The media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders reports today that Iran is now the “world’s biggest prison for journalists,” with “a total of 33 journalists and cyber-dissidents in its jails.” At least 20 journalists have been arrested since June 12. The New York Times adds that the Iranian government continues to “block all coverage of protests and the security crackdown” and has ordered the BBC’s reporter to leave the country. “[O]ther news organization said they were ordered by the authorities not to report on events on the streets.”
I noted earlier the CBO’s analysis indicating that the poorest 20 percent of Americans will actually gain money as a result of Waxman-Markey’s cap-and-trade provisions, while even the wealthiest Americans will pay less than a dollar a day. Kevin Drum helpfully found the table that lays out the precise figures:
Meanwhile, my colleague Dan Weiss notes that even this is almost certainly too pessimistic:
Signficantly, CBO’s estimate also does not include the economic benefits of other provisions in H.R. 2454. The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy estimates that the efficiency provisions alone could save businesses and consumers $22 billion annually by 2020. The savings would be $170 per household in 2020 –- roughly equal to CBO’s cost per household estimate for ACES in 2020.
To be sure, in part the low cost of compliance reflects the fact that Waxman-Market’s emissions targets aren’t especially aggressive. Still, there’s a heck of a lot more aggressive than doing nothing. And the CBO’s accounting of this explicitly doesn’t include the benefits of averting catastrophic climate change—a fairly important piece of the puzzle. Historically, meanwhile, compliance with new environmental regulations has typically proven easier than people believed ex ante. You can’t do an analysis which just assumes that as-yet-uninvented technologies will come into being, but typically a new regulatory regime does, in fact, spur the creation of as-yes-uninvented technologies or practices that help with compliance.
The idea for this Father’s Day post came when I was putting my daughter to bed a few weeks ago, and she started to repeat, “Want tiny dog” — one of her favorite stuffed animals. The room was dark, and so I asked, “Is tiny dog in the crib?” to which she replied, “Not yet” or, rather, you have to imagine a certain sly lilt, “Not ye-et,” which might be translated as, “You have to find him if you expect me to go to sleep.”
As I’m crawling around the room looking to see if she’s tossed him on the floor or if he somehow got under the furniture, she said, “Must be frustrating.” And so a post was born.
Since the floor debate on the Waxman-Markey climate and clean energy legislation is coming up (though probably not this week), let me, without further ado, offer
The Top 10 Ways the House GOP are like my Two-Year-Old daughter
10. Core messaging is often infantile. It was, after all, on September 3, 2008 at 10:14 pm EST at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, that the entire GOP decided to make their central message a plea to the very youngest Americans — see “Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died.
9. Similar messaging tactics. GOP messaging guru Frank Luntz once said, “There’s a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you’re absolutely sick of saying it, is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time.” In my daughter’s case, the target audience is very small, and, her message, some variant “Today is Carousel day,” gets heard the first time and the tenth. For the GOP, the target audience is bigger, but the polling suggests that most people long ago understood they like drilling to the exclusion of pretty much everything else.
8. Very ego-centric. My daughter has become fond of saying of various things around the house, “Mine! Mine! It’s mine!” In the same vein, former House leader Gingrich is fond of saying, “I am not a citizen of the world!”
7. Love nonsense phrases that amuse them, if no one else. See House GOP leader Boehner on ABC: “The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical.”
In her June newsletter, State Rep. Cynthia Davis (R-MO) provided several “commentaries” to a press release from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services on a summer food program. The program provides “food during the summer for thousands of low-income Missouri children who rely on the school cafeteria for free or reduced-price meals during the regular school year.” Davis, who serves as the chairwoman of the Missouri House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families, questioned whether the program is “warranted,” and extolled the hidden benefits of child hunger:
Who’s buying dinner? Who is getting paid to serve the meal? Churches and other non-profits can do this at no cost to the taxpayer if it is warranted. [...] Bigger governmental programs take away our connectedness to the human family, our brotherhood and our need for one another. [...] Anyone under 18 can be eligible? Can’t they get a job during the summer by the time they are 16? Hunger can be a positive motivator. What is wrong with the idea of getting a job so you can get better meals? Tip: If you work for McDonald’s, they will feed you for free during your break. [...] It really is all about increasing government spending, which means an increase in taxes for us to buy more free lunches and breakfasts.
A report by Feeding America found that one in five Missouri children currently lives with hunger. Taking apart Davis’ other arguments, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial noted that most of the summer feeding program sites are actually hosted by churches and that the program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, fed 3.7 million meals at a total cost of less than $9.5 million last summer — “a pretty good use of federal money.” (HT: DailyKos diarist Dem Beans)
Our guest blogger is Sen. John Kerry (D-MA), chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
We all know about the August 2001 memo warning President Bush that terrorists were determined to strike inside the US. Thirty-six days later, they did. Well, today scientists tell us we have a ten-year window — if even that — before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible. We have to use the narrow window we have to forestall a crisis while we still can. We have to connect the dots, and we have to act. I agree with my friend Dick Armitage’s assessment on future national threats to the United States:
If I had to say what might be the biggest long term threat I’d say it might be climate change.
In 2007, eleven former Admirals and high-ranking generals issued a report from the Center for Naval Analysis warning that climate change is a “threat multiplier” with “the potential to create sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale far beyond those we see today.” General Anthony Zinni, former commander of our forces in the Middle East, was characteristically blunt. He warned that without action — and I quote:
[W]e will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll.
Why? Because climate change injects a major new source of chaos, tension, and human insecurity into an already volatile world. It threatens to bring more famine and drought, worse pandemics, more natural disasters, more resource scarcity, and human displacement on a staggering scale. We risk fanning the flames of failed-statism, and offering glaring opportunities to the worst actors in our international system. In an interconnected world, that endangers all of us.
We all know Darfur’s genocide is a brutal choice made by leaders in Khartoum. But the conflict between the so-called “Arabs” and “Africans” has its roots in shifts in climate over the last four decades. Inch by inch, year by year, the desert consumed already scarce farmland, forcing farmers and herders to compete over ever-dwindling resources. Eventually the desert had grown by 60 miles, rainfall diminished by as much as 30%, and tensions arose. This is one example of how climate change contributes to a more dangerous world.
Nowhere is the nexus between today’s threats and climate change more acute than in South Asia–the home of Al Qaeda and the center of our terrorist threat. Scientists are now warning that the Himalayan glaciers, which supply water to almost a billion people from China to Afghanistan, could disappear completely by 2035. At a moment when the American government is scrambling to ratchet down tensions and preparing to invest billions to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity to deliver for its people—it’s infuriating to think that climate change could work so powerfully in the opposite direction. Read more
George Will may not know much about climate change or bicycle commuting but I think he’s mostly been a voice of reason on foreign policy issues relative to most conservative pundits. Today was no exception as he called out his colleagues for “foolish criticism” of the President’s approach to Iran:
The president is being roundly criticized for insufficient, rhetorical support for what’s going on over there. It seems to me foolish criticism. The people on the streets know full well what the American attitude toward the regime is. And they don’t need that reinforced.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the people trying to loudly position themselves as the Iranian people’s greatest friends are the exact same people who wanted to drop bombs on Iranians just a couple of weeks ago.
Here’s the CBO’s score of the impact of the Waxman-Markey bill on household budgets:
On that basis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion—or about $175 per household. That figure includes the cost of restructuring the production and use of energy and of payments made to foreign entities under the program, but it does not include the economic benefits and other benefits of the reduction in GHG emissions and the associated slowing of climate change. CBO could not determine the incidence of certain pieces (including both costs and benefits) that represent, on net, about 8 percent of the total. For the remaining portion of the net cost, households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020, while households in the highest income quintile would see a net cost of $245.
A net benefit of $40 to the poorest Americans is a good thing. And a net cost of $245 (less than a dollar a day!) to the wealthiest Americans is, in my view, a small price to pay for the dual goals of preventing extreme hardship and the developing world and reducing the odds of a spiraling-out-of-control climate disaster scenario that threatens the existence of human civilization.
Will these facts impact the debate? Ryan Avent is skeptical:
Emphasis mine. So, how long do you think GOP legislators will continue to use the bogus $1,600 cost per household per year figure they’ve been touting? I’m putting my money on “indefinitely.”
That’s almost certainly true. But something I hope legislators will keep in mind is that what they’re political opponents say about them will almost certainly matter less to voters than what actually happens. If we implement a solid energy reform strategy, people will hear warnings of economic doom and then they’ll see those warnings not come to pass.
Very off topic — but I know there are some very tech savvy folks out there.
I’ll probably be going to the Mac store tomorrow (if they still have them in stock).
I’m currently Verizon for both wireless and broadband.
I haven’t been Mac for a long time, but will be getting a MacBook in July, too.
Suggestions and advice are welcome! Best Apps?
New NYT poll confirms earlier polling that indicated overwhelming public support for a government-run insurance option:
Happily for politicians contemplating the inclusion of such a plan, a robust public option is also the best way available to control costs and minimize the need for new taxes. So just keep in mind that when people talk about political obstacles to a robust public plan, they’re not talking about mass public opinion as an obstacle—they’re talking about the wealth and power of relatively narrow interests.
Last week, President Obama reiterated that despite the turmoil in Iran, he still plans on pursuing a “tough” diplomatic approach with the country in order to prevent a “nuclear arms race”:
Now, with respect to the United States and our interactions with Iran, I’ve always believed that as odious as I consider some of President Ahmadinejad’s statements, as deep as the differences that exist between the United States and Iran on a range of core issues, that the use of tough, hard-headed diplomacy — diplomacy with no illusions about Iran and the nature of the differences between our two countries — is critical when it comes to pursuing a core set of our national security interests, specifically, making sure that we are not seeing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East triggered by Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon; making sure that Iran is not exporting terrorist activity. Those are core interests not just to the United States but I think to a peaceful world in general.
We will continue to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries, and we’ll see where it takes us. But even as we do so, I think it would be wrong for me to be silent about what we’ve seen on the television over the last few days.
Today on CNN, Foreign Relations Committee ranking member Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN) agreed with Obama, saying that it is necessary to “sit down” in order to eliminate Iran’s nuclear program:
LUGAR: We would sit down because our objective is to eliminate the nuclear program that is in Iran. [...]
But in direct answer to your question, of course, we really have to get into the nuclear weapons. We have to get in the terrorism of Iran in other areas in the Middle East. Now we have a new opportunity in which we might very well say we want communication with Iran. [...]
This is not imposing our will, but it’s fundamental to our democracy and to the development of democracy and or better governments in Iran at this point.
Lugar has been one of many Republicans who have been coming out and rebutting right-wing criticism on Obama’s approach to the Iranian protests. Last week, he said that becoming “heavily involved” in the Iranian election would be detrimental to U.S. interests.
Lugar also said today that “openness of the press” is important in Iran because “we need to be able to talk to people, hear from people, argue with people.” “We don’t want to have to use Tweeter [sic],” he added.
Transcript: Read more