Friday, February 27, 2009

Musings: Outdated Ideologies

The civil union bill has been getting a lot of attention lately, both in the mainstream media and blogs, where Poinography’s Doug White wrote about the Advertiser’s ”train wreck” of an editorial and Ian Lind today posted a touching — and disturbing — email written by a man who went to testify on behalf of the bill, only to be met with a hateful diatribe.

But the most clever blog post on the subject appeared on Jan TenBruggencate’s Raising Islands, where he drew parallels between civil unions and climate change, with bogus arguments as the connecting link.

It's hard to believe some folks still think gays are despicable sub-humans, just as it's hard to believe climate change deniers still hold sway, even in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. Democracy Now! broadcast a chilling report on the unexpected — and alarming — acceleration in greenhouse gas emissions, which are linked to global warming.

The guest was Chris Field, a Stanford University professor and leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who this week testified before a Senate panel. What struck me, and this has been borne out by other reports I’ve read, is that despite growing concerns about global warming, we’re not changing course in any meaningful way. According to the lead-in to the Field interview:

Since 2000, emissions have grown at a rate of 3.5 percent per year. No part of the world had a decline in emissions from 2000 to 2008.

In fact, the emissions are increasing more rapidly than the rate used in developing the current climate models. According to Field:

The reason I say we’re on a trajectory of climate change that we haven’t explored is that we have only looked at scenarios where the growth of CO2 was limited to in the range of two to 2.5 percent per year. We genuinely don’t know what a climate will look like with the more rapid rate of increase that we’re actually seeing.

Field goes on to talk about Obama’s proposed “market approach” to dealing with climate change by developing carbon emission permits, which would be capped and traded:

Well, if I look at the problem, the thing that really strikes me is that we don’t have very long to get an effective climate regime in place. The risk with these ecosystem feedbacks is that once we get past a certain point in warming, the problem gets more difficult every year, because we’re ending up with, you know, essentially less and less help from the oceans and the land. And from my perspective, the really critical thing is that we get a handle on the emissions growth so that we can slow it rapidly and turn the corner, so that we’re looking at a period of decreased emissions moving into the future.

He also delves into what can happen when plants that are now frozen thaw out and quickly decompose, releasing yet more CO2:

The basic risk is that if we reach a certain point in the warming, what we’ll end up with is a vicious cycle, where the warming causes additional permafrost melt, which causes additional CO2 to be released to the atmosphere, which causes additional warming, which creates this vicious cycle.

The broadcast also included comments from the man that Republicans invited to the same Senate hearing, Princeton University Professor William Happer, who likened the attempt to control CO2 emissions to the same well-intentioned, but misguided, thinking behind Prohibition. He even said:

I believe the increase of CO2 will be good.

Field disagreed, noting:

Well, there’s been a tremendous amount of science to assess the likely impacts of rising CO2 on climate, and the IPCC overwhelmingly concludes that the overall impact is likely to be sharply negative.

So why, given what science has told us about the likely negative effects, aren’t we changing our behavior? Perhaps it has something to do with another Democracy Now! segment, which reported:

A new report from the Center for Public Integrity reveals that the number of global warming lobbyists has increased by more than 300 percent in the past five years. In the past year, some 770 companies hired over 2,000 climate change lobbyists and spent an estimated $90 million to influence federal policy on climate change.

The report cites NASA scientist James Hansen’s warning that “special interests will dilute and torque government policies, causing the climate to pass tipping points, with grave consequences for all life on the planet.”


And I'm left wondering, can the religious right remove its blinders and see gays as the human beings they are, deserving of equal rights and justice? And can the political right remove its blinders and see that its slavish devotion to materialism could doom us all?

I'm hopeful, but not optimistic. Outdated ideologies are hard nuts to crack.

18 comments:

Andy Parx said...

Cap and trade is a scam by the polluters’ lobby. Capping- good, trading- bad. What it means is that whenever some company decreases it’s CO2 output some other company can increase their output by that amount. The total never decreases it just gets traded around.

Anonymous said...

HI does have a lot of those hard core little christian sects. no surprise they are not game for the leg

Anonymous said...

The cold countries (Russia, Canada etc.) want global warming.

Anonymous said...

Mandatory population limits will solve many of the problems. Enforced by USA and friends!!

Anonymous said...

Andy is wrong about cap and trade. Over time, the limits become stricter, allowing less and less pollution, until the ultimate reduction goal is met. This is similar to the cap and trade program enacted by the Clean Air Act of 1990, which reduced the sulfur emissions that cause acid rain, and it met the goals at a much lower cost than industry or government predicted.

Andy Parx said...

Theoretically yes but that never happens in practice because the bids are free.. Only if you institute the 100% auction method used in Europe (which the US plans don’t) does the amount diminish- that makes it almost the same as a carbon tax which is the real solution here

nunya said...

I hope that in this debate of ʻcivil unionsʻ I am allowed to exercise my free speech. Iʻve received some vicious mail and believe that is not the way to get oneʻs point across that they are deserving.

The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution states: "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States" It does not, however, reference sexual orientation.

The Fourteenth Amendment was later supplemented by the Fifteenth Amendment, which states: "The rights of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." It does not specify sex.

The Nineteenth Amendment addresses the right of women to vote.

Nothing in the U.S. Constitution grants homo-sexuals the right to marry, nor should it be interpreted as such.

Americans have been subject to a vast propaganda campaign for decades by the ACLU in defense of NAMBLA.

Kolea said...

Nunya,

You make a couple of mistakes. First, quite importantly, you reference the US Constitution. Hawaii's constitution differs from the US Constitution in that it prohibits discrimination based upon gender. The conservatives managed to kill the ERA back in the seventies and prevented the adoption of an explicit Federal prohibition against gender discrimination.

In 1996, Judge Kevin Chang found the Department of Health violated the State Constitution by refusing to issue marriage certificates to 3 same gender couples. He stayed his order to allow the Legislature and the voters to consider a Constitutional Amendment empowering the Legislature to reserve marriage to opposite sex couples.

The passage of the Amendment did NOT solve the problem. While it (effectively) precludes same sex "marriage," it did not resolve Chang's finding that the State is obliged to provide equal protections to same gender couples.

The Civil Unions bill being considered by the Legislature WOULD resolve the problem, while still respecting the 1998 amendment. Anything less than equal protection is still unconstitutional under Chang's ruling.

NAMBLA is irrelevant to the high level of public support for civil unions. I do not understand the continued insistence of rightwingers that homosexuals are pedophiles. While the Catholic Church has a long history of priests sexually abusing children, with the hierarchy shielding them, I don't believe the Catholic Church donates much to the ACLU. Whether they funnel money to NAMBLA, I dunno.

Joan said...

More on the "link" between NAMBLA and ACLU. Be sure to watch to the end.

Katy Rose said...

Thanks for the link, Joan.

In that spirit, I just want to say that I appreciate "nunya"'s
willingness to expose herself on this issue, because she must know how at odds she is with the majority of people in the community who stand up for social justice. So - good for her for being willing to take the inevitable criticism.

The sad thing is that her views on this are based on such outdated and bigoted misconceptions about gender and sexuality.

There is no link between heterosexuality, homosexuality and pedophilia. Period. Pedophiles prey on children. Heterosexuals and homosexuals are attracted to people in their own age range.

The arguments used against same-sex marriage and civil unions today are nearly identical to the arguments used against inter-racial marriage forty years ago. They were wrong then - they are wrong now.

When I was a kid one of my first great mentors was a gay teacher who stood up for social justice and fought oppression alongside his friend Harvey Milk. At the time (the late 70's) the anti-gay rhetoric was really intense, and one of the points the right wing kept making was that gay teachers would "convert" their students.

In a sense that they didn't intend, those right wingers were right. The good fortune I had to be exposed to brave fighters for justice, like my teacher and Milk, didn't have any effect on the fact that I was born heterosexual, but I WAS converted into a lifelong activist.

Nunya, it's not too late to get on the side of social justice on this one.

I think that a person who cares so deeply about justice for Kanaka Maoli would get it. Hatred of homosexuality is a patriarchal ideology imported by white christians to hawai'i, after all, and has no relevancy, as far as I know, to Kanaka Maoli culture.

nunya said...

Thanks Kolea for those heads up. I will try to look more into Hawaiiʻs end of the constitutionality aspect.

To Katy Rose: You assume to know an awful lot about the way and why I and others think. And when you say "because she must know how at odds she is with the majority of people in the community who stand up for social justice."

Thatʻs a pretty blanketing statement. Thatʻs the stuff witchhunts are made of. I bet you do a lot more detailed conversation about me on other forums. You portend to be a seer of all things great and small, yes? You are just one of a ʻcliqueʻ, not the ʻcommunityʻ as these grandiose delusions influence you.

Am I supposed to be glorified that this time, not quite behind my back, you have shed your forgiving grace upon me? Forget it.

You and many are part of the herd over here that latches on to the Hawaiiansʻ plight to give you cover for the mainland agendas youʻve been painting this ʻcommunityʻ with. Sometimes you donʻt even know youʻre doing it. You chose to bring my support for Kanaka Maoli into this so you got it back. Werenʻt you the one that wanted to invite a rowdy professional mainland protest organization over here against the superferry? What, so these militants and troublemakers could give lingle a reason to open fire on locals?
R E A L smart, glad I put a stop to it.

You have been MISLED, propagandized and led to the trough by the ACLU. This has been a work in progress for decades.

Please donʻt, as a side note, bring the Catholic faith into your rant; I do not involve yours and I being a Catholic feel it is unfair that you , like Americans, put down other faiths. You seem to imply that rabbis are exempt from these acts.

Because YOU are incapable of retraction due to the tight set of rules you have spun for yourself, youʻre missing a lot of points which you, MIGHT someday figure out. Itʻs not my job.

For the record, I have never said my statements were against homosexuality but you and a few others intentionally misinterpreted. Like I said, a witchhunt, some people can only release their frustrations by having someone to attack. Itʻs not me cause I donʻt care about your idleness that leads to dangerous personal character assassinations.

Iʻm curious, who else have you ostracized from ʻyourʻ community of Kauai? Shame on you, the foul mouthed blogger and anyone thatʻs joined in.

Katy Rose said...

ouch!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

more nunya gems

but nice reply kolea. compliments

as to the "Woman-Girl Love" thing, i think i saw that video in college :)

February 27, 2009 11:08 AM

nunya said...

Ouch? You donʻt think others might say that after you lay into them?
But you and your gang of bashers know it all. Great following you got there.

If you think you saw me somewhere I guess you were there too.
And I guess I hit a few nerves with all of you.

Anonymous said...

Katy: "she must know how at odds she is with the majority of people in the community who stand up for social justice."

That's so funny. I thought you katy was going to stop at "the majority of people," which, as we know, oppose gay marriage. It's always funny to see white people struggle against native and black attitudes toward gays. That's when the white supremacist holier than thou attitudes make themselves obvious.

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