Today in Liberty: Greenwald teases more NSA revelations, just half of Georgia’s Obamacare signups have paid
“[I]f you want to be adversarial to those who wield power, you have to expect that those who wield power aren’t going to like what you’re doing very much.” — Glenn Greenwald
— Expect more NSA revelations: In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, Glenn Greenwald said that we can expect more disclosures about the NSA in a new book due out next month. “There are stories that I felt from the beginning really needed the length of a book to be able to report and to do justice to,” Greenwald said, “so there’s new documents, there’s new revelations in the book that I think will help inform the debate even further.” The book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, is slated for a May 14 release.
The man who oversaw an energy crisis has come out strongly against the Keystone XL pipeline. In a letter with other Nobel laureates, former President Jimmy Carter urged President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the pipeline, claiming that allowing the project to move forward would worsen climate change:
“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change,” Carter and the others wrote in an open letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
Carter and the other Nobel Prize winners suggest to Obama that rejecting the $5.4 billion project would help the environment.
“You know as well as us the power of precedence that this would set,” states the letter, published in Politico. “This leadership by example would usher in a new era where climate change and pollution is given the urgent attention and focus it deserves in a world where the climate crisis is already a daily struggle for so many.”
Rejecting Keystone XL “would signal a new course for the world’s largest economy,” added the group of Nobel laureates, which includes South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and landmine activist Jody Williams.
Like a Baptist preacher delivering a “hellfire and brimstone” sermon from the pulpit, a number of Senate Democrats pulled an all-nighter on Monday into the wee hours of Tuesday, pushing alarmist climate change rhetoric from the chamber floor.
The effort is, apparently, the first of many by these Senate Democrats to raise awareness to climate change, hoping to put in the issue back on the public’s radar and, by extension, place pressure on Congress to take action on global warming.
The planned stunt hasn’t received great deal of attention. The media did cover it, but other stories since Monday evening have dominated the news cycle. In short, the 15-hour sermon from Senate Democrats fell flat.
When it comes down to it, Americans are much more worried about the economy, federal spending, and healthcare, according to a new survey from Gallup. Climate change ranks near the bottom on the list of issues with which the public is concerned.
“The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” — Ayn Rand
— Oh, Fox News, STAAAAAHP: Another morning, another anti-Edward Snowden rant on Fox and Friends. “Edward Snowden is a terrible person, the worst in the world. Here’s a clip of Charles Krauthammer agreeing with me.” Yeah, there are some legit complaints about Snowden, like his seeking asylum from Russia, not exactly a bastion of liberty, but the guy tried to handle things the right way by taking his concerns about the NSA’s surveillance programs to his superiors. They didn’t listen, so he went to the media. In our minds, Snowden is more a hero than anything else for exposing programs that ignore the protections guaranteed in the Fourth Amendment. We also believe that he’s raised some other excellent points about the federal government wasting its resources. But neo-cons are gonna neo-con, and don’t you dare ever question them.
Senate Democrats will begin an all-night “talkathon” later today and into Tuesday morning to try to raise congressional awareness to climate change, what USA Today describes as the first of many steps to put the issue on the radar before the 2014 mid-term election.
This charade really is more of a nod to big Democratic Party donors who would benefit from policies aimed at combating climate change, as Byron York explains. In short, it’s is another example of cronyism:
“There is a great and tumultuous battle underway for the future, not of the Republican Party, but the future of the entire country. The question is, will we be bold and proclaim our message with passion, or will we be sunshine patriots retreating under adverse fire?” — Rand Paul
— Sanctions against Russia won’t work: Steve Chapman says that the push for sanctions against Russia is an exercise in futility, given that sanctions often don’t work. Rather, he explains, Russia could be its own worst enemy. “[O]ur best hope is that he bites off more than he can chew. The invasion of Afghanistan looked like a success at the outset, but it spawned a fierce insurgency that cost thousands of Soviet lives, forced a humiliating retreat and helped bring about the collapse of the Soviet Union. The farther Putin pushes and the longer he stays the more likely this occupation will end in tears,” writes Steve Chapman at Reason. “There is a very slim possibility that Western economic sanctions will undo his ambitions in Ukraine. There is a better chance that those ambitions will undo themselves.”
Not too long ago, Christiana Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, gained some notoriety after praising China’s communist government for its efforts to combat climate change. She didn’t mention the 94 million deaths for which communists regimes are responsible, nor China’s ongoing human rights abuses.
The crazy from the radical environmental left, however, doesn’t end with Figueres’ fawning over communism. Nope. Believe it or not, a couple of environmental groups are actually arguing that the United States needs to “de-grow” the economy:
Environmentalists at the New Economics Foundation in London and the Worldwatch Institute in Washington, D.C. argue that cutting the 40-hour work week and using less electricity is necessary. This includes a living wage requirement and a more progressive tax code.
“There’s no such thing as sustainable growth, not in a country like the U.S.,” Worldwatch senior fellow Erik Assadourian told Sierra Magazine.
“We have to de-grow our economy, which is obviously not a popular stance to take in a culture that celebrates growth in all forms,” he said. “But as the saying goes, if everyone consumed like Americans, we’d need four planets.”
“Maybe I’ll do a real horror record and talk about the Obama administration.” — Glenn Danzig
— Rand Paul and the next Republican revolution: There’s a great read over at Politico this morning about Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and how he, with his libertarian-leanings, is leading a new Republican revolution. “Facing his own primary challenge from the right next month, [Sen. John] Cornyn let everyone know he’s in sync with the Cruzes and Pauls of the Senate. ‘Every day, Ted and Rand and I wake up, get outta bed and push back on the Obama agenda,’ Cornyn said in introducing Paul, whom he called ‘one of the brightest new stars in the Republican Party, someone with courage, intelligence and principles who can help us win elections and reclaim our country,’” wrote Katie Glueck. “The gushing words underscored Paul’s remarkable trajectory within his party: from insurgent challenger four years ago, to headache for Senate leadership, to having the Senate whip himself offer Paul’s warm-up act.”
The ongoing drought in California’s Central Valley has become the next big avenue for President Barack Obama to push his climate change agenda, using the state’s farmers as a distraction from the real causes of its water woes.
“A changing climate means that weather-related disasters like droughts, wildfires, storms, floods are potentially going to be costlier and they’re going to be harsher,” President Obama said on Friday. “Droughts have obviously been a part of life out here in the West since before any of us were around and water politics in California have always been complicated, but scientific evidence shows that a changing climate is going to make them more intense.”
“The planet is slowly going to keep warming for a long time to come. So we’re going to have to stop looking at these disasters as something to wait for; we’ve got to start looking at these disasters as something to prepare for, to anticipate, to start building new infrastructure, to start having new plans, to recalibrate the baseline that we’re working off of,” he added.
President Obama revealed a $1 billion initiative that he will include in his next budget proposal that would provide “funding for new technologies to help communities prepare for a changing climate, set up incentives to build smarter, more resilient infrastructure.”
The drought brings another opportunity to pitch his climate change agenda, but it overlooks the some of the issues that have exacerbated the problem, including a 2007 federal court ruling that required the state to divert water resources to the ocean to protect delta smelt, a protected fish species.
In conveniently overlooking the tens of millions of death for which communism is responsible, Christiana Figueres, the U.N. climate chief, said last month that China has the best model when it comes to fighting climate change.
Why? Because the communist country doesn’t have to worry about pesky elections and resulting inconvenient gridlock in government. Nope. The country’s leaders can do what they want, when they want. The people, of course, can’t push too hard for any real political reforms, lest they be persecuted by their government.
But, to Figueres’ suggestion that communism works best when it comes climate change, the Washington Post posted this chart comparing the top 10 worst cities in China to the worse in the United States.