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Like a modern-day Nero, Bush has stood by as the world has started to literally burn. Indeed, this president has criminally gotten in the way of efforts to prevent global warming, and punished those who have tried to call out warnings. It is his worst of many high crimes and misdemeanors.

When my co-author Barbara Olshansky and I wrote The Case for Impeachment during the waning months of 2005 and early 2006, it seemed clear to us that the biggest impeachable crimes of the Bush regime involved the illegal war against Iraq, and the trashing of the rights and civil liberties enshrined in the Constitution. Almost as an afterthought, we also included a proposed article of impeachment against the president for his insidious efforts to block any regulatory, Congressional or international action on confronting global warming.

Now that the first two UN reports on the causes and magnitude of the threats posed by global warming have come out--albeit in watered down form, thanks in part to the administration’s continuing efforts to downplay the crisis--and now that independent scientific research is suggesting that the disaster facing life on earth, and human life and civilization in particular is of catastrophic proportions, it seems that perhaps we should turn things around.

At this point, arguably, Bush’s greatest crime is not the Iraq War, terrible as that has been. Nor is it his revocation of habeas corpus or his authorization of torture. It is not the usurpation of the legislative power of the Congress. It is not the felonious violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or his obstruction of the investigation into the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

His biggest crime is a deliberate campaign of inaction and active obstruction in the face of a clear need for the United States to act decisively to stop or slow catastrophic climate change.

This president has not simply denied the reality of global warming. He has actively lied to the American people about the dangers ahead, and has had his administration, through intimidation and post-hoc editing by political hacks, block the publication of government scientific reports on global warming. He has defunded projects that would help document the growing crisis, for example cutting funding for satellites that would measure the effects of climate change on the surface of the planet. He has pulled the U.S. out of the Kyoto Protocol--the first global effort to confront the problem and try to limit production of greenhouse gasses. He even went back on a 2000 campaign promise to limit carbon emissions from power plants, and instead has given virtual carte blanche to power companies to build the most carbon-spewing coal-powered generating stations possible, complete with gratuitous tax breaks. He has threatened countries with trade sanctions for trying to take actions that would combat global warming, and has even had the US government go to court against state governments, like California’s and Vermont’s, to try to block them from acting to reduce carbon emissions on their own, by for example setting mileage standards for vehicles sold in-state.

All of this has meant that for six critical years, when the U.S.--the source of 28 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions--could have been taking decisive action to start reducing the CO2 that the U.S. is spewing into the already carbon-soaked global atmosphere, America has done nothing. In fact, America’s contribution of carbon emissions to the global atmosphere has been rising, not falling, as average miles per gallon figures for American autos have worsened, as more dirty power plants have gone on line, and as overall energy use in the US has gone up.

Stupidity, pig-headedness and yahooism are not impeachable offenses. The Founding Fathers pointedly rejected a proposal by George Washington that maladministration be included as grounds for impeachment. Rather, they stuck with "high crimes and misdemeanors," which they took to mean acts that threatened Constitutional government, or endangered the people or the nation.

Well it seems crystal clear that the president’s actions and inaction on global warming easily fit that definition.

As the coastal waters rise, as other cities join New Orleans in suffering disastrous flooding, as the Midwestern grain belt and California’s salad bowl become dust bowls, as forests burn and already threatened species of animals and plants go vanish forever, and as the throngs of refugees of climate change in Mexico and other harder hit lands surge across America’s borders seeking relief, this president will be remembered best, like Nero and his fiddle, for the two terms during which he dithered, interfered and actively obstructed efforts to stop this predictable disaster from happening.

For that crime against our nation and our descendants, and indeed against the entire human race, Bush must be impeached.

Originally posted to dlindorff on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Being born. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Contributing to global warming by drawing breath.

    "Liberty will not descend to a people, a people must raise themselves to Liberty." -- Emma Goldman

    by Autarkh on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:05:21 PM PDT

  •  I must be racist... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What with all the Imus diaries, I thought the author was calling President Bush a "Negro" in the opening line.

    "There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America." - William J. Clinton

    by Indecent on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:06:06 PM PDT

  •  To Hurricane Scientist says NOT human caused (0+ / 0-)

    He said carbon dioxide levels in the Earth's atmosphere have increased, but periods of hurricane activity preceded the build-up of the gas, which is blamed for warming and is the byproduct mostly of fossil fuel burning.

    The changing ocean current "goes back for hundreds of thousands of years," Gray said. "These are natural processes. We shouldn't blame them on humans and CO2."

    •  Right, and I have a bridge you can buy (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, elveta, blueoasis

      It runs from Canal Street to Brooklyn...

      That hurricane grew enormously in size as it crossed a Gulf of Mexico that is hotter than it has ever been. Hurricanes get their power from the heat of the water beneath them.

      Wanna bet that scientist's funding comes from Exxon/Mobil or some like source?

      •  You would lose the bet. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Wanna bet that scientist's funding comes from Exxon/Mobil or some like source?

        He is a Professor at a Colorado State University, so he gets his funding from them.

        He is also the guy that INVENTED hurricane forecasting.

        He is often called the World's Most Famous Hurricane Expert.

        Which is this: Global warming is a hoax.

        "I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people," he says when I visit him in his office on a sunny spring afternoon.

        •  He can be called anything you want-- (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          that doesn't make him automatically right about anything he says.

        •  Author is Having Trouble with Peer Review (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          An excellent article on this particular author and warming science in general.

          Georgia Tech's Webster says he's been part of the anonymous peer review on several of Gray's NSF proposals. Each time, he says, he recommended funding for Gray's hurricane research but turned down the global-warming research component because he believed it wasn't up to standards. "I have helped Bill get funding over the years," he says. "This year, I was asked to review his proposal, and I had to recuse myself because of the ad hominem attacks he's been making."

          NCAR's Holland points out that his own research isn't dependent on academic grants at all. "I would be getting exactly the same funding if I was saying nothing about tropical cyclones and climate change," he says. "Getting support for research goes through a well-established peer review. Bill's not losing out to the American modeling people; there's still plenty of funding for good observational work. The lack of funding for Bill's research is related to the quality of his research."

          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

          by mataliandy on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:49:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  *Yawn* (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      This scientist is in his mid-70s, which means its extremely unlikely that he is up to date on the latest modeling theory. That's just my opinion, but what is not subject to debate is that a vast majority of climate scientists believe that global warming is man-made. Sure, you can find a skeptic---even one with credentials---but I wonder why this scientist was prominently figured in an article in the first place? Why wasn't his opinion noted as being very far out of line with scientific consensus?

      •  He is up to date, (0+ / 0-)

        He is the guy that INVENTED hurricane forecasting.

        He is often called the World's Most Famous Hurricane Expert.

        Writing in Newsweek recently, MIT Professor of Meteorology Richard Lindzen detailed the uncertainties and the enormous gaps in the evidence for claims about human-caused global warming and concluded, "Climate modelers assume the cause must be greenhouse-gas emissions because they have no other explanation. This is a poor substitute for evidence."

        •  Lindzen is also a well-known skeptic (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PeterHug, mataliandy

          On what grounds do you choose to quote only two skeptics who are in a tiny minority of climate experts?  
          Cherry-picking is not science, nor is it an acceptable form of argument.

          P.S., On behalf of the DK community, I'd like to extend my warmest regards to our new visitor from LGF... and I do want you to have a WARM welcome.

        •  Lindzen is an extreme skeptic, generally (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'm not saying that he's necessarily a crank, check this out:

          in particular the paragraph:
          "Lindzen clearly relishes the role of naysayer. He’ll even expound on how weakly lung cancer is linked to cigarette smoking. He speaks in full, impeccably logical paragraphs, and he punctuates his measured cadences with thoughtful drags on a cigarette."

          He's on the very edge of crackpottery, if not actually there. In any instance, his reliability is clearly in question.

        •  Yes, He's Done Great Things (0+ / 0-)

          And he is probably right in his assertion that the models aren't perfect (no one claims they are), but his wholesale rejection of the entire concept of computer-modelling indicates that he is not interested in making them more accurate.

          My understanding is that he has a lot of interesting angles to explore (such as the potential moderating effect of cloud cover), but instead of engaging in the science and working with other climate scientists on it, he just lobs rhetorical bombs at them.

          It's too bad, because if he were willing to participate with less dismissiveness, he could probably make some truly valuable contributions to the science.

          Perhaps he's even right, but we have no way of knowing. Personally, until the current theories, as supported by the models is proved wrong, I'm going to do my share to at least lessen the potential impacts. The way I figure it, by doing so, even if the models are completely wrong, in the worst case, we'll find new and better ways to use our limited energy supplies that make the world better for our progeny. No harm in that, and possibly a lot of good.

          Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

          by mataliandy on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:56:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  He does not reject the concept of computer (0+ / 0-)

            modeling, only that the models used to predict the affects of global warming are just as inaccurate as the models used to predict the weather next week, too inaccurate to be trusted.

            ""For example, there is widespread agreement [among climate scientists] ... that large computer climate models are unable to even simulate major features of past climate such as the 100 thousand year cycles of ice ages that have dominated climate for the past 700 thousand years,"


            •  Ah yes, the logical-fallacy defense (0+ / 0-)

              Lindzen is claiming that since certain specific phenomena cannot be predicted through the models that NO phenomena can be predicted.  This is inaccurate.  He is referring to phenomena for which either data is unavailable (such as ice ages millenia ago), or which are at the wrong scale (such as El Ninos).

              I'll take the latter first: the El Nino is a localized, relatively small scale phenomenon. In the atmospheric science realm it would be on the scale of a mole on your back. In the early stages, you can tell that the mole exists with your naked eye, but cannot predict whether there have been changes at the cellular level - you need a microscope for that.  

              The climate models are designed to examine things at the larger scale planetary level (like your eyeball), but not at the scale of micro-climate phenomena level, such as El Nino (like a microscope).  So, it can't predict El Nino's behavior because it isn't designed to predict El Nino's behavior. Similarly, it is also not designed to predict: specific storms, specific geographical erosion, the behaviors of the weather systems in any specific location at any specific time, and other stuff.

              What it is designed to measure and then predict is overall trends: overall planetary temperature over time (which it does very well, even when extrapolated back for at least a century), overall flow of fresh water from ice melt into the oceans (does that well, too), overall increase in storm intensity. It won't tell you, and isn't designed to tell you whether there will be 5 or 7 Atlantic hurricanes this year. It can however predict fairly accurately that there will be an increase in the intensity of hurricanes overall over time.

              The reason there's so much urgency is that applying the information that IS available from the models to information that IS known about local areas implies that there is the potential for some bad stuff to happen. In low-lying areas, small changes in the ocean level can have a big impact. Ice melt information has implications for water levels. Since people are prone to building near water, this means that ice melt could affect a lot of people.

              So while these "skeptics" choose to lob logical fallacies, the rest of the scientific community wants to find out more, make the models more accurate and find out the magnitude of the potential problems.  

              Those of us non-scientists who give a shit about others are acting as if the climate models are correct, and doing something about it until the models are proved wrong.

              You, on the other hand can feel free to keep behaving otherwise.

              I will keep my fingers crossed that you are right and the climate models are wrong, but I'm not going to stake the planet's future on it.

              Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

              by mataliandy on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 06:32:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The danger is using reports like these as a dodge (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mataliandy, alasmoses

      Sure, climate is a complex system, and we can't totally gauge what impact human action has caused on the overall picture. What we do know, however, is that we are capable of causing significant climate change, and that the results of that change may potentially be very negative for us as a species.

      Saying that we shouldn't do anything because we don't know how responsible we are is like rationalizing playing Russian roulette by saying "hey, a piano might fall on my head and kill me while I'm playing anyway, so why the hell not."  Sure, the gun might not be what kills you, but why take the risk when you can simply not play?

  •  Impeachable to Me Means Provable and Actionable (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slave138, alasmoses

    I don't disagree, I just feel that it is unlikely that we can, as a nation, rally 'round this flag.

    I'm hoping the email thing will do what I thought the NSA thing, or the torture thing, or the DowningStreet memo thing would do.  Provide grounds and evidence to compel members of congress to initiate impeachment proceedings.

    It's kind of like how they got Al Capone on income tax evasion, ya know?  I am willing to be that jaded and cynical; we have a host of reasons to impeach, all I need is for one to be acted on.

  •  Bush HASN'T denied Global Warming (0+ / 0-)

    Your claim is simply false.

  •  as ugly as the Bush "position" is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, slave138, blueoasis

    and no matter how ill informed (I am being generous here) his opinion it would appear that it does not equate to a HC and M. I see your point that his opinion is practically untenable, he seems to be lying and the result of his inactions have and will result in horrific outcomes, your desire for impeachment on this issue just won't get a salute by those in the House and Senate.

    If he is to be impeached and you truly desire such then hammer those issues which are more clearly understood as high crimes and misdemeanors.

    Still, I am impressed by you ardor and willingness to point to the greatest potential disaster of this man's "reign"

    roman catholic by birth---- thoroughly confused by life

    by alasmoses on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:12:54 PM PDT

    •  yep (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      slave138, alasmoses

      not doing anything about global warming is a terrible, ruinous policy choice, but it is not an impeacheable offense.  If it is, then every policy choice we disagree with is an impeachable offense.  Some do take that position (sort of a legal realist position, I guess), but I think sticking to the "high crimes and misdemeanors" standard of the Constitution is more historically accurate.  We have already seen impeachment that was really only about politics (the Clinton impeachment) and that ended up backfiring on those agitating for it.

      If you are looking for an impeachable offense, that would be breaking the FISA law.  And authorizing torture, which is in violation of federal law.  I think Bush could be impeached for those reasons, although it will never happen.

      •  It's not his policies that are the crime (0+ / 0-)

        It is the totality of his lies, his policy of silencing research and researchers, his inaction. Elizabeth Holzman has said that Bush's inaction in New Orleans' time of crisis was impeachable because it was "criminal negligence," not just incompetence. Just so his non-action over six years with global warming.

  •  Nah, its lying to get into Iraq (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PeterHug, slave138, blueoasis, alasmoses

    He just has reprehensible policy in the climate change area.

    "There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by duha on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 03:13:12 PM PDT

    •  His actions are more than just policy issues (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He has cheated the public and the Congress of needed information, and has blocked action, actively. These are crimes, and will be seen as increasingly grave crimes as time passes and their impact becomes clearer and clearer.

  •  Blame Reagan (0+ / 0-)

    Reagan is the one who successfully promoted magical thinking about environment and energy. With Carter's help, the country was poised in 1980 to start on a path towards energy conservation and independence, and to invest in new sources of energy. Reagan's sunny, baseless optimism killed that, which is why in my opinion Reagan was by far the worst President since WWII, possibly worse that GWB. The US and the world lost an irreplaceable 20 years because of the direction Reagan took us---much as his shameful inaction on AIDS allowed an acceleration of that plague in the early 80's that could have been greatly slowed.
    Reagan was the anti-Christ. Bush would have to be Satan himself to be worse. I'm undecided on that point to date.

    •  I blame Clinton, myself... (0+ / 0-)

      if he hadn't [insert whatever you feel like here],
      the world would now be perfect.

      Because he didn't do [whatever], I now feel compelled to act like a water buffalo in heat (or something), deleting emails and invading countries like the world's gonna end in 2008.

      •  Clinton was continuing Reagan's policy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But he wasn't evangelizing for magical thinking approaches to real world problems. The Reagan years were the heyday of the "infinite resources" crowd, who argued that the earth had literally infinite resources. As I recall, the basis of the argument was that human ingenuity plus economic incentive could solve any problems. The limitlessness of natural resources is not hyperbole on the part of my description---that's what really went on. We went from Carter, who was beginning a conversation about adjusting American habits to reality, and Reagan, as described above.

        •  Clinton was CLEARLY uniquely evil (0+ / 0-)

          he LIED about [something, we're not really sure what] and because of this, the UNITED STATES was sucked down into a moral cesspool, from which GEORGE B--H has rescued us.

          Praise the LORD G-D!

          --having said all that, I have a copy of Carter's "Global 2000 Report" which was prepared in 1980 just before he left office.  Re-reading that is REALLY depressing.  We knew (or suspected) everything that has turned out to be the case since then.  The problem is that Republicans are constitutionally unable to think past the ends of their noses, so they can't DO stuff about anything except the next election.


  •  No impeachment, but how about a nice atoll (0+ / 0-)

    in the South Pacific for his mandatory retirement home---a place with a maximum height above sea level of  10 feet or less.

  •  No! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bad policy is not grounds for impeachment. Sitting on your ass for 7 minutes after being told the nation is under attack is clear abdication of duty. But Bush's crimes are those of a tyrant, and our founders would have skipped impeachment and grabbed some rope. We must stop thinking of Bush as a president and recognize that he is the very sort of tyrant that we Americans were urged to overthrow by any means necessary.

    I'm a linguist, licensed to use words any way I want to!

    by MakeChessNotWar on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 04:15:32 PM PDT

  •  The global warming debate... (0+ / 0-)

    ...leaves the distinct taste of Y2K in my mouth.

  •  If Congress (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    started reading all the impeachable offenses of the Bush administration today, they wouldn't finish  by the end of his term.

    Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

    by TerraByte on Thu Apr 12, 2007 at 05:37:45 PM PDT

  •  I'm sorry, I couldn't let msthave's comments go (0+ / 0-)

    Here, clipped from an article by Joshua Holland, is an expose of Linzner, the global warming holocaust denier:

    Oh, but wait. That name ... Lindzen ... sure does sound familiar.

    Yes! From that excellent investigative piece in Harper's on the funding behind the climate skepticism "industry" ...

       In the last year and a half, one of the leading oil industry public relations outlets, the Global Climate Coalition, has spent more than a million dollars to downplay the threat of climate change...

       For the most part the industry has relied on a small band of skeptics--Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Dr. Pat Michaels, Dr. Robert Balling, Dr. Sherwood Idso, and Dr. S. Fred Singer, among others--who have proven extraordinarily adept at draining the issue of all sense of crisis.

       Lindzen, for his part, charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled "Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus," was underwritten by OPEC.

    His research may be funded entirely by the government, but Lindzen himself -- his kids' college tuition, his mortgage payments -- have at least in part been funded by Big Oil and Big Coal, including OPEC for crying out loud!

    There's more. To read it all, go to:

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