Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Same sh|t, different year

Image courtesy of Flickr user “epSos.de”, used under Creative Commons.

Hey, look!

It’s Daniel Sarewitz recycling a column from back in 2010 about how Republicans and science don’t mix and how it’s everyone’s fault but Republicans‘.

Sarewitz wrings his hands:

That President Barack Obama chose to mention “technology, discovery and innovation” in his passionate victory speech in November shows just how strongly science has come, over the past decade or so, to be a part of the identity of one political party, the Democrats, in the United States.

Huh?

President George W. Bush, according to his own scientific advisor, “included science and technology topics in his State of the Union speeches to an unprecedented extent.”

Does that mean during the Bush presidency “science was part of the identity of one political party” namely the Republicans? Would anyone make such an idiotic claim? Yet, this is the quality of “evidence” Sarewitz marshals for his “argument”.

Sarewitz seems to really love telling science what it “must” do, and it’s all rubbish. Science “must” bow down to religion for no particular reason other than Sarewitz’s own deficit of imagination. Science “must” cater to the hostile desires of Republicans for the tautological reason that Republicans are hostile to science.

As I have mentioned previously, I don’t think Democrats have some sort of special relationship with science. Far from it. I emphatically do not wish to see science as a whole become associated with any one political party, purely based on hostility from an opposition.

There are good arguments to make about how we can go about increasing Republican acceptance of science. But those arguments involve changing the way Republicans relate to science, rather than changing the institution of science itself. The only thing science “must” do is continue to get results. How people make use of the process is a vital but secondary concern.

Mainstream American Republican/conservative political ideology and self-identification has to a large extent become inextricably linked to the belief systems of unfettered industrial capitalism and to a somewhat lesser extent fundamentalist Christian religion. Both of these worldviews are hostile to scientifically-demonstrated phenomena because of the perception that said phenomena contradict their underpinnings. This is not a problem for science. It’s a problem for those ideologies, or at least the way their adherents approach science.

Berating science and scientists for problems that lie elsewhere is an easy, Slate-y piece of contrarianism and hippie-punching, but it will do nothing to fix the conflict.

How do the Sarewitz’s of the world imagine science can be even more accomodating to religion on the topic of evolution? How many other originally Republican/conservative solutions (pigovian taxation, cap and trade, etc.) to environmental problems need be proffered to Republicans?

As Alex Pareene put it, “Maybe scientists should just declare that climate change can be fixed by eliminating the estate tax, or bombing Iran. That should do it.”

At what point does the hippie-punching give way to addressing the roots of the problem where they actually lay?

Christopher Monckton, birther – Part IV

Words fail. Previous entries here, here, and here.

Fox “News” is Beyond Parody

On the heels of what I was saying about conservative conspiracy mongering about polling data

News Corp/Fox are beyond parody. Their own polls show the same leads they’re conspiracy theorizing about:

Via Talking Points Memo.

Christopher Monckton, birther – Part III

This is not a spoof or comedy bit. This is Monckton appearing for BirtherReport.com. Wearing a US flag shirt. And a cowboy hat. And a (prop?) gun.

He also titillated Heartland‘s annual climate denialapolooza with similar birther antics.

Back in March, Monckton went full-fledged birther on the Dennis Miller show, claiming the President’s birth certificate is a forgery

Previously, Monckton hinted (at a Koch-funded Tea Party rally) that he believed that President Obama was born in Kenya. While he later claimed to be joking, Monckton rejected the idea that the President was definitely born in the US.

Prior to that, Monckton conflated Obama with the mass-murdering terrorist Osama bin Laden, and claimed Obama and others seeking to mitigate climate change would “kill tens of millions” in a keynote speech hosted by the Heartland Institute.

Note:  Monckton’s birtherism- along with his claims of inventing a cure for HIV, of winning a Nobel prize, of being a member of the House of Lords, etc.- is simply crank magnetism in action. Those who are cranks in one area are very seldom cranks in that area alone, be it because they’re shilling for special interests, indoctrinated in an unscientific ideology, or they’re just a bit touched. We see this time and again with Dick Lindzen’s and Fred Seitz’s smoking-cancer denial, Baliunas’s, Michaels’s, Singer’s,  Happer’s, and Seitz’s CFCs-ozone depletion denial, Roy Spencer’s creationism and “DDT = a holocaust” claims, and on and on and on. Those that deny the reality of anthropogenic warming rarely limit themselves to that delusion alone.

The point here is not source degradation. Their arguments, such as they are, should be and are refuted on their merits elsewhere. But for those who like to keep track of such things, crank magnetism just gained another data point.

Christopher Monckton, birther – Part II

For those outside the US, “birtherism” is the conspiracy among the paranoid conservative base that Barack Obama’s birth certificate is fake. Some believe that this is because Obama wasn’t born in the US, others believe it’s because it conceals his “real” father, others believe it has something to do with the race his parents claimed for him, etc. The point is, all that is required to be a “birther” is to believe that Obama’s birth certificate isn’t real.

Previously, Monckton hinted (at a Koch-funded Tea Party rally) that he believed that President Obama was born in Kenya. While he later claimed to be joking, Monckton rejected the idea that the President was definitely born in the US. Prior to that, Monckton conflated Obama with the mass-murdering terrorist Osama bin Laden, and claimed Obama and others seeking to mitigate climate change would “kill tens of millions” in a keynote speech hosted by the right wing, anti-regulation, climate denialism front group Heartland Institute.

Yesterday, Monckton went full-fledged birther on the Dennis Miller show, claiming the President’s birth certificate is a forgery:

I mean, hey you got a president who has a false birth certificate on the Internet, on the White House website…

I don’t know whether he is Kenyan or not… The point is that if I were you, I would want to make absolutely sure that he was born here before allowing him to be elected. And the birth certificate that he put up on that website, I don’t know where he was born. But I do know that birth certificate isn’t genuine…

It appears in layers on the screen in such a way you can remove quite separately each of the individual dates. You use Adobe Illustrator and each of the individual dates is in its own separate layer. This thing has been fabricated. Sheriff [Joe] Arpaio of Arizona has had a team on this for six months. And he has now gone public and said there’s something very desperately wrong with this and of course nobody is saying anything because the entire electorate has been fooled…

I’m no birther [sic], don’t get me wrong… I haven’t a clue where Obama was born and I wouldn’t want to entreat into the private grief behind investigating. But the point is, is what he has done on the White House website is he has put up a document which he is plainly a forgery and I would regard that as a very serious matter.

Par for the course, Monckton doesn’t appear to understand the basic definition of a word he’s using. What he is engaged in is the definition of birtherism.

Monckton’s birtherism- along with his claims of inventing a cure for HIV, of winning a Nobel prize, of being a member of the House of Lords, etc.- is simply crank magnetism in action. Those who are cranks in one area are very seldom cranks in that area alone, be it because they’re shilling for special interests, indoctrinated in an unscientific ideology, or they’re just a bit touched. We see this time and again with Dick Lindzen’s and Fred Seitz’s smoking-cancer denial, Baliunas’s, Michaels’s, Singer’s,  Happer’s, and Seitz’s CFCs-ozone depletion denial, Roy Spencer’s creationism and “DDT = a holocaust” claims, and on and on and on. Those that deny the reality of anthropogenic warming rarely limit themselves to that delusion alone.

The point here is not source degradation. Their arguments, such as they are, should be and are refuted on their merits elsewhere. But for those who like to keep track of such things, crank magnetism just gained another data point.

UPDATE:

Whether or not you like his policies, at least you have to give the guy credit for keeping his sense of humor throughout this nonsense:

Stop blaming Rahm for Obama’s decisions

Taking a page from the Stoat playbook…

Obama is the President and as such it’s on him for deciding not to move on climate legislation before health care, for backing someone like Blanche Lincoln who is going to go on and vote against the Obama admin’s EPA’s authority to regulate GHGs. [UPDATE: On a positive note, the Murkoswki resolution failed 53-47.]

Progressive, liberals, and die hard environmentalists need to get it through their heads that Obama is a run of the mill corporatist Democrat, which would put him on the center right in any other Western democracy. He chose Rahm Emanuel to be his Chief of Staff. He did so knowing that Emanuel was instrumental in the creation of a block of votes antagonistic to progressive goals and was a vociferous advocate of Clinton’s triangulation/rightward lurch in the 90s.

You don’t choose someone like that for your CoS or even a senior advisor unless you believe that his insights and goals are sound. People using Emanuel as a scapegoat are in denial about the kind of politician Obama is. If you don’t agree, read his biography and hear it from the President himself.

And of course this makes the ravings of Tea Partiers and the ostensibly mainstream right about “socialism” and “radical agendas” even more absurd.

Obama understands that GHG emissions and climate change are a serious problem. But he believes that health care, and nuclear weapon proliferation, and Mideast destabilization are all serious problems as well. For the reality-based community, it was a breath of fresh air to see someone not regurgitate Heartland conference talking points from the Oval Office, but make no mistake- Obama decided, and decided early on, to sacrifice comprehensive climate legislation in order to move on health care. And as much as I’ve bad mouthed Nancy Pelosi in the past, her effort to push Waxman-Markey/ACES through when she knew she had the votes was both gutsy and prescient. If the White House had wanted to, it could have seized that remarkable opportunity.

And the failure to do so rests with President Obama alone.