What Gun Control And Climate Action Have In Common

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"What Gun Control And Climate Action Have In Common"

Yesterday the Senate shamefully failed to move forward on modest gun control — a bipartisan amendment on background checks. A small but highly dedicated single-issue group backed by large amounts of industry dollars blocked action that is not only highly popular with the American public, but which had been viewed just a couple months ago as the most minimal action conceivable in the face of tragedy.

This failure should underscore just what an opportunity we missed on climate in 2009-2010, which may well have been a once-in-a-generation chance or “One brief shining moment for clean energy,” as I called it four years ago. More specifically, the lesson is that we are unlikely to see serious federal action on climate until there is a highly dedicated group of single-issue voters (backed with serious money) who can make it politically and economically more painful for members of Congress to oppose action than to support it.

One reason for this post is that the National Journal has a remarkably ill-timed article out today, “5 Things Immigration, Gay Marriage, and Gun Control Have That Climate Change Doesn’t.” While NJ‘s reporting on climate is normally solid, this piece aims to show that climate change lacks the factors that led to a “sea change” for gun control legislation:

The amount of change happening in Washington right now is impressive. Congressional leaders are debating legislation on gun control and immigration, and lawmakers from both parties are coming out in support of gay marriage. This kind of sea change can’t happen right now with energy and climate policy. Here are five reasons why.

Oops. Guess the seas didn’t really change on guns.

Indeed, it’s worth noting we are a long way from actually having a successful immigration bill — what happened on gun control should make clear that Congress “debating legislation” doesn’t mean bloody much. Until a bill actually does pass both the Senate and House (and get Obama’s signature), any “lessons” to be learned from immigration should be viewed as wildly premature. And, of course, we don’t even have federal marriage equality legislation, we just have (some) lawmakers coming out in support of gay marriage.

Significantly, not too long ago, we had lots of lawmakers from both parties coming out in support of climate action — remember Newt Gingrich on the couch with Nancy Pelosi? But the moment wasn’t seized and it died (see “The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 2“).

Or perhaps the lesson is that a climate bill never had a chance — as long as 60 votes was the threshold in the Senate. The New York Times makes a similar argument about gun control in its front page analysis, with the online headline, “Gun Control Effort Had No Real Chance, Despite Pleas“:

At a moment when the national conversation about how best to stem the menace of guns in the wrong hands seemed to have shifted, it turned out that the political dynamic had not.

Republicans armed themselves with disputed talking points from the gun lobby about how a bill to expand background checks and outlaw a national gun registry was instead tantamount to a national gun registry.

A powerful industry creating a disinformation campaign that is then taken up by the GOP — who’d have guessed?

So the lessons, to the extent that there are any given how wildly different all of these issues are, don’t have to do with why climate change can’t achieve the kind of “sea change” that gun control supposedly has had. They have to do with why politically popular pieces of legislation — like background checks and climate action — die in the Senate.

Obviously the antidemocratic extra-constitutional super majority requirement is reason #1. The background check amendment offered by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA) got “only” 54 votes. In his first term, Obama (against Congressional opposition) was able to have the health care bill require only a simple majority in the Senate, but he didn’t fight for outcome that with the climate bill.

Reason #2 is the existence of a powerful, well-funded, single-minded opposition that can create an effective disinformation campaign and, even more importantly, can exact a real political cost (in terms of campaign support and votes) if you cross them. In the gun debate, that is the NRA — which is really the gun manufacturers’ lobby masquerading as a grassroots organization. In climate, the fossil fuel companies and pollutocrats have even more money, so they can back multiple groups spreading disinformation and opposing action.

Reason #3 is the failure of the advocates for action to turn broad popular support into a potent political force combining a large number of single-issue voters with wealthy donors who are willing to withhold their support from those who don’t support their cause – even from political allies. That’s true for climate action, and, it appears, gun control. Interestingly, it’s not true for supporters of marriage equality, who have become far more organized — and the recent success they’ve achieved is certainly due at least in part to that fact.

Of course, Obama and the Senate Democratic leadership never pushed for a Senate vote on climate action in 2009 the way they have pushed for background checks this year, so we really don’t know whether that would have made a difference. But it did at least get gun control a vote in the Senate, something that never happened with the climate bill. So it would seem that presidential leadership  is a necessary but not sufficient condition.

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47 Responses to What Gun Control And Climate Action Have In Common

  1. BillD says:

    The amount and effectiveness of the misinformation campaign on climate change is really amazing and distressing.

    I recently received a book from the Heartland Insititute that is evidently being sent out for free to university enviromental science instructors. This book by Steve Goreham is titled “the mad, mad, mad world of climatism” and it uses just about every one of the many (200+ ?) denier arguments listed at Skeptical Science. Unfortunately, the text is written in a way that will be convincing for average people who know very little about climate science. Check it out on Amazon–the ratings are mostly very high and even those who recognize that it’s over the top, seem to describe the debate over climate as political.

    Perhaps we realling need a strong el nino year.

    • “Perhaps we realling need a strong el nino year.”

      Yep. As I’ve said many times, climate change is writing its own story. Unfortunately, by the time it is written so there can be no denyin’, it will probably be too late for anything but the cryin’,

    • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

      The Right will never give up because denialism is central to keeping fossil fuel resources worth trillions of dollars, not cents, and because they’d rather destroy the world than admit that the Left were correct and the Right hideously wrong, ignorant, stupid and vicious. In Australia the denialist tsunami is currently reaching new heights, no doubt driven by the rise in unfortunate events that require strenuous denial to put out of the mind of the rabble. No sign of acceptance of reality, at all.

  2. todd tanner says:

    Long story short, until green groups, environmentalists, funders, etc., realize that preaching to the choir and focusing on one side of the partisan divide won’t get it done in the Senate, we’re just going to have more of the same.

    • Pennsylvania Bob says:

      Absolutely.
      Earlier this week I attended a reception for a Philadelphia-area Democrat planning to run for Congress next year. He said if we want to change things the answer is simple: “Win more elections.”
      Yes, many of us worked for and voted for Obama (sigh…) but we must work, work, work for local, state and national Democratic candidates and others who support what we think is important: accepting science and understanding climate change, clean energy, EPA, renewables, a sound energy and environmental policy, etc.
      Not new thinking, but just reinforces the only way things are going to change. As Tip O’Neill said: “All politics is local.” We have to get in the trenches.

      • Dan Ives says:

        And how has working within the corrupt political system gone for progressives over the last few decades? What do they have to show for it?
        Working within the system means you can’t threaten the system, which means your demands mean nothing.

        • Pennsylvania Bob says:

          Let me try again: It’s the only possible way.
          Try losing a few more DEM senators the next couple of elections and see where we are. Now try adding a couple more, and continue to add House members. And, while we’re at it we must add DEMs at the state level so Congressional districts aren’t rigged, ALEC doesn’t continue to get its way, we build the farm team for Congress, etc.
          Would be happy to hear a better plan.

          • Dan Ives says:

            “Now try adding a couple more, and continue to add House members.” – Sounds an awful lot like 2009-2010. Those years weren’t exactly marked by crowning progressive achievements, were they?
            As I said, what do progressives have to show for their decades of blind allegiance to the Democratic Party?
            “Would be happy to hear a better plan” – You have to pose a threat to the system to have your demands taken seriously. And to meaningfully challenge the system, you need to work outside of it. A perfect example is MLK. He, along with the civil rights movement, was a powerful threat to the political system to the point where Congress and the President were forced to act. They had to act because the consequences of not acting were greater than acting. MLK didn’t campaign for more and better politicians from a particular party. He was a true challenge to the state and its power, so much so that it cost him his life.

          • Ed Leaver says:

            I think Dan Ives may be confusing Dr. King with Nelson Mandela, although in both cases bloody catastrophe was averted by rational and foresighted actors on both “sides” and at all levels. (including Dr. King and Mr. Mandela.) My personal opinion is that the way Ms. Pelosi needlessly railroaded the Affordable Care Act — essentially a deliberate cram-down on the Republican Party — had as much to do with the latter’s present antagonism as with their (totally unrelated) inability to contain the Tea Party. As a loyal Democrat, I’d suggest partisan politics cuts both ways, and them that’s cut is all of us.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

          You’re correct Dan. The system is corrupt. The two parties serve the same master. In power the Democrats, or New Labour in the UK or Labor in Australia, all pursue the same policies as the supposed opposition. Thatcher bragged that Blair was her finest creation. Clinton supped from the Gipper’s Kool-Aid and Rudd and Gillard in Australia were John Howard’s true heirs. All effort electing Democrats is wasted, and will lead to terminal disillusion, as it is meant to do. Have not five years of Obamanism taught that lesson thoroughly?

        • Jameson Quinn says:

          Working within the system without a vision for changing the system would indeed be stupid. We’re not winning, so continuing to play the same game and expecting that to change is the definition of insanity.

          But abandoning electoral politics is even worse. Remember how successful Nader was in 2000? That’s pretty much the best case.

          So we have to change the game. End the filibuster, approval voting, proportional representation, campaign finance tax vouchers for all, 18-year supreme court “term limits” backed by automatic court-packing; these are the kind of systemic reforms that would let us start winning, and most of them can be accomplished through organization and action at the state level.

    • Mark E says:

      Wrong. The Tea Party pulled the right to the far right by not being polite or cozying up to “the middle”.

  3. Gingerbaker says:

    Earlier this week I attended a reception for a Philadelphia-area Democrat planning to run for Congress next year. He said if we want to change things the answer is simple: “Win more elections.”

    You know a good way for Democrats to win more elections? Stop helping more Republicans getting elected by single issue voters – like the tens of millions of hunters – people who have a real reason to protect the environment and therefore vote Democratic – but who instead go out in lock-step with Karl Rove every year and pull the election lever for Republicans, because their only issue is against gun control.

    The political left gets all worked about gun control every time there is a mass slaughter by a psychopath, and has a knee-jerk compulsion to push for gun control. Even IF such legislation would make a difference in outcomes, we need to ask the question: Is it worth it?

    Is electing more Republicans worth an outside shot at preventing the slaughter of a dozen or so people a year? Because billions, not dozens, of people are going to die because of global warming.

    Those millions of one-issue Re4publican voters – hunters – could be the environmental movements most important allies. But only if Democrats are willing to abandon gun control for the greater good.

  4. Dan Ives says:

    “What Gun Control And Climate Action Have In Common” – Oh! Oh! Pick Me!
    The answer is: Obama doesn’t really care about either one of them.

    • I think you’re wrong. I think he really does care about gun control, and really doesn’t care about the climate — or, at least he thinks he can get away with kicking the climate can down the road to the next administration.

      We’ll see how that works out. As I said above, climate is writing its own story. Even as we write these comments, there is major flooding in the midwest. Whether Obama can continue to ignore such events remains to be seen.

  5. Joan Savage says:

    Rebuttal to National Journal’s 5 Things:

    1. Humanizing policy. Climate protection IS heavily about human risks.

    2. Electoral consequences. Climate protection issues, particularly in the immediate forms of emergency management, disaster relief and crop insurance, as well as preventive measures like infrastructure redesign with energy diversity, have immediate electoral policy consequences. They haven’t consistently been NAMED as climate protection issues.

    3. Agreeing on the problem. Joe Romm’s points about well-funded single interest groups that actively disinform about a problem that is widely recognized by the public is what fits here.

    4. Cultural roots. Climate issues have intense cultural roots -the assumptions about use of resources, nature of wealth, obligation or lack thereof to society and the future. Monitoring the consequences of the culturally-based behaviors is where the science shows up.

    5. Taking your time. That’s not actually true for any of the issues. Immigration, gay marriage, gun control and climate change are all topics that have been strenuously worked on for decades.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    You get a more unstable society from impacts affecting us with more extreme weather and with many people armed you increase the likely hood of armed assaults.

  7. Paul Klinkman says:

    The tobacco industry, the worldwide assault weapon industry (hunting rifles and even little personal pistols aren’t part of the question anymore) and the fossil fuel industry all produce noxious products, and all carry their big money into battle for the sake of their profits. I might add the Hummer industry was pretty bad, at least until GM went bankrupt. Also Monsanto and their genetically modified friends sunk $46 million in phoney disinformation into one California referendum.

    The biggest difference is market size. Big fossil fuel company Exxon vies for rank as the biggest company on earth. The assault weapons industry may be outgunned eventually, but the fossil fuel industry has 100 times as much firepower (and deserves 100 times the shame). That’s the difference.

  8. Great analysis, Joe!

  9. M Tucker says:

    “…we don’t even have federal marriage equality legislation, we just have (some) lawmakers coming out in support of gay marriage.”

    Yep, this is the first clue the National Journal piece is nothing more than a journalist engaging in self gratification. The amount of status quo in Washington today might be described as impressive.

    The first problem as I see it is that strangle hold the minority party has on the Senate, that is mighty impressive. Isn’t it wonderful how Harry fought for reform of the Senate rules? This is a BS Senate rule thing. It is not part of the Constitution as written. It is not about allowing debate it is about minority control of the Senate. Thank you Harry for all your wonderful efforts to reform the insanity.

    Next the enormous, overt economic influence industry (especially the fossil fuel industry but the gun industry too) has on influencing elections and votes in Congress is criminal. It is a corrupting influence that will be with us for generations to come. It is wholly embraced by the Republican Party but some Democrats are also corrupted.

    Finally Republican representatives can spout lies to the press without consequence. They are never challenged. The lies are accepted without a word of comment by the majority of journalists.

    • “It is a corrupting influence that will be with us for generations to come.”

      Don’t worry. If we don’t get major action on global warming within a decade, there won’t be generations to come.

  10. Brian R Smith says:

    Isn’t “..the failure of the advocates for action to turn broad popular support into a potent political force…” really the underlying problem which if answered would do more to defeat climate disinformation, Republican obstructionism and presidential inaction than all the isolated skirmishes put together? If so, then the conversation about turning that failure into a success needs to put on a lot more steam in every neighborhood of the climate community.

    That conversation is hotly focused and getting a lot of analytical attention among social scientists. A February report from the Skoll Global Threats Fund

    Taking Stock: U.S. Climate Engagement — A Discussion Piece
    http://www.skollglobalthreats.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/TakingStock-FINAL.pdf

    “draws on input from advocates, funders, and researchers across the climate community” and makes the sharp concern for this problem among advocates clear – although it emphasizes what social science people can do to help the “engagement community”, not conclusions about what actions advocates should take.

    Failure of the climate movement to mobilize the masses as a political force, as compared to the rollicking success of Big Oil to disinform & confuse on climate, is no accident. Single-minded purpose, carefully planned long range strategy and deft use of huge amounts of money have decisively carried the disinformation machine.

    By contrast, the “climate engagement” community, is far from single-minded on solutions, is still in the infancy of close networking on political objectives, has spent a lot of money on repetitive efforts, has no serious media budget and remains unmoved by the notion that comprehensive strategy to coordinate messaging and (especially) delivery of those messages to the public could strengthen everyone’s targeted moves and improve the odds of creating popular will for climate action.

    Or so it would seem, anyway.

    We are standing on a springboard of opportunities. Thankfully, analysis will never cease but if its lessons don’t lead to a more unified national strategy for action(s) a critical opportunity will be wasted. Organizations going it alone and then combining forces around issues has built the movement so far. Going forward together on a larger scale is problematic but just as important. A high level summit of climate leaders and advocates from all neighborhoods should convene itself to talk goals and strategy for realizing them.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      Americans seem utterly consumed by money but organization beats it every time. Last time I looked, talking to people didn’t cost much but it takes will, the determination to overcome the high degree of dissociation in our communities. Events in the last couple of days show that community spirit is still latent, just needs to be mobilized, ME

  11. Mark E says:

    Joe, there is another way that involves dedicated citizens with ZERO money… Gandhi’s way. Which is not weekend civil disobedience, but an integrated way of life every moment, and when the law is nonviolently broken, the idea is to stay in jail until the wrongs are righted, not just get let off with a story to tell on Monday morning.

    Voila! No money required.

    • Joe Romm says:

      I am not speaking against that strategy but what Gandhi was trying to achieve was quite different from what we are trying to achieve.

      • Mark E says:

        Really? What was the core political problem Gandhi’s people faced?

        ANS: (1) The rich controlled politics and all resources. (2) They were using all their money and tools of domination to keep it that way. (Gandhi didn’t want the British to leave, just their system.)

        How is our troubles with the Fossil-Fuel-Political-Oligarchy substantively different?

        • Ed Leaver says:

          Well, according to London Telegraph correspondent Alan Moorehead, who covered part of the Indian process as r&r from the African front (try his “The March to Tunis” for one of your more depressing war narratives), Britain really did want Indian independence. But the only political alternative they saw was Gandhi. And Gandhi advocated peaceful, nonviolent, and complete capitulation to Imperial Japan. Call it a philosophical difference, but the Brits weren’t keen on that particular approach and delayed separation until after cessation of hostilities.

          • Mark E says:

            You really claim the British were consumed by desire to de-colonize their economy?

            That must be why, 30 years earlier….even before the FIRST world world….. Gandhi felt compelled to write “Indian Home Rule”
            http://www.sscnet.ucla.edu/southasia/History/Gandhi/hind_swar_gandhi.html

            This just goes to show…. in the span of 2-3 decades, with very little money, his approach brought about a large change. In other words, Gandhi’s approach can be highly politically effective

          • Ed Leaver says:

            Mark: That is exactly what I am saying. And that it took them 30 years of effort by people such as Gandhi does not change the fact that when the time came, unlike some other European colonial powers, the Brits were convinced, and did act. But timing was critical, and the war was very disruptive.

            I too admire Gandhi and his followers. They were and are highly effective. But the climate catastrophe won’t wait the three or four decades taken by Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Mandela. Your point is still well taken: Edward Abbey notwithstanding, resort to eco-terrorism could be extremely counterproductive.

        • Brian R Smith says:

          Ed, the Monkey Wrench Gang of course went about cheerfully dismantling environment destroying infrastructure for personal (not political) reasons. And what a wonderful read it is! One of these days a small band of fed-up activists will head to the woods to take out a section of the Keystone system, will have limited success and cause a manhunt for “eco-terrorists” as defined by right wing media. They will be vilified as a threat to American security & values even though the intention of their “terrorist” act is to limit environmental destruction and will have nothing in common with terrorist plots that take human life. The distinction will be ignored.

          Will this hurt the cause? That depends on how much intellectual backup arrives to counter the BAU condemnation of anyone who goes felony and/or outside the sanctity of the political process. It will be tough, almost unthinkable under present conditions, for any climate advocate trying to work the beltway to publicly defend such actions, but there are conditional ways to frame it and use the event to improve understanding of earth defending motives. But beyond these considerations is the fact that the carbon barons have to be stopped. When does absolute necessity trump protocol and legality?

          • Ed Leaver says:

            Oh its a fair enough question. Absolute necessity — who decides? Sure, we all agree the enemy are methane and CO2, but beyond those some see other enemies as well. One irony looking back on Monkey Wrench Gang, A River No More, and friends is that the Glen Canyon and Hoover Dams Mr. Abbey fantasized taking out forty years ago are today seen as essential keys to balancing the load from intermittent renewables — environmental saviors.

          • Mark E says:

            Did Gandhi blow up the docks where British cloth was unloaded? Nope – property destruction is violence.

            Instead, Gandhi built a movement out of just making do without the cloth.

            Another difference between Gandhian nonviolence and the MonkeyWrench/EarthFirst types is that when a Gandhian breaks the law, they wait for arrest and plead guilty….. they do not try to elude capture.

            See also
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Eco-Warrior

          • Brian R Smith says:

            Mark, points well taken.

  12. I keep returning to the same point in my thinking. Democrats will not change until their status quo positions begin to cost them votes and / or legislative seats. That adds up to two required actions. (1) if you really believe that Democrats can be reformed into a truly progressive force, they you need to pick out those who have disappointed you in the past and run a progressive candidate against them. Perhaps we can find someone to bankroll these actions in the manner that Mayor Bloomberg says he will bankroll similar actions based on gun control legislation position.

    I think that you will find that, without the backing of a Bloomberg level donor / PAC most Democratic incumbents will easily win re-election. In that case, the effort for real political change requires taking the risk to vote Green.

  13. Raul M. says:

    A similarity in that the masses contend that they have their own actions under control. Difference in that climate change will outlast the conceptions of contention concerning gun control.
    Don’t know that there is a viable concept of transcendence concerning basic building blocks of evolution lasting beyond the “6th great extinction”.
    Noah’s Ark is a fine idea and building blocks could become pairs of all living creatures. An impulse of survival that transcends mankind has a better chance of success.

  14. Mary Harte says:

    HELLOOOOOHHHHH!!!! I’ve been preaching this in the desert of green organizations for almost a year now!!! I have a “We Are the Clean 99%” signon website devoted to creating a clean energy voting bloc (up since May 2012), and some green leaders have even signed it, but have any green organizations decided to show it to their memberships, or create one of their own, despite my urging? Can someone send smoke signals to Brune, McKibben, et al, since they clearly are ignoring my emails? Keystone protests are great, but we are still no closer to having Congress ACT…

    • Raul M. says:

      Hi Mary,
      Just a note to say I’m a fan, thanks for your and your husbands’ spreading of knowledge.

  15. Mark E says:

    Step 1. Identify the top 3 congressional reforms that are needed, and draft text to implement each.

    Step 2. At the ((STATE)) run a We-The-People-Take-Back-Congress citizen’s initiative to pass nonbinding resolutions calling for the adoption of these reforms.

    Step 3. Get the Tea Party to think this is their idea and let them have all the credit.

    ========================

    Possible top 3 reforms

    (A) End the filibuster
    (B) End earmarks (One bill, one subject)
    (C) Subject of bill must be stated in title

    I took the last two from Michigan’s constitution. Works for them.

  16. SasparillaFizz says:

    Fantastic article Joe. The political system in D.C., particularly the Senate, seems as though it has morphed into this vessel to preserve the status quo…not being able to successfully be pushed to change unless it is an avalanche of active public support and probably within a crisis setting.

    It was pretty stunning to see the gun bill get canned, as limited as it was.

    As to the Climate Bill back in 2009, as you pointed out Joe, we’ll never know, however the previous year a Republican sponsored a climate bill…so at least in 2009 it sure seemed possible.

  17. Joe,

    Did you see this carbon bubble article in the Guardian today? Billionaires and pension fund managers are getting cold feet when it comes to holding coal, oil, and tar sand stock! Too bad stock market has to crash for us to save ourselves from climate meltdown. Poor Koch brothers might have their assets stranded. One can dream, right?

    http://m.guardiannews.com/environment/2013/apr/19/carbon-bubble-financial-crash-crisis#_=_

  18. Was this outcome unexpected? Seriously, if the United States of America in the 21st century has demonstrated anything at all it is that our style of democracy has failed, our government thoroughly corrupted by corporate interests, and that Democrats and Republicans are pretty much identical in their behavior once they attain office regardless of what they might say during election season.

    Gun control? Nope. Lots of Americans continue to die because of gun violence. Washington delivers: nothing today, nothing tomorrow, nothing ever.

    Immigration reform? Don’t get your hopes up. Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed.

    Climate change? Democrats and Republicans are going to do everything within their power to increase the prosperity and the power of the fossil fuels industry, the auto industry and the military-industrial complex. These corporations pay their lackeys well. Needless to say, future generations of humankind don’t have that option.

    I will make a prediction about the future:

    Expect no major, minimal nor even any symbolic action by the United States government against climate change.

    Not today, not tomorrow, not ever!

    It isn’t going to happen.

    Grassroots political action is wonderful but it amounts to nothing more than the buzzing of flies against the corporations.

    Such efforts are noble and worthy of praise though inevitably a lost cause.

    ***

    If you want to save humankind from extinction you are going to have to change human nature. Unfortunately that isn’t any option.

    What’s left, then … ?

    Nature will solve the human problem in the traditional manner. 98% of all species since the origin of life have already gone extinct. Humankind will ultimately find itself among them.

    But life will endure and the living planet will survive and Nature won’t repeat this mistake ever again.

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      David, don’t depress yourself with thoughts of ‘human nature’. People’s behaviour changes when their circumstances change. We have created hierarchical, adversarial political systems with a high potential for corruption. Anybody who enters such a system eventually becomes influenced by its imperatives: the more mature the system, the more clearly you see the outcome of self interest. Put the same people into a system that induces cooperation and they end up working for the common good, ME

      • Mulga Mumblebrain says:

        I agree ME, but how do you get from A to B? It involves catharsis, which may not cure the patient, and will be traumatic. We must hasten the catharsis!

  19. Ed Bradford says:

    “modest gun control”
    NOT!
    America has not seen the full text of the bill.
    This thread and all others that dis the failure
    of the “Senate to pass gun control” are false.
    Where is the full text of the bill that 46 Senators
    would not move forward?’

    Let America see the full text of the bill so America
    can judge, please!!!

    If you don’t ask that question, you are an automaton!

  20. I highly recommend that everyone read Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Flight Behavior.” It addresses the cultural divide as well as I have ever seen it addressed — not through some academic study, but by telling a fast moving, highly relevant story about climate change and the people who do and don’t understand and “believe” in it.

    For those persuaded by the deniers, dissing global warming theory is is a matter of group identity — an “us against them” mentality. Them smart aleck scientists. Them liberals (I’ve been called a liberal because of my writing on climate change, although I never mention politics in my newspaper column). Them environmentalists who keep us real folks from making a living by cutting down trees.

    Yet you come away from reading the book with more understanding and sympathy than ever, because we have met them, and them is us.

    Here’s the review and commentary on Climate Progress: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/04/15/1865661/barbara-kingsolvers-latest-novel-flight-behavior-shows-climate-change-in-real-time/

  21. Donald Brown says:

    I believe the full depravity of the climate change disinformation campaign has yet to be well and clearly articulated. It is much, much more ethically despicable than telling lies about what is in a bill providing a background check to buy guns, as ethically loathsome as this is, because the disinformation campaign has told more lies about behavior that will adversely affect hundreds of millions of people and ecological systems on which life depends, it is not reasonable skepticism but disinformation, black propaganda, and affects people all over the world who can do nothing to protect themselves. This is some new kind of crime against humanity about which we need to invite creative people to help communicate the utter and unprecedented malevolence. Its tactics have also included cyber bullying of scientists and journalists.
    This is a crime of epic proportions although it appears to be a crime without an obvious legal remedy.It shouts for attention as some kind of new human travesty.
    Don Brown, Widener University School of Law