Sunday, April 01, 2012

Obama is the worst, says Jack Kelly

The first paragraph in Jack Kelly's column today lays out his view of Obama in history: "The presidency of Richard Nixon was destroyed, and that of Bill Clinton nearly ruined, by scandals that erupted over lies they told. But no president ever before has lied as frequently, as flagrantly or as foolishly as has Barack Obama.".

If you read Two Political Junkies or my past posts, you know that I (and others) think Jack Kelly himself frequently omits important details or selectively chooses "facts" (sometimes myths) to present, at the very least. Given Jack Kelly's extreme partisan beliefs, it is not surprising that he would describe Obama in such extreme terms (can we say cognitive dissonance). The problem with that is that any legitimate criticism (criticism that more than just Tea Party people might agree with) gets lost in the noise. Kelly's last criticism in the column, that Obama has done the opposite of creating an unprecedented level of openness in his administration, is one that probably Glenn Greenwald could agree with. But since Kelly simply throws everything Obama says back at him, no such unified criticism would be possible.

About two thirds into his column, after presenting distorted facts about the Keystone XL pipeline and Solyndra, Kelly says "Mr. Obama lies most often about energy, but not only about energy.". I could mention that there is much more to the Solyndra story than Kelly ever bothers to mention, or that tar sands are considered to possibly be the final straw that pushes man made climate change beyond our ability to reduce.

But I want to talk about energy in general, somewhat separate from either Jack Kelly's accusations of lies or President Obama's somewhat watered down energy policy. As I see it, we have the ability right now to choose one of three possible energy paths. We could continue as we are progressing now, drilling some for oil and natural gas, watching the price rise (seemingly caused by speculator) and I guess eventually adding some solar and wind to electricity and biodiesel to auto fuel. Or we can do what Republicans and conservatives like Kelly seem to advocate, and double down on extraction and consumption, using tar sands for gas and fracking out natural gas frm shale formations. Possibly fuel costs would com down (though personally I doubt it), and we would have both local and possibly global negative environmental effects.

Our third option would be to pursue a more sustainable energy system. We, three percent of the world, consume twenty percent of the world's oil. What we do will not be the absolute factor that will affect climate change, be we have the opportunity to set the tone. Either we will make it clear that modern life requires unlimited consumption, or we can show the rest of the world that mindful consumption is not only possible, but positive. I have seen people say to me that the future will take care of itself, and maybe it will. But there is not certainty that what we are doing now will not cause suffering for many millions, if not the entire planet in the future. Future generations may have some use for the fossil fuels in the ground now (currently we use oil not only for fuel, but also for fertilizer and plastics, and probably other things I forget about). I think we need to start to minimize our use of fossil fuels, transitioning to hybrids, biodiesel vehicles as well starting to increase our use of mass transit, encouraging businesses to locate with walking distance of population centers and setting up incentives to live in walkable parts of cities and disincentives to live further away. but that doesn't mean we need to suffer. I think that internet shopping can replace driving to malls, and for that matter, if the population of the planet declines (which Jack Kelly has addressed in the past), the internet can still provide perhaps even more effective links to keep critical mass of collective discussion, debate and ultimately thinking to move science and culture forward.

It's too bad that Jack Kelly doesn't think our future is an issue worth examining, that he is only interested in advancing the agenda of the Tea Party.

PG, do you think your readers are best served by politically biased columns, that blindly accepts the word of corporations that their practices are safe for the environment. Do you want to encourage the anti-scientific thinking of climate change denialism.

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