A video of Rep. Don Young every American should see
By Don Shelby | Published Tue, Nov 22 2011 10:55 am
On Nov. 18 the celebrated historian, Dr. Douglas Brinkley, testified before the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee. The committee was taking testimony on another congressional effort to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil exploration and drilling.
Brinkley was there to suggest that the ANWR be designated a national monument, preserved and protected. Brinkley knows about conservation. Among his award-winning publications and best-selling books is “Wilderness Warrior” about Theodore Roosevelt’s environmental policies. His most recent book, “The Quiet World,” traces the history of Alaska’s wilderness. He’s currently writing a new history on the conservation movement in America.
After Brinkley delivered his testimony, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, walked into the hearing late. Please watch this short clip of what happened:
By way of full disclosure, Dr. Brinkley is a friend of mine, but had Dr. Brinkley been a stranger to me, I would still be mortified that a United States congressman would treat a guest of the House in such a fashion. I hope this piece of video is seen by as many Americans as possible. I shouldn’t like people in other countries to see it. We still have an image to uphold in the world. Young makes it look like the most powerful nation on earth is run by the inmates of the asylum.
You may also notice that Dr. Brinkley doesn’t suffer fools gladly. I talked to him about the confrontation. He told me: “I felt like I needed to hold my own against them. I feel good about it.”
He continued: “I’m a historian and I read a lot of testimony. It is important to me to have an accurate record. I thought I needed to set the record straight for CongressmanYoung. My name is not Dr. Rice, it is Dr. Brinkley.”
That is certainly part of it. It is likely, as well, that Brinkley had studied the history of Congressman Young before he arrived at the hearing. Brinkley told me he knew that Congressman Young, at another hearing, had waved a walrus penis bone at Mollie Beattie, the incoming chief of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Brinkley may have read the Rolling Stone article about Young that quotes the congressman as saying, “Environmentalists are a self-centered bunch of waffle-stomping, Harvard-graduating, intellectual idiots.” The quote continues, “[They] are not Americans, never have been Americans and never will be Americans.”
I don’t think Congressman Young would have dared say such a thing to Teddy Roosevelt’s face.
Brinkley should not have been surprised that Congressman Young showed up late and missed the bulk of the historian’s testimony. Young is often cited as the congressman missing more votes than any other member of the House. Brinkley would have known that Young was the co-sponsor, with discredited Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, of the bill to pay for the infamous “bridge to nowhere.”
Brinkley told me: “Everyone knows that Young is just a menacing blowhard. He has a history of being rude, he browbeats and he’s snotty toward anyone who cares about the environment.”
I asked Brinkley if he was surprised that Committee Chair Doc Hastings took Young’s side and continued lecturing the historian. “No,” said Brinkley. “They are tied together at the hip. They are both oil company factotums. They are a tag team.”
Had Young been in the room for Brinkley’s testimony, he would have heard an interesting history lesson. Brinkley told those present that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had set aside the ANWR, and protected it the same way Ike had protected Antarctica. Brinkley is proposing that President Obama set aside the ANWR as a national monument using the 1906 Antiquities Act.Dr. Douglas Brinkley
“Eisenhower created it as a refuge,” Brinkley said.
So Brinkley suggests a new name and new status for ANWR. “I think it should be called the Dwight Eisenhower National Monument,” he said.
But what about the oil?
According to the United States Geological Survey, there is a good deal of oil beneath the coastal plains of the ANWR. But there is, in relative terms, very little when compared to world demand. Pump it dry and it would be emptied in less than a year.
Another Republican congressman, Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland, always votes against drilling the ANWR. It makes him unpopular in the caucus room. But the old biology teacher-turned congressman doesn’t object to drilling on environmental grounds. Bartlett told me that he votes against draining it now. He thinks it is smarter to save it for future generations who might need it, and use it more efficiently.
Bartlett doesn’t think it is wise to pump the ANWR dry just to consume it in highly inefficient cars and trucks. Bartlett drives a Prius, which is another thing that drives the caucus a little crazy.
Young chided Brinkley by saying that no one ever goes to the ANWR. Brinkley told me, “They used the same argument when considering whether to set aside the Grand Canyon. ‘Nobody ever goes there,’ they said.”
The Grand Canyon is back up for debate, by the same forces who wish to open the ANWR for oil drilling. Congress is considering bills to open up areas near the Grand Canyon for uranium mining. It was being rushed through until someone noticed that the company doing the mining was from Russia, and no one had checked whether there were any safeguards preventing Grand Canyon uranium from going into Iranian nukes.
“Our park lands, our treasured areas are under attack,” Brinkley told me. “We fought hard to protect these wild places and that makes the United States unique. China is destroying its landscape. We have a history of preserving ours.”
Brinkley believes Young and his ilk have another reasons for going into the ANWR, and it has nothing to do with oil. “I think they believe,” he said, “if they can open up the ANWR, molest it piece by piece, they will demoralize the whole environmental movement.”
Brinkley believes, as Young has made clear, there are members of Congress who see people who would protect wild places as the enemy of the country. “The Coastal Plain of the ANWR has an unbelievably rich marine environment,” Brinkley said. “It is where the caribou calve. It is where the polar bear den.”
To Congressman Don Young’s ears, such talk borders on treason.
Brinkley has a ready response. “Congressman Don Young is a low-grade Joseph McCarthy.”
Rep Young, the old fool, keeps getting reelected by the money machine in Alaska. I suspect that Alaska is the only place he could keep getting re-elected, since he’d be dumped by any electorate that actually cared who represented them.
Alaska has the fortunate distinction of remaining a frontier, which means that moneyed interests have huge legislative influence, and for most folks, if the law leaves them alone, they’re happy.
I suspect most Alaskans (I only know a few) are pretty blase about politics until it gets in their way, like most frontier cultures. It’s a position I understand, and used to support.
However, a penchant for ignoring politicians also means that sometimes they’re in the chicken coop and are making plans to steal the barn before you know they’re even there. And since they’ll do it “all legal and proper”, the sheriff is on their side, when he’d rather be on yours.
Dirtbag Don continues to go after a teeny puddle of oil that will have no long term effect on oil prices, because he’s blinded by the dollar signs in his eyes, not because he’s out for the good of Alaskans. He remains stuck on oil, when there are tremendous opportunities for Alaska business and citizens in the future technologies, not the expiring one he’s so desperate to pursue.
Unfortunately, he’ll probably still be around long after petroleum is viable, doing everything in his power to hold Alaska back while claiming he’s looking out for the state and it’s people.
He can’t see what is in front of him, understand what the future holds, a task he was sent to DC to perform. So he will doom his state to long term poverty by sticking to a dying industry. The oil dividends to Alaska’s citizens won’t last forever. And “Get Rich Quick” Don Young just wants to please the Oil Lobby in his state, instead of figuring out how to make the future of its people viable.
“Such is the way of fools.”
The news day got away from me a little bit yesterday but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to highlight Tuesday’s most-gasped-at graphics. In the segment introducing Denver election clerk and recorder, Debra Johnson, Rachel compared the Denver Elections Division map of percentage of “inactive voters” per precinct (pdf) with a map of 2010 Census block data on race/ethnicity (pdf).
And then, sitting alone on my couch, I heard the internet gasp.
On the surface it looks like if you wanted to make it harder for blacks and Hispanics in Denver to vote, you could start by not sending “inactive voters” a ballot. I think the actual answer is a little different but not much more complicated. An inactive voter is defined as someone who didn’t vote in the 2010 elections or more recent municipal elections, and hasn’t taken care of re-upping. In other words, if you came out for Obama in 2008 and then went back to your life ignoring politics, the state regards you as “inactive” and the Secretary of State doesn’t want to send you a ballot to vote (for Obama again?) in 2012.
It’s doubly disappointing that people who are less engaged in politics are being encouraged to disengage further.
Square State Democrats, are you paying attention?
Unfortunately I couldn’t get Facebook to cooperate so I decided to move this over to Posterous and point it back to her page.
As far as I can tel, a “Climate Denier” is a person who is certain that global climate disruption (climate change, global warming, etc) is not happening. Climate Denial seems to have become an ideology, impervious to additional information or logical discussion.
For many years now Peter Sinclair and his Greenman Studio LLC have been providing clear, well researched counters to the sometimes outrageous statements made by these climate deniers, along with those who foster climate denial as a way to continue doing “business as usual”.
In this video, Peter has again focused on a recurring subject, once a darling of the climate denial organizations, Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Lord Monckton is a hereditary peer, meaning that he comes by his titles mostly by way of birth. He often claims to be a member of the House of Lords, a situation that does not obtain, and was formally ended by Parliament in 1999. Lord Monckton likes to style himself an honorary member of the House of Lords, but the House of Lords does not agreeare stepping up their efforts to stop Monckton’s false claims, saying “he is not and never has been a member and that there is no such thing as a non-voting or honorary member.”
Monckton is no stranger to controversy. In 1987 he proposed that AIDS victims be effectively placed in internment camps. In an article in The American Spectator he stated that, “there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life.Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month … all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.” This would involve isolating between 1.5 and 3 million people in the United States (“not altogether impossible”) and another 30,000 people in the UK (“not insuperably difficult”). (Emphasis mine.) In other venues this man styles himself a conservative and what we would now call a Libertarian. *sigh*
For those who are like me, of a slightly older generation, or even a larger bonus, having grown up in Missouri along the Mississippi River just below Hannibal, Lord Monckton’s antics seem very familiar. For any of you who remember Mark Twain‘s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn you may recall the characters The Duke and the King. Unfortunately the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley does not seem to have enjoyed a ride out of town on a rail, or perhaps tarring and feathering. It seems overdue to me.
It may be that his Lordship is running out of juice. Over the course of the last two years Lord Monckton has begun publicly referring to anyone who disagrees with his climate denial positions as being “Nazis” or “Hitler Youth”. Also, he has begun promoting his cure for all sorts of diseases, from including Graves’ Disease, multiple sclerosis, influenza, and herpes simplex. Somewhat ironically his PR people are also claiming that the therapy works on AIDS as well. I visualize a medicine show from a wagon in Lord Monckton’s future.
Please take a peek at Peter’s latest video, where not only do we get to see the Lord’s tour of Australia begin, but also get to hear a UK journalist experience “ambush” interviewing with “gotcha” questions by a member of the UK Royal Science Society.
June 27, 2011
I took a break from my new solutions video, which will be out soon. I just had to say something in regard to His Immaculate and Beneficent Highness Lord Christopher Monckton’s current tour of Australia. We’re already hearing lots of exciting news, and I’ll cover it here as it happens.
For now, it turns out that The August and Exalted Lord Monckton ‘s scientific expertise is not limited to being the world’s foremost climate expert — he is also a medical practitioner of the highest caliber.
Bring out your Dead!!
June 5, 2011 by James F. McGrath
In the hullabaloo about Sarah Palin’s lack of familiarity with Paul Revere, some of the attention seems to me to focus on what is a less important point. Everyone flubs historical details at some point, even major ones.
Apparently fans of Sarah Palin have been rewriting the Wikipedia entry on Paul Revere, in an attempt to make it conform to her version of the story.
I would expect nothing less of politicians and ideologues.
But I hope that any and all will acknowledge that the attempt to fabricate history rather than admit that oneself, or one’s favorite politician, is wrong, is absolutely incompatible with the label Christian.
If you disagree, then just rewrite Wikipedia, so that instead of the Gospel of John having him say “the truth will set you free,” it said “you’re free to set the truth.”
On a related note, John Blake has an article on phantom Bible verses, which people have invented, misremembered, or misattributed to the Bible, and how surprisingly difficult it is to persuade people they have got it wrong.
Also, David Miller has a quote from renowned New Testament scholar C. F. D. Moule on the humility that should characterize Christians.
And in mostly unrelated news, Richard Hall has a parable about the difference between climate and weather, and Religion Nerd has a post about weather and religion. But you can connect them with the theme of this post by way of this cartoon, if you really want to.Share and Enjoy:
I found this posting from a Christian Pastoral group’s blog to be very interesting. And while the commenters are less obnoxious than is the norm for climate change or conservative/liberal discussions, they’re still following the same pattern.
With a certain amount of ironic flair, I have to say this is another case of ideology trumping reality. *sigh*
Who knew? I certainly didn’t know my posts here would be like this, since politics is not what I came here to blog about. Politics certainly doesn’t match what I had sitting in my drafts folder for the first few weeks. But politics and wealth generation seem to be all that gets any attention these days, in The Land of the Fee and the Home of the Timid. Long ago, and far away, in a world that used to be ours, there were men and women of good intent who took the following oath before taking up their weighty tasks:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
Following this Oath, the lawmakers of our country set out to represent the interests of their nation, their state, and the people of their constituencies. Perhaps the revisions to this oath made following the Civil War still confuse modern lawmakers.
These behaviours are rapidly becoming the norm in all of our representatives. The exigencies of running a nation of 300 million place each of these people under stress.
Pressure from their political parties to ensure that they are re-elected to maintain the party’s “Power” and influence in government are sufficient to keep people toeing the party line, instead of doing what they believe is right for their constituents. The need to maintain their viability as a political force makes them all the more susceptible to the influence of corporate entities with deep pockets. Re-election becomes the Sangreal, the Holy Grail of politicians. Congresspeople are advised to begin shaping their re-election campaigns as they walk in the door as freshmen. Perhaps we should discuss term limits… single terms for any Senator or Congressperson, so that the subject of being re-elected is no longer in the mix. It would certainly reduce the influence of money in the equation, although it will always be there. But at the same time, each party would then have to maintain a laser like focus on keeping the individual members of the constituencies happy, instead of just the ones with lots of disposable income. Think about it. Next time a major reform is put in place to eliminate corporate greed and power, say, Health Care Reform, or Mitigating Climate Change… perhaps the elected representatives would listen to the people they represent, instead of those who stand gain the most profit. Perhaps President Eisenhower had it right in the original version of his speech, it is the “Military-Industrial-Congressional” complex, before they advised him to strike the “Congressional” part. A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction… This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes.We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together. (Emphasis is all mine!) It is time for us to shoulder our responsibility and become informed, and vote based upon our beliefs. Perhaps it’s time for some political housekeeping, some serious political reform, such as term limits. What I am certain of is that our Senators and Representatives seem to have forgotten that they are elected to represent OUR interests, not the other way around. Think about it. I keep searching the U.S. Constitution for a place where it says that businesses, commerce, and corporate entities take precedent over the rights of individuals. I can’t find any amendments that say that our elected representatives are authorized to * fabricate lies, * avoid fact checking, * develop selective amnesia over briefings that do not support their positions, or * place corporate profit motive above the health and safety of their constituencies. It’s got to be there, since Senator “Oil Industry All-Start” Inhofe, and Congressman “Boner” Boehner seem to be spending all their time operating using this concept… something like “Big Business Uber Alles!”
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis
Does Anyone Remember This Image?
Jim “Oil Company MVP” Inhofe
“I don’t have to think, ’cause I jes BELIEVE!”
and John “I Hand Out Corporate Bribe Money on the House Floor” Boehner
The Republican Energy Plan
— Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité