lack of a broad-based constituency within the progressive movement and the deep environmental consciousness that exists among broad strata of the American public that has not been tapped politically in the past 2-3 decades. Strategically structural reforms necessitate an approach that works from the bottom up and establishes alliances with various public officials. Ballot access and proportional representation touch on the kind of changes needed to increase the representation of those currently marginalized in the decision-making processes.

It is a mistake though to take on campaigns that we are not prepared to win. Political viabilty will come with victories and by working in processes in which the global warming issue can be defined locally. Having spent much of my efforts in NM in water planning, there was a clear priority in that state and public awareness that presented itself for a process that developed a specific and holistic approach. The failure was the lack of awareness and willingness to formulate this experience into a political campaign that presented the options and built on the public engagement in the planning process.

There will always be contradictions between Greens and those promoting fusion. Bill Richardson can afford to present himself as a progressive to those outside of the state of NM, as he did in the primary, but his image in the state was far from that. At the same time, Democratic candidates, such as Richard Romero in his losing race for Congress, did the unthinkable by reaching out to Greens. Different candidates require different approaches.

What I am more concerned about is the inherent ideological definition of progressives being a pre-determined basis of unity. In California, groups have aligned with those in the Delta that included a variety of water-based recreational and sporting businesses. In NM, Republican farmers, local water managers, specialists, historical users and urban users were able to effectively minimize the influence of real estate interests and developers. In other words, strategic alliances need to be based on common issues of concern and not flow from a pre-set political agenda. If reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the goal, then the analysis of who stands to benefit from this becomes a much more fundamental issue in electoral work and political action.

In an article in which I presented a strategic issue of energy transition, I presented the matter thusly:

" The development of a serious effort in this regard has not even begun. The first necessary steps is to establish a broad-based coalition of organizations that establishes a common, working strategy for the writing, passing and implementation of an Energy Transition Legislative Package. A five-year target date should be established at an appropriate Founding Congress of political action groups. Political action during that time needs to be prioritized in regards to the passage in Congress, and State Legislatures of the US...

"Time is not on our side. That does not negate the critical element of transformation that can take place rapidly and efficiently once the political will has been consolidated and institutionalized. The complexities are already being addressed.
The alternatives are already modeled in locales and nations around the world. Sweden, Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands have already established energy transition to renewable energy as national priorities.

"The first obvious aspect of any plan is that it needs to be approved with more than just a Democratic working majority. It requires winning over non-ideologues in both parties.... Actions are already being taken by the Western Governors' Association http://www.westgov.org/wga/press/plenary1-pr.htm and the U.S. Conference of Mayors http://www.usmayors.org/climateprotection/ regarding climate change. As momentum is building public officials need to be encouraged to move faster and implement the transition legislation needed."

The essence of the position is that there remain more strategic issues to move forward that cannot be found simply in an alliance of progressives. Priorities need to be established and reduction goals defined in the political context of candidate districts. States such as California, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania present themselves as the largest emitters of GHGs. As such, these states need to be prioritized in political work and electoral campaigns above and beyond work done at the Congressional level. In this context it is worth noting the recent consolidation and expansion of the Illinois Green Party on the state ballot and the election of Green candidates in California, though mostly non-partisan elections.

Defining the Mission of a unified alliance needs to be focused on the goals that we are striving for. Constituencies that we have worked with in the past need to be expanded based on common concerns and political action needs to be based on demonstrated common direction towards our common goal and not the entire Platform or political agenda of any one ideological or political group.

I welcome feedback.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Health care then and now.

Health Care: From the Day Books of Edward Weston.

March 22, 1929: Yesterday Brett and Merle went riding, - horseback -- the horse slipped, fell on Brett, breaking his leg --- he is now in the Monterey hospital. The X-ray shows the bone so twisted that only an operation can put it in place with any surety.

March 23, 1929: How cold-blooded hospitals and doctors can be, or seem to be: that is re: financial details, - I would not have wanted an emotional nurse, or physician. Well, they are in business, have to live. I ask a deposit on my work, why shouldn't they? But when I was told they wouldn't operate without cash on hand, -- $75, which, though I know it is a small amount, I have not, I asked, "If I cannot get the amount by Tuesday, what will you do,- send the boy away?"

Single Payer Health Care Now.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

GP Canada's Elizabeth May debates Climate Change.

Be it resolved climate change is mankind's defining crisis and deserves a commensurate policy response.

That was the proposition debated last night in Toronto. The participants were:

  • George Monbiot: author of the best selling books Heat: how to stop the planet burning;
  • Bjørn Lomborg: adjunct professor at the Copenhagen Business School. He is the organizer of the Copenhagen Consensus Center
  • Lord Nigel Lawson: was Chancellor of the Exchequer between June 1983 and October 1989
  • Elizabeth May: L eader of the Green Party of Canada and is an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer active in the environmental movement since 1970.
A running blog comment stream came from:
  • Dave Roberts (Grist.com staff writer), 
  • David Boyd (co-author, with David Suzuki, David Suzuki's Green Guide), 
  • Jim Harris (former leader, Green Party of Canada), 
  • Nic Rivers (co-author, with Jeffrey Simpson and Marc Jaccard, Hot Air: Meeting Canada's Climate Change Challenge), 
  • Peter Tertzakian (Chief Energy Economist of ARC Financial Corporation, Author, A Thousand Barrels a Second), 
  • Krystyn Tully (Vice President, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper)
Read the following comments about Elizabeth May's performance. Who in all of the Green Party US has the stature to be invited to debate and the capability to actually deliver?

David Roberts:
Crucial point from May: climate science based on multiple overlapping strands of evidence from multiple scientific disciplines. Not some fragile edifice based on one "hockey stick."

David Roberts:
May is kicking Lomborg's ass. Asks, pertinently, why is it only spending on climate change that he objects to? What about corporate bailouts? Fossil fuel subsidies? Military spending? He's curiously quiet on those.

[Comment From Doug Brown: ]
I agree with Elizabeth on this point -- I've lived and worked in Africa for many years and that is the same observation I would make on this point -- climate change is negatively impacting the very things related to poverty and underdevelopment that we are concerned about

MAy is getting close to the heart of Lomborg's duplicity. Why is the choice limited to spending money on foreign aid OR climate change? Added together, the amount of money needed to address the UN's Millennium Development Goals and climate change is a substantial yet affordable sum. We can and should do both!

David Roberts:

Good point from May: why aren't we talking about benefits? Efficiency is an oil well we could never exhaust, and provides energy cheaper than any other alternative. Why not tap it?

Krystyn Tully:

When May says we waste energy, she isn't kidding. Generating electricity on the Great Lakes consumes more energy than any other sector. Our current approach to energy creation is incredibly inefficient (p. 248) : http://www.epa.gov/solec/sogl2007/SOGL2007.pdf

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A candidate for 2012? I think not.

Someone sent me the name of a potential candidate for 2012 and asked me what I thought of that person. After all, they are well known enough to produce OpEd material for the NY Times (the old Grey Lady) or The Nation. Barbara Ehrenreich would never be my choice. Click Read more! to find out why.

Ehrenreich is a good person to lob grenades from the sidelines, or even supporting the front lines, but would make a poor candidate if her message is represented by those OpEd styled pieces posted at her blog. I come back to one point again and again when I look at potential Green Party Candidates. Almost every one steps forward presenting a litany of what is wrong with America and offering absolutely no solutions. That is whining, not leadership (a phrase stolen from 49er coach, Mike Singletary), and yet it is the accepted posture and rhetoric of the so-called progressive left. It leaves me asking "progressing toward what?"

It reminds me of a quotation attributed to Julia Butterfly Hill. "Many of us have gotten so good at defining what we are against that what we are against has started to define us." This type of message will never win elections, not for POTUS, not for Congress, or Governor, not even for City Council.

In particular, Ehrenreich's various rants about unwarranted optimism may be accurate, but they will not win more than a couple of votes that she would have gotten anyway.

The Swine Flu Vaccine Screw-up
Optimism as a Public Health Problem

How Positive Thinking Wrecked the Economy

It comes across as smug without any answers nor any suggestions for how they would right the wrongs that they see, sort of a Carteresque Malaise and you know how far that got him.

For our candidates, we need truth-sayers with a plan. One without the other is not good enough.