Monday, September 29, 2014

Believe It: House GOP Warms to lllogic


Ironically, this first part of our story makes sense.

Visit the website for your Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, run by the U.S. House of Representatives, and you get a fairly accurate picture of how things work in Washington.

Okay, yeah:  the first picture you'll probably notice on this website is a portrait of the committee's chairman, Lamar Smith; a Texan wearing either a mis-colored toupee or two-tone hair.

The second thing you'll realize, after spending some time surfing it, is that for a website supposedly celebrating a committee overseeing the amazing fields of science, space, and technology, we can't find any archived record of committee hearings.  No video; not even a text document with a rote transcription of committee hearings.

How are we supposed to know what's going on in these hearings, with such a dearth of record keeping?

I wanted to find a verbatim account of a committee hearing that took place on September 17, 2014, when their topic was climate change.  The committee, headed by Republican Smith, had a blatantly partisan title for that hearing:  "The Administration’s Climate Plan: Failure by Design."  And, yes, they provide links to PDFs for the biased Chairman Smith, as well as the committee's officious-looking, pre-produced summary document for the hearing.  Supposedly there's also an archived "webcast" of the hearing, but when I click on its link, the download file I get is a mere 187 bytes, and while I'm not a computer guru, I'm pretty sure no video or sound file of a 2-hour hearing is byte-sized.

Now, remember:  This is the website for the science and technology politicos in the House of Representatives.  Gives you a lot of confidence, doesn't it?  Kinda reminds me of goofy Alaska Republican Ted Stevens, late senator from across the Capitol Building, and his "tubes" analogy for the Internet.

Good thing we have the Daily Show and Jon Stewart, who managed to get some video from this particular hearing, and found that even though Senator Stevens is no more, Washington's Republicans still give the mainstream media plenty to work with when it comes to skewering how policy is conducted in what's supposed to be the greatest nation on the planet.

The topic, remember, was climate change.  A politically-sensitive subject, to be sure, because there are a lot of theories in it, and not a lot of scientific laws.  Many Republicans, whose major contributors are in the fossil fuel business, want to see facts adding up to direct cause-and-effect relationships before they ever begin to say global warming climatologists may have a point after all.

So the committee's Republicans in this hearing, putting on a stoic face for their constituents in the energy industry, tried stonewalling against a scientist from a government panel who'd been brought before them to be grilled over scary global warming prognostications.

Steve Stockman, a Republican from Texas, tried floating the red herring of "global wobbling," which, although sounding like bad science, is an actual scientific theory related to global warming.  Unfortunately for Stockman, however, global wobbling is modeled on a minimum of 22,000-year intervals, whereas global warming science is based on 100-year increments.

Oops.

For his part, Larry Bucshon, a Republican from Indiana, didn't even try to sound scientific.  "I don't believe it," he bluntly stated, referring to both global warming, and studies by climatologists claiming to prove global warming is taking place.

And why doesn't Representative Bucshon believe what scientists are saying about global warming?  Because climate science is their profession, and Bucshon believes they're simply producing studies to keep themselves employed as climatologists.

Of course, Bucshon hopes nobody notices that, as a politician, he's pulling the same alleged stunt, acting in the greedy interests of his campaign funders so he can remain a Federal employee on Capitol Hill.  Regardless of how logical a scientific theory may or may not be.

Bucshon said he bases his information about the fallacy of climate change not from scholarly science periodicals, but from anecdotal chatter and gossip on the subject.  Wow, that sure gives me a lot of confidence in the methodologies of our elected officials!  It's like Bucshon gets his version of reality not from a vetted website article, but from the anonymous reader feedback comments that follow it.

For what it's worth, I'm not convinced that global warming is a reality, or that it's the type of reality global warming's most vocal alarmists are trying to excite the general public into believing it is.  Yet I'm embarrassed by Stockman and Bucshon.

No wonder there's no link to this hearing's video on the committee's website!

And then Republicans wonder why they can't sell their other messages to the American electorate.

Gay marriage, for example?  Many Republicans believe gay marriage is immoral.  Yet traditional marriage advocates get easily frustrated when nearly half of all Americans say they don't believe gay marriage should be forbidden.

"I don't believe it."  Simple as that, right?

Why do Republicans get upset when people believe gay marriage is okay?  One of the reasons likely has to do with Republican politicians like Bucshon pulling their own beliefs out of thin air - or their campaign contributors' wallets.

Now, granted, any politician is Constitutionally guaranteed the right to not believe something, and to not act on something which they oppose.  But with climate change, we're talking about an emerging science that may not be proven, but is at least plausible.  After all, scientists tell us we had an Ice Age, and our planet has warmed up considerably since then, right?  What's to say that warming isn't kicking into gear again?  And being facilitated this time by all of the chemicals we've pumped into the atmosphere?

"I don't believe it."  Okay, so House Republicans like Bucshon say they don't believe global warming science.  Upon what other credible, scientific evidence do they then refute global warming science?  Simply not reading what scientists claim to be evidence for global warming isn't a logical refutation of the alleged science, is it?

"I don't believe it."

Meanwhile, if that's all one side thinks the other side need to hear, should it suddenly sound idiotic when said by the opposition?


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