Things are getting weirder in national politics. Rudy Giuliani last week scheduled a press conference in Philadelphia to blast Democrats, socialists, communists, leftists, immigrants, and other undesirable elements for stealing the election from his mentor, crime boss Donnie “The Tramp” Trump. Presumably the press conference was supposed to be at the posh Four Season hotel but Giuliani wound up speaking in the parking lot of the Four Season Landscaping Company. According to The Guardian, the company took it all in stride, though. It is now selling “Make America Rake Again” and “Lawn And Order” stickers on its website for $5.00.
While the former president continues to walk the floor at the White House, muttering dark thoughts, he has also begun cleaning house to rid the administration of all the people responsible for his crushing defeat at the hands of the voters — other than himself, that is. First he fired the head of the Defense Department, Mike Esper, who had the audacity last summer to criticize the capo di tuti capi for using active duty military members to bulldoze a path for him through a crowd of peaceful protesters so he could hold a Bible upside down in front of a church. Then he fired the chief scientist at NOAA.
Last week he removed Neil Chatterjee as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency, which governs the nation’s utility markets. Chatterjee was appointed to FERC by the disgraced former president but was punished for daring to publicly support the use of more renewable energy.
This week began with the firing of Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the organization responsible for preparing the National Climate Assessment. According to the New York Times, the alleged president is expected to name David Legates, a Koch brothers stooge, to head the program. Legates has distinguished himself by signing the Oregon Petition, a document prepared by the “1+1 ⇒ 3.1416″ crowd. It says, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth,” according to DeSmog Blog.
Marc Morano, a prominent denier of established climate change science, cheered the departure of Mr. Kuperberg and told the Times he expects Mr. Legates to take his place. “The Trump administration is ‘listening to the science’ by clearing out the anti-science promoters of extreme climate scenarios. These moves are long, long overdue,” he said.
The National Climate Assessment is a report that is required by law to be issued every four years. It is a composite of input from 13 federal agencies and outside scientists. The most recent report, in 2018, found that climate change poses an imminent and dire threat to the United States and its economy. A watered down NCA could have serious policy consequences, the New York Times says. It could be used in court to bolster the positions of fossil fuel companies being sued for climate damages. It could counter congressional efforts to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, where it contributes to global warming.
At issue is the so-called “endangerment finding,” a 2009 scientific determination by the Environmental Protection Agency that found carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions pose a threat to human health and therefore are subject to government regulation. Undercutting that finding could make it more difficult to fight climate change under the terms of the Clean Air Act. Legates, is on record as claiming carbon dioxide is “a plant food and not a pollutant.”
Federal Reserve Says Climate Change Creates Financial Risks
If the outgoing president is upset by FERC and the NCA, he will have a complete flopping fit when someone tells him (He doesn’t actually read anything. Some suggest he may be functionally illiterate.) that the Federal Reserve today issued a statement saying climate change could lead to abrupt changes in asset values in response to global heating.
Reuters reports Fed governor Lael Brainard noted in a comment attached to the report, “Acute hazards, such as storms, floods, or wildfires, may cause investors to update their perceptions of the value of real or financial assets suddenly. Chronic hazards, such as slow increases in mean temperatures or sea levels, or a gradual change in investor sentiment about those risks, introduce the possibility of abrupt tipping points or significant swings in sentiment. Increased transparency through improved measurement and more standardized disclosures will be crucial,” Brainard said. “It is vitally important to move from the recognition that climate change poses significant financial stability risks to the stage where the quantitative implications of those risks are appropriately assessed and addressed.”
Expect “you know who” to be tweeting about how incompetent Brainard is by the time you read this. Oddly enough, rumors are circulating around Washington that Lael Brainard may be Joe Biden’s pick for Treasury Secretary once the Orange Ogre leaves his lair.
The fossil fuel crowd, like the Big Tobacco crowd, has spent billions to create the impression that climate science is junk science. They dismiss raging wildfires, rampant flooding, droughts, and rising sea levels as just capricious Mother Nature having some harmless fun. What they don’t tell you is that their own scientists have been warning about the likely effects of greenhouse gases for 50 years or more. They have waged a campaign of deliberate lies and distortions designed to allow them to keep polluting the Earth in their pursuit of profits.
At the center of the cabal is Charles Koch, who rails incessantly about government regulations even though those very regulations formed the basis of his far flung and highly lucrative empire. It has paid off handsomely for Koch. A few measly billions have bought him a coterie of politicians who faithfully follow his directives and a business empire worth 100 times more than he has spent to purchase those sycophants. If America is a divided nation today, that is largely due to the machinations of Charles Koch and his network of tax exempt pressure groups that infest Washington, DC, like a plague of rats.
Fear and hatred are Koch’s stock in trade, which calls to mind the word’s of Carl Sagan. “The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.”
Joe Biden is a good and decent man. He is the person America needs to lead it out of the long national nightmare visited upon it by Donald Trump and his henchmen. But the battle against hatred, bigotry, and ignorance will be long and hard and there is no guarantee of victory. Even now, the forces of darkness are preparing their next assaults on America and democracy in 2022 and 2024 and beyond, assaults that nearly half of all Americans applaud. We have a long way to go and short time to get there. Let’s begin by supporting our new president in his quest to end America’s time as a pariah among the world’s nations.