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Amid the takeover of the U.S. House of Representatives by anti-science syndrome suffering haters of a livable economic system, there are few reasons for joy and celebration for those looking to foster a stronger and more prosperous America.  One of the few is the opening it has given for senior Democratic politicians to engage forcefully the anti-reality positioning of so many in the Republican caucus.  Representative Ed Markey might just be at the head of the pack for sadly truthful sarcastic commentary highlighting the illogic of Republican positions and initiatives on energy, climate, and environmental issues.  Here are two examples from recent days.

It's O-PEC not O-Bama

As someone who is enmeshed in the study and discussion of energy issues, I was somewhat embarrassingly surprised to find out that domestic oil production has notably increased during the first two years of the Obama Administration.  Combined with the reduction in U.S. liquid fuel demand (primarily due to the recessionary impacts on fuel demand but also due to the beginning impacts of a number of fuel efficiency measures), the roughly ten percent increase in U.S. oil production has actually put the United States in a (slightly) less vulnerable position to this round of oil price peaking (which will likely occur over and over again as Peak Oil hits the world supply).  Rather than engaging the issue of Peak Oil, overall world demand pressure, and how the supply/demand curves make the global economy increasingly vulnerable to supply disruptions (actual, like Libya, and threatened/potential, such as concerns over the potential for unrest in Saudi Arabia), the Republican political message on gas prices is quite clear: "it's Obama's and the Democratic Party's fault."  As Politico reporting put it,

Republicans have shown no fear in tying the oil price spikes to anything on the Democratic energy agenda ... The GOP attacks may have no basis in fact when it comes to changing short-term prices at the pump.

"May", of course, is quite generous as the Republican agenda has "no basis in fact" with anything re near-term gas prices. (The DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) determined that aggressive offshore oil drilling would contribute to reducing gasoline prices 3 cents per gallon -- in 2030.  And, before anyone cries foul, let's remember that this was the Bush Administration EIA, not driven by the Obama Administration.)

In any event, Representative Markey turned his wit to this issue with It's O-PEC not O-BAMA.

“When it comes to high oil prices, this is about OPEC, not Obama.

These ill-informed statements give Colonel Gaddafi and other members of the OPEC cartel a pass for what they are doing to the global economy and to American families and businesses.

While the Republican Party is opposed to any new tax that could fund programs to help Americans and strengthen the nation, they seemingly are oblivious to the reality that failures to address energy challenges with realistic policies leave American at greater vulnerability to perturbations in the oil market that lead, inexorably, to a tax on the economy -- a tax that enriches Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others while placing the nation (including the Federal government) further into debt.
I find it shocking that Republicans would first attack the President of the United States before pointing a finger at Colonel Gaddafi.

When Republican leaders have stated that their top objectivity is not American prosperity or security or jobs but defeating President Obama, one has to think that Markey is sarcastic in his 'shock'.

And, Markey finished with some truth.

“American oil production reached an 8-year high in 2010, and yet prices continue to climb. We need to finally enact clean energy solutions that will tell Gaddafi and the Saudis that we don’t need their oil any more than we need their sand.

“Despite the Republican rhetoric, the oil and gas industry has more leases to drill for oil in the U.S. then they can even make use of.  Last year the Bureau of Land Management issued 4,090 drilling permits, but industry drilled only 1,480 new wells, or just a little over a third of what they own. An of the 79 million acres of public lands the oil companies hold under lease, they are only actually producing oil on 18.5 million acres, only under a quarter of what they hold.”

Repelling the Law of Gravity

Representative Markey's comments above, in fact, were less biting than his rejection as the House majority's intent to legislate away science when it comes to climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency.  Markey's comments are so on target that, well, it is hard to see how commentary can add to this.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet.

However, I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.

I won’t call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Instead, I’ll embody Newton’s third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America’s importation of foreign oil.

This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate.  It will be a legislative Schrodinger’s cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process!

Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair’s amendment pile.

Originally posted to A Siegel on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM PST.

Also republished by J Town.

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Comment Preferences

  •  At today's press conference, Obama reiterated (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, MrJersey, Words In Action

    his drill baby drill platform, with an insightful rejoinder that even if we tapped every last bit of oil available to us, we'd still miss the mark for self sufficiency by a long shot. Not a word about global warming, but he was talking gas prices, not reality.

    “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”, Theodore Roosevelt

    by the fan man on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 12:46:38 PM PST

    •  Not to defend the President's actions, but what (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      the fan man

      politician seriously running for re-election in this country ever campaigned on making gas more expensive.  We found out during the multiple gas crisis events in the 70's that if there is one thing that Americans will run over their grandmothers to get, it is abundant cheap gas.  Every time there is an oil shock that emboldens the oil companies to jack up gas prices, there is the usual outrage, not at our national stupidity in failing to seek alternative energy sources, but at prices themselves, as if we Americans were in possession of a national entitlement to cheap gas.  Sure, the President could have used this opportunity to talk about global warming, but we know he is not going to because:
      1.  What really hard, politically risky stands has he ever taken on the environment.
      2.  I assume that he is running for re-election and if there is a real third rail in American politics that is a determinant of national well being, it is gas prices, and if you have oil shocks and high gas prices, like under Jimmy Carter, you get labeled as a second-rate President.  

      And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

      by MrJersey on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:14:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Apparently... (4+ / 0-)

    Mamas don't let your Republicans grow up...and go to college...

    See, a little knowledge...and a 2.3 GPA...can be a dangerous thing...

    Garrhgsfsafasd! or...where the heck is Lieber?

    by Hedwig on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:01:52 PM PST

  •  I always come up with the witty 5 min after the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, Words In Action, jethrock

    moment has passed. Cheers to Markey and his staff for putting that together. I feel like Democrats should be aiming a great deal more scorn and derision at the GOP -on the TV.

    Such deliberate, harmful ignorance in the twenty-first century SHOULD be mocked and publicly shunned. The GOP/Teahadis would be happy to dive,  hands clutching OUR necks , head first back into the Dark Ages.

    People who don't acknowledge science and the accompanying realities of the here-and-now due solely to GOTP ideology are delusional asshats who should be called out, publicly and with as many facts as possible, every single fucking day - something the lamestream media has utterly failed to do.

    So we have the great orange satan.....go orange horde!

    -7.75, -6.97 Education: that which reveals to the wise, and conceals from the stupid, the vast limits of their knowledge. -Mark Twain

    by Chirons apprentice on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:06:11 PM PST

  •  As much as I would like to laugh at them (6+ / 0-)

    The extreme anti-science antics of the Republicans comes at a critical time. They are effectively derailing transition to a low carbon economy while propping up tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels. They are dismantling scientific infrastructure across the country by defunding labs. When you do that sort of thing, you drive established scientists out and prevent new generations from developing. Ultimately they are crippling our society's ability to innovate. If they succeed, we are finished as an economic power, all to protect a few profitable industries and their own power base.

    As funny as I find Markey's snark, there is nothing amusing about what the Republicans are trying to do.

    Be radical in your compassion.

    by DWG on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 01:17:12 PM PST

    •  To be clear ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DWG, Words In Action

      I am not amused. Their actions and approaches are destructive in the extreme. It is painful to listen to hearings/such as they pull out false talking point after talking point. The proud ignorance isn't just terrifying, it is (as you point out) highly destructive and quite probably catastrophically so.

      Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

      by A Siegel on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:02:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It can a decade or more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Words In Action, A Siegel

        to equip a lab and develop critical personnel mass to be able to do cutting edge work in many areas. Between cuts at the federal level of funding projects and state level of funding universities, this garbage is depressing beyond belief. It borders on treason to cripple our ability to innovate.

        Be radical in your compassion.

        by DWG on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 04:53:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I Am Curious (0+ / 0-)

        What your views might be regarding the current crisis at nuclear facilities in Japan given the arguments you have made in favor of nuclear power over the past years.

        •  Sigh .. (0+ / 0-)

          1. I am not in a position to track Japan at this time.

          2. I have always laid out that there are requirements for serious oversight, management, etc ...

          3.  You have, over the years, consistently overstated my 'support' for nuclear power amid your advocacy for coal (especially PRB).

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 06:02:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  i wished he had been able to really (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    address just how much the overpricing of gas is based on speculation and how all trading on commodities like food and sources of energy ought to be suspended at times of national and world wide emergencies.

  •  Well, it goes with the ideology. (0+ / 0-)

    Nothing about it can be justified empircally, and its followers sure as hell don't want people basing decisions on testing and reproduceable results.

    They need people simply trust and follow the authorities, on faith.

    Superman isn't coming. Shift the paradigm: force a brokered settlement on the Class War with the current set of politicians. We have but one tool: standing up in ever-increasing, ever more-organized numbers, indefinitely, in D.C.

    by Words In Action on Fri Mar 11, 2011 at 05:44:54 PM PST

  •  Republished in J Town......Thank you (0+ / 0-)

    You've been Republished in the J Town Babbling Brook

    burble burble

    Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

    by princesspat on Sat Mar 12, 2011 at 02:45:42 PM PST

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