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Withdrawal From The Paris Accords: Much Ado About Nothing?

Climate Change Word Cloud

Late yesterday, as expected, the President announced that he was beginning the process of withdrawing the United States from the Paris climate accords, an announcement that has resulted in far more adulation or derision than the decision actually deserves under the circumstances:

WASHINGTON — President Trump announced on Thursday that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, weakening efforts to combat global warming and embracing isolationist voices in his White House who argued that the agreement was a pernicious threat to the economy and American sovereignty.

In a speech from the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said the landmark 2015 pact imposed wildly unfair environmental standards on American businesses and workers. He vowed to stand with the people of the United States against what he called a “draconian” international deal.

“I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris,” the president said, drawing support from members of his Republican Party but widespread condemnation from political leaders, business executives and environmentalists around the globe.

Mr. Trump’s decision to abandon the agreement for environmental action signed by 195 nations is a remarkable rebuke to heads of state, climate activists, corporate executives and members of the president’s own staff, who all failed to change his mind with an intense, last-minute lobbying blitz. The Paris agreement was intended to bind the world community into battling rising temperatures in concert, and the departure of the Earth’s second-largest polluter is a major blow.

Mr. Trump said he wanted to negotiate a better deal for the United States, and the administration said he had placed calls to the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Canada to personally explain his decision. A statement from the White House press secretary said the president “reassured the leaders that America remains committed to the trans-Atlantic alliance and to robust efforts to protect the environment.”

But within minutes of the president’s remarks, the leaders of France, Germany and Italy issued a joint statement saying that the Paris climate accord was “irreversible” and could not be renegotiated.

The decision was a victory for Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, and Scott Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, who spent months quietly making their case to the president about the dangers of the agreement. Inside the West Wing, the pair overcame intense opposition from other top aides, including Gary D. Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, and his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.

Ms. Trump, in particular, fought to make sure that her father heard from people supportive of the agreement, setting up calls and meetings with world leaders, corporate executives and others. But by Thursday, aides who pushed to remain part of the agreement were disconsolate, and it was Mr. Pruitt whom the president brought up for victory remarks at the Rose Garden event.

The president’s speech was his boldest and most sweeping assertion of an “America first” foreign policy doctrine since he assumed office four months ago. He vowed to turn the country’s empathy inward, rejecting financial assistance for pollution controls in developing nations in favor of providing help to American cities struggling to hire police officers.

“It would once have been unthinkable that an international agreement could prevent the United States from conducting its own domestic affairs,” Mr. Trump said.

In Mr. Trump’s view, the Paris accord represents an attack on the sovereignty of the United States and a threat to the ability of his administration to reshape the nation’s environmental laws in ways that benefit everyday Americans.

“At what point does America get demeaned? At what point do they start laughing at us as a country?” Mr. Trump said. “We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us anymore. And they won’t be.”

But business leaders like Elon Musk of Tesla, Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric and Lloyd C. Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said the decision would ultimately harm the economy by ceding the jobs of the future in clean energy and technology to overseas competitors.

Mr. Musk, who had agreed to be a member of a two business-related councils that Mr. Trump set up this year, wrote on Twitter that he would leave those panels.

“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” he said.

Under the accord, the United States had pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 and commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020.

By stepping away from the Paris agreement, the president made good on a campaign promise to “cancel” an agreement he repeatedly mocked at rallies. As president, he has moved rapidly to reverse Obama-era policies aimed at allowing the United States to meet its pollution-reduction targets as set under the agreement.

“We are getting out,” Mr. Trump said Thursday. “But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great.”

In his remarks, Mr. Trump listed sectors of the United States economy that would lose revenue and jobs if the country remained part of the accord, citing a study — vigorously disputed by environmental groups — asserting that the agreement would cost 2.7 million jobs by 2025.

But he will stick to the withdrawal process laid out in the Paris agreement, which President Barack Obama joined and most of the world has already ratified. That could take nearly four years to complete, meaning a final decision would be up to the American voters in the next presidential election.

The reactions to this decision are about what you’d expect.

On the right, Trump is being largely praised even by Republican critics of the Administration, largely due to the fact that the Paris Accords have been in the GOP’s crosshairs ever since they were entered into late in 2015. From their point of view, the accords were an affront to American sovereignty that unfairly tied the hands of American industry while allowing other nations such as China and India, which are becoming ever bigger contributor to worldwide carbon emissions even as the United States continues to lower its emissions thanks to increased use of cleaner energy sources such as natural gas. Ironically, these same critics often made the point that the accords themselves that were entirely voluntary and unenforceable and thus largely not worth the paper they were printed on. As I noted when the accords were passed two years ago, this is largely true and a strong argument in favor of the idea that the agreement was far less than meets the eye, and most certainly not the threat to American sovereignty that many on the right have claimed it to be.

On the left, the reaction was also about what you’d expect, and similarly completely overblown. Democratic lawmakers alleged that Trump’s decision would be a significant setback for efforts to ease global climate change, and many states and localities controlled by Democrats have already announced their own intention to continue voluntarily complying with the terms of the agreement which, of course, they were already free to do before yesterday. Internationally, the reaction has been largely negative, with many of America’s strongest allies expressing dismay as what they characterized as a withdrawal of American leadership and which many asserted would end up becoming something of a ‘gift’ to China. The reality, of course, is far different. Given the fact that this agreement was largely unenforceable, the idea that American withdrawal would contribute to some kind of environmental disaster is little more than political hyperbole.

None of this means that global climate change isn’t an important issue, or that there aren’t steps that nations that the United States and other nations ought to be taking to at least try to reduce the impact of something that at this point seems both inevitable and beyond our ability to control in any case. Among other things, we ought to be looking at policies that subsidize ‘dirty’ energy production methods like coal and reducing regulations that make new business creation difficult so that companies that are working on renewable forms of energy, or on cleaner burning sources such as natural gas, to grow. Additionally, there ought to be at least some awareness of the role that human behavior is playing in the process of climate change even while we recognize the fact that, in reality, there’s very little we can do about the fact that the climate is changing since this is something that has been happening for the entirety of the 4.6 billion years or so that the Earth has existed. At the same time, though, we deceive ourselves when we take pointless and unenforceable action like the Paris Accords and pretend that we’ve actually accomplished anything. y

In reality, Trump’s decision yesterday will have neither the positive impact he claimed nor the negative impact feared by his critics. In no small part, this is due to the fact that we won’t be formally out of the agreement until sometime after the 2020 election, meaning that this decision can be easily reversed if Trump loses reelection. Additionally, since the goals of the agreement were entirely voluntary, there’s nothing stopping individuals, companies, cities, or states from voluntarily complying with the provisions of the agreement that apply to them. At the same time, though, there’s also no punishment for failing to comply with the agreement, something that nations like China and India have already realized according to many reports. Given all of that, yesterday was a far less significant day than Trump’s supporters believe or his critics fear.

 

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    You are completely wrong. This is far worse than you think, but not because of climate change. It’s far worse because yesterday the United States of America ceased to be the leader of the free world.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 8

  2. Given that we’re talking about an entirely unenforceable agreement that was apparently already being violated. that strike me as being seriously overblown as well.

    Of far more concern in that regard are Trump’s remarks about NATO and related issues, not an unenforceable accord that isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 20

  3. Hal_10000 says:

    Mostly agree with that. The Paris Agreement is more of a proxy fight between those who think the US should be taking an active role in global environmental policy and those who don’t: globalists versus isolationists (which also explains the battle lines within the GOP over Paris).

    Ultimately, our actions on climate change are bound less by the Paris Agreement than by actual policy enacted at federal and state level. That’s been a decidedly mixed bag since some state are closing down nuclear power plants, which is going to massively increase carbon emissions.

    The dirty secret of climate change is that we can’t really stop it right now. But we *can* take significant delaying actions — cutting methane emission, making cars more efficient, ramping up nuclear, switching from coal to gas — that buy time for the big breakthroughs. Those big breakthroughs mean giving business more freedom to develop but also heavy federal investment in basic research.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  4. KM says:

    We just basically proved to the world we DGAF and shouldn’t be trusted in important matters because our President is capricious AF. Right now, world stability has the USA as a touchstone regardless of a nation’s personal feelings towards us. We’ve been in everyone else’s business so long they have built it into their political and diplomatic response structures. Now that’s gone. We are one of three nations to say no…. and one the other two is a nation that frankly didn’t functionally exist at the time and the other wanted MORE then what was on the table.

    We stand alone on this Doug. That’s not a good place to be. We purposely pushed ourselves out for impossible transitory gains and now look like idiots. It would have been one thing to not comply or underperform as protest against its pointlessness but a complete FU-I’m-leaving is going to hurt us in the long run on far more then climate change. We gave our enemies a gift, our rivals an opening and our allies the finger. Every deal on the table from now on will have the doubt of “will they honor this?” and will end up having protections built in to protect against our whims.

    Trump is a complete mess for a supposed businessman.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 3

  5. Slugger says:

    The question is whether Mr. Trump has a clearer vision of the future of power generation than Elon Musk. One of them talks about solar power and new battery technologies, and the other wants to increase coal mining jobs. Europe, China, and India appear to be turning toward the future as envisioned by Musk. Leadership of the world is not just a matter of enforcement of existing pacts, but it is having people want to follow you. At some point, the US becomes irrelevant to the rest of the world.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  6. @Doug:

    As I said to you on FB:

    I will put it this way: let me stipulate for the sake of argument that you are 100% correct about the efficacy of the Accords: that they are non-binding and won’t do much. Meanwhile, our G7 allies asked Trump to stay in the Accords. Trump said no. So, to get out of a totally in-efficacious agreement, Trump has upset some our closest allies. How is that useful or defensible?

    and

    The other damage that I see here is that many of Trump’s base will buy the notion, hook, line, and sinker, that any positive economic news will be because of this withdrawal. All this does it help create a further alternative reality.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 66 Thumb down 1

  7. KM says:

    The business world reaction to this should give you a hint on how this will turn out. Dropping out from the Accords has gotten across the board condemnation from CEOS from the hippy-tree hugger type to oil execs. It’s bad for business, they say, and they are the ones who will have to do a good portion of the work.

    The base loves this for the red meat they can chew on but the backers aren’t happy. I expect we’ll see Brexit-style waffling on this when it comes time to actually withdraw.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  8. michael reynolds says:

    We didn’t withdraw from NATO.

    We don’t get to decide the criteria for leadership – the ‘followers’ do that. It doesn’t matter if the treaty was flawed, or if the Left’s reaction is over-the-top, what matters is that we just broke up with the civilized world. It’s the equivalent of cheating in a marriage. We are no longer the leader of anything. We are smaller and more alone than we have been since before World War 2. And the world is more dangerous for it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 2

  9. Hal_10000 says:

    there’s very little we can do about the fact that the climate is changing since this is something that has been happening for the entirety of the 4.6 billion years or so that the Earth has existed

    I’m skeptical of climate policy but what we’re seeing in terms of climate change is fairly unprecedented. There’s good debate to be had over how much of that is manmade, but not much of a case that it’s not mostly manmade as all other known mechanisms (solar activity, orbital changes, etc.) have been ruled out.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  10. pylon says:

    I just can’t agree. Sure the Paris Accord was never ratified. But the withdrawal is a signal that the US isn’t going to take steps on climate change, it is going to cede the field on alternative energy innovation to other countries, and that the US just isn’t part of the world community. I realize that these things are features, and not bugs, to Trump’s base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  11. drj says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    What Michael Reynolds said.

    It shows that the US is completely unserious. And it’s not only Trump (which by itself would probably be manageable), it’s the entire GOP establishment.

    Climate denialism may be somewhat acceptable in the US (and not properly recognized for the irrational wishful thinking that it is), but the rest of the world holds a rather different view.

    The country is ruled by witch doctors who believe foam fingers are an acceptable alternative to sound knowledge. The rest of the world is noticing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  12. al-Alameda says:

    This is all about leadership, and Trump might appreciate this, about America’s ‘brand.’ Essentially, Trump is wrapping American’s brand in razor wire.

    This – Trump’s decision to withdraw after clearly feigning an open-mindedness toward the Paris Accord – confirms Angela Merkel’s recent understated comment: “The times in which we (Germany) could fully rely on others are partly over. I have experienced this in the last few days.”

    America, for the moment (the next 42 months at the least), cannot be counted on to honor treaties, alliances and agreements with partners and allies.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  13. Not the IT Dept. says:

    We now live in a country where the President can be led around by the nose by people like Steve Bannon and that’s apparently just fine. Meanwhile the rest of democratic world looks at us and thinks that Trump may be dumb but it’s the American people who are crazy.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  14. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @michael reynolds:
    @Doug Mataconis:

    Of far more concern in that regard are Trump’s remarks about NATO

    You have to take the two in toto.
    The POTUS is being openly mocked………by our allies.
    And with good reason. His comments on both make it clear he has absolutely no friggin’ idea what he is taking about. He is either dangerously mis-informed, or lying. You can choose which to believe.
    Climate Change polls very well in both parties. Staying in the Paris Accord polls at near 70%. What is his approval rating going to look like once this gets baked into the cake? Mid-30’s?
    Sad!!!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0

  15. Tyrell says:

    Big D missed a golden opportunity to step up and step out; “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. Instead of backing out, he could have used this as a challenge similar to Kennedy’s challenge to reach the moon by 1970. Here are some ideas on how Big D could have literally had the other world leaders in stunned amazement and the American people more excited than they have been since Armstrong hit the moon !
    Set a goal to surpass the Prias climate treaty numbers: 66.6 % of US cars will run on alternative fuels by 2025. Have fossil fuels phased out by 2030. Petroleum products would only be used for some lubrications, solvents, and cleaners
    Develop bio-diesel and other fuels for trucks, heavy equipment, and jet aircraft.
    Launch an ion engine powered space craft by 2025 (Ion engine was tested successfully last year. Earth to Mars in 6 weeks !)
    Establish a “Manhattan project” type of program to research and develop alternative energies
    Have a nuclear fusion plant on line and generating electricity by 2020 (some are already under construction)
    These are just some goals that are attainable if the initiative, drive, and imagination are there. Big D could have the US once again showing the other countries the way in science !
    Think of the cell phone technology and how fast it has changed.
    Ten years ago no one would believe that the cell phones we have today would have been possible.
    If the US can put a man on the moon, they can develop the energy breakthroughs. Big D could have hit a grand slam and hit a half court winning shot and got this country out of the science doldrums. Many remember the excitement of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs: the astronauts were our heroes. We can do it again !
    Possible new energy sources: thermal, magnetic field, thorium, microwaves, static (lightning), carbon capture, anti-matter, magneto-plasma, hydrogen, methane. These are not pipe dreams or science fiction.
    The future is now !
    “to boldly go where no man has gone before”

    See: magneto-plasma motor, This Thruster Can Propel a Spacecraft Indefinitely (high power ion thruster) : you tube

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  16. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Serious question: Tyrell, are you an engineer?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. reid says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: I was expecting your last word to be “dumb”, too. Sadly, it fits. The Republican party, and in particular Trump, is all about greed, spite, and ignorance. With this recent foreign trip and accord decision, it’s just become obvious to the entire world. We are a laughingstock.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  18. Tim D. says:

    “even while we recognize the fact that, in reality, there’s very little we can do about the fact that the climate is changing since this is something that has been happening for the entirety of the 4.6 billion years or so that the Earth has existed”

    Wow, I had no idea Doug’s understanding of climate science and policy was so weak. This is such a frustrating and disingenuous statement to be making in 2017. Have you literally never (even once?) seen the various climate scenarios that show that, yes, we actually can do something about it?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  19. Modulo Myself says:

    In 10 to 15 years killing the CEO of Exxon is going to be viewed on the same level as killing bin Laden. It’s that simple. Climate change is not going to be an issue. It’s going to be a genocidal crime. No one is going to forget the decades of junk denialism and inaction. The Paris Accords are partly about trying to mitigate the complicity of wealthy countries by signaling some awareness. Trump and the people who support him are no longer capable in a cognitive way of understanding social conventions other than raw conformity so this subtlety is lost on them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  20. Guarneri says:

    How’s the hysterical class today?

    Follow the money, people. Follow the money. The rest is crap.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 23

  21. rachel says:

    @Tyrell: Instead, Macron gets to troll Trump with the current equivalent of, “We choose to go to the moon!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  22. @Modulo Myself:

    In 10 to 15 years killing the CEO of Exxon is going to be viewed on the same level as killing bin Laden. It’s that simple.

    I am going to have to call that out as ridiculous.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  23. Liberal Capitalist says:

    Why the kerfuffle?

    After all, many on the right have always stated that our standard of living is too high, and we have to be competitive.

    Unless you are a business owner, the people should be on par with Somalia, and deeply in debt.

    We get them all to focus on grabbing what they can, getting them to fight against each other, and we can drive this down to the ground.

    Feature, not bug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  24. Jason Brown says:

    Additionally, there ought to be at least some awareness of the role that human behavior is playing in the process of climate change even while we recognize the fact that, in reality, there’s very little we can do about the fact that the climate is changing since this is something that has been happening for the entirety of the 4.6 billion years or so that the Earth has existed.

    I don’t see how the first part of this sentence can be reconciled with the latter. The first acknowledges humans can impact climate while the second seems to deny it by implication. The fact that climate can – and has – changed independently of humans in the deep past does not mean that humans cannot alter the climate in the present and future. That there were forest fires before humans existed does not mean that humans cannot cause forest fires. One effect can have multiple causes, and those causes can occur simultaneously. In the present case, the observed warming is almost entirely due to human activity, with the other (simultaneous) causes playing minor roles.

    It is true however that there is little we can do about the changes we’ve already set in motion. The CO2 we’ve added to the atmosphere came from the lithosphere, (rocks) and to ultimately sequester it back into the lithosphere takes time on geologic scales if left to natural processes. Because we can influence the climate, we can still choose to make it less worse for ourselves and our progeny. Given that this is a very long-term issue, our choices now impact many future generations. Those future people have no say in what we do, however, so to me if our choices constrain their future choices, then we have a moral responsibility to act in ways that preserve their future ability to make their own choices.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  25. KM says:

    And on the heels of this: more drilling in Alaska.

    Money. Money for the rich and screw any regulations that might protect the rest of us. Trump and his ilk are old – they don’t care about spills or poisoned water. They don’t care about cancer clusters or whether children will be able to breath safely in the next 50 years. They’ll die before it becomes an issue. What’s it to them? More money in the bank, more luxury items and to hell with it all. Can’t take it with you….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  26. Todd says:

    I agree both with the notion that withdrawing from the accords will likely have little impact on climate change itself, but will almost certainly have further negative effects when it comes to the United States’ standing in the world.

    This is what happens when we have a President who trusts what he reads from links he clicked on Drudge, saw on Fox & Friends or heard on Rush Limbaugh’s radio program more than what the actual experts he has access to are telling him.

    Climate Change is at least a long term problem. What really scares me is if this same sort of thing happens when the debt ceiling needs to be raised in the next couple of months … Trump reads something on right-wing media that says it’s just fine to miss a bond payment and decides to ignore his Treasury Secretary and just see what happens.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0

  27. dmhlt says:

    Gotta love FRance’s Pres. Macron “In-Your-Face” trolling of Trump with his Tweet of

    ”MAKE OUR PLANET GREAT AGAIN”

    https://twitter.com/EmmanuelMacron/status/870407981044834304

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  28. KM says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    n 10 to 15 years killing the CEO of Exxon is going to be viewed on the same level as killing bin Laden. It’s that simple.

    That’s…. fairly extreme but let’s examine the premise anyways. Ignoring any potential radicalized citizens of other countries who would decide the Great Satan Exxon needs to go because their island vanished beneath the waves and ISIS-analogue Part 47 is recruiting, I can’t really see the citizens of Florida grabbing their shotguns over sunny day flooding. They’ll bitch and moan and demand federally-funded seawalls of ever growing heights so they don’t have to leave but assassination? Rust Belters didn’t go around whacking CEOs for killing their towns – they just settled into a depressed state of “someday”. If a Cat-5 climate-change influenced storm wipes out some Southern cities, they’ll just chalk it up to “that happens”. If the Mississippi can’t stay in its banks, it will be blamed on the levees and not the changing environment. They’ll stay put in a Tornado Alley with significantly stronger storms and ever growing death tolls and property damage.

    They’ll demand help, not hangings.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  29. Modulo Myself says:

    @KM:

    That’s my point. America is going to be the real villain for everyone else. It’s not just island countries. Anyone poor and living at sea level is going to be a refugee. America will be even stupider and more insulated by that point, which will not help.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  30. Jen says:

    We are the second largest emitter of greenhouse gasses on the planet, and have a moral responsibility to lead on this subject. Our president has just abdicated that responsibility.

    Whether the terms are binding or not is almost beside the point. If we don’t lead on this issue, we don’t deserve to be listened to on other issues.

    Time to start learning Mandarin, because the world’s largest emitter IS doing something about this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  31. michael reynolds says:

    @Guarneri:
    Quiet. We’re picking out a nice prison cell for Putin’s bitch.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. Franklin says:

    The self-proclaimed master of the art of the deal has yet to make a single deal, and has now broken one. My scorecard reads -1.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  33. Jake says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Some facts

    https://fabiusmaximus.com/2017/06/02/trump-repeals-paris-agreement/

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 18

  34. Jake says:

    Co-host Brian Kilmeade asked why the issue of climate change had become a “religion” for the left, to which Steyn noted those on the left argue border enforcement is an impossibility, yet they believe they can control the heavens.

    “I think precisely because it is so meaningless,” Steyn replied as to why the left is so invested in the issue. “Because if you say to them, ‘Let’s enforce the border’ — ‘What? Are you out of your mind? That’s just a natural phenomenon. We can’t enforce the border. People are going to be coming in anyway.’ But if you say to them, ‘We can control the very heavens,’ that, we can do. And it’s actually literally insane. The less it has to do with your life, the more the left is invested in it.”

    https://www.steynonline.com/7879/the-full-covfefe

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 32

  35. Jake says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Name one normal person who has watched the leftist freak out and said, “Yeah, I’m convinced. That severed Trump head Kathy Griffin is hauling around? Really makes you think.” It sure does – normal people think, “Thank you, Lord, for helping America dodge that drunken, malignant bullet the liberals fired at us.”

    But then nothing the liberals have done since last November’s humiliation has sought to expand the Democrats’ constricted base to include us normals. Instead, everything they have done seems designed solely to appeal to the coastal snobs and welfare cheats who are already committed to liberal fascism, and to demonstrate to everyone else how right we were to reject that pant-suited Chavez wannabe.

    When you watch what they’re doing in response to normal Americans standing up and asserting the right to govern ourselves, you see the progressives making the losers’ choice at every turn. From concocting elaborate Russian fantasies – I keep expecting someone to demand Trump make Moscow General Hospital release his original birth certificate – to applauding performance art designed to make regular people gag, they choose wrong. And we can safely point this out because they’re too smug and/or stupid to listen.

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/06/01/the-left-freaks-out-as-everything-it-tries-makes-it-look-stupider-n2333860

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 27

  36. David M says:

    Even if the agreement is less than ideal, what we witnessed yesterday should be very concerning. Trump and the GOP are making policy decisions based on fiction. There isn’t any truth to their claims, but yet they still feel no shame or danger in going forward. (They may even be correct.)

    Fact free lawmaking and constant norm breaking will have consequences for all of us though. So even people who don’t necessarily have a great affection for this issue, should be horrified at what we are seeing.

    First they came for health care, but I had employer proved insurance, so I did not speak up.
    Then they came for the climate, but I am not young and have air conditioning, so I did not speak up.
    Then they came for the minorities, but I am white…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  37. Jake says:

    I can only imagine how I would react if I actually believed that the extinction of all mankind was imminent, and my lifestyle was directly contributing to it. At a minimum, I would not drive a car anymore. Ever. At all. I would ditch electricity. I wouldn’t eat any kind of meat. I wouldn’t buy mass made consumer products. I wouldn’t give my money to any company that sells items made in factories with giant smokestacks. Those smokestacks are literally killing people. How could you continue shopping like everything is normal?

    http://www.theblaze.com/contributions/matt-walsh-climate-alarmists-i-cant-take-you-seriously-until-you-start-living-like-the-amish/

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 24

  38. MBunge says:

    The linking of the Paris accord to NATO would be enlightening…if people around here bothered to think. Thanks to NATO, the United States is pledged to go to nuclear war to defend Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

    Does anyone think 10s of millions of Americans should die to protect the territorial integrity of Latvia? It’s an insane idea that warps our foreign policy by committing us PERMANENTLY to a “Weak Russia” policy. And if you want to pretend to not understand that point, why don’t we extend the same commitment to Nepal?

    And I have to say, I appreciate the honesty of Michael Reynolds’s response. He doesn’t care about his country or his fellow citizens. He cares about the ego-boosting contact high he gets from thinking of his country as “leader of the Free World.”

    And, again, because this simple truth seems to elude people here and the governing elite of Europe, the best way to protect the environment is to PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH. The European obsession with austerity will ultimately do far more harm to the climate than anything done by Donald Trump.

    Mike

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 29

  39. Aelio says:

    Volkswagen got a lot of criticisms for cheating in their diesel engines. America will get a lot of criticisms for cheating on climate change. When Japan is fishing truckloads of jellyfish instead of actual fish. When coral reefs are dying near coasts. When fish coming from the arctic region are being measured to becoming smaller as time goes by. When Russia just the other day had winds cause massive damage and over 11 deaths. All of that will pale in comparison to actual effects. Obama’s former secretary explained in one youtube video that climate change is like smoking: the effects may take decades to actually appear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Jake:

    Trump is a fraud – proven repeatedly in court cases. He is a money launderer – proven by the 10 million dollar fine his casino incurred. He is a liar – in fact, by far the biggest liar in the history of American politics.

    Wall? No. Muslim ban? No. Tax reform? No. Stay out of wars? Hah! Take down ISIS in 30 days? Nope. Health care reform? Nuh uh. Ditch NAFTA? Nope. 350 ship navy? Sorry, no. Cut the debt? Riiiight.

    But he got from zero to Special Prosecutor in record time.

    The following people have ALL lied or failed to disclose contacts with the Russians: Sessions, Page, Flynn, Kushner, Manafort. Manafort is a money-launderer for the Russians and their Ukrainian stooges, and he will go to prison. Flynn lied repeatedly and took Putin’s money and he will go to prison. Kushner is up to his beady eyeballs in debt and desperate for a Russian bail-out, and he, too, may go to prison.

    Have they lied about contacts with Brazil, France, Japan, China, Korea, Spain, Germany, Italy, the UK, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Argentina or Uganda? Nope. Just Russia. Always Russia. Russia here and Russia there and never a harsh word spoken about Putin.

    Trump is a traitor. And he’s a traitor for no better reason than money. He was bought. Putin keeps Trump on his keychain like a little troll doll.

    As for Trump doing anything, he is already past his political peak. His own staggering incompetence has doomed whatever movement you expected him to lead. He is 16 points underwater in polls and the strong dislike outpolls strong approval almost 2 to 1. Notice how few Senators and Congress creatures go on ‘the shows’ to defend him? There’s a reason for that: they’re cowards, and cowards have a very good instinct for vulnerability.

    You want to know how things are going for Trumpkins? Well, over here on the Left we were in shock after November 8. They even write articles about how we were all watching HGTV to avoid depressing news. Well, guess what? We leap out of bed now to read the latest news. We are excited. Rachel Maddow practically achieves orgasm most nights.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0

  41. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:
    Nice to see you’ve gone full-on Putin butt-boy. It was only a matter of time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  42. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    Re business:

    On Thursday, 25 major companies took out a full-page advertisement in the New York Times with a letter addressed to Trump. The companies — including Google, Apple, Intel, Microsoft, Mars, Schneider Electric, Morgan Stanley and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts — urged Trump to stay in the Paris accord.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  43. Jake says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Get use to disappointment. 2024

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23

  44. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    Wow, you’re still here?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  45. Andre Kenji says:

    @MBunge:

    Does anyone think 10s of millions of Americans should die to protect the territorial integrity of Latvia? It’s an insane idea that warps our foreign policy by committing us PERMANENTLY to a “Weak Russia” policy.

    Russia is weak, and there is nothing that the United States can do about that. In fact, the fact that Russia is weak is the main argument against NATO expansion, not the contrary.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  46. DrDaveT says:

    Setting aside the (correct) arguments being made here that the damage is in our ability to play nicely with others, not in any direct impact on climate change…

    …let’s focus on some basic yellow journalism:

    The reality, of course, is far different. Given the fact that this agreement was largely unenforceable, the idea that American withdrawal would contribute to some kind of environmental disaster is little more than political hyperbole.

    No, Doug, the idea that anyone at all said any such thing is the hyperbole. None of the sources “on the Left” that you cited or quoted or linked to said anything that could be plausibly interpreted as remotely implying that American withdrawal will lead to environmental disaster.

    So, you have reasonably correctly characterized the reaction from the RIght, and ridiculously caricatured the reaction from the Left. What conclusions should I draw from that?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 1

  47. Jake says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    The fake lawyer lives

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 24

  48. David M says:

    There have been no shortage of bad faith arguments made on this issue though. For example

    “It’s Obama’s fault, he should have sent the treaty to the Senate. Something, something, executive action”

    “The agreement didn’t do enough, so let’s do less”

    “I don’t dispute the climate change, but the liberals were so smug I can’t ever take action.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @Jake:

    Oh, I’m not at all disappointed. See, I’m a wealthy white man, married to an even wealthier woman, and your messiah just wants to make us richer.

    You don’t get it, dude. You can blah blah blah about ‘the elites’ but the elites always do well. No matter what Trump does, I’ll come out of it better off than you. If the country gets too annoying I can buy a villa on the Costa del Sol and drink Rioja on a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean.

    You elected an imbecile psychopath and you actually think you’re going to come out better in the end? That’s so precious it edges into pathos. It’s you who loses, because guys like you always do. It is written in the stars. Your idiot game show host isn’t going to change that. He isn’t even trying. He’s not going to try. You were conned. And if his tax plan goes forward my savings will in all likelihood exceed your annual income.

    See? In the end you don’t even really get to enjoy your spite.

    Now, excuse me, I have to spend 3 hours sitting in my courtyard, smoking 20 dollar cigars and typing pages at a rate of $1000 each.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0

  50. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jake:

    Don’t tell my firm – I’ve sort of gotten used to that 3 something million a year they pay me. :-)

    Still playing the same tired shtick I’m wondering who you’ll be blaming in a few years when you’re still losing at three-card monte. :roll:

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  51. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:
    Jake,
    That’s quite a rotation: TheBlaze, Townhall, FabiusMaximus
    Seriously, are there any non-alt.reality, non alt.fact websites that you frequent for news and opinion?

    I usually get news and opinion from the WSJ, LAT, NYT, Reuters, and the Washington Post. Honestly, it’s not that difficult to engage the non-mouth-breathing, non-science-denying, non-alternative-fact world..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  52. @al-Alameda:

    I usually get news and opinion from the WSJ, LAT, NYT, Reuters, and the Washington Post. Honestly, it’s not that difficult to engage the non-mouth-breathing, non-science-denying, non-alternative-fact world..

    You are clearly captive to the lamestream media. Fake news!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  53. Jake says:

    @al-Alameda:

    And that is why you know nothing. Trump won the election btw

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 23

  54. Pch101 says:

    The EU falls short of its targets, but it doesn’t go bragging about it.

    The GOP approach to foreign policy is to snub the world for the sake of it. This is an attitude problem that one associates with miscreants, not a useful policy position.

    It would be quite easy for the US to simply fail to comply. This Republican impulse to pound ones chest about it is a right-wing disease that values noise over substance. Instead of speaking softly and carrying a big stick, Republicans like to shout, then get their backsides kicked. Bring it on, mission accomplished.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  55. al-Alameda says:

    @Jake:

    Name one normal person who has watched the leftist freak out and said, “Yeah, I’m convinced. That severed Trump head Kathy Griffin is hauling around? Really makes you think.” It sure does – normal people think, “Thank you, Lord, for helping America dodge that drunken, malignant bullet the liberals fired at us.”

    Remember Ted Nugent’s comments?
    “Obama, he’s a piece of shit. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary,” he continued. “you worthless bitch”

    Conservatives pretty much yawned and said, ‘so what’s the problem?’

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Not to mention Limbaugh calling Chelsea Clinton a dog on his failed TV show.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  57. slimslowslider says:

    @al-Alameda:

    Ted is where Jake gets half his material.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  58. David M says:

    Has anyone run into an actual argument for leaving the agreement that isn’t laughable? Most of of what I’ve seen has been pretty ridiculous:

    “We need a better deal than one where we set our own targets and how we reach them”

    “It’s toothless and draconian”

    “We’re leaving as part of a renegotiation”

    “We don’t believe in climate change so we’re leaving it to do more on our own”

    “Other countries have different goals”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  59. TM01 says:

    Doug, you Fascist!

    Don’t you know that withdrawing from the Paris accord is a Declaration of War!!??!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 15

  60. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Jake:
    Trump lost the election by 3 million votes.
    He won the Electoral College buy a fluke of math.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  61. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    Hey…the transition is complete. You are now a full-fledged Trump/Putin butt boy. Whats it taste like…being so far up there arses?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  62. Lit3Bolt says:

    @MBunge:

    That’s not right. That’s not even wrong.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  63. Lit3Bolt says:

    @Jake:

    Jake, do you roll coal?

    If you don’t, do so. It would make me, a liberal snowflake, so very very mad at you.

    Also, litter a lot. Pour motor oil into streams. Drink bleach. I’ll be so outraged.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  64. KM says:

    @Jake:

    I can only imagine how I would react if I actually believed that the extinction of all mankind was imminent, and my lifestyle was directly contributing to it.

    Tu quoque, Jack. Your words for the day.

    Ever seen a diabetic guzzle a soda or have a large slice of cake? Or someone with a stoma smoking through it? Same mentality. Awareness of the problem, lack of give a fwck about doing anything about it because it means change. Then when its too late and irreversible damage is done, the screaming / blaming /begging starts. OMG OMG do something quick or we’ll die!!! Well too bad so sad, the time to do something was before it hit the fan. Preventive measures when you can slow or reverse the damage, not panicky last minute resorts.

    Too bad humanity doesn’t work that way. Morbidly obese people pound down carbs that can kill them. Smokers don’t stop even with a damn hole in their throats. Environmentalists don’t practice what they preach and contribute to the problem. Doesn’t excuse people like you who point out hypocrisy in others to justify bad behavior in general.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  65. Aelio says:

    One argument for leaving it may have to do with trying to keep America as the leading country when it comes to fossil fuels, because apparently one way the world order may change is following energy changes. Many of the former British colonies were strong in terms of exporting coal. It was an important source of income to them. Even America is a former British colony so to speak. Australia still wants to be exporting coal to the lucrative Asian market. So America by defending coal would also be helping Australia economically. Asia will kill us one way or the other.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  66. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    @Modulo Myself:
    In 10 to 15 years killing the CEO of Exxon is going to be viewed on the same level as killing bin Laden. It’s that simple.

    I am going to have to call that out as ridiculous.

    You’re right, of course. But only because the electorate are a box of rocks who have the memory of a fruit fly and can’t deal with complex causation. The current CEO, and Tillerson, are killing more people than Sammy bin Laden could have dreamed of.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  67. David M says:

    @Jake:

    I can only imagine how I would react if I actually believed that the extinction of all mankind was imminent, and my lifestyle was directly contributing to it. At a minimum, I would not drive a car anymore. Ever. At all. I would ditch electricity. I wouldn’t eat any kind of meat. I wouldn’t buy mass made consumer products. I wouldn’t give my money to any company that sells items made in factories with giant smokestacks. Those smokestacks are literally killing people. How could you continue shopping like everything is normal?

    First, a large scale problem like that requires international cooperation and action. How dumb do you have to be not to get that?

    Secondly, that idea is just nonstop derp. You seriously don’t understand why people might prefer less painful collective solutions that are actually more effective than your ridiculously painful yet completely meaningless individual actions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  68. Steve V says:

    Well thank goodness this policy is being dictated by the appropriate people, Brian Kilmeade and Mark Steyn.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  69. gVOR08 says:

    @David M:

    “I don’t dispute the climate change, but the liberals were so smug I can’t ever take action.”

    Thank you for citing that. That sort of thing is getting to be a real pet peeve of mine. ‘The Dems/liberals/climate scientists weren’t sufficiently saintly or sufficiently brilliant, so everything is their fault.’ Never the ratfwcking, lying, corrupt Republicans and RW media, For examples, see Doug’s Hillary thread.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  70. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @KM: Trump isn’t a businessman any more. For the past decade, he has been a person who allowed other people and products to license the use of his last name for the purposes of their conduct of commerce.

    Or to put it another way, he’s an advertising slogan. With any luck at all, at the end of his term as POTUS he won’t be any more. That may make things difficult for his children, but I can’t do anything about that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  71. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “It’s the equivalent of cheating in a marriage.”

    Wait — is that a bad thing?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  72. Tyrell says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: No. I learned a lot about car motors when I was young: tuning, adjusting, overhauling, and repairing.
    I think that the US can easily meet or surpass the Prias agreement goals.
    Best engines: Ford Boss 429 (the most powerful production motor at the time – 600 hp); Chevy 396, Chrysler hemi.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  73. wr says:

    @Jake: And you read that and think it’s smart. Which is why you are such a stupid little man.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  74. wr says:

    @Jake: “I can only imagine how I would react if I actually believed that the extinction of all mankind was imminent, and my lifestyle was directly contributing to it.”

    Judging from your posts, I’m pretty sure you would try to knock over a 7-11, shoot a couple of darker folks just for fun, and then attempt rape on any woman who looked so weak she couldn’t kick the crap out of you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  75. wr says:

    @MBunge: “And, again, because this simple truth seems to elude people here and the governing elite of Europe, the best way to protect the environment is to PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH.”

    You know, I thought Jake’s Fox quotes would be the dumbest thing I read on this issue — but thanks, Mike. Let’s all promote economic growth by burning as many fossil fuels as possible and the air will magically clean itself! Look how well it’s worked in China and India!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  76. wr says:

    @Aelio: “When coral reefs are dying near coasts. ”

    You mean yesterday?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  77. @wr:

    @MBunge: “And, again, because this simple truth seems to elude people here and the governing elite of Europe, the best way to protect the environment is to PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH.”

    Supply side environmentalism!

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  78. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Jake: I don’t believe that you would do any of those things. but you beat that strawman. Beat him down good!

    And while you’re at it, find me someone, anyone, who has actually said “the extinction of mankind is imminent.” (And look up imminent while you’re at it.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  79. Pch101 says:

    Jake knows plenty about climate change. (His Pontiac Aztek has an air conditioner.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  80. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yeah, even Jake knows that–as is evidenced by the comment following yours.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  81. Tyrell says:

    @KM: Basically the big oil companies made sure that the Prias agreement will create some noise and little else. The same oil companies that have stopped alternative energies and technology – such as an engine that gets 100+ mpg. They also pulled the “gas” shortage of the 1970’s – the biggest hoax ever pulled on the American people.
    The problem with science today is that it has become political. Maybe that’s a lot of people don’t buy the climate change thing.
    Think about the solar energy. A lot of people have built their own solar units and install them. But some home owners organizations effectively block them with all kinds of regulations.
    “It’s all for nothing”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  82. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @MBunge:
    And, again, because this simple truth seems to elude people here and the governing elite of Europe, the best way to protect the environment is to PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH.
    WTF…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  83. Pch101 says:

    I’m starting to think that Bunge is supposed to be a parody.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  84. @Pch101: I have stopped trying to figure him out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  85. michael reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Bunge’s easy. He’s been desperate to mount the lectern and deliver a sermon on the failings of people brighter than himself. Trump was supposed to be the plague that would force us sinners to repent. He thinks he’s Jeremiah crying woe, woe to the Israelites and warning us to mend our sinful ways.

    He doesn’t understand why we aren’t all weeping in the pews. It’s hard to imagine but Trumpkins actually thought they’d be getting respect.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  86. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @wr:

    @michael reynolds: “It’s the equivalent of cheating in a marriage.”

    Wait — is that a bad thing?

    Not if you do it right ! 😉

    On the other hand, to see how NOT to do it, see Potus 45’s track record.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  87. Pch101 says:

    Bunge desperately wants to be the smartest guy in the room.

    This is complicated by the fact that he never is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  88. Not the IT Dept. says:

    @Tyrell:

    Your comment reminded me of a former boss of mine (now deceased, sadly); he was an engineer with a passion for Star Trek. Whenever he thought someone was too passive or apathetic about a project, he’d lean over his desk, frown and say: “We’re never going to get to Warp 9 with that attitude, mister!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  89. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: Based on what I’ve seen, he’s adopted a point of view not all that different from Scott Adams. Neither of them seems all that right wing, and yet ever since Trump’s rise they’ve both attempted to forge a niche of snarky anti-anti-Trumpism. It goes something like this: they see people calling Trump dangerously unfit for the office, and they conclude with impeccable logic that the reason so many people are saying it is not that it’s obviously the truth, but rather that to agree with them would be to follow the herd.

    The irony of this is that, in trying to make themselves sound smarter than the rest of us, they’re actually proving that they’re not thinking at all. It’s an exercise in mindless, knee-jerk contrarianism disguised as independent thinking.

    Conventional wisdom isn’t always wrong. The sky really is blue. The moon really isn’t made of cheese. And Donald Trump really is dangerously unfit to be president. It’s a complete no-brainer, and I don’t envy those who have committed themselves to turning themselves into a pretzel to deny this obvious truth. It’s pathetic–or, as Trump would put it, “sad.”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  90. michael reynolds says:

    @Kylopod:
    One of my concerns from the start of this abortion of a presidency was that the sheer, undeniable stupidity involved in supporting this clown would make it impossible to climb down. The size of the error is impossible to justify. These voters will go down in history as a cautionary tale on the limits of democracy. These voters will be in textbooks, and not in a good way.

    Emotionally they’re basically Scientologists – in their hearts they know the truth but they’re too weak and dishonest to take the ridicule. So they’ll keep doubling down – witness MBunge’s new love for the Russians. In a few weeks he’ll be calling us all elitists for thinking treason is a bad thing.

    It’s sad in his case because he’s not a dunce. Or wasn’t. Now he is.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  91. Tyrell says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: Dr. Patrick Nuemann of the University of Sydney has a working ion engine in a laboratory. This type of engine will reach unbelievable speeds in space.
    Warp speed is here now.
    See – Ion Engine outperforms NASA HPIP.
    Atlas

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  92. Franklin says:

    @Jake: I don’t know of anyone who is claiming the imminent demise of all mankind. But you probably never actually read what serious scientists think will happen. It’s hard to get accurate information from the sources you prefer.
    As for the proposed steps, most of the people I know in the liberal town I live in are moving towards them. I put maybe 2000 miles a year on a hybrid vehicle. Looking at solar panels. Reducing meat consumption, not sure if I’ll ever make it to full vegan like some close friends and relatives. Reducing, reusing, recycling. We’re doing it, sorry if you’re not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  93. Andre Kenji says:

    @Kylopod: Trump is basically the Latin-American caudillo/coronel, just more incompetent than the average caudillo/coronel. The supporters of these caudillos/coronel always supported their caudillos/coroneis even more when the media and people like Kylopod and Michael Reynolds were criticizing their favorite politician.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  94. Matt says:

    @Jake: I don’t even know how to try to communicate with someone so incredibly delusional that they believe that there was no border enforcement under Obama and Clinton. I live near the border and I occasionally hear/see the drones as they take off to patrol the border.I KNOW the border is being enforced as I’ve seen it first hand multiple times under Obama.

    When you started your argument off with a HUGE easily proven false straw-man then you clearly don’t have much to go with.

    That’s without even getting into the stupidity of his attempt at a “point”..

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  95. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: Ion engines have been around for some time. The problem with Ion engines is that they don’t produce nearly as much thrust as conventional chemical engines. The bright side of course is fuel efficiency and eventually the top speed capability (it just takes a lot of time to get to the top speed). Good for long distance probes. Really bad for transiting people through space.

    While back a team at NASA published a paper showing evidence that the EMdrive concept actually does produce thrust. If this holds up then it’ll be fascinating to watch unfold.

    Also I would argue that the best engine was the Chevy small block (the 350 in particular). No other engine has seen so many uses and had so many versions produced.

    I’m sure you find it fascinating that you can now buy a car with safety features galore, air conditioning, a factory warranty (3 yr and 5yr power train) and 707 Hp / 650 lb-ft. We are living in the era of the new age muscle car. If I had the money to afford one I’d use it build my own. You can buy new “factory” VIN 65 mustang shells built using the original jigs (69 camaro coupe/convertible too) and every other part needed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  96. Tyrell says:

    @Matt: Thanks. That is interesting about the new car builds. No doubt that the cars today are light years safer than the tanks we used to drive, and they last much longer. I have friends who walked away from big crashes with just a scrape from the air bag.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  97. al-Ameda says:

    Well, if I’m the chief finance officer at the United Nations I’m readying up a contingency plan for when Trump and his people threaten to defund or reduce the United States’ annual funding of the UN.

    This is the Anti-Pottery Barn Administration: “If We Break It, That’s On You”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  98. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell:

    They also pulled the “gas” shortage of the 1970’s – the biggest hoax ever pulled on the American people.

    I prefer to view it as the greatest example of free market economic principles of my lifetime. The owners of a product that could be held in reserve chose to so in order to achieve a confiscatory price increase. They realized that the fact that people wanted a product did not actually mandate selling that product at the lowest effective price simply because consumers preferred said price. Since it wouldn’t rot, there was no urgency. Shorten the supply–raise the price. Say’s Law in a nutshell.

    The fact that the owners of the product were a bunch of 3rd-world oligarchs simply shows that America is the shining example we always knew that we were. Yay Adam Smith and America!

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  99. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: Unlike Stalin’s maxim about voters, in our situation, just like schools are reflections of the priorities of the communities they serve, government is the reflection of the voters who elected it.

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  100. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds: What makes it frustrating is that the GOP is never going to take responsibility for Trump. They never took responsibility for Bush. And Bush was always a fairly mainstream Republican. From the moment it started dawning on people around early 2016 or so that Trump was going to be the GOP nominee, the rationalizations began, and that’s when you started seeing the “Yes, Trump is awful, but…” phenomenon. And that rationalization is going to be exactly how they cope with Trump’s downfall if and when it occurs: they’ll claim they never really supported him, that it was all the Dems’ fault for nominating a candidate as awful as Hillary.

    Of course that won’t stop there from eventually being a major schism on the right, where the hardcore Trumpies refuse to let go while everyone else flees in horror. You saw a sort of miniature version of this with the Palin phenomenon, where a lot of her former backers in the media such as Bill Kristol and Matt Continetti gradually jumped ship leaving a small but very fervent core of supporters. The difference is that Palin never actually ascended to power, and at that point there was no incentive for the party to stick by her. As long as Trump was the GOP’s ticket to power they were going to stand by him. It got him through the Access Hollywood fiasco, and it’s getting him through the Russia scandal. But if they actually begin to pay an electoral price for this loyalty (and I again emphasize that I’m still somewhat pessimistic about that), things may change, and it won’t be pretty.

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  101. Tyrell says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker: I knew a person who was a manager at one of the local gas terminals. He said their tanks were full and they were scrambling trying to find every available hole to store the stuff in. Tanker ships were parked off shore waiting. “If we could have, we would have put the stuff in empty swimming pools! This country was floating in oil !”
    Once the price doubled, they started shipping oil again. Shortage over. The big oil companies saw the reaction: the people were like hostages. The government sat back in bewilderment.
    Then all the gas stations were closed and converted to “convenience” stores with their crazy prices. President Nixon threatened a big investigation. That didn’t happen, and never will. The American people had been had.
    See “Monsters of Maple Street”. Also: “Gashole”

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  102. Zachriel says:

    @Tyrell: … has a working ion engine in a laboratory. This type of engine will reach unbelievable speeds in space. Warp speed is here now.

    Ion propulsion is sub-light speed, not warp speed. Ion propulsion is still a rocket that requires shooting stuff out the back. The problem on long voyages is that you run out of stuff. For sub-light speed interstellar travel, you might want to upgrade to a Bussard ramjet. Still slow, but once you get going, time dilation will make it seem like just a moment in time.

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  103. Zachriel says:

    @Jake: I can only imagine how I would react if I actually believed that the extinction of all mankind was imminent, and my lifestyle was directly contributing to it. At a minimum, I would not drive a car anymore. Ever. At all.

    Climate change is not an extinction threat to humans, unless resultant political stresses lead to war. Humans are more than capable of adapting to any expected level of global warming. On the other hand, anthropogenic climate change threatens agriculture, coastal flooding, desertification, and a permanent loss of much of humankind’s ecological inheritance. These changes will cause large scale human migration, and all the social friction and political turmoil associated with that, something the world is already straining under.

    Earlier mitigation is less expensive and less disruptive than later mitigation, and results in less disruption to human civilization and less permanent damage to the ecology. Furthermore, as the world’s peoples develop, it will require more energy, not less. Any reasonable plan will require cooperation and technological innovation, and that will require robust economic growth. The good news is that the energy infrastructure has to be replaced every few decades anyway, so it is a matter of upgrading that infrastructure as new technologies become available.

    @MBunge: the best way to protect the environment is to PROMOTE ECONOMIC GROWTH

    Economic growth is a necessary, but not sufficient, component of mitigating anthropogenic climate change.

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  104. Zachriel says:

    @MBunge: Does anyone think 10s of millions of Americans should die to protect the territorial integrity of Latvia?

    WWII started in Poland, and Hitler encouraged by the ratification of the annexation and occupation of the “Sudetenland”. WWI was sparked by events in Serbia. The whole point of NATO is deterrence. As long as adversaries understand that NATO stands united, then direct national conflict may be avoided. Trump refusing to say whether he would honor NATO’s Article 5 on mutual defence seriously undermines confidence in this deterrence, as is Trump’s lack of concern about Russian interference in the last presidential election. This could lead to a serious miscalculation by America’s adversaries.

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  105. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @Tyrell:

    Once the price doubled, they started shipping oil again. Shortage over. The big oil companies saw the reaction: the people were like hostages. The government sat back in bewilderment.

    That’s right! That’s exactly how the market is supposed to work. People who want more money for their product withhold it from the market until the price goes up. And the government is supposed to stay out because it shouldn’t be telling anyone how much to charge or how much profit is too much. To do otherwise would have absolutely destroyed the oil and gas industry–which is borne out by the fact that we didn’t do otherwise and the oil and gas industry is as strong as it has ever been. Yay free market!

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  106. grumpy realist says:

    @Jake: So what?

    Learn Chinese, mister. It’s what you’re going to have to know if you want to succeed in the coming world.

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