Continuing from Monday, there was plenty of stupidity to report last week. A man that had no business even being in Afghanistan was overextended to the point tragedy. And there was the stupidity of a Media that inflicts John McCain upon us for yet one more Sunday show appearance to critique the man he lost to. Do you know how many times John Kerry AND Al Gore were invited on these Sunday shows to comment on George W Bush? If you held up two fingers, you raised one too many. Also, the normally brilliant and well-prepared Rachel Maddow completely botched an exclusive interview with America’s preeminent Global Warming denier, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) last Thursday, failing to challenge him on ANY of his ridiculous arguments… not just climate change, but Inhofe even argues that the planet is “cooling”. Unchallenged, I’m sure this incredibly dangerous man went home more confident in his delusions than ever before. And the GOP… most notably the Republican candidates, have been ramping up the rhetoric and even outright boldfaced lying about the supposed benefits of the “Keystone XL pipeline”. But let’s start with the topic I didn’t have time to get to on Monday:
The Kingmakers: Gingrich & Paul:
With the most recent primary results, most people looking at the numbers agree the GOP Primary is now a “two man race” (UPDATE: Last night, the Illinois Primary ended with Gingrich and Paul in single digits.) Gingrich said he “needed to win either Alabama and/or Mississippi to remain a credible candidate”, but despite losing both, Gingrich announced that he was “going all the way to the convention” in Tampa this year. And mathematically, there’s no path to victory for Ron Paul either. So why are they still in the race? Simple. If Newt were to drop out, not all of his supporters would automatically switch to Rick Santorum. About a quarter of Newt’s supporters say they would go to Romney. So by staying in the race, Gingrich can deny Romney those future delegates and perhaps prevent Romney from reaching the 1,144 delegates he needs to clinch the nomination, forcing a brokered convention. Newt can then hand ALL of his delegates to Santorum in exchange for the VP spot. This is not so unlikely, since Gingrich frequently praised Santorum on everything from his record on Iran to “running a positive campaign.”
On last Sunday’s “ThisWeek” on ABC, Santorum was given the opportunity to criticize Gingrich and suggest that he drop out of the race. He didn’t. Instead, choosing to attack Romney for not being “a true Conservative”. This follows another opportunity earlier this month when Rick was asked if he thought Newt should “get out of the race”. Again, Rick eschewed criticizing Gingrich, instead simply stating (jokingly) that if would be nice “if everyone dropped out of the race… including President Obama…” and just handed him the presidency. Two chances to tell Newt to get out of the race and he side-stepped both. That tells me he’s thinking the same thing I am: Don’t piss off the Kingmaker.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul has been quietly collecting delegates… more than most people realize, focusing on “caucus” states where the delegates are selected independent of the number of votes received. Using this strategy, Paul may be the actual “winner” in Iowa. While Santorum and Romney were fighting over who received the most votes in Iowa, the Paul campaign was quietly working behind the scenes to make sure they had the most Precinct Captains who actually choose the delegates. Should we see a “Brokered Convention”, Paul could provide Romney with the extra votes needed to put him over the top in exchange for the VP spot… either for himself or (more likely IMHO) his idiot son Rand. And there is plenty of good reason to suspect this: Paul has NEVER criticized Romney in a debate. Not once. And Romney has spoken positively of Paul and his supporters on more than one occasion. He knows he may need those votes.
So don’t bother asking Santorum or Romney if they think the other candidates should get out of the race. It’s far preferable to convince one man to give you ALL of his delegates, then take your chances trying to win over their supporters. And the other two know it.
Next up: The abysmal Maddow/Inhofe interview. A week later and I’m still fuming.
I watch the “Rachel Maddow Show” video podcast each & every weekday. There isn’t a better, more consistently brilliant Lefty political show on TV imho, so it pains me greatly to criticize her for failing so miserably to swat down the giant softball that was Jim Inhofe. Rachel even took the day off the day before her big interview, and I was hoping it was to do show-prep for their big “show-down”. So you can imagine my disappointment.
Senator Inhofe is the King of the Global Warming deniers, having just completed a book entitled “The Greatest Hoax”, where he not only denies the existence of Global Warming, but tries to claim the opposite, that the Earth is in fact “cooling“. The senator’s lead argument against Global Warming is to (selectively) quote The Bible and passages that say God gave us the Earth to use as we see fit and that it will always be with us for that purpose. NOT EVEN THE POPE denies the existence of Global Warming. But to my great disappointment, Rachel didn’t challenge the Senator on a whole host of points:
- During the blizzard of 2010 (“Snowmageddon”) Senator, you dubbed the “igloo” your grandkids built in their front yard: ‘Al Gore’s Summer Home’. Question: Where do you think all that snow came from? (hint: Think massive evaporation.) If he says the snow is evidence it is getting colder, point out that there are regions of Antarctica where it hasn’t snowed in over 10,000 years. Cold weather does not equal snow.
- Senator, you cite Bible passages that claim God said, “the Earth will always be at the service of man” to refute Climate Change, yet you believe in “Global Cooling“… a theory that not only has FAR less evidence to support it, but would be every bit as destructive to the Earth as Global Warming, and refuted by those very same Bible passages you use to refute Global Warming. Please explain the inconsistency.
- Senator, do you believe that the Sun revolves around the Earth? Because the Bible (Joshua 10:13) was used to torture & imprison Galileo for claiming “the Earth revolves around the Sun”, and suppress science for hundreds of years. How can you use the Bible as your basis for refuting any scientific matter knowing this?
- A question I would of like to of heard the answer to: Is it okay for any person or group of people to put their own religious beliefs ahead of the personal safety of over SIX BILLION PEOPLE?
- The Vatican has warned of: “serious and potentially irreversible impacts of global warming caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases…”, and that “humans must act decisively now to avert a coming crisis”. Why are you right and The Pope wrong?
And those are just off the top of my head. As for his “Global Cooling” stupidity, I’m certain he bases his belief on “increased snowfall” (due to increased evaporation) and “tree ring data”. Tree rings were once used to determine “cold” years, but with rising temperatures, tree rings have narrowed in “warm” years as well. Inhofe likely believes recent narrow tree rings prove that it has been getting “colder” (never mind that we have temperature records. Those can be faked, right?) rather than simply recording “inclimate” weather when the tree did not flourish. Not only did Rachel not point this fact out, she actually said, “we don’t know why” tree ring data is now considered “unreliable”. Rachel, you seriously let us down.
Three REAL ways to bring down gas prices quickly:
The GOP thinks it has found a winning issue when it comes to the infamous “Keystone XL Pipeline” (KXL for short). The benefits of KXL has been ridiculously overblown while the dangers have been almost totally absent from the conversation thanks to a multi-million dollar PR campaign by Big Oil to convince Americans that construction of KXL will mean “1 million new jobs” (a lie the Washington Post fact checker gives two Pinocchios) and lower prices at the pump (which WaPo gives one Pinocchio… but fails to take into consideration the loss of refinery capacity). As I’ve noted on here repeatedly, the number of jobs has been WILDLY over-hyped, they want the pipeline to go to the Gulf for a reason: Export. And reallocating refinery capacity… currently used to refine gasoline for OUR use… to instead refine tarsand into diesel for sale in South America and Europe means LESS gasoline will be produced, driving prices UP not “down”.
But even if you don’t believe any of that, simply ask yourself “why would the oil companies spend $100million dollars in advertising to do something that would drive prices (and their profits) DOWN?”
Oh, and BTW: While Republicans are in hysterics over the number of “jobs that would be created” by the KXL, House Republicans have threatened to block the Highway Transportation Bill that would create over 1 million jobs. Hard to take The Right seriously when they claim to support the pipeline for the jobs it would create, and then threaten to block a desperately needed highway infrastructure bill that would create more jobs in less time.
“Supply” only has an effect on the price of oil when supply is LOW, and right now, production is higher than it was at any point under the Bush Administration, and (thanks to people cutting back due to high prices and environmental concerns), gasoline consumption is at its lowest in 15 years. So why are gas prices climbing back into the stratosphere? When supply is high (like now), the price is manipulated in two ways: “speculation” and “manipulation”.
- Speculation – Speculators on Wall Street take every opportunity to drive prices up to increase profits. Be it a busted pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico or saber-rattling of war with Iran, Speculators will invest in “oil futures” on the Commodities Market or purchase “Hedge Funds” betting against a decline in the price of oil, driving the price up regardless of supply. Over a decade ago, we used to require anyone that invests in the Commodities Market to PROVE they can “take delivery” of the commodities they invest in. Today, any schmuck living in Mommy’s basement with a “Trading App” on their iPhone can purchase 100 barrels of oil. We need to bring this rule back, allowing only those who can take possession of the Commodities they purchase, actually buy them. This will DRAMATICALLY reduce speculation by people simply looking to make a quick buck off driving up prices. (Some have expressed concern to me that such Regulation will simply drive investors to overseas markets w/o the restriction. Where the price is higher? I don’t think so. The big investors are going to go where the Commodities are cheapest, driving the price down everywhere else.)
- Make “hoarding” illegal. – Okay, “hoarding” is a bit of a misnomer here. Oil companies aren’t actually filling tankers up with oil to send floating out to sea for months on end. Nor are they filling up giant land-based tanks with unrefined petroleum waiting for the price to go up. Why go through all that when the oil is already being “stored” just fine underground? No, “hoarding” in this case refers to active wells being “capped” deliberately, creating artificial shortages to drive prices up. Admittedly, this is very difficult to prove. If oil companies WERE actually storing oil in tanks/tankers, it would be easy to prove “hoarding”, but with capping wells, it would take a substantial amount of “hoarding” to affect the global price of oil and prove manipulation.
- Refinery closures – You might remember in the late 1990′s, Enron bought out most of the electricity generation plants in California and then randomly ordered those plants to shut down (for totally made-up reasons), creating artificial shortages to drive the price up (The Tonight Show even did an episode in the dark in June of 2001 because of it). Oil companies today are doing the same with refineries, closing down plants and refining less oil (so says a 2006 FTC investigation) to deliberately drive up prices (I even wrote about this back in May of 2007), and it should be illegal.
(Please note that the words “Drill” and “Keystone” appear nowhere in that list.)
And while we’re at it, how about we end those Billion dollar tax subsidies to Big Oil at a time when they are already reaping record profits that have made Exxon the richest corporation on the face of the planet?
Three quick and simple ways to bring down gas prices quickly. Good luck finding a politician with the stones to call the oil companies and Wall Street out on it.
And another hat-tip to the WaPo Fact Checker for debunking the current GOP meme that “President Obama and his staff said they actually WANT higher gas prices.” That ridiculous bit of nonsense earned Three Pinocchio’s. Why do Republicans insist on making crap up when it’s so easy to debunk?
It’s no wonder Republicans wax nostalgic for the 1950′s. No videotape.
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