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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Senator Whitehouse Tells the GOP They Need To Reject The ‘Iron Curtain’ Of Climate-Change Denial

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) rose to the floor of the Senate last week to give his weekly speech begging his colleagues to reject climate-change denial, and ended up giving an eerie warning to Republicans who refuse to accept the overwhelming evidence that suggests we’re reaching a tipping point when it comes to carbon pollution.

Making the “political” argument, Whitehouse asked Republicans to consider the prospects of embracing the five percent of scientists who believe mankind isn’t fueling climate change.

“An iron curtain of denial has fallen around the Republican Party,” he said. “So let me respectfully ask my Republican colleagues: What are you thinking? How do you imagine this ends? ”

Presciently, just days before a mile-wide tornado devastated Oklahoma, the senator asked Republicans to consider the extreme weather events being fueled by climate change:

Have you noticed the floods and wildfires and droughts and superstorms and tornadoes and blizzards and temperature records? Have you noticed those warming, rising seas? Have you noticed species invading new territory, and miles of dead pine forests in the Rockies, and Arctic sea ice disappearing?

Do you understand that carbon in the atmosphere gets absorbed by the sea, and that that is a law of science and is not debatable? Do you understand that because they are absorbing the carbon the oceans are getting more acidic? Thirty percent more acidic already and climbing? Do you understand that’s a measurement, not a theory?

It’s one thing to be the party that stands against science. Are you really also going to be the party that stands against measurement?

  • Mortalc01l

    You can’t educate people who think science is a belief and not fact. You can’t educate people who believe that their God spoke to Romney, Bachmann, Perry and others and told them ALL to run for President.

    You can’t educate people that think the Earth is only 6,000 years old, despite overwhelming proof; scientifically proven dating via numerous methods that all agree on how old the Earth is, using science that is responsible for keeping GPS accurate etc.

    You can’t educate people who think that a Man built a ship out of wood and then put 6 million animals, insects, birds and reptiles on it with enough food and water for 40 days and 40 nights, as well as some kind of fecal waste disposal system and also managed to stop the Tigers from eating the deer, the Lions from eating the Wildebeest, the weasels from eating the rabbits…..

    You can’t educate people who think there’s a difference between rape and legitimate rape; who believe that a Woman when raped can magically repel her rapist’s sperm from her ovum.

    You can’t educate people who think Obama is both a radical Christian AND a Muslim, simultaneously.

    You can’t educate people who are on the science committee and proclaim that evolution is “from the pit of hell”.

    You can’t educate people who think a Tornado is God’s way of telling us we don’t pray hard enough, or that it’s punishment for “the gays” being allowed to marry.

    Let’s face it; trying to educate these people is a wast of our time; all we can do, is wait for them to expire and hope that they haven’t spread their genes too widely… but then again, they probably don’t believe” in genetics either.

    • Siegfried Heydrich

      Sadly, you’re right. However, old age and Alzheimers will clear away the dross, and I rather expect that GOP rallies will be held in nursing homes and the 2020 Republican National Convention will have to be held at a retirement center in Orlando. If they shoot down immigration reform, that will effectively kill the GOP. They will, over time, be reduced to a regional rump party festering in the deepest South, where bigotry is still a badge of honor, fulminating furiously about how the country is going to go to hell without their divinely inspired leadership.

      I really think the Libertarians are going to be the conservative party of the 21st century, stepping into the void that the GOP leaves when it finally collapses under the weight of it’s own madness. I just hope they’re up to it . . .

      • browninghipower

        I doubt it.

        • Siegfried Heydrich

          Ahem. I offer as evidence videos of the floor at both the GOP and Democratic national conventions. Look at the faces there. And then reflect on the probable number of times each of them will be able to vote before they shuffle off their mortal coils.

          Without fresh blood, the Republicans are doomed, and they’re not getting anywhere near what they need simply to keep their numbers at current levels. On the other hand, the number of the young and latinos who are registering to vote are not willing to support the Republicans simply because of what they have come to stand for any longer. The GOP has caught itself in a demographic monkeytrap – either they open up the very small tent they now have and embrace the ‘brown’ people, which will alienate thiry elderly white base, or they continue losing their numbers each and every day as their core supporters simply die off.

          But don’t worry, the Libertarians will be there to step in and take over from you . . .

          • dtgraham

            I’m not sure how much of an improvement that would be unless that’s what you were getting at. On social issues the true libertarian attitude would make a lot of difference, but in other areas a real libertarian party and a run of the mill centrist party (Dems) would likely propose policies and legislation so vastly different that you’d wonder where the compromise would ever be.

            Legislating in the divided government system of checks and balances would seem to be awfully difficult given that kind of ideological schism, but of course that’s largely the case now with the GOP paying such lip service to, and flirting with, libertarianism and classical economics to the extent they do.

            You may be right. The old guard on the Taliban social side of things will eventually die off and there is a new generation of libertarian Republicans who will want to go much harder in some areas but back off on others. That’s still not the same, though, as having a center-center/left party and a center/right conservative party co-govern. It’s hard to see the new arrangement being much more workable. Like Tucker Carlson asks Liberals who tell him that they’re kind of fond of Ron Paul in some ways….”do you know all the things that Ron Paul believes?”

          • Siegfried Heydrich

            I’m just hoping that the gridlock caused by those who are literally eaten up with hate and rage and racist angst will die with them. I don’t know if the Libertarians will be much of an improvement over the GOP as it currently exists, but it most assuredly couldn’t be any worse

          • John Pigg

            As long as the Libertarian Party remains pure ideologically it will never break the mold. However, I do expect it to spoil the GOP’s edge in several more presidential elections.

            This party is married to non-governance and has little desire to become a mainstream party. Most of the leadership of this Party is borderline anarchic.

          • Siegfried Heydrich

            I tend to see them as something akin to a political MENSA club – bright, creative, idealistic, and not the faintest notion whatsoever of how the world operates. However, they’re the only possible alternative I see to the Republicans, who seem bent on self destruction in the name of ideological purity. We need a rational and principled conservative party to preserve the dynamic of our two-party system; the idea of the Democrats running things without any counterbalance is as scary the the GOP is right now. And sadly, the principled conservatism of the mid 20th century has been perverted into what you see today.

            I think that when the GOP finally is broken (and it will be broken internally as much as by voters who finally say ENOUGH!), the Libertarians are going to be in for some rude awakenings as they learn that reality bears little resemblance to their fond theorizing. Their learning curve is going to be a steep one, indeed. We’ll see if they have what it takes to make the grade. At this point, I don’t really know, but if they have Rand Paul as their standard bearer, they’re in really big trouble right from the start . . .

          • John Pigg

            lol
            Not the faintest idea how the world operates. Thats funny…..

          • johninPCFL

            Rand Paul’s pronouncements may be the perfect political equivalent of monkeys pecking on typewriters, or a blind squirrel hunting acorns…

          • John Pigg

            I dunno man, when he questioned the administration over domestic use of drone strikes, and when he criticized his colleagues for arming Syrian rebels those are correct positions.

            But then he comments on the so called scandals… “Oh yea thats why I don’t support the guy”

            He gets it right far more often than squirrels or monkeys, but the things he gets it wrong on are dealbreakers.

          • Mark Forsyth

            Hey Sieg,Please excuse my tardiness to the conversation.It’s a quiet Sunday here on Memorial Day Weekend and I am doing a little browsing.I have only been mildly acquainted with one avowed Libertarian.A couple years ago when I was still on facebook,there was a troll named Andy Lefler on the Working Families page who was from Tennessee.His ignorance and arrogance towards anyone who might be middle or lower class made the likes of Lana and Obozo seem tame.I doubt he respected anything besides himself.
            I don’t know if that snot was representative of Libertarians in general but I hope not.If the Libertarians are not a decided improvement over the current excuse of the gop,then at least from my own perspective they would be unacceptable.

          • Siegfried Heydrich

            When the GOP implodes, SOMETHING will step into the vacuum. It’s probably going to be the Libertarians simply because I don’t see anyone else out there. To be honest, their learning curve will be VERY steep, and they will have to spend a few cycles building cred as well as a party organization, but they deserve a turn at bat.

            I REALLY don’t like the idea of one party rule – the democrats are just as capable of overreach as the republicans. We need a principled and rational conservative party to maintain the dynamic our system requires. And sadly, the GOP is no longer it.

          • Mark Forsyth

            I’m with you on the one party idea.Gets too far away from democracy far too easy.I don’t know how far back you’d have to go to find a decent batch of repubs.They sure don’t seem inclined to evolve but I guess that’s what comes from running with the fundamentalist crowd.

          • dtgraham

            Although Siegfried might be right in the long run; at the moment they’re a weird hybrid Frankenstein party. It’s as though Ayn Rand and the Ayotollah Khomeini agreed to form a political party, and to co-operate and co-exist. The two groups seem to realize that they need each other politically.

            They crank these kids out in the red states and indoctrinate them with their social values. Those kids usually grow up to have the same values and, in turn, pass them on to their kids. It’s self perpetuating in the short term although it’s fair to say that social attitudes do change somewhat, given enough time. Attitudes, even in the red states, aren’t exactly the same as they were 60 years ago and will change further. That kind of change though is a gradual thing.

            They’re going strong right now with the fundamentalist stuff in the GOP controlled states but, while they’ve rigged the Congress until 2022 through gerrymandering, they’re still vulnerable in the Senate and executive branch. If they keep losing the Senate and White House enough times in the years ahead, the ‘back to the constitution–constitutional literalist’ crowd (a libertarian rose by any other name) may speed up the takeover process.

          • Siegfried Heydrich

            I mark the beginning of their death with another – when William F. Buckley died, so did the heart, soul, brains, and integrity of the party. I knew the GOP was truly doomed when they welcomed the John Birchers back into the party. After that, the disease had reached terminal stage.

    • They aren’t worried! Most of them are too old to worry about it! They figure they’ll be dead before anything awful happens so make hay while the sun shines!!

  • montanabill

    I wonder if he has noticed that scientists have noticed a cooling trend and that even with the current outbreak of tornadoes, we are still well below average? Did we really reach the end of the warming that ended the last ice age or is it still in play? Was that warming brought about by aboriginal people lighting fires? I have to be skeptical until some really solid evidence is presented. And so far, it hasn’t been.

    • gmccpa

      No. Forecasted temperature increases have been revised downward. This is not ‘cooling’…just indicates a slower increase in temperatures. But still increasing.

    • Lynda Groom

      There is no cooling trend. The correct description is a slowing down of the warming. The rate of global warming has slowed after strong rises in the 1980’s and 1990’s, even though the ten warmest years are since 1998. Most of the continued warming is in the oceans instead ending up in the atmosphere. There is a great difference between ‘a cooling trend’ and a slowing down of the warming. Big difference Bill.

      As to the evidence you’ve missed, the most recent survey of active climate scientist shows a full 97% onboard with consensus as to the reality of the science.

      • montanabill

        Sorry, I just don’t think we have enough evidence to indicate to know for sure it is human caused. We simply haven’t been around nor keeping records long enough to be absolutely sure.
        But suppose I grant you that we are contributing to global warming. Do you really think that a Carbon Tax in the U.S. would do anything significant to affect it? Even if we completely stopped burning fossil fuels, stopped raising cows and stopped breathing, do you really think the U.S. is that powerful a contributor?

        • Lynda Groom

          Ice core reading go back hundreds of thousand of years my friend. The level of evidence grows each and every year, and BTW why aren’t you able to accept the nearly consensus (97%) from the scientific community. Saying that you just don’t think there is not enough evidence does not make it so.
          The Carbon Tax question is an entirely difference issue. Also it would be a good idea if you look into the carbon cycle. Cow’s and all other creature breathing has no effect on CO2 levels, it is part of the natural carbon cycle. The United States is just part of the entire world and the problem is not US climate change…but Global.

          • montanabill

            You are making a bad assumption if you think I don’t keep up with science. Yes, we have ice cores, deep water and rock records. But we see all kinds of warming and cooling over the eons and we don’t have the ability to determine what caused any of the periods. P.S. cows were included because they contribute to green house gas. It is just not CO2.

          • Lynda Groom

            Indeed cows and many humans pass methane gas. Methane is certainly a greenhouse gas, but methane does not stay in the atmosphere for centuries. Please start paying attention to science and you won’t make so many false assumptions.

          • montanabill

            Methane level has doubled in the last two centuries and is continuing to rise along with CO2 levels. Again, I will note that we simply do not have enough information or experience to make absolute assumptions about where we are in the natural progressions of earth’s climate. At moment, the Pacific is cooling while the Atlantic stays warm. Not an unusual cycle. However, it has a substantial impact on our weather and climate.

            The elephant in the room is human population, which no one wants to talk about. (Yes, I’ve read the ‘of no consequence junk’) Without reversing population growth, all we can ever do is put band-aids on our contribution to pollution and depletion of resources. Unfortunately, such a solution has severe consequences to the world’s economies. But then, so does the itsy-bitsy band-aid of Carbon Tax, which might not have any effect.

          • Most past climate change was caused by changes in the earth’s orbit. Some warming was caused by CO2, most notably the Permian-Triassic extinction event, which was caused by excess CO2 released by the Siberian traps, which in turn melted frozen methane deposits on the ocean floor.

        • Tom_P

          Yes.

        • Considering the consumption rate in the United States for carbon based materials, yes, I do think we could make an impact.

          However, the rest of the world is quickly catching up to our rates of consumption.

          Any changes we make will likely spread across the globe, albeit slowly. But even slowing the world pace should benefit all of us.

          • montanabill

            Invariably, all the articles I read talk about the cost impact to the average person, which starts out significant and grows. Then come the blithe claims, “oh we can give a rebate or tax reduction to make the pain less.” I won’t go into obvious details as to why that is a silly thought. Missing from most of the studies and/or articles is the impact reduction of such a tax. There’s hand waving and studies based on ‘assumptions’ but, of course, no hard answers. Even some of these ‘analyses’ predict a rather small percentage of a small target will be met. Then the hope is that all other nations will follow. I would say there are probably at least three pretty big flies in that ointment. I won’t disagree that some level of warming appears to be taking place. I do seriously question that we understand it and have an even greater question as to whether we are really ready to pay the enormous price, not just in money, to attempt to stop it.

        • Mark Forsyth

          The carbon tax and credit was a farce when it was first thought of.The problem with a lot of folks who think there’s no global warming is that they think it isn’t so because it continues to snow a lot in places.What is overlooked is the fact that warmer temps put more moisture in the atmosphere.I guess they never learned what happens when moisture laden air hits cold air.It’s definitely science but it’s not rocket science.

    • howa4x

      How about all the ice on Greenland melting?. How about the polar cap vanishing? Doesn’t this ring a bell? We’ve had the hottest summer’s on record causing 26 states to be in drought emergency. The ocean warmed above N Carolina and now the hurricanes that once stopped there can go all the way up to Vermont. Did you see the destruction Of Sandy hitting the northeast? The joint chiefs of staff have listed climate change as a threat to this country above terrorism. The storms are more powerful do to atmospheric changes
      What is it going to take for you republicans to realize that we are headed down a destructive path? Maybe what you need is an F5 tornado in Montana to wake you up. This is why the Koch bros hire whore scientists to sow a little doubt. So 5000 scientists think climate change is real and 1 doesn’t and you believe the one. Even the chief denier a man name Miller even changed his mind and said it was real. This is why thinking people can’t take republicans seriously.

      • montanabill

        Don’t know about Greenland ice melting. Has it ever melted before? Look a little further back than your lifetime. However, you can check storm intensity in the past 100 years. You’ll find storms of a lot more intensity than our current storms. By the way, you put way too much faith on the Koch bros. Consider it to be similar to the way the right gives too much credit to Soros for far left thinking. By the way, thinking that the left has all the answers and that conservatives are stupid, is pure ignorance manifested.

        • howa4x

          I haven’t found a right wing or conservative person to come up with any answers. You all seem to be the party of NO. I would love some answers from conservatives other than drill baby drill, or nothing is wrong. This is the 1st time in human history that the Greenland Ice sheet has melted. Every Glacier has retreated rapidly. I would love to hear your definition of what climate change would look like. The Koch bros started the tea party and fund it. ? They promote an anti science agenda, and pay scientists to say climate change doesn’t exist. They want a group that doesn’t understand science and is hostile to climate change so it won’t interfere with their petrol interests. Funny both Romney and Christie believed in climate change before they started to seek national office in the republican party.

          • montanabill

            Key words: human history. I will agree that we have added significantly to CO2 levels and that climate change is happening. You also must be aware that some glaciers are growing. Not many though. I suspect the real problem is that the left believes the only solution is a carbon tax. Trying taking tax and significant cost to industry out of the equation.

            No proposed solution is going to be accepted if it involves population control or significant cost to taxpayers (reminder: corps. pass costs on to us)

            If we do somehow manage to control climate, then what problems will we be causing. At no time in earth’s history has climate been stable.

          • howa4x

            Yes we live on an evolving planet. It is not that we are trying to control the planet but trying to control the emissions that are causing rapid climate change. Coal is the biggest driver to greenhouse gas emissions, and there is no such thing as clean coal, since the way to do it is not cost feasible I agree that a carbon tax is futile and won’t solve the problem. We need to shift to a more sustainable energy sources. Burning coal won’t do that. I know that you will say that China is putting on one new coal plant a week, but we can teach them how to extract natural gas with less environmental damage
            Oil is nearing an end to its life as a viable source, but wind and solar currently only make up 15% of the energy grid. Natural gas may be a stop gap solution and we need to get cars to run on it. Lite nuclear may work in the short term provided we can find a way to reuse spent rods. The energy future will be a mix of different options till we can transition to a completely sustainable energy future. This is the conversation republicans need to have if they want to be relevant in the energy debate and taken seriously. Just denying it is happening is loosing ground to start a real discussion

          • ObozoMustGo

            Hey Montana! Hope you are well. To add to the discussion, I’d suggest you look up what actually constitutes greenhouse gases and then examine the percentages of the atmosphere as a whole that each represents. You will find that CO2 is measured in parts per million, and is one of the smallest components of the atmosphere as a whole. The alarmists are claiming that CO2 has gone from around 200PPM to 400PPM. Considering that, while focused on just the CO2 numbers this seems large, when examined as a part of the atmosphere as a whole, an objective person should be very skeptical. Especially when you realize that the proposed solution that the left always seeks somehow always seems to involve your wallet and your freedom. Funny how that happens, isn’t it? Odd, I’d say.

            Have a great day!

            “Part of being president is there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast,” – David Axelrod announcing his agreement with the Tea Party that the
            government is too big, May 15, 2013

  • Lynda Groom

    Well Sheldon good luck with that. It will difficult for the GOP to stop tossing about hyperbole on the subject of Global Climate Change. How do you get somebody to see something that they are paid to not see? Science is their enemy too be fought tooth and nail to the bitter end. Our grandchildren will not look back fondly upon the inaction of their grandparents.

  • This guy has the IQ of the quahogs that live off his coast.

  • You on the left, wake the f— up, before its too late.

    • jerecon

      Get real, pal. The numbers are proving more convincing every day. Your stubbornness will only make you just one of a few.

    • Aren’t you dead yet, jackass? Hurry up & quit wasting our air.

    • howa4x

      No it;’s you all that have to wake up. Stupidity doesn’t play well

      • gvette

        I am quit awake. enough to see your pal Barry destroying our country, and way of life. I know you liberals all want to live off other peoples money.

        • howa4x

          What way of life is he destroying? I’m not a liberal but a registered independent. You on the right are always yipping about Obama destroying liberties but which ones are you talking about? Is it the fact that you need to be responsible and buy health insurance? That is a republican plan thought up by the heritage foundation. Bush put in the patriot act that allowed the spying on American citizens but you don’t seem to concerned with that. So how else is Obama destroying our country? Can you list specifics or is that above your level of intelligence.
          BTW: Quite is how you spell it

          • gvette

            http://clashdaily.com/2013/05/must-see-video-cuban-man-believes-obamas-the-next-fidel-castro/

            I just watched this. It says a lot, as to what’s going on here. I understand you on the left, don’t believe what George Soros, and a few others have planned. Maybe you think it’s a better way of life, i don’t konw. Barry care WILL

            financially destroy our country. Well that, and Obama’s failed investments.
            A question to you. Where does true wealth begin?

          • howa4x

            You seem to swallow all the right wing dogma without looking at facts. California has already implemented Obama care and premiums have dropped and access increased. Let me give you a lesson in health care economics. I was on the board of a hospital for over 10 years so I know what I’m talking about, and not using talking points. Prior to Obama care or the ACA(real name) there were 32 million uninsured people whose only access to health care was through the emergency rooms of hospitals. Private doctors refused to treat them. The cost for stepping in the door is around $500. Now when they couldn’t pay the bill, the hospital billed the state’s uncompensated care fund. The hospitals received 50 cents on the dollar and cost shifted losses to those who had insurance. So the taxpayer was paying for those with out insurance, and if you had insurance you were paying more for premiums since the hospital padded the bills. Now the insurance companies didn’t want to loose money so they pass it on to rate payers. This is how it worked. You were paying 2x for the uninsured. Once in increased taxes and the other by increased insurance bills. The ACA merely says that everyone should buy insurance so this won’t happen. It also extends the time a younger person can stay on their parents insurance plan from 22 to 26 yrs old, and expands Medicaid coverage. States will receive 100% of the cost for the 1st 3 years and 95% after. The idea of everyone buying insurance came form the heritage foundation a republican think tank and tried originally by Mitt Romney when he was gov of Mass. The ACA was modified and adopted from that plan. So tell me what is wrong with the ACA? Would you like to go back and pay double? As for George Soros, his wealth is minor compared to the Koch bros at 31 billion each or the Walton’s at 25 billion per offspring (3). they fund right wing causes.

          • gvette

            Thank you very much for your information. Now if you’d answer the one
            question I asked.

            Oh, and even Mitt Romney admitted it didn’t work out as well as it should
            have.

            You don’t agree with what I believe to be true. That’s ok. That’s why we
            write back, and fourth on these

            sites. Have a great day!!

          • howa4x

            Romney said it didn’t work when he was running for president and was running away from all his ideas. There is a video of him asking Obama to adopt the mass. model. Duval Patrick the current governor thinks it is working fine. Once again do you want the alternative? if not give me your idea for how to solve the uninsured problem.
            Have a great day!

          • gvette

            I’m not sure any of my ideas would work, but i caught the vidio of Nancy wanting to make so their folks in the senate be
            exempted. that leads me to belive, we’re going to find out more.
            Thank you for your reply!!

  • frankelee

    Asking the GOP what their end-game is, is like asking a heroin junkie what their end-game is. They don’t have one. And it’ll end poorly.

  • For those who like to mention that methane is a large contributor to global warming, (and I tend to think it contributes, just not on as large a scale), there is one thing else you should consider.

    The chemical structure of methane is CH4. One atom of Carbon, 4 atoms of Hydrogen.

    It is a carbon based material.

  • howa4x

    People like the Koch bros have spent millions trying to convince the lug heads across America that climate change doesn’t exist. It only works on republicans and tea party members and not anyone else. This is because they have been dumbed down my Fox non news. As the most lethal tornado struck Oklahoma no one was mentioning climate change as the culprit. Just like hurricane Sandy struck the northeast. The storms are getting more and more lethal and people are clinging to Jesus to save them. Some even think this is a harbinger to the rapture. We can change this. We need renewable energy, and get off a reliance to coal, and oil and start expanding the sustainable energy grid. It amazes me that the tea party runs around with deficit reduction as their only goal to save the future generations but they seem to forget about the science of how climate change will affect them. The Koch’s filled their heads with environmental lies for their own economic gain. They can’t see it because they are not smart enough to understand the science. It amazes me that I care more about their children than they do.

    • Mark Forsyth

      Haven’t you heard? In North Carolina,where the Koch’s are strong,it is now illegal to speak about global warming,especially on the Outer Banks.Free speech has left down there and the fascists are hard at work.

      • howa4x

        Yes Nikki Haley is doing her tea party best to deny science. My wife’s relatives from there didn’t even know she did that so I guess it wasn’t well publicized inside the state