Oh, to wake up in Alabama in the morning, knowing your congressman is one of the dumbest people in human history. Cue Lynyrd Skynyrd. Break out your Reese Witherspoon photos. Sweet Home Alabama — a place for the willfully ignorant and proud of it. Last Wednesday, Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center and former senior adviser to the US Global Change Research Program, was invited to testify before the House committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Little did Duffy know he was there not to discuss rising sea levels but rather to be challenged again and again by members of the panel for daring to tell the truth about his scientific findings and those of his peers.
Leading the pack of brainiacs trying to get Duffy to admit warnings about rising sea levels are all a bunch of hooey cooked up by scientists to pad their resumes and suck up an ocean of taxpayer largesse was one Mo Brooks of Alabama. Brooks had his own explanation for rising sea levels.
“What about the White Cliffs of Dover … [and] California, where you have the waves crashing against the shorelines, and time and time again you have the cliffs crashing into the sea? All of that displaces water which forces it to rise, does it not? Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” the distinguished congressman from Alabamy intoned.
Brooks had plenty of help from his worthy colleagues when it came to tearing down Duffy and the scientific community. Committee chairman Lamar Smith, a Republican from Texas, opened the session by extolling the virtues of a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal written by Fred Singer, a well known henchmen for the Kook Brothers. He is currently shilling for the Heartland Institute, a mouthpiece for Charles and David Koch. Smith set the tone of the hearing by repeating the familiar platitudes exposed by the movie Merchants of Doubt.
“To solve climate change challenges, we first need to acknowledge the uncertainties that exist,” Smith pontificated. “Then we can have confidence that innovations and technology will enable us to mitigate any adverse consequences of climate change.” The chairman then offered up a slide he said proves there is little connection between rising oceans and fossil fuel usage. Duffy gently tried to inform the learned chairman that his chart was derived from one observation point near San Francisco and that a single point of data could hardly provide an accurate assessment of the status of the oceans globally.
If any proof was needed as to the lengths the Kook Brothers and their paid puppets will go to in order to disparage climate scientists, somebody somewhere in the vast denial network culled through thousands upon thousands of tidal records to find the one example that supports their thesis. The Kochs are not paying good money for actual research. In their twisted world, the outcome of any research is predetermined before the process begins.
Perhaps this is an appropriate time to recall the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once said, “You are entitled to your own opinion but you are not entitled to your own facts.” Rex Tillerson, former secretary of state and former CEO of ExxonMobil, gave the commencement speech at Virginia Military Institute last week in which he echoed Moynihan’s thoughts.
“A responsibility of every American citizen to each other is to preserve and protect our freedom by recognizing what truth is and is not, what a fact is and is not, and to begin by holding ourselves accountable to truthfulness and demand our pursuit of America’s future be fact-based, not based on wishful thinking, not hoped-for outcomes made in shallow promises, but with a clear-eyed view of the facts as they are and guided by the truth that will set us free to seek solutions to our most daunting challenges.”
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center finds that the majority of Americans — both Republicans and Democrats — are in favor of more renewable energy. Yet the members of Congress continue to carry water for the fossil fuel industry and play down the advantages of renewable energy. How can there be such a disconnect between the will of the people and their elected leaders? Simple — money. Thanks to the solons on the Supreme Court, special interests are now free to dump gigatons of money into the political process and the Koch Krowd have done precisely that. Most Republicans in Congress owe their seats to financial support from the Koch brothers. They say what they are told to say or else they are in the unemployment line.
Before you fire off a letter to your own representative, consider this advice from a satirist known as YIP Harburg: “Every congressman has two ends — a sitting and a thinking end. And since his whole career depends upon his seat…….why bother, friend?” The antidote, of course, is to vote these crooks out of office (I can’t call them whores any more because that word is too strong for some people’s delicate sensibilities. But crooks will suffice.). As always, if the people will lead, their leaders will follow.
Featured image credit: Kyle Field | CleanTechnica