Obama Turns Up Heat: Climate Deniers are “Radical Fringe”.

June 14, 2014

greencheeseI told an interviewer the other day, that climate deniers are now “backpedaling”.

President Obama clearly sees the same thing, and is pressing the advantage. In a commencement address at UC Irvine on Saturday, the President ridiculed climate denial, comparing it to believing the moon is made of cheese

Have no doubt that this attack is well supported by polling and focus group data. The political tide is turning strongly.

Red meat starts about 7:00 in.

President Obama:

I’m going to talk about one of the most significant long-term challenges that our country and our planet faces:  the growing threat of a rapidly changing climate.

Now, this isn’t a policy speech.  I understand it’s a commencement, and I already delivered a long climate address last summer.  I remember because it was 95 degrees and my staff had me do it outside, and I was pouring with sweat — as a visual aid.  (Laughter.)  And since this is a very educated group, you already know the science.  Burning fossil fuels release carbon dioxide.  Carbon dioxide traps heat.  Levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are higher than they’ve been in 800,000 years.

We know the trends.  The 18 warmest years on record have all happened since you graduates were born.  We know what we see with our own eyes.  Out West, firefighters brave longer, harsher wildfire seasons; states have to budget for that.  Mountain towns worry about what smaller snowpacks mean for tourism.  Farmers and families at the bottom worry about what it will mean for their water.  In cities like Norfolk and Miami, streets now flood frequently at high tide.  Shrinking icecaps have National Geographic making the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart.

So the question is not whether we need to act.  The overwhelming judgment of science, accumulated and measured and reviewed over decades, has put that question to rest.  The question is whether we have the will to act before it’s too late.  For if we fail to protect the world we leave not just to my children, but to your children and your children’s children, we will fail one of our primary reasons for being on this world in the first place.  And that is to leave the world a little bit better for the next generation.

Now, the good is you already know all this.  UC Irvine set up the first Earth System Science Department in America.  (Applause.)  A UC Irvine professor-student team won the Nobel Prize for discovering that CFCs destroy the ozone layer.  (Applause.)  A UC Irvine glaciologist’s work led to one of last month’s report showing one of the world’s major ice sheets in irreversible retreat.  Students and professors are in the field working to predict changing weather patterns, fire seasons, and water tables — working to understand how shifting seasons affect global ecosystems; to get zero-emission vehicles on the road faster; to help coastal communities adapt to rising seas.  And when I challenge colleges to reduce their energy use to 20 percent by 2020, UC Irvine went ahead and did it last year.  Done.  (Applause.)  So UC Irvine is ahead of the curve.  All of you are ahead of the curve.

Your generation reminds me of something President Wilson once said.  He said, “Sometimes people call me an idealist.  Well, that is the way I know I am an American.”  That’s who we are.

And if you need a reason to be optimistic about our future, then look around this stadium.  Because today, in America, the largest single age group is 22 years ago.  And you are going to do great things.  And I want you to know that I’ve got your back — because one of the reasons I ran for this office was because I believed our dangerous addiction to foreign oil left our economy at risk and our planet in peril.  So when I took office, we set out to use more clean energy and less dirty energy, and waste less energy overall.

And since then, we’ve doubled the distance our cars will go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade.  We’ve tripled the electricity we harness from the wind, generating enough last year to power every home in California.  We’ve multiplied the electricity we generate from the sun 10 times over.  And this state, California, is so far ahead of the rest of the country in solar, that earlier this year solar power met 18 percent of your total power demand one day.  (Applause.)

The bottom line is, America produces more renewable energy than ever, more natural gas than anyone.  And for the first time in nearly two decades, we produce more oil here at home than we buy from other countries.  And these advances have created jobs and grown our economy, and helped cut our carbon pollution to levels not seen in about 20 years.  Since 2006, no country on Earth has reduced its total carbon pollution by as much as the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So that’s all reason for optimism.  Here’s the challenge:  We’ve got to do more.  What we’re doing is not enough.  And that’s why, a couple weeks ago, America proposed new standards to limit the amount of harmful carbon pollution that power plants can dump into the air.  And we also have to realize, as hundreds of scientists declared last month, that climate change is no longer a distant threat, but “has moved firmly into the present.”  That’s a quote.  In some parts of the country, weather-related disasters like droughts, and fires, and storms, and floods are going to get harsher and they’re going to get costlier.  And that’s why, today, I’m announcing a new $1 billion competitive fund to help communities prepare for the impacts of climate change and build more resilient infrastructure across the country.  (Applause.)

So it’s a big problem.  But progress, no matter how big the problem, is possible.  That’s important to remember.  Because no matter what you do in life, you’re going to run up against big problems — in your own personal life and in your communities and in your country.   There’s going to be a stubborn status quo, and there are going to be people determined to stymie your efforts to bring about change.  There are going to be people who say you can’t do something.  There are going to be people who say you shouldn’t bother.  I’ve got some experience in this myself.  (Laughter.)

Now, part of what’s unique about climate change, though, is the nature of some of the opposition to action.  It’s pretty rare that you’ll encounter somebody who says the problem you’re trying to solve simply doesn’t exist.  When President Kennedy set us on a course for the moon, there were a number of people who made a serious case that it wouldn’t be worth it; it was going to be too expensive, it was going to be too hard, it would take too long.  But nobody ignored the science.  I don’t remember anybody saying that the moon wasn’t there or that it was made of cheese.  (Laughter.)

And today’s Congress, though, is full of folks who stubbornly and automatically reject the scientific evidence about climate change.  They will tell you it is a hoax, or a fad.  One member of Congress actually says the world is cooling.  There was one member of Congress who mentioned a theory involving “dinosaur flatulence” — which I won’t get into.  (Laughter.)

Now, their view may be wrong — and a fairly serious threat to everybody’s future — but at least they have the brass to say what they actually think.  There are some who also duck the question.  They say — when they’re asked about climate change, they say, “Hey, look, I’m not a scientist.”  And I’ll translate that for you.  What that really means is, “I know that manmade climate change really is happening, but if I admit it, I’ll be run out of town by a radical fringe that thinks climate science is a liberal plot, so I’m not going to admit it.”  (Applause.)

Now, I’m not a scientist either, but we’ve got some really good ones at NASA.  I do know that the overwhelming majority of scientists who work on climate change, including some who once disputed the data, have put that debate to rest.  The writer, Thomas Friedman, recently put it to me this way.  He were talking, and he says, “Your kid is sick, you consult 100 doctors; 97 of them tell you to do this, three tell [you] to do that, and you want to go with the three?”

The fact is, this should not be a partisan issue.  After all, it was Republicans who used to lead the way on new ideas to protect our environment.  It was Teddy Roosevelt who first pushed for our magnificent national parks.  It was Richard Nixon who signed the Clean Air Act and opened the EPA.  George H.W. Bush — a wonderful man who at 90 just jumped out of a plane in a parachute — (laughter) — said that “human activities are changing the atmosphere in unexpected and unprecedented ways.”  John McCain and other Republicans publicly supported free market-based cap-and-trade bills to slow carbon pollution just a few years ago — before the Tea Party decided it was a massive threat to freedom and liberty.

These days, unfortunately, nothing is happening.  Even minor energy efficiency bills are killed on the Senate floor.  And the reason is because people are thinking about politics instead of thinking about what’s good for the next generation.  What’s the point of public office if you’re not going to use your power to help solve problems?  (Applause.)

And part of the challenge is that the media doesn’t spend a lot of time covering climate change and letting average Americans know how it could impact our future.  Now, the broadcast networks’ nightly newscasts spend just a few minutes a month covering climate issues.  On cable, the debate is usually between political pundits, not scientists.  When we introduced those new anti-pollution standards a couple weeks ago, the instant reaction from the Washington’s political press wasn’t about what it would mean for our planet; it was what would it mean for an election six months from now.  And that kind of misses the point.  Of course, they’re not scientists, either.

And I want to tell you all this not to discourage you.  I’m telling you all this because I want to light a fire under you.  As the generation getting shortchanged by inaction on this issue, I want all of you to understand you cannot accept that this is the way it has to be.

The climate change deniers suggest there’s still a debate over the science.  There is not.  The talking heads on cable news suggest public opinion is hopelessly deadlocked.  It is not.  Seven in ten Americans say global warming is a serious problem.  Seven in ten say the federal government should limit pollution from our power plants.  And of all the issues in a recent poll asking Americans where we think we can make a difference, protecting the environment came out on top.  (Applause.)

So we’ve got public opinion potentially on our side.  We can do this.  We can make a difference.  You can make a difference.  And the sooner you do, the better — not just for our climate, but for our economy.  There’s a reason that more than 700 businesses like Apple and Microsoft, and GM and Nike, Intel, Starbucks have declared that “tackling climate change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities in the 21st century.”  The country that seizes this opportunity first will lead the way.  A low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine for growth and jobs for decades to come, and I want America to build that engine.  Because if we do, others will follow.  I want those jobs; I want those opportunities; I want those businesses right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Developing countries are using more and more energy, and tens of millions of people are entering the global middle class, and they want to buy cars and refrigerators.  So if we don’t deal with this problem soon, we’re going to be overwhelmed.  These nations have some of the fastest-rising levels of carbon pollution.  They’re going to have to take action to meet this challenge.  They’re more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than we are.  They’ve got even more to lose.  But they’re waiting to see what does America do.  That’s what the world does.  It waits to watch us act.  And when we do, they move.  And I’m convinced that on this issue, when America proves what’s possible, then they’re going to join us.

And America cannot meet this threat alone.  Of course, the world cannot meet it without America.  This is a fight that America must lead.  So I’m going to keep doing my part for as long as I hold this office and as long as I’m a citizen once out of office.  But we’re going to need you, the next generation, to finish the job.

We need scientists to design new fuels.  We need farmers to help grow them.  We need engineers to invent new technologies.  We need entrepreneurs to sell those technologies.  (Applause.)  We need workers to operate assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components.  We need builders to hammer into place the foundations for a clean energy age.  We need diplomats and businessmen and women, and Peace Corps volunteers to help developing nations skip past the dirty phase of development and transition to sustainable sources of energy.

In other words, we need you.  (Applause.)  We need you.  And if you believe, like I do, that something has to be done on this, then you’re going to have to speak out.  You’re going to have to learn more about these issues.  Even if you’re not like Jessica and an expert, you’re going to have to work on this.  You’re going to have to push those of us in power to do what this American moment demands.  You’ve got to educate your classmates, and colleagues, and family members and fellow citizens, and tell them what’s at stake.  You’ve got to push back against the misinformation, and speak out for facts, and organize others around your vision for the future.

You need to invest in what helps, and divest from what harms.  And you’ve got to remind everyone who represents you, at every level of government, that doing something about climate change is a prerequisite for your vote.

It’s no accident that when President Kennedy needed to convince the nation that sending Americans into space was a worthy goal, he went to a university.  That’s where he started.  Because a challenge as big as that, as costly as that, as difficult as that, requires a spirit of youth.  It requires a spirit of adventure; a willingness to take risks.  It requires optimism.  It requires hope.  That day, a man told us we’d go to the moon within a decade.  And despite all the naysayers, somehow we knew as a nation that we’d build a spaceship and we’d meet that goal.

That’s because we’re Americans — and that’s what we do.  Even when our political system is consumed by small things, we are a people called to do big things.  And progress on climate change is a big thing.  Progress won’t always be flashy; it will be measured in disasters averted, and lives saved, and a planet preserved — and days just like this one, 20 years from now, and 50 years from now, and 100 years from now.  But can you imagine a more worthy goal — a more worthy legacy — than protecting the world we leave to our children?

So I ask your generation to help leave us that legacy.  I ask you to believe in yourselves and in one another, and above all, when life gets you down or somebody tells you you can’t do something, to believe in something better.



68 Responses to “Obama Turns Up Heat: Climate Deniers are “Radical Fringe”.”

  1. mbe11 Says:

    thousands of words. I will keep mine a bit shorter. 800,000 years of data from the ice core studies show CO level changes in that time never changed the climate and we have had a lot of climate change. Even the IPCC admits we have had no climate change in 17 years, the current climate has been warming off and on since the low of the little ice age about 400 years ago. The current average global temperature is less than in 1000 AD. All that melting ice in western antarctica is due to volcanic activity and Greenland was warmer and greener in 1000 AD which is why the vikings settled along the coasts since they were not ski fans, I am pretty sure they did not go there to party and ski on the glaciers. The current CO2 levels is higher than 400 years ago yet somehow the world was warmer with the same CO2 levels in 1000 AD and colder in 1625, perhaps something else than Al Gore’s favorite hypothesis of man made CO2 is driving climate change, after all something else melted those glacier back 15000 years ago covering large parts of North America. the science is pretty clear that changes in earth’s orbit and tilt change the climate and changes in solar output outside of the solar cycle do the same thing. The tilt model suggests warming for the next 25000 years, we have no way of predicting solar gain changes so only the future will tell us that. Obama like all the AGW crowd lies and claim the science is settled on climate change when what is really settled is the climate does and has changed and per that same science man has zero to do with the change.

    • “Even the IPCC admits we have had no climate change in 17 years”

      Wrong: http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf

    • redskylite Says:

      I take issue with your statement, CO2 radiation blocking GHG effect is not Al Gores’s hypothesis, it was theorised in 1824 by Joseph Fourier, extended by John Tyndall in 1859 and the effects of doubling the concentration of CO2 was well calculated in 1896 by Svente Arrhenius. Confirmation from the USAF in the development of heat seeking missiles and advanced by scientists like Gilbert Plass and James Hansen. Although Al Gore is scientifically qualified he would not claim anything as his “hypothesis”. Secondly the Medieval warm period was very regional and averaged around +.5°C globally, whereas today we are at .7°C globally (higher in Arctic circle). The MWP was a time of high solar activity and low volcanic activity unlike today. So your statement is (dangerously) misleading and mis-informative. I am relived that a few world leaders are beginning to accept, speak out and hopeful act on this grave problem.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Redsky, I don’t know why you bother to refute Mobee’s BS. He is just an ignorant troll that visits Crock periodically and reads to us from his book of “Timeworn Talking Points for Denialist Trolls”. Now that he has gotten a time-date stamp on a comment here, he can turn a chit in to Heartland or whoever he works for and get paid for it. He should have kept his comments even “quite a bit shorter” by not even making them in the first place.

      His comments are dangerously misleading and mis-informative only to the AGW ignorant, and there are few of those visiting Crock. In his only foray away from the “canned” AGW denialist BS, Mobee shows his inability to speak truth when he says “the vikings were not ski fans”. Guess what?

      “Viking Skis: There have been many skis found from the Viking Age. As early as the Bronze Age, skis were in use in northern Scandinavia. At least 100 copies of all the prehistoric periods are known from Finland alone. 30 of these are from the Viking Age”.

      Obama’s “thousands of words” are very good ones. It may not be a Gettysburg address or an “Ask not what you can do for your country…” in terms of being “short, sweet, and quotable”, but in some respects it is more meaningful and important, in that the survival of the whole planet is at stake.

    • Jason Says:

      Who told you that? (that’s a rhetorical question by the way)

      Small warming comes first owing to orbit changes. CO2 rises owing to resulting small environmental changes.

      CO2 increase causes an enhanced greenhouse effect (and a feedback loop) – amplifying warming and resulting in rapid climate change and massive environmental changes on a global scale (glaciations/inter glacials).

      That’s exactly what science predicted based on sound knowledge of radiative physics, geology, space and climate before we drilled ice cores. That’s exactly what was confirmed later when we looked at ice cores.

      Bluntly, anyone who tells you differently is either too lazy or too incompetent to understand the basic facts – and they aren’t the people you should pick to inform you about how the world works. The same scientific understanding that correctly predicted what we’d find in past climate is what we use to predict future climate changes.

      ‘Cos in all seriousness, you’ve just argued in public that CO2 isn’t a greenhouse gas, that we can’t measure its effect and that we can’t estimate the enhanced greenhouse effect from an increase in CO2 (all of which are basic physics that rely on every single day) – and by uncritically regurgitating that particular crock it just makes you look a whole lot dumber and and a whole lot more gullible than you really are.

      If you don’t like my politics or even Al Gore’s politics then fine – argue better politics. But arguing against basic science just makes you look foolish and won’t get you what you want.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Thank you for proving my point that Mobee isn’t going to find AGW ignorant folks on Crock to peddle his BS to—you and Redsky have shown that I was right.

        As to “….won’t get you what you want”, Mobee is, as I said, only looking for his denialist troll paycheck, not truth of any kind. I predict that he will not engage us in any debate on this thread. He will just crawl back under the bridge and pollute other blogs with his canned BS (he must have a rotation plan for visiting them), and will return to Crock at some point in the future. Watch July 15th—maybe it’s a once-a-month thing—-it seems like i9t’s been a month since we last heard from him.

    • A few points:

      The so-called “tilt” model actually calls for global cooling and not warming.

      Older climate change incidences occurred over thousands of years. The present climate change appears to be happening in DECADES, not millennia. No natural phenomena is going to explain that.

      Ice core samples show a high correlation with CO2 levels to past climate change. There is a human finger print on the present rise in CO2 due to the levels of carbon 14 in the CO2, indicating that it came from burning fossil fuels. Guess who burns fossil fuels?

      Volcanic activity in Antarctica? What comic books have you been reading? I’d like to see a picture of that volcano.

      Maybe you need to go back to troll school and brush up on your talking points. And while you’re at it, you might want to bush up on your science as well.

    • andrewfez Says:

      mbe11 –

      loved it! reminded me of this:

    • MorinMoss Says:

      In the spirit of Obama’s speech at UC Irvine, I sincerely dedicate the following song to you and your fellow climate deniers.

      Lunatic Fringe by Red Rider

  2. CO? What? It’s CO2. Go crawl back under the rock you came from. Year pretty sure. With logic like that, how can we go wrong?

  3. Absolutely right, mbe11. D’em scientists don’t know nuthin’.

    Most people have forgotten that back when George W Bush was America’s most awesome president, he announced a big plan to send men to Mars (via the Moon). But actually, he really wanted to send men to Mars via the Sun. It was only because of that warmist “scientist” at NASA – James Hansen – told President Bush it was impossible to land men on the surface of the Sun, that the transit lounge was moved to the Moon. You see, Hansen insisted that the Sun is too hot for people to go there.

    Well, that’s just ridiculous. As me and my friends at WUWT have pointed out, we could have landed men on the Sun at night. But them dum scientists at NASA never figured that one out!

    • dumboldguy Says:

      I hate to correct your grammar, Cy, but W was America’s “most awesomest” president—-that’s how he would have put it.

      And I too laughed at the idea of sending men to Mars via the Sun back when. Thank you for explaining why W was right after all—-I never thought of landing on the Sun at night, dumb old guy that I am.

      • skeptictmac57 Says:

        That’s just silly! Everyone knows that you can’t land on the sun at night!
        You need to wait for an eclipse…preferably during the winter,when it’s cooler.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          The collective intelligence lurking on Crock is simply awesome, and the “do it in the winter when it’s cooler” idea verges on pure genius.

          We are definitely NOT “All Hat and No Cattle”, as W was.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      did W really say that? citation? that’s spectacularly, amazingly stupid, even by his standards.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Looked around but couldn’t find it. Did find a good “Will Ferrell as Bush” clip where it would have fit in nicely http://youtu.be/EkqrI3IibYI

        Bush DID say the following when he was governor, though, and it’s also “spectacularly, amazingly stupid, even by his standards”.

        “Mars is essentially in the same orbit…Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.” 8/11/94

        Also came across this. “President Bush announced that we were landing on Mars today… which means he’s given up on Earth”. JON STEWART

        And this, one of the best Bushisms of all. “If we don’t succeed, we run the risk of failure.”

        • dumboldguy Says:

          OOOPS! Kept looking and found a citation that said the Mars thing was really from Dan Quayle, and the “risk of failure” thing was from a Mad Magazine spoof of Quayle as well. Could Quayle have been channeling Bush?

        • Wasn’t there someone here who recently wrote that Bush JR was coached into dumbness so that he could get all the dumb voters? I am not so sure… I think he was perfectly capable to be dumb from the start.

          • rayduray Says:


            Yes, I wrote about Bush’s speech mannerisms being contrived and deliberately dimmed down. Molly Ivins wrote about it in “Shrub”.

            Being unsure is pretty much the state the political manipulators hope to keep the public in, i.e. not knowing enough to be able to make intelligent decisions because they’ve been feed so much BS. It is to the advantage of the elites to keep the public ignorant and confused.

  4. omnologos Says:

    “Radical fringe” is a compliment, but you conformists cannot appreciate it . Change you don’t believe in.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      WHAT? I have misplaced my “Omnospeak into English” dictionary. Can anyone translate this babble?

      • anotheralionel Says:

        ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ perhaps, so how many deniers can shelter under one umbrella?

        You can always tell a denier by the language he keeps, warmist, warmista, AGW Religion, CAGW and now we have ‘conformist’. That latter beggars belief for corralling climate scientists has been likened to herding cats.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          How true. It is a corollary to “you can always tell a denier….” that you can always tell a stupid, confused, deluded, mindless, ignorant, ill-informed, and narcissistic person by the incomprehensibility of their omnobabblings.

      • It’s refreshing how little attention is paid to deniers. They are fading into the obscurity of mental hospitals where they belong.

        • andrewfez Says:

          A few months ago the Australian coal industry tried to get the public involved in a Twitter feed rally to illuminate the ‘silent majority’s’ support for coal. The hash tag was something like #australiansforcoal or something like that.

          We flooded that feed with sarcastic remarks related to climate and the environment that showed the industry just how outnumbered they really were. A Heartland Institute troll was dispatched and did what he could to throw out links to the Non-governmental Panel on Climate Change report or whatever it was called (Heartland pseudoscience propaganda). But we drowned him out pretty severely and it was like watching McCarthy prattle on about communism after he’d lost the crowd whilst the senate floor was being abandoned during the calling of recess. Very few people even bothered responding to the troll’s stuff when i was on there.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Yep, exactly like that. That clip is among the most entertaining 3 minutes anyone can spend while seeking enlightenment about the corporate mindset.

            Superior shareholder value, indeed!

          • andrewfez Says:

            Ha, ha! Yeah, we weren’t as elegant as the folks in the video but the same spirit was present. At one point, I quoted Peter: ‘Not because green is better, or low carbon is better; but because better is better’. You only have 140 characters per go on the Twitter feed.

          • Every time I see that video it reminds me of a speech delivered by the (at the time) new CEO of a company I worked for about the ethics of balancing the sometimes contradictory interests of our customers and our shareholders and how that was capitalism. (I was a bit miffed that day, so I asked him a couple of leading questions then elaborated, declaring with an obvious sense of revulsion at the end that his Hegelian thesis-antithesis-synthesis was “Mah-xism!” to which he paused, then responded, “Possibly.”)

          • dumboldguy Says:

            And how long did it take you to find your next job?

          • I was stuck with the job for the next three years, nearly a year after everyone else on my team had been laid off. I needed to take care of my wife, and then I felt obligated to keep things going for the sake of people on the other teams. Friends. The first to be laid off on my team was a close friend, and he had been let go just before the new CEO showed up. I ended up training those who would train their own teams in Ireland and Italy as development was shifted over overseas.

      • andrewfez Says:

        I think he may be implying a measure of conformist-ational bias on our part that blurs our ability to spot some secular diversion in the proximally abbreviated SST metric? Hopefully my summarizationalizer skills have smoked it correctly.

    • David Minor Says:

      Hahaha – what’s this omno? Hipster climate denial? I’d recommend the flat earth society: it’s a bit more underground!

  5. Since no-one else seems to have mentioned it, can I just say – about time. Wow, that was a helluva speech. The idea of any UK politician having the conviction and passion to do this speech…?

    • rayduray Says:

      Re: “The idea of any UK politician having the conviction and passion to do this speech…?”

      MP Tony Benn gave some very inspirational speeches.

      And then there is this from George Galloway:

      Now the idea that a David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Boris Johnson could match the lofty rhetoric of Barack Obama is a stretch. I do agree. But that may be because Cameron, Clegg and Johnson are not allowed such a yawning gap between rhetoric and action.

      • “But that may be because Cameron, Clegg and Johnson are not allowed such a yawning gap between rhetoric and action.”

        Hmm, yes, nice point! Sadly I’m still a sucker for Obama’s speeches despite 6 years of watching the follow-through…

      • andrewfez Says:

        Wow – that was like a professional solo violinist performing a concerto without flubbing a note the entire performance. I don’t think I’ve seen a public speaker work so elegantly before. And apparently our sanctions caused an Iraqi holocaust: shame on McCain and the lot of them.

  6. Gingerbaker Says:

    Have no doubt that this attack is well supported by polling and focus group data. The political tide is turning strongly.

    If the tide has turned it is very little thanks to him or most Democrats. This really pisses me off.

    Obama needed to read some polls to figure out this might be a good political move ?!? It would have been a great political move eight fracking years ago, even if the polls were terrible. Why?

    Because AGW is the TRUTH, that’s why. Because every scientific organization and nearly every scientific expert was telling him that every Republican was ripe for the plucking on the issue.

    Republicans manufacture issues and make the polls turn for them. Democrats quake in fear – even when they are right, the facts are on their side, when every expert in the world says they are right, and when the laws of physics prove they are right. Politically clueless.

    Democrats – stand up for truth. Stand up for people. Stand up for the 99%. Grow some balls, FFS.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      fully support politicians growing a pair. Till that time, have to take as much encouragement as I can from shifting public opinion. It’s not going to shift back.

    • rayduray Says:

      Re: “Republicans manufacture issues and make the polls turn for them. Democrats quake in fear …. ”

      I nonconcur. Today’s modern Democratic Party candidate for national office is faced with a choice. They can either play the money game and go after the same corporate and Wall Street funders for campaign cash and post-electoral-office income as the Republicans, or they can tell the American people the truth and line up with the 99%. In which case that Democrat is most likely unelectable.

      My point is that it seems far wiser to view the American political system beyond strictly local races as being a contest between the two wings of the Corporate Party. You need only look at how Hillary Clinton is funding her operations to see how totally cynical this all is. http://tinyurl.com/p5cv7e4

      • jimbills Says:

        Hillary Clinton Thinks Lobbyists Represent the People:

        Money Wins Presidency and 9 of 10 Congressional Races in Priciest U.S. Election Ever:

        • jimbills Says:

          Democrats receive more lobbyist financing than Republicans:

          Ben Barnes is the top lobbyist donor, and he was the top donor for the John Kerry campaign:

          My point isn’t that Republicans are holier than Democrats. It’s that the idea that Democrats are immune to money and corporate influence is absurd, and they require that money to win elections. The problems are baked in the cake.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Have you got it in for the Democrats today, jimbills? Is that why you’ve posted some misleading links? You should have said the Democratic national PARTY received more lobbyist financing than the Republican PARTY. A quick look at the other graphs in the link should have reminded you that the picture is much broader. The rise of PACS and the impact of Citizens United and McCutcheon have muddied the waters considerably. MOney is flying around under the radar and we don’t know its sources. And so what about Ben Barnes and a measly half million for Kerry? Barnes’s lobbying firm is big and busy, and he is plugged in with Democrats. How does that compare with what Adelson and the Kochs are doing on the other side?

            IMO, Republicans are a lot less “holier” than Democrats. They invented this whole scheme of lobbying, think tanks, and buying influence back in Reagan and Abramowitz’s time. The problems surely ARE baked in the cake, but let’s not forget who came up with the recipe.

          • jimbills Says:

            oldguy – you’re basically agreeing with me in this comment and the one below, but you’re upset that I’m bashing Democrats and not bashing Republicans adequately enough. Of course Republicans are worse, mainly because they wholeheartedly believe in the political and economic philosophies that support the plutocracy, but I assumed that went without saying, and I was trying to explain to Roger why politicians don’t “grow a pair” and how this applies to Democrats as well as Republicans.

          • rayduray Says:


            I’m getting nostalgic. I went to look back for a story by Molly Ivins how a Texas Lt. Governor ended up drunk in the back seat overnight in Austin of someone who had a Cadillac that looked a lot like his own. It turned out it wasn’t Ben Barnes, but rather Bob Bullock.

            But I digress. Here’s the Ivins item on Ben Barnes and the special treatment that George Bush, “43”, got from Barnes and the Texas Air National Guard.


            It’s a funny read. The only thing Molly doesn’t bring up is that when George was flying out over the Gulf of Mexico on his TANG training flights he saw dozens and dozens of oil-laden tankers lined up across the horizon during the 1973 oil “crisis” when the American public were forced into mile long lines to buy gas and Congress was held hostage by the oil companies to pass the Alyeska Pipeline legislation. Yes, that oil in the Gulf was bought and paid for and owned by the oil majors and they could have brought it into the Houston Ship Canal any time they cared to. But they didn’t care to, as long as the blackmail was working so well onshore.

        • rayduray Says:

          This Open Secrets item is what makes the recent David Brat upset victory over House Majority Leader Eric Cantor so astonishing. Low turnout combined with the public’s utter repulsion from the Washington political process created a unique win for the “small people”. I believe the next part of this will be the “good and hard” retribution to the Seventh District of Virginia as quipped about by Mencken. How dare the people vote out the oligarchy’s man?

      • Looking at Open Secrets election cycle contributions for 2012 by industry but leaving out the retired (who give more to Republicans anyway), I find that $794.3 million was given to Democrats, $953.9 million to Republicans. Collectively, people who listed their occupation as “retired” gave more than any industry, but they were somewhat evenly distributed, giving 40% to the Democrats, 50% to the Republicans, which means that their givings were mostly a wash anyway, and it doesn’t seem quite right to industrial sectors.

        Looking at the Securities and Investment sector that brought us home refinancing, financial derivatives and the economic meltdown of 2008, after “retired”, they gave more money than any other sector. More than twice as much went to Republicans as Democrats. In line with this, the five largest contributors to the Romney campaign were all from the financial sector.

        The fossil fuel industry was decidedly further down the list. However, as in the case of the retired, most industries don’t like keeping all of their eggs in one basket. They give to both parties. On the other hand the fossil fuel industry gave almost exclusively to Republicans.

        Subtracting donations to Democrats from donations to Republicans you get what may be referred to as “Republican-tilted donations”. By this measure, securities and investment were first at $71.5 million, fossil fuel was second at $44.7 million, Republican/Conservative 501(C) “charitable” organisations (e.g., the American Legislative Exchange Council, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation and Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation) came in a close third at $44.6 million, and retired individuals came in fourth at $39.6 million. Please see OpenSecrets/Politicians & Elections/Top Industries/Election Cycle 2012.

    • jimbills Says:

      A rat is faced with two buttons. One button delivers an electric shock. The other button delivers a piece of cheese. After trying both buttons, which one is the rat likely to choose in the future?

      If the polls show a lack of voter support for an issue, they will be punished for supporting it and rewarded for opposing it. Successful politicians are cowards by the process of elimination. Money adds to the problem by influencing public opinion towards favoring the interests of the moneyed.

      While I too am pissed that President Obama hasn’t done more about climate change, and I deeply suspect that the recent moves are just attempts to salvage his legacy on this issue, at the very least the recent speeches ARE an attempt on his part to build momentum for action. I’ll take it, although I think it’s a bit like being happy to accept the crumbs after the King has eaten the cake.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        “I deeply suspect that the recent moves are just attempts to salvage his legacy on this issue” says jimbills cynically. Rayduray talks about Hillary’s cynicism.

        Why are we acting like any of that is news? They’re freakin’ politicians, and politicians in this country have been acting like politicians since BEFORE the founding of the USA. Corporations and the wealthy have been buying politicians from the get-go, and that’s why we needed the 17th Amendment and need yet another to deal with Citizens United.

        What is relatively new is the way campaigns are conducted and financed and the huge amounts of $$$$ that must be raised. Let’s hope that Obama really is trying to salvage not his “legacy” but the ideals he stated that got him elected in the first place—he isn’t running again, so doesn’t have to worry about keeping Wall Street and the corporations happy. This will be Hillary’s last shot also, and let’s hope that she too will be more concerned about “doing the right thing” rather than any “legacy”.

        At least the Democrats give the appearance of doing what’s right rather than spout meaningless BS like the Repugnants do in an attempt to disguise the fact that they ARE the servants of the plutocracy and the corporatocracy.

        • rayduray Says:

          Re: “he isn’t running again, so doesn’t have to worry about keeping Wall Street and the corporations happy.”

          As you would suspect, DOG, an old cynic like me sees people like Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, Henry Paulson, Tony Blair and their ilk and I come to the conclusion that Barack Obama is going to be a loyal and obedient servant of the elite 1% financial aristocracy of America until the final day of his time in the White House. After which Mr. Obama will be hoping for an income stream that reflects his service to the oligopoly. As you must be aware, Mr. Clinton has gone from being “flat broke” as was said of him in the last days of 2000 to a net worth north of $150 Million today. Do not for a second think this isn’t part of Obama’s motivation every day to “do the right thing” for the corporations.

      • rayduray Says:

        Your talk of the King and crumbs reminds me of this “Kingfish” Huey Long speech that applies as much today as it did in the Great Depression:

  7. Great speech, lets hope those young voters kick the flat earthers out of power soon, its getting kinda critical to change course of the Titanic.

  8. […] attack is well supported by polling and focus group data. The political tide is turning strongly. https://climatecrocks.com/2014/06/14/…adical-fringe/ Sign in or Register Now to […]

  9. […] 2014/06/14: PSinclair: Obama Turns Up Heat: Climate Deniers are “Radical Fringe”. […]

  10. Gingerbaker Says:

    If the polls show a lack of voter support for an issue, they will be punished for supporting it and rewarded for opposing it. Successful politicians are cowards by the process of elimination.

    That’s a very short-sighted position, and it is a position that the Republicans have proven time after time to be false. When Goldwater lost, the Republicans were at a nadir of popularity.

    Republicans now routinely take positions so radically right that they would never be countenanced by the Republican party of the 1960’s. They take positions which are absurd, cruel, illogical. Every single plank of the Republican party would have failed any and every opinion poll taken in every decade, and indeed fail today if positioned fairly against a more liberal option.

    The point is: Republicans don’t choose positions based on polling. They choose positions based on core philosophy, passion, and the ultimate exploitation value of the meme associated with that position. They move opinion polls; they are not moved by them. Radical unpopular positions become popular and mainstream because they are consistently advanced. The public knows exactly what the Republican party stands for.


    People don’t have clue what Democrats stand for. Because the Democrats won’t take a position that doesn’t poll well. Because the Democrats don’t actually know themselves what they stand for, they herd about as well as cats. No discipline, no core values, no courage, no long-term strategy.

    They are facing a Republican party that is filled with idiots and corrupt fat cats. Beating Republicans should be like taking candy from a baby. The fact that the Dems haven’t done this, don’t absolutely own all branches of government is a scathing indictment of their leadership the past twenty-five years.

    • jimbills Says:

      “They move opinion polls; they are not moved by them.”

      No, sorry, but that’s a misreading of politics. The Republicans are absolutely cowards in the same ways that Democrats are. They pander to their base, and their base is asking, practically begging, for the radical positions they espouse. Again, you’re in Vermont, and I’m in Texas. I see this stuff on a daily basis – maybe you don’t. The average person on the street here is radically right. Most of their beliefs come from media propaganda, which they listen to, read, and watch faithfully.

      I’ve also been to evangelical political events and seen people like Franklin Graham speak about politics. People like John Boehner are moderates compared to what’s being said out here. I’m also by a fluke on some GOP mailing lists.

      Read up about the Dave Brat/Eric Cantor race. Cantor lost because he wasn’t radical enough – truly bonkers. The same thing happened to Bob Inglis. The Republicans are scared witless about the “radical fringe” elements of their party, and so they support policies that pander to that element.

      Now, Republican politicians absolutely are passionate about economic and political policies that favor the wealthiest Americans to the detriment of 90% of Americans, and the campaign money that flows to them works naturally with their beliefs, but the Republicans that get elected are the Republicans that most adequately represent their base.

      Democrats don’t have a solid position because they have to play the money game (funded by those with money) these days and because public opinion is so confused (largely, again, because of corporate propaganda). You live in a solidly liberal state, but the U.S. is not Vermont. It’s more like Wisconsin:

      Wisconsin’s Governor:

      • jimbills Says:

        My point is to show that money controls this country – not politicians. They’re basically figureheads. The most successful ones are the ones that play the game well. Occasionally, there is a real maverick in politics, but these people always get slammed down (unless they live in a consistent voting area, like Bernie Sanders).

        Money’s influence is most effective in the public sphere. We are a deeply and fundamentally controlled people, and most people don’t even realize it. The media is the primary organ for this control.

        As an example, CNN just had this headline – “Breaking News: CNN/ORC Poll: Majority dissatisfied with handling of Benghazi”:

        It’s just been pulled down from the red banner on the main page, but a poll isn’t breaking news. And what is the point about bringing up Benghazi in the poll? That happened 21 months ago. It was a blunder, but it’s a manufactured political wedge issue favoring the Republicans, and it’s being brought up by the supposedly ‘liberal’ news network. The point isn’t to inform as much as it is to confuse and distract people from the real issues, and all the corporate media outlets do it.

        The public correspondingly does get confused, and starts thinking these side things are the important matters. A corporate media, searching for viewership and therefore ad dollars, again plays up these issues to give the public what it wants, and the cycle continually spirals downward.

        I go to ABC News (not the Australian one) these days and the headlines pretty much always have the Kardashians and Kate Middleton in them.

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