Glowbull Warming Updates & Cap and Tax

(New York blogging!)

With B.O. and Congressional Donks pushing for the passage of the energy mega-tax bill, these items are either directly or indirectly related.

First Some of their political strategery…

Al Gore not coming to D.C.

Awwwwwwwww!

Former Vice President Al Gore canceled plans to fly to Washington for a news conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, and instead was working the phones from Tennessee to help push a landmark climate bill to passage.

Hopefully this next bit is wrong…but we’ll see what happens.

Friday’s vote on the measure is expected to be close, but multiple sources on both sides of the aisle say they’re confident that the bill will pass — with some Republican votes — following a deal between House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman and Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.

Why is this a BAD idea: a number of issues are in play here:

The Cap and Tax Fiction

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has put cap-and-trade legislation on a forced march through the House, and the bill may get a full vote as early as Friday. It looks as if the Democrats will have to destroy the discipline of economics to get it done.

Despite House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman’s many payoffs to Members, rural and Blue Dog Democrats remain wary of voting for a bill that will impose crushing costs on their home-district businesses and consumers. The leadership’s solution to this problem is to simply claim the bill defies the laws of economics.

This will NOT be doing anything to help the economy, quite the contrary. (Are you paying any attention Congresscritter Herseth-Sandlin?)

The biggest doozy in the CBO analysis was its extraordinary decision to look only at the day-to-day costs of operating a trading program, rather than the wider consequences energy restriction would have on the economy. The CBO acknowledges this in a footnote: “The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap.” [emphasis added]

The hit to GDP is the real threat in this bill. The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment. Some companies will instead move their operations overseas, with the same result.

So what else is new in the Glowbull Warming debate?

EPA Suppresses Internal Global Warming Study

Scientific findings at odds with the Obama Administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change are being suppressed as a result of political pressure, officials at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) charge.

“This suppression of valid science for political reasons is beyond belief,” said CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman. “EPA’s conduct is even more outlandish because it flies in the face of the president’s widely-touted claim that ‘the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over.’”

The agency has never made the study public or included it in official reference materials, according to CEI. As part of a recently concluded EPA public comment period on a proposed rule, CEI submitted a set four EPA emails, dated March 12-17, 2009, as evidence that the suppressed study included a critique of the agency’s global warming position.
CEI has asked EPA to make the study public and to allow public comments on it. CEI has also asked that EPA to prevent any reprisals against the study’s author who has been employed with the agency for 35 years.

And then there’s this this bit of common sense:
Electric Cars Will Not Decrease Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Says Federal Study

The stimulus law enacted in February promoted the purchase of plug-in electric cars by the federal government and the broader market, but a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released this month says that the use of plug-in electric vehicles will not by itself decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

To do that, the report argues, the United States would have to switch from coal-burning plants to lower-emission sources to generate electricity such as nuclear power.

“If you are using coal fired power plants and half the country’s electricity comes from coal powered plants, are you just trading one greenhouse gas emitter for another?”
Mark Gaffigan, co-author of the GAO report and a specialist in energy issues told CNSNews.com.

Well, DUH!

It’s not your father’s census anymore.

Minn. lawmaker vows not to complete Census

Outspoken Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann says she’s so worried that information from next year’s national census will be abused that she will refuse to fill out anything more than the number of people in her household.

In an interview Wednesday morning with The Washington Times “America’s Morning News,” Mrs. Bachmann, Minnesota Republican, said the questions have become “very intricate, very personal”

The Chief concurs fully!

Predictably enough, the Census wonks don’t agree:

Shelly Lowe, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Mrs. Bachmann is “misreading” the law.

She sent a portion of the U.S. legal code that says anyone over 18 years of age who refuses to answer “any of the questions” on the census can be fined up to $5,000.

Nooooo Shelly, it’s not the LAW, it’s the implementation of an invasive census far exceeding the explicit census power in the Consititution that’s the issue here.  Less government intrusion instead of more is the ticket here.

Transparency? What’s that?

Obama Closes Doors on Openness

This report is interesting as much from it’s origin as for its content. Newsweak, and Issikof are FAR from being part of the VRWC!

As a senator, Barack Obama denounced the Bush administration for holding “secret energy meetings” with oil executives at the White House. But last week public-interest groups were dismayed when his own administration rejected a Freedom of Information Act request for Secret Service logs showing the identities of coal executives who had visited the White House to discuss Obama’s “clean coal” policies. One reason: the disclosure of such records might impinge on privileged “presidential communications.” The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig’s office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a “new era” of openness, “nothing has changed,” says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. “For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies.”

The hard line appears to be no accident. After Obama’s much-publicized Jan. 21 “transparency” memo, administration lawyers crafted a key directive implementing the new policy that contained a major loophole, according to FOIA experts. The directive, signed by Attorney General Eric Holder, instructed federal agencies to adopt a “presumption” of disclosure for FOIA requests. This reversal of Bush policy was intended to restore a standard set by President Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno. But in a little-noticed passage, the Holder memo also said the new standard applies “if practicable” for cases involving “pending litigation.” Dan Metcalfe, the former longtime chief of FOIA policy at Justice, says the passage and other “lawyerly hedges” means the Holder memo is now “astonishingly weaker” than the Reno policy. (The visitor-log request falls in this category because of a pending Bush-era lawsuit for such records.)

ANOTHER case of the B.O. bite veing very different indeed from the bark.  Not a problem to the Chief, since he thinks that this is actually a more rational policy that the originally stated one.

Political “Gravy” Flows Downhill

A political pattern to stimulus tour

Looks like the B.O. administration has taken the art of wardheeler politics of distributing political loot to the faithful to a new high (low?!).

Since Congress passed President Barack Obama’s $787 billion economic stimulus bill in February, administration officials have traveled to at least 66 events across the country to tout the massive spending program or hand out stimulus cash to grateful local officials.

But a POLITICO examination of the travel reveals a distinctly political trend line: Top officials have hosted events predominantly in states that Obama won in 2008.

What’s more, the examination revealed that Obama officials all but avoided Southern states that Obama lost.

It is not unusual for a presidential administration to find ways to reward its supporters through federal largesse, particularly in this case, when the goal of the stimulus program is push money out the door to states and localities that can spend it quickly to jump-start the economy. The Bush administration was criticized in 2004 for sending Cabinet officials on trips that critics said doubled as campaigning for the president’s reelection bid.

But the numbers tell the tale: 52 of the 66 events were in states that backed Obama. And taken together, the itineraries amount to a veritable map of Obama’s election-night victories — big-money states like California and New York, swing states like Ohio and Colorado that Obama turned blue and other solidly Democratic states Obama kept in his column.

Shocking! Simply shocking!

Boston Blogging

BLOGNOTE: Posting has been kind of spotty lately due to a road trip…am currently in Boston, and soon after returning home next week, will be out again on an 18 day “historiography” road trip as part of a Master’s degree program that the Chief is in through a U.S.D. grant.

I hope to keep up with posting somewhat…but it will likely be “catch as catch can” for most of the month of June.