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Right-wing American stupidity is now a global crisis

Written By: - Date published: 8:04 am, March 29th, 2017 - 47 comments
Categories: climate change, global warming, sustainability, us politics - Tags: , , ,

It’s been pretty painful to watch the Trump regime in action in America. But now it gets even worse. Now we’re getting to the part where right-wing America truly starts to drag the rest of the globe down with it:

Trump begins tearing up Obama’s years of progress on tackling climate change

Fossil fuels to the fore as president signs orders to review clean power plan, lift ban on coal leases and discard expert thinking on true cost of carbon emissions

Trump will sign executive orders and presidential memoranda that suspend, rescind or review several measures that were central to Obama’s effort to combat global warming. They include a review of the clean power plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants.

Trump, who has called global warming a “hoax”, has criticised the power-plant rule and others as placing an unnecessary burden on American workers and the struggling US coal industry.

Burdens and struggles – you ain’t seen nothing yet.

It’s not just environmental and social ignorance on display here, it’s economic ignorance too:

On a call with reporters Monday night to discuss the executive order, one unnamed senior White House official said Trump is “not going to pursue climate or environmental policies that put the U.S. economy at risk.”

But when this official was pressed with the fact that climate change poses grave economic risks of its own, he froze. “I’m not familiar with what you’re talking about,” he said, challenging the reporter to show him the research. Here’s the full exchange:

REPORTER: What about all the scientists who are saying climate change is going to have adverse economic consequences—things like rising sea levels, more hazardous hurricanes—how do you address those economic arguments?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Again, you’ll have to talk to those scientists.  Maybe I can talk to you afterward.  I’m not familiar with what you’re talking about.  But again, the President’s policy is very clear about addressing—making sure we’re addressing the economy, providing people with jobs, and we’re making sure that EPA is sticking to its core mission.

REPORTER: Are you saying you’re not aware that scientists are concerned about rising sea levels or more violent storms might impact the economy—

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: I would want to see the research.  Sure, that would be good.  Show it to me.

Think about this for a second. The Trump administration is unraveling the best chance we have at slowing human-caused climate change, solely because he says it will improve the economy. But Trump’s advisers have apparently not considered how climate change’s impacts on agricultural productivity, human health, and property value will hurt the economy. Hell, they’re not even “familiar” with the idea that it might.

Brilliant.

The one bit of good news is that this these destructive changes will take time. Back to the first piece again:

The official acknowledged the orders’ effects would not be immediate, especially in view of legal challenges. “I would bet a good deal I’m sure there’ll be litigation … Whether that’s three years, two years or one year, I don’t know. It’s going to take some time.”

If ever there was a time for sane America to mobilise and vote, it is now.

47 comments on “Right-wing American stupidity is now a global crisis ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Greenpeace are planning to take on Trump’s agenda with an NZ protest.

    In the wake of today’s sweeping executive order by US President Donald Trump to reverse efforts to address climate change and instead protect the oil, gas and coal industries, Greenpeace New Zealand is preparing to go and confront his agenda at sea.
    Oil giants Chevron and Statoil are currently using the world’s biggest seismic ship, the 125-metre long Amazon Warrior, to search for oil off the Wairarapa Coast.

    Trump has shares in Chevron, and the oil company funded a large part of his presidential inauguration.

    Greenpeace NZ Executive Director, Dr Russel Norman, says Trump’s agenda is being rejected all over the world because people know that for them to have a future, the oil industry can have no future.

    “The Fossil Fuel President can do his best to implement this climate madness, but it’s going to be vigorously challenged by people everywhere,” he says.

    “In New Zealand, we’re preparing to go to sea to confront this monster of a seismic blasting ship that’s out here in our pristine oceans, doing Trump’s dirty work for Chevron.”

    More at the link.

  2. Keith 2

    National’s attitude to climate change is the same, only difference is they bare face lie and pretend it is of concern. I mean appointing none other than Paula Bennett as Climate Change Minister confirmed they couldn’t give a shit.

    But were we to have a government that took this seriously, why would we want to do business with an administration as warped as the current US government?

  3. Jordan 3

    Anthony, have you ever considered that those of us who are right-wing, who unabashedly do not support Trump, who support protecting the environment, who want to see a true 100% clean and green image, might not actually be evil?

    Have you ever considered that maybe being right-wing has nothing to do with it? Have you ever considered that terrible people can be either left or right wing? That in fact there isn’t really a true distinction between ‘left’ and ‘right’, rather that we all want to achieve the same outcomes, we just differ on how we think we should get there?

    Have you ever considered that you belittle yourself by rampaging around disparaging those of us on the right who consider ourselves respectful and tolerant? Those of us who consider arguments on intellectual, not party grounds?

    You would do well to consider that there exists more than the holier-than-thou high ground that you so often take.

    • Hi Jordan. I’m interested in what you propose here. Are you such a right-winger as you describe; one who “wants to see a true 100% clean and green image” (Image? That threw me a little, maybe you could expand)? Do you support “protecting the environment” and if so, what do you do?
      Thanks

    • r0b 3.2

      Anthony, have you ever considered that those of us who are right-wing, who unabashedly do not support Trump, who support protecting the environment, who want to see a true 100% clean and green image, might not actually be evil?

      Evil is your word not mine, and yes of course not every right-winger is a denialist nutter. But the ones running America at the moment are.

      Have you ever considered that maybe being right-wing has nothing to do with it?

      Considered it and rejected it. Sadly the overlap between climate change deniers and right wing political beliefs is high.

      Have you ever considered that terrible people can be either left or right wing?

      Well – obviously. But this isn’t a post about the complexities of human nature, it’s a post about right-wing American politicians abandoning sanity in the face of the climate change crisis.

      That in fact there isn’t really a true distinction between ‘left’ and ‘right’,

      Yeah there really is.

      Have you ever considered that you belittle yourself by rampaging around disparaging those of us on the right who consider ourselves respectful and tolerant? Those of us who consider arguments on intellectual, not party grounds?

      I have no problem with respectful / tolerant right-wingers – good for you! – but you aren’t running America right now.

      You would do well to consider that there exists more than the holier-than-thou high ground that you so often take.

      I’d rather be accused of ‘holier-than-thou high ground’ than sit on my arse and do nothing.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1

        Hi R0b, obviously my (deleted) remark was out of bounds in some way. Sorry about that. Just my honestly held opinion of someone who “takes one for the team”.

        • r0b 3.2.1.1

          Sorry what? I’m not aware of anything deleted?

          As moderators we don’t delete a whole comment (it mucks up comment numbering) – we delete the contents and leave a moderator note.

          Are you sure your comment actually posted?

          • Andre 3.2.1.1.1

            I think maybe that comment is now number 7 on Open Mike.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.2.1.1.2

            Thanks R0b, yes Andre has it.

            It seems my reference to right wing “news” pundits with dubious ethics was insufficiently on topic. For me it’s a key to the problem, which is that right wingers have lost the policy debate so comprehensively (cf: IMF & World Bank evidence re: economics, Finland et al re: education, Dutch & Norwegian penal policy, the vicious clusterfuck in the USA and many more bodies of evidence) they have to resort to lies and character assassination to win elections.

            This phenomenon isn’t confined to the USA, and has the same consequences wherever it arises.

            A global crisis indeed.

            • r0b 3.2.1.1.2.1

              Ahh OK, mystery solved. I had forgotten the move to OM option (I am shamefully lax at moderating).

    • roy cartland 3.3

      Yes, I’m interested too. I know the terms are woolly these days, but I understood right-wing to mean advancing business while externalising any cost (environmental or social). Any social/enviro benefit being purely incidental, i.e. only if it benefits business and the personal financial gain to the businessperson.

      Please enlighten.

      • Phil 3.3.1

        I understood right-wing to mean advancing business while externalising any cost (environmental or social).

        There’s nothing fundamentally inconsistent about being right-wing (in an economic sense) and believing that environmental/social/consumer protection regulations should exist and that the private sector should comply with them.

        I cant speak for all self-described “right wing” people, but I consider the dividing line for left and right to be more around government ownership of profit-making entities and direct participation or competition with the private sector.

    • Ad 3.4

      Anthony used the phrase “right wing America”.
      Are you a right wing American? Did you vote for Donald Trump?
      If so, the criticism applies.

      If not, in the words of Frozen, “let it go”.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.5

      have you ever considered that those of us who are right-wing, who unabashedly do not support Trump, who support protecting the environment, who want to see a true 100% clean and green image, might not actually be evil?

      And you still vote National right?

      Those of us who consider arguments on intellectual, not party grounds?

      If you were considering things on an intellectual rather than at a party level then you wouldn’t be voting National. In fact, you wouldn’t be a right-whinger – you’d probably be voting Greens and probably be a member as well.

      See, if you really were using intellectualism you’d realise that right-wing policies are complete bunk designed solely to ensure that rich people get richer at everyone else’s expense.

    • Corokia 3.6

      Hey Jordan, Interesting word choice there….”who want to see a true 100% clean and green image”….. IMAGE.
      It’s reality that matters, not the f-ing ‘image’

    • bwaghorn 3.7

      would you be so kind as to point me to any info on positive things done in new zealand in the last 8 years by our government to reduce climate change. cheers

  4. BM 4

    The issue isn’t with right wingers so much, it’s with American fundamentalist Christians.

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unsystematictheology/2015/10/why-do-so-many-christians-still-deny-climate-change/

    These people are core Trump supporters which is why we’re seeing these anti-environmental policies.

    • DoublePlusGood 4.1

      That’s just the people that vote for the Republicans. The Republicans are fundamentally right wing business looters first, and Christian fundies second.

    • Tui 4.2

      and frump is scared of muslims! lol!

      ~ tui

  5. Sabine 5

    it is not stupidity it is by design.

    there are seven billion people on this planet, with automation the ruling classes might only need one billion to keep them comfortable.

    Are you one of those that would survive? IF you don’t intend for your public to be healthy, educated, well fed, etc etc etc why would you care if they die of a flood, a fire, or simply just food poisoning.

    As for the socalled christians well that is a bit like the dark ages, God to hold the masses in chains while the mercenary travel the country looting everything in sight.
    Throw in a few witch hunts, public shaming, burning of the witches for some entertainment and i bet that many would have no issues. Cause they believe that they would be the mercenaries.

    But hey, emails, and the other one would start World War Three and is unelectable and purity and shit.

  6. mac1 6

    BM, I think the issue is with right wingers, Fundy Christians are a subset of that group. The thing with that form of right wing thinking, as I’m sure you appreciate, is that the behaviour is given religious sanction. Wealth is seen as a sign of virtuous, blessed living.

    Secondly, there are risk-taking right wing business folk who are quite prepared to countenance environmental degradation in order to make fortunes. History is littered with their slag heaps.

    • BM 6.1

      Right wing people aren’t all psychopathic business people or fundamentalist Christian loons.

      Just as Left wingers aren’t all extreme environmental nutbars, conspiracy freaks or angry man hating militant feminists,

      For an ex-teacher, I find this closed minded Balkan like thinking rather disappointing.

      • mac1 6.1.1

        Don’t believe I got in to that form of extreme generalisation. Just read the word ‘some’ into the argument.

        As a former teacher, I’d expect that a savvy reader would, knowing that, assume that a person gifted with such wisdom and experience as a former teacher could never be accused of rash or false generalisations, having spent a working lifetime ridding students of such incalculable evil….. 🙂

        Such a teacher would, however, encourage the use of hyphens in compound adjectives…. 😉

      • The post was about the American Presidential administration, (which is a subset of American right-wingers) not about the American right in general.

        Calm TF down.

      • Sabine 6.1.3

        sorry mate, but yes they are. Every single one of them will put money and the golden calf above any human including their own offspring.

  7. emergency mike 7

    Surely no one’s buying the claim of naive ignorance. They’ve seen the research – they’re busy deleting it. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/28/arctic-researcher-donald-trump-deleting-my-citations#comment-95664630

  8. Bill 8

    On the basis that existing US regulations were woefully inadequate and would have had bugger all effect on climate change, but that they acted as a kind of panacea for many people… this move by Trump could be a very good thing.

    If it shakes people from their complacency, gets climate change right back onto the centre of the table and if we then demand realistic action be taken, future populations might look back on this as the pivotal moment that shifted us beyond unrealistic attachments to incrementalism.*

    * the notion that CC is real, but that our current socio-economic paradigm can deliver ‘salvation’ through pricing mechanisms and advances in, as yet unknown technologies.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    If ever there was a time for sane America to mobilise and vote, it is now.

    Actually, it’s more that if there ever was a time for the rest of the world to act sanely and together it’s now – and ban all trade and all tourism with the US.

    But they won’t because they’re not sane. Instead they’ll be thinking about how big the US economy is, how much trade is involved and if they stopped trading with the US what would their people do?

    They haven’t figured out yet that a) they don’t need trade at all and b) that there’s an entire rest of the world to trade with. The US only makes up ~5% of the population.

    • Bill 9.1

      I’d agree that voting isn’t the answer.

      I wonder if there could be a realisation that the choice is to..

      a) hit the streets and stay out of the factories and buildings until demands for realistic action on CC are met (ie- a complete strike across industry and with regards to personal rents, debts etc)

      b) risk watching those same streets at some point in the future fill with the desperate suffering or death of your progeny?

      No imagination working in conjunction with fear suggests that a) won’t get off the ground and that contemplating b) will remain ‘off the table’ for most people.

      So it’s c)…which is b) catching everyone by apparent surprise

  10. AB 10

    I think Anthony is on the mark to characterise it as “right-wing” – because it is inherent in right-wing ideology to give priority to the rights of individuals (especially property rights) over the needs of the collective. In fact right-wing ideology in its more loony forms absolutely insists that the best results for the collective actually arise when everyone vigorously pursues their self-interest here and now.

    The desire to fight climate change stems from a concern for the wellbeing of people we don’t know, will never meet and who may not even be born yet. And the solution most likely involves us making sacrifices now. This seems to be the antithesis of atomised individuals pursuing their self interest.

    And that is why the most vocal CC deniers are the most right wing – because the solutions to CC are antithetical to their ideology.
    I had the misfortune to hear Rodney Hide the other day saying that Trump was right to reverse all the climate change ‘nonsense’. Which I think illustrates my point.

    • Bill 10.1

      And the solution most likely involves us making sacrifices now.

      Sacrifice. Came across an interesting take on that word the other day. Sacrifice is when something is given up in order to achieve something better.

  11. joe90 11

    The miners are coming back is nonsense, too.

    The founder and chief executive of Murray Energy supports Donald Trump’s move to roll back Obama’s clean power plan but cautions the president to go easy on talk of a jobs revival

    […]

    While Murray said new plants using “clean coal” technologies could soon be built, he doesn’t expect that coal’s share of the market will rise significantly in the future.

    Coalmining employed 98,505 people in 2015, according to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, down from 127,745 in 2008, the year Obama was elected president, and about 250,000 in the 1970s. Trump has consistently pledged to restore mining jobs, but many of those jobs were lost to technology rather than regulation and to competition from natural gas and renewables, which makes it unlikely that he can do much to significantly grow the number of jobs in the industry, said Murray.

    “I suggested that he temper his expectations. Those are my exact words,” said Murray. “He can’t bring them back.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/27/us-coal-industry-clean-power-plan-donald-trump

    • Sabine 11.1

      He is not going too, they are stage props, and have served their purpose.
      I hear on the miners got his ‘signing pen’ as a souvenir and that is all the guy is ever gonna get out of a Trump administration.

      Shaking up the system, draining the swamp, not beholden to anyone..blahblahblahblahblahblah

  12. Tamati Tautuhi 12

    Anyway how is the “Beasts progress” and how long is it going to be here, I assume JK has shares in these licences, he was pretty enthusiastic about the oil industry, however I would hate to see the mess on the East Coast if there was an oil well blow out.

    There would be some pretty pissed off Maoris between East Cape & Wellington.

  13. Skeptic 13

    I read somewhere recently that Climate Change Deniers are going to cost our children $100 for every $1 unspent, our grand children $1000 and our great-grand children $10,000. There was some sort of breakdown of those figures into direct costs – repairs to infrastructure, homes, personal possessions etc, as a result of storms and droughts; indirect costs resulting from the same reason – insurance premiums (which are expected to go through the roof), replacement of fossil fuels research, government agency costs etc; and finally mitigating costs – medical and agricultural mainly for research and development of medicines and vaccines resulting from insect swarms affecting both human health and agricultural produce. These also include development of alternative crops and even food sources as the existing land use and availability changes consequent to climate change.
    In summary, the article suggested that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will know which of their ancestors was a climate change denier and will probably change their name by deed poll so as to not be associated with the scumbags (a bit like many Germans did after WWII) and would visit their errant ancestor’s grave to deposit something rather nasty on the grave-site after having kicked over the grave stone.

  14. Kevin 14

    The only thing worse than a climate change denier is someone who thinks we can do something about it.

    • Andre 14.1

      Well, yes, climate change is happening and we ain’t gonna stop it. But the decisions we make now and actions we take now will have a strong influence on how bad it gets.

    • Skeptic 14.2

      Sounds like you might be a candidate for a visit from your descendants Kevin.

  15. One Two 15

    Putting a wide angle lens on it, may assist

    It is my opinion that ‘the bottom’, while quickening in its arrival, is still some years away..

    Actions and events expediting arrival of ‘the bottom’ could be interpreted as positive

  16. lloyd 16

    Climate change will flood Florida.
    Trump has declared war on Florida just as certainly as Al Qaeda declared war on New York.

    • Sabine 16.1

      as it will flood the Te Atatu Peninsula. That does not stop people from buying overpriced properties.
      And as long as the insurance companies pay out, no money is lost. He will still have had his fill….and besides he does not live there, its just is ‘versailles’ to do business.

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Tourism Infrastructure Fund now open
    Applications are now invited from all councils for a slice of government funding aimed at improving tourism infrastructure, especially in areas under pressure given the size of their rating bases. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has already signalled that five South Island regions will be given priority to reflect that jobs ...
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    6 days ago
  • Electricity Networks Association (ENA) Annual Cocktail Speech 2021
    Tēnā koutou e ngā maata waka Tenā koutou te hau kāinga ngā iwi o Te Whanganui ā TaraTēnā koutou i runga i te kaupapa o te Rā. No reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa.  It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Graeme (Peters, ENA Chief ...
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    6 days ago
  • Construction Skills Action Plan delivering early on targets
    The Construction Skills Action Plan has delivered early on its overall target of supporting an additional 4,000 people into construction-related education and employment, says Minister for Building and Construction Poto Williams. Since the Plan was launched in 2018, more than 9,300 people have taken up education or employment opportunities in ...
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    6 days ago
  • Youth Justice residence offers new pathway
    An innovative new Youth Justice residence designed in partnership with Māori will provide prevention, healing, and rehabilitation services for both young people and their whānau, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.  Whakatakapokai is located in South Auckland and will provide care and support for up to 15 rangatahi remanded or ...
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    6 days ago
  • The Duke of Edinburgh
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today expressed New Zealand’s sorrow at the death of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “Our thoughts are with Her Majesty The Queen at this profoundly sad time.  On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express ...
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    1 week ago
  • Five Country Ministerial Communiqué
    We, the Home Affairs, Interior, Security and Immigration Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America (the ‘Five Countries’) met via video conference on 7/8 April 2021, just over a year after the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Guided by our shared ...
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    1 week ago
  • Inspiring creativity through cultural installations and events
    Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni has today announced the opening of the first round of Ngā Puninga Toi ā-Ahurea me ngā Kaupapa Cultural Installations and Events. “Creating jobs and helping the arts sector rebuild and recover continues to be a key part of the Government’s COVID-19 response,” Carmel ...
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    1 week ago
  • Drug-testing law to be made permanent
    Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. Research by Victoria University, on behalf of the Ministry of Health, shows that the Government’s decision in December to make it legal for drug-checking services to operate at festivals ...
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    1 week ago
  • Better rules proposed for freedom camping
    Public consultation launched on ways to improve behaviour and reduce damage Tighter rules proposed for either camping vehicles or camping locations Increased penalties proposed, such as $1,000 fines or vehicle confiscation Rental companies may be required to collect fines from campers who hire vehicles Public feedback is sought on proposals ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government backs Air New Zealand as Trans-Tasman bubble opens
    The Government is continuing to support Air New Zealand while aviation markets stabilise and the world moves towards more normal border operations. The Crown loan facility made available to Air New Zealand in March 2020 has been extended to a debt facility of up to $1.5 billion (an additional $600 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Building gifted for new community hub in Richmond red zone
    Christchurch’s Richmond suburb will soon have a new community hub, following the gifting of a red-zoned property by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) to the Richmond Community Gardens Trust. The Minister for Land Information, Damien O’Connor said that LINZ, on behalf of the Crown, will gift a Vogel Street house ...
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    1 week ago
  • Pacific languages funding reopens
      Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says the reopening of the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ (MPP) Languages Funding in 2021 will make sure there is a future for Pacific languages. “Language is the key to the wellbeing for Pacific people. It affirms our identity as Pasifika and ...
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    1 week ago
  • ERANZ speech April 2021
    It is a pleasure to be here tonight.  Thank you Cameron for the introduction and thank you for ERANZ for also hosting this event. Last week in fact, we had one of the largest gatherings in our sector, Downstream 2021. I have heard from my officials that the discussion on ...
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    1 week ago
  • Strengthening Māori knowledge in science and innovation
    Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods has today announced the 16 projects that will together get $3.9 million through the 2021 round of Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund, further strengthening the Government’s commitment to Māori knowledge in science and innovation.  “We received 78 proposals - the highest ...
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    1 week ago