The screaming headline at The Huffington Post says it all. I think it’s safe to say that Barry & Co. never imagined they would wake up to the words “JUNK SHOT” in response to The One’s first Oval Office speech. The words that follow are just as harsh:
Reviews of the speech were harsh. Environmental reporter Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones wrote:
On the Gulf disaster, Obama could have offered clear direction on several issues: for instance, by clarifying the administration’s stance on eliminating the liability cap to protect oil companies from damages following a spill, or by offering a hard number for how much money BP must set aside for the independently administered fund the government has proposed.
Then there are the questions about wider energy and climate policy that remain unanswered. Obama largely avoided the issue of climate change, only uttering the word “climate” once as part of the phrase “a strong and comprehensive energy and climate bill.” He at least hit the right notes on clean energy, talking about solar power, wind, efficiency, and electric cars, an improvement over his State of the Union address this year, where nuclear power, “clean” coal, and offshore drilling figured heavily. But what his speech lacked was specific directives, which is what the Senate needs at this point. There wasn’t even a clear call for a carbon cap, which I fear all but dooms its chances this year.
Similarly, the Washington Post’s Ezra Klein noted the “pessimistic take” on Obama’s vague language about an energy bill was that the president “shied away from clearly describing the problem, did not endorse specific legislation, did not set benchmarks, and chose poll-tested language rather than a sharper case that might persuade skeptics.”
MSNBC personalities Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Howard Fineman were particularly disappointed. “It was a great speech if you were on another planet for the last 57 days,” Olbermann said, adding, “Nothing specific at all was said… I don’t think he aimed low, I don’t think he aimed at all. It’s startling to have heard this, isn’t it?” Fineman agreed: “He wasn’t specific enough,” and failed to lead as a “commander-in-chief” should.
There is a link to the MSNBC video. I highly recommend it. I’m a sucker for punishment and watched the Keith & Chris smackdown after the speech and had to lift my jaw off the floor at their comments delivered with such snark.
But the impasse over the 2050 targets demonstrated again the most vexing problem in reaching a consensus on climate change: the longstanding divisions between developed countries like the United States, Europe and Japan on one side, and developing nations like China, India, Brazil and Mexico on the other.
While the richest countries have produced the bulk of the pollution blamed for climate change, developing countries are producing increasing volumes of gases. But developing countries say their climb out of poverty should not be halted to fix damage done by industrial countries.
As various sides tried to draft an agreement to sign Thursday, those tensions scuttled the specific goals sought by the United States and Europe. The proposed agreement called for worldwide emissions to be cut 50 percent by 2050, with industrial countries cutting theirs by 80 percent. But emerging powers refused to agree because they wanted industrial countries to commit to midterm goals in the next decade and to follow through on promises of financial and technological help for poorer nations.
“They’re saying, ‘We just don’t trust you guys,’ ” said Alden Meyer, of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “It’s the same gridlock we had last year when Bush was president.”
“I cannot support the House bill in its present form,” Byrd said in a statement. “I continue to believe that clean coal can be a ‘green’ energy. Those of us who understand coal’s great potential in our quest for energy independence must continue to work diligently in shaping a climate bill that will ensure access to affordable energy for West Virginians. I remain bullish about the future of coal, and am so very proud of the miners who labor and toil in the coalfields of West Virginia.”
Byrd grew up in the coalfields of Stotesbury, W.Va., in Raleigh County. Jesse Jacobs, spokesman for Byrd, said the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will begin marking up the “cap and trade” bill later this month, with floor debate scheduled for September or October.
“So it is our hope that yes, Sen. Byrd will be here to vote on the legislation,” Jacobs continued. “His return will be determined by his doctors and family members.”
Jessica Tice, Rockefeller’s state press secretary, said the senator “followed the process in the House on the climate change legislation very closely” and “continues to have serious concerns about the House bill.” Tice also said Rockefeller will “continue working with his colleagues to make sure West Virginia’s interests are represented.”
Sure, it’s a jobs bill. A jobs killer bill. So much so that there is a provision in the legislation that provides paychecks and other assistance for those who lose their jobs as a result of their industries going belly up.
According to Friday’s Washington Times, the legislation includes language that provides, should it become law, that people who lose their jobs because of it “could get a weekly paycheck for up to three years, subsidies to find new work and other generous benefits—courtesy of Uncle Sam.”
How generous are these benefits? Well, according to the Times, “Adversely affected employees in oil, coal and other fossil-fuel sector jobs would qualify for a weekly check worth 70 percent of their current salary for up to three years. In addition, they would get $1,500 for job-search assistance and $1,500 for moving expenses from the bill’s ‘climate change worker adjustment assistance’ program, which is expected to cost $4.2 billion from 2011 to 2019.”
Instead of being a the source of millions of new jobs of “green jobs”—as House Democrats are fond of saying over and over again—the provision is a hidden admission that their effort is a job killer, not just a massive new tax on energy.
$4.2 billion taxpayer dollars to pay people not to work so we can save the planet.
On June 9, the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing to hear testimony on the Waxman-Markey bill, called the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which would increase the cost of emitting carbon dioxide through an onerous cap on emissions. One of the witnesses was David Sokol, CEO of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. Sokol criticized the Waxman-Markey bill because it would result in higher electricity rates for his customers. At the same time the hearing was taking place, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), the subcommittee chairman and bill co-sponsor, sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) asking the agency to investigate the business dealings of MidAmerican. Sokol and committee Republicans charged Markey with trying to intimidate him. Markey apologized for the letter and said intimidation was not his intention.
Mr. Sokol and House Republicans were none too pleased.
Republicans were furious when they learned that the letter was sent the same day that Sokol was testifying as a Republican witness before the subcommittee. Rep. Steve Buyer (R-IN) said, “There’s systematic intimidation going on, and bullying of individuals by a party that preaches tolerance and it must stop.”
According to GOP sources, Republicans on the Energy Committee, including ranking member Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), confronted Markey about the letter. The results of that meeting could not be learned.
After being caught red-handed, Markey sent a second letter.
But the day after the hearing, June 10, Markey sent a second letter to Wellinghoff to “clarify questions contained in my June 9, 2009 letter.” Markey wrote, “[M]y intent was for the Commission to analyze the activities of all investor-owned utilities with respect to their investments in transmission lines since PUHCA was (sic) revealed, and their investments in enterprises outside their core business.” Markey said the two questions about MidAmerican were meant to be answered as it relates to the industry’s transmission investments “as a whole.”
When House Democratic leaders were rounding up votes Friday for the massive climate-change bill, they paid special attention to their colleagues from Ohio who remained stubbornly undecided.
They finally secured the vote of one Ohioan, veteran Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo, the old-fashioned way. They gave her what she wanted – a new federal power authority, similar to Washington state’s Bonneville Power Administration, stocked with up to $3.5 billion in taxpayer money available for lending to renewable energy and economic development projects in Ohio and other Midwestern states.
Her spokesman says it’s not the only reason she voted for the bill.
In the end, Miss Kaptur, a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee and the House Budget Committee, was among a minority of Midwestern and Southern Democrats to vote for the bill. “It was not the factor, but a factor, in her decision to vote for the bill,” Mr. Fought said.
We know the stimulus bill has not created the millions of jobs that Obama and Company claimed it would. In fact, at his press conference earlier this week, Obama conceded that unemployment is going to reach 10% – and soon.
Now they are touting Cap and Trade as a jobs bill. Obama started this new tact earlier in the week and Nancy Pelosi continued the meme with her shrill scream of “JOBS JOBS JOBS JOBS” on the House floor last night. Calling this a jobs bill is a blatant lie.
As unemployment continues to rise and the deficit continues to explode, Americans are becoming skeptical and Republicans need to be all over this like white on rice. It looks like they are formulating a plan that includes shining the light on this.
Hot Air has a link to the GOP’s weekly address…starring the George Hamilton of Congress. That’s not a dig against Congressman Boehner. I’m a tad jealous of that tan andI will always hold him dear to my heart after he threw a copy of the stimulus bill to the House floor in disgust.